July 6: The Galveston County Daily News: Runaway Court? The Obamacare Decision
With the recent Supreme Court decisions, reflection is in order. What we witnessed last month is a Supreme Court -- not the constitution -- rewriting legislation. Unless some action is taken, the court’s actions will render the tenth amendment null and void. Our concern is over the lack of a constitutional foundation for the court’s action. Read the column.
July 1: The Hill: Oklahoma sues to stop Obama’s Climate Change Rule:
Oklahoma’s attorney general filed a lawsuit Wednesday to stop the Obama administration’s signature proposed climate change regulation. The federal lawsuit from Attorney General Scott Pruitt is comes less than a month after the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit threw out two challenges to the same regulation, saying they were premature, because federal courts cannot review rules that are not final.
July 1: The Washington Times:
Clinton’s Private Email Server Contained Classified Documents without Cyber Security Protocols in Place:
The State Department on Wednesday conceded that two dozen of Hillary Clinton’s emails did contain classified information, a fact that could trigger a U.S. policy that authorizes the government to take control of her private server and sanitize the contents. A former senior intelligence official told The Washington Times the policy also requires the government to check other Internet paths her secret information could have taken.
July 1: Fox News: Hillary’s EmailGate Reveals she is Equipment Challenged:
Top presidential aides didn't know how to reach the secretary of state, months into the administration. And when it came to using fax machines ... well, Clinton was no pro. These are just a few of the colorful details emerging about Clinton's day-to-day life in the early part of the Obama administration, according to 3,000 pages of emails released overnight by the State Department. And they depict a different side of the aloof and now-2016 Democratic presidential candidate.
July 1: The Daily Caller:
School Pensions force firings of up to 1,400 teachers and staff in Chicago; others blamed:
About 1,400 Chicago public school teachers and staff are expected to lose their jobs in order to finance a pension debt of $634 million, the city announced Wednesday. The layoffs are part of an aggressive $200 million budget cut to help finance the pension payment, which is required of Chicago Public Schools by Illinois law. The rest of the pension payment is coming from heavy borrowing, adding to the school district’s already massive $1.1 billion deficit. In announcing the layoffs, Mayor Rahm Emanuel blamed the rest of the state for not picking up the slack, saying the rest of Illinois doesn’t pay its fair share for pensions.
June 30: Politico: IRS Lawyer Now Heads Clinton Email Production:
May be slow walking the release of the documents:
A year ago, Catherine Duval was embroiled in the scandal over former IRS official Lois Lerner’s lost emails. Now the top government attorney is heading up another document project in the cross hairs of Congress: the State Department’s release of Hillary Clinton’s emails and Libya documents to the House Select Committee on Benghazi. GOP investigators are raising red flags, accusing her and the State Department of stonewalling Congress by narrowly interpreting document requests and failing to disclose important information.
June 23: Fox News: Most Illegal Aliens Skip Court Dates after Release:
Tens of thousands of illegal immigrant women and children streamed across the U.S. border last year seeking asylum and protected status, claiming a "credible fear" of going home to the violence in Central America. President Obama addressed the crisis through what he termed increased border enforcement, more detention beds, more immigration judges and pressure on political leaders in their home countries. But a year later, new data obtained exclusively by Fox News shows the policy isn't stopping the influx. Not only are illegal immigrant women and children continuing to cross the border in large numbers, but the majority charged with crimes aren't even showing up for court. "These figures are very strong evidence that the Border Patrol was right all along, that these people were coming because they knew they would be allowed to stay, that they were not planning to make some kind of plea for humanitarian status such as asylum," said Vaughan.
June 23: Fox News:
Supreme Court: If you want a farmer’s raisins you need to pay for them; it’s unconstitutional
The Supreme Court ruled on Monday that the government can't force raisin farmers to give up part of their annual crop for less than it's worth, a victory for conservative groups that hailed the decision as a win for private property rights. The justices ruled 8-1 that a 1940s-era program born out of the Great Depression is unconstitutional because it allows federal officials to seize personal property from farmers without fully compensating them, even though the goal is to benefit farmers by stabilizing market prices.
June 23: The Daily Signal: More Hillary Clinton Benghazi Emails Revealed:
There’s new evidence that the investigative record has long been incomplete on the administration’s actions surrounding the Sept. 11, 2012, terrorist attacks on the U.S. compounds in Benghazi, Libya. Only now has the House Select Committee investigating Benghazi finally obtain additional, related emails exchanged through former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s private server. Longtime Clinton confidant Sidney Blumenthal turned over his email exchanges with Clinton as part of a committee document request prior to his deposition last week.
June 23: The Daily Caller:
Money Talks! Congressional Aide: Ex-Im Vote a Favor for Big Campaign Contributions
A staffer for Congressman Paul Cook told an undercover journalist that Cook will likely vote to reauthorize the Export-Import Bank, because big campaign contributors that benefit from the bank are in his district. “He’s probably going to vote in favor of it,” Dillon Lesovsky, a field rep for the California congressman, told the undercover reporter in a video produced by Project Veritas. [The] “reason being Boeing is in our district, and then we also have Mitsubishi Cement. We have a bunch of cement and minerals companies that export out a lot of stuff. …they are big contributors of ours …so, you know, we’ll help them out.” If Congress does not act, the Ex-Im Bank will expire June 30.
June 22: The Daily Signal:
Meadows to fight GOP House Leadership: Sometimes you need to change the Coach
A conservative House lawmaker angry at “a culture of punishment and fear” created by Speaker John Boehner and his leadership team has had enough. “For the last six months they have doled out small punishments in a variety of forms,” said Rep. Mark Meadows of the conservative House Freedom Caucus. “I personally have received those. I have not gone public until now—because they went public first. The leadership team wants to create a culture of punishment and fear without a culture of debate and dialogue. But there is no honor in bowing to a bully. There is only honor in fighting a good fight—win or lose. This is not a fight I will back down from.”
June 20: Politico:
Heavy Hand of Speaker Boehner/allies Falls on those who vote their conscience:
The House Republican crackdown has reached a new level of severity. House Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Jason Chaffetz has stripped North Carolina Rep. Mark Meadows of his subcommittee chairmanship, just days after he defied leadership on the House floor by voting against a party-line procedural motion. Losing a subcommittee chairmanship midway through a congressional session is among the most serious punishments thus far in Speaker John Boehner’s (R-OH) majority.
June 20: The Hill: McConnell Calling Democrat’s “bluff” on Trade Bill:
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is daring Senate Democrats to vote against fast-track trade legislation they supported less than a month ago. The GOP leader has scheduled a procedural vote on fast-track for Tuesday, and is signaling he’s through offering concessions. He believes he’ll get the 11 Democratic votes he needs to move forward because pro-trade Senate Democrats have already gone out on a limb to support fast-track — despite the cries of organized labor and other groups on the left – and because they don’t want to thrust the dagger into President Obama’s prized legislative goal. But this time the bill does not include Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) for workers who may be hurt by the deal.
June 19: The Fiscal Times: Madness?! Congress’ Scramble to Save Obama’s Trade Deal:
The White House and Congressional Republican leaders joined hands this week on a strategy to advance Obama Free Trade Deal. Yesterday’s 218-208 vote in the House for trade promotion authority (TPA, or “fast track”) kicks off a series of maneuvers designed to get something across the line that will allow the president to complete negotiations on the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership. But the strategy rests on a diminishing resource in Washington: Trust. The original fast-track bill was linked to Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) which would help for workers laid off as a result of trade deals. But when the House offered a two-track vote, Democrats refused to go along and pass something they liked when doing so would advance a measure they didn’t. So the White House/Republican team decided to split up the two measures. [See related column]
June 19: Fox News:
Hillary Clinton breaks with Obama on Trade Despite supporting the deal as Secretary of State
After being coy for weeks on her position, Hillary Clinton on Thursday clearly broke with President Obama on his trade push -- despite having supported the trade deal he wants as secretary of state. The now-Democratic presidential candidate made her position clear after speaking at length about the uncertainty of what's in the deal and trade in general, Clinton was pressed for a yes-or-no answer on whether she'd vote for the package going through Congress. "At this point, probably not," she said.
June 19: McClatchydc News: Court orders Feds to find and deport mother and daughter to Guatemala:
A U.S. Court of Appeals judge has ordered U.S. officials to intercept a mother and her 12-year-old daughter on plane Friday being deported to Guatemala and immediately return them to the United States. The 34-year-old mother, Ana, and her daughter were woken up at and pulled from their rooms at a Pennsylvania family detention center, where they had been living for over a year, said her attorney, Bridget Cambria. By 10 a.m., the two were placed on a plane flying to Panama City, where they would catch a second flight to Guatemala City. In a rare move that will likely draw more attention to the controversial practice of family detention, Chief Judge Theodore A. McKee of the Third Circuit Court of Appeals ordered U.S. officials to stop Ana and her daughter when they arrive in Guatemala City and immediately return them to the United States.
June 18: The Daily Caller: Senate Kills Amendment to Directly Arm the Anti-ISIS force:
As the Senate nears passing the annual defense policy bill, a key amendment was struck down on Tuesday. The amendment to directly arm Iraqi-Kurdish forces against the Islamic State and reform the military justice system failed to pass. Sponsored by Barbara Boxer [D-CA] and Republican Joni Ernst, the amendment to arm Kurdish forces fell six votes short, amid criticisms from the White House and Iraqi government. “The Administration is not required to act, but the amendment provides the President authorization to do so if he feels the situation warrants it to respond to ISIS, who is gaining momentum on the battlefield,” said Ernst, in a statement.
June 18: The Daily Caller: Former Ambassador:
Obama Acted Delibertly to Undermine U.S.-Israeli Shared Goals
Michael B. Oren, Israel’s former ambassador to the United States, did not mince words Tuesday calling out President Barack Obama for how he’s handled relations with Israel. Oren saw huge mistakes from both Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu, the prime minister of Israel, through the years. The difference, however, is while Netanyahu made missteps, Obama seemed to have purposely made his mistakes in a calculated move to undermine the shared goals of both nations. “Yet many of Israel’s bungles were not committed by Mr. Netanyahu personally,” Oren noted. “From the moment he entered office, Mr. Obama promoted an agenda of championing the Palestinian cause and achieving a nuclear accord with Iran.”
June 17: The Hill: Defense policy bill clears final Senate Hurdle:
An annual defense policy bill overcame its last procedural test Wednesday, paving the way for final passage. The Senate voted 84-14 to end debate on a House-passed shell bill being used as a vehicle for the Senate's National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). Wednesday's move sets up a final vote on the bill, which Republicans predicated would occur Thursday.
McCain [R-AZ] made a closing pitch for the bill ahead of Wednesday's votes, suggesting the legislation was a necessary "reform bill" for the Defense Department. Senate Democratic leadership has criticized the defense policy bill because it includes an extra $38 billion in the Pentagon's war fund. But a majority of Democrats have backed the legislation on the procedural votes so far.
June 17: The Daily Caller: Congress has plans for the Direction of the Federal Labor Relations Board!
Though previous attempts to rein in federal labor officials with legislation have failed, House Republicans Tuesday released a draft detailing a plan to instead use the 2016 budget. In a statement released by the committee it says “The legislation also contains several policy provisions to improve government oversight, protect the rights of all Americans, and bolster economic growth. These provisions will rein in unnecessary regulatory overreach that ties the hands of employers and undermines job creation, maintain longstanding life policies and constitutional protections, and ensure that taxpayer dollars are being appropriately spent. In addition, the legislation defunds existing ObamaCare programs and prohibits any new discretionary funding from being used to further implement ObamaCare.” The draft bill significantly reduces the NLRB budget and includes limitations of the boards activities.
June 17: The Daily Signal: What the GOP will, or should, do it the Supreme Court strikes down subsidies
Republicans can offer a path forward without accepting the premise that the Obamacare model of highly regulated and subsidized insurance is the only solution, and they can do it while offering in legislative form the clearest possible distillation of the conservative case against Obamacare: that its mandates and regulations are driving up the cost of health insurance for all consumers and eliminating affordable coverage options, including those now dependent on Obamacare’s federal subsidies.
June 17: Roll Call: House Prepares for TPA Re-Vote
The House is set to vote Thursday on Trade Promotion Authority, with GOP leaders employing procedural maneuvers and indirect promises to make sure the bill eventually gets signed into law. Pro-trade lawmakers are moving ahead with a vote on TPA without Trade Adjustment Assistance, which aids U.S. workers displaced by international trade. The success of their plan hinges on whether Democrats who voted for TPA will still support that measure without immediate certainty they’ll also get TAA, which trade opponents voted down on June 12 to derail the entire package. Without the Trade Adjustment Assistance provisions, the Trade Promotion Authority has an uphill battle for passage, but the leadership is assuring Members that the TAA will be moved forward on a parallel track. Meanwhile, conservative Republicans are asking why their leadership is going to the Democrats for votes, instead of members of their own party.
June 17: The Weekly Standard: Sessions: Fast Track Would Lead to three pacts encompassing 90%
of the World’s GDP
Senator Jeff Sessions is worried that the adoption of the Trans-Pacific Partnership would lead to an "historic international regulatory Commission" that would encompass 90 percent of the world's GDP. He's concerned that it would "[create] a self-governing and self-perpetuating Commission with extraordinary implications for American workers and American sovereignty." According to Sessions through fast-track, Congress will have authorized the President to ink these deals before a page of them has been made public. Then, the Executive sends Congress 'implementing' legislation to change U.S. law—legislation which cannot be amended, cannot be filibustered, and will not be subjected to the Constitutional requirement for a two-thirds treaty vote,” Sessions contended. The Congress would only be able to vote the trade deals up or down and by a simple majority vote.
June 17: The Hill: Congressman Gowdy ID’s author of Benghazi Memos
Select Benghazi Committee Chair Trey Gowdy (R-SC) has identified the author of the memos on Libya and the 2012 attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi that Hillary Clinton confidant Sidney Blumenthal passed on to her while she was secretary of State. He identified the author of the memos as Tyler Drumheller, a former CIA official, who was mentioned in some media reports following Blumenthal’s roughly nine-hour deposition. Gowdy said of Blumenthal that he was simply forwarding “unvetted, uncorroborated, unsubstantiated intelligence” to Hillary Clinton. The chairman said the committee “might” call on the author of the memos to testify.
June 17: The Daily Caller: House Speaker throws low ball to Hilary Clinton over withheld Benghazi emails
After a House Benghazi Select Committee discovered either Hillary Clinton or the State Department withheld Benghazi emails, House Speaker John Boehner used the occasion to throw Bill Clinton’s infidelity in her face. “When it comes to Hillary Clinton’s Benghazi-related emails, it depends upon what the meaning of the word ‘all’ is,” Boehner tweeted Wednesday. The line’s a reference to Bill’s infamous attempt to argue his way out of perjury before a grand jury after having oral sex with Monica Lewinsky and then lying about it. “It depends upon what the meaning of the word ‘is’ is,” he said, arguing he wasn’t lying when he said he “is” not in an improper relationship with Monica Lewinsky.
June 16: The Hill: Speaker gets revenge after embarrassing Trade Bill Defeat:
Speaker John Boehner is sending a stern message to his Republican conference: Either you’re on the team or you’re not. Roughly three dozen Republicans who voted against the Speaker. Now three of them have lost their positions on the GOP leadership’s Whip (vote counting) team and a handful of subcommittee chairs may lose their gavels – among them Congressman Jim Jordan from the Speaker’s home state of Ohio and Louie Gohmert of Texas. Also in jeopardy are some members who either ran or voted for someone other than Boehner for the Speaker’s position in January. The Speaker’s office had no comment on Tuesday about the retributions.
June 15: Fox News: Feds accused of forcing diversity in wealthy neighborhoods:
Congressional Republicans are trying to thwart a new federal housing rule they claim would allow Washington to play a heavy-handed role in trying to remake upscale neighborhoods as racially and economically diverse "utopias." The forthcoming regulations, expected to be formally proposed later this month, would leverage grant money to try and bring more affordable options into these neighborhoods. It would require local jurisdictions to report on their progress; they'd risk federal housing money if they don't. Critics of the measure see it as a meddling federal government. Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ) has sponsored an amendment to the HUD spending bill that would block them from funding the new rule. The HUD spending bill passed the House with the Gosar amendment.
June 15: The Daily Caller: Reporter who has criticized Hillary’s Campaign Blocked from NH Campaign Event:
A reporter who has been critical of the Hillary Clinton campaign’s lack of transparency and access was prohibited from serving as the designated press pool reporter for an event held in New Hampshire on Monday. Clinton’s handlers gave several different reasons for barring David Martosko, the U.S. political editor for the U.K.-based Daily Mail, from attending the event, which was held at the Puritan Backroom in Manchester, NH. Martosko and the Daily Mail had been designated by other outlets in the press pool to attend Clinton’s speech, which is one of three that she gave on Monday. Members of the press have said that the campaign prohibits access to the Democrat and that she rarely takes questions from reporters.
June 15: The Hill: House Looking at Options on Trade Bill
House leadership has made no decisions on how to move a trade package forward following a colossal defeat on the floor at the end of last week which saw both Republicans and Democrats joining forces to defeat a major part of the measure. The House on Friday approved fast-track authority for President Obama but voted down a separate measure that grants aid to workers displaced by trade. Both parts of the package must be approved to send the bill to the White House so that Obama could sign it into law.
Members of both parties voted against the Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) program, including scores of Democrats who saw killing it as the only way to stop fast-track.
June 15: CNN News: Ambassador Power Slams Russian Aggression in Ukraine
Ukraine: 10,000 Russian Boots in our Country:
A senior U.S. diplomat, on a visit Thursday to Ukraine, has slammed what she called Russian "aggression" in the country. Samantha Power, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, pledged support to Ukraine and delivered a pep talk of sorts that encouraged Ukrainians to "demand change." "America is clear-eyed when it comes to seeing the truth about Russia's destabilizing" actions in Ukraine, she said, adding that U.S. support for Ukrainians is "unwavering."
June 15: Fox News: Employees of Beleaguered VA Vent to Visiting Lawmakers:
Two months after testifying to Congress for a third time about the Department of Veterans Affairs Philadelphia regional office, this time about a “revolving door of taxpayer waste,” culture of retaliation and improper behavior whistleblower Kristen Ruell said little had changed. “I’m wondering what problems have been fixed,” she said Monday, as a bipartisan delegation of congressmen showed up to grill managers about the scandal that has engulfed the office, which oversees benefits to more than 800,000 veterans in three states. “I’m seeing the same things, and it’s worse than ever. Employee morale is at an all-time low.” Nine congressman and one senator inspecting the office Monday said they heard a similar message during a closed-door meeting with Ruell and other employees — very different than the upbeat assessment from managers in a separate meeting.
June 15: Fox News: In Reversal, VA seeks to offer aid to Air Force reservists exposed to Agent Orange
Reversing a long-held position, the VA now says Air Force reservists who became ill after being exposed to Agent Orange residue while working on planes after the Vietnam War should be eligible for disability benefits. The VA said it has been working to finalize a rule that could cover more than 2,000 military personnel who flew or worked on Fairchild C-123 aircraft in the U.S. from 1972 to 1982. Many of the Vietnam-era planes, used by the reservists for medical and cargo transport, had sprayed millions of gallons of herbicide during the 1955-1975 military conflict in Southeast Asia.
June 14: The Sunday Times of London:
German Tanks roll back into Poland
The tiny Polish town of Swietoszow did not officially exist during the Cold War; as home to a massive but secret Soviet tank force ready to strike at the West, it was removed from all public maps and records. Last week NATO used the base for the first big deployment of a new special force to defend eastern Europe from an increasingly expansionist Russia. American Black Hawk helicopters thundered in the skies as German tanks rolled from across the nearby border, along with troops and hardware from seven other nations that make up NATO’s Spearhead Force, which was set up last year in response to Russia’s intervention in Ukraine. Operation Noble Jump, involving more than 2,000 troops from nine countries that will engage in live artillery fire, F-16 fighter jet aerial bombing, special forces combat and helicopter assaults.
[This site requires a subscription to read the rest of this story.]
June 14: The Daily Caller: IRS finds 6,400 new Lois Learner emails, won’t release them
The Internal Revenue Service found 6,400 more Lois Lerner emails — but they’re not handing them over in court jut yet. The IRS’ latest excuses are nothing short of infuriating. Department of Justice lawyers Geoffrey J. Klimas and Stephanie Sasarak, acting as counsel for the IRS, submitted a U.S. District Court filing June 12 in the case Judicial Watch v. Internal Revenue Service. The court filing, provided to The Daily Caller, claims the IRS received new Lerner emails from the Treasury Department’s inspector general (TIGTA) but can’t fork over the emails to Judicial Watch, a nonprofit group suing to get the emails. Why? Because the IRS is busy making sure that none of the emails are duplicates – you know, so as not to waste anyone’s time.
June 13: The Hill: Behind the scenes: Pelosi’s Break with Obama on Trade
President Obama probably knew his trade agenda was going down in flames hours before the first votes were even cast in the House on Friday afternoon. That morning, Obama made a rare visit to the Capitol to try to salvage legislation he needed to complete a major 12-nation Pacific trade deal. It was there, in the second-floor office of one of his closest allies in Congress, that he got the bad news. Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) told the president she was “leaning no” on a workers-aid bill — the linchpin to a broader package granting Obama so-called fast track trade authority.
[This is an interesting story about the ins and outs of this legislation which you might find an interesting read in its entirety.]
June 12: The Hill: Senate Iran Hardliners look to place sanctions bill on NDAA legislation
A pair of senators is looking to tie an annual defense policy bill to the administration's nuclear negotiations with Iran ahead of an end-of-the-month deadline. Senators. Mark Kirk (R-IL) and Bob Menendez (D-NJ) are hoping to include a 10-year extension of Iranian sanctions legislation as an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). “No agreement is better than a bad agreement, and that is what my concern is ... that we are headed for a bad deal,” Menendez said Thursday, adding that the United States “can’t trust Iran to abide by its agreements.”
June 12: Fox News: Congressional Democrats May Sink PAC RIM Fast Track Trade Agreement
In a dramatic defeat for the White House, President Obama's trade agenda ran aground in the House on Friday in a 302-126 vote. This was tied to one of the President’s main agenda items -- legislation that would give Obama "fast-track" authority to negotiate trade deals. Without it, the trade push withers for now. The key vote Friday was on the so-called Trade Adjustment Assistance bill, a program that retrains workers displaced by trade. The bill was originally put on the table as a sweetener to help get Democrats on board and ultimately move the "fast-track" bill. But Democrats are so opposed to that legislation, all but 40 opposed the sweetener. The White House downplayed the defeat saying that these kinds of things are “endemic to the House of Representatives.”
June 11: Yahoo News: House Committee approves bill punishing the
Department of State over Benghazi Response
Over White House objections, a House panel approved a bill Thursday that withholds hundreds of millions of dollars from the State Department until it produces more documents to lawmakers investigating the deadly 2012 attack on the U.S. diplomatic post in Benghazi, Libya. The $47.8 billion bill for the fiscal year beginning Oct. 1 also restricts funds to set up a diplomatic presence in Cuba — a setback to the Obama administration's effort to thaw relations with the communist state after a half century. The Republican-led Appropriations Committee approved the bill by voice vote.
June 11: The Daily Caller: Boehner Defends Secrecy of Trade Talks:
House Speaker John Boehner [R-OH] said Thursday that members of Congress do not want to reveal their positions are on the current negotiations to give President Obama broader authority on trade agreements. He said this in response to a question about the secrecy surrounding the development of so-called “trade promotion authority,” or TPA, which would allow the president to reach a trade deal with a foreign nation that would only require an up-or-down vote from Congress. Congress would not be allowed to filibuster the agreement. [See Related Story]
June 11: The Daily Caller: The Restaurant Industry will suffer from an increase in the Minimum Wage
Raising the minimum wage will have severe consequences, especially for those working in the restaurant industry, investor rating service Moody’s warned on Thursday. The Moody’s report also showed the minimum wage doesn’t even have to go up to $15 an hour for negative effects to occur. For instance, if the minimum wage went to $10.10 from the current $7.25 an hour margins, casual dining could fall substantially.
June 11: The Hill: Centrist Dems Wary of Hillary’s move to the left
Moderate Democrats are worried about Hillary Clinton’s recent embrace of liberal policies. After positioning herself as a centrist and steely potential commander in chief in the 2008 Democratic primary, Clinton has shifted. Clinton is now to the left of President Obama on the federal minimum wage. While Obama has endorsed a $10.10 hourly rate, Clinton has signaled support for more than doubling it, to $15 an hour. The former first lady says same-sex marriage should be a constitutional right and endorsed Obama’s executive action shielding millions of illegal immigrants from deportation. She wants broad reform of a criminal justice system and calls for automatic voter registration. Red-state Democrats in Congress don’t want Clinton to lose sight of a broadly appealing economic message that can win over white working-class voters who have deserted the party in droves recently.
June 11: The Hill: Obama’s Supreme Court Gambit
President Obama’s impassioned defense of the Affordable Care Act is riling opponents of the law and drawing accusations he’s trying to bully the Supreme Court. But Obama’s pointed comments, which appeared to be aimed at least partly at influencing the justices, are baffling some court-watchers.
With the ruling on ObamaCare expected any day, legal experts say it’s unlikely that any rhetoric from the White House could cause a major shift in the justices’ opinion. “As a practical matter the case has been decided. That doesn’t mean all the nuances have been decided,” said Jim Blumstein, a constitutional and health law professor at Vanderbilt University.
June 11: The Daily Caller: DHS Agent: Stripped of Gun, Nearly Lost Daughter
after she blew the whistle on the Immigration Visa Program
A Department of Homeland Security agent testified Thursday that she nearly lost custody of her 1-year-old adopted daughter and was told that she could not own a personal firearm after she voiced concerns about a little known federal program that grants green cards to foreign investors. Taylor Johnson, a senior special agent with a division of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), testified at a Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs hearing alongside several other whistleblowers who claim they’ve faced retaliation for reporting wrongdoing in their agencies.
June 11: The Daily Caller: American Pastor Beaten in an Iranian Prison:
American pastor Saeed Abedini was beaten in his Iranian prison the day after his wife testified before Congress trying to secure his release. Abedini was assaulted Wednesday June 3 by a fellow inmate at Iran’s Rajai Shahr prison, where he is serving an eight-year sentence for preaching to Iranian Christians, which the Iranian government claims undermined that country’s national security. Abedini has been in captivity since 2012. He suffered two black eyes among other injuries, according to his American legal representative, the American Center for Law and Justice. His reading table was also destroyed by fellow prisoners. The beating occurred one day after his wife testified before the U.S. House Committee on Foreign Affairs, where she appealed for help on behalf of her two children with the incarcerated Christian pastor.
June 10: RT.com:
- Mark Dice gets Obama Supporters to Sign Fake Petition to Nuke Russia
- Dice on International Incident he provoked
US journalist Mark Dice has asked the people of San Diego, CA to sign a petition -- supporting a fabricated (spoofed) plan -- that the President wants to nuke Russia in order to “maintain America’s superiority.” Apparently the majority of beachgoers didn’t appear to get the joke, and signed the fake petition -- maybe they had been in the sun too long. The “experiment” was recorded on video, which Dice then shared on YouTube and social media. Subsequently an international incident emerged where people in Russia believed the petition was for real and that the U.S. was seeking support for such a nuclear strike.
June 10: Breitbart.News: Sessions|Hunter: Trade Agreement is setting up a “European Union”
In a joint appearance on Sean Hannity’s radio show on Wednesday, Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) and Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA) warned against the passage of the so-called Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) currently being considered by the Congress. Sessions argued it was more than just a framework for a process for the president of the United States to use in negotiating trade agreements, but instead was creating an economic union with wide-ranging powers. The junior Alabama senator explained that he felt it was being kept secret because if the public were aware of this union, which he likened to the European Union, it would be stopped dead in its tracks.
June 9: The New York Times: Growing Body of Law Allows Prosecution of Foreign Citizens on U.S. Soil:
Arrested in Djibouti while he was en route to Yemen from Somalia, far from his home in Britain, Madhi Hashi was baffled to find himself jailed in Manhattan. An admitted member of the Shabab, the Somali militant group, he didn’t understand why he’d been brought to the U.S. to stand trial, court documents revealed. A similar situation happened late last month when Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch announced that Brooklyn prosecutors had indicted FIFA officials from the other side of the globe, on corruption charges. Using a growing body of law that allows the United States to prosecute foreign citizens for some actions, the government has been turning the federal courts into international law-enforcement arenas. Perhaps no federal prosecutor was more aggressive about expanding her office’s global reach than Ms. Lynch when she was the US attorney in Brooklyn.
June 9: Fox News: TSA Whistleblowers describe security concerns, culture of “Fear and distrust”
Whistleblowers on Tuesday portrayed the beleaguered Transportation Security Administration (TSA) as an agency mired in a culture of “fear and distrust” while raising security concerns over several programs -- including TSA PreCheck, in which passes for expedited screening allegedly are passed out “like Halloween candy.” The TSA employees leveled their criticism during a Senate hearing that follows recent bombshell inspector general reports showing undercover agents were able to sneak fake explosives and banned weapons through airport checkpoints about 96% of the time. The findings led to the acting TSA secretary being reassigned last week. A second report released Monday showed the agency failed to flag 73 commercial airport workers "linked to terrorism."
June 9: Fox News: Escape probe focuses on prison tailor as search for two escaped murders continues
Authorities in New York state intensified the manhunt Tuesday for two "dangerous" convicted murderers who managed to escape a maximum-security prison near the Canadian border, and reportedly turned their attention to a prison employee who may have previously befriended one of the escapees. Joyce Mitchell, an industrial training supervisor at the Clinton Correctional Facility, was questioned by authorities about the escape. The local paper reported that she worked inside a tailor shop behind the prison's high walls. Mark Fuhrman, a former Los Angeles Police Department detective and Fox News contributor, said there is no doubt the two had help -- both during and after the escape. He said when you have someone afoot if you don’t have reports of stolen vehicles then they had to have help.
June 8: Breitbart News: NBPC: The Border Crisis is Re-Emerging with 70 women/children in one hour!
In the past few weeks, the numbers of unaccompanied minors and incomplete family units have begun soaring again, according to the National Border Patrol Council (NBPC), the organization that represents nearly 17,000 U.S. Border Patrol agents. “This is starting to resemble the summer border surge of 2014,” said Border Patrol agent Chris Cabrera. He spoke to Breitbart Texas in his role as a NBPC spokesperson and representative.
June 8: Daily Caller: NJ woman murdered while awaiting permission to defend self with a fire arm
The June 3, 2015, tragedy in Berlin Township, NJ, where Carol Bowne was stabbed to death by her convicted felon ex-boyfriend Michael Anthony Eitel after securing a restraining order against him could have, and should have, been prevented. Ms. Bowne obviously understood that a restraining order is simply a piece of paper that cannot effectively stop someone determined to cause harm. She had applied for a New Jersey permit to purchase a handgun on April 21, 2015. The state of New Jersey failed to respond to the permit request within the statutory 30 days limit and was murdered some 42+ days after submitting her handgun license application.
June 3: Breitbart News: Paul Ryan: Claims Obamatrade more transparent than Iran deal
House Ways and Means Chair Paul Ryan (R-WI) believes the Obamatrade process is more transparent than President Obama’s negotiations with Iran even though the text of the Trans Pacific Partnership trade deal that would fast track trade among pacific rim partners has been kept secret.
May 30: The Hill: Policy Differences could threaten Government Funding Later This Year
Spending bills crafted by Republican lawmakers include several policy provisions that could lead to a standoff with the Obama administration later this year. While the fight over whether to bust spending limits will dominate this year’s government-funding debate, there are other issues that could prove to be thorny as well as Congress moves forward on 12 appropriations bills.
- Cuba Policy: The House seeks to torpedo the President’s efforts to normalize relations with Cuba – An action that some have pointed out violates the law set in place by former Senator Jesse Helms (R-NC).
- EPA Water Regulations: Some Congressional members hope to use the power of the purse to stop the new EPA water regulation announced this week.
- Gun Control Restrictions: The House has included some spending bill riders that some contend would relax gun control restrictions and impede efforts to combat illegal gun trafficking.
[Follow link to see more indepth information]
May 30: Fox News: Union Leaders in LA See Exemption from Minimum Wage Law for businesses that unionize:
Union leaders in Los Angeles are being accused of hypocrisy after being caught trying to exempt themselves from a new minimum wage law they tried to impose on others.
May 30: The Hill: President has one month as the clock ticks down on the Iran Nuke Deal
The Obama administration is one month away from the deadline for striking a final nuclear deal with Iran. The lack of progress on a nuclear accord has sparked speculation that no deal will emerge. But it is clear that the White House wants to reach a compromise with Iran by the June 30 deadline, in part, because it would become the President’s legacy of his second-term. Yet, the negotiations are facing deep skepticism in Congress and from allies such as Israel who are wary of a "bad deal" that empowers the Iranian regime. The Iranians, meanwhile, are under pressure from hardliners to insist on a swift, immediate removal of sanctions that the United States has repeatedly rejected.
May 30: Fox News: U.S.SECDEF Carter: U.S. to Step Up operations in the South China Sea:
SECDEF Ash Carter on Saturday urged China to stop trying to convert artificial reefs in the South China Sea into a military airfield but also made clear the U.S. has no intentions of ending air-and-sea operation in that region. The Defense Secretary made his comment at an international security conference filled with Asia-Pacific leaders and also said the United States has been flying and operating ships in the region for decades and opposes “any further militarization” of the disputed lands.
May 30: The Hill: Obama Administration Reading a Dozen Gun Control Regulations for Release
The Justice Department plans to move forward this year with more than a dozen new gun-related regulations, according to list of rules the agency has proposed to enact before the end of the Obama administration. The regulations range from new restrictions on high-powered pistols to gun storage requirements. Chief among them is a renewed effort to keep guns out of the hands of people who are mentally unstable or have been convicted of domestic abuse. The gun lobby contends that such a sweeping ban would unfairly root out a number of prospective gun owners who are not a danger to society.
May 29: The Daily Caller: Cruz: No Federal Funding for Schools that boycott Israel
Presidential candidate Republican Sen. Ted Cruz Thursday called for federal money to be withdrawn from any college that boycotts Israel. “In 2017, we need a president who will stand up directly and confront the [Boycott, Divest, and Sanctions] movement,” Cruz said in a speech. “BDS is premised on a lie and it is anti-Semitism plain and simple. And we need a president of the United States who will stand up and say if a university in this country boycotts the nation of Israel than that university will forfeit federal taxpayer dollars.” The Office of Antiboycott Compliance at the U.S. Department of Commerce (where I used to work) has laws on the books that make it illegal to participate in boycotts of Israel.
May 29: The Daily Caller: Phoenix VA Whistleblower Calls for Resignations
Jared Kinnaman, a vocational rehabilitation counselor and whistleblower at the Phoenix Department of Veterans Affairs medical center, is calling for the resignation of Phoenix interim director Glen Grippen and VA Secretary Robert McDonald. In two letters sent out Friday, Kinnaman recounted his struggle and efforts to promote accountability at the Phoenix VA, which so far have amounted to very little, despite promises of reform from the leadership. Still, the long list of unacceptable practices continues unabated at the hospital.
May 27: Fox News: U.S. Vets Risk All to Fight ISIS with Kurdish forces
Aaron Core thought he had seen enough of Iraq during a U.S. Army tour that ended in 2010. But the image of American journalist James Foley being murdered by an ISIS executioner prompted him to leave Tennessee and head back, this time as an unpaid volunteer in the service of the Kurdish Peshmerga. The 27-year-old Chattanooga resident and former Army National Guard specialist has taken part in numerous firefights with ISIS as the Kurds battle to stop the terrorist army's caliphate from encroaching on its territory in the nation's north. The U.S. State Department does not support or encourage Americans traveling to Iraq to volunteer, but has not stopped many from doing just that.
May 27: The Hill: Legal Setback Clouds Fate of Obama Immigration Actions
The fate of President Obama’s controversial deportation-relief program has been thrown into question following a legal setback that has pro-immigration groups increasingly nervous. In a split decision earlier this week, a three-judge panel from the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals handed a victory to Obama’s opponents when it refused to lift a hold on his executive actions, which could allow millions of immigrants in the country illegally to live and work in the U.S. without fear of deportation. The decision made it more likely the court battle will spill into 2016, the final year of Obama’s presidency.
May 27: New York Times: Obama Immigration Executive Action on Hold?
President Obama’s overhaul of the nation’s immigration system, which he announced in a prime-time speech to the nation last November, may remain under a cloud of legal uncertainty until months before he leaves office in 2017, legal experts and administration officials said Wednesday. Officials from the Justice Department said in a statement that they wouldn’t ask the Supreme Court for permission to carry out the president’s immigration programs — which seek to provide work permits and deportation protection to millions of undocumented immigrants — while a fight over presidential authority plays out in the lower courts.
May 27: Fox News: Contributions to the Clinton Foundation Continue to Raise Questions
The Clintons, already under scrutiny for accepting foreign donations to their family foundation and keeping them secret from the Obama administration while Hillary served as secretary of state, have received money from another controversial source: the Federacion Internationale de Football Association (FIFA). Soccer’s governing body, which donated between $50,001 and $100,000 to the Clinton Global Initiative and partnered with the former president’s foundation on other projects, is entangled in an international corruption investigation spearheaded by the U.S. Department of Justice, which spans countries from Qatar and Russia to Switzerland and the United States.DOJ announced charges against nine FIFA officials and five other corporate executives in a 47-count indictment unsealed Wednesday, which includes allegations that over the last two decades, its executives were involved in racketeering, money laundering and wire fraud.
May 26: Fox News: EPA Under Fire for Social Media PR Campaign on Water Regulations
Obama administration critics charge the EPA cajoled the public into supporting a controversial proposed regulation with an unprecedented social media campaign, pushing the boundaries of legal agency advocacy. To enact a regulation, federal agencies typically propose a rule, allow the public to comment on that proposal and then alter the final regulation based on those comments. Last year, the EPA unveiled a proposed regulation to expand its authority over America’s waterways under the Clean Water Act. Then, it launched a social media campaign to draw public support.
May 25: The Telegraph: Goldman-Sachs: The World Is Drowning in Debt
The world is sinking under too much debt and an aging global population means countries' debt piles are in danger of growing out of control, the European chief executive of Goldman Sachs Asset Management has warned. Andrew Wilson, head of Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA), said growing debt piles around the world posed one of the biggest threats to the global economy. "There is too much debt and this represents a risk to economies. Consequently, there is a clear need to generate growth to work that debt off but, as demographics change, new ways of thinking at a policy level are required to do this," he said.
May 25: The Wall Street Journal: Islamic State’s Gains Reveal New Prowess on the Battlefield
In late April, a commander for Islamic State said his forces were ready to launch an offensive to take Ramadi, and the group called for fighters to redeploy to Iraq from Syria. Three weeks later, the jihadist group seized the capital of Anbar province after relentless waves of suicide bombings. U.S. defense chief Ash Carter has blamed Ramadi’s fall mainly on Iraqi forces’ lack of will to fight. But Islamic State’s battlefield performance suggests the terrorist group’s tactical sophistication is growing—a development the Iraqis and the U.S.-led coalition have so far failed to counter, said Iraqi officials, former U.S. officials and military analysts studying the organization.
May 24: The Hill: Hawaii Democrat Pushes Back Against Obama “ISIS Plan”
Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) said Sunday that she disagrees with President Obama’s assessment that the United States-led coalition is not losing to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in the Middle East. “Clearly ISIS has gained momentum, in particular over the last week, as we’ve seen the ground that they gained both in Iraq and Syria,” Gabbard said on CNN’s “State of the Union” program. ISIS captured the Iraqi city of Ramadi last week and later pushed into the Syrian city Palmyra. Obama told The Atlantic last Tuesday, after Ramadi fell, that “No, I don’t think we’re losing. … There’s no doubt there was a tactical setback.”
May 24: The Hill: Benghazi Investigation Picking Up Steam:
The GOP-controlled House Select Committee on Benghazi is picking up the pace. Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) said the uptick was result of mounting frustration over what they view as foot-dragging on the part of the Obama administration to the panel’s various document and information requests related the 2012 attacks that killed a U.S. ambassador there and three other Americans, and their aftermath. This week the panel subpoenaed Sidney Blumenthal, an informal adviser to Hillary Clinton when she helmed the State Department, and who has since agreed to appear before the select committee by the requested June 3 deadline.
May 23: The Daily Calller: Baltimore: Crime is up; Arrests are down; Morale is in the Sewer:
The spike in crime and decrease in arrests in Baltimore since the death of Freddie Gray is the partial result of low morale among the police force, an anonymous city cop told CNN. The 12-year veteran said of officers’ morale: “It’s in the sewers. It’s down. It’s the worst I have seen in my career.” He said that officers have slowed their response to 911 calls. And when they do answer, they often travel in groups of three or four out of fear for their safety and of being accused of wrongdoing. Six Baltimore officers were indicted by a grand jury on Thursday in the April 19 death of the 25-year-old Gray. He was arrested following a foot chase on April 12 and sustained a broken neck while riding in the back of the police van that was transporting him to jail.
May 23: The Daily Caller: Vote-Conscious Republicans Declare Opposition to EX-Im Bank
In an indication of the Export-Import Bank’s dwindling popularity, previously undecided lawmakers are now responding to the mere threat of messaging from the bank’s opponents. Club for Growth, a free-market advocacy organization, announced Thursday that it would target four additional Republican representatives as part of an ongoing ad campaign aimed at convincing voters in key congressional districts to oppose reauthorizing Ex-Im’s charter when it expires on June 30. At least three of those four, it appears, anticipated that their constituents would be responsive to charges that Ex-Im is little more than a corporate welfare slush fund catering primarily to the interests of large corporations like Boeing and GE. Without even waiting for the first ads to run they issued statements declaring their opposition to the bank.
May 23: Hot Air: Expect Obamacare Premiums to rise by Double Digits in some states in 2016
The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Obamacare rates are about to shoot up, in some cases as much as 40%. The rate increases requested by insurance carriers vary state by state, but the overall picture is bad. “In New Mexico, market leader Health Care Service Corp. is asking for an average jump of 51.6% in premiums for 2016,” the Journal reports. “The biggest insurer in Tennessee, BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee, has requested an average 36.3% increase. In Maryland, market leader CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield wants to raise rates 30.4% across its products. Moda Health, the largest insurer on the Oregon health exchange, seeks an average boost of around 25%.”
May 23: MyWay.com: Iraq Vets Tired of Presidential Politics
Veterans of the Iraq War have been watching in frustration as Republican presidential contenders distance themselves from the decision their party enthusiastically supported to invade that country. Some veterans say they long ago concluded their sacrifice was in vain, and are annoyed that a party that lobbied so hard for the war is now running from it. Others say they still believe their mission was vital, regardless of what the politicians say. And some find the gotcha question being posed to the politicians — Knowing what we know now, would you have invaded? — an insult in itself. Do-overs just don't happen in real life!
May 22: CNN News: Clinton Email Dump Doesn’t Stop Benghazi Questions!
The emails to Clinton don't contain a smoking gun, at least not yet. But that's hardly surprising since Hillary herself chose which emails to turn over to the State Department. But the first batch released from the now-notorious personal account that she used as secretary of state does make clear that this is one headache that will linger for the front-running Democrat's White House campaign. Also interesting is that at least one of the emails released contained redacted language continuing the debate whether she used her personal server – which did not have the standard State Department security – for sensitive or classified messages, something she has denied doing.
May 22: Yahoo News: Clinton Received Sensitive Information on her Private Email Server
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton received information on her private email account about the deadly attack on U.S. diplomatic facilities in Benghazi that was later classified "secret" at the request of the FBI, according to documents released Friday, underscoring lingering questions about how responsibly she handled sensitive information on a home server. Taken together, the correspondence provides examples of material considered to be sensitive that Clinton received on the account run out of her home while opting out of using the protected State Department email account.
May 22: The Daily Caller: Would Be Carjacker Went After the Wrong Guys Car!
When Hashim Fannin arrived at his local Family Dollar, he met someone who was looking for a different kind of discount – a carjacker. But the carjacker, 61-year-old Egdar Horn, almost paid the ultimate price. After Horn jumped into Fannin’s car, Fannin pulled his gun. “He told me, ‘You know what this is,’” Fannin said. That is when Fannin says he pulled his gun out. “I asked him to get out the car, probably not in those exact words,” Fannin said. “I told him no, there’s no leaving, leaving was before you hopped into my car … at this point there is no leaving,” Fannin said.
May 20: The Daily Signal: Debate on Renewal of the Ex-Im Bank Heats Up
The charter of the Export-Import Bank is set to expire on June 30 unless it is reauthorized by Congress. Ex-Im Bank supporters are using scare tactics of bank supporters, saying failing to renew it would not mean the loss of thousands of American jobs. However, economists have long understood that subsidies in the form of Ex-Im loans don’t actually create jobs but serve to simply redistribute them among domestic producers. So the radio” blitz” paid for by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce claiming that failing to renew the Ex-Im bank charter will eliminate thousands of jobs in Texas is not entirely accurate.
May 20: The Weekly Standard: Susan Rice: We have ended two wars responsibly:
“Now that we have ended two wars responsibly, and brought home hundreds of American troops, we salute this new generation of veterans …” Rice also heralded the sacrifices that American troops (hundreds of thousands who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, not hundreds) have made since 9/11. “They all made us proud,” she said. That left some wondering if she would still include soldiers like Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, who is facing a court-martial for deserting his post in Afghanistan in 2009, but was feted in absentia in the White House Rose Garden in May 2014 after the Obama administration secured his release from the Taliban in a prisoner exchange for five detainees who had been held at Guantanamo Bay.
May 20: Yahoo News: China Army Announces the Internet means War:
In a chilling memo released on Wednesday, the People's Liberation Army, or PLA, informed the world that, at least on the internet, China is at war. The memo says "The internet has become the main battlefront for struggle in the ideological area. With the existence of the network, the ideological front has been completely thrown open ... National security has become an important component part of our country’s overall security 'chessboard.' It may be said that without cybersecurity, there is no national security."
May 20: Newsweek: Raising a Rebel Army to Overthrow Putin?
Andrei Kuznetsov a 32-year-old Russian exile said “Much of Russia is being led like cattle. But we call ourselves ‘Different Russians.’” he goes on. “Russia needs a real, tough force that can be an opposition to the Putin regime. There are people who support an opposition movement in Russia, but there is no leader to unite them.” Kuznetsov, who has been living in Kiev for more than nine months, has set out to create what he calls a “Russian rebel army.” He hopes to sidestep the Kremlin’s seemingly invulnerable crackdown on domestic dissent by uniting Russian dissidents living in Ukraine and across Eastern Europe, ultimately paving the way for a legitimate opposition movement to return one day to overthrow Russian President Vladimir Putin.
May 20: Fox News: Another Syrian City Reportedly in ISIS Hands
Islamic State militants reportedly captured the ancient Syrian town of Palmyra Wednesday as Syrian officials evacuated citizens and scrambled to keep priceless antiquities from falling into terrorist hands. The Syrian Observatory for human rights told The Associated Press that government forces collapsed in the face of ISIS attacks and withdrew from the town late Wednesday. The Wall Street Journal reported that before fleeing, the National Defense Forces evacuated civilians as militants took control of residential areas and established themselves in the city’s nearby ruins.
May 20: The Weekly Standard: Cotton: Obama is not providing necessary resources to defeat ISIS
Republican senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas said President Obama is "not providing the resources" to defeat the Islamic State in and that United States ought to send "a few thousand more" troops into Iraq to combat the terrorist group in that country. "That's really a question, though, for our commanders to provide their best military judgment to the president to make a decision about the number and the types of troops that we need," he said. Cotton, who served in the Iraq War as an Army captain, added that there's "no doubt" the military needs more "specialized assets" in Iraq.
May 19: Fox News: Is a Rouge 4th Branch of Government is Threatening Us?
Two years ago this month, we learned of the burgeoning scandal at the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) – the deliberate targeting of conservative and Tea Party groups – a coordinated move to keep these groups on the sidelines during a critical election. We are in federal court representing dozens of targeted groups and continue to seek justice in this case. But over the course of the two years when the scandal broke, one thing has become very clear: unelected, unaccountable bureaucrats were at the center of this scheme. What’s equally troubling – there’s been no accountability. Not one person has been fired. Zero. The IRS, along with a long list of other agencies, is run by bureaucrats. And these bureaucrats destroy our liberty and threaten our democracy.
May 17: Breitbart News: ABC’s Stephanopoulos Apologizes for not coming clean on
Donations to the Clinton Foundation
On his Sunday broadcast of ABC’s “This Week,” host George Stephanopoulos reiterated an apology he had made days earlier while hosting “Good Morning America.” Stephanopoulos explained to “This Week” viewers he had given money to the Clinton Foundation and should have been more transparent on the heels of his tough interview of Peter Schweizer, whose book “Clinton Cash” takes a critical look at that organization. “Now I want to address some news you may have seen about me,” he said. “Over the last several years, I’ve made substantial donations to dozens of charities, including the Clinton Global Foundation. Those donations were a matter of public record, but I should have made additional disclosures on air when discussing the foundation. And I now believe making personal donations to that foundation was a mistake even though I made them strictly to stop the support of AIDS, help children and protect the environment in poor countries. I should have gone the extra mile to avoid even the appearance of a conflict. I apologize to all of you for failing to do that.”
May 17: The Daily Caller: WSJ’s Peggy Noonan: Hillary’s Strategy is Running a silent movie campaign!
Wall Street Journal columnist Peggy Noonan took aim at the former secretary of state Hillary Clinton’s media strategy Sunday, telling “Face The Nation” Clinton is “running a silent movie of a campaign” as she dodges the press. Noonan made the comments to host Bob Schieffer after giving credit to former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush for continuing to take questions from the media after he endured a tough week. Bush waffled on questions about the Iraq War.
May 17: Fox News: Group wants Air Force General Court Martialed for Speaking
about God at National Day of Prayer Meeting
An Air Force general who recently spoke about how God has guided his career should be court-martialed, a civil liberties group is saying. In a speech at a National Day of Prayer Task Force event on May 7, Maj. Gen. Craig Olson credits God for his accomplishments in the military, and refers to himself as a “redeemed believer in Christ.” The Air Force Times reports that the Military Religious Freedom Foundation has taken issue with Olson’s remarks, is calling for the two-star general to be court-martialed and "aggressively and very visibly brought to justice for his unforgivable crimes and transgressions." The group authored a letter to Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Walsh, arguing that Olson’s speech violates rules within the Air Force, which prohibits airmen from endorsing a particular faith or belief.
May 16: Breitbart News: US Special Forces Kill Top ISIS Commander in Raid in Syria
U.S. special operations forces based in Iraq conducted a cross-border raid into eastern Syria and killed senior ISIS leader Abu Sayyaf, said to be responsible for major Islamic State financial operations, including the sale of oil and gas assets. According to the White House, the goal of the operation was to take Abu Sayyaf alive, but he “engaged U.S. forces” and was killed during the firefight. “His wife, Umm Sayyaf, was captured and is being held in U.S. detention in Iraq,” reports National Journal. “The White House said U.S. forces freed a young Yezidi woman, who officials believe was held as a slave by the couple, and said it intends to reunite her with her family ‘as soon as feasible.'”
May 16: Breitbart News: Hillary Taking the weekend off: Media Avoidance going on 34-35 days:
Evan as the book “Clinton Cash” by Peter Schweizer is on all the Sunday talk shows, the book’s subject – Hillary Clinton – is keeping quiet. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has not given an interview to a national media outlet since she announced her candidacy, via Twitter, on April 12. Other candidates, both announced and unannounced, have given dozens, answering hundreds of questions. Next week, Clinton plans to visit Iowa once again. “She’ll meet supporters at a grassroots-organizing event in Mason City on Monday. On Tuesday, she’ll speak with small business owners in Cedar Falls as well as local campaign volunteers,” a Quad Cities TV station reports. National reporters will, no doubt, be on hand. But no word on whether Clinton will answer any of their questions.
May 16: Breitbart News: Ousted Egyptian President (Morsi) Sentenced to Death
An Egyptian court on Saturday sentenced ousted President Mohammed Morsi to death over his part in a mass prison break that took place during the 2011 uprising that toppled Hosni Mubarak. As is customary in passing capital punishment, Judge Shaaban el-Shami referred his death sentence on Morsi and others to the nation’s top Muslim theologian, or mufti, for his non-binding opinion. He set June 2 for the next hearing. Morsi, Egypt’s first freely elected president, was ousted by the military inn July 2013 following days of mass street protests by Egyptians demanding that he be removed because of his divisive policies.
May 15: Breitbart News: Bahrain King Snubs Obama to Meet Queen of England, Attends UK Horse Show:
Instead of participating in a Camp David summit of Gulf leaders – which was organized by President Obama to garner support from Gulf Arab leaders – the King of Bahrain decided to attend the Royal Windsor Horse Show, where he met on Friday with Queen Elizabeth II and other Brit royalty. Bahraini King Hamad bin Issa al-Khalifa decided instead – like Saudi Arabia’s King Salman, who also ditched Obama’s summit – to send his crown prince to the United States.
The Bahrain royal court said that the king left for England on Thursday, accepting Queen Elizabeth’s invitation to witness “the joint yearly celebration at Windsor.”
May 15: Wired: Feds: Researcher Overwrote Code of Aircraft in Flight and
Altered Its Flight Path Uncovering Vulnerabilities
A security researcher kicked off a United Airlines flight last month after tweeting about security vulnerabilities in its system had previously taken control of an airplane and caused it to briefly fly sideways, according to an application for a search warrant filed by an FBI agent. Chris Roberts, a security researcher with One World Labs, told the FBI agent during an interview in February that he had hacked the in-flight entertainment system, or IFE, on an airplane and overwrote code on the plane’s Thrust Management Computer while aboard the flight. He was able to issue a climb command and make the plane briefly change course, the document states. “He stated that he thereby caused one of the airplane engines to climb resulting in a lateral or sideways movement of the plane during one of these flights,” FBI Special Agent Mark Hurley wrote in his warrant application (.pdf). “He also stated that he used Vortex software after comprising/exploiting or ‘hacking’ the airplane’s networks. He used the software to monitor traffic from the cockpit system.”
May 15: The Daily Caller: VA Whistleblower Sheds Light on Billions Spent in Violation of U.S. Law
A culture of “lawlessness and chaos” reigns at the Department of Veterans Affairs when it comes to purchasing goods and services for the Veterans Health Administration, according to senior official Jan R. Frye. Frye, deputy assistant secretary for acquisition and logistics, first brought to light problems of abuse back in March. He decided to air the information publicly after his 35-page memorandum to VA Secretary Robert McDonald went completely unanswered. The sum total of the chaos amounts to at least $6 billion in wasted funds spent in violation of federal contracting rules, The Washington Post reports.
May 15: Breitbart.com: Texas Draws Closer to Calling for a Federal Constitutional Convention
A Texas House Joint Resolution passed Thursday would, if passed by the Texas State Senate, ask the U.S. Congress to call an Article 5 convention, which would propose Constitutional amendments to impose fiscal restraint on the federal government, reduce its powers and jurisdiction, and limit the terms of office for federal officials and members of Congress. Article 5 of the U.S. Constitution requires Congress to call a convention to propose constitutional amendments if the legislatures of two-thirds of the states apply. Amendments adopted at an Article 5 convention would require ratification by three-fourths of the state legislatures. The question that remains: whether calling such a convention opens the entire document to change on only those parts called for in the requests for holding a convention.
Rep. Bohac, a sponsor, said, “Our Founding Fathers provided for an Article V Convention as a check on the federal government by the states. Let’s remember that it was the states that created the federal government, and they answer to us. It’s time for the states to stand up to runaway spending and limit the jurisdiction of the federal government, and Texas should lead the way.”
May 13: Sky News: Gulf Leaders Unimpressed with Obama’s Middle East Gamble
Snubbed? The Leader of the Free World, snubbed by Arabian monarchs who have depended on America for decades. That's how it looks at first - Saudi Arabia's new King Salman, the emirs of Bahrain, Oman and the United Arab Emirates have opted not to turn up for Barack Obama's two-day session in Washington and Camp David. The White House had intended the summit to be an opportunity for the US president to make the case for a deal with Iran that would stop its nuclear weapons program for a decade and ease sanctions against Tehran. But Saudi Arabia and others in the region think this is just naive.
May 13: The Daily Caller: American Federation of Teachers Chief gets $360,000 Annually
a Lot More than those Paying Her Salary!
The American Federation of Teachers pays its chief executive $360,000 each year and spent $19.5 million in membership dues to influence elections in 2014 alone. However, a just-released national survey shows rank-and-file members are deeply unhappy — with stress levels, working conditions, government insistence that students learn more and much else. The union has responded to the gloom among its constituents by asking the federal government to intervene with a formal study of how difficult and hazardous it is to be a schoolteacher. The survey of over 30,000 teachers and school administrators was released on Tuesday by the American Federation of Teachers and a group called the Badass Teachers, according to a press release sent to The Daily Caller. The dire results show that just one in five of the teachers and administrators who completed the 80-question survey believe government officials and members of the media sufficiently respect them.
May 13: Fox News: New Poll: Hillary Favorably Slipping; Christe Underwater
Hillary Clinton’s personal ratings continue to slip. Yet the Democratic presidential hopeful still garners higher favorable ratings than many in the 2016 GOP field, according to a new Fox News poll released Wednesday. The number of voters who have a positive opinion of Hillary Clinton is down nine percentage points since last year. Currently, 45 percent have a favorable view of her. That’s down from 47 percent in late March and 54 percent last summer (June 1-3, 2014). Clinton’s negative rating stands at 49 percent, up from 43 percent last June.
May 13: The Daily Caller: Bolton: Hillary: Radical Roots from Law School
Of all the Republicans who may run for president, former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton has probably known Bill and Hillary Clinton the longest. In the 1970s, Bolton — who will announce his decision about entering the 2016 race Thursday -- overlapped several years with the Clintons at Yale Law School. “We were not exactly drinking buddies in law school, but you know it was a small enough place,” the Republican recalled in an interview this week. “Even back then it was pretty clear to me that Hillary was a radical,” Bolton said. “And my view is the way you are at that time of your life in law school or grad school or whatever it is, that’s pretty much the way you turn out to be.” He added: “So when you read about how she is moving to get to the left of Elizabeth Warren, she didn’t have to move to the left. She was already there.”
May 11: The Hill: Obama Administration: All Federally approved types of birth control must be offered for free
Insurers must cover a wide range of contraceptive methods at no cost to consumers, the Obama administration said Monday in new guidance to health insurance companies. The guidance from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) makes clear that insurers are obligated under the Affordable Care Act to cover at least one version of each of the 18 federally approved birth control methods. [We are not sure how all this fits with the Supreme Court decision in the Hobby Lobby case which allows closely held corporations to opt out of providing certain types of contraception if they have a religious objection .]
May 11: Associated Press: Mother of Mississippi Cop Killer Reveals son is a drug addict:
A Mississippi man accused of fatally shooting two police officers has mental problems and is addicted to drugs, appearing high in photos after he was arrested, his mother said Monday. Mary Smith told The Associated Press that her son smoked synthetic marijuana known as "spice" daily and had been hearing voices ever since he was attacked and hit in the head with a pipe several years ago. Smith's son, 29-year-old Marvin Banks, was charged with two counts of murder in the deaths of officers Benjamin Deen and Liquori Tate. The officers were slain Saturday night in what authorities have so far only described as a traffic stop gone awry. The slaying of the two Hattiesburg police officers occurred as National Police Week is being observed.
May 11: The Washington Examiner: Charge: FEC Dems want to control Conservative Internet, Media and PACs
Bristling at claims that GOP opposition has made the Federal Election Commission "worse than dysfunctional" in the eyes of the Democratic chairwoman, Republicans counter-charge that the left is frustrated because it hasn't succeeded in regulating conservative Internet sites, media and right-leaning super PACs. In an escalating fight on the politically-divided FEC, the former Republican chairman on Monday charged his Democratic replacement with playing politics and trying to belittle foes to get her way. "In Washington, people have a way of vilifying anything they disagree with in the most unflattering labels," wrote Republican Commissioner Lee E. Goodman in a column for Politico. It was in response to claims by Democratic Chair Ann Ravel that the GOP is thwarting her bid to clean up politics.
May 11: Fox News: Most of Gulf Nations to miss U.S. Summit; Administration spin denies “snub”
The White House was scrambling Monday to put a positive face on an upcoming summit of Persian Gulf states after learning leaders from four of the six invited nations are expected to skip. While those nations are still sending representatives to the summit being hosted by President Obama later this week at Camp David, the absence of crucial heads of state -- notably, Saudi Arabia's new king -- could present an awkward situation for the administration. But State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf rejected the notion this was a "snub," and White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest likewise said the administration is "confident" that Saudi Arabia and other nations will be "ably represented" at the summit.
May 11: Fox News: Will Putin give Kerry the “cold shoulder?”
Kremlin not confirming one-on-one meeting in Russia:
The prospect of Vladimir Putin giving U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry the cold shoulder looms over an official visit to Russia on Tuesday, with the Kremlin not yet confirming Obama administration claims that the two will meet. The confusion comes on the heels of Saudi King Salman pulling out of a planned Camp David summit with other Gulf leaders, sending a representative instead. While the administration on Monday denied the change of plans was a snub, the State Department apparently has no intention of being stood up by Putin, as Kerry heads to Russia for his first visit there since relations between Washington and Moscow plummeted amid disagreements over Ukraine and Syria.
May 10: Fox News: Merkel to Russia: Put pressure on Ukrainian Rebels to Abide by Cease Fire
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has called during a visit to Moscow for Russia to do more to persuade separatists in eastern Ukraine to abide by a cease-fire that has been strained in recent weeks. Merkel was the only prominent European leader to visit Russia over the weekend to mark the 70th anniversary of the surrender of Nazi Germany.
May 10: The Washington Post: Hillary Dilemma: What to do with Bill!
The scene that unfolded in Morocco last week as Bill Clinton convened world leaders for a philanthropic conference was hardly what his wife’s champion-for-everyday-Americans campaign would have ordered up. Gathered in Marrakesh for a Clinton Global Initiative confab, foreign oligarchs and corporate titans mingled amid palm trees, decorative pools and dazzling tiled courtyards with the former president and his traveling delegation of foundation donors — many of whom are also donors to Hillary Rodham Clinton’s presidential campaign. When daughter Chelsea moderated a discussion on women’s empowerment, the only male panelist was Morocco’s richest person, Othman Benjelloun, whose BMCE Bank is a CGI sponsor. For the week’s biggest party, guests were chauffeured across the city to an opulent 56-room palace that boasts a private collection of Arabian horses, overlooks the snow-capped Atlas Mountains and serves a fine-dining menu of “biolight” cuisine. Hardly the impression Hillary wants in the public eye these days.
May 8: MyHighPlains.com: Abbott working to calm fears of Texans over Summer Military Exercises
Governor Greg Abbott, R-TX, says he's trying to bring calm to some Texans about a military exercise that will take place in Texas and six other states.
The eight-week exercise, known as Jade Helm 15, will begin July 15 and involves U.S. Specials Operations Forces such as Navy Seals and Green Berets. They will use public and private lands to train for overseas missions.
May 7: Yahoo News: State Department:
Not Going to look into Hillary’s ethics pledge breaches
The U.S. State Department will not review the breaches of the 2008 ethics agreement Hillary Clinton signed in order to become secretary of state after her family's charities admitted in March that they had not complied, a spokesman said on Thursday. Clinton, now the Democratic front-runner in the 2016 presidential election, had promised the federal government that the Clinton Foundation and its associated charities would name all donors annually while she was the nation's top diplomat. She also promised that the charities would let the State Department's ethics office review beforehand any proposed new foreign governments donations. In March, the charities confirmed to Reuters for the first time that they had not complied with those pledges for most of Clinton's four years at the State Department.
The State Department "regrets" that it did not get to review the new foreign government funding, but does not plan to look into the matter further, spokesman Jeff Rathke said on Thursday. "The State Department has not and does not intend to initiate a formal review or to make a retroactive judgment about items that were not submitted during Secretary Clinton's tenure," Rathke told reporters. The broken ethics agreement has made it harder for Clinton to deflect accusations in recent weeks that foreigners banned from donating to U.S. political campaigns can instead curry favor with her by giving to the charity that bears her name. The charities accepted new donations from at least six foreign governments while Clinton was secretary of state: Switzerland, Papua New Guinea, Swaziland, Rwanda, Sweden and Algeria.
May 7: Times of Israel: Iran General: War with the U.S. is no big deal
Two top Iranian generals on Thursday tried to taunt the United States, saying the much-discussed military option to destroy Iran’s nuclear facilities is “ridiculous,” that Washington knows it can’t be done, and that their country “welcomes war with the US.” The saber rattling came as Western powers prepared to sit down for another round of negotiations with Iran to reach an agreement on putting curbs on Iran’s nuclear program.
May 7: Associated Press: Hillary on Immigration: Obama on Steroids!
President Barack Obama says his executive actions blocking the deportation of millions living illegally in the U.S. go as far as the law allows. But Hillary Rodham Clinton says that if she becomes president, she would go even further. Clinton's aggressive stance reinvigorates the debate over the scope of presidential powers, which has become a flashpoint in Washington's politically fraught immigration fight. It also raises questions about the legality of Clinton's proposals and sets up a potential conflict between the Democratic front-runner and the Obama White House. In a surprise to many supporters, Clinton said she would move unilaterally to let even more people stay in the country if Congress didn't act on broad legislation.
May 6: The Hill: The White House: Obama has done all it can on immigration
President Obama has done all that he can to change immigration policy through executive action, the White House said Wednesday in response to questions about Hillary Clinton’s pledge to go even further. Clinton on Tuesday backed Obama’s executive actions and said she would be willing to expand them to provide deportation relief to parents of young immigrants who brought to the U.S. illegally, known as “Dreamers,” if Congress does not pass a bill.
May 6: Associated Press: U.S. Productivity Rate Drops Dramatically in the First Quarter of 2015
U.S. worker productivity declined in the first three months of the year as labor costs jumped, reflecting a slowdown in growth. Falling productivity coupled with higher labor costs are usually a negative for the economy, since it implies additional expenses without improvements in worker efficiency. Increased worker productivity generally fuels stronger economic performance. Overall economic growth essentially flat-lined in the first quarter, rising at a tepid annual pace of only 0.2 percent, the government reported last week.
May 6: The Daily Caller: When Asked what his foundation did with the foreign donations, Bill Clinton just laughed
Asked by a backer why someone at the Foundation doesn’t just honestly explain to the press where the highly publicized foreign donations went, Bill Clinton laughed. “I open the newspaper and I was shocked to see these attacks on the Foundation,” telecom billionaire Mo Ibrahim said during a conference in Morocco to promote the Foundation’s charitable work. “And what amazed me is, I used to respect American media, and I was amazed … none of those people asked a question: What this foundation is doing actually?” The Clinton Foundation has come under intense scrutiny since the revelation it received millions in donations from foreign governments while Hillary Clinton was secretary of state, including from Qatar, Kuwait and Saudi
May 6: The Hill | Fox News: State Department Official: Clinton email practices “not acceptable”
A State Department assistant secretary said Wednesday it's "not acceptable" for any agency employee to conduct government business on a private email server as former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton did. Joyce Barr, the agency's chief freedom of information officer, made the comment under questioning from senators who used a Senate Judiciary hearing on open records laws to attack Clinton over her email practices. Sen. John Cornyn of Texas said that Clinton's approach amounted to a "premeditated and deliberate" attempt to avoid open records requirements. Sen. Thom Tillis of North Carolina said that anyone who took such an approach should be fired, and asked Barr whether it would be considered acceptable. Barr said that she had not been aware of Clinton's decision to conduct all her State Department email on a private server but that the agency has now made it clear to employees that such an approach would not be acceptable.
May 6: The Hill: Florida Governor Confronts HHS over Obamacare:
Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) on Wednesday demanded an answer from the Obama administration “right now” on the renewal of federal funds for hospitals in his state, amid a showdown over ObamaCare’s Medicaid expansion. At issue are federal funds to reimburse hospitals in Florida for treating uninsured people, known as the Low Income Pool (LIP). Scott is suing the Obama administration, alleging that the administration is withholding the funds in an effort to force the state to expand Medicaid under ObamaCare.
May 6: The Hill: Republicans bring new case against Obamacare: Coverage and Care are Two Different Things
Republicans are shifting their line of attack on ObamaCare saying enrollees are getting stuck with low-quality insurance plans. Republicans initially argued the Affordable Care Act (ACA) had not made a dent in the size of the uninsured population. A year later, the Republicans are pointing to the quality of the insurance that people are gaining and the costs to argue that the law is still bad for the country. “Yeah, you know why there’s more people insured? Because a lot more people are on Medicaid," Boehner (R-OH) said. “Giving people Medicaid insurance is almost like giving them nothing, because you can’t find a doctor that will see Medicaid patients,” he contended.
May 6: Sky News: Baltimore: State of Emergency Lifted
Maryland's governor has lifted a state of emergency for Baltimore more than a week after violence erupted across the city in the wake of Freddie Gray's death. Governor Larry Hogan called in some 2,000 National Guard troops in addition to state police to help restore calm after protests spiraled into violence on 27 April. The Guard troops began pulling out of the city at the weekend after Baltimore’s mayor lifted a citywide curfew.
May 6: The New York Daily News: ISIS threatens blogger Pam Geller in message
boasting 71 trained soldiers in 15 different states
ISIS appears to declare war on controversial blogger Pamela Geller on Tuesday in an ominous online message claiming it has fighters across America ready to attack "any target we desire." The threat, posted on an anonymous message board, singles out Geller, who helped plan a Prophet Muhammad cartoon contest that was attacked by two gunmen in Garland, Texas, over the weekend. ISIS claimed responsibility for the shooting early Tuesday, marking the first time the terror group called an American attack one of its own, though lawmakers believe the two men were influenced by the group, not guided directly by it.
May 6: The Hill: Iran’s Supreme Leader Threatens to Walk out of Nuclear Talks
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s supreme leader, vowed on Wednesday that his nation would leave nuclear negotiations if it feels threatened by America’s armed forces. “Recently U.S. officials threatened to take military action against #Iran,” Khamenei tweeted. He said Tehran does not need the economic relief the U.S. is offering in a potential deal over its nuclear arms research. The pact would lift sanctions on Iran in return for greater restrictions on its nuclear programs.
May 6: The Washington Free Beacon: Report: Iranian navy chases after U.S. Warships near Yemen
An Iranian naval fleet chased a U.S. warship and military planes through the waters off the southern coast of Yemen late Monday in yet another provocative encounter between the two nations, according to Iranian state media reports. A U.S. warship and several planes reportedly “changed their direction” on Monday after encountering an Iranian naval fleet during a patrol in the Gulf of Aden near Yemen, Iranian state media revealed.
May 6: Fox News: Senate Test Vote on Iran Deal Set for this Week:
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell set a test vote for Thursday on stalled bipartisan legislation to let Congress review and possibly reject any agreement the Obama administration makes to ease sanctions on Iran in exchange for concessions on nuclear research and development. The bill has been on the Senate floor off and on for more than two weeks. It has been stalled since Rez publican Sens. Marco Rubio of Florida and Tom Cotton of Arkansas proposed politically attractive changes that drew the objections of Democrats as well as some Republicans who want the bill kept free of controversial provisions that could prompt the White House to withdraw its support.
May 2: The Hill: Ted Cruz on Religious Freedom
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) said Saturday that the culture wars show off the cozy relationship between Democrats and corporate America. Speaking in South Carolina, Cruz bemoaned the “perfect storm of the Democratic Party and big business coming together,” according to Bloomberg. The Texas Republican was specifically referencing the recent fight over Indiana’s law on religious freedom. But Cruz noted that there’d been similar spats in Houston and elsewhere in the U.S., and insisted conservatives needed to gear up for the battle to defeat gay marriage.
May 2: Fox News: Baltimore Prosecutor: Rush to Judgment, Conflict of Interest?
The Maryland prosecutor who brought charges Friday against six Baltimore police officers within hours of receiving a medical examiner's report on the death of Freddie Gray is facing accusations that her swift action was over zealous and perhaps politically motivated. The Baltimore police union leader, Gene Ryan, made the most clear-cut accusations, after he raised concerns about Marilyn Mosby being married to City Councilman Nick Mosby. "It is clear that your husband's political future will be impacted, for better or worse, by the outcome of your investigation," Ryan wrote Mosby after her Friday announcement. He also argued Mosby has a conflict of interest because she received campaign contributions from Gray's family attorney William Murphy. Ryan asked that she appoint a special prosecutor to avoid the appearance of impropriety or of violating the rules of professional responsibility. Gray, a 25-year-old black man, suffered a severe neck injury at some point April 12 while being arrested by officers or being transported in a police wagon. He died April 19.
May 1: Fox News: George Soros May Face Up to $7 Billion Tax Bill
George Soros may soon face a monumental tax bill -- of nearly $7 billion -- after years of playing hard-to-get with the IRS. Despite Soros having advocated for higher taxes on the wealthy, the liberal billionaire reportedly has delayed paying his own for years thanks to a loophole in U.S. law. That loophole was closed by Congress in 2008. But before that, Bloomberg reports, Soros used it to defer taxes on client fees. Instead, he reinvested them in his own fund, and they grew tax-free. According to Bloomberg, Soros moved assets shortly before the change to Ireland, seen as a possible shelter from the law. But tax attorneys told Bloomberg they don't know of a way for money managers to avoid the bill in 2017.
May 1: Fox News: Analysis: Baltimore Prosecutor may not be able to get a conviction
Details matter: Every criminal charge is made up of elements that must be proven. Murder requires a criminal state of mind—whether it be premeditation, ill will, hatred, spite; it’s what differentiates murder from manslaughter. Manslaughter, on the other hand, does not stem from intent to do harm but rather from a high level of negligence often called gross negligence or culpable negligence; a higher fault than simply failing to use reasonable care. What Ms. Mosby presented was a strong argument for negligence, a civil wrong, or possibly the criminal charge of manslaughter if a jury agrees that failing to render aid when requested or failing to buckle Mr. Gray in to his seat amounts to gross or culpable negligence. But it doesn’t lay out a case of murder. In the end, a jury will decide what criminal charges, if any, are appropriate in this case. Based on the facts laid out today, however, the prosecutor failed to lay out a basis for murder and even manslaughter may be a difficult sale.
May 1: Associated Press: AP Poll: Many, including Democrats, lukewarm on Hillary
Americans appear to be suspicious of Hillary Rodham Clinton's honesty, and even many Democrats are only lukewarm about her presidential candidacy, according to a new Associated Press-GfK poll. Is she strong and decisive? Yes, say a majority of people. But inspiring and likable? Only a minority think so. Clinton's struggles to explain her email practices while in government, along with questions about the Clinton Foundation and Republican criticism of her openness, wealth and trustworthiness seem to have struck a nerve in the public's perception of the dominant Democratic figure in the 2016 campaign. In the survey, 61 percent said "honest" describes her only slightly well or not at all. Nearly four in 10 Democrats, and more than six in 10 independents agreed that "honest" was not the best word for her. Even so, she is viewed more favorably than her potential Republican rivals, none of whom are as well-known as the former secretary of state, senator and first lady.
Apr. 30: House Select Committee on Benghazi: Committee Receives Documents Requested Two Years Ago
Select Committee on Benghazi Chairman Trey Gowdy (R-SC) today announced the committee has received more than 4000 pages of documents and notes from the State Department Benghazi Accountability Review Board. The collection of documents marks the first time that proceedings from a State Department ARB have been turned over to Congress, according to State. “The Benghazi Committee continues to build the most comprehensive and complete record on what happened before, during and after the Benghazi terrorist attacks,” said Gowdy.
April 30: Fox News: ISIS Training Camp in Afghanistan
New photos purport to show ISIS fighters training at a terrorist camp in Afghanistan, near the Pakistani border, in what may be yet another sign of the black-clad jihadist army's expanding reach. The pictures, obtained by a Pakistani journalist earlier this month and published by the military blog The Long War Journal, show apparent ISIS radicals training, marching in formation and brandishing heavy artillery. Pakistani journalist Saleem Mehsud originally tweeted out the photos on his Twitter page on April 18, but would not divulge details about their origin.
April 30: Fox News: U.S. Navy to Escort U.S. Flag Ships in the Persian Gulf
U.S. Navy ships will begin to accompany U.S. flagged commercial ships as they travel the Strait of Hormuz, a defense official confirmed to Fox News, on the heels of Iran seizing a cargo ship. The Obama administration is closely monitoring Iran's takeover of the ship, as it involved a Marshall Islands-flagged vessel. The Marshall Islands and the U.S. have a longstanding security agreement, and officials said Thursday the two nations are in contact. But, in a clear response to that incident, a defense official said the U.S. Navy will now accompany all U.S.-flagged ships going through the area. The move is the latest development in a high-stakes chess match in the region, with the Iran nuclear talks continuing to play out in the background.
April 30: The Daily Caller: White House Press Secretary Earnest Grilled over the Clintons
In what has become almost a weekly occurrence at his point, ABC’s Jon Karl took White House press secretary Josh Earnest to task Thursday over revelations of non-disclosures by the Clinton Foundation. This time around, Karl asked Earnest if “out-and-out bribery” is the only problem the Obama administration would have with Hillary Clinton’s time at the State Department. Karl also asked Earnest during Thursday’s W.H. briefing what the “bar” for wrongdoing is in the administration.
April 29: Washington Post: U.S. Economic Growth slows to a grinding halt:
The U.S. economy ground nearly to a halt in the first three months of the year, according to government data released Wednesday morning, as exports plunged and severe winter weather helped keep consumers indoors. The gross domestic product grew between January and March at an annualized rate of 0.2 percent, the U.S. Commerce Department said, adding to the picture of an economy braking sharply after accelerating for much of last year. The pace fell well shy of the 1 percent mark anticipated by analysts and marked the weakest quarter in a year. The economy had expanded at a rate of 2.2 percent in the final three months of 2014 and at a rate of 2.4 percent for the year. Economists, employers and policymakers now face the challenge of determining whether the slowdown is temporary — stemming mostly from an unusually snowy winter in the Northeast — or a sign of broader problems.
April 29: Daily Caller: Govt. Scares Oyster Farmer Out of Business – Payback?
The National Park Service used falsified data to shut down an 80-year-old oyster company in Point Reyes, Calif, its owner claims. Drakes Bay Oyster Company operated in Point Reyes for decades until National Park Service officials used falsified data to force Kevin Lunny’s family-run oyster farm to shut down. The experience has left its mark on Lunny: “We Are Terrified,” he told lawmakers during a hearing Thursday. “Let me be clear, we did not fail as a business,” Lunny said in his prepared testimony. “This was not bad luck. Rather, the Park Service engaged in a taxpayer-funded enterprise of corruption to run our small business out of Point Reyes.” Lunny made this statement in response to a question by Congressman Raul Labrador asking whether felt like there could be consequences from his testimony against the National Parks Service.
April 29: CNS News: Alito: Are there any limitations on who can marry whom?
In the oral arguments presented yesterday in the Supreme Court on the question of whether the U.S. Constitution guarantees two people of the same sex the right to marry one another, Justice Samuel Alito asked whether—if two of the same sex have a right to marry—why not four people of opposite sexes. “Would there be any ground for denying them a license?” Alito asked. “Let's say they're all consenting adults, highly educated. They're all lawyers,” he said.
Mary Bonauto, representing those in favor of gay marriage, said, “I believe so, Your Honor.” Alito pointed out that polygamous relationships have existed in other societies and still exist today. “Under the logic of the decision you would like us to hand down in this case… What would be the logic of denying them the same right?” Bonauto was not willing to acknowledge that just like having relationships between multiple people, that calling a relationship between two people of the same sex is also breaking new ground.
April 28: USA Today: Supreme Court is Divided on Whether Gays can get Married
The Supreme Court appeared both cautious and deeply divided Tuesday on whether to change an opposite-sex definition of marriage that several justices noted has existed for "millennia." Finally addressing head-on the question of whether gays and lesbians should be allowed to marry nationwide, the court's key conservatives indicated that a victory for same-sex couples would not come easily. Their ambivalence about leading the country into largely unknown territory highlighted a 2 1/2-hour oral argument that was among the most consequential in the court's 226-year history. Faced with an uncertain future, it seemed, several justices would prefer to leave marriage laws to the states.
At the same time, two conservatives -- Justice Anthony Kennedy and Chief Justice John Roberts -- showed sympathy for same-sex couples unable to marry in 13 states because marriage laws are intended to regulate procreation.
April 27: CBS News Baltimore: Sheriff Sick When Told to Stand Down:
A Maryland sheriff who traveled to Baltimore to help law enforcement stop Monday's riots told a local station but was stunned when officers alerted him of the orders to stand down. Michael Lewis is the Sheriff in Wicomico County and talked on Thursday about the alleged controversial orders the police were given during the riots.
April 26: Fox News: Clinton Cash Author: It’s time to investigate the nexus
of Clinton as Secretary of State and Foundation Contributions
The author of “Clinton Cash” acknowledged that his book has no evidence that Hillary Clinton as secretary of state directly influenced huge international deals in exchange for million-dollar contributions to her family foundation, but argued the numerous instances deserve an investigation. “It’s a very extensive pattern,” author Peter Schweizer told “Fox News Sunday.” “There are 11 instances. And I think, when you have one or two examples, it’s coincidence. When you have this many, to me it’s a trend. … I think this warrants an investigation.”
For his upcoming book, Schweizer spent roughly 10 years probing the mix of public and private business and money between Hillary Clinton, her husband and former President Bill Clinton and their Clinton Foundation – all of which he calls the “Clinton Blur.” The dealings disclosed in the book come in the early weeks of Clinton’s campaign to become the Democratic presidential nominee for 2016. One key example of a possible deal, Schweizer argues, is the relationship between the former president and wealthy Canadian mining investors who donated millions to the foundation after the State Department and eight other U.S. agencies signed off on a deal in 2010 that ultimately gave the Russians access to part of the U.S. uranium reserves.
April 26: Yahoo News: Russian Economy Tanking: Putin Ponders Raising the Retirement Age
Taking care of pensioners who are his bedrock of support has been a key feature of President Vladimir Putin's rule, but as crisis bites, the Russian government is mooting an idea that has been taboo for 80 years: raising the retirement age. Since 1932, Russian men have been eligible to retire at the age of 60 and women at the age of 55. In numerous professions, especially hazardous ones like mining, people may retire even earlier. But the budget has come under strain as people have started to live longer, as Russian women now have a life expectancy of 76 and men 65.
Now, faced with a shrinking economy thanks to Western sanctions over Ukraine, an oil price that is half of what it was a year ago and a weak ruble, even Putin is cautiously bringing up the subject, which threatens to unleash protests and hurt his high ratings.
April 26: Fox News: Democrat Senators Call on President to Declassify Pac Rim Trade Deal Details
Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren is asking President Obama to make public classified information in the international trade deal that he’s asking Congress to ‘fast track’ -- the latest incident in which the populist, first-term Democratic senator appears critical of the president’s relationship with Wall Street and big business. At issue is the Trans-Pacific Partnership, known as the TPP -- a significant deal with 11 Pacific Rim nations that aims to create a free trade zone in the Asia-Pacific region. Warren and fellow Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) argue that by deeming the draft of the agreement’s text classified and from public view, the administration has, in fact, made the deal secret. “As a result of your administration’s decision, it is currently illegal for the press, experts, advocates, or the general public to review the text of this agreement,” they Senators contended. Warren further claimed that corporate executives and lobbyists have had opportunities to not only read it, but to shape the terms, and calls for the American people to have the same ability.
April 25: The Telegraph: Clinton Rebranding – Same Old Problems
Modern U.S. presidential campaigns are first and foremost exercises in personal branding, where voters are asked to buy into a vision of America's future embodied in a candidate's personal story and public image. In the end, says one longtime Democrat strategist, it's a "gut" thing – which is why this past week has been a particularly scarring one for Hillary Clinton. As a venerable political brand who failed last time around, Mrs. Clinton's team correctly identified that she was in need of some reinvention, and so launched her campaign within the a soft-focus commercial in the mode of a big oil company or an investment bank seeking to lift their corporate image. The production was slick but, just like those ads, hilariously implausible. Ordinary Americans – from the overweight retiree to a soon-to-be wed gay couple – talked dreamily of their own futures before Mrs. Clinton appeared on screen offering to be "the champion" of these little people.
Unfortunately for Mrs. Clinton in presidential politics the rival concerns get to fire back, and this week Republicans began the process of pre-emotively destroying the New Clinton brand. It begins with "Clinton Cash", a new book to be published next week. The result, even before "Clinton Cash" hits the book stalls, has been a numbing barrage of information about the Clinton's finances, a world where over a decade Bill Clinton earned $26m in personal speaker fees from the same firms who donated to his philanthropic foundation. There is no smoking gun as yet, just the whiff of cordite after the fact and the sense – deepened by Mrs Clinton's decision to delete 30,000 emails after she finished as Secretary of State – that someone might have been racing round wiping fingerprints off the door knobs.
April 25: National Review: Senate Republicans Cave on Loretta Lynch AG Appointment
On Thursday morning, top Republican strategist Karl Rove proclaimed, “The dysfunctional Congress finally appears to be working again as the Founders intended.” Just hours later, the GOP-controlled Senate confirmed as attorney general — i.e., as the chief federal law-enforcement officer of the United States — a lawyer who quite openly supports the systematic non-enforcement of federal law. In fact, Ms. Lynch also supports President Obama’s blatantly unconstitutional usurpations of legislative authority, including most notoriously, of Congress’s power to set the terms of lawful presence by aliens in our country.
April 25: CNN News: NBC Internal Investigation Discovers ten Brian Williams Embellishments
The in-house investigators assigned to look into Brian Williams' past reports have documented at least 10 instances of exaggerations and embellishments by the NBC anchorman. The investigation is not yet complete, according to a person with knowledge of it, who described some of the findings on condition of anonymity. It is unclear whether Williams had had a chance to defend himself to his bosses. NBC has not allowed him to do so publicly. It has been suggested that the network is nearing a decision about Williams' future. Williams was suspended nearly three months ago when a scandal erupted about his recounting of an Iraq War mission in 2003. His suspension is scheduled to end in August, but it is unclear whether NBC will reinstate him at that time. The network has been under pressure -- both internally and externally -- to reach a decision about Williams and announce it well ahead of the August deadline. That decision will be informed by NBC's internal fact-checking effort, which is being led by Richard Esposito, the news division's senior executive producer in charge of investigations. All of the people involved are being incredibly tight-lipped, and NBC refuses to confirm anything about the investigation.
April 25: The New York Times: Russians read President Obama’s Emails
Some of President Obama’s email correspondence was swept up by Russian hackers last year in a breach of the White House’s unclassified computer system that was far more intrusive and worrisome than has been publicly acknowledged, according to senior American officials briefed on the investigation. The hackers, who also got deeply into the State Department’s unclassified system, do not appear to have penetrated closely guarded servers that control the message traffic from Mr. Obama’s BlackBerry, which he or an aide carries constantly. But they obtained access to the email archives of people inside the White House, and perhaps some outside, with whom Mr. Obama regularly communicated.
April 25: CNN News: FBI: There may be an ISIS-inspired Threat in the U.S.
The FBI is investigating a possible ISIS-inspired terrorist threat in the United States, law enforcement officials said Saturday. The investigation originated from intercepted chatter and other intelligence information that led officials to believe a possible plot could be in the works, the officials said. No arrests have been made. It's not clear whether the threat is real or “aspirational.” The exact nature of the threat couldn't be learned. One official said it focused on parts of California where officials stepped up security, a U.S. official said. The TSA alerted local law enforcement agencies that are responsible for external security around airports, but officials said the possible threat is not necessarily aviation-related. Some cities around the United States have increased their security as a precaution.
April 22: The Washington Examiner: Census Records show by 2023 --
51 million immigrants in 8 years; 82% of U.S. growth
Legal and illegal immigrants will hit a record high of 51 million in just eight years and eventually account for an astounding 82 percent of all population growth in America, according to new U.S. Census figures. A report from the Center for Immigration Studies that analyzed the statistics said that by 2023, one in seven U.S. residents will be an immigrant, rising to one in five by 2060 when the immigrant population totals 78 million.
The surge in immigrant population, both legal and illegal, threatens to slam into the presidential campaign as GOP candidates move to figure out what their position is and the president tries to use executive powers to exempt some 5 million illegals from deportation.
April 19: The Hill: Former Governor Chafee: “I won’t let Hillary forget Iraq!”
Former Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee is aiming to take down Hillary Clinton over her controversial 2002 vote to support the Iraq war. The Republican-turned Independent-turned Democrat surprised many last week when he announced he was weighing a long shot White House bid. His way of making a name for himself against his newly adopted party’s frontrunner is to hit the former secretary of State particularly hard on the issue that was a liability in her failed 2008 run.
April 19: The Wall Street Journal: The Impact of ObamaCare? Hospital Monopolies
During the 2008 financial crisis, “too big to fail” became a familiar phrase in the U.S. financial system. Now the U.S. health-care system is heading down the same path with a record number of hospital mergers and acquisitions—95 last year—some creating regional monopolies that, as in all monopolies, will likely result in higher prices from decreased competition. Hospital consolidation, done properly in a competitive marketplace, can have positive effects. Multi-hospital conglomerates can quickly disseminate best practices and quality initiatives, for example. But competition and the choices it provides can also disappear.
April 19: Fox News: Three Democrat Contenders Say Hillary Can Be Beat in Race for Nomination
Three potential candidates considered among the most likely to challenge Hillary Clinton’s juggernaut campaign to become the Democratic Party’s 2016 nominee for president expressed confidence Sunday about defeating her, each outlining potential paths to victory. Sen. Bernie Sanders, Independent-Vermont, questioned whether Clinton or any 2016 GOP presidential candidate would challenge Wall Street for the middle class. Former Virginia Democratic Sen. Jim Webb also challenged Clinton, a former first lady and secretary of state, saying voters want new leadership. And also on Sunday, former Maryland Democratic Gov. Martin O’Malley, considered perhaps the mostly likely to challenge Clinton, continued to argue that his two terms running the state would qualified him to run the country, if he gets into the race.
April 19: The Hill: Senator Graham: There’s Not a Snowball’s Chance in Hell the
Iran Nuke Deal will get Congressional approval
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) on Sunday said President Obama’s tentative nuclear agreement with Iran would not survive its review by Congress. “I don’t think there’s a snowball’s chance in Hell this framework will get approved by Congress after review,” Graham told host Chris Wallace on “Fox News Sunday.” “It is so weak in a time we need to be strong,” the potential 2016 GOP presidential candidate added of the draft agreement’s details. “I don’t think any Republican or Democrat is going to allow that to become final,” he concluded. Graham said Obama’s potential accord lacked the necessary safeguards for preventing a Tehran with nuclear arms.
April 19: The Tribune Reporter: The Gathering Storm: An IRS Defeat
Attempting to obscure the extent of its alleged targeting of conservative groups, the Internal Revenue Service has been smacked with a serious setback in its court fight in Ohio. A federal judge granted a motion compelling the IRS to list the 298 targeted organizations, which the IRS had identified for the Treasury Department inspector general. In a lawsuit filed in 2013, 10 conservative groups, through discovery, have been trying to pry free the list of all groups targeted by the IRS. Getting this information could open the door to a class action suit against the IRS.
April 19: ABC News: Senator McCaskill Takes on Rubio, saying he folded on Immigration
Coming to the defense of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill took aim at recently declared Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio, saying the Florida senator folded on immigration reform after coming under pressure from the conservative wing of his party. "If you look at Marco Rubio's record, he took a principled, courageous stand on immigration reform and we passed a comprehensive bill in the Senate," she said. "Then, the minute his party's base started chewing on him about it, the minute Rush Limbaugh criticized him, he folded like a cheap shotgun." The scathing critique came in response to Rubio’s dismissal of Clinton as "a leader from yesterday ... promising to take us back to yesterday."
April 19: Fox News: House Oversight Committee seeking answers to light aircraft landing on Capitol Hill Lawn
Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, said Sunday that Secret Service officials will talk to panel members this week about the gyrocopter that recently landed on the lawn at Capitol Hill. The Chairman said agency officials will “brief” members, Washington parlance for a closed-door meeting, four days after Florida mailman Doug Hughes piloted his ultralight aircraft onto the Hill’s West Lawn, through restricted airspace. Chaffetz suggested his biggest concern with the agency regarding the incident is that agents had interviewed the 61-year Hughes at his Tampa Bay-area home twice, mostly recently in 2013, about his plans to carry out such an operation, to demand campaign-finance reform.
Chaffetz said he’s giving Secret Service officials some time “so they can sort out their story.” Chaffetz also said that as a member of Congress he did not receive an alert about the midday incident. And he said that he has serious concerns about the competence of new agency Director Joseph Clancy and his potential to improve the agency, but he is not calling for Clancy’s firing.
[Editor’s Note: Back in 1971 I was making a movie (A Week in Washington) for Congressman Lou Frey, Jr.(R-FL). That movie required us to do a fly over of the Capitol in a helicopter taking aerial video footage of that building. In order to do this there were numerous approvals needed from the FAA, Secret Service, Capitol Hill Police, and a host of others. That was a different time, but the security protocols have been in place for a very long time, even back then.]
April 19: The Hill: MSNBC (of all media outlets) says Hillary Clinton is
running the most contrived appearing campaign ever!
During a panel discussion about the campaign on “Up with Steve Kornacki” Sunday, Clinton’s first week was met with dismissiveness, with multiple talking heads remarking that the campaign seems contrived. “I wish I could sit here and say it’s been a wonderful week for Hillary Clinton, but it hasn’t. All political campaigns are contrived,” said Forbes’ Rick Ungar. “But the whole point of a good one is to contrive the campaign to not appear contrived. And I don’t think I’ve seen a more contrived-appearing campaign ever. It’s just been horrible.” “It’s been a huge distraction… …I think it’s just been a disaster for the first week for Hillary Clinton. The message is getting lost.”
April 19: The Register-Guard: Gun Control Burdensome Legislation Won’t Stop Criminals from Getting Guuns
Background checks for private gun sales is just not as simple an issue as it seems. “Common sense gun-laws” is a comforting cliché. When faced with something like Newtown, Conn., our natural impulse is to do something. But doing the wrong thing is worse than doing nothing at all. I’m a Democrat, I’m socially liberal, and I’m a gun owner. And when I say a new law won’t stop criminals from getting guns, I hope readers will at least pause for a moment to consider. The bill’s unintended consequences will further polarize politics, while doing nothing to keep guns away from criminals.
April 18: The Daily Signal: Paul: Benghazi Fiasco Disqualifies Hillary Clinton from being President
What motivated Sen. Rand Paul to run for president? The Kentucky Republican said he’s “tired of throwing things at the television.” Paul said he wants to find solutions to the problems facing the nation rather than simply complaining about them. He added that the loss of four lives in the attacks on the American consulate in Benghazi “should ever preclude her [Hillary Clinton] from holding higher office.”
April 18: The Tribune Live/The Washington Post: GOP Presidential candidates go after Hillary Clinton
Sen. Rand Paul, (R-KY), said Clinton's handling of the 2012 attacks on U.S. facilities in Benghazi, Libya, were a “dereliction” of her duty that should “preclude her” from serving as president. He said Clinton and Obama overstepped with airstrikes in that country in 2011: “Why the hell did we ever go into Libya in the first place?” he asked. Continuing, Paul ribbed Clinton saying that she will need two campaign planes — “one for her and her entourage and one for her baggage.” (We assume he was referring to the political “baggage” like the Benghazi she will need to contend with.)
April 17: Breitbart News: Billy Currington and Tim McGraw pull out of “Gun Control” Concert
According to the International Businesss Times, a gun control concert near Sandy Hook, CT, got the wrong kind of exposure when Breitbart News reported on April 14th that concert beneficiary Sandy Hook Promise “is a vehicle through which various relatives of Sandy Hook victims have joined to push gun control until it passes.” Currington announced his decision to pull out via Facebook:
April 16: Fox News:Man-made disaster: Critics say California drought caused by misguided environmental policies
The blistering drought that has Californians timing their showers, driving dirty cars and staring at brown lawns and empty swimming pools is a “man-made disaster,” according to critics, who say the Golden State’s misguided environmental policies allow much-needed freshwater to flow straight into the Pacific. In an average year, California gets enough snow and rain to put 200 million acres under a foot of water, but environmental opposition to dams over the last several decades has allowed the majority of the freshwater to flow into the ocean, even as the state’s population exploded to nearly 40 million people. The current drought has left farms parched and residents under strict water consumption orders, but some say it didn't have to be that way.
“This is a man-made disaster,” said Bonner Cohen, senior fellow with the National Center for Public Policy Research. “Southern California is an arid part of the world where droughts -- even severe droughts -- are commonplace, and knowing this, you’d think the government of California would have included this mathematical certainty in its disaster preparedness planning, but the government has done nothing, not even store rain, as the population has continued to grow.”
April 16: USA Today: Police: Muslim migrants threw Christians overboard:
Italian police arrested 15 Muslim migrants who survivors said tossed 12 Christians from a boat during a recent Mediterranean crossing attempt. In a separate incident, 41 migrants were feared drowned as the situation in the region intensifies. The Muslim migrants involved in the clash with Christians were arrested in the Sicilian city of Palmero and charged with "multiple aggravated murder motivated by religious hate," police said in a statement Thursday, according to the BBC.
The victims were from Nigeria and Ghana. The suspects were from Ivory Coast, Mali and Senegal. Police learned of the incident through interviews with survivors, who said they boarded a rubber boat Tuesday off the Libyan coast with 105 passengers aboard, the Associated Press reported. The surviving Christians were able to remain onboard only by forming a "human chain" to resist the assault, police said.
UPDATE: April 11 @7:30 p.m. CDT: NBC News: Man Commits Suicide at the Capitol
The U.S. Capitol Building was temporarily on lockdown after a man killed himself outside Saturday afternoon, NBC News reported. A senior federal official said the man killed himself with a single shot, and that he did not have any identification. Police are now looking for the suspect’s car. The incident took place in a public area a little past 1 p.m. The man, who is not being identified, had a backpack and a roller case with him, which bomb technicians handled as a suspecious package, U.S. Capitol Police Chief Kim Dine said at a press conference. Dine added that at this time, there seems to be no connection to terrorism. The man did not have any other weapons with him aside from a gun but did have a sign with him about "social justice," according to the police chief. At this time, the exact language of that sign is unclear.
BREAKING NEWS: April 11@1:35 p.m. CDT: Associated Press:
U.S. Capitol on Lock Down -- Shooter Neutralized -- Suspicious Package being investigated:
Police report shots fired on the west front of the Capitol in Washington and say the building has been locked down as a precaution. Spokeswoman Kimberly Schneider of the Capitol Police says in a statement that the suspected shooter has been "neutralized," but there is no immediate explanation what that means. She also says the Capitol Police are investigating a suspicious package on the lower west terrace of the building. No one is being allowed to enter or exit the Capitol and the visitors center. Congress has been on spring break for two weeks and lawmakers are set to return to work Monday.
April 11: The Daily Signal: Federal Judge in Ohio hands the IRS and DOJ Another Defeat
on the IRS Targeting Scandal
At almost the same time last week that the outgoing U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia, Ronald Machen, gave Lois Lerner a get-out-of-jail free card over her contempt of Congress citation, the Justice Department and the Internal Revenue Service suffered a huge procedural loss in a court fight in Ohio. In litigation filed in 2013 by conservative organizations targeted by Lerner and the IRS, a federal judge granted a motion compelling the IRS to produce the names of the 298 targeted organizations identified by the IRS for the Treasury Inspector General. It is highly likely that once the plaintiffs in this case receive and review this information they may have what they need to make this a class action against the IRS/DOJ for its attempt to suppress speech critical of Obama administration policies.
April 11: Reuters: Iranians caught red handed: Two Iranian Officers Caught in Yemen Assisting the Rebels
Local militiamen in the Yemeni city of Aden said they captured two Iranian military officers advising Houthi rebels during fighting on Friday evening. Tehran has denied providing military support for Houthi fighters, whose advances have drawn air strikes by a regional coalition led by Saudi Arabia, the Islamic Republic's main rival for influence in the Gulf. Three sources in the southern port city's anti-Houthi militias said the Iranians, identified as a colonel and a captain from Iran's Revolutionary Guards, were seized in two separate districts that have been rocked by heavy gun battles.
April 10: The Washington Free Beacon: Russian Fighter Jet Nearly Collides with U.S.
Intelligence Gathering Aircraft Over International Waters
A Russia Su-27 jet fighter flew dangerously close and nearly collided with a U.S. reconnaissance aircraft this week in the latest aerial provocation by Moscow, defense officials revealed to the Washington Free Beacon. The Su-27 conducted the close-in intercept of an RC-135 reconnaissance aircraft in international airspace over the Baltic Sea on Tuesday, said officials. The incident prompted a diplomatic protest. A defense official said the Russian fighter jet flew within 20 feet of the unarmed reconnaissance jet in what the official called a “reckless” encounter that endangered the lives of the RC-135 crew. In Moscow, a Russian Defense Ministry spokesman confirmed the incident.
April 9: The Hill: Iran Hostage Victims Demand Compensation be part of the Nuke Deal
Americans who were held hostage in Iran from 1979 to 1981 are pushing the Obama administration to demand that they be compensated as part of any nuclear deal.
Sen. Isakson (R-GA) has filed two amendments to Iran legislation that would "ensure that resolving the issue of compensation for hostages is considered" prior to the consumation of any nuclear agreement. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee is expected to move forward with the legislation on the Iran nuclear deal on Tuesday. A State Department official noted that the administration has in the past backed Isakson's bipartisan efforts on compensating the hostages, but suggested the issue would not be part of the nuclear talks.
April 9: Yahoo News: U.S./Russian War Games
Rekindle Cold War Tensions
Russia is so close that the F-16 fighter pilots can see it on the horizon as they swoop down over a training range in Estonia [yellow on the map] in the biggest ever show of U.S. air power in the Baltic countries.
The saber-rattling raises the specter that either side could misinterpret a move by the other, triggering a conflict between two powers with major nuclear arsenals despite a sharp reduction from the Cold War era. With memories of five decades of Soviet occupation still fresh, many in the Baltic countries find the presence of U.S. forces a comfort rather than a risk.
April 9: Washington Free Beacon: Iran: Nuke Deal is not acceptable
[Framework collapses days after historic announcement]
Iran has described an agreement to curb its nuclear program as “not acceptable” days after the United States hailed the new framework deal. Following the announcement of a framework accord that the United States described as a major step in rolling back Iran’s nuclear work, leaders in Tehran began to accuse the Obama administration of lying about the deal’s parameters. The disagreement revolves around a White House fact sheet that outlined concessions Tehran agreed to after negotiations in Lausanne, Switzerland, last week.
April 9: NewsMax.com: Judicial Watch Emails: Lernner Feared IRS Targeting Might Raise Questions
Judicial Watch released more emails in the IRS targeting scandal Thursday, with these showing that former IRS supervisor Lois Lerner feared that the information used to single out tea party groups and other opponents of President Barack Obama for special scrutiny "might raise questions." Agents placed groups with words like "tea party and "patriot" in their names on a "be on the lookout" — or BOLO — list for additional screening of its applications for tax-exempt status. I'm not sure how [the TIGTA] investigators are looking at [whether] we were politically motivated, or what they are looking for with regard to targeting," Lerner told Paterson.
April 9: The Daily Signal: Ken Paxton: If the Law Matters, The Courts will
Side with the States on President’s Unilateral Immigration Actions
As a federal appeals court considers whether to keep or rescind a hold on Obama’s immigration program, the attorney general of the state (Texas) leading the charge against the president’s executive actions “is very confident” the plaintiffs will win out. “All I can tell you is, based on the law, I feel very confident,” said Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton in an interview with The Daily Signal. “I am very confident we are right on the law. And if the law matters, we will do very well.” The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit is scheduled to hear oral arguments on April 17 about whether to uphold or remove an injunction on Obama’s 2014 immigration actions. Judge Andrew S. Hanen of the Federal District Court in Brownsville, Texas put a hold on those actions on Feb. 16, preventing the immigration initiatives from going into effect.
April 9: The Washington Post: Supreme Court: Obamacare Case Could Impact Subsidies for 8 million people
We won't find out for another few months how the Supreme Court will rule on a crucial case regarding Obamacare subsidies. If the Supreme Court rules that the text of the ACA does not allow for states using a federally run exchanges to receive subsidies, these people would lose financial assistance. The Urban Institute has said that such a decision could leave 8.3 million more people uninsured. The states that run their own exchanges and would not be impacted by the ruling, at least initially. Proponents of Obamacare believe that striking subsidies for the states in brown would make health care unaffordable for many people and undermine Obamacare altogether.
April 8: The Washington Examiner: Federal Judge Slams Obama Lawyers in Immigration Case:
A federal judge has issued a scathing rebuke to lawyers for the Obama administration in a case involving the president's unilateral immigration action. In an order issued Tuesday night, U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen, who had put a temporary hold on the action, not only refused to lift the hold — he also came very near to accusing administration lawyers of flat-out lying to him. The case was brought by the attorneys general of 26 states seeking to stop the president's decision to grant quasi-legal status and work permits to millions of illegal immigrants. The controversy that angered Judge Hanen involved the timing of the president's new measures. Administration lawyers told the court that the first part of the president's action was scheduled to begin Feb. 18, 2015. The second part was scheduled to go into effect in mid-May.
The judge was stunned when, on March 3, administration lawyers filed a "Defendant's Advisory" admitting that the administration had begun implementing the program expansion back in November of 2014.
April 8: The New York Times: Judge Refuses to allow Administration’s Unilateral Immigration Actions
A federal judge in Texas on Tuesday angrily denied the federal government’s request to allow President Obama’s immigration executive actions to proceed, even as an appeals court signaled that it might disagree with the judge when it takes up the issue next week. The judge concluded that he “remained convinced” that the president had exceeded his authority by seeking to allow millions of undocumented immigrants to stay in the country legally and obtain work permits.
April 8: Breitbart News: Libya Uncovers “New Elements” in Killing of Ambassador Stevens
Libya’s internationally recognized parliament said Tuesday it has uncovered “new elements” behind the 2012 assassination of the US ambassador when the American consulate was stormed in eastern city Benghazi. “I have been tasked today with leading a team of inquiry,” Tareq Saqar al-Jeruchi, deputy head of the parliament’s security and defense committee, told AFP. He said the team had “new elements on the real perpetrators of the attack” and would work closely with the FBI and Congressional commissions of inquiry, although he did not elaborate on the identities of the assailants. A Libyan parliamentary delegation is to travel to the United States for consultations with members of Congress, Jeruchi said.
April 8: The Washington Times: Obama Gun Control Push Backfires as Industry Sees Unprecedented Surge
The American firearms industry is as healthy as ever, seeing an unprecedented surge that has sent production of guns soaring to more than 10.8 million manufactured in 2013 alone — double the total of just three years earlier. Industry backers say they aren’t surprised firearms buyers and manufacturers alike have responded to the national gun control debate by making and purchasing more. “The surge in firearms sales in 2013 reflects both a long-term upward trend in shooting sports participation and [a] particular concern that year that law-abiding gun owners and those interested in purchasing a firearm for the first time could face tougher restrictions affecting access to and selection of firearms,” said Mike Bazinet, spokesman for the National Shooting Sports Foundation, an industry group
April 7: KTAR News/Associated Press: Man Arrested in Arizona High Speed Chase has been
deported Twenty Times
Authorities say a man arrested after a high-speed chase in Pinal County is a native of Mexico who has been deported 20 times. County Sheriff's officials say 26-year-old Genaro Cisneros-Delgado is being held on a $50,000 bond on suspicion of felony flight and endangerment. They say Cisneros-Delgado took a sheriff's deputy on a 30-mile chase on Interstate 10 last Friday night and speeds reached more than 100 mph. Authorities say Cisneros-Delgado crashed through a locked gate outside a Sun Lakes retirement community before stopping the vehicle and fleeing with three passengers. Sheriff's officials say Cisneros-Delgado and the other three are in the country illegally and he was smuggling them into the U.S. Cisneros-Delgado was jailed and the other three have been turned over to the U.S. Border Patrol for processing.
April 6: Yahoo News: U.S.—Cuba “Warming” Held Up by Listing as a Country Supporting Terrorism
The Administration’s hope of opening an embassy in Havana before presidents Barack Obama and Raul Castro meet at a regional summit this week have been snarled in disputes about Cuba's presence on the U.S. list of state sponsors of terror and U.S. diplomats' freedom to travel and talk to ordinary Cubans without restriction, officials say. The Summit of the Americas will be the scene of the presidents' first face-to-face meeting since they announced Dec. 17th that they will re-establish diplomatic relations after a half-century of hostility.
April 6: The Los Angeles Times: The Intent of Russian Flights
Near the U.S. Airspace Remains Unclear:
Named for an old mining camp, Tin City is a tiny Air Force installation atop an ice-shrouded coastal mountain 50 miles below the Arctic Circle, far from any road or even trees. The Pentagon took over the remote site decades ago and built a long-range radar station to help detect a surprise attack from the Soviet Union. It's the closest piece of U.S. land to Vladimir Putin's Russia. In 2013 the U.S. scrambled F-22s ten time to escort and photograph Russian Tu-95 "Bear" bombers and MiG-31 fighter jets that flew over the Bering Sea without communicating with U.S. air controllers or turning on radio transponders. These are deliberately provocative acts and a sign of the deteriorating ties between Moscow and the West since Russia's annexation of Ukraine's Crimea region in March of last year and its military intervention to support separatists in eastern Ukraine.
April 6: The Daily Caller: Obama’s Statement on Massacre Fails to Mention they are Christians
Once again, President Barack Obama has released a statement denouncing a mass terror attack on persecuted Christians, without mentioning the fact that they were killed for their faith. When nearly 150 students at a Kenyan university were massacred on Friday, the Islamist terrorists affiliated with al-Shabaab separated the Christians from the Muslims, killing only the Christians. But in Obama’s statement condemning the slaughter, once again there was no mention of the fact that the students were killed for their faith.
April 6: Fox News: Eastern European Civilians Under Go Military Training in the Face of Russian Threats
NATO aircraft scream across eastern European skies and American armored vehicles rumble near the border with Russia on a mission to reassure citizens that they're safe from Russian aggression. But these days, ordinary people aren't taking any chances. In Poland, doctors, shopkeepers, lawmakers and others are heeding a call to receive military training in case of an invasion. Neighboring Lithuania is restoring the draft and teaching citizens what to do in case of war. Nearby Latvia has plans to give university students military training next year.
April 6: Associated Press: Poland to Build Watch Towers Along its Border with Russia
A Polish news agency is reporting that the country plans to build six watchtowers along its border with Kaliningrad, a move that comes after Moscow said it will place state-of-the-art Iskander missiles in the Russia exclave. The Polish news agency PAP on Monday cited a spokeswoman for border guards, Miroslawa Aleksandrowicz, as saying that six such towers would be built along the 125-mile border between Poland and Kaliningrad. The move comes amid heightened tensions between Russia and the West over the Ukraine conflict.
April 6: The Daily Caller: Supreme Court Could Take Case to Shut Down
Mandatory Union Membership for some Government Employees:
The U.S. Supreme Court will decide by the end of April whether to hear a case that could end mandatory union membership for all government workers. Rebecca Friedrichs a teacher in California is at the center of it all. “The union runs everything,” Friedrichs said. The whole machine is geared to serving the union members and not the students. Eventually this led her and nine other teachers to sue the CTA and its affiliate, the National Education Association. Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association goes beyond just public school teachers however. A verdict in favor of Friedrichs and the other teachers involved could result in all government workers gaining the right to stop paying union fees.
April 6: The Guardian: Greek Foreign Minister Seeks U.S. Help in Avoiding being Ousted from the EuroZone
Yanis Varoufakis, the Greek finance minister, has continued efforts to drum up support in the US for his debt-stricken country as speculation mounted over the ability of the Athens government to survive in its current form. In the coming weeks, the country faces a series of debt major repayments, including an installment to the IMF on April 9th.
Greece’s leftist-led coalition is hoping to draw support from a US administration widely perceived to have taken a softer line than creditors in Europe over Athens’ need to adopt austerity. The Greek prime minister, Alexis Tsipras, was swept into power nine weeks ago on an anti-austerity platform and ever since has been haggling with Brussels, the European Central Bank and the IMF over a cash-for-reforms deal to unlock aid for his nation.
April 6: McClathydc News: Arab Nations’ donations to Hillary’s Foundation:
Curing the World’s Ills or Currying Favor?
Four oil-rich Arab nations, all with histories of philanthropy to United Nations and Middle Eastern causes, have donated vastly more money to the Clinton Foundation than they have to most other large private charities involved in the kinds of global work championed by the Clinton family. Since 2001, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates gave as much as $40 million to the Clinton Foundation. The level of Arab support for the Clinton Foundation, which occurred during the time Hillary Clinton was a U.S. senator, was seeking the Democratic nomination for president against Barack Obama, and was serving as secretary of state, fuels questions about the reasons for the donations. Were they solely to support the foundation’s causes, or were they designed to curry favor with the ex-president and with a potential future president?
April 6: The Washington Times: Influx of Children at the Border reaches last year’s levels
The second wave of unaccompanied illegal immigrant children has begun, with more than 3,000 of them surging across the Mexican border into the U.S. last month — the highest rate since the peak of last summer’s crisis and a warning that another rough season could be ahead. Immigration officials warned that they expected another surge as the weather improved. Although the numbers are down some 40 percent compared with last year’s frenetic pace that sparked a political crisis for the Obama Administration, fiscal year 2015 is shaping up to mark the second-biggest surge on record.
April 4: The Daily Caller: Concealed Carry Civilian Shoots Carjacker:
An off-duty city worker in Georgia likely helped save a woman who was stuck on the hood of her car while her car was being carjacked on Friday. The scene was captured on surveillance video and shows a woman vacuuming her car when a teenage suspect hops out of a red minivan with several other men inside. The suspect is seen sliding into the woman’s car. He got behind the wheel and slammed the car into reverse. The car owner jumped on the hood, but that didn’t deter the carjacker who sped up as he drove out of the view of the camera. The off-duty city worker was a licensed concealed hand gun holder and shot the carjacker stopping the incident.
April 4: The Hill: DC and the NRA Face Off over Gun Control in the District of Columbia
A years-old feud between the District of Columbia and the National Rifle Association is raging anew, as the gun lobby throws its support behind GOP legislation aiming at striking down local firearm restrictions. The showdown centers around the Second Amendment Enforcement Act, introduced last week. The bill is designed to roll back many of the barriers to gun ownership in Washington, D.C. The emerging battle has once again put the deeply liberal District at “the epicenter” of the national gun debate. After obtaining Home Rule status, Washington, DC prohibited home owners having guns in their homes for protection. In 2008 the Supreme Court struck down those laws, where upon the District enacted laws that made it difficult to obtain the necessary permits to have a weapon. The Second Amendment Enforcement Act continues the battle against the anti-gun advocates in Washington, DC.
April 4: The Hill: Hezbollah: Iran in the Nuclear Club after the deal
A Hezbollah leader Friday hailed this week’s tentative framework for Iran’s nuclear weapons program as a major win for the Islamic republic. Hezbollah MP Nawar Sahli praised the agreement as an Iranian “victory” in his remarks, the Lebanon Daily Star reported Saturday. Hezbollah is a Shia Islamist group in Lebanon closely linked with Tehran and its clerics of the same faith.“There is a global recognition of Iran as a member of the nuclear club,” Sahli said of the deal’s implications.
April 3: The New York Post: The Iran Nuke Deal: Another Obama Bungle
Boy do I have a deal for you. Give me enough money to build a fancy new house, and I promise I won’t try to blow up yours. You can even check my basement to make sure I’m not stockpiling dynamite. Oh, and I promise I won’t try to buy any explosives from those shady characters I hang out with or hide what I already have in a storage unit somewhere else! Sound like a good bargain? Well, in simple terms, it pretty much describes the framework the Obama administration has signed on to in order to persuade Iran to give up its quest to build nuclear weapons.
President Obama seems to regard as a major achievement an agreement to reach an agreement, which is all this week’s deal is — a formal agreement won’t happen until June, if at all. The President's administration has so far botched everything it has touched when it comes to foreign affairs -- failing to restore America's reputation as he promised when he came into office.
April 3: The Hill: Obama Administration puts on a Full Court Press to Keep Congress
from moving forward on Iran Sanctions
The Obama administration has launched an aggressive sales pitch aimed at convincing Congress to hold its fire on Iran in the wake of a framework nuclear agreement. The administration wants lawmakers to suspend legislation related to Iran until after June 30, the deadline for negotiators to finalize a deal on Iran’s nuclear program.
April 3: The Daily Caller: Indiana Pizzeria Owners to Reopen Shop After They Get Overwhelming Public Support
The Indiana pizzeria owners under fire for their stated refusal to cater a gay wedding responded gratefully Thursday to a massive outpouring of financial and moral support, including more than $250,000 in donations. “Once the other folks started supporting, and we were getting support from the other side, it really bolstered us and made us feel a lot better and more comfortable,” Kevin O’Connor told Dana Loesch in an interview on The Blaze. “There was so much negativity. It beats you down to nothing. But it’s been fantastic the support we have got,” he continued. “I don’t have words to describe it.”
He and his daughter Crystal received death threats after they told a local reporter their business, Memories Pizza, would never refuse a gay customer, but would have to refuse to cater a gay wedding if asked. The reporter sought them out to answer the hypothetical question in search of a story to bolster critics of a religious freedom law enacted in Indiana this week. A few people threatened to burn the shop to the ground, and the O’Connor’s closed the shop indefinitely, and considered moving out of town. But in the interview Thursday, Kevin told Loesch the shop will stay in place and reopen.
April 3: The Daily Caller: Obama Administration Welcomes Central American Immigrants with new program
The Obama administration is moving forward with a little-known program that will bring the families of legal immigrants from Central America to the United States. The Obama administration launched the program, the Central American Minors Refugee/Parole Program, in December, minus any legislation from Congress, but hasn’t widely advertised it yet. The program is bringing in primarily children (under 21) and in certain cases, grandchildren and spouses of immigrants who are from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras.
Immigrants eligible for the program can qualify for refugee status — which allows them to eventually receive green cards and ultimately citizenship.
April 3: The Hill: Tax Filers sent the wrong Obamacare Form will not face penalties for late filing:
ObamaCare customers who received the wrong tax form from the federal government this spring will not face penalties if they miss the April 15 deadline, officials announced Friday. Anyone who has not yet been sent corrected tax forms and are “unable to file an accurate tax return” now have until Oct. 15 to file — as long as they request an extension. The government did not say how many people will be given extra time, though officials said in late March that 80,000 people were still waiting on their corrected tax forms. A total of 800,000 people had mailed the wrong forms.
April 2: Fox News: The IRS: No Justice from Justice Department
The Obama administration’s Internal Revenue Service is institutionally incapable of self-correction. And, now it is even clearer that the Obama administration’s Department of Justice is incapable of holding accountable those responsible for a massive illegal targeting scheme. The latest troubling development comes as the Justice Department announced it will not pursue criminal contempt charges against former top IRS official Lois Lerner – who’s at the center of a scandal that unlawfully targeted conservative and Tea Party groups because of their political views. Sadly, this conclusion is not surprising. This latest development reflects what has become standard operating procedure for the Obama administration in its so-called “investigation” of this unlawful targeting scheme by the IRS. The Justice Department is making a mockery of our criminal justice system. It’s not independent. It was fully involved in the IRS targeting scheme.
April 1: The Hill: Justice Department Refuses to Prosecute Contempt of Congress Charges against Lerner
The Justice Department won’t follow up on the contempt of Congress charge against the former IRS official who first acknowledged the agency’s improper scrutiny of Tea Party groups. Lois Lerner will apparently get off scot free! Ronald Machen, the U.S. attorney for Washington, told Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) in a letter dated Tuesday that Lerner did not waive her Fifth Amendment rights in her appearances before Congress and that it would be inappropriate for the Justice Department to bring the matter before a grand jury. The House voted to charge Lerner, who quickly became the central figure in the Tea Party controversy, with contempt in May 2014, after she twice invoked her Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination before the Oversight Committee.
April 1: The New York Times: Norway Reverts to Cold War Mode
as Russia becomes more assertive in the Air
From his command post burrowed deep into a mountain of quartz and slate north of the Arctic Circle, the 54-year-old commander of the Norwegian military’s operations headquarters watches time flowing backward, pushed into reverse by surging Russian military activity redolent of East-West sparring during the Cold War.
Last year, Norway intercepted 74 Russian warplanes off its coast, 27 percent more than in 2013, scrambling F-16 fighters from a military air base in Bodo to monitor and photograph them. This is far fewer than the hundreds of Soviet planes Norway tracked off its coast at the height of the Cold War. However, last year’s total was a drastic increase from the 11 Russian warplanes Norway spotted 10 years earlier.
April 1: The Hill: Indiana Pizza place threatened by bullies, closes its doors until further notice:
Owner Kevin O’Connor said vitriol toward his restaurant was so intense it was closed until further notice. The eatery began receiving threatening phone calls and social media postings after revealing its support for the Indiana law earlier this week. O’Connor and his family initially inspired backlash after declaring they would not cater gay weddings on Tuesday. Their position was not that they would cease from serving gays in their restaurant but that they would not cater weddings. That announcement made Memories Pizza Indiana’s first business to refuse potential customers service for religious reasons under the new law. The announcement drew venom from furious critics online. They have since flooded the store’s Yelp page with negative reviews protesting the O’Connor family’s position. Memories had an average rating of 1.5 out of 5 stars based on 1,850 reviews as of Wednesday evening, many if not most of whom have never set foot within the establishment.
April 1: CBS News – Cleveland: Pizza place becomes the first Christian establishment to say it will not cater gay weddings because they violate the owner’s religious beliefs
An Indiana pizza shop may be the first to publicly say it will not serve gay weddings. The O’Connor family owns Memories Pizza in Walkerton, southwest of South Bend.“If a gay couple came in and wanted us to provide pizzas for their wedding, we would have to say no,” Crystal O’Connor told WBND-TV adding, “We are a Christian establishment.” Family members say they agree with Gov. Mike Pence that the bill does not encourage discrimination against gays and lesbians.“We’re not discriminating against anyone, that’s just our belief and anyone has the right to believe in anything,” O’Connor told WBND.
The family has owned the pizzeria for nine years and supports the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. Kevin O’Connor says the negative backlash against Indiana is not fair. “That lifestyle is something they choose. I choose to be heterosexual. They choose to be homosexual. Why should I be beat over the head to go along with something they choose?” he tells the station. Despite their opposition to gay marriages, the O’Connor family promises that if a gay couple or a couple belonging to another religion come in to the restaurant to eat, they would not be turned away.
March 31: Fox News: Governor vows to Clarify the Religious Freedom Law
Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, whose state is under fire over the passage of a religious freedom law that critics say could allow businesses to discriminate based on sexual orientation, said Tuesday that he and legislative leaders plan to clarify the policy in the coming days. "I abhor discrimination," the Republican governor told Fox News. Pence said he stands by the law and there was never any intent to create a "license to discriminate." But, acknowledging the furor over the policy, he said: "We'll clarify that in the days ahead, and we'll fix this and move forward." Pence later held a press conference in Indianapolis calling for legislation on his desk "before the end of this week" that would make clear the law does not allow businesses "to deny services to anyone." "We've got a perception problem here ... and we intend to correct that," Pence said at the news conference.
March 29: The Hill: Indiana Governor: Hoosiers don’t believe in discrimination but do believe in Religious Freedom
Gov. Mike Pence (R-IN) vowed his state would not alter its religious freedom legislation after criticism that it may permit discrimination based on sexual orientation. “We’re not going to change the law, OK?” Pence told host George Stephanopoulos on ABC’s “This Week.” “I stand by this law,” he continued. “It represents a fundamental protection for individuals.” Pence also criticized most of the debate over the law as “shameless rhetoric.” Many of the law’s critics, he added, have used the “red herring” of discrimination to mischaracterize the bill’s intent. “Hoosiers don’t believe in discrimination,” Pence argued.
He said the Restoring Religious Freedom Act only applied to cases in which Indiana’s government interfered in faith matters. So under the law, the baker who does not want to make a “wedding” cake for two domestic partners of the same sex because of religious beliefs could not be forced to do by the State of Indiana. “It was not intended for disputes between private entities,” the Governor added.
March 29: Yahoo News: Israel PM Says Nuke Deal is Bad for Humanity
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued a dire warning Sunday about a possible nuclear accord with Iran as talks in Switzerland towards the outline of a deal intensified days before a deadline.
Israel, widely assumed to have nuclear weapons itself, is concerned that a deal that six powers are trying to agree the contours of by midnight on March 31 will fail to stop Iran from getting the bomb. Iran, hit hard by international sanctions, denies wanting nuclear weapons and insists that its atomic program is purely for peaceful purposes. Israel, not Iran, is the real regional danger, Tehran says.
March 28: The Weekly Standard: Iranian Defector: “U.S. Negotiators There Mainly to Speak on Iran’s Behalf
An Iranian journalist writing about the nuclear negotiations between the United States and Iran has defected. In an interview Amir Hossein Motaghi, has some harsh words for his native Iran. He also has a damning indictment of America's role in the nuclear negotiations.“The U.S. negotiating team are mainly there to speak on Iran’s behalf with other members of the 5+1 countries and convince them of a deal," Motaghi told a TV station after just defecting from the Iranian delegation while abroad for the nuclear talks. The P 5 + 1 is made up of United States, United Kingdom, Russia, China, France, plus Germany.
March 28: Fox News: Head of House Benghazi Probe Says Clinton Wiped her Email Server Clean:
Hillary Clinton wiped her email server "clean," permanently deleting all emails from it, the leader of the House committee investigating the 2012 terror attacks in Benghazi said Friday. Meanwhile Congressman Gowdy (R-SC) has revealed that Mrs. Clinton has failed to produce a single new document in recent weeks and has refused to relinquish her server to a third party for an independent review. "It is not clear precisely when Secretary Clinton decided to permanently delete all emails from her server, [but] it appears she made the decision after October 28, 2014, when the Department of State for the first time asked the secretary to return her public record[s] to the Department," Gowdy said. “Not only was the secretary the sole arbiter of what was a public record, she also summarily decided to delete all emails from her server ensuring no one could check behind her analysis in the public interest,” the Congressman contended.
March 28: The Hill: RNC: “Even Nixon Didn’t Destroy the Tapes!”
Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus blasted Hillary Clinton on Saturday for wiping her server and permanently deleting all emails. "Even Nixon didn't destroy the tapes," Priebus said in a statement.
Clinton's lawyer informed the House Select Committee investigating Benghazi on Friday that Clinton no longer had copies of any emails from her four-year tenure as secretary of State, ending in 2013. Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC), the chairman of the committee, said in a statement Friday that "Clinton unilaterally decided to wipe her server clean and permanently delete all emails from her personal server."
March 27: The Daily Signal:
The Truth about the Indiana Religions Freedom Law
The mainstream media has launched an all-out blitz over a new law that protects the fundamental freedom of Indiana citizens from unnecessary and unreasonable government coercion. The media’s gross mischaracterizations of the Indiana Religious Freedom Restoration Act ignore the truth: Religious Freedom Restoration Acts prevent government discrimination against religious free exercise and simply provide a way to balance religious liberty with compelling government interests.
Religious liberty isn't an absoolute right. Religious liberty doesn’t always trump. Religious liberty is balanced with concerns for a compelling state interest that’s being pursued in the least-restrictive means possible.
The First Amendment Partnership, an organization whose mission is “to promote and protect religious freedom for people of all faiths,” created an infographic separating myth from fact on Religious Freedom Restoration Acts. [Click on the image to see the entire infographic. Click again once you get to infographic to enlarge the size of the image.]
March 27: The Washington Post:
Lots of Showmanship as Senate Passes Budget:
For the second time in the past seven years, the U.S. Senate passed a budget, this time under Republican leadership. But not to be outdone some senators attempted to score political points by offering amendments on such issues as same sex “marriage,” Iran sanctions, and defense spending. In the end, the Republican budget proposal passed, 52-46, with all Democrats voting against it. Senate Republicans say their budget would achieve balance in 10 years and a $3 billion surplus in year 10. Senators Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Ran Paul (R-KY) were the only Republicans to vote against the bill.
March 26: Fox News: The Manatee Coal Power Plant Connection:
Republicans may have found an unconventional argument against tightening regulations on coal-fired power plants: think about the manatees. The connection between manatees’ well-being and power plants was raised at a hearing last week. It turns out, in Florida, the endangered manatee population enjoys the warm water that is discharged from the state's Big Bend Power Station; in fact, a manatee viewing center has been created near the plant. But the power station may have to partially close over new regulations, which could mean no more warm water for the treasured sea cows.
Rep. Rob Bishop (R-UT), chairman of the Committee on Natural Resources, pressed the director of the Fish and Wildlife Service on the issue at last week's hearing. He is expected to follow up by asking why there shouldn’t -- if such a change negatively affects an endangered species like the manatees -- be further investigation under the Endangered Species Act. “Our goal is to determine if the administration is selectively applying the law. If this is the case, we will have even more questions.” The Big Bend Power Station is not the only one with a manatee dilemma -- other plants in Florida, Georgia, and other coastal regions reportedly may have the same problem. The station, situated on Tampa Bay, houses four coal-powered units. Reportedly a new carbon emissions rule could result in at least one of the units closing by 2025.
March 26: InfoWars: DOD Exercise Draws Attention as Texas and Utah Labeled “Hostile Territory”
A key component of the controversial military exercise set to take part in nine U.S. states this summer will involve soldiers operating “undetected amongst civilian populations,” to see if they can infiltrate without being noticed. The “realistic” military training exercise, which will involve the Green Berets, Navy Seals, and the 82nd Airborne Division, is set to take place from July 15-Sepember 15, but has prompted concerns after Texas and Utah were labeled “hostile” territory in documents related to the exercise. The Army contends that the exercises are designed to prepare troops for foreign occupations and has nothing to do with preparations for martial law. No less than 17 different Texas cities will see an Army presence as part of the exercise, which will involve, “participants in civilian dress and civilian vehicles, military aircraft, low-altitude airdrops of personnel and weapons with blank rounds, to avert fearful reactions”.
March 26: Washington Free Beacon: U.S. Caves to Key Issues in Iran Nuke Deal – A Deal At Any Price?
The Obama administration is giving in to Iranian demands about the scope of its nuclear program as negotiators work to finalize a framework agreement in the coming days, according to sources familiar with the administration’s position in the negotiations. U.S. negotiators are said to have given up ground on demands that Iran be forced to disclose the full range of its nuclear activities at the outset of a nuclear deal, a concession experts say would gut the verification the Obama administration has vowed would stand as the crux of a deal with Iran. Until recently, the Obama administration had maintained that it would guarantee oversight on Tehran’s program well into the future, and that it would take the necessary steps to ensure that oversight would be effective. The issue has now emerged as a key sticking point in the talks. Some are contending that the President wants a deal at any price.
March 26: Fox News: Hamas Accused of War Crime while the Media Blamed Israel at the time:
A horrific missile attack that killed 11 children in Gaza during last summer’s war between Israel and Hamas, for which Israel was broadly condemned at the time, was actually caused by a Palestinian missile misfiring and killing its own people, Amnesty International charged in a report released Thursday. “In the deadliest incident believed to have been caused by a Palestinian armed group during the conflict, 13 Palestinian civilians – 11 of them children – were killed when a projectile exploded next to a supermarket in the crowded al-Shati refugee camp in Gaza on 28 July 2014, the first day of Eid al-Fitr,” Amnesty's report said. “The children had been playing in the street and buying crisps and soft drinks in the supermarket at the time of the attack.”
March 26: The Daily Caller: MSNBC to Press Secretary: Is Yemen Still a Success Story?
A cadre of MSNBC personalities challenged White House press secretary Josh Earnest Thursday morning over the administration’s refusal to dial back its propping up of Yemen as a counterterrorism “success story.” “Should we dial back on the words that it is a success story, when you have the president fleeing on a boat?” asked an MSNBC reporter, who asked if the state is a success multiple times. “The fact is that even though U.S. personnel is no longer in Yemen, the United States continues to have the capacity and resources and reach to be able to take strikes when necessary against extremists operating there,” Earnest said.
March 25: Yahoo News: NASA to Retrieve Bolder from Asteroid and Place it in Moon Orbit
NASA plans to launch a craft to capture a boulder from a nearby asteroid and move it into orbit around the Earth's moon for exploration by astronauts, the space agency said Wednesday. The mission, to be conducted in the mid-2020s, will help hone the capabilities NASA needs to send humans deeper into space, including to Mars, the agency said. "The option to retrieve a boulder from an asteroid will have a direct impact on planning for future human missions to deep space and begin a new era of spaceflight," NASA associate administrator Robert Lightfoot said in a statement about the Asteroid Redirect Mission.
An unmanned spacecraft will fly to a nearby asteroid, deploy a robotic arm to take a boulder from its surface, and then make a multi-year journey to put the boulder in orbit around the moon, the agency said. The craft will use solar electric propulsion for the mission that will test numerous new space navigation techniques, NASA said. Once the boulder is in orbit, NASA plans to send two astronauts in its Orion spacecraft on a 25-day mission to rendezvous with the unmanned vehicle and study the boulder. "Astronauts will conduct spacewalks outside Orion to study and collect samples of the asteroid boulder wearing new spacesuits designed for deep space missions," NASA said in a statement. NASA has three possible nearby asteroids picked out for the mission and plans to announce the target body in 2019.
March 23: Forbes: Report Says Former IRS Employees – Think Lois Lerner – Can Still Peruse Your Tax Return:
Could Lois Lerner still take a look at your tax returns on IRS computers? It sounds preposterous, but a new watchdog report says former IRS employees still have access to IRS computer systems long after they have no official business with the information. The report is by the GAO, an independent, nonpartisan agency that works for Congress. The GAO investigates how the federal government spends taxpayer dollars. In the case of IRS security, the report says not well.
The March 23: Politico: Obama Administration says Israeli “Occupation” must End:
White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough made clear in a speech to a left-leaning Israel advocacy group that President Barack Obama isn’t letting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu off the hook for his dismissal of a two-state solution. That stance, as well as Netanyahu’s suggestion also made in the closing days before last week’s Israeli elections that he’d approved settlements in contested territory in Jerusalem for the strategic purpose of changing the borders are “so very troubling,” McDonough told J Street’s annual conference in Washington. He called the pro-Israel group, which opposes some of Netanyahu’s policies, “our partner.”
March 23: The New York Times: Inside Hillary Clinton’s In Box:
Mrs. Clinton’s aides used their private email accounts to communicate with Hillary Clinton while she was Secretary of State. Not only was Mrs. Clinton corresponding from a private email account, four of her closest advisers were doing so as well. That raises questions about whether State Department servers were colllecting and storing official emmails as Clinton has claimed. From those emails that have been released it is clear that after the Benghazi attacks Clinton was closely monitoring the news media coverage and how it impacted the State Department (and her) image.
March 21: Associated Press: Gowdy’s Benghazi Committee Formally Requests Clinton’s Email Server
The chairman of a House committee investigating the deadly 2012 attacks in Benghazi formally requested Friday that Hillary Rodham Clinton turn over her email server for an independent review. Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) sent a letter requesting that Clinton, a likely Democratic presidential candidate, turn over to the State Department inspector general or other third party the server she used for official business while serving as secretary of state. The aim would be to have a third party determine what records should be made public. "Though Secretary Clinton alone is responsible for causing this issue, she alone does not get to determine its outcome," Gowdy said in a statement. His request to turn over the server is "in the interest of transparency for the American people," Gowdy said. [See the related column by the Three Musketeers]
March 21: The Washington Free Beacon: New Russian Cruise Missile Could Threaten the U.S.
Russia is developing a long-range cruise missile that poses a new threat to the United States, the commander of the U.S. Northern Command warned this week. “Russia is progressing toward its goal of deploying long-range, conventionally-armed cruise missiles with ever increasing stand-off launch distances on its heavy bombers, submarines, and surface combatants, augmenting the Kremlin’s toolkit of flexible deterrent options short of the nuclear threshold,” Adm. William Gortney, Northcom chief who heads the U.S.-Canadian North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) said Thursday. “Should these trends continue, over time NORAD will face increased risk in our ability to defend North America against Russian cruise missile threats,” he said in prepared testimony to the House Armed Services subcommittee on strategic forces.
March 21: The Telegraph: Russia Warns Denmark Not to Join NATO’s Missile Defense Shield
or it will become a Nuclear Target!
The Danish military scrambled fighter aircraft over 58 times in 2014 to head off Russian Aircraft Intrusions. Now Russia has gone on the offensive in the Baltic, warning Denmark that if it joins Nato’s missile defense shield, its navy will be a legitimate target for a Russian nuclear attack. “I don’t think that Danes fully understand the consequence if Denmark joins the American-led missile defence shield. If they do, then Danish warships will be targets for Russian nuclear missiles,” said Mikhail Vanin, the Russian ambassador to Denmark, to the Jyllands-Posten newspaper.
Denmark’s Foreign minister, Martin Lidegaard, reacted strongly to the comments, calling the ambassador’s statement “unacceptable”. “If that is what he has said, then it is unacceptable. Russia knows full well that Nato’s missile defense is defensive and not targeted at (Russia).
March 21: The Daily Caller: Putting you Money where your Mouth is: Climate Change
News reports out of Hawaii indicate that the President may have just purchased a beachfront home in Hawaii. But isn’t he worried about the sea level rising from global warming? Obama has long warned that the rise of sea levels caused by man-made global warming will make storm surges and flooding worse for coastal communities. In his 2015 State of the Union speech, Obama said “we’ll continue to see rising oceans, longer, hotter heat waves, dangerous droughts and floods.” Hawaii’s KTV4 News reports that a man connected to Obama purchased the multi-million dollar beachfront home featured in the show “Magnum P.I.” — the property was then sold to a limited liability corporation in Colorado.
March 21: USA Today: Local Police Departments Turning to Immigrants to Fill Vacant Positions:
Law enforcement agencies struggling to fill their ranks or connect with their increasingly diverse populations are turning to immigrants to fill the gap. Most agencies in the country require officers or deputies to be U.S. citizens, but some are allowing immigrants who are legally in the country to wear the badge. From Hawaii to Vermont, agencies are allowing green-card holders and legal immigrants with work permits to join their ranks.
March 20: KRGV.com(ABC News): Undocumented Immigrants the fail to appear at hearings Jumps by 150%
The federal government said the number of undocumented immigrants failing to appear at deportation hearings is on the rise. According to the Executive Office of Immigration Review, the number of people who did not show after being released on bond or on their own recognizance grew by 153 percent in the last four years. Immigration judges ordered deportations for those no-shows.
About 30 to 40 percent of undocumented immigrants failed to appear at their hearings last year. The statistics also show that judges grant asylum less than 50-percent of the time while immigrants from Central American countries get asylum an average of 2-percent of the time.
March 20: Yahoo News: Federal Judge Warns Justice Department of Possible Sanctions
over Actions in Obama’s Immigration Lawsuit
A federal judge who blocked President Barack Obama's unilateral immigration executive action suggested on Thursday he could order sanctions against the Justice Department if he rules it misled him about when exactly the administration began implementing one of the measures. The crux of the discussion is whether federal officials had misled the judge so they could give more than 108,000 people three-year reprieves from deportation before the stay went into effect. Hanen chided DOJ attorney Kathleen Hartnett on Thursday for telling him in January -- before the injunction was issued --that nothing would be happening until Feb. 18. "Like an idiot I believed that," Hanen said. The DOJ attorney repeatedly apologized for any confusion. But Hanen asked DOJ "Can I trust what the president says? That's a yes or no question." The DOJ attorney responded "Yes your honor!"
March 19: The National Journal: Make Leadership Mandatory, Not Voting!
President Obama is like the half-baked doctor who diagnoses what's wrong with you and prescribes the wrong medicine. Good call, bad doctor. Take two major ails of the U.S. political system: 1. Declining voter participation, particularly among young and minority voters who are most likely to feel disenfranchised. 2. An unhealthy approach to financing campaigns after the Citizens United case where the Supreme Court nullified restrictions on political spending.
Obama's prescription? Force everybody to vote. Nearly half of all eligible voters blew off the 2012 president election. The turnout for last year’s midterm elections was the worst in more than 70 years. The problem is with the leadership. People want to vote for someone they can trust but they are hard pressed to find those people. No, Mr. President: "Some folks" [code word Republicans] didn't force millions of potential votes to stay home. Most Americans just don't think their votes matter and that their leaders aren’t listening to them. Sadly, they're right.
March 18: The Hill: House Democrats Open to Medicare Deal
House Democrats say they are open to supporting an emerging Medicare deal despite concerns about provisions that would make some beneficiaries pay more. Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has been in negotiations with Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) over a permanent stop to automatic spending cuts for doctors under Medicare known as the Sustainable Growth Rate. There had been concerns brewing among some Democrats about ways to pay for the deal, including making wealthier Medicare beneficiaries pay more and introducing a deductible for some supplemental Medigap plans. Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN), co-chairman of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, said he would oppose the deal and the AARP opposes the measure as well. A key moment came on Wednesday, though, when Pelosi signaled at her press conference that the deal is going forward.
March 18: The Daily Caller: Netanyahu Beats Obama!
The nationalist coalition led by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has snagged at least 54 seats in the country’s March 17 elections, while the leftist coalition backed by President Barack Obama’s allies has won less than 44 seats, according to Israeli media reports. That’s a defeat for the U.S. president, whose DC-based allies funneled support to Netanyahu’s Israeli rival, Isaac Herzog. “They’ve done everything they can to shape a Netanyahu defeat,” former U.S. Ambassador to the UN John Bolton told Fox News. “That’s something I think Congress should definitely look into.”
March 18: Fox News: New Rift between Obama and Netanyahu after latter wins big!
After staying mum on Israeli issues in the run-up to the election, the White House on Wednesday broke its silence -- answering Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's victory with fresh criticism and making clear that a new rift has opened between U.S. and Israeli leaders, this time over Palestinian statehood. In its first public response to Netanyahu's election triumph, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said President Obama still believes in a two-state solution. This was after Netanyahu, shortly before the vote, reversed his stance and stated he would not allow the creation of a Palestinian state.
March 18: Myway.com: Netanyahu Scores Resounding Victory
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud Party scored a resounding victory in Israel's election, final results showed Wednesday, a stunning turnaround after a tight race that had put his lengthy rule in jeopardy. Netanyahu surged ahead after a last-minute lurch to the right in which he opposed Palestinian statehood and vowed continued settlement construction, setting the stage for fresh confrontations with the White House just weeks after criticizing U.S. talks with Iran in a divisive address to Congress. With nearly all votes counted, Likud appeared to have earned 30 out of parliament's 120 seats and was in a position to build with relative ease a coalition government with its nationalist, religious and ultra-Orthodox Jewish allies.
March 18: The Hill: Republicans move closer to ObamaCare Alternative
Budget proposals from the House and Senate are moving the GOP closer to a fallback plan if Supreme Court strikes down billions of ObamaCare subsidies later this spring. Both chambers’ budget proposals include an obscure but powerful budget tool known as "reconciliation," which allows committees to write bills that can’t be filibustered in the Senate -- much like how the Democrats got Obamacare passed in the first place. GOP leaders had been eyeing reconciliation as a way to show the Supreme Court that they have a plan of action in case King v. Burwell goes in their favor, while buying themselves several months to hammer out details.
March 18: The Hill: Outgoing AUSA failed to act on Lerner Contempt Charges
Ronald Machen, the U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia appointed by President Obama and set to step down next month, has not acted on a contempt of Congress charge for former IRS official Lois Lerner. Machen, who announced at the beginning of the week he'd step down April 1 to return to private practice, has not referred Lerner's case to a grand jury. Her contempt citation for not testifying at two hearings has been in Machen's hands since May 2014. “Under Lois Lerner’s direction, the IRS became a political tool used to systematically target and undermine Americans’ First Amendment rights," said Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) who accused Machen of using "his own post for political ends" by not referring the case to a grand jury for months "as he is legally bound to do."
March 18: The Washington Times: Obama Blames the IRS for bad ObamaCare Customer Service
The IRS is unable to answer most taxpayers’ calls this year because it’s had to put money into getting up and running for Obamacare, agency Commissioner John Koskinen told Congress on Wednesday. Koskinen said his agency has had to shift tens of millions of dollars from customer service over to build the computer systems and get ready to handle questions this year about Obamacare and the law’s tax penalty, which kicks in for the first time this year. Apparently the IRS is answering just 43 percent of taxpayers’ calls so far this year, which is a huge drop in customer service for the agency. Congress has cut the agency’s funding, in part as a signal of disapproval of the IRS’s activities such as the targeting of TEA Party group’s applications for nonprofit status.
March 18: The Hill: Hawks back GOP Budget
Republican defense hawks said Wednesday they expected to fall in line behind the House budget, which would likely give GOP leaders the breathing room they need to pass another fiscal framework. Senior Republicans on the House Armed Services Committee had declined to endorse the first budget from Rep. Tom Price (R-GA) over concerns that Congress would have to find offsets for a portion of the $90 billion in extra defense spending that is set aside in an account for overseas wars. But defense hawks said Wednesday that Price had given them assurances that lawmakers wouldn’t have to find a way to pay for any of those funds.
March 16: The Daily News:
Transparency Can Mend a Loss of Credibility:
Obamacare: The President said if you like your doctor you can keep your doctor and if you like your health plan you can keep your health plan, repeating this over and over again as if repeating them would make them come true, but it didn't. Benghazi: The Administration spun the tale that it was because of a video, even though they knew differently. Then they stonewalled Congressional investigations into the facts surrounding the incident.
The current Administration has a credibility problem. They don’t seem to know truth when it is presented to them and when confronted with the truth they either deny it outright or stonewall efforts to reveal the truth. It’s time for us to demand that all public officials – regardless of party -- conduct the public’s business in a transparent way, tell the truth, and stop spinning the story line to their own advantage. We need to remind our elected officials they’re in office to serve us and not the other way around.
March 16: Forbes: Hillary Clinton’s Defense of Personal Email Server Controversy Doesn’t Add Up
Last week Clinton held a press conference where she addressed the email server controversy and responded to questions from the media, and some of the points she made don’t really make sense. Clinton told the audience, “I opted for convenience to use my personal email account, which was allowed. I thought it would be easier to carry just one device for my work and for my personal emails instead of two.” But the truth is it’s actually not easier to set up and manage your own personal server. You probably don’t know how to do it and Mrs. Clinton doesn’t either.
March 16: The Daily Mail: Hillary’s “email-gate” now linked to Whistle Blower’s description
of boiler-room operation set up to Hide Documents after Benghazi!
The latest twist in the alleged cover-up of former secretary of state Hillary Clinton's private emails involves a former senior diplomat who said State Department officials conspired to prevent investigators from seeing documents related to the 2012 Benghazi, Libya terror attack. Some of those documents may have been emails that went through the now-infamous private email server Clinton kept at her Chappaqua, New York home. If they still exist, they could shed light on Clinton's actions following the deadly Benghazi raid by militants acting with Ansar al-Shariah, an Islamist terror faction linked to al-Qaeda.
Raymond Maxwell, a former DAS for Near Eastern affairs, last year said that a room in the basement of the State Department was converted to a makeshift document review center where a secret boiler-room operation had been organized in order to keep damning documents from the prying eyes of an internal Accountability Review Board.
March 13: The Daily Caller: Krauthammer: “It’s not over” either Hillary committed a felony or perjury:
In an appearance on Fox News’ “Special Report” Charles Krauthammer said the issues facing Hillary Clinton about her emails is “not over” and has “long legs.” Citing the impending lawsuit against the State Department by the Associated Press and investigations by the House, Krauthammer says the problems facing the former secretary of state won’t be going away any time soon. He added that Clinton either committed a felony or perjury, depending on whether she signed government documents or not, echoing a point made by fellow panelist Judge Andrew Napolitano.
March 12: Business Insider:
Hillary Email Deal Gets Bigger that just email
Hillary Clinton is being bombarded on all sides after her exclusive use of a personal email address while she was secretary of state became public last week. Her belated explanations have not sufficed, and experts on all sides are wondering whether the former first lady and likely 2016 presidential candidate may have jeopardized US interests by using a vulnerable form of communication and deleting many of her emails. But don't expect all that to stop Hillary, who is treating the flap like many of the events that have defined her political career.
"The Clintons play by their own set of rules. And in this case, the former Secretary of State explained, those rules bless her decision to erase some 30,000 emails from the family server despite knowing that the emails had become a subject of intense interest to congressional investigators," David Von Drehle wrote in Time. After Clinton had finished taking questions at her press conference, her staff disclosed that no one actually read through those 30,000-odd documents before she 'chose not to keep' them."
March 12: The Daily Caller | Associated Press: Hackers reveal Hillary’s Private Server was very insecure
Fox News chief Washington correspondent James Rosen has once again joined up with a team of hackers to dig deeper into Hillary Clinton’s use of private emails, this time demonstrating that there were multiple security lapses when maintaining her private server. One of the anonymous hackers, who has “long experience in the U.S. intelligence community,” had previously revealed that Clinton had registered multiple email accounts. The team used legally obtained information about the server to create a virtual replica, and from there, used software to test the entire system for vulnerabilities.
The hackers began by confirming reports where Clinton’s server was located in even down to an exact intersection. Another problem was that clintonemail.com was run on outdated versions of Microsoft software and, they contend, it would be child’s play for a hacker to take advantage of security vulnerabilities in that software.
[Related Story] At a State Department briefing, Associated Press reporter Matthew Lee grilled State’s spokeswoman Jen Psaki asking why Russian hackers had more access to State Department records than the American public and Congress.
March 12: The Daily Caller: The EPA will take 100 years to fulfill a Conservative Group’s FOIA request
The free-market Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) is suing the EPA over its extremely slow release of emails related to chief Lisa Jackson’s alias email account. CEI says that at its current pace, EPA will fulfill the group’s government records request in 100 years. In 2012, CEI requested records regarding Jackson’s alias email account under the name “Richard Windsor” — an address she used to communicate with government officials and green groups while avoiding federal transparency laws. CEI sued and eventually got 3,000 “Richard Windsor” emails from EPA, but that was only the tip of the iceberg.
The EPA says there are about 120,000 records related to CEI’s Freedom of Information Act request, but the agency claims it can only process about 100 records per month — meaning CEI’s FOIA request will be fully processed in about 100 years. “We have shown this administration using whatever tactics it can – even violating the law – to hide what is going on in our federal agencies,” said CEI senior fellow and attorney Chris Horner in a statement, “whether it’s Hillary Clinton’s personal email account, Lisa Jackson working with lobbyists on her own private account, utilizing text messages then destroying them, or this slow-rolling production of Richard Windsor emails for a century.”
March 12: CNN News: State and County Law Enforcement take over Security in Ferguson
With tensions running high after the shooting of two officers in Ferguson, Missouri, state and county police are once again taking over protest security in the St. Louis suburb. St. Louis County Police and the Missouri State Highway Patrol will "assume command of the security detail regarding protests" at 6 p.m. St. Louis County Police said in a statement. Ferguson Police will remain responsible for routine policing services in the city, the statement said. The takeover comes less than a day after two police officers standing guard outside Ferguson police headquarters were shot in what St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar called an "ambush," spurring a manhunt for those responsible for targeting the line of officer.
Meanwhile InfoWars.com reports some in Ferguson celebrated the shooting of police officers. Two cops were seriously injured when shots were fired during a rally outside the Ferguson Police Department just after midnight following the announcement that Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson planned to resign. “These police officers were standing there, and they were shot–just because they were police officers,” St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar told reporters. In video footage which captures the moments before and after the shooting, one protester is heard to say, “Acknowledgement nine months ago would have kept that from happening,” a reference to the death of Michael Brown. Further justification of the shooting emerged on Twitter, with some even expressing their satisfaction that the officers were targeted.
March 11: The Washington Times: Clinton could face criminal charges and lengthy legal challenges:
The Obama Administration will soon find itself in court having to explain to federal judges why it never told anyone former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s use of a secret email address, potentially spoiling dozens of open records requests. And Clinton, herself, could face up to three years in prison per message if she is found to have broken her word and handled classified information on the secret account, one open records expert told The Washington Times. The legal challenges have already begun, with The Associated Press filing a federal lawsuit saying the State Department has foiled five years’ worth of requests for Clinton’s emails, but never told them or the court that she kept her own server — meaning that her emails weren’t being searched. Mrs. Clinton’s office remained silent a day after the former first lady and potential 2016 presidential candidate held a press conference admitting she kept a private email server out of “convenience,” belatedly went through and found public records among her emails and then deleted nearly 32,000 emails she and her lawyers deemed private. [Read More]
March 11: International Business Times:Clinton press conference did not staunch the bleeding
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton attempted to put the latest controversy behind her by addressing the media Tuesday regarding her use of her private email account to conduct State Department business. But her “convenience” explanation -- namely, that she thought it would be easier to use one device for both her private and public email communications using the same account -- wasn’t sufficient, according to political observers. “She did not staunch the bleeding,” George Arzt, who runs a New York City communications firm and served as press secretary for late New York City Mayor Ed Koch, said. “This is a story that will continue to run because there’s so many holes in Hillary’s defense yesterday and it doesn’t match up with previous statements.” [Read More]
March 8: The Hill: Clinton could face Criminal Charges over emails
Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) on Sunday suggested that Hillary Clinton could face criminal charges if she knowingly withholds emails from congressional investigators. Appearing on CNN's "State of the Union," Issa noted that "voluntary cooperation does not guarantee that it's a crime not to deliver all" requested emails. Clinton last week called on the State Department to release the 55,000 pages of her emails that she self-selected and turned over. State has turned over about 900 pages to the committee. Issa argued that Clinton "wasn't forthcoming two and a half years ago. She, in fact, hid the very existence of this until she was caught."
March 8: Fox News & Associated Presss:
McConnell Vows No Shutdown, but what about limiting the ever increasing Debt?
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Sunday that the Republican-controlled Congress won’t allow the government to default as the Treasury Department quickly approaches its so-called “debt ceiling.” “I made it clear after November that we won’t shut down the government or default on debt,” the Kentucky Republican told CBS’ “Face the Nation.” McConnell’s promise came two days after Treasury Secretary Jack Lew told Capitol Hill that the government loses its authority after March 15 to borrow money to cover approved congressional spending and that his agency would have to resort to “extraordinary measures” as a short-term solution. The debt limit has been suspended for the past year, meaning that Treasury could borrow whatever it wanted in order to keep the government running. But the limit will go back into effect on March 15 at whatever level of debt exists at that point. The question is do we want to keep allowing the ongoing and seemingly never ending increase of debt around our necks and the necks of our children? The nation's debt currently stands at $18.1 trillion.
March 8: Yahoo News: “Huge Gaps” reported in Clinton email record
Huge gaps exist in the emails former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has provided to a congressional committee investigating the 2012 attack on a U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, the panel's chairman said on Sunday. Republican Representative Trey Gowdy said his committee lacked documentation from Clinton's trip to Libya after the attack despite a popular photo image of her using a handheld device during a flight to that country. "We have no emails from that day. In fact we have no emails from that trip," said Gowdy "There are huge gaps."
March 8: National Journal:
More Clinton Emails may be key to addressing “pay to play” whispers at family foundation:
"Follow the money." That apocryphal phrase, attributed to Watergate whistle-blower "Deep Throat," explains why the biggest threat to Hillary Rodham Clinton's presidential dreams is not her emails. It's her family foundation. That's where the money is: corporate money, foreign money, gobs of money sloshing around a vanity charity that could be renamed "Clinton Conflicts of Interest Foundation." What about the emails? Hillary Clinton's secret communications cache is a bombshell deserving of full disclosure because of her assault on government transparency and electronic security. But its greatest relevancy is what the emails might reveal about any nexus between Clinton's work at State and donations to the Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation from U.S. corporations and foreign nations. Under fire, Bill Clinton said his namesake charity has "done a lot more good than harm"—hardly a ringing endorsement. One of his longest-serving advisers, a person who had worked directly for the foundation, told me the "longtime whispers of pay-to-play are going to become shouts." This person, a Clinton loyalist and credible source, has no evidence of wrongdoing but said the media's suspicions are warranted. "The emails are a related but secondary scandal," the source said. "Follow the foundation money."
March 8: Fox News: GOP Battles for Veto on Iran Nuke Deal
Democrats and Republicans sparred Sunday over congressional involvement in the Iran nuclear agreement, as President Obama attempted to assure critics that the U.S. won’t accept a bad deal. The debate intensified as the United States and five other world powers are set to resume negotiations next week with Iran. The GOP-led Congress wants to be able to vote on a final deal before it’s accepted. “The Iranian parliament will get to say yes or no on this deal,” said Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI), a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. “I think the United States Congress should have that exact same input into the process.”
March 8: The Daily Caller: New Zealander: Amnesty is Obama’s Trump Card to Transform America:
New Zealander Trevor Loudon, author is spending a lot of time lately telling Americans that “amnesty is the trump card” for President Obama to permanently transform America. Citing a 2010 speech by White House consultant and radical leftist, Eliseo Medina, Loudon implores Americans to wake up before it is too late in this video interview. He says, with Mitt Romney losing to Obama in 2012 by 2 and ½ million votes, if Obama can succeed in legalizing “10, 15 or 20 million more votes, almost all of whom will vote Democrat,” Obama can lock in progressive electoral victories for the foreseeable future and “make it practically impossible for the Republicans to ever elect another president.”
March 8: Fox News: Fashion Show on how to safely conceal weapons:
Hundreds of women packed an event hall Saturday in Indianapolis for a different kind of fashion show – one on how to safely conceal guns. “There are ways to carry, whether you’re wearing a cocktail dress, shorts and a tank top,” Cathy Brown, the co-chair of the Fashion and Firearms Concealed Carry Extravaganza, told Fox 59. Event organizers said the idea of the show is to make sure women have fashionable options while carrying. More than 300 women attended, raising money to support local Well Armed Woman chapters.
March 8: The Guardian: EU Commission President: Calls for a European Army
The European Union needs its own army to help address the problem that it is not “taken entirely seriously” as an international force, the president of the European commission has said. Jean-Claude Juncker said such a move would help the EU to persuade Russia that it was serious about defending its values in the face of the threat posed by Moscow. However, his proposal was immediately rejected by the British government, which said that there was “no prospect” of the UK agreeing to the creation of an EU army.
March 4: Fox News: If you cross Putin you end up dead?
Enemies of Vladimir Putin have a way of winding up dead! Whether they are poisoned, gunned down on the streets of Moscow or blown to bits in their homes, people who have crossed or merely criticized the Russian president have turned up dead around the world. Putin political adversary Boris Nemtsov, who was shot and killed near the Kremlin last week, is only the latest in a long line that includes hundreds of journalists, human rights activists and businessmen. “I believe Vladimir Putin is a stone-cold killer,” said Bill Browder, author of “Red Notice, A True Story of High Finance, Murder, and One Man's Fight for Justice.” “Anyone who gets in the way seems to be arrested, exiled or killed.”[See some of the more notable cases]
March 4: Fox News: Supreme Court Split on “Four Little Words” in the Obamacare law
The Supreme Court appeared divided Wednesday along ideological lines after hearing a challenge of ObamaCare tax subsidies that, if struck down, could affect up to 8 million policy holders. The liberal justices peppered Michael Carvin, the lawyer for the health law challengers, with skeptical questions almost from the outset over his argument to limit the subsidies. When Solicitor General Donald Verrilli Jr. -- who represents the Obama administration -- stepped to the lectern, the liberal justices fell silent, and Justices Alito and Scalia took over. But Chief Justice John Roberts, who was the deciding factor in the last major ObamaCare case in 2012, said almost nothing in nearly 90 minutes of back-and-forth. And the questions posed by Justice Anthony Kennedy, often a key swing vote on the bench, did not make clear how he will come out. During the hearing, Kennedy posed tough questions to both sides.
March 4: The Washington Post | Fox News:
House Committee subpoenas Clinton’s email from personal email account and Internet providers:
The Select Committee investigating the attack on Benghazi has issued a subpoena for all the Clinton personal emails related to her knowledge of what happened related to the Benghazi attack. It also issued an order telling Internet Service Providers to save and protect any of these emails they have. Making difficult the retrieval of these documents is the fact that a week prior to Clinton’s confirmation as Secretary of State, she set up a personal email server in her home that was, and is, not under the control of the Department of State. During her four years in office she used almost exclusively this personal server and a personal email account linked to it. This means that no government entity has control over what was, and is, on that server. It also raises the question that if she wanted to delete critical or sensitive emails who would ever know?
March 3: The Hill: Benghazi Committee Chair: Clinton personal email account is “troubling”
A key House Republican is calling Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email account as secretary of State “troubling,” and suggests it could prompt lawmakers to ask her to testify multiple times before a panel investigating the 2012 terrorist attacks in Benghazi, Libya. Rep. Trey Gowdy, the chairman of the House Select Committee on Benghazi, said the panel learned late last summer that Clinton used a personal email address exclusively while serving at the nation’s top diplomat. “You do not need a law degree to understand how troubling this is,” he said at a press conference attended by five other Republicans on his panel. He called the fact that Clinton did not use a government email “nothing short of incredible.”
March 3: The Daily Caller:
Krauthammer on Hillary Clinton using personal email address for official Dept. of State business [Video]
Appearing on “Special Report” Tuesday night, syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer blasted the recent news that Hillary Clinton used a personal email to do her business at the State Department during her tenure. The conservative commentator called the revelation “so Clintonian,” while adding that it’s “as if Clintons are entitled to their own rules… …Look, when you hear these stories about the Clintons, it’s all of a pattern. Whether or not it was illegal, how scandalous it is, yes, it was a breach of secrecy, it established a security risk and, of course, it allows the Clintons complete control over what is known and what’s not known, which is not supposed to be the case. But it is so Clintonian.
March 3: The Hill: Administration Threatens Veto over EPA Secret Science Bills
The White House on Tuesday threatened to veto a pair of Republican bills aimed at changing the way the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) uses science to justify regulations. The first bill would attack the EPA’s use of “secret science.” In response to common Republican accusations that the EPA is not transparent enough, it would require the agency to publicly release the details of any scientific research that it uses for regulations. The second bill would reform the EPA’s Scientific Advisory Board, a panel of independent experts that make recommendations on science, regulations, standards and other subjects to the agency. The White House argued that both of the bills would prevent the EPA from protecting human health and the environment, and said that President Obama’s advisers would recommend that he veto them.
March 3: The Daily Caller: Obama Admin is going after gun dealers
The Obama administration’s Operation Choke Point program targets gun and ammunition dealers and tries to make life “miserable” for businesses that it doesn’t like, a payment processor told a Choke Point victim in jarring new audio. Operation Choke Point is a program by which the Department of Justice works with other administration agencies, including the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, to force banks to shut down accounts of businesses that it objects to. The program purports to fight fraudulent businesses, but has instead targeted many gun and ammunition dealers and other lawful businesses.
March 3: Fox News: Netanyahu Addresses House and Senate on Iran Nuclear Weapons Program (Transcript)
Before lifting sanctions Prime Minister Netanyahu said “the world should demand that Iran do three things.
First, stop its aggression against its neighbors in the Middle East.
Second, stop supporting terrorism around the world.
And third, stop threatening to annihilate my country, Israel, the one and only Jewish state.”
The Prime Minster also said Israel is prepared to stand alone if need be, but that it doesn't stand alone because the American people have, and will continue to, stand with the state of Israel.
March 3: The Hill: Wyndham takes on FTC over enforcement authority
A federal consumer watchdog has overstepped its authority by punishing companies for weak cybersecurity, lawyers for Wyndham Worldwide argued Tuesday The 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals heard 90 minutes of spirited oral arguments Tuesday, as Wyndham’s lawyers sought to reverse a district judge’s decision endorsing the FTC’s enforcement authority. Since 2002, the commission has brought more than 50 legal actions against companies purported to have weak cyber defenses that put consumer data at risk. Wyndham, which suffered a severe data breach in 2008-2009, is seeking to dismiss the FTC complaint by arguing, in part, that the commission’s action is illegal. “The commission has simply anointed itself a roving cybersecurity prosecutor — but, unlike other prosecutors, one that seeks to define the offense and to do so after the fact,” Wyndham argued in a court brief. The case highlights a legal gray area that has become more relevant to companies, as threats from hackers explode in frequency and severity.
March 2: The Daily Caller: President Unveils National “ObamaLaw” Plan
President Barack Obama today introduced his plan for a progressive takeover of state and local policing. “We have a great opportunity… to really transform how we think about community law enforcement relations,” he said Monday. “We need to seize that opportunity… this is something that I’m going to stay very focused on in the months to come,” Obama said, as he touted a new interim report from his Task Force on 21st Century Policing. Obama also instructed his media allies to help a federalization of policing, and to sideline critics of centralized policing rules. “I expect our friends in the media to really focus on what’s in this report and pay attention to it.” Obama’s strategy matches the progressive playbook, which continuously expands progressives’ power by gradually adding more conditions to federal dollars. That same strategy has been implemented in education via the “Common Core” education plan, in the health-sector via Obamacare, in the banking industry via the mortgage rules that caused the damaging property bubble and in housing via Obama’s “regionalism” plan.
March 2: The Daily News:
High School Understanding of American History? 56% of States get a "D" or "F" Grade:
Recently the American Bar Association Journal published an article on “Why America’s Kids Know So Little.” Only South Carolina earned an “A” in American History. In January, Arizona started to require high school students to pass a 100-question civics test in order to graduate. The Arizona State Senate Majority Leader said “How can we expect them [high-schoolers when they grow up] to protect the principles on which this country was founded, if we are not preparing them for that task right now?” There are efforts in other states to improve the understanding of U.S. history. Meanwhile, in Texas the State Legislature is considering eliminating the 28-year old high school graduation test requirement altogether.
March 2: The Daily Caller: House GOP unveils replacement plan for Obamacare if it goes down
Three House Republican chairmen on Monday night outlined a healthcare plan to replace ObamaCare, if the Supreme Court guts the president's signature healthcare initiative. The court is this week hearing arguments in a challenge to key ObamaCare subsidies. The plan would roll back ObamaCare's mandates to buy insurance while also providing tax credits to help people afford coverage.
- Gone would be the requirement for individuals to buy insurance and for employers to provide it.
- This plan guarantees that people who already have coverage are able to renew it.
- It also includes some elements of ObamaCare, such as letting people stay on their parents' plans until they are 26 and prohibiting lifetime limits on benefits.
- The second main element of the plan would offer people in states losing ObamaCare's subsidies some tax credits to help them buy insurance. The size of the refundable credits would be adjusted for age, with the elderly getting more support.
March 1: Arutz Sheva (Israel National News.com): REPORT:
Obama Threatened to Shoot Down Israel Air Force Jets in 2014:
Related Report: The Daily Caller
Kuwaiti paper claims unnamed Israeli minister with good ties with the US administration 'revealed the attack plan to John Kerry.' The Bethlehem-based news agency Ma’an has cited a Kuwaiti newspaper report Saturday, that President Obama thwarted an Israeli military attack against Iran's nuclear facilities in 2014 by threatening to shoot down Israeli jets before they could reach their targets in Iran. Following Obama's threat, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu was reportedly forced to abort the planned Iran attack. According to Al-Jarida, the Netanyahu government took the decision to strike Iran some time in 2014 soon after Israel had discovered the United States and Iran had been involved in secret talks over Iran’s nuclear program and were about to sign an agreement in that regard behind Israel's back.
February 27: The Washington Post:
Obamacare threatens to end Robert’s dream of a nonpartisan Supreme Court:
The first time the Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare) came before the Supreme Court, its constitutional foundation under attack, John G. Roberts Jr. was its unlikely savior. In a spectacular display of spot-welding, the chief justice joined fellow conservatives on some points and brought liberals on board for others. Roberts was the only member of the court to endorse the entire jerry-rigged thing, and even he made sure to distance himself from the substance of the law. (“It is,” he wrote, “not our job to protect the people from the consequences of their political choices.”) Still, his efforts rescued President Obama’s signature achievement on grounds that many had dismissed as an afterthought.
February 27: The National Journal:
Congress may consider Defunding the FCC in light of the so-called “Net Neutrality” decision.
As Internet activists celebrated their net-neutrality win Thursday, Republicans were already plotting their revenge. GOP lawmakers were virtually unanimous in expressing their outrage about the Federal Communications Commission's vote to reclassify the Internet as a utility. But there is widening disagreement within the ranks about just what flavor of revenge the party should ultimately pursue, such as compromise legislation, a congressional resolution of disapproval, or a fight over FCC funding. Twenty-one House Republicans sent a letter to FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler vowing to push a resolution of disapproval under the Congressional Review Act—which only needs a simple majority in both houses—to nullify the agency's actions and prevent any future reliance on Title II of the Communications Act. The president can still veto such a resolution. "We will not stand by idly as the White House, using the FCC, attempts to advance rules that imperil the future of the Internet," the Republicans, led by Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte, wrote. They added that they intended to "take every action necessary to ensure that the Internet remains a free, competitive marketplace."
February 27: United Press International: Congress passes last-minute one week DHS funding bill:
The U.S. Congress passed legislation late Friday to fund the Department of Homeland Security for an additional week -- a move to give lawmakers more time to find a long-term solution and avoid a partial shutdown of one of the nation's most vital national security agencies. The Senate earlier Friday approved $40 billion to fund the Department of Homeland Security through September, but the House of Representatives ignored it because it did nothing to nullify the President’s immigration directives. In the meantime Congress passed a week-long extension while the House is asking the Senate to form a conference committee to work out the differences, thereby avoiding a shutdown in the short term. Earlier the House attempted to pass its own bill, funding DHS through March 19th, but the measure suffered a humiliating defeat 203-224, defeated in part because of a lack of support by conservative Republicans. The week long extension passed by a vote of 357-60.
February 26: MRCTV News: President: I have just expanded my authority
In a town hall meeting the President said: “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.” Obama argued that he has merely “expanded my authorities” – not broken any laws: “What we’ve done is we’ve expanded my authorities under executive action and prosecutorial discretion as far as we can legally under the existing statute, the existing law. And so now the question is, how can we get a law passed.” Obama called the “political process” a “separate track”: So we’re going to have to keep on with the political process on a separate track. But in the meantime, we’re going to do everything that we can to make sure that we implement executive actions as we’ve discussed.
February 26: National Review:
Clinton’s Aides Knew within Minutes the Benghazi Attack was from Terrorist, Emails disclose:
From the very first moments of the terrorist attack on the U.S. compound in Benghazi on September 11, 2012, then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and her top aides were advised that the compound was under a terrorist attack. In fact, less than two hours into the attack, they were told that the al-Qaeda affiliate in Libya, Ansar al-Sharia, had claimed responsibility. These revelations and others are disclosed by a trove of e-mails and other documents pried from the State Department by Judicial Watch in a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit.
February 26: The Washington Times: Lerner Missing Emails Now Subject of Criminal Investigtion
The IRS’s inspector general confirmed Thursday it is conducting a criminal investigation into how Lois Lerner’s emails disappeared, saying it took only two weeks for investigators to find hundreds of tapes the agency’s chief had told Congress were irretrievably destroyed. Investigators have already scoured 744 backup tapes and gleaned 32,774 unique emails, but just two weeks ago they found an additional 424 tapes that could contain even more Lerner emails, Deputy Inspector General Tim Camus told the House Oversight Committee in a rare late-night hearing meant to look into the status of the investigation. “There is potential criminal activity,” Camus said.
February 26: The Washington Examiner: Obama to ban bullets by executive action: Threatens AR-15s
As promised, President Obama is using executive actions to impose gun control on the nation, targeting the top-selling rifle in the country, the AR-15 style semi-automatic, with a ban on one of the most-used AR bullets by sportsmen and target shooters. This month ATF revealed that it is proposing to put a ban on 5.56 mm ammo on a fast track, immediately driving up the price of the bullets and prompting retailers to urge sportsmen to urge Congress to stop the president. Wednesday night, Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) Chair of House Judiciary, stepped in with a critical letter to the bureau demanding it explain the surprise and abrupt bullet ban.
February 26: The Intercept: TSA issues warning of potentially catastrophic aviation threat
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) said it is unlikely to detect and unable to extinguish what an FBI report called “the greatest potential incendiary threat to aviation,” according to a classified document obtained by The Intercept. Yet despite that warning, sources said TSA is not adequately preparing to respond to the threat. Thermite — a mixture of rust and aluminum powder — could be used against a commercial aircraft, TSA warned in a Dec. 2014 document, marked secret. “The ignition of a thermite-based incendiary device on an aircraft at altitude could result in catastrophic damage and the death of every person onboard,” the advisory said. TSA said it is unlikely to spot an easy-to-assemble thermite-based incendiary device during security screening procedures, and the use of currently available extinguishers carried on aircrafts would create a violent reaction. The TSA warning is based on FBI testing done in 2011, and a subsequent report.
February 26: The Daily Caller:
Byron Allen takes on Sharpton, Obama, and Comcast over the future of Black Media
Legendary TV talk show host Byron Allen is taking on Al Sharpton, President Obama, and the most powerful media corporations in the world in a battle to spotlight the crisis at the heart of American race relations. It’s a daunting mission. But for some reason he doesn’t sound scared. Allen told The Daily Caller that top media interests are actively freezing out and in some cases destroying black-owned media companies — and they’re paying Al Sharpton to give them racial cover to do it. As for Washington politicians like Obama? According to Allen, they’re bought out by the very same interests, and they’re playing a part.
Allen, 53, is the chairman and CEO of the production company Entertainment Studios, which joined with the National Association of African-American Owned Media to file a $20 billion racial discrimination lawsuit this week against Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Sharpton’s National Action Network, the NAACP, the Urban League, and former FCC commissioner Meredith Attwell Baker. Allen and his fellow plaintiff also filed a $10 billion suit against AT&T and DirectTV. “It’s cheaper to give Al Sharpton money than it is to do business with real African-American owned media,” Allen said. “What Comcast does is they give Al Sharpton money so he doesn’t call them racist. That is the issue here.”
February 24: Fox News: VA Secretary Admits Lying about Special Forces Service
Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald has admitted that he lied about serving in the special operations forces in a conversation with a homeless veteran that was caught on camera earlier this year. McDonald made the claim in January while he was in Los Angeles as part of the VA's effort to locate and house homeless veterans. During the tour, a homeless man told McDonald that he had served in the special operations forces. "Special forces? What years?" McDonald responded. "I was in special forces." The exchange was broadcast on the CBS Evening News Jan. 30. McDonald graduated from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in 1975 and completed Army Ranger training before being assigned to the 82nd Airborne Division until his retirement in 1980.
February 23: Yahoo News: Obama-Kerry Iran Deal may give them the bomb!
Edging toward a historic compromise, the U.S. and Iran reported progress Monday on a deal that would clamp down on Tehran's nuclear activities for at 10 years but then slowly ease restrictions on programs that could be used to make atomic bombs. Officials said there were still obstacles to overcome before a March 31 deadline, and any deal will face harsh opposition in both countries, not to mention U.S. ally Israel. It also would be sure to further strain already-tense U.S.-Israeli relations. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is expected to strongly criticize the deal in an address before Congress next week.
February 23: CNSNews: Gov. Abbott: 20,000 illegals have crossed the border in the last 60 days:
"We all saw what happened on the Texas border last summer, but we need to understand that the problem is not going away," Texas Gov. Greg Abbott told CBS's "Face the Nation" with Bob Schieffer on Sunday. "Already this calendar year, since January 1, we have had more than 20,000 people come across the border, apprehended, unauthorized. And so we have an ongoing problem on the border that Congress must step up and solve." All told in fiscal year 2014, U.S immigration officials removed 213,719 individuals apprehended while attempting to unlawfully enter the United States.
February 23: The Washington Post: Give us your fingerprint or we’ll cut off your cell phone service:
Cell phones didn’t just arrive in Pakistan. But someone could be fooled into thinking otherwise, considering the tens of millions of Pakistanis pouring into mobile phone stores these days. In one of the world’s largest — and fastest — efforts to collect biometric information, Pakistan has ordered cell phone users to verify their identities through fingerprints for a national database being compiled to curb terrorism. If they don’t, their service will be shut off, an unthinkable option for many after a dozen years of explosive growth in cell phone usage here. Prompted by concerns about a proliferation of illegal and untraceable SIM cards, the directive is the most visible step so far in Pakistan’s efforts to restore law and order after Taliban militants killed 150 students and teachers at a school in December.
February 21: The Hill: DHS may shutdown next weekend if Senate Democrats Don’t Lift Threat of Filibuster
The fight over funding for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will dominate the Sunday talk shows, as DHS Secretary Johnson makes the rounds to press for lawmakers to act. The department will shut down on Feb. 28 if Congress does not pass new funding. At the center of the fight are President Obama's executive actions on immigration. Republicans are looking to tie measures halting the moves to the new funding, while Democrats insist on a "clean" bill. With the two sides at an impasse, there is no clear path forward as Senate Democrats repeatedly blocked votes on the House funding measure.
February 21: Associated Press: White House “Unwelcome Mat” for Israeli Prime Minster
In what is becoming an increasingly nasty grudge match, the White House is mulling ways to undercut Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's upcoming trip to Washington and blunt his message that a potential nuclear deal with Iran is bad for Israel and the world. There are limits but the following options remain on the table:
- a presidential interview with a prominent journalist known for coverage of the rift between Obama and Netanyahu
- multiple Sunday show television appearances by senior national security aides and
- a pointed snub of America's leading pro-Israel lobby, which is holding its annual meeting while Netanyahu is in Washington, according to the officials. [See related story: Rudy Giuliani Video on ISIS]
February 21: The Washington Post:
Walker: Press question on President’s Religion Speaks Volumes about Washington and the News Media:
In response to reporter’s questions about the President’s religion, Governor Scott Walker said “I’ve actually never talked about it or I haven’t read about that. You’ve asked me to make statements about people that I haven’t had a conversation with about that. How [could] I say if I know either of you are a Christian?” Walker said such questions from reporters are reflective of a broader problem in the nation’s political-media culture, which he described as fixated on issues that are not relevant to most Americans. “To me, this is a classic example of why people hate Washington and, increasingly, they dislike the press,” he said. “The things they care about don’t even remotely come close to what you’re asking about.” Walker said Saturday that if he runs for president, he will focus on problems affecting the country, from tax policy and the economy to confronting Islamic State terrorists. He was critical of Obama for not conveying strongly enough the breadth and depth of the threat from Islamic militants, mentioning the videos of beheadings and other barbaric acts. “If I were in position to be commander in chief,” he said, “I would take nothing off the table. I would firmly say to the American people that I will do whatever it takes to make sure that no American’s son or daughter . . . will ever have to deal with the kind of horror we’ve seen on these kinds of videos.”
February 21: The Daily Caller: VA reinstates benefits to Vet they claimed was dead, but wasn’t!
Mark Ellis Jr., a very much alive Marine veteran from Michigan, has had his VA benefits restored months after the agency cut them because it believed he was dead. Earlier this week, Fox News in Detroit reported on Ellis’s story. The former F-18 mechanic from Dearborn, who was honorably discharged from the Marines in 2011, went to the news station after he was having a difficult time getting his VA benefits restored. The trouble started when his wife Meghan received a letter from the agency in November informing her that benefits for a Mark S. Ellis would come to an end since he was dead. But that was news to the living and breathing Ellis who had actually visited a VA hospital the day before the letter came in the mail. Ellis is rated 60 percent disabled and receives GI Bill and other benefits.
February 20: The Hill: Feds sent incorrect tax info to 800,000 people on ObamaCare
The administration sent the wrong tax information to 800,000 people who have enrolled in ObamaCare, officials announced Friday. The information used to calculate subsidies was wrong on about 20 percent of tax forms, an error that could delay tax refunds for thousands of people. Administration officials stressed that the vast majority of HealthCare.gov customers received the correct forms, and White House spokesman Josh Earnest said the issue impacted “a very small fraction of people.” But the tax glitch quickly provided new ammunition for Republicans, who continue to argue that the healthcare law is fatally flawed. “Surprise, surprise, the Obama administration still does not have its act together,” Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) vice chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, wrote in a statement. She said the new problems offer more proof that the IRS should be kept out of healthcare, and pledged to redouble her efforts to repeal the ObamaCare insurance penalty entirety.
February 20: Reuters/Yahoo News: Putin: No Military Force has the strength of the Russian Military
Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday other countries should not have the illusion that they can attain military superiority over Russia, Interfax reported. "No one should have the illusion that they can gain military superiority over Russia, put any kind of pressure on it. We will always have an adequate answer for any such adventures," he was quoted as saying in an address dedicated to the Defenders' of the Fatherland Day holiday next week.
February 20: The New York Times: Caracas (Venezuela) Mayor Arrested, county in turmoil
The abrupt arrest of the mayor of Caracas on accusations that he had plotted an American-backed overthrow of the government threatened to plunge Venezuela into new political convulsions on Friday, as his supporters rallied in the capital and pockets of protest erupted elsewhere. The arrest of the mayor, Antonio Ledezma, on Thursday evening by intelligence agents who fired weapons in the air, was viewed by the opposition as the kidnapping of a political rival to President Nicolás Maduro.
February 19: Fox News: Guiliani speaks frankly about President, Terrorism, and Iran (Video)
Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani blasted President Barack Obama, saying in a recent speech that Israeli Prime Minster Bejamin Netanyahu is a “a man who fights for his people, unlike our president.” Guiliani’s comments came during a Feb. 13 speech on countering Islamic extremism.
February 19: The Daily Caller: Senator may face discrimination law suit with a Veterans Administration Twist
Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) may soon feel the heterosexual heat from firing a staffer over a VA scandal in Wisconsin. Local news reports indicate that the staffer, who is straight, may file suit against Baldwin, who is gay, for “sexual discrimination” over the firing. Marquette Baylor, Baldwin’s ex-deputy state director, isn’t taking the news of being fired quietly. The former chief of Baldwin’s Milwaukee office, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, has “lawyered up” for a possible wrongful termination suit involving sexual discrimination. Baylor declined a severance package that would, in effect, muzzle her. By taking the deal, Baylor would be unable to reveal what she knows about troubling reports that hit Baldwin’s desk concerning the Tomah VA Medical Center last August. According to news reports, Baldwin received warnings of high opiate prescriptions rates but did nothing for several months. Three vets dying eventually got her attention. She ultimately called for a federal investigation.
February 19: The Daily Caller: Woman shoots intruder with gun her son bought for her a week ago:
A concerned son’s decision to buy his mother a gun just last week out of fear for her safety proved wise Thursday morning. The woman, a widow who lives alone in a crime-plagued Columbus, Ohio neighborhood, grabbed her gun after a man broke through her front window at around 5 a.m. “She was armed and apparently fired multiple shots at him,” Columbus Police Sgt. Dave Sicilia told the news outlets. The unnamed suspect had attempted to rob a house across the street. After residents there forced him out of the upstairs window, he broke into the widow’s home through her window. After the woman shot him, he was rushed to the hospital and pronounced dead at around 7 a.m.
February 19: The Hill: Paul eyes debt ceiling fight/Audit of the Federal Reserve
Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) is mulling attaching his Audit the Fed legislation to a vote to raise the debt ceiling, Paul spokesman Brian Darling has said. Darling said Paul fully expects to get a vote on the measure in the Senate this year and that "there are numerous options to get a bill passed by itself or combined with other legislation." "The strategy going forward will be to use regular order," Darling said. "If regular order does not work, Audit the Fed would be a great amendment to a debt-limit increase or any other piece of must pass legislation that hits the Senate floor."
February 18: Fox News: Train Derailment Reignites Keystone Pipeline Debate
The derailment of a train in West Virginia that sent flames soaring and at least some of the 3 million gallons of crude oil onboard into a Kanawha River tributary has prompted a renewed call for the approval of the Keystone XL pipeline as a safer alternative to rail transportation. “Any time you make more trips -- whether it’s trains, trucks or buses -- accidents increase,” Daniel Kish, an Institute for Energy Research vice presiden said. “I’m not trying to scare people. But the records show that if you move more stuff there will be more problems.” [See Related Column]
February 18: Tax Professor Blog: The IRS Scandal: Day 650
Attorney General Eric Holder said on Tuesday he expects the Justice Department to soon release a list of final recommendations stemming from its probe into whether the Internal Revenue Service wrongfully targeted conservative groups. "I am satisfied with the progress that the criminal division has done; the civil rights division as well," Holder told reporters at a press conference. "I expect that we will have some final recommendations coming up relatively soon.
February 18: The Washington Examiner: Lawmakers: Atlanta Fire Chief Fired for Believing the Bible
Six Georgia House members have jumped to the defense of the former Atlanta fire chief, claiming he was fired for believing in the Bible — and should be reinstated. In a move that escalates the fight between the Atlanta Mayor Reed and supporters of former Chief Cochran, lawmakers this week said the firing robbed the former chief of his religious freedom to speak and write his view. “Your action against Chief Cochran appears to violate fundamental principles of free speech and religious freedom,” they wrote to Reed. “As fellow Georgians, we are extremely troubled that a capable and long-standing public servant in our state can be targeted for retaliation and dismissed solely because of his religious views,” they added. The Chief’s supporters claim the firing was retaliation for a book he published over a year ago that, among other things, equates homosexuality with bestiality.
February 18: Yahoo News: Texas judge’s Immigration Rebuke May be hard to Challenge
President Obama's administration faces a difficult and possibly lengthy legal battle to overturn a Texas court ruling that blocked his landmark immigration overhaul, since the judge based his decision on an obscure and unsettled area of administrative law, lawyers said. In his ruling on Monday that upended plans to shield millions of aliens from deportation, U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen avoided diving into sweeping constitutional questions or tackling presidential powers head-on. Instead, he faulted Obama for not giving public notice of his plans. The failure to do so, Hanen wrote, was a violation of the 1946 Administrative Procedure Act, which requires notice in the Federal Register as well as an opportunity for people to submit views in writing. The ruling, however narrow, marked an initial victory for 26 states that brought the case alleging Obama had exceeded his powers with executive orders that would let up to 4.7 million illegal immigrants stay without threat of deportation.
February 17: The Daily Caller: Judge Napolitano: Obama Amnesty is Absolutely Dead
Reacting on “The Kelly File” Tuesday to a federal judge’s blocking of President Obama’s executive action on immigration, which was set to award work permits to four million illegals, Judge Andrew Napolitano called the court’s decision “devastating” for the Obama administration’s agenda. “This is a preliminary injunction which means the court viewed the court’s documents and challenger’s documents…and he made two conclusions. 1) At the end of the case, the challengers will probably prevail, meaning the president probably overstepped his bounds and he has ordered the Department of Homeland Security to create new law. “And 2) if he does not impose the temporary restraints that he imposed last night, actually, irreparable harm will be visited upon the 26 states,” Napolitano explained. “In my opinion, the Obama amnesty plan is dead. Absolutely dead.”
February 17: Yahoo News: Federal Judge Stalls Obama’s Action on Immigration
The White House promised an appeal Tuesday after a federal judge in Texas temporarily blocked President Obama's executive action on immigration and gave a coalition of 26 states time to pursue a lawsuit aiming to permanently stop the orders. U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen's decision late Monday puts on hold Obama's orders that could spare from deportation as many as 5 million people who are in the U.S. illegally. In response, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security said it would halt preparations for a program to protect parents of U.S. citizens or legal permanent residents until further notice.
February 17: Fox News: Related Story on Federal Judge’s Order Re: Obama’s Unilateral Immigration Policy
House and Senate Republican leaders pointed to the judge's decision on temporarily blocking the Administrations unilateral immigration policy in amplifying calls to advance a stalled bill that would both fund the Homeland Security department and undo Obama's immigration plan. The bill passed the House, but is stuck in the Senate. "This ruling underscores what the President has already acknowledged publicly 22 times: He doesn't have the authority to take the kinds of actions he once referred to as 'ignoring the law' and 'unwise and unfair,'" Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said in a statement. "Senate Democrats -- especially those who've voiced opposition to the President's executive overreach -- should end their partisan filibuster of Department of Homeland Security funding."
February 17: The Wall Street Journal:
Foreign Donations to Clinton Foundation on the Rise – Raise Ethical Questions:
The Clinton Foundation has dropped its self-imposed ban on collecting funds from foreign governments and is winning contributions at an accelerating rate, raising ethical questions as Hillary ramps up her expected bid for the presidency. Recent donors include the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Australia, Germany and a Canadian government agency promoting the Keystone XL pipeline. In 2009, the Clinton Foundation stopped raising money from foreign governments after Mrs. Clinton became secretary of state. Former President Bill Clinton, who ran the foundation while his wife was at the State Department, agreed to the gift ban at the behest of the Obama administration, which worried about a secretary of state’s husband raising millions while she represented U.S. interests abroad.
February 17: The Hill: Holder wants a halt to the Death Penalty until Supreme Court Rules:
Attorney General Eric Holder called Tuesday for a national moratorium on the death penalty until the Supreme Court weighs in on the issue later this year. “Our system of justice is the best in the world. It is comprised of men and women who do the best they can, get it right more often than not, substantially more right than wrong. But there's always the possibility that mistakes will be made,” he said. “It is one thing to put somebody in jail for an extended period of time, have some new test that you can do and determine that person was, in fact, innocent. There is no ability to correct a mistake where somebody has, in fact, been executed. And that is from my perspective the ultimate nightmare.”
February 16: Associated Press: Dems Seek Relief from Obamacare Taxes
The official sign-up season for President Barack Obama's health care law may be over, but leading congressional Democrats say millions of Americans facing new tax penalties deserve a second chance. Three senior House members told AP that they plan to strongly urge the administration to grant a special sign-up opportunity for uninsured taxpayers who will be facing fines under the law for the first time this year. The three are Michigan's Sander Levin, the ranking Democrat on the Ways and Means Committee, and Democratic Reps. Jim McDermott of Washington, and Lloyd Doggett of Texas. All worked to help steer Obama's law through rancorous congressional debates from 2009-2010.
February 14: Fox News: State-Led Efforts to pass a Balanced Budget Amendment Gains Steam
A state-level campaign to rein in the federal government spending by calling an unprecedented convention to amend the U.S. Constitution is gaining steam, picking up support from two high-profile Republicans as more states explore the idea. The latest figures to endorse the effort are retired Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn and Ohio Gov. John Kasich. Coburn, a legendary government-waste watchdog, announced this week that he has joined the effort by becoming a senior adviser for the group Convention of States Action, which wants states, not just Congress, to pass constitutional amendments. A primary goal is to get an amendment to the Constitution requiring a balanced federal budget, in which spending does not exceed revenue. So far, the Alaska, Florida and Georgia legislatures have each passed a resolution in support of a convention, and 25 more are considering one, according to the group. “Our founders anticipated the federal government might get out of control,” Coburn said Tuesday. “And they gave us a constitutional mechanism to rein it in.”
Article V of the Constitution says amendments can be ratified either by Congress or by states if two-thirds of them petition Congress to call a convention. Then, any amendment proposed at the convention must be ratified by three-fourth, or 38, states. But Beware! Unless such a convention is limited to only focusing on a Balanced Budget Amendment then other measures could also be considered opening a Pandora’s box. For example: Beyond getting Congress to pass a balanced budget, supporters of the largely Republican-backed effort are also focused on such issues as campaign finance reform and making sure the Environmental Protection Agency doesn’t over regulate.
February 16: The Daily News: A Look at U.S. Foreign Policy:
The President hasn't had an ally-friendly foreign policy or a clear and effective strategy for dealing with ISIS. “You can’t defeat an enemy that you don’t admit exists!” After much criticism from military leaders and allies he has asked Congress for a limited declaration of war against ISIS. Meanwhile Israeli officials claim that the White House has already given Iran eighty percent of what it wants, while still allowing them to continue to develop nuclear weapons while the negotiation process continues. In Cuba the Administration failed to follow the Helms-Burton Act which has specific benchmarks that must be reached prior to the normalization of relations. In the Ukraine the Administration is unwilling to make available the antii-tank/anti-mortar weapons they need in order to withstand the Russian onslaught. The list goes on!
So the question needs to be asked, why is this Administration doing things that are not granted to it under The Constitution: IRS targeting of conservative organizations, common core, etc. and why is this Administration not doing what it is required to do -- which is to protect our nation through a sound foreign policy?
February 14: Fox News: State-Led Efforts to pass a Balanced Budget Amendment Gains Steam
A state-level campaign to rein in the federal government spending by calling an unprecedented convention to amend the U.S. Constitution is gaining steam, picking up support from two high-profile Republicans as more states explore the idea. A group called the Convention of States Action, wants states, not just Congress, to pass constitutional amendments. A primary goal is to get an amendment to the Constitution requiring a balanced federal budget, in which spending does not exceed revenue. But Beware! Unless such a convention is limited to only focusing on a Balanced Budget Amendment then other measures could also be considered opening a Pandora’s box.
Article V of the Constitution says amendments can be ratified either by Congress or by states if two-thirds of them petition Congress to call a convention. Then, any amendment proposed at the convention must be ratified by three-fourth, or 38, states.
February 14: The Hill: Social Security Entitlements focus of Debate as 2016 Election Year nears
Social Security is surging to the forefront of the political debate ahead of the race for the White House in 2016. The entitlement program has been thrust into the spotlight by a fight over the Social Security disability fund, which is expected to run dry by the end of next year. The looming shortfall is stirring a burst of activism on the left, with Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), a likely 2016 candidate, and liberal hero Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) warning of an assault on the program from Republicans in Congress. Republicans have pushed back hard, and say they are the ones seeking to fix a broken program.
February 14: Fox News: Both Sides Claim Violations Hours into the Ceasefire in Ukraine
A cease-fire was declared in east Ukraine at a minute after midnight Sunday, kindling slender hopes of a reprieve from a conflict that has claimed more than 5,300 lives. But within two hours of the cease-fire's scheduled start, the warring sides were already trading accusations of fresh attacks. International attention will be focused in the coming days on the strategic railway hub of Debaltseve, where Ukrainian government forces have for weeks been fending off severe onslaughts from pro-Russian and Russian-backed separatists. The U.S. State Department said images from eastern Ukraine offer "credible pieces of evidence" that the Russian military has deployed larger amounts of artillery and multiple rocket launchers around Debaltseve to shell Ukrainian forces. "We are confident that these are Russian military, not separatist systems," State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said in a statement Saturday.
February 14: Reuters: Shelling in Ukraine Stops under Ceasefire: Germany: High Price to pay for violators
Shelling suddenly stopped at midnight in the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk after President Petro Poroshenko gave the order to government forces to halt firing in line with a ceasefire agreement reached last Thursday. Poroshenko said in a televised address that there was still "alarm" over the situation around Debaltseve, a key transport hub, where government forces are hard pressed by encircling Russian-backed separatists. And he warned that Ukraine, if it was slapped once, would not offer the other cheek. The ceasefire, negotiated in four-power talks in Belarus last Thursday, foresees creation of a neutral "buffer zone" and withdrawal of heavy weapons responsible for many of the 5,000 deaths in a conflict that has caused the worst crisis in Russia-West relations since the Cold War a generation ago.
February 14: The Daily Caller: Should Employers be allowed to give bonuses to productive workers?
Advocates for right-to-work policies are pushing a bill for reform of labor laws so that employers can reward employees without having to ask a union’s permission. The Rewarding Achievement and Incentivizing Successful Employees Act, which was introduced Thursday by Sen. Marco Rubio and Rep. Todd Rokita, is designed to amend the National Labor Relations Act so employers can give merit-based compensation increases to individual employees, even if those increases are not part of their collective bargaining agreement. “Currently, if an employer wants to reward particularly hard-working employees, in almost all cases, the union can and will block any bonuses to those workers, which then makes it difficult to keep the best employees,” Patrick Semmens, the vice president of the National Right to Work Foundation said. “The bill would stop unions from being able to block such merit bonuses.” Current law, which requires unionized companies to negotiate wage increases through the union.
February 14: The Hill: Five Decisions Hillary Can’t Duck:
Hillary Clinton will have to made decisions about where she stands on a number of controversial issues as she nears a presidential campaign. Clinton so far has been picking and choosing what issues to weigh in on, something easier to do as an unofficial candidate. Republicans have sought to make Clinton’s silence an issue arguing she’s in hiding.
- Military Force and ISIS: The question of how Congress should authorize military action against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria is an impossible one for Clinton to avoid and is difficult since she supported legislation authorizing the Iraq War which hurt her in her 2008 campaign.
- Keystone XL Pipeline: While Secretary of State, Clinton failed to move this project forward and has repeatedly refused to wade in on the subject. The House and Senate have now moved to approve it with an almost certain veto by the President.
- Medical Device Tax: Speaking to a conference of medical device manufacturers in Chicago last fall, Clinton refused to firmly state where she stands on whether this controversial tax included in the healthcare law should be repealed.
- Social Security: Senator Warren wants to raise the caps on contributions, Clinton has yet refused to take a position.
- International Trade: This may be the trickiest issue for Clinton because Republicans have been portraying her as a flip-flopper on this issue. Husband Bill won passage of NAFTA and as Secretary of State Hillary backed free-trade policies. But there are those within her party who want greater protections against the loss of U.S. jobs.
February 14: Valley Central News: Border Patrol apprehends Middle Eastern man crossing the border:
Border Patrol agents Thursday took a Middle Eastern man into custody. The unauthorized immigrant was caught south of Pharr, according to Border Patrol. An order for expedited removal back to his country of origin is being processed. Middle Eastern countries are not part of the statistical breakdown of U.S. Border Patrol apprehensions by country of nationality, based on the DHS from fiscal years 2005 through 2010. It classifies apprehensions of unauthorized immigrants from the Middle East into an "all other countries" category, which make up fewer than 1 percent of apprehensions on average.
February 14: Fox News: Obamacare signups hit snag on Big Weekend
Consumers trying to sign up for health insurance ahead of a looming deadline are getting snagged by technical difficulties, the Obama administration said Saturday. Administration spokeswoman Katie Hill said some people trying to get coverage under President Barack Obama's health care law haven't been able to get their income information electronically verified. That's crucial because the amount of financial assistance to help pay premiums is based on people's income. The health care law offers subsidized private insurance to people who don't have coverage on the job. More than 8 in 10 of those who apply qualify for help. Without it, most can't afford the coverage.
February 14: The Daily Caller: Legal Expert: Gun Rights are Human Rights
By controlling the guns, you can easily control your opponents. This is the core argument Stephen Halbrook, an attorney and expert on gun laws, delivered before the eighth Students for Liberty Conference. “Although it may not be the explicit intent of governments at the time gun registration is enacted that it will be used against the people, history shows otherwise.” The law professor, who’s authored several books and articles defending gun rights, gave the easy example of gun registration in Germany in the early 1930s.
February 13: The Daily Caller: Bloomberg Keeps Speech on Keeping Guns from Minorities
from being Posted Online
Former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg has successfully blocked video from a controversial talk he gave at the Aspen Institute last week from being posted online. At the Institute’s Feb. 5 event, the pro-gun control multi-billionaire suggested keeping guns out of the hands of young, male minorities. Ninety-five percent of murders are attributed to the group, said Bloomberg. “These kids think they’re going to get killed anyway because all their friends are getting killed,” Bloomberg said at the summit. Various national media outlets jumped on the pointed comments, for both the pro-gun control sentiment and the racial aspect which may be the reason Bloomberg asked that the comments not be posted.
February 13: The Daily Caller: Caucus Member Didn’t Know Illegal Aliens will Get a Tax Break
Illinois Congressman Luis Gutierrez said Friday that he didn’t know that illegal immigrants are eligible for tax refunds — even if they haven’t paid taxes. IRS Commissioner John Koskinen told members of Congress Wednesday that illegal immigrants who did not pay taxes will be able to claim back-refunds once they are issued social security numbers. “Under the new program,” Koskinen told members of the House oversight committee Wednesday, “if you get a Social Security number and you work, you’ll be eligible to apply for the Earned Income Tax Credit.” “If you are an individual working and applying for the Earned Income Tax Credit, the maximum you can get is in the range of 500 to 600 dollars.” But that is apparently for just one year and could be applied retroactively for up to four years or a maximum of $24,000.
February 12: United Press International: Pentagon Sending 12 A-10 Warthogs to Europe because of Ukraine Conflict
The U.S. Air Force has announced it is sending twelve A-10 Thunderbolts, also known as Warthogs, to Europe in support of Operation Atlantic Resolve, a response to Russia's actions in Ukraine. The A-10s will be sent to Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, and deployed to partner nations in Eastern Europe – not the Ukraine. The 1970s-era aircraft was designed for close-air support for ground troops. Called "tankbusters" for their iconic nose-mounted Gatling guns, capable of quickly dispatching enemy tanks, the A-10s can carry a variety of munitions.
February 12: The Washington Times: Loophole in Obama’s Amnesty Actions May allow Illegal Aliens to Vote
President Obama’s temporary deportation amnesty will make it easier for illegal immigrants to improperly register and vote in elections, state elections officials testified to Congress on Thursday, saying that the driver’s licenses and Social Security numbers they will be granted create a major voting loophole. While stressing that it remains illegal for noncitizens to vote, secretaries of state from Ohio and Kansas said they won’t have the tools to sniff out illegal immigrants who register anyway. And after all they entered the country illegally. What is to stop them from also registering to vote illegally?
February 11: Reuters: President asks for Congress to Authorize War on Islamic State
The President asked Congress on Wednesday to authorize military force against Islamic State that would bar any large-scale invasion by U.S. ground troops and limit operations to three years. Republicans, who control Congress, put up swift resistance to the proposal. They say Obama's foreign policy is too passive and want stronger measures against the militants, also known as ISIS. With Obama's fellow Democrats wary of another Middle East war, it could be difficult for the White House to win enough support to pass the bill, even though six months have passed since the military campaign began. Some lawmakers predicted a vote as soon as March but others anticipated debate could last for months.
February 11: The Washington Examiner: FCC Explore Regulating Websites: Freedom of Speech?
Claiming that thousands of public comments condemning “dark money” in politics can’t be ignored, the Democrat-chaired Federal Election Commission (FEC) on Wednesday appeared ready to open the door to new regulations on donors, bloggers and others who use the Internet to influence policy and campaigns. During a broad FEC hearing to discuss a recent Supreme Court decision that eliminated some donor limits, proponents encouraged the agency to draw up new funding disclosure rules and require even third-party internet-based groups to reveal donors, a move that would extinguish a 2006 decision to keep the agency’s hands off the Internet. Noting the 32,000 public comments that came into the FEC in advance of the hearing, Democratic Commissioner Ellen L. Weintraub said, “75 percent thought that we need to do more about money in politics, particularly in the area of disclosure. And I think that's something that we can't ignore.” But a former Republican FEC chairman said in his testimony that if the agency moves to regulate the Internet, including news voices like the Drudge Report many thousands more comments will flood in in opposition of regulation.
February 11: The Hill: House Sends Keystone Pipeline Bill to the President
The House voted Wednesday to approve legislation authorizing construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, setting up the first major veto of the Obama presidency. Passage fell largely along party lines in a 270-152 vote, with 29 Democrats joining all but one Republican in supporting the pipeline. The White House has repeatedly said President Obama will veto the legislation, and Republicans do not appear to have the two-thirds majority in either chamber to override him. The only mystery left is when and how Obama will announce the veto. It could be a tricky situation for the president, who may not want to be overly confrontational with Democrats and labor groups that back constructing the pipeline.
February 10: The Daily Caller:
FCC Commissioner: Unprecedented Executive Branch involvement in Decision Making:
Republican Federal Communications Commission Commissioner Ajit Pai hosted a press conference on Tuesday to discuss with reporters his concern about President Obama’s proposal “to regulate the internet.” Pai cited concerns ranging from the proposal causing heavy-handed FCC regulations on the internet to the plan being a “gift to trial lawyers.” Under the idea of net neutrality the president, along with FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, is pushing the plan forward prior to the Feb. 26 FCC vote on the matter. However, Sen. Ron Johnson (WI) appears concerned about the influence the White House may have on the agency decision making with this policy.
Johnson sent a letter to the commission asking for information on the issue, as did House Oversight Chairman Jason Chaffetz. Johnson told reporters after Pai’s press conference, “We certainly want to find out to what extent [Wheeler's] change of heart was actually his own or whether there was influence by the White House. [The FCC] is supposed to be an independent agency and so we’re trying to find the information. We want to find the communication between himself and the White House—his agency and the White House and see whether this truly was an independent act.” [Related Story]
February 10: USNI News: NORAD Head: Russians are Increasing their arctic long range air patrols
While Russian military aircraft have stepped up their activity everywhere from the North Sea to the Baltic to the Black Sea in the last year they have also been spotted more frequently closer to the U.S. territory in the Arctic, the head of U.S. Northern Command (NORTHCOM) and North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) said on Tuesday. In particular – flights of Tupolev Tu-95 Bear ‘H’ Bombers have increased recently NORTHCOM’s Adm. Bill Gortney said. “They’ve been very aggressive for us in the Arctic… in the amount of flights we are seeing, not aggressive in how they fly,” he said.
February 10: The Washington Examiner: Illegal Immigrants Squeeze School Budgets
Recent reports show Washington-area schools are facing budget crises as a result of an influx of immigrant students. Since the 2005-06 school year, the percent of students enrolled in English proficiency classes in the D.C. area has increased by an average of nearly 70 percent across seven school districts in the metro area, according to a report by the advocacy group, Federation for American Immigration Reform, which promotes tighter border security, an end to illegal immigration and reduced levels of legal immigration. Those classes cost an average of about one quarter of each district’s budget, and the chunk is getting larger as new students, many of them illegal immigrants or children of illegal immigrants, enroll in English-as-a-second-language classes. “Education programs are being cut,” said the report’s author, Eric Ruark. “We’re not saying that [English proficiency classes] are the cause, but it’s certainly taking money away from them.” However, a policy analyst at the Migration Policy Institute, an independent think tank that tracks international migration and refugee trends, maintains that such a correlation just isn’t that clear.
February 9: Breitbart News: The President’s Internet Neutrality is not Neutral!
Ajit Pai, one of two Republican Commissioners on the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), inferred in a tweet that President Barack Obama’s secret, 332-page “Net Neutrality” document is a scheme for federal micro-managing of the Internet to extract billions in new taxes from consumers and again enforce progressives’ idea of honest, equitable, and balanced content fairness. FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler recently acknowledged that the three Democrats on the commission had decided to avoid Congressional input regarding the Internet by following the 1934 Communications Act to regulate the Internet in the same way this Act was used to in Franklin Roosevelt’s time against the phone companies. In order to ensure that the contents of the document was not made available to its opponents, Chairman Wheeler “embargoed” release of any of the specifics in the new administrative “policy” that will act as law has been published.
Do you remember the “Fairness Doctrine” that was used to keep broadcast media license holders to tow the line or lose their license? Apparently what the FCC is now considering pales by comparison, taking on the Internet that has taken over the free expression and exchange of ideas. Pai claims that “President Obama’s plan marks a monumental shift toward government control of the Internet. It gives the FCC the power to micromanage virtually every aspect of how the Internet works,” he said. “The plan explicitly opens the door to billions of dollars in new taxes on broadband… These new taxes will mean higher prices for consumers and more hidden fees that they have to pay.”
February 8: The Daily Caller: Democrat Strategist: My Party is a “Dictator to the Common Man”
[This report is a little longer than I normally include but you may find it worth the read]
Famed Democrat strategist Pat Caddell is one of the most unvarnished, independent critics of Washington elites. Last December he issued a stunning three-part poll of Republican voters [National Survey of Republican Voters | Key Findings | and Views on Immigration and Healthcare ]. The survey revealed what Caddell calls a “large Grand Canyon chasm” between Republican voters and their leaders in Congress. Stunningly, “60% wanted someone new to lead them.”
Amnesty and repeal of Obamacare were pivotal issues for these voters, as well as their hostility to the budget negotiations on the Continuing Resolution. Rank and file members of Congress find their constituents and supporters back home growing anxious and frustrated, while Republican leaders dismiss these citizens. One Republican leader confidently told a dinner companion last year that he can ignore the tea party agenda, as it is “only 8% of his base.” Caddell has news for the mistaken leader and others who are ignorant of those who put them in office. Caddell confirms, “It ain’t 8%. It’s about 40% of his voters.” He is stunned at the disconnect that seems to be growing in the Republican Party, and this is a Democrat strategist talking. He even relayed a warning that “1/4 to 1/3 of Republicans appear ready to bolt their party.”
Caddell discusses a “donor, lobbyist, establishment class” of Republicans who “have lost election after election” while lining their own pockets, abusing donors and destroying candidates. “They have no message,” he declares. “The problem with Republicans is that as long as they can keep their hands on their goodies in this town, a lot of these lawyers, lobbyists and others, they don’t care whether the Republican Party wins or what happens to the country.” To Caddell, the country is in decline, politicians are self-absorbed and President Obama is in a dangerous “twilight zone” without media scrutiny.
The strategist recalls “when the Democrat Party was the voice of the common man, not the dictator to the common man.” Today, Democrats “have become a tool totally controlled by special interests. The left doesn’t care about ordinary people.” He says big environmental funders like “Tom Steyer basically control the White House and other people.” He detests hypocrites who “fly around in private planes but think the rest of us have to have bicycles.”
February 8: The Daily Caller: Obama Former Intel Chief: Terrorism Strategy Clearly Not Working”
President Obama’s former Defense Intelligence Agency director Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn came out against the current U.S. strategy against terrorism across the board, saying it is “clearly not working,” adding that the U.S. needs a “much broader” strategy to combat the threat. He told Fox News’ Chris Wallace this administration seems unable to define the enemy and “…you can’t defeat an enemy that you don’t admit exists.”
February 8: Fox News: Biden: Ukraine has a right to defend itself – Nothing about weapons
Vice President Joe Biden, was in Germany this weekend to help reach a diplomatic solution to Russian aggression in Ukraine. Biden said the Ukrainians “have a right to defend themselves" but did not address the possibility of the United States sending anti-tank, anti-motar, or other desperately needed weapons systems to them. Biden said he and other U.S. leaders think they should “attempt an honorable peace." He suggested that the impact of economic sanctions imposed on Russia for its actions will get worse if leaders refuses to accept a peaceful resolution and continue to escalate the conflict, the White House said Saturday. Meanwhile Russia has said any attempts to provide arms to the Ukrainians would be viewed as a threat to Russian national security!
Can we learn from history? Neville Chamberlain was the Prime Minister of Britain who is perhaps best known for his appeasement in foreign policy and in particular for his signing of the Munich Agreement in 1938, conceding the German-populated area of Czechoslovakia to Germany. And we all know how that turned out in 1939 as Hitler continued his aggressive policies. Is there a parallel that can be drawn between this Administration and the Chamberlain approach to foreign policy?
February 8: BBC News: Greenspan Predicts Greece Exit from Euro Inevitable
Greenspan said he could not see who would be willing to put up more loans to bolster Greece's struggling economy. Greece wants to re-negotiate its bailout, but Greenspan said "I don't think it will be resolved without Greece leaving the eurozone". Greenspan has long been a critic of the European single currency.
February 7: Yahoo News: Benghazi panel plans to interview Susan Rice and others:
A House panel investigating the deadly 2012 attacks on U.S. diplomatic facilities in Benghazi, Libya, plans to interview at least 20 officials including National Security Adviser Susan Rice, former Pentagon chief Leon Panetta and ex-CIA head David Petraeus, the committee said Friday. The list of interviewees - a veritable "who's who" of U.S. foreign policy and national security officials - emerged as Democrats complained about the "unlimited" budget of the Select Committee on Benghazi and its open-ended schedule, as it covers similar ground to earlier investigations. Democrats say the committee's efforts are politically motivated while Republicans say that the Department of State under the headship of Hillary Clinton, failed to protect U.S. diplomatic personnel, including the Ambassador.
February 7: The Daily Caller: Obama’s National Security? Well at least we are not in fear of being nuked?
The Russia bear is eating Ukraine, the Middle East’s jihadis are role-playing Mohammad’s own wars, China’s wealthy nerds are tunneling through the Internet to steal anything they can find, unskilled Latin-American migrants are rushing the border and young Americans can’t get decent jobs, but President Obama’s national security adviser says Americans shouldn’t worry. “What’s missing here in Washington is a sense of perspective,” Susan Rice said at a Feb. 6 briefing intended to explain her boss’ national security strategy. “Yes, there’s a lot going on,” but it’s not as threatening as during the Cold War when the nation faced the prospect of utter nuclear annihilation, she said.
February 6: Reuters: Justice Department Charges Six with supporting Islamic Militant Groups
Six people have been charged with providing money and equipment including U.S. military uniforms, combat boots, tactical gear, and firearms accessories to foreign fighters joining al Qaeda, Nusra Front and Islamic State in Syria and Iraq, the U.S. Justice Department said on Friday. The six are Bosnian natives living in Missouri, Illinois and New York. Five of them were arrested in the United States and charged with conspiring to provide material support and resources to terrorists. The sixth person is overseas, the department said in a statement. The Grand Jury indictment said people in Turkey and Saudi Arabia acted as intermediaries who received the money and property from the defendants in the U.S. and transferred them to militants fighting with groups in Syria, Iraq and elsewhere. It was also disclosed that two of the accused parties discussed buying a night-vision optic with a built-in camera for recording killings while fighting in the Middle East, according to the indictment. All those indicted were charged with conspiring to provide material support and resources to terrorists, and with providing material support to terrorists.
February 6: The Daily Caller: Navy’s New Gun fires projectiles
at up to Mach 7 – No Powder or Explosives Needed!
The U.S. Navy publicly unveiled its latest futuristic weapon at the Future Force Science and Technology Expo in Washington, D.C. this week — the electromagnetic railgun, which can fire projectiles at an air-splitting 5,300 miles per hour. By using electromagnetic pulses to generate a magnetic force between two rails, the latest prototype of the railgun developed by defense contractor BAE in conjunction with the Office of Naval Research can accelerate a projectile up to Mach 7 within 10 milliseconds. The gun uses no gunpowder to generate propelling force for its shots, which hit with such destructive force, they don’t need to carry any explosive ordinance. “It’s like a flux capacitor,” chief of Naval research Rear Admiral Mathias Winter said in a video posted on YouTube. “You’re sitting here thinking about these next generation and futuristic ideas, and we’ve got scientists who have designed these, and it’s coming to life.”
February 6: Yahoo News: Israeli Official: Netanyahu may have been misled by House Speaker
A senior Israeli official suggested on Friday that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu may have been misled into thinking an invitation to address the U.S. Congress on Iran next month was fully supported by the Democrats. He was invited by Speaker Boehner to address the House on March 3rd. The move angered the White House, which is upset about the event coming two weeks before Israeli elections and that Netanyahu, who has a testy relationship with Democratic President Obama, is expected to be critical of U.S. policy on Iran.
February 6: International Business Times: Colorado Revives Gun Control Debate in State Legislature:
Lawmakers in Colorado this week wrangled over a slate of bills aimed at rolling back restrictions on gun ownership and the sale of firearms. Colorado policymakers debated seven bills over gun control this week, with narrow defeats for four proposals in the Democrat-controlled House.
Republicans, who won a slim majority in the Senate during last November’s elections, advanced two Senate bills -- one repealing a requirement for background checks for anyone transferring possession of a firearm, and another authorizing concealed carry for anyone authorized to carry a handgun. The measures are expected to fail in the House or be vetoed by the Democratic governor, however. Republican lawmakers in Colorado said they were committed to the ideology of gun ownership championed by the party.
February 5: The Washington Post:
President’s Comments about Christians vs. ISIS and Muslims Offensive to many Christians
Some Republicans are outraged. “The president’s comments this morning at the prayer breakfast are the most offensive I’ve ever heard a president make in my lifetime,” said former Virginia governor Jim Gilmore. “He has offended every believing Christian in the United States.”
February 5: Fox News: Obama: Christians have done wrong things too!
The President called on people of faith to reject those who use religion to justify evil – and in doing so – reminded people about the terrible things done in the name of Jesus Christ. Speaking at the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington the President issued a word of warning to Christians. “And lest we get on our high horse and think this is unique to some other place – remember that during the Crusades and the Inquisition committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ,” the president said. He also chided the United States, “our home country.” “Slavery and Jim Crow all too often was justified in the name of Christ,” he added. He mentioned those who try to justify terrible acts in the name of religion, but as has been his practice the President never mentioned radical Islam or jihadists or Islamic extremists. He did, however, call ISIS a “brutal, vicious death cult that in the name of religion carries out unspeakable acts of barbarism.”
February 5: Fox News: Shocked Jordanians Rally Behind King to Fight ISIS
The shocking images of a Jordanian Air Force pilot being burned alive in an outdoor cage by ISIS terrorists have galvanized the country, once seen as possible fertile recruitment ground for the group, behind King Abdullah II's calls for a stepped-up military campaign. Jordan's monarch has vowed to wage a "harsh" war against ISIS after consulting with his military chiefs Wednesday. In a statement, the king said Jordan is waging a war of principles against the militants. He said that Jordan's response to the killing of the pilot "will be harsh because this terrorist organization is not only fighting us, but also fighting Islam and its pure values." Abdullah pledged to hit the militants "hard in the very center of their strongholds." The NY Times reported the king was greeted warmly upon his return Wednesday by thousands of people who lined the main roads to and from the airport.
February 5: Fox News: GOP unveils plan for ObamaCare Replacement:
Congressional Republicans are unveiling what they say is a new plan to repeal and replace ObamaCare, but the ‘blueprint,’ as they call it, looks an awful lot like what’s been floated before. The Patient Choice, Affordability, Responsibility and Empowerment – or CARE – Act provides for targeted tax credits to individuals and families up to 300 percent above the poverty line to encourage people to buy plans in the market place. It also allows insurers to sell plans across state lines and caps the amount of monetary damages that can be awarded in medical malpractice litigation. Like the Affordable Care Act, dependents are able to stay on their parents’ healthcare plans until they’re 26, and no one can be denied coverage for pre-existing conditions -- although this plan calls for a specific ‘continuous coverage’ protection where individuals moving from one plan to another cannot be denied.
February 5: Fox News: Gallop CEO Calls Jobless Rate another White House Lie:
The chairman of the venerable Gallup research and polling firm says the official U.S. unemployment rate is really an underestimation and a “big lie" perpetuated by the White House, Wall Street and the media. Gallop CEO and Chairman Jim Clifton says the “cheerleading” for the 5.6 number is “deafening.” But says Americans out of work for at least four weeks are “as unemployed as one can possibly be” and argues that as many as 30 million of them are now either out of work or severely underemployed. He points out that an out-of-work engineer, for example, performing a minimum of one hour of work a week, even mowing a lawn for $20, also is not officially counted as unemployed. In addition, those working part time but wanting full-time work -- the so-called “severely underemployed” -- also are not counted. “There's no other way to say this,” Clifton says. “The official unemployment rate … amounts to a big lie.”
February 4: Stars and Stripes:
Don’t Believe Everything You Hear on Television: Brian Williams NBC Anchor Busted!
NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams admitted Wednesday he was not aboard a helicopter hit and forced down by RPG fire during the invasion of Iraq in 2003, a false claim that has been repeated by the network for years. Williams repeated the claim Friday during NBC’s coverage of a public tribute at a New York Rangers hockey game for a retired soldier that had provided ground security for the grounded helicopters, a game to which Williams accompanied him. In an interview with Stars and Stripes, he said he had misremembered the events and was sorry. The admission came after crew members on the 159th Aviation Regiment’s Chinook that was hit by two rockets and small arms fire told Stars and Stripes that the NBC anchor was nowhere near that aircraft or two other Chinooks flying in the formation that took fire. Williams arrived in the area about an hour later on another helicopter after the other three had made an emergency landing, the crew members said. Williams apologized, well kind of, by saying his falsehood was done as an attempt to show support for the troops. But, apparently, this is not the first time he has stretched the truth. The actions NBC will take after these revelations is still under consideration.
February 4: CNN News: Jeb Bush Comments on Immigration Shock Conservative Voters:
During a "Family Reunion" conference hosted by the Hispanic Leadership Network in April 2013, Jeb Bush spoke freely on the promise immigrants hold for America and his views on reform. He said, during a discussion with Univision, that it was "ridiculous" to think that DREAMers, children brought to the U.S. by their parents illegally, shouldn’t have an “accelerated path” to citizenship. As he moves towards a probable presidential run his 2013 comments are certain to deepen already developing headaches for him — on both the left and especially the right, as conservatives react in a mixture of bewilderment and eye-rolling when confronted with some of Bush's resurfaced lines on immigration.
February 4: Computer World:
California Utility Company forcing IT workers to train emigrants from India who will replace them:
Information technology workers at Southern California Edison (SCE) are being laid off and replaced by workers from India. Some employees are training their H-1B visa holding replacements, and many have already lost their jobs. The employees are upset and say they can't understand how H-1B guest workers can be used to replace them. The immigration laws clearly state that people are not to be allowed to emigrate if by doing so it will adversely impact American jobs. But that is exactly what seems to be happening under this current administration. In this instance, the IT organization's "transition effort" is expected to result in about 400 layoffs, with "another 100 or so employees leaving voluntarily," SCE said in a statement.
February 4: Breitbart News: Rand Paul to oppose Lynch AG Nomination
Sen. Rand Paul will oppose—very publicly—the nomination of U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch to replace Eric Holder as Attorney General of the United States. When Paul heard about her non-answer to a Ted Cruz (R-TX) question during the confirmation —she wouldn’t commit that the federal government does not have the authority to take the immigration actions it did — he was incredulous. He told his office staff he’s going to oppose her and aim to derail her nomination chances. “Oh, she’s going down,” Paul said.
February 2: National Review:
Over 5.5 Million Work Permits Issued to Foreign Nationals since President took office – Impact on U.S. citizens seeking employment?
More than 5.46 million foreign nationals have received work permits from the federal government since 2009, according to a new report from the Center for Immigration Studies. Data uncovered from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services agency reveal that approximately 982,000 work permits were given to illegal immigrants and other foreign nationals unqualified for admission, most of whom crossed the border without inspection. USCIS is the DHS agency responsible for issuing work permits and processing applications related to President Obama’s executive action on immigration. The remarkable number of work permits granted by the federal government to law-breaking aliens better explains how all net jobs growth since 2007 has gone to immigrants.
Related Story: The Daily Caller: President Barack Obama has quietly handed out an extra 5.46 million work permits for non-immigrant foreigners who arrived as tourists, students, illegal immigrants or other types of migrants since 2009, according to federal documents released by a Freedom of Information Act request. “The executive branch is operating a huge parallel work-authorization system outside the bounds of the [immigration] laws and limits written by Congress [and which] inevitably reduces job opportunities for Americans,” said Jessica Vaughan, the policy director at the Center for Immigration Studies.
February 2: Americans for Tax Reform: Obama’s Budget crates a second Death Tax
The Obama budget calls for a stealth increase in the death tax rate from 40% to nearly 60%. Here's how it works: Your dad buys a house for $10,000. He dies and leaves it to you. The fair market value on the date of death is $100,000. You sell it for $120,000. Under current law, you have a capital gain of $20,000 (sales price of $120,000 less step up in basis of $100,000). Under the Obama plan, you have a capital gain of $110,000 (sales price of $120,000 less original basis of $10,000). There are exemptions for most households, but this misses the larger point: the whole reason we have step up in basis is because we have a death tax. If you are going to hold an estate liable for tax, you can't then hold the estate liable for tax again when the inheritor sells it. This adds yet another redundant layer of tax on savings and investment. It's a huge tax hike on family farms and small businesses.
February 2: Yahoo News: Behind President’s Budget Proposal is a “Gloomy” view of the future:
Beneath President Barack Obama's plan to fight income inequality lies a gloomy view of an economy that is growing slower and creating fewer rewards for its workers than it did in much of the last century. In a budget proposal unveiled on Monday, the White House cut forecasts for an array of economic variables, depicting less growth, weaker inflation and lower interest rates than officials expected only a year ago. This comes despite an unemployment rate that the Obama administration expects to hit the 5.2 percent level considered to be roughly in line with full employment sometime this year. The administration's take on the economy is one of close to a prolonged period of stagnation.
February 2: The Washington Times:
Secret Tapes of Hillary Clinton’s Role in War in Lybia to be reviewed by Benghazi Committee:
The chairman of a special House committee created to investigate the 2012 Benghazi tragedy on Monday instructed his staff to review secretly recorded tapes and intelligence reports that detail Hillary Clinton’s role in advocating and executing the war in Libya, opening the door for a possible expansion of his probe. Chairman Gowdy’s decision to seek a review of the materials carries potential consequences for the 2016 election in which Clinton is expected to seek the presidency. It could also move the committee to examine the strained relationship between the State Department and Pentagon, which sharply disagreed over the 2011 war in Libya and the response to the terrorist attack on the U.S. compound in Benghazi a year later.
January 31: Jerusalem Post:
Obama has agreed to 80% of Iran’s Nuclear Talk Demands, Israeli Officials Claim:
Israeli officials told Israeli media on Friday that they are convinced the Obama Administration has already agreed to most of Iran’s demands in the P5+1 negotiations over the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program. According to unnamed officials, Washington “has given the Iranians 80 percent of what they want” out of the negotiations, local media reports. Jerusalem officials appear alarmed at the prospect that the United States will soon strike a deal with the Iranian regime that will leave it with a “breakout point” of months before it can gallop toward the bomb. Meanwhile an Obama Administration official dismissed the claims as “complete nonsense.” But then again these are the same people who brought you if you like your doctor you and keep him and if you like you plan you can keep it!
January 31: The New York Times: White House Seeks to Limit Health Law’s Tax Troubles!
Obama administration officials and other supporters of ObamaCare say they worry that the tax-filing season will generate new anger as uninsured consumers learn that they must pay tax penalties and as many people struggle with complex forms needed to justify tax credits they received in 2014 to pay for health insurance. The White House has already granted some exemptions and is considering more to avoid another political firestorm.
January 30: The Washington Post: The CIA/Mossad killed senior Hezbollah figure in car bombing:
On Feb. 12, 2008, Imad Mughniyah, Hezbollah’s international operations chief, walked on a quiet nighttime street in Damascus after dinner at a nearby restaurant. Not far away, a team of CIA spotters in the Syrian capital was tracking his movements. As Mughniyah approached a parked SUV, a bomb planted in a spare tire on the back of the vehicle exploded, sending a burst of shrapnel across a tight radius. He was killed instantly. The device was triggered remotely from Tel Aviv by agents with Mossad, the Israeli foreign intelligence service, who were in communication with the operatives on the ground in Damascus. “The way it was set up, the U.S. could object and call it off, but it could not execute,” said a former U.S. intelligence official.
January 29: The Washington Times:
Senate Demands Obama Administration Turn Over All Communications with the IRS:
Senate Finance Chair, Orrin Hatch and 13 other Republicans on the Committee demanded that President Obama turn over all communications he and his aides have had with the IRS since 2010, hoping to find out whether the tax collection agency shared private taxpayer information with political operatives at the White House. The request, made in a letter, is specifically addressed to the President and is an attempt to determine whether any White House or IRS officials employees broke the law by acquiring or sharing private information
January 29: Fox News:
DOD opened back channel with Qaddafi to keep U.S. & Clinton from getting involved with Libyan Civil War:
Pentagon officials were so concerned with then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's push in 2011 to back Libyan rebels against Muammar Qaddafi that they opened their own back-channels with Qaddafi to try and prevent the U.S. from entering the civil war, according to a report that cited newly uncovered audio tapes. According to a report Thursday in The Washington Times, Pentagon officials used an intelligence "liaison" to communicate with Qaddafi's son and a top Libyan leader outside of White House or State Department knowledge. A senior Democratic congressman also reportedly was involved. Recorded conversations said "You should see these internal State Department reports that are produced in the State Department that go out to the Congress. They're just full of stupid, stupid facts," the U.S. intermediary reportedly told the Qaddafi regime in 2011. The paper said the liaison was "specifically dispatched by the Joint Chiefs of Staff." Eventually the U.S. helped topple the Qadddafi regime and in the aftermath of the civil war the U.S. ambassador was murdered during the attack on Benghazi in 2012 while under Mrs. Clinton's watch. The Washington Times story suggests that the Obama Administration's efforts, led by Clinton, were focused on regime change, not a negotiated settlement, during the lead-up to the war.
January 29: The Weekly Standard: White House Netanyahu Ratchets Up Rhetoric
The Obama Administration is angry with Israel for accepting a Republican Congress' invitation to address both houses in a joint session and for doing so without checking with the White House first! The outrage the episode has incited within President Obama’s inner circle became clear in unusually sharp criticism with statements like the Israeli ambassador, who helped orchestrate the invitation, had repeatedly placed Mr. Netanyahu’s political fortunes above the relationship between Israel and the United States. This is not the first time unnamed Administration officials have made derogatory statements about Israeli officials, such as last summer when one called Prime Minister Netanyahu a "coward" and a "chickens--t". But there is no reason to think those unnamed angry officials do not speak for an angry president. The Obama White House usually prides itself on not getting angry. Its self-image is that it's cool, calm, and collected. And it doesn't get angry at, for example, the Islamic Republic of Iran. The Obama White House understands and appreciates the complexities of the Islamic Republic's politics and history. It seems it is only with respect to the Jewish state that the Obama White House is impatient, peremptory, and angry.
January 29: The Daily Caller: Obama Administration Advisors caught “Green-Handed”
In 2013, John Podesta was paid $87,000 by a “shadowy” foreign billionaire whose passion is preventing energy exploration on American land. Just two years later, Podesta is a member of President Obama’s inner circle, and the driving force inside the White House to block 12 million acres of land in Alaska’s Artic National Wildlife Refuge from oil drilling. The circumstances suggest Podesta may have run afoul of Obama’s highly-touted ethics pledge, which requires political appointees to disqualify themselves in matters relating to the interests of a former employer or client. Podesta — who is preparing to leave the White House to take a top position with Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign -- has largely avoided public scrutiny during his time as a White House Counselor. But his work came into fuller view earlier this week when he emerged as one of the architects of the new White House policy that seeks to end any future drilling for oil on Alaska’s coastal plain.
A public ethics controversy for the White House Counselor involving Hansjorg Wyss, the second wealthiest man in Switzerland, could be awkward for Podesta as he prepares to kick off Hillary’s campaign. The ethical questions could also force into the open the relationship between Podesta and Wyss — including why a left-wing foreigner is wielding influence over how Americans use their land. Wyss, a Swiss citizen, has been a generous donor to Podesta’s Center for American Progress, giving $4 million to the group during Podesta’s tenure. Podesta has returned the favor by rewarding Wyss with a coveted seat on CAP’s board.
January 29: Sky News: UK Summons Ambassador over Russian Bomber Overflights
Two Civilian Aircraft needed to be Diverted as Russian Bomber flew over the English Channel. Britain has summoned Russia's ambassador after RAF Typhoons were scrambled when two Russian bombers flew over the English Channel. The British fighter jets were scrambled on Wednesday when the Russian TU-95 'Bear' long-range bombers flew near UK airspace. A Foreign Office spokesperson said while the planes stopped short of entering British airspace, the incident was part of an "increasing pattern of out of area operations by Russian aircraft". A spokesperson said: "While the Russian planes did not enter sovereign UK airspace and were escorted by RAF Typhoons throughout the time they were in the UK area of interest, the Russian planes caused disruption to civil aviation. "That is why we summoned the Russian Ambassador today to account for the incident."
January 29: The Hill: Senate votes to build the Keystone XL Pipeline
The Senate on Thursday voted 62-36 to build the Keystone XL oil sands pipeline, delivering Republicans the first legislative achievement of their new majority. Nine Democrats joined with Republicans in voting to approve the $8 billion project, five votes short of the two-thirds majority that would be needed to override a promised veto from President Obama. The bill now heads to the House, where Republicans are determined to act quickly to force Obama into taking what they believe will be a politically unpopular stand against a project that would carry oil sands from Canada to refineries on the Gulf Coast.
While the House voted to build the pipeline earlier this year, the Senate added several amendments to the legislation. The earliest the Keystone bill could reach Obama would be next week — just as the State Department receives final comments on the proposal to build the pipeline.
January 29: The Hill: Obama Budget $74 Billion over caps:
President Obama will propose in his 2016 budget request to raise discretionary spending by $74 billion above the caps in sequestration, a White House official said Thursday. Obama, who will formally unveil his next budget blueprint on Monday, will ask Congress to increase discretionary spending by 7 percent above caps set by the Budget Control Act of 2011.
White House press secretary Josh Earnest called the budget “the beginning of a negotiation,” but argued it was an important marker for the president’s priorities.
January 28: The Daily Mail:
CBO report says Obamacare program costs taxpayers $50,000 for every person covered:
It will cost the federal government [Taxpayers, that is] $50,000 for every person who gets health insurance under the Obamacare law, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) revealed on Monday. The best-case scenario described by the CBO would result in 24-27 million more people being insured but it also will require an estimated bank-busting $1.35 trillion – or $50,000 per head - to cover the cost of the subsidies. Not addressed is what would happen if the Supreme Court decides this summer that health insurance subsidies only apply to states that have their own healthcare exchanges (e.g., not including most of the states where the Federal government, and not the state, established the exchanges).
January 28: Jerusalem Post:
IDF strikes Syrian army targets following Golan rocket attacks:
The Israel Air Force (IAF) struck Syrian army artillery targets late on Tuesday night in response to an earlier rocket attack carried out on the Golan Heights and Mount Hermon. "The IDF views the Syrian regime as responsible for what occurs in its territory, and will act at any time and any way it sees fit to protect the citizens of Israel," the IDF said. The targets were accurately struck, the IDF added.
Two rockets launched from Syrian territory exploded in open territory, failing to cause injuries or damages.
January 27: Yahoo News:
Arabs in Israel banding together to try and defeat Netanyahu
Israel's Arab political parties are banding together under one ticket for the first time ever ahead of national elections in March, hoping to boost turnout and help unseat Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The result is an awkward political marriage of communists, Palestinian nationalists, religious Muslims, feminists and even one Jew. But Arab politicians say it will improve chronically low Arab voter turnout and help block Netanyahu from forming the next government. "We will be a central player in politics like never before," said Ayman Odeh, a first-time parliamentary candidate and the leader of the combined Arab list.
January 27: Fox News: Senate to start hearings on Lynch nomination to AG position: Immigration and IRS expected to be focus of the meeting:
Senate hearings begin Wednesday on whether to confirm U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch as President Obama’s next attorney general, with Judiciary Committee members set to question her aggressively on such issues as immigration law and potential overreaches by the IRS and federal law enforcement. The hearings in the GOP-led Senate Judiciary Committee are expected to begin with Republican members asking Lynch, the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York, about whether she thinks Obama has overstepped his executive authority by deferring deportation for millions of illegal immigrants. “It will be a long first day, because my approach … is to allow for as many questions as necessary to ensure that members have a chance to receive answers in person if they’d like,” said committee Chairman Sen. Chuck Grassley, (R-IA)
January 27: Fox News: Ex-military Intel Officer says White House is delaying announcement that Bergdahl will be charged with desertion:
A former military intelligence officer claimed Tuesday that the White House was delaying the announcement of its decision to file desertion charges against Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, who was released by Taliban-aligned militants last year in exchange for five Guantanamo prisoners. In defending claims he originally made Monday on "The O'Reilly Factor" that Bergdahl would be charged, retired Lt.
Col. Tony Shaffer told Bill O'Reilly that there was "no doubt" the White House was dragging out its decision. Shaffer, who believes the White House's alleged decision to delay its announcement is politically motivated, added that he stands by "all of those facts," referring to his report on Monday that Bergdahl's lawyer has been given a statement of charges.
January 27: The Hill: Clinton Willing to testify on Benghazi:
Hillary Clinton is willing to testify before the House Select Committee that is investigating the 2012 terrorist attacks in Benghazi, Libya, according to the panel’s top Democrat. Congressman Cummings (D-MD) on Tuesday said he has spoken to Clinton about the possibility of testifying at the request of Chairman Gowdy (R-SC), and she “did not hesitate for one second. She said ... I’ll do it, period,” Cummings said.
January 27: The Daily Caller:
State Benghazi witness takes withering questions for criticism of conservatives
A State Department witness was confronted during a Capitol Hill hearing on Tuesday about his past comments questioning the motives of conservatives for investigating the 2012 terrorist attacks against Americans in Benghazi. During a hearing of the Benghazi Select Committee, Congressman Roskam (R-IL) repeatedly questioned Joel M. Rubin, the deputy assistant secretary for House affairs, about past op-eds he authored suggesting that Republicans were only investigating the attacks for partisan reasons. “You don’t think that this a frivolous, partisan investigation, do you?” Roskam asked Rubin Tuesday.
January 27: Washington Free Beacon: Photos Show China Military Base Near disputed Japanese Island:
Recent satellite photos of an island off the coast of China confirm Beijing’s buildup of military forces within attack range of Japan’s Senkaku islands. Construction of a helicopter base on Nanji Island was observed by a commercial spy satellite in October. “China’s new heli-base on Nanji Island demonstrates that the PLA is preparing for an offensive military operation against the Senkaku/Daiyoutai Islands,” said Rick Fisher, a senior fellow with the International Assessment and Strategy Center. “If you want to rate the level of tension, this is the PLA reaching for its holster. When forces start deploying to Nanji Island, that means the hammer is cocked.”
January 26: The Daily News: Congressional Deadlines May Determine the Course of the Nation:
It is time for Congress to get its job done, taking actions that are fiscally sound and based on sound policies. If the President vetoes such actions and parts of government are shutdown, let the blame fall upon the Administration! Fiscal restraint and sound policy are not an option, they’re an imperative!
January 25: Fox News: Grassley to Hospitals: Why are you suing poor patients?
Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA) is calling out nonprofit hospitals who are suing poor patients over unpaid bills and says they could be breaking the law. Grassley said the hospital had stretched the law to the breaking point. He was concerned that “… patients who would qualify for financial assistance…” have been subject to abusive billing and collection practices. "The practices appear to be extremely punitive and unfair to both low-income patients and taxpayers who subsidize charitable hospitals' tax breaks."
January 25: Sky News: Change in Greek Leadership may see them leave the EuroZone
Greece was forced by the Euro bailout to make deep budget cuts and fiscal reforms as part of the deal. The current leadership is insisting that its actions are about to bear fruit, but exit polls indicate that Samaras – current leader of Greece – is about to be relieved of duty by the leftist candidate (Syriza) who wants to soften the burden of the cuts. If this happens it looks as though Greece will be cut loose from the European Union’s EuroZone and allowed to fail on its debt payments. What is happening in Greece is a picture of what could happen in the United States if it doesn’t start dealing with its thirst for spending and its continual increasing of the national debt.
January 25: Reuters: Aggression in Ukraine Continues – Obama Promises Steps Against Russian-backed Rebels but Taking Military Option Off the Table:
Pro-Moscow rebels, backed by what NATO says is the open participation of Russian troops, pressed on with their offensive on Sunday after restarting the war in eastern Ukraine with the first all-out assault since a truce five months ago. President Obama said Washington was considering all options short of military action to isolate Russia.
The European Union called an emergency meeting of foreign ministers of its 28 member states.
January 25: Fox News: TSA: Record Number of Guns seized in 2014
Government screeners at airport checkpoints seized a record number of guns in 2014. Air travelers caught trying to board a plane with a weapon included a 94-year-old man at New York’s LaGuardia Airport. The man had a loaded .38-caliber revolver clipped to his belt. The LA Times reported Friday on a new Transportation Security Administration study that found a significant increase in the number of firearms seized in carry-on bags at 224 airports. The TSA said it confiscated 2,212 firearms in 2014, compared to 1,813 in 2013. That’s a rise of 22 percent.
January 25: The Daily Caller: George Will: Obama goes out of his way to show disdain for Congress:
When asked about President Barack Obama’s refusal to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during his trip to Washington to address Congress, syndicated columnist George Will said on “Fox News Sunday” that Obama often goes out of his way to “show disdain” for Congress and Netanyahu. When asked if Boehner was wrong to invite Netannyahu without consulting the White House and whether the Prime Minister should have accepted the invitation, Will responded neither was wrong.
January 24: The Times of Israel: Iran Vows to Attack Israel from the West Bank
Iran has threatened to attack Israel from the West Bank, in retaliation for an alleged Israeli airstrike in Syria on Sunday that left 12 Iranian and Hezbollah operatives dead. The airstrike has been attributed to Israel and though Jerusalem has not officially confirmed it, anonymous government sources have admitted as much. Deputy head of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Lt.-Gen. Hossein Salami vowed Saturday to “open new fronts [against Israel] and change the balance of power.” In an excerpt of an interview with Salami, the IRGC’s number two said that Iran and Hezbollah would provide a “special reprisal” to the strike, according to the Tasnim News Agency, adding that opening a new front in the West Bank was in the works.
January 24: The Hill: Walker Wows the Conservative Crowd in Iowa
Gov. Scott Walker (R-WI) delivered a fiery speech in Iowa on Saturday, wowing the conservative crowd with a passionate argument for small government and his own lengthy resume. The Wisconsin governor, in rolled-up shirtsleeves, paced the stage as he blasted big government and touted a long list of conservative reforms he's pushed through in blue Wisconsin -- touted his three victories over Democrats and recall win as well as his state-level education reforms. Each new policy he helped pass drew cheers: Voter ID laws, education reforms, tax cuts and defunding Planned Parenthood. The governor also showed a rhetorical flourish that's largely been absent from his previous campaigns, drawing the crowd to its feet multiple times. "There's a reason we take a day off to celebrate the 4th of July and not the 15th of April," he said, almost yelling as his voice grew hoarse. "Because in America we value our independence from the government, not our dependence on it."
January 24: The Telegraph: The EU Dream is Dying one State at a Time:
Europe is being swept by a wave of popular disenchantment and revolt against mainstream political parties and the European Union. In 2007, a majority of Europeans - 52 per cent - trusted the EU. That level of trust has now fallen to a third.
In Greece, a far-Left Socialist party candidate, Syriza, is poised to win elections with a political program that would overturn eurozone policies. Many believe the Greek revolt against the loss of their economic sovereignty by eurozone is only the beginning. France, Italy, Spain, and even Germany are beginning to show cracks in the European political order are beginning to show. [Related Story]
January 23: The Daily Caller: NY Gun Store to Close: Restrictive Gun Laws Cited:
A New York gun dealer says he will shut down two stores he operates near Rochester and move to North Carolina because of onerous regulations on the sale of firearms and ammunition. “The SAFE Act killed us in terms of business,” Kordell Jackson, who owns Jackson Guns and Ammo, said. “It was very difficult with sales and regulations with transferring and obtaining firearms, so I decided to close up,” Jackson said.
January 23: The Hill: GOP to IRS: Why hire the company that botched Healthcare.gov?
A Republican lawmaker is asking the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) why it hired a contractor to help with ObamaCare that was previously fired for its shoddy work on HealthCare.gov. Rep. Peter Roskam (R-IL), who leads the Ways and Means subcommittee on Oversight, called on the IRS Friday to explain how CGI Federal was chosen and what work the company will perform. "The American people should know why the IRS spent millions of taxpayer dollars to hire the same company responsible for the botched HealthCare.gov rollout," Roskam said in a written statement. "From an agency clamoring for more funding, this isn’t a confidence-inspiring use of resources," he said
January 22: The Daily Signal:
Federal Agencies Continue to Stonewall Benghazi Investigation:
Some federal agencies continue to stonewall when it comes to the ongoing investigation into the Benghazi terrorist attacks, according to insiders familiar with the process. They say the House Benghazi Select Committee isn’t getting access to all relevant documents and witnesses. That will be the topic of the committee’s first public hearing of 2015 called for Tuesday next week. Most of the committee’s work since a (slightly) bipartisan vote created it May 8, 2014, has quietly focused on the massive task of gathering information.
The committee has provided relevant federal agencies a list of several dozen witnesses it wishes to interview. But Republican staff members are encountering some of the same roadblocks that other committees met as they investigated pieces of the events surrounding the Sept. 11, 2012, terrorist attacks on U.S. facilities in Benghazi.
January 22: The Hill: House approves anti-abortion bill but not by a veto-proof margin [242 For, 179 Against]
House Republicans on Thursday passed an alternative anti-abortion bill after pulling their originally planned legislation from the floor in a last-minute scramble. The new bill, unveiled less than 24 hours earlier, would prohibit taxpayer funding for abortion. Passage fell largely along party lines by a vote of 242-179. Rep. Richard Hanna (R-NY) was the only Republican to oppose the measure, while three Democrats — Reps. Henry Cuellar (TX), Dan Lipinski (IL) and Collin Peterson (MN) — voted in favor of it.
GOP leaders scheduled the vote for the same day as the annual March for Life, when thousands of anti-abortion-rights demonstrators descend upon the National Mall on the anniversary of the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision. But leadership yanked the original measure slated for a vote after complaints from House GOP women and centrists who objected to language granting the victims of rape an exception from the ban on abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy only if the rape was reported to police.
January 22: MCR Television: Head of Immigration Officer’s Union Blast Amnesty and Immigration bill
“We admit individuals who have no business being admitted,” the head of the immigration officers’ union said today, blasting both Obama’s amnesty and the new border bill. The new “border security” bill is “a global joke,” he said. Those who arrived in the 2014 border run are still here, often living on US support and even applying for US jobs. The bill also delays by years the implementation of biometric exit-entry to police the rising overstay catastrophe.”
January 22: Fox News: GOP base: Repeal Obamacare or go home!
[Republican lawmakers are facing rising pressure from conservative groups and activists to go big – or potentially go home].
After taking control of Congress, Republicans who ran in part on their opposition to the law are starting to roll out legislation undoing pieces of it. But the party is stuck in an internal debate over how far they can really go – risking a potential backlash from the party’s right flank if they don’t go far enough. Tea Party activists say they are frustrated with the pace of progress toward conservatives’ goal of upending the Affordable Care Act. So far, several Republican lawmakers, like Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orin Hatch (R-UT) have indicated they’d have better luck chipping away at the law “piece by piece.” On Wednesday, Senators Hatch and Alexander (R-TN) introduced legislation to repeal the health care law’s individual mandate requiring most people to obtain insurance. The legislation is backed by 20 GOP senators. They are also pushing a bill to scratch the law’s controversial 2.3 percent tax on medical devices.
January 22: The Daily Caller: DOJ Won’t File Against Wilson in Ferguson Case – It’s Over!
The Justice Department is preparing to clear Ferguson, Missouri police officer Darren Wilson of violating the civil rights of Michael Brown. Federal law enforcement officials are putting the finishing touches on a legal memo recommending that Wilson not face charges, which would have required the Justice Department to show that Wilson intended to violate the civil rights of Brown — who is black — when he opened fire. They can’t build a case against him because there is no case against him. They knew that going in. This was a purely political move. Now that it’s safe to drop it, they’re dropping it. Darren Wilson shot Michael Brown in self-defense. It’s over. You can whine all you want, you can blurt out as many stupid, dishonest slogans as you want, but it’s over.
January 22: Associated Press: President passes on meeting with Netanyahu:
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's planned trip to Washington in March is kicking up a diplomatic dust storm in the nation's capital. On Thursday, the White House said President Barack Obama would not meet the prime minister when he comes to the U.S. to address a joint session of Congress. The White House appeared stunned by what it saw as a breach of diplomatic decorum by Netanyahu, a leader with whom Obama has a history of tension.
January 22: Israel National News: Fury in Israel over Obama’s Mossad Lies:
Senior Israeli says 'friends don't act like this' after Mossad Head denies US claim that he opposed Iran sanctions in talk with senators. A senior Israeli official delivered an uncommonly harsh attack on US President Barack Obama's administration Thursday evening, following the American report that alleged that Mossad Head Tamir Pardo had warned US senators against further Iran sanctions, in contradiction of Israel's official stance. Israeli government officials said they had gone over the minutes of the meeting between Pardo and the delegation of senators, and that Pardo had not said what was attributed to him.
January 20: The Washington Examiner:
President’s proposed tax credit will pay for about two weeks of childcare:
Among the highlights of President’s State of the Union address plans to pull the American family out of economic plight is a $500 tax credit for two-earner families. Here’s how the White House presented it in a fact sheet: “Provide a new, simple tax credit to two-earner families. The president will propose a new $500 second earner credit to help cover the additional costs faced by families in which both spouses work — benefiting 24 million couples.” The provision is included in his effort “to help middle class families get ahead.” Like who? Administration officials said families earning up to $210,000 would get a piece of the tax credit. That is four-times the earning of the “typical” middle class income of $51,939 calculated by the Obama-supporting Center for American Progress. The $500 annual tax credit would also only cover about two weeks of childcare costs.
January 20: The Hill: Keystone marathon begins as two Democrat amendments fail:
The Senate on Tuesday began what is expected to be a weeks-long debate over the Keystone XL pipeline by holding a trio of amendment votes. An amendment by Senator Portman (R-OH) that is a trimmed down version of an energy efficiency bill passed (95 to 4). Two other amendments -- one that would ban the export of oil shipped to Texas through the pipeline and another that would require the project to be built with U.S. steel products – both failed to pass. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WVA), a co-sponsor of the underlying Keystone bill, said he didn't mind having votes to table amendments. "It is the first time we have got to vote very much since I have been here in four years, so the vote to table something is a vote," Manchin told reporters. Senators on Tuesday agreed to take up another six amendments, with votes set to begin Wednesday.
January 20: The Daily Caller: NY Sheriff: Handgun renewal permit going into the garbage
“because that is where they belong”
Fulton County, N.Y. is home to a strong hunting and fishing tradition. Guns are commonplace. But they are about to come head to head with the New York state government. With tough state gun control laws in place, New York is attempting to crack down on gun ownership and permits. But Thomas Lorey, Fulton County Sheriff with 45 years of law enforcement under his belt is fighting back. Fulton County is poised to defy a governor that has forced unreasonable gun restrictions on law-abiding citizens – in this case paying the state for the right to keep your handgun.
January 20: The Hill: Obama threatens another veto: Opposes bill to eliminate abortions after 20 weeks:
The Obama administration on Tuesday threatened to veto the GOP-backed bill to ban abortions after 20 weeks, calling it a “direct challenge” to a court-protected right for women. The House is planning to vote on the bill Thursday, the anniversary of the landmark Supreme Court abortion case, Roe v. Wade, and the same day that thousands of anti-abortion advocates will participate in the March for Life.
January 19: United Press International:Kurdish forces take control of strategic hill near Kobane
Kurdish militia have taken control of a strategic hilltop that overlooks the city of Kobane, Syria, as the fight for the city rages on. The capture of Mishtenur hill now puts Islamic State resupply routes within the line of fire of Kurdish troops. "The military operation led to the deaths of at least 11 Islamic State fighters, and the seizure of large quantities of weapons and ammunition," the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. In Kobane, hundreds have died and more than 200,000 have fled to Turkey. Kurdish troops have been advancing to take control of Kobane with the support of air strikes by the U.S.-led coalition against the Islamic State.
January 19: Reuters: Separatists renew attacks on Airport as Russia and Ukraine bicker
Pro-Russian separatists renewed attacks on Ukrainian forces at an airport complex in the east on Monday after Kiev launched a mass operation to reclaim lost ground there that Russia called a "strategic mistake". Ukrainian officials said three soldiers had been killed and 66 wounded over the past 24 hours, during which they said they had returned battle lines at the airport outside Donetsk to the status quo under a much violated international peace plan. Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseny Yatseniuk said Ukrainian intelligence had confirmed Russian cross-border arms deliveries to the separatists were continuing.
January 19: The Daily News: Reaching Dreams Through Self-Reliance
When a nation chooses to live completely beyond its means citizens need to start managing their money before it manages them; to develop self-discipline and be self-reliant with respect to their own spending; to learn and value the principle of hard work and eduction; to make wise choices about life and health; and to plan for emergencies, both natural and financial. Individually, we may not possess the power to change the direction of our nation, but history speaks loudly that those who prepare ahead of time survive!
January 19: The Hill: Possible Secret Weapon for fighting unilateral actions by the Administration
Republicans believe they have identified a potent weapon in their fight against President Obama’s regulatory agenda. GOP lawmakers plan to employ the seldom-used Congressional Review Act (CRA), which gives lawmakers the power to formally disapprove of major agency rules, as they seek to ratchet up their attacks on federal red tape. "It hasn’t been possible to use this in a divided Congress,” House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) told The Hill, "but now that it is, we certainly are interested in reviewing regulations to make sure they meet with congressional intent.”
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) began threatening to use the CRA to stop regulations last year, after the EPA proposed a rule aimed at cutting carbon emissions from new power plants. “That’s why I, along with about 40 Republican co-sponsors ... intend to file a resolution of disapproval under the Congressional Review Act to ensure a vote to stop this devastating rule,” he said at the time. The fly in the ointment is that they will need the President’s signature for the resolution to go into effect, a signature they are unlikely to obtain. But by acting, they can at least continue to apply pressure on the Administration.
January 19: Fox News:GOP establishment forgets the power of the party’s conservatives
The 2012 election has had a searing effect on the Republican Party. The Rommney 126-electoral-vote defeat of its nominee to an incumbent thought to be highly vulnerable may have altered the trajectory of the GOP. It left Republicans stunned and searching for answers, a quest that very much continues today. Meanwhile Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) said “If we nominate another candidate in that mold the same people who stayed home in 2008 and 2012 will stay home in 2016 and the Democrats will win again…” The GOP goal should be to find a charismatic candidate who will excite the conservative wing of the party while not alienating those who are more moderate. Without the backing of the conservatives, Ted Cruz’s statement will be correct. The problem is that there doesn’t seem to be a viable candidate on the horizon who will stick to his/her conservative principles and who will excite the majority of the GOP electorate.
January 19: The Weekly Standard: Obamacare: Democrats having second thoughts – buyer’s remorse?
Republicans have gone from 41 percent of the House seats after the 2008 election to 57 percent and after 2014 and from 40 senators to 54. Inevitably, some Democrats have begun to disparage Obamacare. Half of the 60 Democratic senators who voted for the Affordable Care Act in December 2009 are no longer in the Senate. These ex-senators include eight who were defeated by Republicans, and eight more who chose not to run again and were succeeded by Republicans. In the wake of the new reality, some Democrat Senators are claiming Obamacare was a mistake or needs to be redrafted to fix the problems that are becoming more evident on a daily basis.
January 18: The Washington Times: Obamacare taxes are likely to be more than $95
Those Americans who didn’t get health insurance last year could be in for a rude awakening when the IRS asks them to fork over their Obamacare penalty [“tax” according the U.S. Supreme Court] — and it could be a lot more than the $95 many of them may be expecting. It could be from $95 up to 1% of their household income [If a person has no health insurance and earns $70,000 a year the tax penalty could be $700] And next year it gets worse.
January 18: Yahoo News: Middle Class Decline: Legacy of Six Years of Obama Rein
President Obama enters the final two years of his presidency with a blemish on his legacy that looks impossible to erase: the decline of the middle class he has promised to rescue. The revival of middle-class jobs has been one of his mantras since he took office in 2009. It was a major theme of his last State of the Union address and is expected to feature in the one scheduled for Tuesday. Administration officials said on Saturday the president would propose higher capital gains taxes, new fees on large financial firms, and other measures to raise $320 billion for programs and tax breaks aimed at the middle class.
January 18: Yahoo News: Netanyahu shifts focus to Asian markets as European Cities become anti-Israel:
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday a wave of anti-Semitism and what he called "Islamisation" in Western Europe are factors in a Jewish state push to expand trade with Asia. Europe is Israel's biggest trading partner, but deepening diplomatic disputes over policy toward the Palestinians and anti-Jewish incidents such as a Jan. 9 attack by an Islamist gunman on a Paris kosher deli have triggered Israeli worries. Netanyahu, who is also finance minister and a free-market champion, cast his courting of China, India and Japan over the past two years as a partial response to European developments.
January 18: The Washington Examiner: Harry Reid may retire instead of facing a tough challenge in 2016
Senate minority leader Harry Reid is the most vulnerable Democrat up for re-election in 2016, and may retire to duck a humiliating defeat, according to a new analysis of the 2016 race. “We identified Reid as probably the most vulnerable Democratic incumbent in this Senate cycle,” said a “Crystal Ball” report from the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics. It’s also possible that he will retire, although his heavy fundraising and public comments suggest that he’s running again,” said the latest report from analyst Geoffrey Skelley. Recent reports suggest Reid is going for his sixth term. The analysis found that of all senators ever to seek a sixth term, Reid’s ratings and margin of victory in past races puts him on the endangered list.
January 18: Fox News: Graham: Giving Senate a vote on Iran Sanctions
Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said Sunday that he would set aside efforts to impose more sanctions on Iran if President Obama allows Congress to vote on a final deal with that country over its nuclear program. “I'm willing to forgo that vote with the understanding that any deal he negotiates will come to the Congress for our approval or disapproval as a check and balance,” Graham said on NBC’s “Meet the Press." Imposing sanctions on Iran to force the country to curtail its nuclear enrichment program, presumably to build a nuclear weapon, has bipartisan support in Congress. This weekend, Senate staffers confirmed some details about upcoming legislation sponsored by Senators Mark Kirk (R-IL) and Bob Menendez (D-NJ) both members of the Senate Banking Committee.
January 15: Bloomberg.com: President set to ask Congress for a 7% budget busting increase:
President Barack Obama will ask Congress for as much as $68 billion more than current budget limits in fiscal 2016, according to two people familiar with the administration’s proposal. The request sets up a fight with the Republican-led House and Senate over whether to reverse part of the spending limits that the U.S. Congress and the White House agreed to in fiscal deals earlier this decade. The new spending would mean as much as $34 billion each for the national security and domestic sides of what will be a budget of almost $4 trillion. It will be detailed in the budget proposal Obama will send to Congress on Feb. 2.
January 15: Arizona Family.com:Arizona becomes the first state to require students to pass a civics test:
Arizona became the first state in the nation on Thursday to enact a law requiring high school students to pass the U.S. citizenship test on civics before graduation, giving a boost to a growing nationwide effort to boost civics education. Both the Arizona House and Senate quickly passed the legislation on just the fourth day of the legislative session, and newly elected Republican Gov. Doug Ducey signed it into law Thursday evening. The swift action in Arizona comes as states around the country take up similar measures. Arizona's law requires high school students to correctly answer 60 of 100 questions on the civics portion of the test new citizens must pass. The test is being pushed nationally by the Arizona-based Joe Foss Institute, which has set a goal of having all 50 states adopt it by 2017, the 230th anniversary of the U.S. Constitution. The institute says legislatures in 15 states are expected to consider it this year.
January 15: National Journal: McConnell: Senate will try to pass the House Immigration Bill:
After hearing a week's worth of complaints from his conservative members, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Thursday that the Senate will attempt to approve a House-passed bill that guts President Obama's executive actions on immigration. But McConnell affirmed at a joint House and Senate Republican retreat in Hershey, Pa., that he will work to get the House's bill—which passed that chamber Wednesday—to the president's desk. "We're going to try to pass it," he told reporters Thursday.
January 15: Breitbart.com: Congressman Denham says GOP is quietly crafting an immigration bill:
The GOP’s most outspoken proponent of comprehensive immigration reform let loose in an interview with reporters here, detailing quiet efforts to draft far-reaching legislation, saying House leadership is “committed” to bringing the hot-button topics on the floor and criticizing President Obama for carrying out too many deportations.
January 14: Yahoo News: Need help with your tax return? Don’t bother calling the IRS!
Filing a federal tax return is about to get more complicated for millions of families because of President Obama's health law. But they shouldn't expect much help from the IRS. The IRS is experiencing budget woes caused by cut backs in funding. These budget cuts were in response to the IRS targeting of conservative groups and the Administration’s (IRS’s) stonewalling of the Congressional investigation to the Democrat use of this agency for political purposes. The emails from Lois Lerner and her associates have still not been provided to the Congress. Meanwhile the commissioner blames Congress and not the actions of his own agency for the problems the IRS is facing.
January 13: The Daily Caller: White House: Obama will fight media to stop anti-jihad articles
The White House Press Secretary said yesterday that President Obama has a moral responsibility to push back on the nation’s journalism community when it is planning to publish anti-jihadi articles that might cause a jihadi attack against the nation’s defenses forces. Presidential spokesman Josh Earnest’s disclosure during the regular White House morning briefing was an unprecedented reversal of Americans’ civil-military relations, and of the president’s duty to protect the First Amendment. Earnest tried to excuse the administration’s opposition in 2012 to the publication of anti-jihadi cartoons by the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo.
January 13: The Daily Caller: Former Secret Service Agent:
Obama a Petulant Child, Blaming Secret Service for Skipping Paris Trip:
Former Secret Service agent Dan Bongino blasted the President’s decision to blame security concerns for his decision not to attend an anti-terrorism rally in Paris. The White House blamed security concerns for Obama’s decision not to attend the “March Of Unity” in Paris after a deadly Islamic terrorist attack on the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in Paris. The Secret Service said that it was never asked to prepare for a presidential visit to Paris.
January 13: McClatchy DC News: GOP and White House Set Stage for Immigration Debate:
Congress and the White House are heading toward a high-stakes showdown over immigration, with financing for the crucial Department of Homeland Security at stake at the very moment that terrorist attacks in Paris last week have Americans on edge. The House is expected to vote Wednesday on a $39.7 billion bill to keep the department open after money runs out Feb 28, but with language attached that would aggressively roll back several of President Barack Obama’s immigration actions. Obama says he wants to sign a bill to keep funding the department but that he’ll veto it if takes on his immigration orders.
January 13: National Journal: Obama Backs Government-Run Internet; Of Course He Does!
President Obama will travel to Cedar Falls, Iowa, on Wednesday to tout the ability of local governments to provide high-speed Internet to their residents. And he will urge the Federal Communications Commission to strike down state laws around the country that restrict the ability of cities to build their own broadband networks. The move is likely to draw fire from Republicans, who argue that states should be free to set their own policies—including restrictions on local governments. Telecom and cable companies have been lobbying for the state laws, arguing that it's not fair for them to have to compete with government-owned Internet providers. The companies claim the city projects discourage private investment and are often expensive failures. House Republicans passed legislation last year to protect the state laws from FCC action.
January 11: Fox News: Senate needs four more votes for Veto-Proof Passage of XL Pipeline
The Senate still needs four votes to pass veto-proof legislation to build the Keystone XL oil pipeline, Senator Hoeven (R-ND), who sponsored the legislation, said Sunday. Hoeven, said the Senate remains shy of the 67 votes needed to override a presidential veto. All of the chamber's 54 Republicans and nine Democrats are expected to support the legislation, which needs a two-thirds majority to override a veto. “But we're going to the floor with an open amendment process, trying to foster more bipartisanship,” Hoeven said. He also suggested Senate Republicans might attach the bill to other legislation that would get 67 votes. The upper chamber could hold a preliminary vote on the legislation as early as Monday.
January 11: The Hill: White House in Trouble over only sending Ambassador to Paris Unity Rally:
The Obama administration was criticized on social media Sunday for the lack of high-ranking U.S. officials at the unity rally in Paris, where more than 40 world leaders marched in commemoration of the lives lost to terrorism last week. Attorney General Eric Holder was in Paris for talks on combatting terrorism and was scheduled to attend the rally. He was replaced by U.S. Ambassador to France Jane Hartley, according to reports.
January 11: Fox News: Four Million March for Unity in France following Terrorist Attack
At least 3.7 million people including more than 40 world leaders are marching throughout France on Sunday in a rally of national unity to honor the 17 victims of a three-day terror spree that took place around the French capital. Missing was a high ranking representative from United States. The French Interior Ministry said the rally for unity against terrorism is the largest demonstration in France's history, more than the numbers who took to Paris streets when the Allies liberated the city from the Nazis in World War II.
January 11: Fox News:
Dempsey things more can be done to combat terrorism; But Backs Closing of GITMO
Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, suggested Sunday that the United States could do more to fight terrorism but predicted eventual defeat for the new-but-extremely-violent Islamic State group. Dempsey said that defeating terrorism will require an increased group effort that includes the U.S. military and intelligence community. Meanwhile others have made the observation that instead of killing militant leaders and the information they have with them, that it might be more productive to capture leaders and put them in GITMO where we can learn more future attacks and methods. But Dempsey disagrees, giving his support for the closing the U.S. prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, saying the facility, opened in the aftermath of the 9/11 terror attacks, is a “psychological scar” on the American psyche.
January 11: The Hill: Democrats suit up for Tax Reform Debate
More and more congressional Democrats are insisting that they cannot sign on to a tax overhaul that only helps businesses despite the potential to give a legacy achievement to the President. Obama and GOP leaders have pointed to taxes as one of just a handful of areas for potential agreement over the next two years, and the White House has long said it wants to limit the focus of reform efforts to streamlining the tax code for U.S. companies. But liberal lawmakers say there's no way they can agree to a deal that would favor powerful corporations over individuals and families that have yet to feel the economic recovery, especially after Democrats fought unsuccessfully to extend expanded tax breaks for the working poor late last year.
January 10: The Daily Caller: Milwaukee Barber Shop Customers Takes on Armed Robber
A would-be armed robber who stuck up a Milwaukee barber shop on Friday received more than a haircut when an armed patron pulled out his own gun and fatally shot the criminal. “He asked some questions about how much a haircut costs, then went into the bathroom to put his mask on and get his gun ready or whatever,” a man identified as Ty told WISN News. “The robber took his eye off the guy that he originally robbed first. I guess he didn’t check him good enough because he had a gun on him,” Ty explained.
January 8: The Washington Post: 25 Republicans Defect Speaker Boehner
In the biggest defection from an incumbent speaker in at least 100 years, 25 House Republicans voted for someone other than John Boehner to serve as speaker in the 114th Congress. Of the 25 there are three from Texas, Brian Babin (voted present), Louie Gohmert (voted for himself), and Randy Weber (voted for Louie Gohmert). There were also four Democrats who voted against their nominee, House minority leader and former speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA).
January 8: National Journal: Boxer out of the Ring
Barbara Boxer (D-CA) who has served in the Senate for 21 years, announced Thursday she will retire at the end of her term at the end of 2016. This will open a Senate seat in California for the first time since 1992. In an interview with her grandson Zach Rodham (who is also Hillary Clinton's nephew), Boxer said that while she will be leaving Congress, she will continue her work on Democratic politics. [This is the same Senate seat vacated by Aaron Augustus Sargent in 1879, the man who first introduced the language of the 19th Amendment that gave women the right to vote.]
January 8: The Daily Caller: A New Year, 300 New Obama Administration Regulations
This year is already seeing a wave of new regulations being published in the Federal Register as the Obama administration unveils 300 new rules in the first seven days of 2015. According to the Regulatikons.gov Website, they have published 300 final rules, proposals for new rules and regulatory notices in the seven days since the new year began. The bulk of these new regulations are notices, which can lead to rulemakings, meetings and other government activities. Rules having to do with energy, environment, public lands and agriculture make up the largest share of new regulations. Included in these new rules are proposed EPA air quality standards for lead, reforming coal and oil leases on Indian lands and adjustments for the total amount of fish people can catch off Alaska’s coast.
January 8: The Washington Examiner: IRS issues 21 pages of ObamaCare Tax Instructions:
The complicated process of signing up for Obamacare is now being matched by IRS instructions to help Americans figure out how much in healthcare taxes they owe Uncle Sam. The agency has issued 21 pages of instructions, complete with links to at least three long forms and nine tip sheets. It is geared to those who have Obamacare or who owe a fine, dubbed “shared responsibility payment,” for refusing to get health insurance. The IRS warned that everybody must have health insurance or pay the tax.
January 8: The Weekly Standard: President’s Motorcade passes right by scandal-ridden Phoenix VA Hospital
President Obama is in Phoenix Thursday, and his motorcade drove past that city's Veterans Affairs hospital without stopping. Politico's White House correspondent reports. Obama is spoke at Central High School, about a mile from the VA hospital, but did not visit the VA hospital during his trip to Phoenix. Dovere of Politico also reported that the president did have time to stop at a nearby home, purchased with federal assistance, while avoiding an opportunity to highlight the importance of fixing the problems with the VA medical service.
January 7: Associated Press: President issues three veto threats in two days:
The White House threatened more vetoes Wednesday against top-priority legislation of the two-day-old Republican-controlled Congress; the Keystone XL pipeline, to make changes to the health care law they also have vowed to repeal, and to delay a key provision of a 2010 financial regulation law. The conflict comes at a time when the president and the two Republican congressional leaders have all stressed the opportunity for bipartisanship in the two years ahead, and polls generally indicate the public wants divided government to produce compromise instead of gridlock. By approving measures with bipartisan support — the pipeline legislation has well over 60 supporters from both parties in the Senate — it appears Republicans are trying to make the president pay at least a short-term political price if he makes good on his veto threats. Far larger and more partisan fights likely lie ahead, particularly if, as expected, Republicans attempt to seek large savings in government benefit programs as part of an attempt to balance the budget.
January 6: The Telegraph: Greece verses Europe: Who will blink first?
The Eurozone stands on the brink of another crisis as Athens confronts Brussels and Berlin. Everybody thinks everybody else is bluffing, all of them betting that a calamitous chain reaction will be averted. But this time, Berlin seems almost eager to evict Greece from the EU. Greece, on the other hand believes the EU has so much already invested they will not walk away from the 245 billion in loans already dispersed since the crisis erupted in May 2010.
January 5: The Daily Caller: Florida: Constituents tell Congressman to vote against Boehner
Congressman Ron DeSantis (R-FL) dodged and ducked as his constituents pushed him at a Jan. 3 constituency meeting to vote against the re-election of House Speaker John Boehner. “Are you going to vote for him or not? I mean, that’s the question,” a Florida constituent asked DeSantis at the meeting in Palm Coast, Florida. DeSantis tried to deflect the pressure, partly by suggesting that no major rival to Boehner has emerged before the first ballot, which is scheduled for Tuesday, Jan. 6, and also by suggesting that Boehner has enough votes to win. But the constituent pushed back, even as DeSantis said an anti-Boehner vote would provide no gains. “I’ll tell you what it does. It gives you some political capital with people like us. Even if you lose once or twice, at least we know you are fighting for us,” he said. ”But when you say ‘Oh, if I don’t vote for it,’ then you’re not fighting for us. What you’re doing is you’re bending. We didn’t put you there to bend.”
January 5: Fox News: Attkisson Sues Obama Administration over Computer Hacking
Former CBS News correspondent Sharyl Attkisson has sued the Justice Department over the hacking of her computers, officially accusing the Obama administration of illegal surveillance while she was reporting on administration scandals. In a series of legal filings that seek $35 million in damages, Attkisson alleges that three separate computer forensic exams showed that hackers used sophisticated methods to surreptitiously monitor her work between 2011 and 2013. "I just think it's important to send a message that people shouldn't be victimized and throw up their hands and think there's nothing they can do and they're powerless," Attkisson said in an interview. The award-winning reporter says she and her attorneys have "pretty good evidence" that these efforts were "connected" to the Justice Department. She said she was caught in a "Catch-22," forcing her to use the lawsuit and an administrative complaint to discover more about the surveillance through the discovery process and to learn the identities of the "John Does" named in the complaints.
January 5: The Daily News: "Normalizing" Relations with Cuba?
On December 17th the President announced plans to “normalize” relations with Cuba and opening a U.S. embassy in Havana. There’re a number of questions worth considering in the wake of the President’s unilateral actions. First, were the sanctions working? Will this new policy accomplish our long-term goal of freedom and liberty for the Cuban people? What is motivating U.S. business support? Did we get a fair (balanced or a good) deal? And finally, did the President follow the law? We favor of normalizing relations with Cuba but only under certain circumstances. Embedded in the Helms-Burton Act is a provision giving the Congress (House and Senate) the authority to override any unilateral Administration actions to recognize Cuba. We encourage the Congress to exercise this authority until a better deal that helps the average Cuban is negotiated.
January 5: ABC News: Cuban Human Rights: Dissident Detentions on the Rise:
The Cuban government carried out a record number of detentions of dissidents and political activists last year, an independent Cuban human rights group said Monday. The Cuban Commission for Human Rights and National Reconciliation recorded 8,899 short-term detentions of dissidents and activists in 2014. That was about 2,000 more than the previous year and four times as many as in 2010, said the group's head, Elizardo Sanchez. A U.S. official said on condition of anonymity Monday that the release of all the dissidents wasn't a prerequisite for planned talks in Cuba between the Obama administration and Cuban officials later this month
January 4: Fox News:Retired COP & Navy Vet sues NY over Gun Confiscation
A decorated retired New York cop who served in the U.S. Navy is challenging New York’s tough new SAFE Act gun control law, claiming in a lawsuit that his guns were confiscated after he was mistakenly diagnosed as mentally unstable after he sought treatment for a sleeping problem. Donald Montgomery’s lawsuit contends that Gov. Andrew Cuomo and other state officials violated his Second Amendment rights when his guns were seized after a brief hospital stay for insomnia. Montgomery, a cop for 30 years and a U.S. Navy veteran, brought the lawsuit in Rochester Federal Court on Dec. 17. Montgomery was the owner of four guns -- a Colt .38 handgun, a Derringer .38, a Glock 26 9-mm. and a Smith & Wesson Bodyguard 380.
January 4: The Hill: Thune: We won’t shutdown the government but we will use the power of the purse:
John Thune (R-SD) said on "Fox News Sunday" that Republicans would use their budget power in order to fight back against President Obama's executive orders, which GOP lawmakers argue is an overreach of power. "We're not going to shut the government down," Thune said. "We'll use power of the purse to challenge the president." Meanwhile, Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN.) said on "Fox News Sunday" that "on bigger issues, we absolutely need him to be involved." "We look forward to that opportunity," Corker said.
January 4: KOMO News: Navy’s CINCPACFLT considers
hundreds of Sonobouys Off the U.S. West Coast
The U.S. Navy could significantly increase the number of sonobuoys it plans to deploy off the Pacific Coast. The floating, acoustic surveillance devices are used in anti-submarine warfare. The Oregon reports that in a modified environmental assessment for Northwest training and testing, the Navy increased the number of planned sonobuoys from 20 to 720. They would be in areas at least 12 miles offshore from Alaska, Washington, Oregon and Northern California. In addition to more buoys, the document also details additional "maritime security operations" that weren't reviewed in the earlier environmental assessment, possibly including escorts for submarines, search-and-seizure exercises, and anti-piracy missions.
January 4: Fox News: Gohmer (R-TX) to challenge Boehner for Speakership
Louie Gohmert (R-TX) said Sunday that he will challenge House Speaker John Boehner for his post when Congress returns this week to Washington. Congressman Ted Yoho (R-FL) has also thrown his hat in the ring. “We have heard from a lot of Republicans that said, ‘I would vote for somebody besides speaker Boehner.’ But nobody will put their name out there,” Gohmert said. “That changed yesterday with Ted Yoho.” Boehner once again returns to Capitol Hill amid challenges to keep his post, largely from the conservative members who most recently say he caved in by agreeing last month to a $1.1 trillion temporary federal spending bill, which averted another partial government shutdown.
January 4: Politico: GOP House and Senate Leadership Staring at Cliffs
[GOP Leadership has big plans but also big obstacles]
Republican leaders think 2015 is their year. They just won control of the Senate and have a historic majority in the House. The presidential election hasn’t yet begun. President Barack Obama says he wants to engage with Capitol Hill. For the first time in a while, there seems to be a genuine thirst for getting something done. But guess what: Congress is running straight into another series of cliffs -- legislative fights spread throughout the year, which could give House and Senate leadership nearly monthly headaches as they seek to preserve the improving economic climate in the U.S. The legislative land mines range from tricky transportation issues to the ever-explosive debt ceiling. These problems can’t be ignored, and GOP leadership will have to decide if it wants to set up short-term solutions or negotiate permanent fixes to these long-lingering problems. These deals don’t come together quickly and could require leaders to spend their hard-earned political capital on brokering compromises. The first of these issues is the funding of DHS by February 28th which will include the debate about securing our boarder against illegal immigrant aliens.
January 4: The Daily Caller: Krauthammer: I’m a recovering Democrat who was mugged by reality
Appearing on Fox News “MediaBuzz,” conservative commentator Charles Krauthammer spoke about his political transformation from a Democrat to a conservative, and how he was “mugged by reality.” He was working at “The New Republic” in his 20-30s and was a Democrat. Then Krauthammer describes what happened: “It was a slow-motion mug, and I came out of it intact and a conservative a decade later.” He said his writing at the New Republic were on foreign policy issues and that these articles were always conservative. “People don’t remember that in the 1970s, there was a strong conservative wing of the Democratic Party,” he said, and he was part of that.
January 4: The Hill:
McConnell: Jobs, Keystone Pipeline and Regulatory Expansionism will Head the Senate Agenda:
Soon-to-be Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said on Sunday that the GOP agenda will be focused on “voting on things I know [President Obama is] not going to like.” He said that jobs would be the number one focus, also lumping in the Keystone XL pipeline project and rolling back strict environmental and healthcare regulations. The incoming majority leader also took a softer tone than in years past when it came to working with the administration. “You know, the first two years, he had huge majorities in the House and Senate. The last four years, he controlled the Senate. They guaranteed he never got anything he didn't like,” he said on Sunday. “Now he needs to talk to us,” McConnell continued. “And that's good, because when the American people elect a divided government, they're not saying they don't want anything done. What they are saying is, they want things done in the political center, things that both sides can agree on. We talk about the things where there may be some agreement.”
January 3: Fox News: Huckabee Leaves Fox, Considering a run in 2016
Fox News host and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee announced Saturday that he is leaving the network after six and a half years as the host of “Huckabee,” and will make a decision on a possible 2016 presidential run by late spring. The former governor expressed thanks for what he called “the ride of a lifetime.” "I have never had so much fun in my life,” Huckabee said. "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.” Huckabee said that he would not rule out running for president in 2016, and that it is not possible for him to openly determine political and financial support to justify a race while doing the show.
January 1: The Hill: ObamaCare Faces New Challenges in 2015
As ObamaCare enters its fifth year, there are still major components of the law to be worked out for the first time. Both the individual mandate and the employer mandate – which are considered vital pillars of the president’s landmark healthcare law – will confront new challenges in 2015. Doctors and hospitals will also face new penalties for failing to comply with federal rules such as those requiring the use of e-records. The stakes are high in 2015. The administration will be hoping that ObamaCare regains ground after a muddy patch over the last few weeks that included controversies around the administration’s famously blunt former adviser Jonathan Gruber, an inflated enrollment tally and a new legal threat to the law’s subsidies.
January 1: The Hill: The Budget will be one of the conflicts between the White House and Congress in 2015
The federal budget is likely to be the central battleground between the President and the new Congress in 2015. The Republicans have vowed to slash the size of government. The President has threatened to use his veto. Here are the dates to watch as the conflict unfolds.
- February 2: Obama’s budget deadline:
- February 27: DHS funding runs out:
- March 15: Debt limit suspension expires:
- April 1: GOP budget resolution:
- September 30: Shutdown deadline:
January 1: The Daly Caller:
Armed Robber holds up fireworks stand, clerk shows him a different kind of firecracker:
An employee at a fireworks stand near Houston used a special kind of firecracker in response to an armed robbery attempt that occurred Tuesday night. Two men pulled up one of the men got out and pulled a gun on the employee on duty and demanded money from the store. But the clerk thought fast and remembered he had something that goes “Boom” in the store’s office. He had a gun of his own and fired it several times at the armed man, hitting him in the face, wrist, and back. The would-be robber was air-lifted to a nearby hospital and is listed in critical condition. His accomplice fled the scene in the getaway car. The clerk was not injured.