‘A different world': Riot-scarred Ferguson warily awaits nightfall

Ferguson hoping for peace, bracing for worst


Editors Note: The Governor of Missouri is Jay Nixon a Democrat who held the National Guard in reserve instead of deploying them to stem the violent rioting, looting and as it turned out business being set ablaze. Political move? How would it look politically for all Democrats to have the Missouri National Guard marching down the streets of Ferguson in battle dress forcibly moving both demonstrators and rioters out of the way. I am sure the business owners of ALL races would have preferred that then have their business torched and looted. Then to have Obama inject himself in a local state matter made things even worse. As Obama’s former Pastor Reverend Jeremiah Wright once preached ” America’s chickens are coming home to roost” only this time it is Obama’s Chickens that have come home to roost with his and his Attorney General Eric Holder preaching and spreading racial divide. Instead of being the Uniter he promised when he was campaigning for President he has been a Divider of Race, Income and Gender. [TS]

A mix of weary unease, fear and hope has set in on Ferguson, Mo., after a night of rioting followed the announcement that a grand jury had declined to indict a police officer who shot an 18-year-old black man dead in a case that exposed a deep racial divide and left parts of the town in ruins.

Mass rioting and looting, the torching of police cars and arrests of at least 60 people left part of the city looking like “a different world,” in the words of one local pastor. And before the city can begin to recover, residents and merchants must know the rioting is over.

“We’re expecting it to flare up again, especially when it gets dark,” said the Rev. Dusty Thompson, of Ferguson Church of the Nazarene. “There’s definitely some trepidation for tonight, but we are just praying that peace will be pursued and that our community will come together.”

“I’m the only one that didn’t burn,” said Dan McMullen, who has owned an insurance company in the Ferguson area for 20 years. “The buildings to the right and left of me burned down. The beauty shop to the left of me is totally flat. It’s a 60-year old building made out of concrete and metal.”

“I never thought they would burn the place down,” said McMullen, adding he fears the violence may continue — perhaps escalate — Tuesday night.

“I never thought they would burn the place down.”- Dan McMullen, Ferguson insurance broker

“I went to get pictures today from my office in case they try to burn it down tonight,” McMullen, a former policeman and Vietnam veteran, told FoxNews.com. “My wife just sat there and cried.”

Ferguson Mayor James Knowles on Tuesday said the National Guard was not deployed fast enough to protect all businesses, which he said was deeply concerning. He called on Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon to deploy all resources possible to prevent “further destruction of property” and ensure “the preservation of life.”

Knowles was joined at an afternoon press conference Tuesday with Ferguson business owners, residents and clergy members, one of whom addressed the violent protestors directly, saying, “This is not the answer to continue to destroy us.”

Thompson said surveying the damage in the hardest hit part of the city was troubling.

“I was just up there, and at times you can feel like you’re in a different world,” he said. “But even in the midst of that damage, there is hope for Ferguson.”

Thompson said the shooting and the ensuing fallout has exposed divisions, but also sparked positive conversation.

“It is causing people to talk, and maybe some of that racial divide is being crossed,” Thompson said. “It’s causing us to look at some of these situations and issues, and, while you wish it would be more peaceful, it is forcing some of these conversations and maybe some reconciliation.”

An aide to St. Louis County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch defended the timing of the grand jury announcement in a statement to FoxNews.com.

“We coordinated with law enforcement, gave schools time to get the children home and in a safe place, gave businesses time to make decisions concerning the safety of their employees, gave media time to set up, prepared our statement, and then made the announcement,” McCulloch spokesman Ed Magee said in an e-mail.

McCulloch held a news conference at 8 p.m. Monday to announce the decision — and some questioned whether the nighttime announcement fed the unrest. Former two-term Ferguson Mayor Brian Fletcher said it should have been announced early in the day to give police more time to prepare for any nighttime unrest.

The potential for more violence has expanded well beyond Ferguson. Police in U.S. cities from Los Angeles to New York are prepared for another day of demonstrations after thousands flooded the streets, some in peaceful protest and others in riotous anger over the grand jury’s decision not to indict Officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of Michael Brown.

Renewed plans for marches and rallies came as officials in cities such as Oakland, California, were still cleaning up after scores of people hurled bottles, broke windows, set small fires and vandalized a police car.

In Seattle, police responded with pepper spray and flash-bang grenades after demonstrators threw canned food, bottles and rocks. Protesters also briefly shut down part of an interstate. Five were arrested.

In New York, a man was arrested for throwing red paint that struck Police Commissioner William Bratton and his security detail.

Elsewhere nationwide, demonstrators were mostly law-abiding Monday night, leading marches, waving signs and shouting chants of “hands up, don’t shoot,” a refrain that has become a rallying cry in protests over police killings across the country.

The racially charged case in Ferguson has inflamed tensions and reignited debates over police-community relations even in cities hundreds of miles from the predominantly black St. Louis suburb.

Rallies were planned Tuesday in many Newark, New Jersey; Portland, Maine; Baltimore; Washington, D.C.; and elsewhere. In the nation’s capital, one group lay on the ground to stage a “die-in” in front of Metro police headquarters. The group plans to occupy various buildings in the district over 28 hours.

“Mike Brown is an emblem (of a movement). This country is at its boiling point,” said Ethan Jury, a protester in Philadelphia, where hundreds marched. “How many people need to die? How many black people need to die?”

Protests could continue Tuesday in California, including in Oakland, where marchers took over Interstate 580.

In Los Angeles, demonstrations remained mostly small and peaceful, but about 200 people marching toward downtown briefly shut down Interstate 110, City News Service reported.

After midnight, officers wearing riot gear fired hard-foam projectiles into the ground to disperse about 50 protesters downtown, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Police Chief Charlie Beck said Tuesday there were no injuries and no property damage during hours-long demonstrations across LA. Three people were arrested.

Source: http://www.foxnews.com/us/2014/11/25/ferguson-hoping-for-peace-bracing-for-worst/

Posted in Editorial, News, Opinion | Leave a comment

Ugly ouster: ‘Frustrated’ Hagel faces unfair sniping on way out, says McCain

Editors Note: This comes as no surprise what so ever because the only reason Obama picked Hagel to begin with was that he was a Republican and when the time came that Obama’s Foreign Policy self destructed Hagel could be thrown under the bus and blamed for everything. A White House Official has already started the mud throwing by saying  “This is why you don’t send a sergeant to do a secretary’s job.” The same could also be said of Obama “You don’t send a Community Organizer to do a President’s job”.  This is also typical of the Obama Administration leaking  “The president felt he had to fire someone. He fired the only Republican in his cabinet. Who is that going to piss off that he cares about?” Obama is a little man in a job to big for him to fill and has made a mockery of the Presidency and the job of Commander in Chief. Those around the world who hailed his election are now seeing the light in that the only people of the world Obama is helping are the Muslim Terrorists and turning his back on trusted allies. The egotistical narcissist can’t accept the verdict of the last election where his policies were roundly rejected by the American people. Obama is a failed President in charge of a failed Administration that has caused absolute chaos around the entire world and unless the Republicans stand up to and stop him, Obama has (2) more years to further destroy not only America but the world as a whole. [TS]

Ousted Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel had become “very, very frustrated” in the post before President Obama sought his resignation, according to a key lawmaker, who blasted the White House for a whispering campaign that accompanied the Pentagon boss’ abrupt ouster Monday morning.

“I thank Chuck Hagel for his service, and I know that he was very, very frustrated,” Sen. John McCain, the Arizona Republican who is expected to take control of the Senate Armed Services Committee in January, said in a radio interview with KFYI.

McCain spoke following a Rose Garden press conference at which Hagel stood stiffly while Obama announced he would be stepping down. Although McCain, who served in the Senate with Hagel from 1996-2008, opposed his fellow Vietnam veteran’s appointment to defense secretary, he said administration sources were wrong to assail Hagel on his way out the door.

“Already White House people are leaking, ‘Well, he wasn’t up to the job,’” McCain said. “Well, believe me, he was up to the job. It was the job he was given, where he really was never really brought into that real tight circle inside the White House that makes all the decisions which has put us into the incredible debacle that we’re in today throughout the world.”

McCain noted that Hagel characterized the Islamic State as the greatest threat in the Middle East, while Obama was calling them the jayvee (junior varsity) team less than a year ago. He also criticized Obama for failing in areas like the Middle East, Ukraine, and responding to a newly aggressive China.

“We’ve had our disagreements but Chuck Hagel is an honorable man,” McCain added.

At the news conference, Obama said Hagel concluded it’s an “appropriate time” for him to complete his service. Hagel has had a rocky tenure of nearly two years in which he’s struggled to break through the White House’s insular foreign policy team. He stepped down under pressure amid multiple foreign policy crises, including the rise of the Islamic State group.

But in remarks at the White House, Obama praised Hagel as “an exemplary defense secretary” and steady hand for strategy and budget. Obama said he’ll always be grateful that Hagel has always “given it to me straight.”

The Vietnam veteran and former Republican senator took office less than two years ago, and was charged with overseeing the winding down of decade-long wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Hagel, 68, also steered the military during sweeping changes involving gays and women in the military. But in recent months, the Pentagon has taken on new challenges, including fighting Islamic State in Syria and Iraq and deploying military personnel to Africa to fight Ebola.

Sources told FoxNews.com that Obama’s dissatisfaction with Hagel, as well as a desire to shake up the cabinet following the devastating midterm elections, played a role in the president seeking Hagel’s ouster.

“Make no mistake, Secretary Hagel was fired,” a senior U.S. official with close knowledge of the situation told Fox News.

“Make no mistake, Secretary Hagel was fired.”- Senior U.S. official

This same official discounted Pentagon claims it was a mutual decision claiming President Obama has lost confidence in Hagel and that the White House had been planning to announce his exit for weeks.

“The president felt he had to fire someone. He fired the only Republican in his cabinet. Who is that going to piss off that he cares about?”

In a swipe at the resume of Hagel, who served as U.S. Army sergeant in Vietnam and received two Purple Hearts, the official added, “This is why you don’t send a sergeant to do a secretary’s job.”

Hagel took office Feb. 27, 2013, five years after retiring from the Senate. Prior to his political career, Hagel co-founded Vanguard Cellular, worked for an investment banking firm and ran American Information Systems, a company that makes computerized voting machines. He also taught at Georgetown University after stepping down from the Senate.

A senior defense official said that Hagel submitted his resignation letter to Obama Monday morning and that the president accepted it. Hagel agreed to remain in office until his successor is confirmed by the Senate, the official said.

The president is not expected to nominate a new Pentagon chief Monday, according to one official.

The officials insisted on anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter by name ahead of Obama’s official announcement.

Hagel, the only Republican on Obama’s cabinet, served as senator from Nebraska for two terms, beginning in 1996, and became a critic of U.S. involvement in Iraq. Obama nominated him to succeed Leon Panetta as Defense Secretary in his second term.

Recent questions about Hagel’s future at the Pentagon were prompted in part by his decision to postpone a long-planned trip this month to Vietnam. At the time, officials said he needed to remain in Washington for congressional consultations, but that did not stop speculation that the White House might be looking for a replacement for the final two years of Obama’s term.

Just last week, Hagel was asked about the speculation during an interview on the Charlie Rose show. He was asked whether he’s concerned by the speculation.

“No. First of all, I serve at the pleasure of the president,” Hagel said. “I’m immensely grateful for the opportunity I’ve had the last two years to work every day for the country and for the men and women who serve this country. I don’t get up in the morning and worry about my job. It`s not unusual by the way, to change teams at different times.”

Posted in Editorial, News, Opinion | Leave a comment

Obama to announce executive action on immigration Thursday in primetime speech

Editors Note: Obama is about to commit a impeachable act by bypassing Congress and in essence creating a new law that he in not authorized to do. Obama AND the Democrats are rushing this illegal Immigration action before the newly elected Republican majority can  take over. Sen. Harry Reed and Rep. Nancy Pelosi have given their stamps of approval and set the stage for a Constitutional crisis. Now it is time for the Republicans to live up to their pre-election retoric and stop this illegal act from taking place. If they don’t so everything with in their legal power then America shoud toss them out of office like they did the Democrats that lost to them. America is in Crisis and partisanship is not acceptable, bloviating will achieve absolutely nothing. Action and immediate action is the only thing to stop this travesty from being implemented. Now is the time to contact your elected officials and DEMAND that they stop Obama from his promised action. [TS]

President Obama, following through on his vow to sidestep Congress, will announce in a prime-time TV speech Thursday the executive actions he will take to change U.S. immigration law.

Obama will make his announcement, expected to protect roughly 5 million illegal immigrants from deportation, from the White House at 8 p.m. EST.

The president will go ahead with his plan despite widespread opposition from Capitol Hill Republicans, who have asked him to wait until next year when the GOP controls the House and Senate to try to reform the country’s broken immigration system.

Obama is also under intense pressure from Hispanics and much of his liberal base to act now, after promising to act by September, then disappointing them by waiting until after the midterms.

House Speaker John Boehner has warned Obama that taking such action before January would be tantamount to “playing with fire.”

And on Wednesday before the announcement, Boehner aide Michael Steel referred to the president and attempt to govern alone as “Emperor Obama.”

The Democrat-controlled Senate last year passed bipartisan, comprehensive immigration-reform legislation. However, the GOP-controlled House has not passed such a bill.

“We’ve been waiting for a year for House Republicans to come to a vote,” White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said Wednesday. “We’re confident it would pass with bipartisan support.”

He also said the president chose to act because the House has indicated it will not address immigration reform in the next Congress.

Congressional Republicans are already working on a strategy to stop Obama from using executive action, including a plan to submit a temporary spending bill that would cut any funding for related efforts like issuing Social Security cards for those to be protected under the Obama change.

The federal government technically runs out of money by December 11. So the president and Congress failing to promptly reach a budget deal could result in a partial government shutdown. However, Republicans have said they do not intend to submit a budget that Obama would veto and result in a shutdown.

“What I’m going to be laying out is the things that I can do with my lawful authority as president to make the system better, even as I continue to work with Congress and encourage them to get a bipartisan, comprehensive bill that can solve the entire problem,” Obama said via Facebook on Wednesday.

At least some of the estimated 5 million illegal immigrants who would be spared from deportation are also expected to be made eligible for work permits. But the eligible immigrants would not be entitled to federal benefits — including health care tax credits — under the plan, administration officials said Wednesday.

The president in 2012 used executive action to delay deportation for some of the millions of young people brought the U.S. illegally by their parents.

Obama is scheduled to host a White House dinner before the speech for 18 congressional Democrats to talk about immigration and other second-term priorities, then travel to Las Vegas to tout his changes.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is expected to join the president in his home state of Nevada.

Reid said Tuesday that Obama should take executive action as quickly as possible, a shift from last week when he said the president should wait to act until Congress had completed work on the must-pass spending legislation.

“I believe that when the president decides to do his executive order, he should go big, as big as he can,” Reid said, adding that he had spoken with Obama on Monday. “I said he should do something as quickly as he can.”

However, other Democrats still want Obama to wait on unilateral action for fear such a move will poison spending-bill negotiations.

“I wish he would let the process work for a few months before he did this,” said Sen. Jon Tester, D-Montana.

Source: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2014/11/19/obama-to-announce-executive-action-on-immigration-thursday-in-primetime-speech/

Posted in Editorial, News, Opinion | Leave a comment

Obama’s Amnesty Assault

Judicial Watch • Obama’s Amnesty Assault

Unrestrained, unaccountable, and unhinged …

That’s the best way to describe President Obama’s approach toward immigration policy in the aftermath of the election giving Republicans control of both houses of Congress. As early as next week, the president is expected to announce a substantial and far-reaching overhaul of the nation’s immigration enforcement system that would allow up to five million illegal immigrants to remain in the U.S. free from the threat of deportation. The plan would also provide illicit work visas to millions of illegal immigrants. In reality, this is but the latest in a series of Obama maneuvers aimed at granting amnesty at the expense of the public interest, national sovereignty – and the law of the land.  I told Fox News yesterday, that “if experience is any guide, [Obama’s latest plans] will lead to one of the greatest mass migrations in history” into our country.

There’s a largely unreported element of this story that deserves greater attention and scrutiny as it provides insight into the administration’s aims and ambitions–and reveals the backroom conniving and outright duplicity inherent in the entire Obama amnesty scenario.

On January 29, 2014, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) division of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) posted a “Request for Information (RFI)/Sources Sought: Escort Services for Unaccompanied Alien Children” seeking a contractor to provide the following services:

The Contractor shall provide unarmed escort staff, including management, supervision, manpower, training, certifications, licenses, drug testing, equipment, and supplies necessary to provide on-demand escort services for non-criminal/non-delinquent unaccompanied alien children ages infant to 17 years of age, seven (7) days a week, 365 days a year. Transport will be required for either category of UAC [Unaccompanied Alien Children] or individual juveniles, to include both male and female juveniles. There will be approximately 65,000 UAC in total: 25% local ground transport, 25% via ICE charter and 50% via commercial air. Escort services include, but are not limited to, assisting with: transferring physical custody of UAC from DHS to Health and Human Services (HHS) care via ground or air methods of transportation (charter or commercial carrier), property inventory, providing juveniles with meals, drafting reports, generating transport documents, maintaining/stocking daily supplies, providing and issuing clothing as needed, coordinating with DHS and HHS staff, travel coordination, limited stationary guard services to accommodate for trip disruptions due to inclement weather, faulty equipment, or other exigent circumstances.

In January, the Obama administration put out a call saying there would be “approximately 65,000 UAC in total.” And in June, 52,000 UACs illegally crossed the U.S. border. A mere coincidence? Perhaps. But very likely not. Now, remember that that ICE RFI was posted in January 2014. And it was not until June 2014–some six months later–that the U.S. news media began reporting what the New York Post described as a “‘Katrina’ of illegal immigrants flooding into border states daily.” On July 3, 2014, the New York Times reported that “240,000 migrants and 52,000 unaccompanied minors…crossed the border illegally in recent months.”

To get to the truth, Judicial Watch filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against DHS seeking “any and all records” relating to the ICE plan to handle the deluge caused by Obama’s lawlessness.

And yet, there’s more…

As President Obama readies a post-election immigration power play to provide amnesty for millions of illegals, his immigration czar said recently that the border is bracing for another surge of undocumented children, raising this year’s wave across the southern border to some 130,000. Leon Rodriguez, the new director of U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services, said that the federal government is already working to “prepare for another potential surge” across the border.

Make no mistake about it: There’s a direct connection between President Obama’s nullifying of our nation’s immigration laws and the breakdown of security along the border. Public safety, health, national security, transparency and the rule of law are all afterthoughts in this administration’s reckless abandonment of immigration enforcement. Obama’s actions run counter to the clear convictions of the electorate.

In fact, a Judicial Watch-Breitbart poll on the night of the recent historic election showed that voters oppose Obama’s lawless approach to immigration:

  • A majority of voters (58 percent) believe “We should enforce current laws that require illegal immigrants to return to their home countries.” And half of all Americans (50 percent) believe the United States should change current immigration law to slow the rate of legal immigration.
  •  Among minorities, 57 percent of Blacks and only 53 percent of Hispanics agree with the statement, “We should change immigration law to provide legal status to illegal immigrants present in the United States.” Only 25 percent of white respondents agree with that statement.
  •  When asked, “Do you agree or disagree that President Obama should through executive action allow illegal immigrants to remain in the United States, 63 percent disagree (53 percent “strongly,” 10 percent “somewhat”). Only 30 percent agree. Among minorities, 52 percent of Blacks and 60 percent of Hispanics agree that Obama should allow illegal immigrants to remain through executive action.

In short, just as he has done repeatedly since taking office, Obama is ignoring, in a lawless and unconstitutional way, the will of the American people–including a substantial number of the minority populations Obama and his media enablers pretend are fully behind his lawless amnesty actions. And this time, with his leaked executive “action” granting blanket amnesty coming within days after the “wave” election, there is no glossing over Obama’s unbridled contempt not only for the Constitution but for the views of Americans who expect that he obey and uphold the law.

And just as we go to press today, there have been some new developments…

We announced just yesterday the filing of another FOIA lawsuit against DHS seeking “all records” concerning a February 25-27 Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) Field Office Juvenile Coordination meeting.

ERO is the division of ICE that, according to the government website, has the responsibility, “To identify, arrest, and remove aliens who present a danger to national security or are a risk to public safety, as well as those who enter the United States illegally….” Juvenile Coordinators have the responsibility for enforcing ERO directives nationwide with regard to UACs.

Quite clearly, neither agency has been doing its job. In the summer of 2014, they let down their guard altogether. And we need to know why.

Perhaps we were given a hint shortly after the February ERO Field Office Juvenile Coordination Washington meeting when, in March 2014, the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) issued a National Center for Border Security and Immigration “Unaccompanied Alien Children Report.” In its interviews with ICE and ERO agents, it found that they were then blaming the “lack of deterrence” for the substantial increase in UAC border crossings. According to the UTEP report:

Both Border Patrol and ICE ERO officers agreed that the lack of deterrence for crossing the US-Mexican border has impacted the rate at which they apprehend UACs. Officers are certain that UACs are aware of the relative lack of consequences they will receive when apprehended at the U.S. border. UTEP was informed that smugglers of family members of UACs understand that once a UAC is apprehended for illegal entry into the United States, the individual will be re-united with a U.S. based family member pending the disposition of the immigration hearing. This process appears to be exploited by illegal alien smugglers and family members in the United States who wish to reunite with separated children.

What JW intends to find out now is whether the ICE and ERO officers raised the same concerns at their February Washington meeting as they did at UTEP. If not, why not? Were they intimidated–or, perhaps, even instructed not to do so? And if they did raise those same concerns, why didn’t the Obama administration clamp down on the borders instead of allowing the ongoing “Katrina” of illegal aliens that has now overwhelmed our country? These are questions that need to be answered.

Let’s cut right to it: the Obama administration is trying to cover up the truth about the border crisis caused by President Obama’s lawless amnesty. I have little doubt that the Obama administration knew from its own immigration enforcement personnel that its refusal to enforce immigration law was going to cause a border crisis. Yet, rather than secure the border and follow the law, the Obama administration aided and abetted the human trafficking operations that planted hundreds of thousands of illegal aliens all over the nation–overwhelming our schools and putting the health and safety of Americans at risk. And now President Obama wants to grant illicit amnesty to those who rushed here this summer thanks to his previous lawless amnesty! The DHS is breaking immigration law on orders from this president and is now engaging in illegal secrecy to cover it up so Obama can do another round of immigration law-breaking.

Obama’s future plans are a menace, but our lawsuits show that his lawless amnesty is already here. The new Congress may act with lawsuits and funding cut-offs. Republicans are afraid of impeachment, so I doubt that they will stand fast on refusing to provide funding, the only other “constitutional option” to rein in Obama. I had some advice for Republicans grappling with Obama’s lawlessness:

“If the new Republican leadership in the Senate is only talking about what they can’t do, that’s going to be very demoralizing,” said Thomas J. Fitton, president of Judicial Watch, a conservative advocacy group that convenes a regular gathering called Groundswell. Any sense of triumph at its meeting last week was fleeting.

“I think the members of the leadership need to decide what they’re willing to shut down the government over,” Mr. Fitton said.

This statement appeared on the front page of the New York Times, so I hope it gets the attention of Republicans and Democrats who have decided that throwing out the Constitution isn’t worth the mess of pottage that is political power.

Though I must say, even if impeachment and funding cut-offs were to begin tomorrow, Obama would not be impressed. Self-government, elections, laws, and other essential aspects of our constitutional system seem of little concern to the corrupt leader of this gangster administration. Judicial Watch will continue to take the lead in exposing and stopping this lawlessness. Your Judicial Watch is considering major litigation to stop Obama’s dictatorial amnesty agenda. We will keep moving forward toward accountability, and won’t wait for Congress and the rest of Washington to catch up.

Source: http://www.judicialwatch.org/press-room/weekly-updates/obamas-amnesty-assault/

Posted in Editorial, News | Leave a comment

Obama Makes Surprise Climate Deal with China After Secret Negotiations

Editors Note: The President of the United States was taken to the “Chinese” cleaners by agreeing to cut American emissions by 26% to 28% there by forcing energy producers using American coal to spend enormous amounts of capital to comply with new rules planned and enforced by the EPA. China on the other hand has only agreed to start trying to reduce their carbon emissions by about 2030. Vague language that can at a later date be interpreted in a way that lets China off of the hook. While China increases its energy production using coal America will be paying increased energy cost while loosing jobs.

Once again Obama has put his obsession with green energy ahead of the welfare of the American people. Obama will now at his most dangerous  because of the loss of democratic control of Congress and will use his infamous pen and phone to bypass Congress to further his rejected agenda. It is now up to a republican controlled Congress to put on their “Big Boy Pants” and do their job of enforcing the Constitution. [TS]

President Barack Obama pledged deeper U.S. cuts in greenhouse-gas emissions and China will for the first time set a target for capping carbon emissions under an agreement between the world’s two biggest economies.

Culminating months of quiet negotiations between U.S. and Chinese officials, Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping outlined the accord, which they said would help push other nations to seriously negotiate a global pact next year in Paris.

“This is a major milestone in the U.S.-China relationship,” Obama said at a news conference with Xi in Beijing. The two nations, which account for more than a third of greenhouse-gas emissions, have a “special responsibility” to lead efforts to address climate change, he said.

The climate deal capped two days of meetings and announcements of deals that Obama and Xi said marked a high point for U.S.-China cooperation. Officials from both countries also negotiated a breakthrough in talks to eliminate tariffs on communications and technology products from printer cartridges to magnetic-resonance imaging machines, vowed greater military- to-military coordination and extended the validity of visas for tourists and business travelers.

Obama is setting a new target for the U.S., agreeing to cut greenhouse gas emissions at 26 to 28 percent below 2005 levels by 2025. The current U.S. target is to reach a level of 17 percent below 2005 emissions by 2020.

China’s Commitments

Xi committed China to begin reducing its carbon dioxide emissions, which have risen steadily, by about 2030, with the intention of trying to reach the goal sooner, according to a statement released by the White House.

China, the world’s largest greenhouse-gas emitter, also agreed to increase its non-fossil fuel share of energy production to about 20 percent by 2030, according to the White House.

Obama called the plan “an ambitious but an achievable goal.” [But at what cost to America” TS]

The agreement by two countries that are often at odds on other issues is a boost for international negotiators in advance of the 2015 United Nations climate conference in Paris.

“These are big emitters, and these are very aggressive targets,” Martijn Wilder, head of global environmental markets at law firm Baker & McKenzie, said today by phone from Sydney. “This makes it very difficult for other countries to say we’re not going to do anything.”

Big Impact

Jake Schmidt, director of international programs for the Natural Resources Defense Council, a Washington-based environmental group, said no other countries can have as big an impact on the climate debate as the U.S. and China.

“They shape how the market invests,” he said. “They’ve also been two of the most difficult players in the history of the climate negotiations so the fact that they are coming out and saying they are going to take deep commitments will be a powerful signal to the rest of the world.”

Obama, and Xi were personally involved in the discussions. Obama sent Xi a letter on the matter this year, according to administration officials, and the topic was a central theme during the more than five hours of meetings last night in Beijing. Obama is in China for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit.

Acting Now

Obama, at a UN-sponsored climate meeting in New York in September, called on the more than 120 officials present to take action “not this year, or the year after, but right now, because no nation can meet this global threat alone.”

Chinese officials signaled at the same summit that the country would act on a carbon-dioxide cap soon. China has been taking steps to cut emissions, saying in September it plans to start a national carbon-trading market by 2016. China selected seven cities and provinces, including Shanghai, Beijing and Guangdong, to set regional caps and institute pilot programs for trading rights as part of its initiative to cut the intensity of emissions by as much as 45 percent before 2020 from 2005 levels.

China has domestic political reasons to pursue emissions cuts. Pollution in Beijing reached hazardous levels for at least 10 days in October. To cut the haze while leaders from APEC nations were in Beijing, the government put limits on the number of cars on the roads and restricted industrial production and construction.

Obama has made climate change a central issue for his final two years in office, though his agenda is under attack by Republicans, who are set to take control of both chambers of Congress at the start of next year.

The administration officials, who briefed reporters before the announcement on condition of anonymity, said the new targets can be implemented without congressional action.

Republicans, who won control of the U.S. Senate in midterm elections on Nov. 4, are threatening to fight the administration’s efforts to cut greenhouse-gas emissions from U.S. power plants and his pledge to raise $100 billion to help poor nations combat climate change.

Source: http://www.newsmax.com/Newsfront/climate-treaty-china-obama/2014/11/12/id/606807/

Posted in Editorial, News, Opinion | Leave a comment

Finally: Department of Veterans Affairs Ousting People in Wake of Scandal

Finally: Department of Veterans Affairs Ousting People in Wake of Scandal

Editors Note: The operational rules for firing Federal Employes needs to be changed to reflect and follow those of non governmental employees. Federal Unions like AFGE (American Federation of Government Employees), NTEU (National Treasury Employees Union), NFEE (National Federation of Federal Employees), FWA (Federal Workers Alliance) should be monitored and restricted in their power. TS

The Department of Veterans Affairs is about to face the largest reconstruction of its life, VA Secretary Robert McDonald announced Monday.

The new VA Secretary claimed he will fire some 1,000 workers who have violated the company’s values. The Department will also hire an additional 28,000 medical professions to better address the demand of treating the nation’s 22 million veterans.

According to McDonald’s letter to his employees, the VA intends to:

  • Establish a new VA-wide customer service organization to ensure we provide top-level customer service to Veterans.
  • Establishing a single regional framework that will simplify internal coordination, facilitate partnering and enhance customer service.
  • Work with our partners to establish a national network of Community Veteran Advisory Councils to coordinate better service delivery with local, state and community partners.
  • Identify opportunities for VA to realign its internal business processes into a shared services model in which organizations across VA leverage the same support services, to improve efficiency, reduce costs and increase productivity across VA.

The overhaul is long overdue.

The department’s morose dereliction of duty left veterans dying as they waited for proper health care. Since the VA scandal, almost no one has been held accountable for the death of our nation’s servicemen. In fact, two senior executives suspected of wrongdoing quickly resigned in order to retire with their cushy pensions intact. [They should still be investigated and if found guilty of wrong doing have their pensions reflect that whether by reducing the amount of loosing it altogether if their actions resulted in the death of a single Veteran TS]

In order for the initiative to succeed, the department must follow-through on firing the individuals who have caused mistrust, Florida Rep. Jeff Miller (Chairman of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs) explained Monday.

“So far VA hasn’t done that – as evidenced by the fact that the majority of those who caused the VA scandal are still on the department payroll,” he said.

Source: http://townhall.com/tipsheet/sarahjeanseman/2014/11/11/draft-n1916854

Posted in Editorial, News, Opinion | Leave a comment

Obamacare Architect Says Lack of Transparency Was a Big Political Advantage

Editors Note: Those who knowingly and willingly participated in this massive lie to the American people need to be brought to justice, up to and including the President. Every Democrat who supported this hoax on Americas citizenry need to be investigated as to their prior knowledge of the falsehoods. Harry Reed and Nancy Pelosi who were in the loop need to be brought before a Federal Court and questioned under oath about their knowledge of the fraud that was being perpetrated on the American people. Simply speaking the Democrats have proven they do not have the integrity to lead the country when lying to the American people to pass controversial Bills is the preferable way of doing business.

In a recently uncovered video taken at an event in October 2013, Obamacare architect Jonathan Gruber says that lack of transparency was a key advantage in helping get the law passed.

“This bill was written in a tortured way to make sure CBO did not score the mandate as taxes,” Gruber stated. “Lack of transparency is a huge political advantage,” he explained adding, “Basically, call it the stupidity of the American voter or whatever, but basically that was really critical to getting the thing to pass.” Given a choice between honestly informing the public and passing the bill, Gruber says he’d rather have the bill.

Gruber has been one of the most high profile defenders of the Affordable Care Act. He wrote a comic book style explanation of the law. He also, at one point, accepted money from the government for his consulting work and failed to disclose he was being paid even as he promoted the bill.

This is not the only instance in which Gruber has revealed an element of Obamacare was intentionally misleading. In a January 2012 speech, Gruber admitted that the public option was considered a way to move the country toward single-payer, something the Obama administration explicitly denied at the time.

Gruber has also been at the center of a legal dispute over subsidies in the ACA. He had argued that the case brought by plaintiffs was “crazy.” Then two recordings were uncovered of Gruber making the same argument in early 2012. Until the clips were discovered, Gruber had been cited in nearly every government court filing. Since then he has apparently been dropped.

Source: http://www.breitbart.com/InstaBlog/2014/11/10/Obamacare-Architect-Says-Lack-of-Transparency-Was-a-Big-Political-Advantage

Posted in Editorial, News, Opinion | Leave a comment

The Obama Whisperer No one has understood Valerie Jarrett’s role, until now

Even at this late date in the Obama presidency, there is no surer way to elicit paranoid whispers or armchair psychoanalysis from Democrats than to mention the name Valerie Jarrett. Party operatives, administration officialsthey are shocked by her sheer longevity and marvel at her influence. When I asked a longtime source who left the Obama White House years ago for his impressions of Jarrett, he confessed that he was too fearful to speak with me, even off the record.

This is not as irrational as it sounds. Obama has said he consults Jarrett on every major decision, something current and former aides corroborate. “Her role since she has been at the White House is one of the broadest and most expansive roles that I think has ever existed in the West Wing,” says Anita Dunn, Obama’s former communications director. Broader, even, than the role of running the West Wing. This summer, the call to send Attorney General Eric Holder on a risky visit to Ferguson, Missouri, was made by exactly three people: Holder himself, the president, and Jarrett, who were vacationing together on Martha’s Vineyard. When I asked Holder if Denis McDonough, the chief of staff, was part of the conversation, he thought for a moment and said, “He was not there.” (Holder hastened to add that “someone had spoken to him.”)

Jarrett holds a key vote on Cabinet picks (she opposed Larry Summers at Treasury and was among the first Obama aides to come around on Hillary Clinton at State) and has an outsize say on ambassadorships and judgeships. She helps determine who gets invited to the First Lady’s Box for the State of the Union, who attends state dinners and bill-signing ceremonies, and who sits where at any of the above. She has placed friends and former employees in important positions across the administration“you can be my person over there,” is a common refrain.

And Jarrett has been known to enjoy the perks of high office herself. When administration aides plan “bilats,” the term of art for meetings of two countries’ top officials, they realize that whatever size meeting they negotiatenine by nine, eight by eight, etc.our side will typically include one less foreign policy hand, because Jarrett has a standing seat at any table that includes the president.

Not surprisingly, all this influence has won Jarrett legions of detractors. They complain that she has too much control over who sees the president. That she skews his decision-making with her after-hours visits. That she is an incorrigible yes-woman. That she has, in effect, become the chief architect of his very prominent and occasionally suffocating bubble.

There is an element of truth to this critique. While aboard Air Force One at the end of the 2012 campaign, Jarrett turned to Obama and told him, “Mr. President, I don’t understand how you’re not getting eighty-five percent of the vote.” The other Obama aides in the cabin looked around in disbelief before concluding that she’d been earnest.

Still, Jarrett’s role is far more textured than this narrative would suggest. She has served as a teller of hard truths, urging Obama to clean up his initial remarks about Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates’s arrest in 2009, which, she worried, sounded disrespectful to police. She is an all-wise interpreter of the president’s thoughts. When the White House began taking flak for its man-cave sensibilities, senior officials consulted Jarrett to figure out where Obama stood. “The White House counsel Greg Craig stopped by,” recalls a former Jarrett aide. “He was like, ‘Hey, is the president worried about this?’” (He was.) Jarrett even plays the role of advance dining scout for the Obamas, locating restaurants discreet and exacting enough to serve the first family. (Fiola Mare in Georgetown has become a standby.)

So adept is Jarrett at catering to the president’s needs that Michelle Obama has, at least on one occasion, chafed at the portrayal of their relationship. Late in the 2008 campaign, Vogue published a long profile of Jarrett titled “Barack’s Rock.” According to a senior campaign aide, Michelle sniffed about the magazine bestowing a title that she considered hers.

Jarrett’s job may be nothing less than to reflect the most authentic version of Barack Obama back at himself. “My speculation has always been, when you are any president or Democratic nominee, at the pinnacle of American political power, you are necessarily surrounded by layer and layer of bureaucracy,” says a former White House aide. “You’re completely disconnected. For someone to come to you and say, ‘I am going to be the person who is your connection to the real you’ … is very attractive.”

And Jarrett is, in turn, our connection to the real Barack Obama. A decade after his ascent, there is still a basic unknowability about him, a puzzling gap between his talents and the public’s enthusiasm for his years in office. No wonder Jarrett inspires such fevered theorizing. She is the closest we have to a human decoder ringthe only person who can solve the mystery of why this president has left so many feeling so unfulfilled.

The Clinton alumni Obama initially hired to run his White House and hash out his economic policy were flamboyantly centrist, fanatical about winning over financial markets and moderate voters. In their view, a Democratic president could make no bigger mistake than becoming a captive of the left. And they acted as if they owned the place.

They certainly didn’t view Jarrett as much of a threat. She had enjoyed real clout on the campaign, but the way she used itencouraging Obama to give his famous race speech, and bringing Latinos, blacks, gays, and women into the heart of the operation at a time when the post-racial rhetoric had gotten thickdidn’t win her much respect. Even after Obama made Jarrett a senior adviser and put her in charge of outreach to constituency groups, her lack of Washington experience made her easy to dismiss. “Larry Summers’s office was literally across the floor [from ours],” says a former Jarrett aide of the president’s top economic adviser. “It was amazing how little he looked at her, talked to her. It was so clear he kind of wanted … nothing to do with her.”

That was a mistake. Jarrett was a beloved figure among the fresh-faced Obama-hands who flocked to Washington. She shepherded their careers, clucked about their health, and turned up unexpectedly at weddings and maternity wards. And though she had been a confidant of Barack and Michelle Obama’s since the early ’90s, the three became even closer after the election. It gradually became clear that she had the president’s blessing to challenge his top brass and better align his White House with the outsider ethos of his candidacy.

In the spring of 2009, Obama called in Summers, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, and other members of the economic team to discuss their plan for reforming the financial system. The president was generally pleased with the product, but concerned that it wasn’t aggressive enough. “I want you to go think about, if we were going to do something more in three or four areas, what would they be?” Obama told them, according to a former administration official. “Bring me a proposal.”

A few weeks later, the economic team presented their ideas to other White House staffers, but not the president. They’d tacked on only the most marginal of changes. “No, we were right the first time. We shouldn’t do anything else,” is how the official sums up their basic message. Although Jarrett said she didn’t think they’d done what Obama had instructed them to do, they brought the proposal to him anyway. The president responded as though he’d been primed against it. “He comes in and says, ‘This is not what I asked for,’” says the official. “You can be sure she talked to the president first.”

Jarrett’s inescapable presence made her an object of fear and scorn. “It’s pretty toxic,” says another former administration official. “She went to whatever meeting she wanted to go tobasically all of themand then would go and whisper to the president. Or at least everyone believed she did. … People don’t trust the process. They think she’s a spy.”

But Jarrett’s involvement clearly served the president well. Over the next several months, Jarrett set up meetings between Obama and more hawkish reformers like former Fed Chairman Paul Volcker and former Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Bill Donaldson. Eventually, Obama took up Volcker’s idea of blocking taxpayer-backed banks from making speculative bets, which both Summers and Geithner had resisted.

Jarrett also made her influence felt among the men who plotted Obama’s political strategy. In the spring of 2010, Donna Brazile, a New Orleans native and Democratic elder who ran Al Gore’s presidential campaign, watched with horror as the administration slow-played its response to the BP oil spill. After weeks of back-channeling to White House political director Patrick Gaspard, Brazile finally took her frustration public. “One of the problems I have with the administration is that they’re not tough enough,” she said on ABC. “They are waiting for BP to say, ‘Oh, we’ve got a new plan to stop the oil leak.’ They need to stop it, contain it, clean it up.”

This set off a debate within the White House over whether the president should call Brazile, until, according to a former aide, chief of staff Rahm Emanuel shut it down in favor of his longstanding view that “the worst thing you could possibly do is reward bad behavior.” Jarrett did not consider the matter settled, however. She waited until she and Gaspard were safely away from Emanuel and inside the Oval Office, at which point she asked Gaspard a leading question about the utility of a call. “Sounds good, get her on the phone,” the president replied. Jarrett called Brazile and handed her cell phone to Obama.

The move validated every one of her rivals’ fears. And, as with Summers, personal grievances may have explained it. Emanuel had objected to Jarrett’s portfolio at the start of the administration and questioned the secret-service detail she maneuvered to receive a few months later. In return, Jarrett seemed keen to undermine him.

At one point, Obama personally ordered Emanuel to rein in his habit of screaming at subordinates. Emanuel soon lost his cool at a subsequent meeting and received another talking-to from the president. He was convinced that Jarrett had ratted him out. It was the sort of tradecraft Emanuel himself might have admired had he not been on the receiving end. As a former White House official told me: “In the wild, they would have been natural allies. In captivity, they became natural enemies.”

Whatever the case, calling Brazile was unquestionably the right approach. A few months later, the administration pressured an African American Department of Agriculture employee named Shirley Sherrod to resign after right-wing journalists circulated a video of her appearing to denigrate poor whites. Within a few days, it became apparent that the clip was egregiously out of context and that the ouster of Sherrod, whose husband had been a prominent civil rights leader, was unfair. Critics were furious at the trigger-happy White HouseJim Clyburn, the House’s third-ranking Democrat, told The New York Times he didn’t think a “single black person was consulted before Shirley Sherrod was fired.” For her part, Brazile limited her kvetching to private phone calls and struck her best “we’re all in this together” posture on television.

Jarrett’s work behind the scenes served the president well so long as people like Larry Summers, Rahm Emanuel, and Robert Gibbs (the former press secretary, with whom Jarrett also clashed) remained inside the building. She diversified the views he received without stifling internal debate. But then, one by one, the big personalities left. After two years, Summers and Gibbs had been replaced by far more amenable actors; Emanuel’s strong-willed successor, Bill Daley, lasted less than a year before being replaced by a relative cipher, too.1

Today, Obama’s top economic adviser is Jeff Zients, a former management consultant and Jarrett pal who had no experience in government before joining the administration. The senior adviser seat that David Axelrod once occupied now belongs to Dan Pfeiffer, and the chief of staff is Denis McDonough. Both joined Obama in 2007 and have long since made their peace with Jarrett’s influence. “My sense is Denis does his best to not turn that into a reckoning kind of relationship,” one former White House official told me. “He doesn’t want to test it.”

As Jarrett has outlasted her rivals, it has increasingly fallen on her to do more than simply protect Obama from those who might undermine his presidency. She must nudge him when he becomes self-satisfied and rein in his worst political impulses. It is a position for which she is uniquely unqualified.


Valerie Jarrett is not above keeping a shit listor as hers was titled, a “least constructive” list. One progressive activist recalls Jarrett holding the document during a meeting and noticing her own name on it, along with the names of others in the room. “It was kind of an honor,” the activist told me. This was not out of character for Jarrett. The woman who once resisted Emanuel’s commandment against rewarding bad behavior has often gone out of her way to suppress dissent among ideological allies and others who question the president. (A White House official says the document was prepared by a staffer acting without orders and that it is not a common practice.)

Consider her interactions with the LGBT community when they agitated for an executive order banning discrimination by federal contractors. Jarrett had been one of the Obama team’s biggest supporters of gay rights since the campaign (long before Obama himself “evolved” on the marriage question). She had even authored a memo advising the president to sign the executive order. But when Obama decided against it in 2012, he dispatched Jarrett to deliver the news to four or five groups active on the issue.

The meeting was a minor fiasco. A BuzzFeed reporter had broken word of the gathering just before it began, prompting Jarrett to lecture everyone in the room for several minutes about speaking to the press. She fumed that the reporter was outside “writing stories,” and told the activists that “we can’t have White House meetings if you do this kind of thing.”

Then, after ticking off the administration’s good deeds on behalf of gays, Jarrett offered no rationale for why Obama was shelving the executive order. She held out the possibility of a study to gauge the order’s effect on business, even though the question had been studied to death. About halfway through the meeting, Jarrett finally produced an explanation: a likely legal challenge. But the legal precedent was clear thanks to executive orders banning other forms of discrimination.

Had Jarrett leveled with the activistsconceding that the decision was political, probably intended to avoid a backlash among businessnone of the groups would have been pleased, but many probably would have accepted the verdict and kept details out of the press. The previous fall, the Human Rights Campaign had commissioned a poll showing overwhelming, bipartisan support for the executive order, but declined to make it public for months so as not to embarrass the administration. The Center for American Progress, another group in attendance, had encouraged the LGBT community to abide by a moratorium on public pressure to allow for negotiation.

Instead, the reaction to the meeting was woeful, epitomized by a scathing Washington Post piece quoting the activists. “There was a blowup,” says one longtime advocate. “People were withholding money. … Straight donors, gay donors were like, ‘What is this?’”

When the president made Jarrett his ambassador to the world outside the White House, he did so with a specific purpose in mind: to communicate how important he considered these relationships. “You know she’s speaking for the president, more so than anyone else on the staff,” says a trade association leader who’s met with Jarrett multiple times.

But Jarrett’s obsessiveness about control, and her response to even good-faith criticism, are often self-defeating. “She just cuts off. It’s stone cold,” says one person who received this treatment. “It couldn’t be a conversation.” A former administration official recalls publicly registering a gentle, offhand criticism of the White House, only to draw a one-line e-mail from Jarrett: “Why didn’t you call me first?” Even Jarrett’s most benevolent comments“I want you to be my best friend,” she likes to sayimplicitly threaten an abrupt loss of favor.

With the LGBT community, the agita subsided thanks to the president’s unplanned turnabout on gay marriage the following month. (Obama finally signed the executive order this July.) But on other issues, her heavy-handedness has been more costly. Earlier this year, after House Republicans rejected John Boehner’s overtures on immigration reform, a number of activist groups turned their attention away from Congress and toward the White House. They wanted Obama to sign an executive order protecting illegal immigrants from deportation over the next few years, the way he had back in 2012 for those brought to the country as minors.

The pressure mounted when Janet Murguía, president of the National Council of La Raza, one of the largest and most established Latino rights groups, gave a speech in March calling out both Boehner for having “pulled the plug on legislation” and Obama for denying he had “the authority to act on [his] own.” Echoing a line that was circulating on the left, she dubbed Obama “the deporter-in-chief.”

A week and a half later, the president and Jarrett summoned representatives from 15 to 20 reform groups to the White House for a meeting. Unlike the gay rights meeting two years earlier, there was no directive about keeping the discussion out of the press. But the activists were later told that the success of the meeting would be judged by the media coverage. “Even if you think that, it was like, ‘Eeeewww,’” says one of the reformers who attended. “I was embarrassed by the meeting.”

The president was in a foul mood, spending most of the next two hours lecturing the activists. You guys are turning on me, Obama said, according to several attendees. That’s what Republicans want, you’re taking the pressure off Boehner. If I was a GOP strategist, I’d be thrilled by what you’re doing. When some of the activists pointed out that the situation in the House was hopeless, Obama would interrupt and talk over them. (Administration officials say Boehner had assured them he would take another shot at the legislation.)

Finally, when it was Murguía’s turn to speak, she tried to put her earlier remarks in context. She explained that, while she’d been critical of the administration, she had also criticized Republicans and had urged her community to elect a more amenable Congress. “It took him what felt like ten minutesit was probably thirty secondsto compose himself. You could just feel the tension,” says one activist in the room. Whereupon Obama fell into an extended monologue: You’ve been around this town. You know the press will only report criticism of me. The La Raza president looked on the edge of tears as he spoke. Meanwhile, “Valerie was sitting next to him, staring, giving Murguía stink eye,” says the activist.

Relations with groups that had been critical only grew worse from there. Some were scrubbed from White House e-mail lists, not invited to subsequent meetings, or both. Another activist recalls not hearing from the White House for months, only to get a passive-aggressive e-mail after leveling a harsh critique of the president. “I don’t work for you,” the activist wrote back.

In late June, the president reversed course and effectively promised to sign the sought-after executive order by the end of the summer. Some of the critics had been rehabilitated, but not Murguía, who was left out of the Rose Garden event where the president announced his decision. “It was such a shitty thing to do,” says one of the activists of Murguía’s treatment. In any case, the president soon changed his mind yet again. In September, he announced that he wouldn’t consider the order until after the election. Suddenly, all the bad will that had built up throughout the year came pouring forth. “Where we have demanded leadership and courage from both Democrats and the president, we’ve received nothing but broken promises and a lack of political backbone,” the head of a prominent pro-immigration group told the Post.

Jarrett’s highly disciplined outreach effort had been a tactical mess. While the White House held some two-dozen meetings to take the pulse of activists throughout the summer, there was rarely a meaningful back-and-forth on strategy, especially in the run-up to the big announcements. “It does make it hard for dissenting voices to be raised,” says another activist who deals with the administration on the issue. “Almost everything is raised to the level of personal loyalty.”

The Clinton White House was porous and chaotic, with numerous staffers working numerous angles at any given moment. But it made advocates feel like part of the process. “People protected them more with the press,” says one of the activists. “No one protects Obama. Part of being hermetically sealed is, if you don’t want shit to leak, the higher the premium is on leaks, which gives advocates more of an incentive to leak.” In fact, it’s precisely because the activists don’t feel listened to that they speak to the press. And when the White House complains, it exposes itself even further. “They show you where they’re vulnerable,” says the activist. “If you’re worth your salt as an activist, that’s where you hit them. See: ‘deporter-in-chief.’”

Jarrett isn’t always standoffish when outsiders are critical. After business leaders complained about the president’s occasional populist flourishmost notably his late 2009 comment that “I did not run for office to be helping out a bunch of fat-cat bankers”Jarrett began pressing Axelrod and the speech-writing team to strip potentially inflammatory lines from his public statements. “Valerie viewed Wall Street and the business community as a constituency and was generally uncomfortable with expressions of chastisement toward Wall Street,” Axelrod told me by e-mail.

On one level, it was Jarrett’s job to soothe the fragile egos of corporate executives. The relationship between the White House and business is one of the many relationships that Jarrett’s Office of Public Engagement formally oversees. But on a deeper level, Jarrett fundamentally empathized with the concerns of business in ways she sometimes didn’t with other groups. “You could tell she felt at home with private-sector business leaders,” says a former aide. “Even health careit was a presidential priority, the entire White House was involved. But I’d never seen her animated until it was CEOs talking about health care.”

This may seem at odds with Jarrett’s first-term role as Obama’s liberal id. But back then she was largely acting in opposition to the Clintonites around Obama. In terms of who she believes has the power to make or break the presidency, and therefore who needs access to the highest levels of the White House, Jarrett is not so different from her nemeses.

Jarrett was groomed from birth to be a thoroughly establishment figureher family’s roots in Chicago go back several generationsand she accepted her destiny gracefully. She worked as a corporate lawyer and later ran Mayor Richard Daley’s housing and transit authorities. When Harvard Law Professor David Wilkins conducted a study of the Chicago legal world in the late ’90s, he found that most of the city’s lawyers were acquainted with Jarrett. “Valerie is the liaison between the white North Shore elites and the black South Sides elites,” he told David Remnick in The Bridge, a biography of Obama. Upon accepting the White House job, Jarrett resigned from no fewer than seven corporate and nonprofit boards.

Any casual follower of Jarrett’s West Wing comings and goings these days will notice a distinct fondness for big shots, corporate or otherwise. It’s not just that Jarrett is a fixture at the standard A-list eventsparachuting into New York for Time magazine’s 100 Most Influential People Gala, popping into a birthday party for Britain’s Prince George. Jarrett also inhabits a much more rarefied plane than the standard Washington eminence. She attends the highest-profile arguments at the Supreme Court and often accompanies the president on fund-raising trips to New York, Hollywood, and Silicon Valley. She recently made a cameo on “The Good Wife” and appeared in a Billie Jean King documentary.

“She went to whatever meeting she wanted to go tobasically all of themand then would go and whisper to the president,” says a former White House official. “People don’t trust the process. They think she’s a spy.”

“Valerie’s probably best known as the go-to person for the real opinion leaders in business and in the celebrity world,” says a former administration official. By contrast, she can come across as bored when meeting with the political world’s grayer operators. One leader of an influential but relatively anonymous advocacy group recalls arranging a meeting with Jarrett to explain how his team was advancing a cause dear to the president. “I felt like she was looking at her watch. She was annoyed that I even felt it was reasonable for me to meet with her,” says this person. “How dare I take up her time?”

In some cases, this outlook has served the administration well. Jarrett made an ally of Rupert Murdoch on immigration reform and soothed Silicon Valley in the tense moments after the NSA revelations. “She has very strong relationships with Facebook and Google,” says her fellow senior adviser, John Podesta.

Jarrett also helped mastermind the public-relations campaign to enroll seven million Americans in Obamacare prior to this March’s deadline. She spent months fine-tuning a plan to reach the uninsured “where they are,” by which she meant enlisting the figures they look to for guidance: community leaders, DJs, pop-culture icons. “I can remember dozens of times going back to her with plans, having this x’d out and that crossed out. This person is a bad idea for this, not that,” recalls an aide. Jarrett excelled at making the biggest asks personally. “When it came to getting other major people involvedyou know, Zach Galifianakis, an LL Cool J tweet in the Grammies, Katy Perrywe were like, ‘We need to have Valerie make this call, sit in on this meeting,’” says Anton Gunn, one of the administration officials in charge of the enrollment push.

But in other cases, Jarrett’s establishmentarianism has simply reinforced the administration’s blind spots. There is, for example, Jarrett’s underappreciated influence in an area like budget policy. After Republicans took control of the House in 2011, Obama had to decide whether to stick with his efforts to boost the fragile economy or join in the deficit-cutting that Republicans were demanding. He opted for the latter, agreeing to slice billions from the 2011 budget. While some administration economic officials argued for staring down the House GOP, the approach never had a chance. “That wasn’t a huge debate because [former adviser David] Plouffe and Bill [Daley] and Valerie agreed,” a senior White House official told me later that year.

The White House believed that avoiding a fight was better for the economy and would help the two sides reach an even bigger deal later onone that raised taxes and cut trillions in spending over ten years. This was flawed in two ways. First, notwithstanding the enthusiasm for deficit-cutting on the set of “Morning Joe” (where Jarrett is an occasional guest), it was a perverse priority at a time when the country still faced an unemployment crisis. Second, the White House completely misunderstood the psychology of House Republicans, who took Obama’s concessions as a vindication of their anti-spending mania and repeatedly balked at tax increases. Inexplicably, the White House continued to pursue a deal for years after the GOP showed its bad faith, efforts that Jarrett supported as well.

It wasn’t the only time she got burned by assuming good intentions. In 2010, Jarrett met with members of the Business Roundtable, a group representing the largest corporations in the country. She was proud that she had dialed back the president’s occasional verbal salvos and hoped it might win him some support in exchange. “She was like, ‘Last time I was here, you guys told us the key thing was the rhetoric,’” recalls a former colleague. “ ‘Look at the president’s speeches. They’re very different in tone based on your input.’”

The group’s chairman took this all in, then offered the all-too-predictable response. “Yes, yes, we noted that,” he said, according to the colleague. “We have five other objections.”

The Obama era has been deeply disorienting for the left. Eight years ago, progressives would have delighted at the idea of a president who withdrew from Iraq, remade the rules for Wall Street, slowed the proliferation of greenhouse gases, brought the country within spitting distance of universal health care, and multiplied the rights of gays and lesbians. And yet it’s hard to be a self-respecting progressive these days and not feel a frustration that borders on disillusionment. The victories have been muddled, the errors unforced, the ambitions preemptively scaled back.

How could these two legacies coexist in one presidency? They emanate from the worldview that Jarrett and Obama sharecall it “boardroom liberalism.” It’s a worldview that’s steeped in social progressivism, in the values of tolerance and diversity. It takes as a given that government has a role to play in building infrastructure, regulating business, training workers, smoothing out the boom-bust cycles of the economy, providing for the poor and disadvantaged. But it is a view from on highone that presumes a dominant role for large institutions like corporations and a wisdom on the part of elites. It believes that the world works best when these elites use their power magnanimously, not when they’re forced to share it. The picture of the boardroom liberal is a corporate CEO handing a refrigerator-sized check to the head of a charity at a celebrity golf tournament. All the better if they’re surrounded by minority children and struggling moms.

Notwithstanding his early career as a community organizer, Obama, like Jarrett, is fundamentally a man of the inside. It’s why he put a former Citigroup executive and Robert Rubin chief of staff named Michael Froman in charge of assembling his economic team in 2008, why he avoided a deep restructuring of Wall Street, why he abruptly junked the public option during the health care debate, why he so ruthlessly pursues leakers and the journalists who cultivate them. It explains why so many of his policy ideasfrom jobs for the long-term unemployed to mentoring minority youthrely on the largesse of corporations.

It’s the boardroom liberal in Obama who gets bent out of shape over criticism from outsiders, despite having once urged progressives to press him the way civil rights activists like A. Philip Randolph pressured Franklin Roosevelt. He is a president profoundly uncomfortable with populist rhetoric. He prefers to negotiate behind closed doors, as he did on the stimulus, health care, and deficit reduction, rather than wage a state-by-state political campaign to force concessions. Except for a handful of moments over the last six yearslike when the administration tried to pass a second stimulus bill known as the American Jobs ActObama has rarely tried to mobilize public opinion in any sustained fashion. He has been consistently slow and half-hearted about taking unilateral action.

Bill Clinton was in many ways more conservative than Obama, whom you couldn’t imagine signing a draconian welfare law, or an anti-gay-marriage law, or, for that matter, de-regulating Wall Street. But Clinton was not above riling up voters for partisan gain. By August of 1995, the year Republicans took over Congress, Clinton and his surrogates were flogging them daily over “Medicare, Medicaid, education, and the environment.” When Republicans retook the House in 2011, Obama spent most of the year shunning partisan taunts in hopes of consummating a grand bargain. And Jarrett was there at his side, amplifying those sensibilities. “The context for that is that it’s consistent with who the president is,” Jarrett’s first-term chief of staff, Michael Strautmanis, told me. “She has only one agenda. And it is the president’s agendaeither from conversations he’s had with her, what she’s heard him say, or based upon their history together.”

As it happens, the way the White House runs these days does even less to check Obama’s inclinations. According to a former high-level aide, there is no longer a daily meeting between the president and his top advisers. Under the old system, if the president waved off one adviser’s objection to his preferred plan of action, another could step in to vouch for the objection’s merit. The advice Obama gets now, though, comes more regularly through one-off interactions with the likes of Jarrett and Denis McDonough, who don’t have anyone else to back them up. In the second term, observes the former aide, “Maybe the president says, more often than in the past, ‘We’re doing it.’”

The result is that Obama has become even more persuaded of his righteousness as the years have gone on. His belief that he can win over opponents is unshaken. Unfortunately, these opponents include a party in the throes of radicalism and a self- interested class of ultra-rich that increasingly calls to mind plutocracynot people whose better instincts you can appeal to. Obama and Jarrett should know this. Any time they have made preemptive concessions to the GOP or business leaders, their negotiating partners have simply pocketed the concessions and asked for more. From the budget battles to immigration reform, they have consistently overestimated the ability of Republican elites to reason with their rank and file. As recently as early this year, the official White House position was that it preferred Congress to ban workplace discrimination against gays. Congress!

Perhaps no episode illustrates this mind-set better than the fate of the consumer agency that the Dodd-Frank financial reform bill created. In 2010, Jarrett and two other advisers persuaded Obama to install a genuine populist in the person of Elizabeth Warren to set up the agency. But they never intended for her to actually run it, a promotion Warren aggressively sought. “Having Warren in the short-term role was their elegant solution,” says a former administration official. “It was the best way to appease the left while preserving [Obama’s] reasonableness to business. That’s what drives him: Do they look reasonable? … That’s what Valerie’s all about.”

It’s no surprise that Barack Obama and Valerie Jarrett would govern as reasonable people. It’s who they are. The tragedy is that we live in surpassingly unreasonable times.

Source: http://www.newrepublic.com/article/120170/valerie-jarrett-obama-whisperer

Posted in Editorial, News, Opinion | Leave a comment

Veterans Day: Discounts and Freebies

2014 Veterans Day Restaurant Offerings:

The following is a list of Veterans Day discounts on restaurants, goods, services and events for 2014. Please check back frequently as the list is updated daily.

All of the following discounts have been confirmed for 2014, either through press release or direct communication with the company.


Keep in mind that most businesses require proof of military service, which can include a VA Universal Access Card, Military I.D., DD-214 (Discharge Papers), Veterans Service Organization Card (VSO’s include groups like the VFW, DAV, AmVets, MOAA, FRA, and the American Legion), or in some cases businesses will accept a picture of the veteran in uniform.

Note: Not all franchise locations participate in their national chain’s Veterans Day programs — be sure contact your nearest establishment to make sure they are participating.

Make sure to visit the Military.com Discounts Center for more discounts and articles. And sign up for the Military Deals and Discounts Newsletter to get even more discounts and information in your inbox on how Military Families can save big.


54th Street Grill — Veterans and active duty military get a free meal (up to $12) on Tuesday, November 11.

Applebee’s — Veterans and active duty military receive a free meal from a limited menu, on Veterans Day, Tuesday, November 11.

Bakers Square– Veterans and active duty military get a free breakfast on November 11.

Bar Louie – On Monday, November 10 and Tuesday, November 11, veterans and active military personnel get a free meal up to a $12 value.

Bob Evans — Veterans and active military personnel receive free all-you-can-eat hotcakes on Tuesday, November 11.

California Pizza Kitchen – Veterans and active military receive a complimentary entrée from a special menu on Tuesday, November 11.

*NEW* Carlo’s Bakery — Veterans and active service members get a free large cannoli on November 11.

Carrabba’s – All active and retired veterans get a free appetizer November 8 through 11.

Cattlemens – Active, inactive, and retired military personnel get a free Small Sirloin Steak Dinner on Tuesday, November 11.

CentraArchy Restaurants – Veterans and active duty service members get a free entrée and 25% off to their accompanied family and friends on Tuesday, November 11 at participating restaurants.

Cheeseburger in Paradise — Active and retired military personnel receive a complimentary All-American Burger with fries on Tuesday, November 11.

Chuck E. Cheese’s – Veterans and active duty military get 20 free tokens from November 9 through November 15.

City Barbeque – All veterans get a free sandwich platter on Tuesday, November 11.

Claim Jumper — On Monday, November 10, all Claim Jumper locations will provide veterans with a complimentary meal from a special menu.

*NEW* Coffee Beanery — Veterans and active duty military get a free tall cup of coffee on November 11 at participating locations.

*NEW* Cracker Barrel — Veterans get a complimentary Double Chocolate Fudge Coca-Cola Cake dessert during lunch and dinner on November 11.

Denny’s — Active, inactive and retired military personnel get a free Build Your Own Grand Slam on Tuesday, November 11, from 5 a.m. to noon at participating locations.

East Coast Wings & Grill — Veterans get a free appetizer or a free dessert on Tuesday, November 11. Offer good with a minimum purchase of $10.

Famous Dave’s — On November 11, former and active military receive a free One Meat Salute at participating locations from 11:00 am to 4:30 pm.

Figaro’s Pizza — Veterans and active duty service members get a complimentary medium 1-topping pizza on November 11.

*NEW* Fire and Ice – Veterans, active duty and their families get a free lunch or dinner on November 11.

Friendly’s – Friendly’s is treating veterans and active military to a free breakfast, lunch or dinner from a limited menu on Veterans Day, Tuesday, November 11.

Golden Corral — Golden Corral Restaurants’ Military Appreciation Monday free dinner will be available on Monday, November 17, from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Military retirees, veterans, active duty, National Guard and Reserves are all welcome.

Greene Turtle — Veterans and active duty military receive a free meal from a select menu on Tuesday, November 11 at participating locations.

Handel’s Homemade Ice Cream — Veterans and active duty military get a free single scoop ice cream cone on Tuesday, November 11 at participating locations.

Hooters – Veterans and active duty military get a free meal up to $10.99 in value with a drink purchase at participating locations on Tuesday, November 11.

IHOP — On Tuesday, November 11, participating IHOP Restaurants offer veterans and active duty military free Red, White and Blue pancakes from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

JJ’s Red Hots – Veterans and active duty military get with an unlimited free meal on Tuesday, November 11.

Krispy Kreme – Krispy Kreme is offering a free doughnut and small coffee to all veterans on Tuesday, November 11 at participating locations.

Krystal — Active and retired military receive a free Krystal Sausage Biscuit from 6 AM to 10:30 AM on Tuesday, November 11.

Lone Star Steakhouse — On Tuesday, November 11, active duty, reserve and retired service members get a free appetizer.

LongHorn Steakhouse – Veterans and current service members receive a complimentary Texas Tonion appetizer and non-alcoholic beverage from a select menu on Tuesday, November 11.

Max & Erma’s – On Tuesday, November 11, participating Max & Erma’s locations are offering veterans and active military personnel a free Best Cheeseburger in America Combo meal.

McCormick & Schmick’s Seafood Restaurants — On Sunday, November 9, participating McCormick & Schmick’s Seafood Restaurants will offer a complimentary entree to veterans from a special menu.

Menchi’s —  All veterans and active duty will receive a free 6 oz. frozen yogurt on Tuesday, November 11.

MOD Pizza — Veterans and active duty military get a free individual, artisan-style pizza or hand-tossed salad on Tuesday, November 11.

Olive Garden – On Tuesday, November 11, all veterans and current service members get a free meal from a limited menu.

On the Border — Veterans and active duty military can enjoy a free meal from the “Create Your Own Combo menu” on Tuesday, November  11.

Orange Leaf — Retired and active duty military get a free cup of froyo on November 11.

Outback Steakhouse – All active and former service members receive a free Bloomin’ Onion and a beverage on November 11. Outback is also offering active and former service members 15% off their meals Nov. 12 through Dec. 31.

*NEW* Petro Stopping Centers — On November 11, all CDL drivers who are military veterans eat free at participating full-service restaurants.

Pie Five Pizza — Active duty, reserve and retired service members get a free customized pizza on Tuesday, November 11.

Pinnacle Entertainment — Veterans and active duty military get a free meal at select casinos on Tuesday, November 11.

Pizza Factory — Veterans get a free lunch special or a free lunch buffet on Tuesday, November 11.

Red Hot & Blue — Veterans receive a free entrée with the purchase of a second entrée on November 10, 11 and 12. Coupon required.

Red Lobster — Veterans, retired and active-duty military personnel receive a complimentary appetizer from a limited menu from Monday, November 10 to Thursday, November 13.

Red Robin – Veterans and active duty military get a free Red’s Tavern Double Burger with Bottomless Steak Fries on Tuesday, November 11.

Ruby Tuesday — Veterans, active duty and reserve service members get a free appetizer on November 11.

Shoney’s — Shoney’s will be offering a free All-American Burger to veterans and active duty service members on Tuesday, November 11.

Sizzler — Sizzler offers active duty and veteran military members a free lunch from a limited menu on Tuesday, November 11 until 4 p.m.

Smokey Bones Bar & Fire Grill — Veterans and active duty get a free meal from a select menu on November 11.

Spaghetti Warehouse – On Tuesday, November 11, buy one entrée and get the second entrée free. Coupon required.

Starbucks — Veterans, active duty service members and spouses get a free tall coffee on Tuesday, November 11 at participating locations.

Texas Land & Cattle — On Tuesday, November 11, active duty, reserve and retired service members get a free appetizer.

Texas Roadhouse — Texas Roadhouse locations nationwide will offer veterans a free lunch on Tuesday, November 11 from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Offer is good for active duty, retired or former U.S. military.

TGIFridays — Veterans and active duty military get a free lunch from a select menu on Tuesday, November 11 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Tim Hortons Café & Bake Shop – Active duty military and veterans receive a free donut all day long on Tuesday, November 11.

Travel Centers of America — On Tuesday, November 11, all CDL drivers who are military veterans eat free at participating full-service restaurants.

Tubby’s — Veterans and active duty military members get a free small Grilled Steak N’ Cheese or Tubby’s Famous Sub on Tuesday, November 11.

Village Inn — Veterans and active military personnel receive a free breakfast on Tuesday, November 11 from a select menu at participating locations.

Wayback Burgers – Veterans and active duty military get a free Wayback Classic Cheeseburger with purchase of any side and any drink on November 11.

Zoes Kitchen – Active duty military and veterans get a free entrée, and family members get 10% off on November 11.

Source: http://www.military.com/veterans-day/veterans-day-military-discounts.html?ESRC=vetday.se#2014_Veterans_Day_Restaurant_Offerings


Posted in News | Leave a comment

Supreme Court to hear new ObamaCare challenge

Supreme Court_AP_660internal.jpg

The Supreme Court agreed Friday to hear a new challenge to ObamaCare, bringing the law back before the court after it survived a brush with death in 2012.

At issue in this case is the legality of subsidies offered to help millions of low- and middle-income people buy health insurance. Opponents argue that most of the subsidies are illegal.

A federal appeals court upheld Internal Revenue Service regulations that allow health-insurance tax credits under the Affordable Care Act for consumers in all 50 states.

But opponents of the subsidies argued the Supreme Court should resolve the issue now because it involves billions of dollars in public money. At least four justices, needed to grant review, apparently agreed with the challengers that the issue is important enough to decide now.

The case is likely to be heard in the spring of 2015.

“The plain language of the law makes it clear that subsidies are only to be provided for the purchase of health coverage through exchanges setup by the states,” Rep. Tom Price, R-Ga., said in a statement. “Nevertheless, the Obama administration and others are asking the courts to disregard the letter of the law and instead rule based on bureaucratic rewrites and revisions.” 

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said the congressional intent behind the law is for eligible customers regardless of where they live to receive assistance from the government to subsidize the purchase of health care. He promised a vigorous defense before the high court.

“The ACA is working. These lawsuits won’t stand in the way of the Affordable Care Act and the millions of Americans who can now afford health insurance because of it,” he said in a statement, calling the lawsuit “just another partisan attempt to undermine the Affordable Care Act and to strip millions of American families of tax credits that Congress intended for them to have.” 

The justices upheld the heart of the law in a 5-4 decision in 2012 in which Chief Justice John Roberts provided the decisive vote, preserving the law’s individual mandate to buy insurance.

This past June, the court again ruled on ObamaCare, this time siding with companies that had religious objections over the law’s requirement to provide contraceptive coverage. The ruling forced the administration to adjust the regulations, but did not seriously disrupt the health law.

The case over insurance subsidies, though, puts more at stake for the administration. The insurance subsidies are a key plank of the law’s system for ensuring that the people required to buy insurance can actually afford to pay for it. Foes have challenged the legality of providing them in states that do not have their own insurance exchanges — in other words, those using HealthCare.gov.

In July, a Richmond, Virginia-based appeals court upheld Internal Revenue Service regulations that allow health-insurance tax credits under the Affordable Care Act for consumers in all 50 states.

On that same July day, a panel of appellate judges in Washington, District of Columbia, sided with the challengers in striking down the IRS regulations. The Washington court held that under the law, financial aid can be provided only in states that have set up their own insurance markets, known as exchanges.

The administration said in court papers that the federal government is running the exchanges in 34 states and that nearly 5 million people receive subsidies that allow them to purchase health insurance through those exchanges.

For those federal exchange consumers, the subsidies cover 76 percent of their premiums, on average. Customers now pay an average of $82 on total monthly premiums averaging $346. The federal subsidy of $264 a month makes up the difference.

But in October, the entire Washington appeals court voted to rehear the case and threw out the panel’s ruling, eliminating the so-called circuit split. The appeals argument has been scheduled for December 17, but that case now recedes in importance with the Supreme Court’s action to step in.

The court rarely steps into a case when there is no disagreement among federal appellate courts, unless a law or regulation has been ruled invalid.

Source: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2014/11/07/supreme-court-justices-to-hear-health-law-subsidies-challenge/

Posted in News | Leave a comment

‘Historic night’: GOP makes record gains at state level, on top of Senate wins

Republicans had a big night — that much was clear. But the full scope of the GOP’s victories came sharply into focus Wednesday, as party leaders touted not only their newly claimed Senate majority but historic gains in the House and state legislative races.

While Republicans’ capture of at least seven seats in the U.S. Senate grabbed the headlines, the party had even greater success at the state level. Party leaders said Wednesday they will hit an “all-time high” for the number of legislative chambers and seats in Republican control.

“It was a historic night at every single level,” Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus said Wednesday.

With post-game analysis hardly in short supply, GOP leaders offered their own take on how the party pulled it off. They attributed their victories to carefully vetted and trained candidates (perhaps in contrast to 2012); to an improved ground game and intensive effort to target “low-propensity voters;” and to what they tried to make the No. 1 issue throughout the campaign – President Obama’s unpopularity.

“This was all about a direct rejection of the Obama agenda,” Priebus said.

Whether congressional Republicans and Obama can work together in the remaining two years of his term remains to be seen.

But at the state level, Republicans are poised to more aggressively advance their legislative agenda, particularly with several Republicans winning close gubernatorial elections Tuesday night – including in the heavily Democratic states of Maryland, Illinois and Massachusetts.

Luis Fortuno, former Puerto Rico governor and board member of the Republican State Leadership Committee, broke down the legislative numbers.

He said the party is on course to hold between 67 and 69 legislative chambers – up from the previous high of 64. He said they also are on track to eclipse the prior GOP high of 4,001 state legislative seats (held in 1928).

Among the chambers picked up were the Nevada Senate and Assembly; New Mexico House; New Hampshire House; and Colorado Senate.

And on the U.S. House side, Fox News projected that Republicans are expected to win at least 12 net seats to expand their majority beyond their post-World War II record of 246 seats set in the 1946 election.

But Rep. Greg Walden, R-Ore., chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, said when all results are in, “It may be a 100-year majority.”

“It was a huge night, historic night,” he said.

Meanwhile, Republicans so far have gained seven U.S. Senate seats, giving them a 52-seat majority – three races are still outstanding, in Louisiana, Alaska and Virginia.

Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kan., chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, chalked up the success of Senate candidates to a careful training program. The New York Times reported that this involved sending “fake” campaign trackers to trail GOP candidates – and forcing them to watch cringe-worthy moments from failed Republican campaigns of 2012.

On the other side of the aisle, Democratic strategists gave a mixed picture of the night.

“I won’t sugarcoat it – we always knew tonight would be a challenging night, and it was for Democrats at every level,” Rep. Steve Israel, D-N.Y., chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, said Tuesday. “But as tough as tonight was, we did everything in our control to narrow the Republicans’ pick-up opportunities and limit their chance to take advantage of the wave.”

He said the party was able to prevent Republicans from hitting the 29-seat gain “typically won in a second-term midterm.”

He added: “As a Mets fan, I’ve learned to look on the bright side – and we have a strong Democratic Caucus who will come to Congress next year focused on strengthening the middle class and working together on commonsense solutions.”

Source: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2014/11/05/historic-night-gop-makes-record-gains-at-state-level-on-top-senate-wins/

Posted in News | Leave a comment

BOMBSHELL MEMO: Jeanne Shaheen Conspired With White House Insider On IRS Targeting Scandal

PHOTO: Twitter

Democratic New Hampshire Sen. Jeanne Shaheen was principally involved in a plot with Lois Lerner and President Barack Obama’s political appointee at the IRS to lead a program of harassment against conservative nonprofit groups during the 2012 election, according to letters exclusively obtained by The Daily Caller.

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) did not want to publicly release 2012 correspondences exchanged between the IRS and Jeanne Shaheen at her personal Washington office: the agency delayed releasing the information to a major conservative super PAC multiple times, even threatening to see the super PAC in court, according to emails. (RELATED: Lois Lerner And Fellow IRS Official Announced Targeting At 2010 Conference Before Both Of Their Emails Went Missing)

“The IRS is aware of the current public interest in this issue,” IRS chief counsel William J. Wilkins, a White House visitor described by insiders as “The President’s Man at the IRS,” personally wrote in a hand-stamped memo to “Senator Shaheen” on official Department of the Treasury letterhead on April 25, 2012.

The memo, obtained by TheDC, briefed the Democratic senator about a coordinated IRS-Treasury Department plot to target political activity by nonprofit 501(c)(4) groups. The plot was operating out of Lois Lerner’s Tax Exempt Government Entities Division. (RELATED: Liens Filed Against Dem Senator Jeanne Shaheen And Her Husband For Failure To Pay Creditors)

“These regulations have been in place since 1959,” Wilkins wrote. “We will consider proposed changes in this area as we work with Tax-Exempt and Government Entities and the Treasury Department’s Office of Tax Policy to identify tax issues that should be addressed” in designing new regulations and “guidance.”

“I hope this information is helpful,” Wilkins wrote. “I am sending a similar response to your colleagues. If you have questions, please contact me or have your staff contact Cathy Barre at (202) 622-3720.”

Shaheen got the inside info from the IRS, making it clear she was the point person in a group composed of six close Democratic colleagues including Chuck Schumer and Al Franken, who joined with Shaheen in quietly writing a letter to then-IRS commissioner Doug Shulman expressing their concern about new nonprofit groups engaging in political activity in 2012.

The Democratic senators’ publicly available March 9, 2012 letter asked the IRS to “immediately change the administrative framework for enforcement of the tax code as it applies to groups designated as ‘social welfare’ organizations” by introducing a new “bright line test” for how much a tax-exempt group can invest in political activity and by setting a new rule that at least 51 percent of a group’s activity must non-political. The senators called for more elaborate disclosures about finances and “undertakings” in groups’ form 990 submissions and sought new rules about how much donors could write off as business expenses. (RELATED: New Poll: Brown Leads Shaheen By A Point And A Half With One Week To Go)

A Freedom of Information Act request from a major conservative super PAC specifically identified “Jeanne Shaheen” as its Freedom of Information Act search term on the IRS scandal (and in Washington, folks, if YOUR NAME is the search term that the conservative super PAC uses in its bid to get public information, then you just might be involved in something).

Source: http://dailycaller.com/2014/11/03/bombshell-memo-jeanne-shaheen-conspired-with-white-house-insider-on-irs-targeting-scandal/

Posted in News | Leave a comment

Rep. Matt Salmon: Obama ‘Didn’t Lift a Finger’ to Help Free Marine in Mexican Prison

Rep. Salmon: Obama 'Didn't Lift a Finger' to Help Free Marine in Mexican Prison

President Barack Obama “didn’t lift a finger” to free retired Marine Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi from a Mexican prison on Friday after he was held there for nearly eight months on weapons charges, Rep. Matt Salmon told Newsmax on Saturday.

“You have to be clear on when we say the administration,” the Arizona Republican cautioned in an interview. “The people from the White House? Zero help.”

Salmon, whose House subcommittee chaired two hearings on the case, said he met about four months ago with Vice President Joe Biden in the West Wing “and talked with him face to face about Andrew Tahmooressi.”

He told Newsmax that he asked Biden “whether he would get involved, whether the president would get involved — and he assured me that they would.”

The next week, President Obama talked with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto by telephone “and he did not bring it up,” Salmon said.

He thanked the U.S. Consulate in Tijuana for its “yeoman’s job in staying on top of this.”

Tahmooressi, 26, of Weston, Fla., arrived in the state early Saturday with his mother, Jill, and supporters that included former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson.

He was freed Friday because of his mental state and reunited with his mother before boarding a flight to South Florida in San Diego.

“They’re just spending time together, trying to figure out what’s next,” Jon Franks, a family spokesman, said at a hotel just outside Fort Lauderdale Saturday. “They need some time to decompress.”

Tahmooressi was arrested by Mexican authorities on April 1 after saying that he took a wrong turn on a California freeway that funneled him into a Tijuana port of entry with no way of turning back. Authorities found weapons in his car, though they were registered in the United States.

He said he had no intention of illegally bringing guns into Mexico.

Possession of weapons restricted for use by the Army is a federal crime in Mexico, and the country has been tightening up its border checks to stop the flow of U.S. weapons that have been used by drug cartels.

Tahmooressi, who was held for 214 days, suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder from serving two tours in Afghanistan. His detention brought calls for his freedom from Salmon and other Republicans, as well as from veterans groups and social media campaigns.

Hearings also were held by the House Foreign Affairs Committee, which is chaired by California Rep. Ed Royce. Both Salmon and Royce visited Tahmooressi while he was held at the La Mesa State Prison in Tijuana.

Tahmooressi’s release was praised by other Republicans.

“This case clearly took too long to be resolved, but I respect the Mexican authorities and thank them for bringing it to a reasonable conclusion,” Arizona Sen. John McCain said on Saturday.

His GOP running mate for the White House in 2008, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, said on Facebook: “It’s been such a bizarre situation and so disappointing as we hear reports that the White House never did fight for our Marine’s freedom.”

“If true, then President Obama once again broke that sacred commitment to never leave an American behind,” she added. “If I’m wrong on this, I’ll be more than happy to acknowledge the president’s efforts to see an honored vet set free.”

In his Newsmax interview, Salmon said that he met Tahmooressi when he crossed the border into the United States late Friday.

“I visited him twice while he was in prison — and the last time I visited with him, I made a promise that the next time I see you, it’ll be on American soil and you’re going to be free. I was just keeping that promise last night.”

The congressman added that Tahmooressi appeared healthy and “looked as if his feet weren’t touching the ground. He was so happy to be home.”

“He was all smiles. His mother ran out to meet him and gave him a big hug.”

Noting Tahmooressi’s PTSD, Salmon said that “my fear is that the last seven months-plus of incarceration in Mexico have probably not done wonders for that situation. Our top priority is to get him into treatment as quickly as possible.”

He said that both he and Royce pledged to work closely with Tahmooressi’s family to see that he gets the quality treatment that he deserves.

“We’re doing this for Andrew, but this should be done for every service member,” Salmon said. “But the fact is that this man has been through seven-plus months of hell, and we owe him a great deal of gratitude.”

“There are times when you have to belly up to the bar — and that’s what we’re doing now.”

Salmon told Newsmax that he could not understand why Tahmooressi’s case received no attention from the White House, especially in light of Obama’s high-profile release of Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl in May after being held by the Taliban for five years in Afghanistan.

Bergdahl, 28, was exchanged for five top Taliban detainees at the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. He has since come under fire as an alleged deserter who should be held accountable for his actions.

He remains on duty at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, Texas.

“I don’t comprehend it at all,” Salmon said. “I don’t know why the president didn’t lift a finger for him, especially after helping another soldier whose service was a little more in question than Andrew’s.”

“Everybody who served with Andrew said that he was an American hero,” the congressman added, noting that the Marine was promoted in theater because of his service. “He served proudly two tours of duty in Afghanistan. He did everything that he was supposed to do.”

He then referenced President Obama’s pledge that he would “leave no soldier behind” when he came under fire for Bergdahl’s release.

“Well, what’s the scoop on this one?” Salmon asked. “Why did he leave him behind? Why didn’t he lift a finger? I guess the president can only answer that, but he did not.”

Source: http://www.newsmax.com/Newsfront/Mexico-prison-Marine-free/2014/11/01/id/604602/

Posted in News | Leave a comment

Marine Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi freed from Mexican jail, immediately returns to US after strong diplomatic support

Editors Note: Finally Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi has been released from his wrongly incarceration by the Mexican courts and government. Where was our Commander in Chief during these long 214 days? In military terms he was AWOL, Absent With Out Leave and was more interested in campaigning and fundraising and of course his golf than doing his job. Is it any wonder then why 90% of Americas Military has a negative view of their Commander? Obama was all to happy to trade (5) of the worst Extremest Terrorists for a Deserter but couldn’t find the time to pressure Mexico to release a War Hero who was wrongfully imprisoned in Mexico and is suffering from PTSD. Our Hopes and Prayers are with Andrew and his family for a speedy recovery from his in prison and that he receives help with his PTSD. A special thanks goes out to Gretta Van Susteren, Montel Williams and all of those Politicians who helped facilitate  the release of Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi. Obama should hang his head in shame for his non-participation in the release but he is more concerned with politics than actually doing the job of Commander in Chief he was elected to do. [TS]

After 214 days in a Mexican prison, Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi crossed the US – Mexican border Friday night, boarding a private jet for Florida shortly after 9 p.m., after a strong diplomatic push appeared to help convince a judge to release the former Marine on humanitarian grounds.

After reviewing the ruling, Tahmooressi family spokesman Jonathan Franks said the judge acted on a recommendation from the PGR, the Mexican Attorney General’s Office. In that motion, the prosecutor “essentially withdrew the charges,” Franks said. Moments later, the trial judge issued an acquittal in Andrew’s case, calling for an “immediate and absolute release.”

His release comes after a lengthy, closed trial and a Congressional hearing in September highly critical of Obama Administration efforts to secure his release and Mexico’s refusal to let him go.  Tahmooressi said he made an innocent mistake the evening he crossed into Tijuana with three weapons in his truck on March 31.

While his defense rested its case several weeks ago, Tahmooressi’s release came only after a strong diplomatic push from former Gov. Bill Richardson of New Mexico and Reps. Ed Royce (R-CA) and Matt Salmon (R-AZ). Speaking by phone on his way to board a plane with Tahmooressi, Richardson said the trio, along with talk show host Montel Williams, met with Mexico’s Attorney General and Ambassador to the US, advocating for his liberation.

“The totality of diplomacy, the judicial process, the legal strategy and the importance of the American-Mexican relationship resulted in Andrew’s release,” Richardson said. “And now we have this great outcome.  Andrew’s coming home.”

As late as Friday morning, the family spokesman told Fox News the judge was not expected to make a decision for at least another week.  While the spokesman expressed optimism, the there was no certainty that the judge would rule in Tahmooressi’s favor and could have found him guilty of firearms possession.  His attorney had argued for his release based on humanitarian grounds and on a violation of his civil rights.

Upon release, Mexican officials processed him quickly through immigration, Richardson said.

“He was happy.  He was smiling.  He’s looking good.  His spirits are high,” Richardson told Fox News, adding that Tahmooressi said he wants a steak dinner and stone crabs.

But Richardson said Tahmooressi is seeking privacy and still needs to receive treatment for his Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, something that wasn’t available in Mexican prison– a key argument put forth by defense attorney Fernando Benitez.

The three officials, along with Tahmooressi’s mother Jill, have spent the last week in Tijuana pressing officials for his release.

WATCH: Greta Van Susteren asks: What took so long to free Marine?

Speaking by phone on his way to board a plane with Tahmooressi, Richardson said the trio, along with talk show host Montel Williams, met with Mexico’s Attorney General and Ambassador to the US, advocating for his liberation.


FoxNews.com covered Tahmooressi’s seven-month ordeal extensively, with numerous reports from the Tijuana court where hearings were held, interviews with the jailed Marine by telephone and several guest opinion columns by military, medical and legal experts critical of his treatment in Mexico.


Fox News Channel’s Greta Van Susteran also covered the case extensively, even driving the poorly-marked and confusing route Tahmooressi took the night he was detained and going to the prison where he was held. But other national media outlets largely ignored the plight of Tahmooressi, and the White House was heavily criticized for not doing more to secure his release despite the fact that Tahmooressi  served two tours of duty in Afghanistan and suffered from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Benitez said that Tahmooressi’s condition was continuing to deteriorate and Mexico didn’t have the expertise or facilities to treat his PTSD, which he suffered after two tours in Afghanistan.

The defense attorney also alleged that customs agents held Tahmooerssi illegally, denying him access to a translator, lawyer and consular access.

But after the seven-month ordeal, it was the PTSD argument that ultimately pressured the judge to acquit Tahmooressi.


“The judicial process of Mexico made the right choice,” Richardson said. “The humanitarian release was justified based on PTSD, something that the Mexican judicial and medical system is not as conscious of as the United States.”

Source: http://www.foxnews.com/us/2014/11/01/mexican-judge-orders-jailed-marine-andrew-tahmooressi-freed-family-spokesman/

Posted in Editorial, News, Opinion | Leave a comment

White House tries to ease flare-up over Netanyahu insults

Editors Note: The irresponsible and derogatory comments made are keeping in tune with what Obama and his Administration feel and think not only about Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu but about Israel as a country. It is well know that Obama not only dislikes the Prime Minister but also thinks Israel is guilty of persecuting the Palestinians. He has on many occasions not only insulted the Prime Minister but Israel as a country and has openly worked against both at the U.N., Americas greatest Allie in the Middle East and the only Democratic Society. Obama should formally announce who the persons were in his administration and order them to publicly apologize to the Prime Minister and Israel and then publicly fire them.

In a time when ISIS is on the rise and their butchery is on the news daily it is the job of the Commander in Chief to do everything necessary to not only protect America but also its most important Allies. Mr. Obama needs to take foreign affairs more seriously and devote more time to them than his constant fundraising, vacations and golf. When America most needs a strong leader we find we have a President who is disengaged and confused by the catastrophic failures when it come to both his Foreign and Domestic policies. His promise to fundamentally change America has come true, unfortunately it isn’t what American and the World were expecting. The only change Obama has brought has been creating absolute chaos around the globe. Real change can only start to happen November 4th is the control of the Senate changes hands and when Obama is replaced in 2016. The damage brought by Obama and his Administration may take a generation to repair because of the damage it has done not only to America but the entire World. [TS]

The White House on Wednesday sought to tamp down the controversy over a magazine piece that detailed deep tensions between the U.S. and Israel – and quoted an unnamed senior Obama administration official calling the Israeli leader a “chickenshit.”

Alistair Baskey, spokesman for the National Security Council, said the criticism does not reflect how the rest of the administration views Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

“Certainly that’s not the administration’s view, and we think such comments are inappropriate and counter-productive,” Baskey said in a statement. “Prime Minister Netanyahu and the president have forged an effective partnership, and consult closely and frequently, including earlier this month when the president hosted the prime minister in the Oval Office.”

At the same time, Baskey acknowledged they “do not agree on every issue,” including on settlement activity that the U.S. considers “illegitimate.”

Officials quoted in The Atlantic magazine article, written by Jeffrey Goldberg, were far more blunt in their characterization of those differences. Goldberg quoted one anonymous senior administration official saying: “The thing about Bibi is, he’s a chickenshit.”

The article said Obama administration officials have also described Netanyahu over the years “as recalcitrant, myopic, reactionary, obtuse, blustering, pompous, and ‘Aspergery.’”

The comments prompted criticism among Republican and Jewish leaders.

Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus on Tuesday accused the administration of “hurling expletives” at the Israeli leader.

“ISIS is on a rampage through the Middle East, slaughtering innocents and committing mass murder while plotting to kill more Americans,” Priebus said in a statement. “The priority of the Obama administration should be defeating our enemies; instead they are once again insulting our allies. It’s inexplicable and dangerous.”

Dan Gillerman, former Israeli ambassador to the United Nations, told Fox News that if the quotes are accurate, “I think it’s shameful.”

“This is not the way you speak about your only ally, about the only democracy in the Middle East, especially not when the Middle East is so volatile,” he said Wednesday.

The Atlantic piece described a relationship that has steadily gone south over the years, and that it claimed is moving toward a “full-blown crisis” – which could get worse after the midterm elections next week. A possible nuclear agreement with Iran is a major factor that could cause more friction.

Goldberg, in his piece, laid plenty of blame on Netanyahu, and reported that sources say he’s likewise “written off” the Obama administration. He noted that the U.S. is angry with him for his settlement stance in the West Bank.

One official also told The Atlantic they don’t think Netanyahu would launch a preemptive strike on Iran’s nuclear infrastructure.

“The good thing about Netanyahu is that he’s scared to launch wars,” another official was quoted as saying. The official reportedly criticized him, though, for doing little to reach an accord with the Palestinians and allegedly being more interested in political preservation.

In the wake of the article, Rabbi Marvin Hier, founder of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, called for President Obama to “name, apologize for, and repudiate” the person who offered the “chickenshit” insult, according to The Algemeiner.

“It is rather ironic that a senior American official is prepared to curse his friends, yet when it comes to the mortal enemies of the United States — as the Iranians discovered during the recent nuclear negotiation — praise is heaped on them,” Hier said.

Source: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2014/10/29/white-house-tries-to-ease-flare-up-over-netanyahu-insults/

Posted in Editorial, News, Opinion | Leave a comment

Terror connection not ruled out in hatchet attack, police say

The NYPD is reportedly investigating whether Islamic extremism played a role in Thursday’s hatchet attack on city cops.

Officers shot and killed a man identified as Zale Thompson, 32, of Queens, who fractured the skull of Officer Kenneth Healey, 25, at about 2 p.m. in the Jamaica section of Queens. Videotape and witness accounts apparently showed Thompson intentionally targeting four rookie officers. Thompson was seen minutes before the attack pulling a hatchet from his backpack and then began attacking the officers, slicing a second cop on the arm before he was fatally shot, the New York Post reports.

“There’s nothing we know at this time that would indicate that [Islamic terrorism] is the case,” NYPD Commissioner William Bratton told reporters during a press conference at Jamaica Hospital. “That’s what the investigation will attempt to determine.” (If the investigation is not tampered with by the White House) TS

Healey remains in critical but stable condition, police said Friday. A 29-year-old woman walking nearby was struck in the back by a stray police bullet and remains in stable condition, police sources told the Post. The second injured cop, Officer Joseph Meeker, is in stable condition.

Thompson, whose Facebook page includes a passage from the Koran and a photograph of a masked militant, is being investigated for possible terrorist connections.

“There are suspected terror ties,” one source told the newspaper.

Thompson, who served in the Navy from February 2001 to August 2003, allegedly called for a revolution on American soil on his Facebook page, but the messages were no longer visible early Friday.

“America’s military is strong abroad, but they have never faced an internal mass revolt,” Thompson posted on the social media site. “They are weaker at home. We are scattered and decentralized, we can use this as an advantage. They are centralized and strong, which can be exploited as a weakness. Think of a swarm of bees (negroes) that surround and attack an elephant (America) to death.”

The suspect also called for guerilla warfare.

“Helicopters, big military will be useless on their own soil,” another post read. “They will not be able to defeat our people if we use guerilla warfare. Attack their weak flanks … If you get wounded who cares. If you die who cares. Eventually they will surrender and then the war will be over.”

Thompson was a “very educated” proponent of “black power” and a graduate of the College of New Rochelle in Harlem, one classmate who asked not to be identified told the Post.

“He always spoke positively,” the source said.

But former neighbors at Thompson’s Brooklyn address said he had become “weird” and argumentative in recent months before moving to Jamaica earlier this year.

While in the Navy, Thompson served as a builder constructor and was assigned to units based in Port Hueneme, Calif. He was awarded several citations, including the National Defense Service Ribbon and the Sea Service Deployment Ribbon, Navy officials confirmed Friday.

Sources told the Post that Thompson held the hatchet in two hands — like a baseball bat — and swung three times. The first swing broke the cop’s arm, while the second was a miss. The third struck Healey in the back of the head, sources said.

“The cops yelled, ‘Drop it!'” witness Larry Bethune told the newspaper. “He raised his arm up high and brought it straight down on the cop’s head.”

Another witness recalled seeing the young officer’s horrific head injury as Thompson was apprehended.

“He looked like he couldn’t move, and blood was gushing out of his head,” Kelli Reddica said. “Blood just drenched the side of his face.”

Source: http://www.foxnews.com/us/2014/10/24/ax-attack-terror-connection/

Posted in News | Leave a comment

BREAKING: Judicial Watch Obtains List of Fast and Furious Documents Held Under Obama’s Executive Privilege

Late last night the Department of Justice complied with a court order and turned over a list to government watchdog Judicial Watch , known as a Vaughn Index, of Fast and Furious documents being held from Congress and the American people under President Obama’s assertion of executive privilege. Not surprisingly, DOJ failed to fully comply with the requirements of providing a Vaughn Index.

The Vaughn index explains 15,662 documents. Typically, a Vaughn index must: (1) identify each record withheld; (2) state the statutory exemption claimed; and (3) explain how disclosure would damage the interests protected by the claimed exemption. The Vaughn index arguably fails to provide all of this required information but does provide plenty of interesting information for a public kept in the dark for years about the Fast and Furious scandal.

Regardless, the list of documents shows Obama asserted executive privilege to protect Attorney General Eric Holder’s wife and to protect information showing Holder helped to craft talking points during the fallout of the scandal. What a preliminary review of Vaughn Index by Judicial Watch shows:

Numerous emails that detail Attorney General Holder’s direct involvement in crafting talking points, the timing of public disclosures, and handling Congressional inquiries in the Fast and Furious matter.

President Obama has asserted executive privilege over nearly 20 email communications between Holder and his spouse Sharon Malone. The administration also claims that the records are also subject to withholding under the “deliberative process” exemption. This exemption ordinarily exempts from public disclosure records that could chill internal government deliberations.

Numerous entries detail DOJ’s communications (including those of Eric Holder) concerning the White House about Fast and Furious.

The scandal required the attention of virtually every top official of the DOJ and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF). Communications to and from the United States Ambassador to Mexico about the Fast and Furious matter are also described.

Many of the records are already publicly available such as letters from Congress, press clips, and typical agency communications. Ordinarily, these records would, in whole or part, be subject to disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act. Few of the records seem to even implicate presidential decision-making and advice that might be subject to President Obama’s broad and unprecedented executive privilege claim.

Keep in mind the White House has denied any involvement with Operation Fast and Furious when it was active between 2009 and 2010. The documents described in this list indicate otherwise. Further, former White House National Security Advisor Kevin O’Reilly was in contact with former ATF Special Agent in Charge of the Phoenix Field Division William Newell about the details of the operation. Previous reporting shows at least three White House officials were aware of or involved in the operation despite denials after Congressional inquiries about the scandal.

The emails Judicial Watch describes as showing Holder being directly involved “in crafting talking points, the timing of public disclosures, and handling Congressional inquiries in the Fast and Furious matter” only further solidify his role in the cover-up of the operation. As for Holder’s wife Sharon Malone being involved, this is the first time her name has come up throughout the course of the Fast and Furious scandal. His mother hasn’t been mentioned before, either.

Notably, the document discloses that emails between Attorney General Holder and his wife Sharon Malone – as well as his mother – are being withheld under an extraordinary claim of executive privilege as well as a dubious claim of deliberative process privilege under the Freedom of Information Act. The “First Lady of the Justice Department” is a physician and not a government employee.

“This document provides key information about the cover-up of Fast and Furious by Attorney General Eric Holder and other high-level officials of the Obama administration. Obama’s executive privilege claims over these records are a fraud and an abuse of his office. There is no precedent for President Obama’s Nixonian assertion of executive privilege over these ordinary government agency records. Americans will be astonished that Obama asserted executive privilege over Eric Holder’s emails to his wife about Fast and Furious,” Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said in a statement. “Once again, Judicial Watch has proven itself more effective than Congress and the establishment media in providing basic oversight of this out-of-control Administration. This Fast and Furious document provides dozens of leads for further congressional, media, and even criminal investigations.”

After more than a year of stonewalling and a lawsuit from Judicial Watch, DOJ attorneys asked for an extension until November 3, the day before the midterm elections, to turn of the list explaining more than 15,000 documents. That request was denied.

President Obama asserted executive privilege over thousands of Fast and Furious documents just moments before Holder was held in contempt of Congress by the House Oversight Committee in June 2012. That same month, Republicans and Democrats in the House voted Holder in civil and criminal contempt of Congress. Holder is the first sitting cabinet member in U.S. history to be held in contempt of Congress. After six years at the Department of Justice, Holder submitted his resignation to President Obama in September, but will stay in his position until a new Attorney General is confirmed after the midterm elections.

Source: http://townhall.com/tipsheet/katiepavlich/2014/10/23/fast-and-furious-news-n1909193

Posted in News | Leave a comment

US Ordering 34 Million Green Cards for Illegal Plan

With some lawmakers predicting a sweeping executive order on immigration from President Barack Obama after the Nov. 4 elections, one federal agency is already making plans to hire a vendor to crank out up to 34 million  blank green cards to accommodate an expected surge in immigrants in 2016.

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has published a draft solicitation for a contractor capable of producing 4 million cards a year for five years — and 9 million in the early stages — that would allow immigrants to live and work in the country, Breitbart reports.

One estimate suggests 34 million cards will be printed in total.

An official from the government agency told MailOnline on Monday a plan was developed “in case the president makes the move we think he will,” even though the agency’s Document Management Division isn’t yet committing to buying the materials.

Another official cautioned the plan was only a “contingency” in case immigration reform legislation passes in Congress, stressing to MailOnline it wasn’t in anticipation of an Obama executive order.

The president was rebuffed by Congress to enact immigration reform — which Republicans have decried as an “amnesty” for millions of illegal immigrants, including hundreds of thousands of unaccompanied minors who poured into the United States through the southern border with Mexico this summer – and has vowed to go it alone.

The executive action’s timetable has since shifted to after the crucial midterm elections.
The latest draft solicitation “seems to indicate that the president is contemplating an enormous executive action that is even more expansive than the plan that Congress rejected in the ‘Gang of Eight’ bill,” Jessica Vaughn, an immigration expert at the Center for Immigration Studies, told Breitbart.

The green cards – officially known as Permanent Residency Cards – and Employment Authorization Documentation cards are used for participants in Obama’s controversial Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. Known as “DREAMers,” the program’s participants came to the United States illegally as children.

A total of 862,000 people have been approved for such documentation by USCIS through June.

But according to the draft solicitation, “the guaranteed minimum for each ordering period is 4,000,000 cards. … The estimated maximum for the entire contract is 34,000,000 cards.”

On CNN’s “Inside Politics” Monday, moderator John King said he unilateral executive action promised by Obama for after the midterm elections will kick off confrontation, not compromise, from Republicans driven by anger and frustration in their conservative grass-roots voter base.

“Well, if you believed perhaps there would be room and motivation for a deal after the 2014 midterms — think again,” King said.

“I was so struck by conversations in Colorado, in Kansas and Iowa — just pure frustration; a belief among conservative Republicans that this problem is getting worse.”

“What does that tell you? It tells you there is no prospect for any compromise legislation during the final two years of the Obama presidency,” King said.

“If the president uses his executive power as promised, Republicans will be pushing the grass-roots for confrontation, not compromise. An issue we thought after 2014 Republicans would try to deal with, will be with us until 2016 and beyond.”

There is little doubt that Obama is determined to take action.

“There appears to be little political space for House Speaker John Boehner and Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell, who could well be majority leader in January, to negotiate any deal that would be acceptable to Obama,” CNN reports.

“When the president takes executive actions, as he promises to do after the election unless there is some legislative breakthrough, it is clear the conservative grass-roots will demand confrontation, leaving the issue front and center as we head into the 2016 presidential cycle.”

Source: http://www.newsmax.com/Newsfront/green-card-immigration-surge/2014/10/19/id/601688/

Posted in News | Leave a comment

‘Dragon’s Egg': Marines who guarded Saddam’s mysterious bunker fear weapons unleashed


The U.S. Marines who guarded the sprawling complex in northwest Iraq where Saddam Hussein’s 1980s war machine churned out some of the most deadly chemical and biological weapons known to man had a name for one especially mysterious bunker: The Dragon’s Egg.

Although the Americans assigned to the Al Muthanna facility until 2008 were forbidden by superiors from peering inside the bunker, they knew the larger complex’s history. From 1983 to 1990, the brutal dictator’s scientists worked there, developing mustard, sarin, VX and Tabun gases for use on Iranian soldiers and Iraqi Kurds. And although it was under the control of U.S. and Iraqi military forces for most of the last decade, the entire facility – and whatever it held – is now firmly in the grasp of the Islamic State, the terrorist army that has claimed a vast swath of Iraq and Syria and allegedly used chemical weapons against Kurds this summer.

The X-shaped bunker, encased in cement and shrouded in mystery, was one of two that were handled differently from the many other bunkers that made up the facility, according to Lt. Joshua Hartley, who was stationed there in 2008. It was off-limits.

“We were made aware of a particular bunker on the north side [of Al Muthanna] which we were informed was sealed and remotely monitored,” Hartley, who served in the weapons company of the 1st Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, told FoxNews.com. “We were not to approach, and definitely not to attempt to enter.”

An Iraqi Army outpost was positioned immediately next to the Dragon’s Egg bunker, which was under constant observation. It was an open secret that the bunker contained vast amounts of Hussein’s most dangerous nerve agents, according to Hartley.

“We were not to approach, and definitely not to attempt to enter.”- Joshua Hartley, retired U.S. Marine lieutenant

“We became aware that there were two particular bunkers – one of which had reportedly been sealed up some time before – that held potentially devastating contents,” said Hartley, who went on to serve in Afghanistan and achieved the rank of captain before being discharged from the military. The Georgia native now lives in New York.

On Nov. 2, 2008, the Iraqi troops guarding the Dragon’s Egg were suddenly pulled from the outpost. Hartley’s platoon was ordered to clear the compound and members found 40 shells simply lying around outside of the bunker. They alerted superiors, but as they waited for specialized chemical weapons disposal units to arrive, Hartley recalled, one Marine “picked [a shell] up and could literally hear the liquid sloshing around inside of it.”

Marine Lance Cpl. Kevin Fanning, who served in Hartley’s platoon and corroborated the account, described other ominous discoveries made by the Marines as they cleared the area around the top-secret bunker.

“When we began searching, we discovered a huge stockpile of 105-millimeter artillery shells that were filled with mustard gas,” Fanning told FoxNews.com. “I have always wondered why it never became big news, as well as other incidents. I never doubted the existence of chemical and biological weapons in Iraq.”



Their account was similar to a separate one reported by The New York Times earlier this week, in which U.S. service members guarding Al Muthanna said a toxic agent used in mustard gas leaked out of a shell when a soldier picked it up. According to the Times, more than a dozen U.S. soldiers were injured by chemical weapons but the incidents were not made public.

Gen. Jack Kean, chairman of the Institute for the Study of War, former Army vice-chief of staff and a Fox News contributor, told Fox News’ ‘The Kelly File’ on Wednesday that it was known in high military circles that Hussein’s old weaponry was still around, although it was believed to be in poor condition.

“It was common knowledge in the chain of command that these storage sites existed and occasionally our soldiers would ‘bang into these things,’” Kean said.

Al Muthanna was known to be the nerve center of Hussein’s chemical weapons program, which was reportedly aided by western nations long before Operation Desert Storm. An October, 2000, report by the Federation of American Scientists identified it as a testing ground for Anthrax and Ricin. Although the chaos following the fall of Hussein in 2003 would seem to have made it essential that the secret bunker known as Dragon’s Egg be de-commissioned by specially-trained chemical weapons experts, it wasn’t until much later that international leaders took up the issue, according to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW). Discussions were held in November 2011, hosted by the U.S. in Aberdeen, Maryland, with 38 experts from around the world.

“All experts present during the roundtable agreed that bunker 13 at Al Muthanna represents a special case and that an entry into the bunker would expose personnel to explosive, chemical, and physical hazards,” the OPCW reported. “The potential for an explosion occurring is the most serious factor due to the presence of scattered fuses and warhead components.”

It is believed that the “bunker 13” referenced at the meeting is the one Hartley and his men called Dragon’s Egg.

A U.S. State Department report last February indicated that administration officials were fully aware of the potentially huge dangers the bunker and another one like it at Al Muthanna presented.

“The [Chemical Weapons] destruction plan is dependent on the assessment of the contents of the [Chemical Weapons Storage Facilities], bunkers 13 and 41 at Al Muthanna,” the State Department reported. But efforts to neutralize the bunkers appear not to have been carried out, and now Kean and Hartley fear it could be too late. Al Muthanna was overrun by Islamic State militants in July.

“Frankly, the weapons could be used by ISIS,” Kean said. “Our troops’ mission was not to clean this up; that was something the Iraqis were supposed to do, and obviously they didn’t do a very good job of it,” the general added. “I know from talking to people who were involved, that the Sunni insurgents used some of these weapons as IED’s against us.”

With reports that Islamic State fighters may have used chemical weapons to attack the Syrian city of Kobani earlier this summer, Hartley also wonders if the contents of the mysterious bunker known as Dragon’s Egg have been unleashed.

Source: http://www.foxnews.com/world/2014/10/19/dragon-egg-marines-who-guarded-saddam-mysterious-bunker-fear-weapons-unleashed/

Posted in News | Leave a comment

ISIS Jihadists Line Streets of Kobane with ‘Hundreds’ of Severed Heads, Gouged Eyes

Editors Note: Kobane is a humanitarian crisis that is unfolding before the eyes of the world and NO ONE is doing anything to stop it. Obama is allowing very limited US air strikes that ALL of Americas Generals have been saying are both to few and are ineffective to thwart the advance if ISIS. The Kurds defending Kobane have been literally begging for heavier weapons to combat tanks and heavy artillery and vehicles that ISIS have captured from the fleeing Iraqi military. Obama and his obsession against putting American military special forces in Kobane or sufficient ground forces in both Iraq and Syria is allowing ISIS to gain control of strategic areas in both countries. To Obama his legacy of bringing all American troops home has totally clouded his mentality when it comes to being Commander in Chief. He is flaunting this great coalition of Arab states and some European countries is merely a sham because they are except for a couple countries who are flying insignificant air strikes non involved except for lip service.

Turkey is constantly mentioned as a partner in the fight against ISIS but Turkey has no plans to join a fight that will help either the Kurds which they hate along with Bashar al-Assad. Tutkey has had military forces within a few hundred yards of  Kobane and refused to cross their border and drive ISIS out. Turkey will only get into the fight after the Kurds have been defeated if then.

Obama will sit by and let hundreds if not thousands be slaughtered by ISIS because he refuses to send the weapons aid the Kurds so desperately need. The atrocities that will result from his inaction will be totally at his feet and no one else. Obama is to preoccupied with fundraisers and golf to be bothered by the plight of those being massacred by ISIS. He won’t even say that ISIS is comprised of Islamic Terrrorists  preferring to say they are NOT part of Islam.

ISIS is a disaster that could have been prevented had he heeded the advice of his military commanders. He has allowed America to be put as serious risk by not controlling Americas southern border that terrorists have already been proven to have crossed. The world is on fire and Obama is nowhere to be found doing his job as Commander in Chief and President of the strongest country in the world. ISIS is running unchecked and slaughtering thousands of people and Obama is obsessing over Climate Change. Never in the history of America has there been such a failure in the Oval Office and America and the world is paying the price.


The reports from inside Kobane, the Syrian border town considered a potential watershed capture for the terrorist group the Islamic State, are ever more dire as American-led airstrikes appear to do little to stop the massacre of Kurds in a gateway town to Turkey.

In an exclusive report, the Daily Mail cites the testimony of multiple witnesses, now Kurdish refugees who managed to escape the wrath of Islamic State terrorists. “Headless corpses litter the streets of the besieged Syrian border town, they say, and some of the mainly Kurdish townsfolk have had their eyes gouged out,” writes author Sam Greenhill, adding severed limbs, cut-out tongues, and a diverse array of torturous behavior carried out on Kurdish bodies.

One man repeated that his children say all the violence he, too, had witnessed, as they escaped Kobane. “I have seen tens, maybe hundreds, of bodies with their heads cut off,” said the man, ” “Others with just their hands or legs missing. I have seen faces with their eyes or tongues cut out – I can never forget it for as long as I live. They put the heads on display to scare us all.”

Others told stories of those who were beheaded in their presence, or where friends and relatives caught in the siege. One 13-year-old boy Greenhill refers to as “Dillyar” told the Daily Mail his 20-year-old cousin was beheaded in front of him. Another witness alleged that his neighbor, a Muslim, “was beheaded because they said he was ‘delivering vegetables to the kaffir.'”

The government of Turkey has warned that, without a ground operation to supplement the work of Kurdish fighters, it is unlikely that the town will be able to fight off the threat of the Islamic State. President Tayyip Erdogan has nonetheless done nothing to contribute to the fight against the Islamic State in the town, instead bombing Kurdish PKK forces. Meanwhile, the American government is insisting that the long-term efforts to fight the Islamic State will diminish the importance of a potential collapse of Kobane’s Syrian government. “Kobani is one community, and it’s a tragedy what is happening there,” said Secretary of State John Kerry, “…[b]ut we have said from day one it is going to take a period of time to bring the coalition thoroughly to the table.”

According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, the Islamic State has increased its use of suicide bombings in Kobane in the past week, and fighting has moved into the streets of the city rather than the outskirts. Kurdish fighters continue to call for increased help from the international community to ward off the terrorist group, who would have nearly unlimited use of the Turkish-Syrian border should they capture Kobane.

Source: http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Peace/2014/10/14/ISIS-Jihadists-Line-Streets-of-Kobane-with-Hundreds-Severed-Heads-Gauged-Eyes

Posted in Editorial, News, Opinion | Leave a comment

Dems returned $20G check to father of White House aide linked to prostitution scandal

The father of a White House advance team member connected to the Secret Service prostitution scandal was refunded a hefty Obama campaign donation, records show, around the same time additional details about that possible link were made public.

The $20,000 donation was made by Leslie Dach — whose son Jonathan has been linked to the scandal — on Sept. 19, 2012, to the Obama Victory Fund.

One day later, Leslie Dach had a meeting at the White House with a top presidential economic adviser, according to White House visitor logs. One day after that, the lead federal investigator into the Colombia prostitution scandal said for the first time that White House personnel may have been involved in the incident.

On Sept. 24, 2012, campaign finance records show, the Obama Victory Fund returned the $20,000 donation to Leslie Dach.

The chain of events might be coincidental, but nevertheless raises questions about Dach’s interactions with both the Obama administration and Democratic campaign officials.

The Federal Election Commission filing that listed the refund to Dach did not give a reason. But his attorney Richard Sauber told FoxNews.com in an email that the money was returned because Dach did not attend a fundraising event as planned — and “so the check (he thought) was either returned or not cashed.”

Sauber said Dach could not recall the details of the event. It was a high time for fundraisers, less than two months before the presidential election. On the day the donation was dated, a star-studded Obama Victory Fund fundraiser – attended by Gwyneth Paltrow and other celebrities — was held in London which guests paid $15,000 to attend, according to press reports at the time. It’s unclear if this is the event Dach’s lawyer says he missed.

Sauber also said the Sept. 20 meeting with Eugene Sperling, then director of the National Economic Council, was “unrelated” to the campaign contribution. At the time, Dach was working as lobbyist for Wal-Mart.

Dach has been a major donor to Democratic candidates since the 1990’s. He gave $28,500 in 2008 to Obama and the Democratic Party to shore up Obama’s election bid.

Records also show he gave $2,300 to Hillary Clinton before she lost the Democratic nomination to Obama and $1,000 for her New York Senate race in 2000. Other prominent Democratic recipients include: Bill Clinton ($1,000); Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy ($2,250); and former Arkansas Sen. Blanche Lincoln ($3,800).

The Dach family has been in the spotlight after The Washington Post reported late Wednesday that on the trip where Secret Service agents were caught with prostitutes, a woman was registered to Jonathan Dach’s hotel room shortly after midnight one night. Dach was a member of the White House advance team on the trip, reportedly as a volunteer.

The White House has denied that any member of their team was involved in inappropriate behavior and said previously that the volunteer was wrongly implicated based on inaccurate hotel records. The White House on Thursday stood by those claims. Sauber also said the allegations in the Post were “utterly and completely false.”

Source: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2014/10/11/dems-returned-20g-check-to-father-white-house-aide-linked-to-prostitution/

Posted in News | Leave a comment

US Airstrikes Fail; UN Warns of Civilian Massacre in Kobani

Image: UN: Hundreds of Civilians Will Be 'Massacred' If ISIS Takes Kobani

At least 500 civilians who remain trapped in the Syrian Kurdish border town of Kobani are likely to be “massacred” if it falls to the Islamic State group, the U.N. envoy to Syria warned Friday, calling on the world to help avert a catastrophe as the extremists pushed deeper into the embattled town.

Staffan de Mistura raised the specter of some of the worst genocides of the 20th century during a news conference in Geneva, where he held up a map of the town along the Syria-Turkey border and said a U.N. analysis shows only a small corridor remains open for people to enter or flee Kobani.

The dramatic warning came as the Islamic State group pushed into Kobani from the south and east, taking over most of the so-called “Kurdish security quarter” — an area where Kurdish militiamen who are struggling to defend the town maintain security buildings and where the police station, the municipality and other local government offices are located.

The onslaught by the Islamic State group on Kobani, which began in mid-September, has forced more than 200,000 to flee across the border into Turkey. Activists say the fighting has already killed more than 500 people.

“The city is in danger,” said Farhad Shami, a Kurdish activist in Kobani reached by phone from Beirut. He reported heavy fighting on the town’s southern and eastern sides and said the Islamic State group was bringing in more reinforcements.

U.S.-led airstrikes against the extremists appear to have failed to blunt their push on Kobani. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that with the new advances, the Islamic State group was now in control of 40 percent of the town.

The Observatory, which collects its information from a network of activists on the ground in Syria, said a suicide bomber from the Islamic State group blew his car up near the Grand Mosque just west of the security quarter, but there was no immediate word of casualties.

The U.S. Central Command said in a statement that the U.S.-led coalition conducted nine airstrikes in Syria on Thursday and Friday. It said strikes near Kobani destroyed two Islamic State training facilities, as well as vehicles and tanks. Another strike in the eastern province of Deir el-Zour — controlled by the extremists — destroyed an Islamic State armored vehicle staging facility, it said.

On Friday, the militants shelled Kobani’s single border crossing with Turkey in an effort to capture it and seal off the town, a local Kurdish official and Syrian activists said.

The official, Idriss Nassan, said Islamic State fighters aim to seize the crossing in order to close the noose around the town’s Kurdish defenders and prevent anyone from entering or leaving Kobani.

By midmorning Friday, occasional gunfire and explosions that appeared to be rocket-propelled grenades and mortar shells could be heard from across the border in Turkey, and plumes of smoke were seen rising in the distance. The Observatory said the militants shelled several areas in Kobani, including the border crossing.

“Daesh is doing all it can to take the border crossing point through the farmlands east of the city,” Nassan said, using an Arabic acronym to refer to the Islamic State group. “They think there might be help (for the Kurdish militia) coming through the crossing so they want to control the border.”

In Geneva, de Mistura said that a U.N. analysis of the situation on the ground shows that only a small portion of the town remains open for people to enter or flee. He said there were 500 to 700 elderly people and other civilians still trapped there while 10,000 to 13,000 remain stuck in an area nearby, close to the border.

De Mistura invoked the genocides in Rwanda in 1994 and in the Bosnian town of Srebrenica in July 1995 as he appealed to the world to prevent another catastrophe.

If the town falls to the Islamic State fighters, “we know what they are capable of doing,” said the Italian-Swedish diplomat, who was appointed to the U.N. post in July.

The civilians of Kobani “will be most likely massacred,” de Mistura said. “When there is an imminent threat to civilians, we cannot, we should not be silent.”

“You remember Srebrenica? We do. We never forgot. And probably we never forgave ourselves for that,” he said. In both Rwanda and Srebrenica, the U.N. had troops on the ground but they failed to save the lives of the civilians they were mandated to protect.

There are no U.N. troops in Syria. Turkey has deployed troops and tanks across the border, but despite U.S. pressure, Ankara has said it will not join the fight unless the U.S.-led coalition also goes after the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad.

De Mistura appealed to Turkish authorities to allow volunteers and equipment to flow into Kobani and help its Syrian Kurdish defenders.

Without more such help, he added, Kobani is “likely to fall.”

The fight over Kobani has eclipsed the larger Syrian civil war, where Assad’s forces continue to fight rebels seeking to topple him in many parts of the country.

On Friday, activists said at least nine civilians were killed in a government airstrike that targeted the village of Harra in the southern province of Daraa. More than 20 people were also killed a day earlier in government airstrikes in Damascus suburbs, they said.

The Syrian National Coalition, Syria’s Western-backed main opposition group, accused Assad of “openly exploiting” the coalition’s war against the Islamic State group to continue killing Syrians.

Source: http://www.newsmax.com/Newsfront/Syria-un-massacre-kobani/2014/10/10/id/599933/

Posted in News | Leave a comment

Missing NKorea’s Kim May Have Been Toppled in Coup

Missing NKorea's Kim May Have Been Toppled in Coup

North Korea leader Kim Jong Un, who has not been seen in public for a month, is at the center of growing speculation that he’s been deposed.

And the rumors may be fueled on Friday when Kim would be expected to be on the reviewing stand for the celebrations centered on the founding of the country’s Workers’ Party.

“Until then, we can say there are signs that Kim Jong Un has lost substantial power and will soon become, if he is not already, a figurehead,” writes Gordon Chang of The Daily Beast.

The mystery surrounding Kim’s whereabouts gathered momentum over the weekend after the communist regime’s second in command, Hwang Pyong So, suddenly traveled to South Korea for peace talks with the North’s longtime enemy, the Beast reports.

Hwang was given the title of vice chairman of the National Defense Commission during a recent meeting of the Supreme People’s Assembly in addition to his recent promotion to director of the General Political Bureau of the Korean People’s Army, making him the top political officer in the military.

In a country where there’s not supposed to be an official number two position, Hwang is being called the second-most powerful person, according to  the Beast.

On 24 hours’ notice, Hwang led Pyongyang’s most senior delegation ever to Incheon near the South Korea capital of Seoul in talks at aimed resuming relations between the two republics.

His surprise trip with an 11-member delegation from Pyongyang came as a report surfaced saying that Kim has been deposed in a possible coup.

Jang Jin Sung, a former North Korean propaganda official, has claimed that the Organization and Guidance Department of the Korean Workers’ Party, which has control over major positions in the North’s leadership, has taken over the country, while Kim is now just a “puppet,” according to Vice News.

Kim, 31, who is frequently the centerpiece of the isolated country’s propaganda, has not been photographed by state media since appearing at a concert alongside wife Ri Sol Ju on Sept. 3.

The eccentric leader had been seen walking with a limp, reportedly due to gout, in a pre-recorded documentary broadcast by state media in late September.

But during the weekend delegation to South Korea, a senior official of the North’s ruling Workers’ Party, told the South’s Unification Minister Ryoo Kihl-jae that there was no problem with Kim’s health.

However, the Beast’s Chang wrote, “Indeed, there are signs that not only has Hwang risen, but also that Kim has fallen. The young ruler did not preside over last’s month meeting of the Supreme People’s Assembly, the first time that has happened since he took power after his father’s death in December 2011.”

“Yes, he may have been ill, but if he was politically healthy, the meeting would have been postponed until he was able to appear.”

Source: http://www.newsmax.com/Newsfront/NKorea-Kim-coup/2014/10/06/id/598851/

Posted in News | Leave a comment

House Oversight Committee Pursues New Contempt Charges, Fines, And Possibly Jail Time For Holder

The House Oversight Committee is pursuing another contempt of court charge, and possibly a daily monetary fine,  and jail time for outgoing Attorney General Eric Holder unless he complies with a court order to release certain Fast and Furious documents.

Via The Washington Times:  

Members of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee requested U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson to fine Mr. Holder if he doesn’t comply with her own order issued back in August — the one where she said he couldn’t claim executive privilege to keep private certain documents related to the federal gun-running program, “Operation Fast and Furious,” Politico reported.


Judge Berman Jackson ordered the DOJ to produce the “Vaughn list” back in July in response to a Judicial Watch FOIA lawsuit.  A month later, the DOJ was ordered to turn over “a privilege log of withheld documents to the House Oversight Committee.” Both requests were supposed to be completed by October 1, but were not. Instead, the Attorney General announced his resignation.

According to the Washington Times, lawyers for Republican congressman are saying “the time has come when the judge should consider imposing fines on Mr. Holder, or even throwing him in jail.”


“Should the Court determine that the Attorney General has violated that Order, the Court should impose on the Attorney General an appropriate penalty to coerce his compliance with the August 20 Order, including an escalating daily monetary fine against Eric H. Holder Jr., to be paid by Mr. Holder out of his personal assets, converting to incarceration if the payment of daily monetary fines does not produce compliance within a reasonable period of time,” House Counsel Kerry Kircher and other lawyers wrote in the filing, Politico reported.

A Justice Department spokesman seemed to characterize the October 1 deadline as a “stunt.”

Justice Department spokesman Brian Fallon said Thursday evening: “We’re at a loss to understand this latest stunt since the committee itself did not object to November as an appropriate timeline for the production of any documents. The Department will respond to the motion in due course.”

In a statement issued on Friday, Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) disputed Fallon’s claim that his committee agreed to an extension.

“Contrary to the counterfactual claims of the Justice Department, the House did not agree to any deadline extension absent a ruling from the judge and in fact has asked the judge to enforce her order,” the chairman said. “The American people can only continue to guess at what the attorney general and his department are hiding.”

Issa also slammed Holder for failing to comply with “a binding federal court order.”

“The attorney general and his department are acting as if the judge in the case has an obligation to modify her rulings with which they disagree, rather than they having the obligation to comply with those rulings. That is the arrogance that landed this case in court in the first place.”

That same arrogance has led to rank lawlessness throughout the Holder Justice Department for the past five and a half years and counting.

The time has come for a reckoning.

Source: http://www.breitbart.com/InstaBlog/2014/10/04/House-Oversight-Committee-Pursues-New-Contempt-Charges-Fines-And-Possibly-Jail-Time-For-Holder

Posted in News | Leave a comment

Obama’s Ex-CIA Chief Slams White House for ‘Hesitation and Half Steps’

In a forthcoming book, obtained by The Daily Beast, former spy director and Pentagon leader Leon Panetta blames the White House for screwups from Syria to Afghanistan.
The president’s White House staff was controlling, insular, and often ignored the advice of its senior national security officials, former Defense Secretary and CIA Director Leon Panetta charges in his yet-to-be-released memoir. The result, Panetta says: botched U.S. policies from Syria to Iraq to Afghanistan.

Panetta—whose new book, Worthy Fights, is set to be released Oct. 7—is particularly tough on his former boss on the issue of Syria. (A copy of the book was obtained by The Daily Beast.) President Obama had called the use of chemical weapons there a “red line.” So when the Syrian military used chemical weapons in August 2013 to kill an estimated 1,400 people, Obama decided to strike. But then the president abruptly reversed himself—without consulting his national security Cabinet members.

The U.S. eventually secured an agreement to hold off on any attacks in exchange for Assad handing over his chemical weapons. But that deal was a mistake, according to Panetta.

“The result, I felt, was a blow to American credibility. When the president as commander in chief draws a red line, it is critical that he act if the line is crossed. The power of the United States rests on its word,” he wrote. “Assad’s action clearly defied President Obama’s warning; by failing to respond, it sent the wrong message to the world.”

Panetta also noted that Obama overruled him and then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton when the president decided not to arm the Syrian rebels—an admittedly risky proposition—in 2012. The current ghastly situation in Syria shows the results of the White House’s policy, he wrote.

“Hesitation and half steps have consequences as well—and those remain to be determined,” Panetta said.

Throughout the book, Panetta repeats that senior White House staffers, such as National Security Advisor Tom Donilon, then-Counterterrorism Advisor John Brennan, and Deputy National Security Advisor Dennis McDonough (who later became Chief of Staff) had more influence and control over national security policy than senior officials such as him and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

“The result, I felt, was a blow to American credibility. When the president as commander in chief draws a red line, it is critical that he act if the line is crossed. The power of the United States rests on its word.”

“There was nothing wrong with that, but that did have the effect of reducing the importance of the Cabinet members who actually oversaw their agencies,” Panetta stated. “Those agency heads were rarely encouraged to take their own initiative or lobby for priorities.”

When Panetta was the CIA director, the White House discouraged him from dealing directly with lawmakers or giving public speeches or interviews at all. “In fact, several times when I reached out to Congress or the press without prior White House approval, I was chastised for it,” he said.

Multiple times in his memoir, Panetta compares the ineffectiveness of the Obama White House to the relative competence of the Clinton White House, in which he served as OMB Director and then Chief of Staff. For example, the White House left him alone in 2011 to fight against over half a trillion dollars in cuts to the defense budget, known as sequestration.

“To my amazement, the rest of the Cabinet, including the members responsible for those parts of the budget, largely stayed out of the debate. That left me to argue for all of us, which I tried to do, even when I found myself frustratingly alone,” Panetta wrote. “In some way that was symptomatic of what I regarded as a problem with President Obama’s use of his Cabinet. Far more than in previous administrations that I’d witnessed—certainly more than in Clinton’s when I’d been near the center of the action—President Obama’s decision-making apparatus was centralized in the White House.”

The White House senior staffers clashed with Panetta and Hillary Clinton once again in 2012 when the Taliban offered to release the only American soldier in their custody, Bowe Bergdahl, in exchange for five senior Taliban commanders being held at the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

“I opposed the swap for several reasons. First, I did not believe the Taliban were sincere in their efforts to reconcile with the Afghan government; they were, after all, attacking our forces on the field of battle. Second, I did not believe it was fair to trade five for one,” Panetta wrote. “Secretary Clinton and I—and others—did not think we could proceed, and as much as we wanted to bring Sergeant Bergdahl home and reunite him with his family, the deal evaporated.”

The 2012 deal fell apart, but the White House led a new negotiation that resulted in a deal in the summer of 2014. The trade was still five for one, but this time it was not linked to a broader plan for Afghan reconciliation, as it had been the first time around. Panetta noted that American law had to be changed to weaken the assurances given by the Qatari government that the Taliban would be kept out of the fight going forward.

“The bigger issue is: Is this a good deal for the security interests of the United States? That depends entirely on the assurance that we received and whether in fact these five very bad men are prevented from returning to the fight,” he wrote.

The President and top national security aides learned early on not to trust those who were brought into the leadership from outside Obama’s tight inner circle, Panetta said. The two military leaders he took risks on to be his first National Security Advisor and Director of National Intelligence, Gen. Jim Jones and Adm. Dennis Blair, were a bust. Panetta was no fan of Blair, whom he called his “notional boss” inside the intelligence community.

“Obama did something I’m sure he came to regret. Instead of relying on close advisors for his top national security positions, he reached for two seasoned military men he did not know well, Jim Jones and Dennis Blair,” Panetta wrote. “In time, Obama would undo both of these personnel moves.”

In 2009, the uniformed military tried to box Obama into surging more troops into Afghanistan than he wanted but presented him with two extreme, unworkable options and only one semi-plausible option, the addition of 40,000 new troops. The president decided to commit 30,000 new troops to Afghanistan, but vowed to never again let himself get out-maneuvered by the military.

As recounted in a book excerpt in Time, Panetta believed the White House didn’t want to keep troops in Iraq after 2011 and didn’t support Pentagon and State Department efforts to negotiate a follow-up Status of Forces Agreement with the Iraqi government.

“I privately and publicly advocated for a residual force that could provide training and security for Iraq’s military,” Panetta wrote. “But the President’s team at the White House pushed back, and the differences occasionally became heated. [Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Michelle] Flournoy argued our case, and those on our side viewed the White House as so eager to rid itself of Iraq that it was willing to withdraw rather than lock in arrangements that would preserve our influence and interests.”

Panetta leavens his critiques of Obama with kind words for the president. In the book, Panetta praises for Obama as a leader who turned around a deep recession, ended Bush-era interrogation policies, enabled gays to serve openly in the military, and used American military power to pursue terrorists around the world. He portrays Obama as a deliberate and careful decision maker who is somewhat confounded by circumstances inside Washington and around the world he can’t control.

“President Obama revamped a nearly broken economy, waged an aggressive campaign against terrorism, extricated the United States from two wars, and refocused the mission of our military; the result is a safer nation and a more prosperous one,” Panetta writes.

Overall, the Panetta book has few new revelations. The long-serving public official traces his life from his childhood, growing up the son of two Italian immigrant restaurant owners in Monterey, California, to his time as a congressman, Clinton administration official, and then top Obama administration Cabinet member. Panetta defends the CIA and its use of drones abroad. He decries the dysfunction of modern Washington and Congress’ abdication of its responsibilities. He lays out in detail what’s known about the search for and mission to kill Osama bin Laden.

In one previously unreported anecdote, Panetta had prepared to tell a joke at the Gridiron Club comparing the Obama administration’s killing of bin Laden to Dick Cheney’s accidental shooting of his friend, but scratched it because Cheney was in poor health at the time.

“Looking back on my career, I’ve been a Republican, a congressman, and White House chief of staff, and a defense secretary,” Panetta had prepared to say. “Come to think of it, I’ve done everything that Dick Cheney has done. Except the guy I made sure got shot in the face was Osama bin Laden.”

Source: http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/10/02/panetta-slams-obama-for-hesitation-and-half-steps-on-syria.html

Posted in News | Leave a comment