Blueprint for water ‘control’? Pol says EPA made secret maps for new regulatory push

A top House Republican is charging that the Environmental Protection Agency secretly drafted highly detailed maps of U.S. waterways to set the stage for a controversial plan to expand regulatory power over streams and wetlands, a claim the EPA strongly denies.

Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas, chairman of the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee, released those maps on Wednesday, while firing off a letter to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy voicing concerns over why they were created in the first place.

“These maps show the EPA’s plan: to control a huge amount of private property across the country. Given the astonishing picture they paint, I understand the EPA’s desire to minimize the importance of these maps,” he wrote, in the letter obtained by FoxNews.com.

But an EPA spokeswoman said the maps, from the U.S. Geological Survey and Fish and Wildlife Service, “do not show jurisdictional waters” — in other words, they do not show which waters are subject to EPA control.

Decisions over whether the EPA has authority over “particular waters,” Liz Purchia said, are almost always made in response to requests. She told FoxNews.com the maps in question would have to involve ground surveys to actually reflect the proposed rule, which she called “prohibitively expensive.”

At issue is a proposal that Smith and fellow Republicans, as well as farmers and other groups, say could endanger private property rights by giving the EPA a say over temporary waterways like seasonal streams, under the Clean Water Act. That the agency had highly detailed maps drawn up has raised suspicion about their purpose.

“While the Agency marches forward with a rule that could fundamentally re-define Americans’ private property rights, the EPA kept these maps hidden,” Smith wrote in his letter. “Serious questions remain regarding the EPA’s underlying motivations for creating such highly detailed maps.” 

He added: “The EPA’s job is to regulate. The maps must have been created with this purpose in mind.” 

The high-resolution maps of each state depict a dense and veiny web of intertwining waterways. They’re color-coded to distinguish everything from canals and ditches to reservoirs to marshes to various types of streams. The maps show permanent streams, but also those that contain water for only part of the year.

The EPA denied the maps were drawn to chart areas subject to the Clean Water Act. The agency said they were only drawn to identify the “extent and location” of waterways and other details.

In two letters to Smith, in late July and early August, EPA Deputy Assistant Administrator Nancy Stoner explained the documents were originally prepared in 2005, and updated last year with data from the U.S. Geological Survey.

“EPA is not aware of maps prepared by any agency, including the EPA, of waters that are currently jurisdictional under the CWA or that would be jurisdictional under the proposed rule,” she wrote, adding that the maps would have to be even more detailed to be used for that purpose.

But the map details would appear to dovetail with the type of waterways the agency is looking at regulating.

Since last year, the EPA has floated new rules that would define what kinds of waterways fall under its jurisdiction. The Clean Water Act already gives the EPA the ability to regulate “U.S. waters,” but Supreme Court rulings have left the specifics unclear when it comes to waters that flow only part of the year.

To address that, the EPA and Army Corps of Engineers want to define that authority — and are eyeing waterways deemed to have some significant connection to major rivers, lakes and other systems.

The EPA claims this does not expand its authority, and only clarifies it.

But detractors claim this is an opening for the EPA to claim authority over countless waterways, including streams that only show up during heavy rainfall. Critics warn this could create more red tape for property owners and businesses if they happen to have even small streams on their land.

A House science committee aide called the EPA maps “eye-opening” for those following the process.

“These are not everyday, run-of-the-mill maps — these are highly detailed,” the aide told FoxNews.com, adding that the agency had not previously disclosed the documents for public comment.

The committee only learned about the maps after hearing from the U.S. Geological Survey that the EPA was having them drawn up.  Lawmakers subsequently asked then-EPA Deputy Administrator Bob Perciasepe about them at a hearing last month, and he agreed to release them.

Smith, in his letter, also questioned why the agency used taxpayer money to create the maps. He asked the agency to provide all documents related to its contract for the maps, turn over any other previously undisclosed maps, and extend the comment period for at least another two months.

Under the current plan, the comment period is projected to close on Oct. 20.

Source: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2014/08/27/blueprint-for-water-control-pol-says-epa-secretly-created-maps-for-new/

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If Obama’s Bombing of Libya Was Legal, His Bombing of Syria Would Be Too

Editors Note: Obama is being dragged kicking and screaming to take action against ISIS. It has been clear during his entire time as President so far that taking action against any terrorists organization is not on his agenda. In the Middle East he has used rhetoric only and not any action of significance. He has laid claim to and bragged about getting Osama BinLaden as if he was the one who planned and executed the action that finally delivered justice to Americas number one enemy. He did give a grudgingly nod to the actual raid but was pushed into the decision by his military commanders. The only thing he did was give the ok but he had absolutely nothing to do with the actual planning of the raid.

Obama has made a total shambles of American influence around the world and especially in the Middle East by setting Red Lines that he never intended to enforce. ISIS has no fear what so ever of America led by a President who is frozen into the position of inaction and noninterference. Russia and China are expanding their control for the same reason and becoming bolder every day.

An executive order will most likely be given concerning Amnesty to the objection of not only the republicans but also a growing number of  fearful democrats facing ever dismal chances for reelection. Obama in his quest for total amnesty takes precedent over any concerns about his fellow democrats losing an election because his agenda is him only concern and focus. The resulting backlash from such an action may well come as a huge surprise when the American people show their outrage as more and more calls for his impeachment grow both in number and intensity. Look for any executive orders concerning amnesty to come before the November midterm elections. [TS]

President Obama has already ordered reconnaissance flights over Syria and is currently deliberating whether or not to authorize military strikes on Islamic State bases in that country. But whatever Obama decides to do, do not expect him to wait for a vote in Congress authorizing his actions.

In 2013, as HotAir Noah Rothman notes, Obama promised he would seek a vote in Congress before bombing the Assad regime in Syria. But now, Rothman also notes, the White House is claiming they have no need to seek congressional approval before such a campaign.

Asked to explain the discrepancy yesterday, White House Spokesman Josh Earnest claimed bombing Syria in 2014 “was a different situation” than bombing Syria in 2013 and then noted that Obama did not seek permission from Congress when he approved the killing of Osama bin Laden in Pakistan in 2011.

And it is true that Obama did not seek congressional approval to enter Pakistani airspace and kill bin Laden. But that short and small strike was perfectly in line with past presidential uses of executive war powers. From Townhall Magazine’s June 2014 issue:

Before launching Operation Odyssey Dawn against Libya on March 19, 2011, Obama secured authorization from both the Arab League and the United Nations. But at no point did he ever push for a debate, or vote, in the United States Congress.

Now it is true that presidents have taken military action without specific authorization from Congress in the past. In 1986, for example, President Reagan also bombed Libya. And in 1998, President Clinton launched cruise missiles into Afghanistan and Sudan.

But those actions were both brief and limited responses to specific terrorist attacks on Americans. Reagan bombed Libya for a single day as punishment for their involvement in a bombing of American servicemen in Berlin. Clinton’s cruise missile attack was also limited to a single day and was in direct response to the bombings of American embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.

Obama’s attack on Libya, however, lasted seven months, one week, and five days. Countless Libyan military personnel were killed during the campaign, as well as more than 60 civilians according to the United Nations Human Rights Council.

But unlike Reagan and Clinton, who were responding to specific attacks on Americans, Obama acted without any provocation. Libya had not recently attacked America, and was not threatening to, when Obama started bombing the country.

There simply is no constitutional justification for Obama’s unilateral bombing of Libya. Which is why top lawyers at both the Pentagon and the Justice Department told Obama he had no legal right to attack Libya as broadly as he was planning without authorization from Congress.

But instead of deciding the issue democratically, Obama overruled his lawyers and ordered the DOJ to write a new legal memo justifying his decision.

If Obama can bomb Libya for over half a year, when that country presented no threat to the United States, then there is no stopping him from launching a similar, even larger, campaign against Syria as well.

And Obama’s expansive view of executive power does not end at the water’s edge. In 2011, Obama told Hispanic journalists at a White House roundtable, “This notion that somehow I can just change the laws unilaterally is not true. The fact of the matter is there are laws on the books I have to enforce. And there is a great disservice done to the cause of getting the DREAM Act passed and comprehensive immigration reform passed by perpetuating the notion that somehow by myself I can just go and do these things.”

But just months later Obama did “just change the laws unilaterally” when he announced his June 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. DACA functionally turned the failed DREAM Act legislation into executive action reality.

Then in 2013, when amnesty activists pushed Obama to expand DACA, Obama insisted, “If, in fact, I could solve all these problems without passing laws in Congress, then I would do so. But we’re also a nation of laws. That’s part of our tradition. And so the easy way out is to try to yell and pretend like I can do something by violating our laws.”

But now, of course, Obama is, again, planning to do act unilaterally on immigration, this time granting temporary amnesty to as many as 8 million illegal immigrants.
Obama does not have to face the American people at the ballot box ever again. What political checks there are on his power are diminishing everyday and he seems increasingly to believe there are no legal limits to what he can do either.

Source: http://townhall.com/tipsheet/conncarroll/2014/08/26/when-does-obamas-n1883363

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Obama Pressured to Take ISIS Fight Into Syria

Editors Note: America has now entered into a very dangerous time with the beheading of an American journalist. ISIS has declared open war against America and we have a President who is clueless in what to do. Obama’s foreign policy decisions have emboldened Americas enemies to a point they openly and brazenly show contempt and disdain. Russia’s Putin mocks Obama at every change from giving sanctuary to Edward Snowden to invading Ukraine. China flexes its muscles in the Pacific and just yesterday harassed an American Navy P-8 Poseidon Reconnaissance aircraft. North Korea continues to flaunt its missile tests and Hamas continues to fire rockets into Israel. ISIS has openly said they will attack Americas homeland and raise their flag above the WH.  In the past these threats could be taken with a grain of salt but this murderous army of radical terrorists have shown the absolutely do not fear America and will strike soon.

With the southern border in total disarray it is an open invitation for the terrorists to enter the country undiscovered with fighters and equipment and there is talk that they are in league with the Mexican Drug Cartels. September 11th 2014 is just 9 days away and poses a very attractive target date for an attack. What is Obama doing about it? Continuing his vacation and golf and ignoring the danger that threatens the American homeland.  America is leaderless and the world is taking advantage of it everywhere, America is in much greater danger than pre-9-1-11 because we now face a well trained, well financed and a 100% dedicated enemy that has show a total lack of humanity towards its victims and has openly announced it is coming. Where will be the Commander in Chief be when critical decisions need to be made? Perhaps Hole 1 at Andrews Air Force Base Golf Course. [TS]

Pressure is mounting on President Barack Obama to take the fight against the Islamic State into Syria, with top Republicans calling for the move on Friday after days of attacks on the militants in Iraq and the beheading of American journalist James Foley this week.

“I don’t see how we can defeat ISIS without going into Syria,” New York Rep. Peter King, a member of the House Homeland Security Committee, told CNN. “I believe in massive airstrikes”.

“This is not about Syria. This is not about Iraq,” King added. “It’s about our national security. The president has the obligation, if he is serious about going after ISIS, to go into Syria”.
Florida Rep. Ilena Ros-Lehtinen later told CNN that “I believe that the president should do that”.

“He should have done it when he first announced it when he said Assad has crossed a red line in the use of chemical weapons,” she added, referring to Obama’s speech in June 2013 when it was confirmed that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad had used the arsenal against his own people. “In fact, they used chemical weapons twice and still we did not do what we said we would do.”

“It was a mistake for us not to act then,” Ros-Lehtinen said. “We cannot let this cancer grow.”

The GOP House members added to the rising calls for bombing ISIS in Syria after Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey said that it was critical to defeating the militants.

“This is an organization that has an apocalyptic, end-of-days strategic vision and which will eventually have to be defeated,” Dempsey said at a news briefing on Thursday with Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel. “Can they be defeated without addressing that part of their organization which resides in Syria? The answer is no.”

The White House signaled on Friday that taking the fight against ISIS into Syria is an option, as Obama nears the end of his two-week vacation on Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts. The option gained more credence after ISIS posted its video this week showing Foley’s brutal execution and threats to kill a second American journalist, Steve Sotloff.

“We will do what’s necessary to protect Americans and see that justice is done for what we saw with the barbaric killing of Jim Foley,” White House Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes said on Friday. “So we’re actively considering what’s going to be necessary to deal with that threat, and we’re not going to be restricted by borders.”

The U.S. has so far conducted slightly more than 90 airstrikes in Iraq to protect the Iraqi Yazidi religious minority and attack Islamic State positions around the Mosul Dam. Tens of thousands of Yazidis have fled their homelands since ISIS began seizing them last month.

The Pentagon said on Friday that U.S. warplanes made three more airstrikes against Islamic State targets near the Mosul Dam, including a machine gun position that was firing on Iraqi forces.

Extending the fight into Syria, however, would allow opportunities for disrupting the Islamic State’s supply lines.

Arizona GOP Sen. John McCain said this week that ISIS fighters have moved military equipment seized in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul into Syria and that they hold enclaves in Syrian territory that have been identified. The heavy artillery was left in Baghdad after the U.S. pulled out of Iraq in 2011.

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, a prospective 2016 presidential candidate, said on Friday that attacking ISIS supply lines, command and control centers, and economic assets inside Syria was “at the crux of the decision” for Obama.

The risk of “getting sucked into a new war” is outweighed, Rubio said, by the risk of inaction.

A move into Syria, even only with air strikes, would be a reversal for Obama. He stepped back from a threat to launch airstrikes in Syria a year ago in response to a chemical weapons attack by Assad.

Obama has many times rejected greater involvement in the three-year-old Syrian civil war over the past year out of concern about getting entangled in a conflict with no clear positive outcome for the United States.

But officials say the situation now is different because Islamic State militants represent a direct threat to Americans and American interests. Hagel said underscored the importance of preventing ISIS from regrouping — even partly into Syria — and launching renewed attacks.

The Islamic State is also known as ISIL.

“The president, the chairman and I are all very clear-eyed about the challenges ahead,” Hagel said. “We are pursuing a long-term strategy against ISIL because ISIL clearly poses a long-term threat. We should expect ISIL to regroup and stage new offenses.”

Not going into Syria, essentially, puts the U.S. “back to where you were,” said Robert Ford, a former U.S. ambassador to Syria who quit in February in disillusionment over Obama’s unwillingness to arm moderate Syrian rebels in their battle against Assad.

“I don’t see how you can contain the Islamic State over the medium term if you don’t address their base of operations in Syria,” he said.

U.S. Special Forces have already had one direct ground battle with Islamic State militants in Syria. That was during the nighttime helicopter mission during the July Fourth Weekend when two dozen Delta Force commandos sought to rescue Foley, Sotloff, and several other Americans.

A number of militants were killed in the firefight, the White House said this week — and one U.S. soldier was wounded. The hostages were not at the location.

More broadly, however, the U.S. strong consideration of going into Syria reflects a more serious approach to ISIS than six months ago, when Obama told New Yorker magazine that they were the “JV team.”

The term is short for “junior varsity” — meaning that they are not the best players on the field.

King slammed Obama for the reference in the CNN interview.

“The president was wrong when he called them ‘junior varsity.’ This was no secret in the intelligence community,” he said. “This was no secret — and the president seemed content in saying that al-Qaida was defeated and that, basically, this was all behind us”.

“I actually believe that, now, ISIS is more powerful now and more deadly than al-Qaida was on Sept. 11,” King said.

Source: http://www.newsmax.com/Newsfront/Syria-ISIS-airstrikes/2014/08/22/id/590398/

 

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Gen. Dempsey: ISIS Cannot be Defeated Without Going Into Syria

Image: Gen. Dempsey: ISIS Cannot be Defeated Without Going Into Syria

Without confronting the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) inside Syria, the United States cannot defeat the militant terror organization that recently beheaded kidnapped American journalist James Foley,  says Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Martin E. Dempsey.

“This is an organization that has an apocalyptic end-of-days strategic vision that will eventually have to be defeated,” said Dempsey, who spoke alongside Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel at press conference, according to the New York Times.

“Can they be defeated without addressing that part of the organization that resides in Syria? The answer is no.”

Thus far, President Barack Obama has restricted airstrikes and military action to Iraq but there are growing concerns about ISIS’ ability to maintain a safe haven inside Syria, which borders Iraq. And the calls to act against ISIS militarily are growing.

Hagel indicated that strategy could be changing course, saying the administration is “looking at all options” concerning airstrikes on ISIS targets in Syria.

Dempsey characterized the border between Iraq and Syria as “nonexistent” and noted that that the battle to root ISIS out will be a lengthy one that must be fought by “a coalition in the region,” according to the Associated Press.

“ISIS will only truly be defeated when it’s rejected by the 20 million disenfranchised Sunni that happen to reside between Damascus and Baghdad,” Dempsey said.

With the use of captured American equipment, including Humvees, at least one heavily armored troop transport vehicle, and 20 Russian tanks in Syria, ISIS is well-equipped to wreak havoc on the region, according to the Times. The group, an offshoot of al-Qaida, is operating with a “decentralized command and control,” and has the ability to seamlessly replenish its ranking members with experienced militants, according to the Times.

“They are beyond just a terrorist group. They marry ideology, a sophistication of strategic and tactical military prowess,” Hagel said. “…This is beyond anything we have seen, and we must prepare for everything. And the only way you do that is that you take a cold, steely hard look at it and get ready.”

“If there is anything (ISIS) has learned from its previous iterations as al-Qaida in Iraq, it is that they need succession plans because losing leaders to counterterrorism operations is to be expected,” an intelligence official told the Times. “Their command and control is quite flexible as a result.”

Obama may have to authorize an expanded military action against, ISIS, the Associated Press reported.

The president may continue helping Iraqi forces try to reverse the group’s land grabs in northern Iraq by providing more arms and American military advisers and by using U.S. warplanes to support Iraqi ground operations.

But what if the militants pull back, even partially, into Syria and regroup, as Hagel on Thursday predicted they would, followed by a renewed offensive?

“In a sense, you’re just sort of back to where you were” before they swept into Iraq, said Robert Ford, a former U.S. ambassador to Syria who quit in February in disillusionment over Obama’s unwillingness to arm moderate Syrian rebels.

“I don’t see how you can contain the Islamic State over the medium term if you don’t address their base of operations in Syria,” he said in an interview before an intensified round of U.S. airstrikes this week helped Kurdish and Iraqi forces recapture a Tigris River dam near Mosul that had fallen under control of Islamic State militants.

On the other hand, Obama has been leery of getting drawn into the Syrian civil war, which began in 2011.

More immediately perhaps, Obama faces choices in Iraq, whose sectarian divisions and political dysfunction created the opening that allowed Islamic State fighters to sweep across northern Iraq in June almost unopposed. They captured U.S.-supplied weapons that Iraqi forces left behind when they fled without a fight.

Among his options:

—Sending more troops to Baghdad to strengthen security for the U.S. Embassy, as requested by the State Department. Officials said the number under consideration is fewer than 300. They would be in addition to the several hundred U.S. troops already in the capital to help protect U.S. facilities and personnel.

—Speeding up the arming of Iraqi and Kurdish forces. The administration has been supplying Iraqi government forces with Hellfire missiles, small arms and ammunition, but critics say the pace has been too slow. The administration has been reluctant to openly arm the Kurds, since their militia, known as the peshmerga, is a semi-autonomous force seen in Baghdad as a threat to central government authority.

—Increasing the number and expanding the role of the dozens of U.S. military advisers who are in Baghdad and the Kurdish capital of Irbil to coordinate with Iraqi forces. They could be given more direct roles in assisting the Iraqis on the ground by embedding with Iraqi or Kurdish units in the field or scouting targets for U.S. airstrikes.

—Committing U.S. ground troops in Iraq. Obama has said repeatedly he would not do this. “We’re not the Iraqi military. We’re not even the Iraqi air force,” Obama said Monday. “I am the commander in chief of the United States armed forces, and Iraq is going to have to ultimately provide for its own security.”

—Extending the Iraq air campaign to Islamic State targets in Syria. Stretches of eastern Syria are a sanctuary for the group, also known by the acronyms ISIL or ISIS. The U.S. has warplanes available in the Middle East and Europe that could vastly increase the number and intensity of strikes in eastern Syria if Obama chose.

At a Pentagon news conference Thursday, Hagel appeared to leave the door open to extending U.S. strikes into Syria.

“We’re looking at all options,” he said when asked whether airstrikes inside Syria were a possibility.

This is hardly the first time Obama has faced options for military action in Syria.

The White House on Wednesday disclosed that Obama authorized a covert mission this summer to rescue American hostages in Syria, including journalist James Foley. The mission failed because the hostages had been moved before the rescuers arrived, officials said. On Tuesday, the militants released a video showing the beheading of Foley and threatened to kill a second hostage if U.S. airstrikes in Iraq continued.

A year ago, Obama put on hold a plan to attack Syria for its alleged use of chemical weapons, arguing that he would not act until Congress had a chance to vote on the use of military force. The vote never came, however, because the government of President Bashar Assad accepted a U.S.-Russian brokered deal to destroy Syria’s chemical arsenal.

Source: http://www.newsmax.com/Newsfront/journalists-obama-options-iraq/2014/08/22/id/590253/

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Officials looking to identify location, executioner in ISIS video showing beheading of American journalist

Editors Note: More blood on the hands of a failed President and a failed Foreign Policy. Will Obama take time away from his golf to address this atrocity or will he ignore another inconvenient situation. Obama was told by all of the experts to stop ISIS’s advance while they were still in Syria but Obama’s inaction has led to a situation now that threatens the entire world including America but Obama refused to act. The repercussions of this failed President will be felt world wide for years to come and it is with great trepidation that the world waits to see what greater problems will arise during the last years of Obama’s Presidency. [TS]

U.S. intelligence officials were analyzing Wednesday a video released by Islamic militants showing the beheading of American journalist James Foley, focusing on identifying the surrounding landscape and the British accent of his executioner.

The identification of his killer is said to be of top importance to U.S. and European intelligence officials.

The video — originally posted by ISIS to YouTube, which later took the video down — also shows an ISIS militant standing over a second man dressed similarly to Foley in an orange jumpsuit. The video identifies the second man as American journalist Steven Sotloff, and warns that he, too, could be killed. Sotloff was kidnapped near the Syrian-Turkish border in August 2013, and freelanced for Time, the National Interest and MediaLine.

While the Obama administration has not yet officially authenticated the video or confirmed Foley’s death, U.S. officials who asked not to be identified told Fox News that the man beheaded in the video is Foley.

A statement by Foley’s mother, Diane, posted on the “Find James Foley” Facebook page requested privacy “as we mourn and cherish Jim.” A priest arrived at her Rochester, N.H. home on Tuesday.

“We have never been prouder of our son Jim. He gave his life trying to expose the world to the suffering of the Syrian people,” the message said. “We implore the kidnappers to spare the lives of the remaining hostages. Like Jim, they are innocents. They have no control over American government policy in Iraq, Syria or anywhere in the world.”

The orange jumpsuits worn by both captives in the video are synonymous in Jihadi propaganda with Guantanamo Bay and the first wave of prisoners who were held there at Camp X-Ray.

Fox News has learned that the video, which is being taken seriously by U.S. officials, is being analyzed by a group within the U.S. intelligence community that specializes in media exploitation. The Islamic State militant group, formerly known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, is believed to have other Americans in their custody.

An intelligence source told Fox News that the landscape of the video is being analyzed to determine a likely location. Investigators also are planning to analyze the voices in the tape, including the masked executioner who appears to speak with a British accent, and whether or not the individual is linked to Britons known to have traveled to Syria.

British officials have said that several hundred people from Britain have traveled to Syria to join the battle against President Bashar Assad, and some may have crossed into Iraq as part of the rapid advance of the Islamic State group. French and German officials have recently put the combined total of those countries around 1,300.

Shiraz Maher of the International Center for the Study of Radicalization at King’s College London, said the video was evidence that British jihadis were “some of the most vicious and vociferous fighters” in Syria and Iraq.

The masked militant in the clip speaks fluent English with what Lancaster University linguist Claire Hardaker said sounds like a London accent.

“Unfortunately the British participation in the conflicts now raging in both Syria and Iraq has been has been one of full participation, one that has seen them at the front lines, taking part in the conflict in every way,” Maher told BBC radio. “So we have seen British fighters out there operating as suicide bombers, we have seen them operating as executioners.”

White House National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden said the administration has seen the video. She said that if it’s deemed genuine by the intelligence community, the U.S. would be “appalled by the brutal murder of an innocent American journalist.”

President Obama was briefed on the video Tuesday night by Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes on Air Force One, Deputy Press Secretary Eric Schultz said.

Adam Schiff, D-Calif., who sits on House Intelligence Committee, called the video “appalling.”

“The apparent beheading of photojournalist James Wright Foley adds to the appalling parade of horrors perpetrated by [ISIS]. Seldom is the descriptor ‘evil’ applied with perfect accuracy as it is with this monstrous group that glories in death,” he said in a statement. “They know no human decency — murdering journalists, beheading religious minorities refusing to convert, victimizing women and children, and starving entire communities.”

The video also prompted British Prime Minister David Cameron to return to London early from his vacation.

“He will meet with the foreign secretary and senior officials from the Home Office, Foreign Office and the agencies to discuss the situation in Iraq and Syria and the threat posed by [ISIS] terrorists,” read a statement from the prime minister’s office.

The release of the video comes amid a U.S. airstrike campaign against Islamic State targets in Iraq. ISIS has declared an Islamic state in the territory it controls in Iraq and neighboring Syria, imposing its harsh interpretation of Islamic law.

Foley, 40, a freelance journalist, vanished in Syria in November 2012 while covering the Syrian civil war for GlobalPost. The car he was riding in was stopped by four militants in a contested battle zone that both Sunni rebel fighters and government forces were trying to control. He had not been heard from since.

The publication “mounted an extensive international investigation” for his whereabouts, with the search extending throughout the Middle East, along the Syria-Turkish border, in Lebanon, Jordan and other locations, GlobalPost reported Tuesday.

In 2011, Foley was among a small group of journalists held captive for six weeks by the government in Libya and was released after receiving a one-year suspended sentence on charges of illegally entering the country. In a May 2011 interview about his experience, he recounted watching a fellow journalist being killed in a firefight and said he would regret that day for the rest of his life. At the time, Foley said he would “would love to go back” to Libya to report on the conflict and spoke of his enduring commitment to the profession of journalism.

“Journalism is journalism,” Foley said during the AP interview, which was held in GlobalPost’s office in Boston. “If I had a choice to do Nashua (New Hampshire) zoning meetings or give up journalism, I’ll do it. I love writing and reporting.”

The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) condemned what it called a “barbaric murder.” The organization estimated Tuesday that about 20 journalists are missing in Syria, and has not released their nationalities.

In its annual report last November, CPJ concluded that the missing journalists are either being held and threatened with death by extremists, or taken captive by gangs seeking ransom. The group’s report described the widespread seizure of journalists as unprecedented and largely unreported by news organizations in the hope that keeping the kidnappings out of public view may help in the captives’ release.

Marquette University, Foley’s alma mater, said it was “deeply saddened” by the news of Foley’s death. The Milwaukee university said he had a heart for social justice and used his talents to tell stories in the hopes they might make a difference.

“We extend our heartfelt prayers and wishes for healing to James’ family and friends during this very difficult time,” Marquette University said in a statement.

Earlier Tuesday, GlobalPost CEO and co-founder Philip Balboni in a statement asked “for your prayers for Jim and his family.” AFP chairman Emmanuel Hoog said the French news agency was “horrified” by the video and called Foley “a brave, independent and impartial journalist.”

Source: http://www.foxnews.com/world/2014/08/20/james-foley-reportedly-killed-by-islamic-militants-in-iraq-us-investigating/

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Obama Prepares Executive Actions Behind Closed Doors

Circumventing the stalled legislative process, the White House is moving assertively and in private to fashion government policies by executive order on issues ranging from immigration to tax law, The New York Times reported.

The administration has partially replicated the legislative process by holding “listening sessions” instead of open congressional hearings and inviting lobbyists, interest groups, and experts to present their cases out of the public limelight, according to the newspaper.

“The president has been clear that he will use all of the tools at his disposal, working with Congress where they are willing but also taking action on his own where they aren’t,” White House spokeswoman Jennifer Friedman told the Times. “As part of this process, the administration has engaged a wide range of stakeholders and has solicited input from groups and individuals representing a diverse set of views.”

In June, President Barack Obama pledged to “fix as much of our immigration system as I can on my own.”

The executive branch is not set up to conduct its own legislative process, according to Bowdoin College professor Andrew Rudalevige. He told the newspaper that the White House is likely to seek out the views of those it already agrees with. Critics say running the government this way is liable to benefit Obama’s allies while leaving opponents with little recourse but to sue, according to the Times.

“It is chilling to consider now that these groups, frustrated in their aims by our constitutional system of government, are plotting with the Obama administration to collect their spoils through executive fiat,” Alabama Republican Sen. Jeff Sessions said, according to the Times.

Obama’s use of executive actions has encouraged interest groups to push their agendas at the White House. The president’s approach has led technology companies to lobby the White House for more visas for foreign workers. The Wall Street Journal reported that the president could decide to effectively double the number of green cards available.

Other interest groups are pressing for limits on the tax benefits companies that move overseas can enjoy. And one lawmaker, California Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein, has appealed to Obama to ban the importation of assault weapons by executive order, the Times reported.

Interest groups are pushing the White House to expand the president’s 2012 executive order authorizing children brought into the United States illegally by their parents to stay so that it covers millions of other undocumented aliens, the Times said.

The American Farm Bureau is urging the administration to ease enforcement against tracking down illegal farm workers needed by the industry. And building contractors are pressing for illegal migrants to be given work permits so that they can work unhindered, the Journal reported.

Some groups have arranged for policy experts to write articles that provide the White House with legal justification to act by executive degree. For example, professor Stephen Shay of Harvard Law School made the case for removing tax incentives now benefiting companies that move overseas, according to the Times.

Obama has issued 183 executive orders— not as many as predecessors George W. Bush or Bill Clinton — though he has used memorandums and other administrative tools to pursue presidential unilateralism. In July, the president issued a broad executive order that bans discrimination by federal contractors against gays, according to the Times.

Presidential scholar John Woolley described Obama as “aggressive” in using “a vast array” of measures to take “matters into his own hands,” according to the Times.

The president is expected to unveil a series of executive orders now in the works after Labor Day, the Journal reported.

Meanwhile, Politico reported that the White House is refusing to disclose advance information about what might be in the forthcoming immigration executive order.

The White House failed to present its own draft immigration bill to Congress earlier this summer. Lawmakers had been grappling with the issue of money the president said he needed to address the immediate border crisis as well as comprehensive reform of immigration law.

“And however dysfunctional Congress has become, can a president turn to executive orders when he never submitted a bill?” Politico’s David Rogers wrote.

Source: http://www.newsmax.com/Newsfront/Obama-prepares-executive-actions/2014/08/19/id/589525/

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Benghazi: When America Switched Sides In The War On Terror And Armed Al-Qaida

A protester reacts as the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi is seen in flames

The Center for Security Policy’s Vice President for Research and Analysis, Clare Lopez, says in this exclusive video interview with The Daily Caller that very few have seemed to care that America switched sides in the global war on terror when President Obama deposed an erstwhile ally in the Middle East and provided weapons to al-Qaida and the Muslim Brotherhood.

Focusing on this under-reported, critical shift in American foreign policy, Clare Lopez discusses how an American ambassador and others were killed in Benghazi on the anniversary of 9/11 because the Obama administration decided to promote and defend their narrative that “al-Qaida was on the run,” even as we were outright arming militants affiliated with the terrorist group.

Lopez spent 20 years as an undercover operations officer for the CIA. Believing she can now best serve her country in the policy arena, she has found a natural fit at a non-partisan non-profit that promotes American national security and foreign policy based on the principle of “peace through strength.”

This week, we feature part 1 of 2 of our video interview with Lopez on the topic of the Benghazi attacks. Lopez, who’s also a member of the Citizens Commission on Benghazi, says, “Benghazi is symbolic of more than just a disastrous foreign policy or a disastrous attack on our mission that took the lives of four Americans serving there and injured many more. Benghazi is not just what happened on September 11, 2012 either. Americans really need to care about Benghazi and what happened there because that is the place, and 2011 and 2012 was the time, when America switched sides in the war on terrorism.”

To her, the American decision to overthrow the head of a sovereign government, Muammar al-Gaddafi, and to instead support al-Qaida and the Muslim Brotherhood laid the important framework for a resurgence of global jihad.

Lopez says when we supported the local Islamic forces, America flipped in the global war on terror and we, the U.S. government, turned on our erstwhile ally and provided funding, backing, intelligence, our participation in a NATO effort and weapons for rebel forces.

“We facilitated the flow of weapons to the Gaddafi opposition, and we knew the opposition was dominated by al-Qaida. It was led by the Muslim Brotherhood and the fighting militia was dominated by al-Qaida. That’s who we helped,” she explained.

Later in the interview, Lopez discusses the important, unanswered questions on Benghazi before, during and after the 2012 attack. She discusses the weapons transfers happening in Benghazi that were at the heart of the controversial change in American policy, and the significance of the capture and prosecution of Ahmed Abu Khattala.

In addition, Lopez discusses the significance of the Muslim Brotherhood giving a “kill order” to al-Qaida, showing significant “command and control” as the global jihadist forces began a resurgence.

Lopez ends by bringing viewers back to the fall of 2012. When the reality of the Benghazi attack came to light due to Judicial Watch’s smoking gun email,” we now know the Obama administration scurried to promote a narrative that did not challenge the President’s reelection mantra “Osama bin Laden is dead and al-Qaida is on the run.” Lopez says, “It would not have suited, at all, to be defending against a nonexistent al-Qaida!”

She continues, “To admit that would be to admit a complete failure of American foreign policy, a complete failure and dereliction of duty by the Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, and the President, Obama and the White House, to defend our mission and our people. And that, they could not allow.”

Source: http://dailycaller.com/2014/08/17/benghazi-when-america-switched-sides-in-the-war-on-terror-and-armed-al-qaida/

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Coptic Bishop: Without Action, It’s Only a Matter of Time Before Islamic Fundamentalism “Infects the Entire World”

Editors Note: ISIS continues its butchery of Christians in Iraq and threatens other countries including America and where is Obama??? On vacation playing golf and ignoring the unpleasantness of his disastrous foreign policies. The southern border crisis of his own making continues to disintegrate and he has yet to use his power to get our Marine released from a Mexican jail yet has time to inject himself in a local problem in Missouri concerning a police shooting for purely racial division to further inflame the situation. As Fox News Brit Hume has stated this is a failed presidency that was doomed to failure from the very beginning with the election of a President who’s sole qualification was that of a two bit community organizer. [TS]

ISIS’ barbarism in Syria and Iraq has gotten so bad that even the Vatican has signaled that military action may be necessary. And Down Under, Bishop Anba Suriel, head of the Coptic Orthodox Church in the diocese of Melbourne, denounced the terrorist group in no uncertain terms and urged Australia, and the world, to act before “such fundamentalisms infects the entire world.”

“The world watches in silence as the last Christians are expelled from Mosul, Iraq in one of the most merciless and barbaric acts of genocide we have seen in the 21st Century,” Suriel, who was born in Egypt, said in a statement last week.

“Mosul, the cradle of Christianity in Iraq since the first centuries, is now purged of its entire Christian population,” he continued. “The ruthless and purposeful savagery of the attacks by the fundamentalist Muslim terrorist organization The Islamic State (IS) formerly known as Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), is truly inconceivable.”

The world’s silence on the issue, he warned, sends a message of indifference to the militants and only further empowers radicalism.

“In an age where world leaders are gifted with more power and global influence than ever before, I ask why the blaring silence and apathy? The Christian Copts are being forcefully driven out of Egypt and countless churches have been destroyed. Yet there is barely any international support and protection. Our peaceful protests and appeals to the government for action have fallen on deaf ears, time and time again. We are witnessing a heinous cleansing of the entire Christian population in the Middle East by an expanding extremist Muslim terrorist group. Are we going to sit back and watch the disaster unfold, and in so doing, contribute to the crimes against humanity? The world’s silence is fuelling these extremist terrorist groups.”

In Australia, we are sheltered from the inconceivable cruelty that our brothers and sisters in the Middle East are experiencing. We live in comfort and have no impediments to our human rights. However, we will not be safe from the indiscriminate and unstoppable destruction of IS and its ancillary extremist Muslim terrorist groups for long. If, as a nation, we do not take a strong stance against these crimes against humanity, it is only a matter of time before such fundamentalism infects the entire world.”

It was recently reported that two Australians joined ISIS fighting in Iraq and Syria, Suriel noted in closing. The news led the bishop to ask a question Western leaders would do well to consider: “Is our apathy to terrorism creating a safe haven for the breeding of Islamic fundamentalists on our shores?”

As Dietrich Bonhoeffer famously said, “silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.”

 

What will the world do now?

Source: http://townhall.com/tipsheet/leahbarkoukis/2014/08/17/coptic-bishop-without-action-its-only-a-matter-of-time-before-islamic-fundamentalism-infects-the-entire-world-n1879341

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GOP Braces for Obama Executive Action on Immigration

President Barack Obama will be taking a one-day break from his vacation on Martha’s Vineyard to travel to Washington on Monday, prompting speculation about a possible announcement on immigration or a visit from a foreign leader.

The White House has so far denied any suggestions that the president may announce new executive orders to deal with the immigration crisis, according to The Hill.

“[We are] not anticipating a major announcement on immigration when the president is in Washington,” said spokesman Eric Schultz, according to The Hill. He added that the administration did not “anticipate any major significant news developments out of Washington those few days.”

The statements have not stopped lawmakers from speculating that the president intends to make an imminent announcement on immigration, with the GOP issuing strong warnings about the consequences should he choose to act unilaterally.

“I’m very concerned that he might do that,” Iowa Republican Rep. Steve King, a member of the House Judiciary Committee, told “America’s Forum” host J.D. Hayworth Thursday on Newsmax TV. “The information that I’m getting is that he was likely to, but now there’s a sense that the timing of it might mean that he may be a little less or even on whether he does the stroke of his pen.”

But if Obama “uses his pen to conduct the business of the United States Congress while we’re out of session, it will bring about a Constitutional crisis,” King said.

“The president doesn’t command the Congress as a law,” said King. “He needs to come and say, ‘I’d like to have you pass this because I think it’s good for the country’, use his persuasive powers and not the intimidation powers.”

If Obama does indeed us executive powers on immigration — including a declaration of immigrant amnesty — “Congress should go back into immediate special session to take this up,” said King.Meanwhile, Alabama GOP Sen. Jeff Sessions said in a statement on Wednesday that “recent developments suggest the president’s planned executive amnesty could be increasingly imminent and broad in scope”, according to the National Review Online.

“Recent developments suggest the president’s planned executive amnesty could be increasingly imminent and broad in scope. House Democrat Leader Pelosi — clearly one of the White House’s closest allies — has just urged the president to issue ‘the broadest possible’ executive actions,” Sessions said.

“Open-borders groups have grown bolder and louder in their unlawful demands, launching a campaign for the president to ‘go big,’ and demanding that he ‘stand up’ to Congress and ‘expand DACA,’” he added.

“It is chilling to consider now that these groups, frustrated in their aims by our Constitutional system of government, are plotting with the Obama administration to collect their spoils through executive fiat,” he said.

Sessions said the Senate should vote on the House’s measure that would stop Obama from expanding DACA or issuing work permits to illegal immigrants, and has urged voters to press their senators about voting against any excepted executive orders on immigration.

Source: http://www.newsmax.com/Newsfront/GOP-Obama-executive-action-immigration/2014/08/14/id/588727/

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The Obama Doctrine: Pretend to Give a Damn–Until You Don’t Have To

For years, commentators have attempted to peg down just what the Obama Doctrine is. His allies have labeled the Obama Doctrine a form of realism about the limits of American power. His critics have labeled the Obama Doctrine “leading from behind.”

In 2009, President Obama came up with his own definition of an Obama Doctrine: “we’re only one nation… the problems that we confront, whether it’s drug cartels, climate change, terrorism, you name it, can’t be solved just by one country.” But Obama has also, at certain points, claimed to champion unilateralism in the service of human rights and internationalism in the service of diplomacy.

The Obama Doctrine has been difficult to pin down because there does not seem to be a common thread uniting his disparate policies – muscular interventionism in Libya, pushy paternalism with regard to Israel, eager abdication with regard to Syria and Ukraine.

But with Obama’s latest decision to launch airstrikes against the Islamic State in the Levant (ISIL or ISIS), the Obama Doctrine has now come into focus: pretend to give a damn about suffering of innocents when it hits the headlines, ignore it the rest of the time.

Because Obama doesn’t truly care. At all. He is a master emotional manipulator, capable of achieving effective posturing when it comes to the suffering of innocents. That’s why the media constantly swoon at his “tone” and his “attitude” during his press conferences. They repeatedly praise his “anger” or his “determination.” But they rarely ask just what he’s doing to fight evil.

Any deployment of power will be short-term and ineffective. Obama will do all he can for innocents up until the moment when he doesn’t have to do so. Then he’ll leave them to die.

That was certainly the case in Egypt, where Obama expressed extraordinary optimism about the ouster of Hosni Mubarak, then promptly allowed the Muslim Brotherhood to take over. He has since spent efforts attempting to undercut the Egyptian military, which launched a popularly-supported coup against Mohamed Morsi.

It has been the case in Iran, where Obama belatedly denounced the treatment of democracy protesters, then did nothing as they were shot in the streets.

It has been the case in Ukraine, where Vladimir Putin has annexed Crimea and invaded eastern Ukraine. Obama has expressed outrage; Putin has scoffed, and his rebel forces have shot down a passenger airliner, to approximately zero effective action from the West.

It has been the case in Nigeria, where after expressing upset over Boko Haram’s kidnapping of innocent girls and ensuring that the State Department endorse the “power of hashtag,” the Obama administration has done precisely nothing.

It has been the case in Syria, where Obama assured the world that should dictator Bashar Assad cross a red line with use of weapons of mass destruction, there would be consequences. There were none. Assad, who Obama said should go, just signed onto another seven-year term. In sum total, the number of dead in Syria now approaches 200,000.

Now, Obama has done the same in Iraq. He will drop a few bombs. He will bluster. Then the world’s attention will turn to some other crisis, and Obama will blithely move on, leaving erstwhile allies to die.

This is no groundbreaking revelation. President Obama has always cared far more about appearances than realities. He bobs like a cork on the waves of crisis, skipping to and fro, always carefully attuning his public emotions to achieve the most sympathetic effect. If brief shows of force are necessary, Obama is unafraid to engage in them. But he is unwilling to make any commitment to taking the lasting action that actually effects change. To do that, he would have to lead rather than follow.

He would have to care.

Barack Obama is an emotional pro and a foreign policy dilettante. And that is an extraordinarily dangerous combination. Popularity is the Obama Doctrine. Ironically, the end result is massive unpopularity – it turns out that world events require prolonged and sustained action rather than posturing. More importantly, the end result is massive casualties.

Source: http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Peace/2014/08/08/The-Obama-Doctrine-Pretend-to-Give-a-Damn

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White House won’t commit on stopping potential ‘genocide’ in Iraq, but weighing options

Editors Note: They are only “Christians” right Mr. president? So why waste your time doing anything to save them. Your time is much better spent evading Congress and violating the Constitution isn’t it. “Genocide” What Genocide right? Maybe if you watched the news you might actually know what is going on in the world. There is plenty of precedent for stopping genocide if you would only take time from your plans to circumvent Congress again by granting blanket amnesty by executive order. Have one of you brilliant Administration flunky’s do a little bit of research and they will find America stood strong against the ethnic cleansing that was going on in Bosnia-Herzegovina in 1992. Ahhh but those were Muslims weren’t they and not Christians. Your support for radical Muslims is well know by the world with your backing of the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas. Will you just stand by and “Contemplate” some kind of action to save the Iraqi Christians? Maybe if you wait long enough the ongoing genocide of Christians by ISIS will be complete and you won’t have to take any action because the  mass murdering will have been completed. Better for you to wait and seek a peaceful solutions after the blood has stopped flowing. Perhaps you can take another vacation to “Contemplate” your next move. Perhaps a few rounds of golf will clear your mind while Christian men women and children are slaughtered by the thousands. Better to play it safe and wait. [TS]

The White House stopped short Thursday of committing America’s military to stopping a potential “genocide” in Iraq, declining to say whether doing so is in “America’s core interests.” 

Officials say the administration nevertheless is weighing options ranging from military strikes to the delivery of humanitarian aid for ethnic minorities driven from their homes by Islamist militants. Senior U.S. officials told Fox News the administration is strongly considering plans to conduct a humanitarian aid mission that would provide food and water to the 40,000 or so religious minorities stranded on a mountaintop in the country’s north after Islamist militants forced them to flee.

These officials say any such mission would come with serious risks — therefore, the administration would need to consider some sort of airstrikes in order to disrupt the militant strongholds at the base of the mountain and clear the way for a safe delivery. Officials say an announcement is expected later Thursday.

President Obama discussed the crisis with his national security team Thursday morning as the Islamic State (IS), the militant group formerly known as ISIS, made further gains. Airstrikes in particular would mark a significant shift in the U.S. strategy in Iraq.

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest, though, would not say at Thursday’s briefing what would trigger a military response.

He said the situation is nearing a “humanitarian catastrophe” and is one “we are deeply concerned about and closely monitoring.” Earnest claimed Obama has demonstrated a willingness to use military force to protect America’s core interests.

But when asked repeatedly by Fox News whether preventing a genocide — as some have warned could happen in northern Iraq — counts as being in America’s core interests, Earnest did not answer directly.

“The reason that is an important question is that we have seen a couple of different situations where there have been urgent conditions where innocent civilians were under extreme duress and at a heightened risk of slaughter,” Earnest said.

Asked the same question twice more, Earnest responded that “each of these situations is evaluated on a case-by-case basis.” 

Earnest and other administration officials argue there is no American military solution to Iraq’s problems and the country must seek a political solution. But the administration acknowledged that the situation on the ground in northern Iraq is dire.

Sources told The Associated Press the White House is weighing an urgent response, including the delivery of humanitarian aid and strikes. Administration officials note they have been “urgently and directly” working with local officials to coordinate Iraqi airdrops to those in need.

“We’re reviewing what more we can do,” State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said Thursday.

The administration, along with the United Nations, is facing increasing pressure to get more involved to prevent the crisis from worsening.

“Genocide is taking place before our eyes — and on your watch — in Iraq,” Rep. Frank Wolf, R-Va., wrote in a letter earlier this week to Obama.

France on Thursday called for an urgent U.N. Security Council meeting on the crisis.

Two recent developments have shaken the international community.

Most recently, IS militants seized control Thursday of the country’s largest Christian city, Qaraqoush — reportedly telling its residents to leave, convert or die and sending tens of thousands of civilians and Kurdish fighters fleeing from the area, according to several priests in northern Iraq.

The capture of Qaraqoush, Iraq’s biggest Christian city, and at least four other nearby hamlets, brings the group to the very edge of the Iraqi Kurdish territory and its regional capital, Irbil.

Last week, the Islamic State also seized the northwestern town of Sinjar, forcing tens of thousands of people from the ancient Yazidi minority to flee into the mountains and the Kurdish region.

According to the U.N., between 35,000 and 50,000 fled to nearby Mount Sinjar and other areas, “reportedly surrounded by ISIS armed elements” and lacking water and other aid.

The Washington Post detailed dire circumstances, reporting Thursday that thousands of families hiding on Mount Sinjar are desperate for help and that Iraqi government airdrops of aid are not sufficient. According to the Post, some water bottles also cracked open during the drop.

Reuters reported Thursday that a rescue is underway, and some of the thousands trapped on the mountain have been brought to safety.

But Wolf, in his letter to the president, said the situation deserves higher-level involvement from the Obama administration.

“Time is running out,” Wolf wrote. He called for a senior official to be appointed as the “lead person” to coordinate government resources, and greater cooperation with NGOs like UNICEF to channel food and other aid to the victims.

Earnest said Tuesday that the U.S. is supporting the Iraqi security forces and the Kurdish Peshmerga forces defending these areas. He said joint operations centers — set up after IS first started making significant gains across the region — in Irbil and Baghdad are sharing information.

Earnest said U.S. and Iraqi officials are discussing a “coordinated approach to the humanitarian situation in that region of the country.” 

The highest level statement on the matter has come from Samantha Power, U.S. ambassador to the U.N.

Power condemned the attacks “that have reportedly led to the displacement of tens of thousands of people, many from vulnerable minority communities, deepening Iraq’s already acute humanitarian crisis.” She urged all parties to allow “safe access” to the U.N. and its partners to deliver aid, including to families stuck on Mount Sinjar.

“The United States is committed to helping the people of Iraq as they confront the security and humanitarian challenges in their fight against [IS],” she said, urging Iraq’s leaders to swiftly form a “new, fully inclusive government.” 

But the Hudson Institute’s Nina Shea earlier this week criticized Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry for not personally speaking out on the “epic humanitarian and human-rights catastrophe” in this part of Iraq, where Christians and other minorities have lived for hundreds of years.

In a column for National Review, she urged the U.S. to respond to the Kurds’ plea for arms to defend the region, aid resettlement efforts for displaced minorities and try to help warn “local populations of impending attacks.”

Source: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2014/08/07/white-house-wont-commit-on-stopping-potential-genocide-in-iraq-but-weighing/

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Transparency troubles: Audit finds $619B gap in federal spending site

The Obama administration failed to properly account for how it spent nearly $619 billion, according to a watchdog audit of the main federal website meant to track where taxpayer money is going.

The report from the Government Accountability Office picked apart the website USASpending.gov, and the agencies feeding information to it.

The database of government spending and contracts was created out of a 2006 transparency law, but the GAO found it continues to have serious problems. The Department of Health and Human Services was the worst offender, during the 2012 period GAO examined.

“Although agencies generally reported information for contracts to USASpending.gov, they did not properly report information on assistance awards, totaling nearly $619 billion,” the GAO reported.

USA Today first reported on the GAO audit.

According to the GAO findings, funding for more than 300 programs was not reported correctly. HHS topped the list of scofflaws, failing to report or reporting late $543.8 billion worth of spending. Part of the reason the number was so high is the agency was not providing information about direct payments to individuals, like for the massive Medicaid program HHS administers.

The Department of Veterans Affairs was next on the list, with $64 billion in spending not properly accounted for.

Further, the report found few contracts and grants were properly reported with all the required information. The GAO found just 2-7 percent of the awards had information “fully consistent” with agencies’ own records.

A spokesman for the White House budget office told USA Today that the administration is trying to improve the data on the site.

“OMB is committed to federal spending transparency and working with agencies to improve the completeness and accuracy of data submissions,” he said in a statement.

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2014/08/06/transparency-troubles-audit-finds-61b-gap-in-federal-spending-site/

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The Truth About Obama’s Executive Orders That Republicans Fail to Explain

President Barack Obama and his supporters tout the fact that he’s issued fewer executive orders than other recent presidents, suggesting Republicans are pushing a non-issue. But Republicans seem incompetent at explaining why the number is irrelevant; the problem is that Obama’s orders are making and breaking the law.

Every president issues executive orders, and commentators only open themselves to ridicule if they suggest there’s anything wrong with those orders as such. Presidents issue them to agencies or employees of the executive branch of the federal government—not the American people—regarding how to carry out specific duties or programs.

The Take Care Clause of the Constitution in Article II commands each president to “take care that the laws be faithfully executed.” So long as he issues orders specifically directing his subordinates on how to administer or enforce some aspect of federal law, he’s fulfilling his constitutional duty.

But two things executive orders cannot do: They cannot make law, and they cannot stop laws from being carried out. This is where Obama is taking what may be unprecedented steps in violation of the Constitution.

For example, refusing to prosecute a class of drug crimes is failing to enforce the law as Congress wrote it. If laws such as the different punishments for powder cocaine versus crack cocaine are unjustified, then it is up to the Congress—the lawmaking branch of government—to decide whether to change that law.

Or voter intimidation. The Black Panthers intimidated white voters in Philadelphia in 2008. The federal government under the Bush administration won a court judgment against some of those responsible. When Obama took over, he ordered the Justice Department to drop the matter by not filing the final papers, even though the case was already won.

Or Obamacare’s employer mandate, which Congress specified in the Affordable Care Act went into effect on Jan. 1, 2014. The impact was going to be politically disastrous for Democrats in the midterm elections, so Obama announced in a speech that the IRS would not enforce that provision of the ACA until 2015.

Those are three of many instances of not enforcing the law; sometimes Obama puts it in a formal executive order, other times not. (For example, he had the employer mandate suspension announced by an assistant treasury secretary in a blog post.)

Even worse, some of Obama’s executive orders actually make substantive public policy. In other words, they actually make new law without Congress.

Obama’s DACA program (not deporting “Dreamers”) is an example. He’s not just failing to enforce immigration law. Instead he’s created a new federal program, designating illegal aliens into four different categories and establishing new criteria for who can indefinitely stay in the United States and who cannot.

Another is Obama’s executive order that organizations who do not support the LGBT agenda under the rubric of “nondiscrimination” cannot receive a business contract with the federal government. As a consequence, if Hobby Lobby or any other business wholly owned and operated by observant Evangelicals, Catholics, Mormons, Orthodox Jews, or even Muslims, denies spousal benefits to same-sex partners, or doesn’t want to bake wedding cakes for gay-marriage receptions, the federal government can refuse to do business with them.

Frankly, even if Congress passed such a law it should be held unconstitutional under the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment. The unconstitutional-conditions doctrine provides that no American can be required to forfeit their rights in order to do business with the federal government.

So even Congress cannot do this, but Obama did it anyway.

Or again with Obamacare. Evidently to push back its job-killing effects, Obama has announced that he’s delaying the employer mandate yet again, but only for some businesses.

Congress specified that companies with 50 or more full-time employees are subject to the mandate to offer health insurance. But Obama announced that for 2015 he’ll not enforce it against companies with 50 to 99 employees, but he will enforce it for 100 or more.

That’s essentially making new law. Congress specified that the mandate starts at 50. Obama is essentially rewriting the law by saying it starts at 100. Congress can change that number at any time, but the president can never change it.

Yet Republicans fail to make the simple point: “It makes no difference whether he issues fewer orders than past presidents. They issued orders about how to follow the law, but he’s issuing orders not to follow the law.”

Source: http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Government/2014/08/04/The-Truth-About-Obama-s-Executive-Orders-that-Republicans-Fail-to-Explain

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Netanyahu to Kerry: Seriously, Stop Second Guessing Me on Hamas

Editors Note: Yet another Obama State Dept. head showing his total ineptitude when it comes to dealing with Foreign Governments. Hillary Clinton’s tenure as Sec. of State was a complete fiasco that also cost the lives of (4) brave Americans one being an American Ambassador. She accomplished absolutely nothing noteworthy except racking up a huge number of  frequent flyer miles. Her famous Red Reset Button so loudly hailed by the Obama Administration and the Media has resulted in Russian intervention around the world.

Enter Sec. of State John Kerry, Kerry has continued projecting Obama’s naivete when dealing with Foreign Affairs with his feeble and ineffective dealing with both Americas Allies and Enemies. Prime Minister Netanyahu is smart to not trust Israels protection and future to be placed in the hands of Obama and his inept and Anti-Semitic  administration. Kerry has openly and blatantly sided with Hamas and against Israel and that fact has not been lost on the Prime Minister. American Foreign Policy will remain in a shamble until Obama and his Administration are out of office and power. When you put an inept community organizer in charge of America along with an administration filled with lightweights and malcontents you end up with what America is being subjected to now. Without strong American leadership the world becomes the very dangerous place it is at this time. Whether America and the World can survive the rest of Obama’s tenure as President is tenuous at best. [TS] 

When this alleged quote from the Israeli Prime Minister was first reported over the weekend, I took it with a grain of salt. We’d seen a “transcript” of a testy exchange between Netanyahu and President Obama a few days prior, which turned out to be fabricated nonsense (as many of us suspected). But when Israel’s leader was pressed on the authenticity of this comment, he didn’t try to deny it:

 

When asked on Saturday evening about a report that he told Secretary of State John Kerry and US Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro “not to ever second guess me again” on how to deal with Hamas, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu did not deny them, choosing instead to say the report didn’t reflect the general “tone and substance” of the calls. “First let me make a general statement about our relationship with the United States,” Netanyahu said in English when an American journalist asked about the report from the Associated Press’ Matt Lee. “I think the United States has been terrific.” … Though in public officials tend to sing from the same song sheet, there is a clear behind the scenes tension between the Obama and Netanyahu administrations about many issues, sources tell CNN, including whether Israel’s current military operations in Gaza are excessive and resulting in preventable civilian deaths…. Netanyahu then praised President Obama’s “unequivocal stand with Israel on our right to defend ourselves,” as well as the “untiring efforts” of Kerry, called Shapiro “a great ambassador,” and thanked Congress for passing an additional $225 million for the Iron Dome defense system.

That funding item, offered by Sen. Mitch McConnell, passed the Senate unanimously on Friday, sailing through the House by a lopsided 395-8 vote (the ‘no’ votes were split evenly among Democrats and Republicans). Netanyahu’s effectively confirmed admonition came on the heels of Hamas’ egregious violation of the latest failed ‘ceasefire’ deal, which was orchestrated by Sec. Kerry and the United Nations, and to which the terrorist organization agreed. Their adherence to the 72-hour quiet ended after roughly 90 minutes, as Hamas militants killed two Israeli soldiers, and allegedly kidnapped a third. Hamas has changed its tune on the apparent adduction several times. Over the course of this conflict, Hamas has rejected or broken roughly half-a-dozen ceasefires. Netanyahu has evidently had enough of US and UN officials dragging his country into temporary peace agreements that continue to rest on the blind assumption that Hamas is able, let alone willing, to comply. Gaza and the West Bank are cauldrons of anti-Semitism, violence, and paranoia — so much so, in fact, that many Arab countries have chosen to remain silent over this war, an implicit endorsement of Israel.

The Jewish state’s latest ‘outrage’ is an attack on a UN-run school, killing ten Palestinians. The UN’s leader has condemned the incident as a “criminal act,” even as the facts aren’t yet fully established. It’s unclear whether Israel directly fired on the school at all, nor do we know who was killed. What we do know is that Hamas rockets have been discovered in UNRWA schools on three separate occasions during this conflict, and that the UN has turned some of those weapons over to Hamas-aligned “officials.” Reports also indicate that a building labeled as a UN health clinic contained the entrance to a Hamas terror tunnel. Several IDF soldiers were killed attempting to destroy the tunnel, which was booby trapped. We’ve written about how Hamas leaders are using a prominent Gaza hospital as their operations base. Anti-Israel zealots have tried to deny this established fact, but their propaganda was dealt another blow when a pro-Palestinian journalist from Finland filed a report that inadvertently confirmed Hamas’ disgusting exploitation of the hospital. When Israel supporters cited her work as further evidence, she angrily criticized them for, well, noticing what she’d said (via Legal Insurrection):

 

Also, a rocket attack was conducted from the “backyard” of the hospital at 2 o’clock in the morning. It (the rocket launch), in fact, happened somewhere close by because the noise right here at the hospital area was really loud. Indeed, these rockets launched here from the Gazan side (of the border) are headed into Israel.

These monsters are camped out inside a hospital, and they’re firing rockets from the parking lot. They’ve also been accused of using school zones to launch numerous attacks. This information is not widely reported around the world. Some foreign reporters have blown the whistle on Hamas’ ongoing efforts to intimidate journalists, and to tightly control images beamed out of Gaza. What they want people to see: Weeping women and maimed children. What they don’t want publicized: Masked gunmen holding rocket launchers and automatic weapons. Based on the coverage thus far, they’ve been highly successful in the art of propaganda. How many photos or videos have you seen of actual Hamas terrorists, outside of videos and information put out by the IDF? Speaking of whom, I’ll leave you with this, tweeted yesterday:

 

Hamas terrorists have fired 3,127 rockets at Israel since July 8. Each of those rockets was launched to kill. pic.twitter.com/QUq9MXDlAw

— IDF (@IDFSpokesperson) August 3, 2014

Hamas has shot thousands at rockets in the last few weeks, every one of them intended to murder Israel civilians. Some, of course, ended up downing Gaza’s own power lines and striking civilian targets within Gaza. But the intent was to kill innocents on the other side of the border. They’ve rejected and broken a string of attempted ceasefires. Israel must do what is necessary to defeat this evil enemy. Be sure to read this piece questioning the conventional wisdom that whatever might replace Hamas would be “worse.”
UPDATE – Israel has withdrawn most of its troops from Gaza, having destroyed the vast majority of Hamas’ tunnels. Quote from the Jerusalem Post: “Hamas spent five years preparing this strategic threat; the IDF wrecked 31 tunnels in two weeks.” Retaliatory and anti-militant airstrikes will continue (once Israel’s unilateral humanitarian truce ends today), but it appears that a major chapter of the fighting is drawing to a close.

Source: http://townhall.com/tipsheet/guybenson/2014/08/04/netanyahu-to-us-stop-second-guessing-me-on-hamas-n1874170

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Army to force out 550 majors; some to get news while in Afghanistan

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Editors Note: Obama strikes again reducing Americas military readiness and effectiveness. Over reaching budgetary cuts to the military that are out of balance with other governmental cuts are eroding Americas military the ability to protect the country. Obama has been and continues to systematically dismantle the military that he despises. How many cuts do you see to the liberal entitlement programs that are driving America to the brink of bankruptcy? Answer~None. The Community Organizer in Chief has totally failed as a leader of this nation. Obama promised “Change” and he is delivering it but it isn’t change for the better its change for the worse. [TS]

WASHINGTON –  About 550 Army majors, including some serving in Afghanistan, will soon be told they have to leave the service by next spring as part of a budget-driven downsizing of the service.

Gen. John Campbell, the vice chief of the Army, acknowledged Friday that telling troops in a war zone that they’re out of a job is a difficult task. But he said some of the soldiers could join the National Guard or the Army Reserve.

The decision to cut Army majors comes on the heels of a move to slash nearly 1,200 captains from the ranks. Army leaders were criticized at the time for giving 48 of them the bad news while they were deployed to Afghanistan.

The Army declined to say how many majors will be notified while they are at the battlefront.

“The ones that are deployed are certainly the hardest,” Campbell told reporters. “What we try to do there is, working through the chain of command, minimize the impact to that unit and then maximize the time to provide to that officer to come back and do the proper transition, to take care of himself or herself, and the family.”

Campbell said it’s difficult to avoid cutting deployed soldiers because of the timing schedules.

All the soldiers being forced to leave have probably already been given a heads-up that they were at risk of the job cut and will meet with a senior officer, according to the Army.

Those who are cut have nine months to leave the Army. And the soldiers who are deployed, including those in Afghanistan, will generally have about a month to move out of that job and go home to begin to transition out of the service.

The cuts have been difficult for many young officers, particularly captains, who tend not to have enough years in service to retire.

To make the cuts, the Army looked at about 8,500 majors who joined the service between 1999 and 2003. Some may have about 15 years of service, depending on all factors that go into credit for years of service, and might be able to retire, but many won’t have enough time in the job, Campbell said

Guard and reserve leaders are looking for officers, especially captains, so there could be opportunities for the soldiers to continue to serve, he said.

After 13 years of war that forced a significant and rapid build-up of the Army to about 570,000, the military now has to reduce its combat forces to meet budget cuts.

The Army has close to 514,000 soldiers now, but will have to be down to 510,000 by October, shrink to 490,000 by October 2015 and be down to 450,000 by 2019. In addition, if Congress doesn’t act to prevent automatic budget cuts from resuming, the Army may eventually have to get down to 420,000 — a size that that leaders say may not allow them to wage even one major, prolonged military campaign.

The Army tried to avoid some cuts by slowing enlistments and using attrition and some voluntary separations. It also has been combing through files looking for soldiers with disciplinary or other problems in their annual evaluations to weed out lower-performing officers first, officials said.

Source: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2014/08/02/army-to-force-out-550-majors-some-to-get-news-while-in-afghanistan/

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Defense panel: Obama administration defense strategy ‘dangerously’ underfunded

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Editors Note: A President must swear or affirm the Oath of Office as follows:

“I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

That is a Presidents primary job and Obama has and is failing miserably. America’s military is what stands between the Citizens of America and any would be Aggressor. Obama and his Administration have systematically cut funding across the board on all services stripping personnel, materials and funding that has reduced Americas military might to that of before WW2. Why is this happening some may ask and the answer is simple. Obama is sacrificing the safety of every American to fund his pet projects such as the push for Total Amnesty for illegal immigrants, climate change and alternative energy and of course the elephant in the room ObamaCare. Obama has failed in every aspect of being President of the United States and has put the safety of every American in jeopardy. Unfortunately certain segments of the populace are completely clueless or are intentionally ignoring the abuses Obama has perpetrated on the country and people he is supposed to serve and protect. Obama deserves and needs to be Impeached for his mockery of the highest office in America. His lawless abuse and disregard for the Constitution is without a doubt worse than any previous President in American history. But because we have a Congress that is more interested in political control and in fighting than doing the jobs they were elected to do along with a liberal media sadly Impeachment will not happen unless the American people finally stand up in mass and say enough is enough. In these time of Global unrest America’s military needs to be strengthened and not diminished by a criminally inept Community Organizer in a position he is totally unable to handle. [TS]

The Obama administration’s four-year defense strategy lacks funding needed for fulfilling global military missions and the U.S. military faces “high risk” in the world unless changes are made, according to a bipartisan report by a congressionally backed panel of defense experts.

The report by the National Defense Panel, led by former Defense Secretary William Perry and retired United States Army Gen. John Abizaid, criticized the Pentagon’s Quadrennial Defense Review for outlining military responsibilities that cannot be met because of sharp defense funding cuts.

The report concluded that the capabilities called for in the QDR “clearly exceed the budget resources made available to the department.”

“This gap is disturbing if not dangerous in light of the fact that global threats and challenges are rising, including a troubling pattern of territorial assertiveness and regional intimidation on China’s part, [and] the recent aggression of Russia in Ukraine.”

Other threats include nuclear proliferation by North Korea and Iran, the ultra-violent Islamist insurgency in Iraq and civil war in Syria, along with growing unrest throughout the Middle East and North Africa.

“These are among the trends that mandate increased defense funding,” the report said.

Other trends that require growing military capabilities include the rapid expansion of lethal military technologies by states and non-state groups and the rise of military powers in Asia, along with demographic shifts and heated competition for scarce natural resources.

“These and other trends pose serious operational challenges to American military forces,” the report says. “Conflicts are likely to unfold more rapidly. Battlefields will be more lethal. Operational sanctuary for U.S. forces (rear areas safe from enemy interdiction) will be scarce and often fleeting. Asymmetric conflict will be the norm.”

The report said that U.S. military superiority in the world is “not a given” and that maintaining the U.S. military’s operational and technological edge will require “sustained and targeted investment.”

Under President Obama, U.S. military spending has been cut first by $487 billion over 10 years. That was followed by automatic spending cuts imposed by the Budget Control Act that included another $37 billion cut and additional cuts of $75 billion for 2014 and 2015.

The U.S. defense cuts come amid a major conventional and nuclear buildup by China and Russia, nations that have engaged in increasingly aggressive behavior.

China in recent years has claimed large areas of international waters as its territory. Russia’s military forcibly annexed Ukraine’s Crimea and is continuing to back separatist rebels in eastern Ukraine.

While avoiding specific references to U.S. military force size, the panel warned that the military forces projected by the QDR “is inadequate given the future strategic and operational environment.”

“Although our conventional capabilities have significantly improved since that time, so have the capabilities of our potential adversaries, and the security environment facing the department 20 years ago was far less challenging than today and what is projected for tomorrow,” the report said.

“That a substantially larger force was deemed necessary then is powerful evidence that the smaller force envisioned by the Department is insufficient now.”

“We urge both the Congress and the Department to take our recommendations to heart and expeditiously act on them,” wrote Perry, defense secretary under President Bill Clinton, and Abizaid, U.S. Central Command commander under President George W. Bush.

“We must act now to address our challenges if the nation is to continue benefiting from its national security posture,” they said in a cover letter to the report.

On Capitol Hill, House Armed Services Committee Chairman Rep. Howard P. “Buck” McKeon said the report confirms that the Pentagon did not follow the law in producing its last QDR.

McKeon has included a provision in the pending National Defense Authorization Act that would require the Pentagon to revise the QDR.

“The QDR did not do what Congress required,” McKeon said in a statement. “By focusing on budget—rather than threats—the QDR does a disservice to the nation by not examining the force and the resources the nation needs.”

McKeon said the defense panel has produced a bipartisan warning that the national military is facing a “high risk” and that global peace and stability are being undermined.

“It is the same conclusion many Americans have already reached: there is a cost when America does not lead and there are consequences when America disengages,” McKeon said. “What the president fails to understand—which the report points out—is that a strong military underwrites all other tools our nation has for global influence.”

McKeon said the report bolsters calls for adding substantial resources to reverse the military decline.

“Anything less than this jeopardizes our international defense posture and damages our security,” he said.

The report warned that the risk of the U.S. military having to fight two regional conflicts at nearly the same time has increased because of instability. They include potential battles in Korea, the South China Sea, South Asia, the Middle East, Africa, Europe, and elsewhere.

The report said Congress should task the Pentagon to conduct another review that is less based on budget constraints.

“We believe such a review would conclude that the United States must prepare for what will almost certainly be a much more challenging future,” the report said. “We must have an energetic program of targeted reinvestment in research, development, and procurement designed to protect and enhance the technological advantages that are central to U.S. military superiority.”

Investment priorities should include bolstering intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) systems, space systems, cyber warfare and defense capabilities, joint and coalition command and control, air superiority, long range and precision strike capability, undersea and surface naval warfare, electric and directed energy weapons, strategic lift, and logistical sustainment, the report said.

Specifically, the panel urged building up both the Navy and Air Force. The panel suggested increasing the number of warships from 260 to between 323 and 346 ships and submarines. “An even larger fleet may be necessary if the risk of conflict in the Western Pacific increases,” the report said.

For the Air Force, which currently has the smallest and oldest combat force in its history, the panel recommended increasing both surveillance and strike forces “to rapidly deploy to theaters of operation to deter, defeat, or punish multiple aggressors simultaneously.”

The panel also said the administration’s plan to cut Army forces to the lowest levels in more than half a century “goes too far.”

“We believe the Army and the Marine Corps should not be reduced below their pre-9/11 end strengths—490,000 active-duty soldiers in the Army and 182,000 active Marines—bearing in mind that capability cannot always substitute for capacity,” the report said.

The panel said the administration’s focus on defense cuts as a way to deal with fiscal challenges is not only “too risky” but also will not work. Instead, the defense cuts will increase the danger and “damage our security, prospects for economic growth and other interests.”

Noting the current “readiness crisis” of military forces, the panel said “the U.S. military’s dangerous and growing budget-driven readiness challenges demand immediate action.”

Congress should take steps to restore strategic decision-making power denied to both the president and defense secretary by the Budget Control Act.

Costs for maintaining the all-volunteer military force also need to be reduced, and the defense weapons acquisition process must be reformed, the report said.

The recent increase in the civilian workforce and defense contractors in the Pentagon and military also must be reduced.

The buildup of forward-based military forces in Asia should continue with rotational deployments and new “responsive strike capabilities” there, along with maintaining military forces in the Middle East to deal with Iran.

The Russian invasion of Crimea undermines the QDR conclusion that Europe is a “net producer of security,” the report said, adding that NATO must bolster its forces, especially front line states in the Baltics, southern Europe, and Poland to avoid Russian “intimidation and subversion.”

On aging U.S. nuclear forces, the panel said it is concerned about the near obsolescence of U.S. strategic nuclear weapons and called for a review of strategic nuclear deterrence.

“We conclude that American military forces will be at high risk to accomplish the nation’s defense strategy in the near future unless recommendations of the kind we make in this report are speedily adopted,” the report said.

In addition to Perry and Abizaid, the panel included a mix of Republicans and Democrats, including retired Marine Corps Gen. James Cartwright, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff under Obama; Eric S. Edelman, undersecretary of defense for policy of George W. Bush; and Michele Flournoy, who held the same post under Obama.

Other panel members included Army Lt. Gen. Francis H. “Frank” Kearney III, former National Counterterrorism Center strategic planner; former DIA Director Lt. Gen. Michael D. Maples; former Rep. Jim Marshall (D., Ga.), and a Vietnam War veteran; retired Air Force Gen. Gregory S. Martin, former commander of the Air Force Materiel Command; and former Sen. Jim Talent (R., Mo).

A Pentagon spokesman had no immediate comment.

Source: http://freebeacon.com/national-security/defense-panel-obama-administration-defense-strategy-dangerously-underfunded-2/

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House GOP leaders hold out hope for border crisis fix, after vote fizzles

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House Republican leaders are trying anew to round up an elusive majority for a bill addressing the border crisis, after a chaotic day where they initially abandoned the legislation and began sending lawmakers home for the summer recess — only to reverse course moments later.

The dramatic scene unfolded at a rapid clip Thursday afternoon. Earlier, House leaders abruptly canceled a planned vote on a package meant to address the surge of illegal immigrant minors crossing the U.S.-Mexico border, with a combination of funding and policy changes, after failing to gather enough votes for it.

Lawmakers began heading out for the five-week summer recess. But incoming House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., then took to the floor to say “additional votes are possible,” indicating lawmakers should stay. Boos could be heard in the House chamber as he made the announcement.

But House Republicans later huddled on Capitol Hill, and plan to meet again on Friday morning. The second thoughts reflected deep concerns in the GOP caucus about the prospect of leaving for the August recess without addressing the border bill, amid criticism from both sides of the aisle.

It remains unclear whether there’s any chance enough votes can be rounded up to pass the measure. Senior Republican leaders were adamant, though, that something must be done, regardless of the looming recess.

“We’ll stay until we vote,” House oversight committee Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., said.

Asked if the House can find a solution, House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton, R-Mich., said: “We’d better.” 

If lawmakers do end up breaking for recess without a bill, House leaders left open the possibility of recalling members if need be when they feel they have a majority of 218 votes. Earlier, sources said GOP leaders were “way short” of the votes they needed, with conservative lawmakers joining Democrats in refusing to back the package.

Asked Thursday afternoon if the bill still has a chance, House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers, R-Ky., said: “We’ll see.” He told Fox News that he was at the airport when his secretary told him to return to Capitol Hill.

The Senate still has a border bill on its plate, but that legislation is different from what was being considered in the House.

A joint statement from House Republican leaders said the “situation shows the intense concern within our conference — and among the American people — about the need to ensure the security of our borders and the president’s refusal to faithfully execute our laws.”

In the absence of legislation, Republicans urged President Obama to act on his own to secure the borders and safely deport illegal immigrant children.

“We will continue to work on solutions to the border crisis and other challenges facing our country,” they said.

But Senate Democrats blasted their House colleagues for dropping the legislation. “Shame on the House of Representatives,” Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., said.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry also slammed his fellow Republicans, saying “it’s beyond belief that Congress is abandoning its post while our border crisis continues to create humanitarian suffering.” 

The legislation’s prospects changed quickly over the course of the day. Initially, House leaders thought they had a plan to win enough support, by scheduling a separate vote on legislation to prohibit Obama from expanding a policy that lets some illegal immigrants who came to the U.S. as children stay. Amid reports that the administration is considering such an expansion, the bill by Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., would specifically bar the president from broadening the 2012 policy.

Republicans say another illegal immigrant reprieve by the president would only exacerbate the surge of illegal immigrant children trekking to the U.S.-Mexico border from Central America.

“Such action would create an even greater incentive for more illegal crossings and make the crisis on our border even worse, and that would be a grave mistake,” House Speaker John Boehner said Thursday.

The vote had been scheduled by Republican leaders as part of the effort to win conservative support for the separate, scaled-down package giving the Department of Homeland Security an immediate $659 million to address the border crisis and making other policy changes.

But Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, nevertheless raised concerns with House members about their version of the border legislation, and lawmakers and aides said Thursday that it had an impact. They also pointed to opposition from Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala.

Sessions voiced concerns about both the House and Senate proposals, arguing that the Senate would never take up the executive action bill being considered in the House. Sessions wants any bill addressing the president’s funding request to also address the executive action issue.

“We as policy makers must face the reality that the president is openly planning to use executive actions to provide amnesty and work permits to millions without any lawful authority,” he said in a statement.

Democrats, meanwhile, accused Republicans of playing games.

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said earlier in the day: “It is extraordinary that the House of Representatives, after failing for more than a year to reform our broken immigration reform system, would vote to restrict a law enforcement tool that the Department of Homeland Security uses to focus resources on key enforcement priorities like public safety and border security, and provide temporary relief from deportation for people who are low priorities for removal.” 

Unlike the House bill, the Senate package would authorize $2.7 billion with no policy riders.

While 11 Republican senators helped the Senate bill meet a key procedural hurdle, enough of them — including at least one Democrat — said they would filibuster final passage if the measure is not amended. Like their House colleagues, they want changes to a 2008 law that would require the government to treat illegal immigrants apprehended at the border the same, regardless of country of origin.

Source: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2014/07/31/republicans-launch-bid-to-short-circuit-obama-executive-action-on-illegal/

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Economist: Social Security in Worse Shape than Detroit’s Pension Funds

There is no way Social Security will survive in it’s current state. The government has used the funds even though when it was set up ,it was supposed to be sacred and only used for it’s intended purpose. Add this to the government debt and there is no way the country can sustain the debt load. EB

(CNSNews.com) – “Social Security is insolvent,” Boston University economics professor Laurence Kotlikoff told the House Subcommittee on Social Security at a hearing on Capitol Hill Tuesday. “And it’s not bankrupt in 30 years, or 20 years, or 10 years. It’s bankrupt today.”

“This is not my opinion. This is the only conclusion one can draw from Table IVB6 of the 2013 Social Security Trustee’s Report.”

“This table reports that Social Security has a $23 trillion fiscal gap measured over the infinite horizon,” noted Kotlikoff, who also served as a senior economist on President Ronald Reagan’s Council of Economic Advisers.

“Twenty-three trillion dollars is 32 percent of the present value, also measured over the infinite horizon, of Social Security’s future revenues. Hence, Social Security is 32 percent underfinanced, which means it is in significantly worse financial shape than Detroit’s two pension funds taken together.”

Social Security’s debt also “swamps the $13 trillion of official debt in the hands of the public,” Kotlikoff testified.

And “the system’s off-the-books debt is growing at leaps and bounds – by $1.6 trillion between 2012 and 2013 – thanks to the approaching retirement of vast numbers of baby boomers.”

While “the Old-Age and Survivors Insurance and Disability Insurance (OASDI) Trust Fund fails the long-range test of close actuarial balance, it does satisfy the test for short-range (10-year) financial adequacy,” the 2014 Trustee’s Report states.

The “combined trust fund asset reserves at the beginning of each year will exceed that year’s projected cost through 2027,” it continues. However, “depletion of combined trust funds reserves” will occur in 2033.

According to Table VI.FI “Unfunded OASDI Obligations Through the Infinite Horizon” in the 2014 report, Social Security’s fiscal gap has increased to $24.9 trillion.

Social Security cannot “sustain projected long-run program costs in full under currently scheduled financing, and legislative changes are necessary to avoid disruptive consequences for beneficiaries and taxpayers,” the trustees state.

Kotlikoff also told House members that Social Security is now in “worse financial shape today than when the Greenspan Commission ‘fixed’ it” 31 years ago.

“Today, we are looking, in the current 75-year projection widow, at 31 years of negative cash flows, which the Greenspan Commission knew were coming and willfully ignored,” he said.

The economist also accused the system’s trustees of a “disinformation” campaign to keep Americans from finding out that “Social Security is in dire financial shape.”

“To their great credit, Social Security’s actuaries have been reporting the system’s infinite horizon fiscal gap every year since 2002. And to their great shame, Social Security’s Trustees have been ignoring this comprehensive measure of the system’s insolvency every year since 2002.”

“Unfortunately, those who proclaim the strongest desire to preserve and protect Social Security, particularly its Trustees, are doing their level best to destroy the system by ignoring or substantially understating its financial problems,” he said.

Although he praised Social Security for being a “lifeline for generations of Americans who would otherwise have spent their retirements in abject poverty,” Kotlikoff testified that “nothing short of a fundamental reform of the system” will save it.

“To pay its scheduled benefits in full through time, the Social Security system needs a 32 percent immediate and permanent increase in the future path of payroll tax revenues,” Kotlikoff noted. “Alternately, to prevent having to raise its FICA payroll tax rate, the system needs to immediately and permanently cut all benefits payments by 22 percent.”

He also pointed out that Social Security, which is 32 percent underfinanced compared to its obligations, “cannot be bailed out by the rest of our fiscal system,” which is 58 percent underfinanced. In April, Kotlikoff told CNSNews.com that “the nation’s true fiscal gap is $205 trillion. The nation is completely broke.”

Kotlikoff urged House members to support The Inform Act (H.R. 2967 and S. 1351), which has been endorsed by 17 Nobel Laureates in economics. The bill would require federal accounting agencies such as the Congressional Budget Office, the Government Accountability Office, and the Office of Management and Budget to do “infinite horizon fiscal gap” accounting for every major fiscal bill introduced in Congress.

That would require them to calculate “the present value lifetime net Federal tax burdens facing each current generation of children 18 years of age and under, as well as each future generation.”

http://cnsnews.com/news/article/barbara-hollingsworth/economist-social-security-worse-shape-detroit-s-pension-funds

 

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Emails show ex-IRS official Lerner using derogatory terms for Republicans

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Editors Note: Why is this woman walking around free when she should be in prison? This e-mail shows her mindset and bias against Conservatives in general and she used her position to carry out a policy of harassment. She illegally used the 5th Amendment and is in Contempt of Congress and should now be dressed in prison orange. Don’t waste your time asking AG Eric Holder to investigate on who both he and Obama agree with. Boehners and Issa’s handling of this manner is despicable, she should have been placed under arrest before she left that committee meeting. [TS]

House Republicans have dug up emails from Lois Lerner in which the former IRS official refers to some in the Republican Party as “—holes” and “crazies” – an exchange they say shows her “animus” toward conservatives.

The November 2012 emails were released Wednesday by House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp, R-Mich., as part of his renewed call for the Justice Department to appoint a special counsel to investigate. Lerner is the ex-IRS official who led the unit accused of targeting conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status for extra scrutiny.

In the email exchange, Lerner appears to be chatting with another unidentified individual about a vacation in Great Britain. She describes how she overheard “some ladies” talking about how America is “going down the tubes.”

The person she tells this to responds that “you should hear the whacko wing of the GOP. The US is through; too many foreigners sucking the teat; time to hunker down, buy ammo and food, and prepare for the end. The right wing radio shows are scary to listen to.”

Lerner responds: “Great. Maybe we are through if there are that many —holes.”

After another email to her about how “rabid” the radio show callers are, Lerner responds: “So we don’t need to worry about alien teRrorists. (sic) It’s our own crazies that will take us down.” 

The emails are being used by Camp to make the case that Lerner had a bias against conservatives – something congressional Republicans have long suggested as they push for the Justice Department to get more involved in reviewing the IRS scandal, and Lerner herself.

“In light of this new information, I hope DOJ will aggressively pursue this case and finally appoint a special counsel, so the full truth can be revealed and justice is served,” Camp said in a statement.

Camp and other GOP committee leaders have been after the IRS lately over the agency’s admission that it lost a trove of Lerner emails due to an apparent computer crash.

Incidentally, a separate email chain from February 2012 released by Camp details another problem with her home computer. Camp claims the emails show Lerner may have kept work information on that home computer, raising concerns that taxpayer information may have been compromised. It’s not clear from the email exchange, however, whether that is the case.

In the November chain, Lerner also makes an off-color comment about class.

She describes visiting an “Edwardian English village” full of large houses — “which have been ruined by letting the hoi paloi live there!” (Hoi polloi is a term for common people.)

“These people have ruined everything with their equality push!” she writes.

Source: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2014/07/30/emails-show-ex-irs-official-lerner-using-derogatory-terms-for-republicans/

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The Next ‘Shot Heard ‘Round the World’ May Be Fired In Texas

This administration and others before it have continued to not close the southern border. This administration has caused this over run on the border we are now facing. We are told they are children and it is a humanitarian issue, however, there is more coming across than children. Children only make up 25% of those coming across the border. With the border like a sieve, it is impossible to know who or what is coming across the border. It is a sad situation when militia have to go and do what the government refuses to do. EB

The Mexican government is allowing tens of thousands of criminal aliens from Central American nations to transit their nation unimpeded to invade the United States. It’s a stunning development for a nation which (ironically) has far stricter immigration laws that the United States does, and which once used to arrest and deport illegals from El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua. For reasons unknown to us—which should perhaps be the focus of a Congressional investigation—Mexico has stopped turning these criminal invaders back, and may even be actively be assisting them in their travels north.

It would be relatively easy for the U.S. government to shut down this flow of criminal immigrants.

The U.. government could simply put economic sanctions on Mexico for failing to stop the invaders at their southern border, and the Mexicans would staunch the flow at two natural checkpoints, one in the state of Oaxaca on Mexico’s west coast, and the other in the state of Veracruz-Llave on the nation’s east coast. The vast wilderness area between these two states in the narrow “foot” of Mexico forces migrants to these coastal routes, where they can be captured and repatriated if the Mexican and United States governments had any interest in stopping the invasion, which the two federal governments quite obviously do not.

It thus appears that American citizens will be left to do the job of stopping the criminal invasion that these governments won’t.

When this nation was founded, the Constitution was written to lay out what the government could do, and the Bill of Rights was created define individual rights and protect the citizenry from governmental tyranny.

The Second Amendment—our primary focus at Bearing Arms—was written to codify a pre-existing human right to self-defense, which includes the right of self-defense from criminals, tyrants, and foreign invaders.

The Founders would take a very dim view of the federal government’s refusal to protect the Republic’s southern border with Mexico.

American presidents from both parties have repeatedly failed to build physical barrier to stop criminal immigration, drug cartels, arms smuggling, and terrorist infiltration. Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and California are all but undefended in many stretches as a practical matter, and the Border Patrol has been hamstrung by bureaucrats and politicians who do not wish for them to succeed. At no point in our history, however, has a Presidential Administration so blatantly refused to lift a finger to stop a deluge of foreign invaders.

Is this what Barack Obama meant when he said that he wanted to “fundamentally transform” America?

Americans who are sick and tired of the refusal of the Obama Administration to stop importing criminal aliens and distributing them around the nation are beginning to take matters into their own hands. Many are protesting attempts by the federal government to bring these largely illiterate, unskilled, disease-carrying criminal invaders deeper into the heartland, but there are also groups now taking a very active role along the border themselves, seeking to stop the criminal invasion of our nation since the federal government has no apparent interest in enforcing the rule of law.

The militias are turning out.

Photos showing dozens of members of the militia groups on the U.S.-Mexico border carrying semi-automatic rifles and wearing masks, camouflage and tactical gear provide one of the first glimpses into the group’s activities on the border.

Members of the militia groups, who say they have 10 active “teams” along the state’s southern border, are seen at campsites, walking along the Rio Grande River, pointing rifles and pistols out of frame and flipping off the camera in the photos obtained by the San Antonio Express-News.

A spokesperson for the group provided the photos under the condition that members’ faces be blurred because of fear of being identified by “cartel and gang members.”

One of the photos shows a Border Patrol agent leaning through an armed militia member’s vehicle window and pointing on a map. The U.S. Customs and Border Protection earlier this month strongly rebuked the group’s presence on the border but did not return multiple requests for comment regarding the photo.

Gov. Rick Perry, who last week ordered 1,000 Texas National Guard members to the border, declined to comment specifically on the militia groups through a spokesman but said he is “leading to secure the border.”

The groups, including Oathkeepers, Three Percenters and Patriots, began recruiting and organizing more than a month ago, as national media outlets began focusing on an influx of Central American immigrants illegally crossing the border, including more than 50,000 unaccompanied minors.

These patrols of self-organized, self-supporting volunteer militias are armed with semi-automatic rifles. Most wear some form of military camouflage and kit, with multiple magazines for their weapons. Some wear military-grade body armor.  Many appear to be military combat veterans, and have defended the United States before in Afghanistan or Iraq.

This time, their acting with greater urgency, on our own soil.

To date, intercepts of criminal aliens by these militias have been peaceful affairs, with militias calling in the Border Patrol to capture invaders whose intention is to obtain the free food, medical care, and government housing that the Obama Administration seems intent on lavishing on criminal invaders that they seem to want to groom into a new far-left underclass of Democrat voters.

Eventually, however, these patrols are likely to run into armed coyotes, the smugglers who bring humans, weapons, and drug shipments across the border.  In many instances, these coyotes are actively escorted by (or are made entirely up of) members of the Mexican Army.

Eventually, there will be confrontations. There will be firefights. Americans and criminal invaders will both fall, and the vivid cost in blood along the border will inflame an American people who has been quietly simmering with rage against a lawless Administration.

How will Americans respond to civilians dying because federal agencies and the criminal-enabling Obama Administration refuse to fulfill their oaths of office?

If current sentiment is any guide, any of the self-organizing militia who fall will result in the mobilization of more volunteers, and any attempt by this corrupted government to stop the militia patrols or press criminal charges against men and women doing the job that the government intentionally fails to do will result in citizens standing against government agents like they did at Bundy Ranch… and with much less patience.

It is the duty of the federal government to secure the borders and prevent foreign invasion. They have resolutely refused to perform these tasks.

Their actions suggest that they are instead facilitating the invasion by refusing to secure the border, refusing to mobilize and deploy the National Guard, refusing to mobilize and deploy Homeland Security, and refusing to use the many diplomatic tools at their disposal to stop the flow of immigration at Mexico’s southern border, far from our own.

The federal government has abandoned their duty to defend the Republic. American citizens are now beginning to use their natural right to self-defense to form self-organized militias to protect their nation.

When government fails, the people will rise.

If we hope to remain a sovereign nation under a President who has abandoned the rule of law, we seem to have no other choice.

http://bearingarms.com/next-shot-heard-round-world-may-fired-texas/3/

 

 

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Emails show White House adviser intervened on ObamaCare ‘bailout’ after industry appeals

 

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White House Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett inside the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on the White House complex in Washington, January 16, 2014.Reuters

Newly released emails show a key White House adviser intervened on behalf of the health insurance industry after an executive repeatedly warned that massive premium hikes were coming unless the administration expanded an ObamaCare program that Republicans call an industry “bailout.” 

The insurance industry ultimately got a more “generous” offer from the administration — one that Republicans warn could transfer potentially billions of taxpayer dollars into the Affordable Care Act to bail out insurance companies.

The documents were included as part of a report by Republicans on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. Republicans allege that White House adviser Valerie Jarrett intervened in response to appeals from the industry.

“Documents show that Ms. Jarrett took the warnings of the insurance companies very seriously,” the report said.

The controversy pertains to a program known as “risk corridors,” which allows the government to aid insurers that lose money by paying them from a pool of cash collected from insurers that turn a profit. The insurance industry, though, was concerned there wouldn’t be enough cash in the pool to go around.

A string of emails starting on April 4 of this year shows Chet Burrell, president of CareFirst Blue Cross Blue Shield, bringing this issue to Jarrett’s attention – and issuing blunt warnings that premiums could rise if the administration didn’t change course. The industry was apparently concerned about a decision to make the program budget-neutral, which would limit funding.

“If this is indeed the policy, then carriers will have to price premiums as if the Risk Corridor features is not fully available,” said a memo sent from Burrell to Jarrett on April 5. “Uncertainty or confusion will equate to higher rates. This could confront the Administration with a sea of far larger premiums increases than expected. Once the filings are made, they will likely quickly become public.”

The not-so-subtle warning about skyrocketing premiums received Jarrett’s prompt attention.

“I checked and the policy team is aggressively exploring options,” she wrote back later that day. “… I really appreciate you bringing this to my attention.”

Burrell’s CareFirst division represents Maryland, Washington, D.C., and parts of Virginia.

The two continued to correspond, and Burrell continued to warn about rate increases in 2015 if the program were not changed. On April 15, Jarrett said the industry was getting “80 percent” of what it wanted but she didn’t have “any more to add.”

Burrell responded that “substantial rate increases are coming.”

However, despite Jarrett’s response, the Department of Health and Human Services a month later issued a final rule detailing changes to the program. The agency said that in the “unlikely event” the pool ran out of money, the secretary was required to make “full payments” to insurers — and the agency would use “other sources of funding … subject to the availability of appropriations.”

This move has angered Republicans, who warn that it puts taxpayer funds on the line.

“While the Administration’s changes to the Risk Corridor provision protected the profits of insurance companies’ ObamaCare-compliant plans, it was extremely detrimental to taxpayers,” the new GOP report said. “When government picks winners and losers in the market, it reduces competition and harms consumers. Congress should protect taxpayers and bring greater transparency to the premiums in the individual market by repealing ObamaCare’s Risk Corridor program.”

The insurance industry, though, has defended the program.

ObamaCare’s “temporary risk mitigation programs are designed to help ensure market stability and affordability for consumers,” a spokesman with America’s Health Insurance Plans said last month. “The final rule provides important clarity about how these insurer-financed programs will work as health plans prepare their rates for 2015.”

HHS has claimed the agency remains confident the program will not have a shortfall.

Source: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2014/07/29/documents-show-white-house-intervened-on-obamacare-bailout/

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Environmental Regulations Leave 800 Miles of Border Unpatrolled

Editors Note: Once again Obama and the Democrats nullify border security to allow even more illegal immigration and drug smuggling by closing border areas to law enforcement. 800 miles of open border now await the free transit of not only illegal immigrants and drug traffickers but also Terrorists. [TS]

The U.S. Border Patrol is being stymied in its efforts to protect the southern border by federal environmental regulations that leave an 800-mile opening.

The Hill reports that about 40 percent of the U.S. border with Mexico falls under Department of the Interior and Forest Service rules that prohibit the Border Patrol from driving there, creating roads, patrolling, installing surveillance devices, or building infrastructure.”

The rules, designed to protect wildlife, also protect illegal immigrants and smugglers, Republicans say.

“There is no doubt that the restrictions on accessing land along the border have made it more difficult for the Border Patrol to do their job,” Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, told The Hill. “It seems a common-sense reform to say that the Border Patrol should be able to fully access and patrol the border.”

A House Republican working group recently released a dozen recommendations to deal with the border crisis, according to Business Insider, including a recommendation for legislation that would “prohibit the Secretary of the Interior or the Secretary of Agriculture (USDA) from denying or restricting U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) activities on federal land under their respective jurisdictions.”

Cruz said smugglers are well aware of what parts of the border are not under Border Patrol surveillance because of environmental regulations and, therefore, use those sections to slip illegal immigrants into the United States.

Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, visited the border in McAllen, Texas, with Cruz, and The Hill reports she told an Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing, “We’re not asking for a major highway around there, but we need to think about national security issues, and how we enforce our own laws when you juxtapose that with other priorities within the federal agencies.”

The conflict between environmental and security concerns has been around for a few years. In 2011, Rep. Rob Bishop, R-Utah, proposed the National Security and Federal Lands Protection Act, which would ban Agriculture and Interior from interfering with Border Patrol activities on the border.

“We have basically rolled out the welcome mat for drug cartels on federal lands because environmental policies restrict the U.S. Border Patrol’s ability to secure some of the most heavily trafficked areas of the southern border,” Bishop said in a press release.

When President Barack Obama created the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument [Link added by Editor TS] along the New Mexico border, he was criticized by House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, who said it would “place additional burdens on Border Patrol personnel and limit access to high-crime areas along the border, making it easier for drug smugglers and human traffickers to move in and out of the country,” The Hill reports.

Source: http://www.newsmax.com/Newsfront/immigration-Border-Patrol-environmental-regulations/2014/07/28/id/585283/

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Federal judge rules DC ban on gun carry rights unconstitutional

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Editors Note: Once again Citizens Rights guaranteed under the 2nd Amendment have been upheld by a Federal Judge who based his decision on the Constitution rather than follow the lead of the Anti-Gun Obama Administration. Washington DC has been the Murder Capitol of America but after the inevitable appeal is denied and citizens of the Nations Capitol are allowed to arm themselves you will see a dramatic drop not only in the murder rate but also a drop in armed robberies, assaults and rapes. When the citizens are armed to protect themselves the criminal element thinks twice before committing crimes on people who can now defend themselves with deadly force. A victory for the 2nd Amendment is a victory for America. [TS]

A federal judge in the District of Columbia on Saturday overturned the city’s total ban on residents being allowing to carry firearms outside their home in a landmark decision for gun-rights activists.

Judge Frederick Scullin Jr. wrote in his ruling in Palmer v. District of Columbia that the right to bear arms extends outside the home, therefore gun-control laws in the nation’s capital are “unconstitutional.”

Click here to read the decision.

“We won,” Alan Gura, the lead attorney for the Second Amendment Foundation, told Fox News in a phone interview.  “I’m very pleased with the decision that the city can’t forbid the exercise of a fundamental constitutional right.”

Gura said he expects the District to appeal this decision but added, “We’ll be happy to keep the fight going.”

The decision leaves no gray area in gun-carrying rights.

Judge Sculin extensively referenced the Supreme Court decisions in District of Columbia v. Heller (2008) and McDonald v. Chicago (2010) to concluding “there is no longer any basis on which this court can conclude that the District of Columbia’s total ban on the public carrying of ready-to-use handguns outside the home is constitutional under any level of scrutiny.”

The court ordered the city to now allow residents from the District and other states to carry weapon within its boundaries.

Judge Scullin wrote that the court “enjoins Defendants from enforcing the home limitations of [D.C. firearms laws] unless and until such time as the District of Columbia adopts a licensing mechanism consistent with constitutional standards enabling people to exercise their Second Amendment right to bear arms.”

The defendants are the city government and Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier.

This case has dragged in the courts for five years. Gura has twice asked the federal appeals court to force Judge Scullin to issue a decision. The five plaintiffs filed in 2009, and the case was argued twice, most recently in Oct. 2012.

George Lyon, a D.C. resident and registered gun owner is one of the plaintiffs in Palmer.

“I am gratified that after a long wait our right to protect ourselves and our families has been vindicated,” Lyon, a lawyer, said Saturday.

He urged Mayor Vincent Gray, a Democrat, and the Democrat-controlled City Council to “swiftly enact a concealed carry law that protects the rights of law abiding citizens to protect themselves.”

Gray and D.C. City Council Chairman Phil Mendelson did not respond immediately for a request for comment.

Source: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2014/07/27/emily-miller-federal-judge-rules-dc-ban-on-gun-carry-rights-unconstitutional/

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APNewsBreak: Gun law based on flawed estimate

Editor’s note: The whole law is faulty. This law was passed using faulty data, with no debate, by democrats who know nothing about guns. Since the passage of this law, Sheriffs have refused to enforce the law and Hickenlooper has apologized to the sheriffs for signing it. Even the data in this article does not take into account that many denials are because of incomplete data or clerical errors. Most gun owners in the state bought what they wanted before the law went into effect. Gun control fanatics fail to understand that criminals do not go through background checks. Gun control laws are not about guns, they are about control. (EB)

DENVER (AP) — A law expanding background check requirements on Colorado gun sales has been in effect for about a year, and an Associated Press analysis of state data compiled during that span shows the projected impact was vastly overstated in a key budget report.

The discovery has prompted a prominent Democratic lawmaker to question whether the Legislature misallocated millions of taxpayer dollars based on the flawed estimate, which has provided an opportunity for Republicans to resume attacks over regulation that already has come at great political cost to Colorado liberals.

Democrats pushed the proposal into law last year as part of a package of gun restrictions meant to improve safety after devastating mass shootings. Lawmakers drafting the background check requirement, aimed at keeping firearms away from those with a criminal history, relied on information from a non-partisan research arm of the Legislature that predicted about 420,000 new reviews over the first two years. Accordingly, they budgeted about $3 million to the agency that conducts the checks to handle the anticipated surge of work.

But after a year of operating under the new system, Colorado Bureau of Investigations officials have performed only about 13,600 reviews considered a result of the new law — about 7 percent of the estimated first year total.

“I’m not discouraged by the lower number,” said Democratic Rep. Rhonda Fields, who sponsored the legislation in response to the Aurora movie theater rampage that killed 12 and wounded dozens of others in her district and the elementary school massacre in Newtown, Connecticut, that left 28 people dead, including 20 first-graders.

“I think that it’s a good number, because it shows me that people are complying with the law,” she said.

Still, Fields acknowledged, “I’m going to be asking some questions because I want to be a good steward of our tax dollars.”

For Republicans, it provides evidence that a plan they opposed from the start was an unnecessary attack on the rights of gun owners and bolsters the conservative efforts that recalled two Democratic state senators and prompted a third to resign.

“Nothing good came of the passage of the law, except we found out just how anti-gun Democrats in Colorado are,” said GOP state Sen. Greg Brophy.

The funding increase, CBI officials say, has gone to hiring and operating expenses. Spokeswoman Susan Medina told the AP that about a dozen full-time employee positions have been filled since the increase, but that “the full authorized staff was not implemented.”

Medina says the agency has funding for about 14 more full-time employee positions that have gone unfilled. It wasn’t clear how much of the $3 million allocation has gone unspent.

The 420,000 estimate was provided by a standard Colorado Legislative Council review. The council regularly assesses costs or other impacts of legislation. Officials with the panel aren’t allowed to speak publicly but provided AP with an explanation of how they reached the figure.

Gun-control advocates have long asserted that 40 percent of gun sales nationwide are made by private sellers and thus not subject to background checks. President Barack Obama cited the number last year, unsuccessfully urging Congress to pass a law mandating “universal background checks.”

But that figure, which Colorado legislative analysts and CBI officials say was the best available for the basis of their estimation calculus, comes from a 1997 National Institute of Justice report that gun-right’s activists criticize as inaccurate.

Catherine Mortensen, a spokeswoman for the National Rifle Association, said that using the 40 percent figure as a basis for Colorado’s projection “calls into question lawmakers’ access to accurate information on not only this, but all firearms-related legislation.”

In total, there were about 311,000 background checks done during the first year of the expansion in Colorado, meaning the 13,600 checks between private sellers made up about 4 percent of the state total.

Further, the private review figure includes the number of checks done at gun shows, which have been required for years in Colorado. The law also requires checks for online sales, which is new for transactions within Colorado. But such vetting was already required on interstate sales. Still, interstate activity is tallied in the private background check total.

Taken together, this indicates that the number of newly mandated background checks that have been performed is even lower than 13,600.

Of the 13,600, there were 260 denials the first year under the expanded system. But because of how state data is compiled, however, it’s unclear how many of those denials are tied to the new law, and how many happened under existing rules such as the gun-show requirement.

Still, Brian Malte, senior national policy director for the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, said his group applauds Colorado for passing the law.

“The bottom line,” he said, “is even if one, or five, or 10, or 10,000 or 20,000 people are being blocked, that’s less dangerous people walking around with guns.”

http://bigstory.ap.org/article/apnewsbreak-gun-law-based-flawed-estimate

 

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Senate Democrats pressure GOP on Israel

Marco Rubio is pictured. | AP Photo

Editors Note: Typical of the Anti-Semite Democrats they are further endangering Americas strongest allie in the Middle East to spend and waste more of the American taxpayers money. The Obama Administrations fingerprints are all over this attempt to force Republican’s to provide money for Obama’s failed attempts to control the border crisis by throwing more money at a problem they have no interest in fixing. Obama and his band of Anti-Semite Democrats willingly endangers all of Israel in a blatant disregard for providing needed money for Israels Iron Dome Missile Defense System. Instead of offering a stand alone Bill to deal exclusively with the critical aid money needed to replace the stockpile of missiles used to defend against the onslaught of missiles fired by Hamas into Israel, the Democrats would rather play politics and try to force Republicans into funding more money into Obama’s failed border policies. Republicans are faced with providing money for the needed aid to Israel AND added money for Obama’s pet projects or standing fast and being called anti-Semite by those who are the real Anti-Semites the Obama Administration and the Democrats. The only Hope & Change that is happening is the average American is loosing all “Hope” for the future because of the “Change” Obama has perpetrated on the American people and all of that “Change” has been bad. [TS]

Democrats are daring Republicans to oppose a border bill that includes aid to Israel during its increasingly heated conflict with Hamas.

As the simmering battle in Gaza reached its boiling point last week, the Israeli government turned to its strongest ally: The United States. And the White House was happy to oblige, relaying a request to Senate Democrats late last week to ask for more money for Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense program, according to congressional sources familiar with the request.

On Tuesday, Senate Democrats responded by slipping $225 million into its emergency funding package for the migrant crisis at the border, demonstrating the political might of Israel and putting pressure on the GOP in one fell swoop.

But for now, most Republicans aren’t biting. In interviews, GOP lawmakers said that while they support aiding the Israeli missile defense system, it doesn’t have to be paired with the border fix being sought by President Barack Obama.

“There’s strong support for that program and we can put it on any bill. You could bring it to the floor by itself and it would pass overwhelmingly,” said Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.).

House Republicans released border recommendations on Wednesday but said nothing about Israel — an issue that unites most GOP lawmakers on both sides of the Capitol.

When it comes to the border bill making its way through the Senate, the biggest problem for Republicans is that the proposal doesn’t include policy changes to an anti-trafficking law. Republicans are seeking revisions to that law to help expedite immigration hearings for undocumented migrants from Central America who are seeking asylum at the U.S.-Mexico border.

So even though the GOP acknowledges the Iron Dome money makes the package more appetizing, it’s not enough for them to support the Democratic bill.

“For those that want to support it, it adds a reason to do so. I don’t want to do it,” said Sen. Dan Coats (R-Ind.). “There are numerous ways we can provide support for Iron Dome, frankly we’ve already provided a lot of support. It’s not a game-changer. It shouldn’t be a game-changer. Iron Dome is up and its working and no one’s made a case before for emergency money.”

The request for Israel aid reflects growing concerns in Washington over a worsening conflict in Gaza, where Israeli troops are working to shut down labyrinthine tunnel networks amid an open ground conflict that has killed hundreds of Gazan civilians and an increasing number of Israeli troops. The Iron Dome missile defense system has shot down hundreds of rockets aimed at Israeli cities — but there are worries that even that sophisticated system is being tested by the barrage from Hamas, the group in political control of the Gaza Strip.

“Israel requested it, the White House asked us to include it,” said Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) in an interview. “It reflects the fact that all the rocket activity coming out of Gaza has exhausted their current supply or at least it is threatening their supply for defense.”

In announcing the Iron Dome funding, Senate Appropriations Chairwoman Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) said the money will be used “to accelerate production” for the defense system, calling Israel “an essential American ally [that] needs these assets to defend itself.” The bill also includes $615 million to combat wildfires nationwide in drought-stricken areas.

Administration spokespeople did not immediately comment on the request.

It would only take a few Republicans looking to highlight their support of Israel to join with Democrats and advance the border bill over the Senate’s 60-vote threshold.

“Bringing the Iron Dome funding as well as wildfires into it can broaden the support,” Durbin [The same Durbin that called U.S. Marines murders during the Gulf War]m [TS] said, predicting all 55 Senate Democratic caucus members are likely to support the legislation, which was discussed during a party lunch on Tuesday afternoon.

Indeed, several centrist Democrats said they were inclined to back the new bill, which trimmed about $1 billion from the White House’s original border request. Sen. Mark Begich (D-Alaska) said he’s leaning toward voting for it, as did Jon Tester (D-Mont.) — both senators from states on another border, the one with Canada.

“If we don’t put a supplemental in then those resources are probably going to be spent anyway. My concern is they’re going to be taking resources off the Northern Border to supplement the southern border. So we’ve got to do something,” Tester said.

Source: http://www.politico.com/story/2014/07/israel-gaza-hamas-democrats-bill-iron-dome-109286.html

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