News/Politics 5-27-15

What’s interesting in the news today?

Open Thread

1. Hillary’s Jedi mind trick. These are not the emails you’re looking for………

Which means they are. 

From TheDailyCaller  “Sidney Blumenthal emailed Hillary Clinton at least two intelligence reports about Libya which were not included in the trove of 296 emails released by the State Department on Friday.

Clinton has claimed that in December she turned over all official government emails she sent or received from her personal account while in office. In turn, the agency has claimed it turned all Clinton emails related to Libya or Benghazi over to the House Select Committee investigating the Benghazi attack.

But a screenshot of Blumenthal’s email inbox, which the Romanian hacker Guccifer published in March 2013, shows two reports about Libya emailed to Clinton which were not released in Friday’s batch.”

“The State Department release — which was published on the agency’s Freedom of Information Act portal — does not include those two reports. It does, however, include some 20 other intelligence reports Blumenthal sent Clinton about Libya and Benghazi between March 2, 2011. and Dec. 18, 2012.

The discrepancy suggests that the system that Clinton and the State Department have in place to account for her emails failed in some regard. It also raises questions over whether other emails are unaccounted for.”

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2. This is why activities like this should be illegal for current office holders/appointees. Even if it’s all legit, it now appears questionable. 

From InternationalBusinessTimes  “Even by the standards of arms deals between the United States and Saudi Arabia, this one was enormous. A consortium of American defense contractors led by Boeing would deliver $29 billion worth of advanced fighter jets to the United States’ oil-rich ally in the Middle East.”

“But now, in late 2011, Hillary Clinton’s State Department was formally clearing the sale, asserting that it was in the national interest. At a press conference in Washington to announce the department’s approval, an assistant secretary of state, Andrew Shapiro, declared that the deal had been “a top priority” for Clinton personally. Shapiro, a longtime aide to Clinton since her Senate days, added that the “U.S. Air Force and U.S. Army have excellent relationships in Saudi Arabia.”

These were not the only relationships bridging leaders of the two nations. In the years before Hillary Clinton became secretary of state, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia contributed at least $10 million to the Clinton Foundation, the philanthropic enterprise she has overseen with her husband, former president Bill Clinton. Just two months before the deal was finalized, Boeing — the defense contractor that manufactures one of the fighter jets the Saudis were especially keen to acquire, the F-15 — contributed$900,000 to the Clinton Foundation, according to a company press release.

The Saudi deal was one of dozens of arms sales approved by Hillary Clinton’s State Department that placed weapons in the hands of governments that had also donated money to the Clinton family philanthropic empire, an International Business Times investigation has found.

Under Clinton’s leadership, the State Department approved $165 billion worth of commercial arms sales to 20 nations whose governments have given money to the Clinton Foundation, according to an IBTimes analysis of State Department and foundation data. That figure — derived from the three full fiscal years of Clinton’s term as Secretary of State (from October 2010 to September 2012) — represented nearly double the value of American arms sales made to the those countries and approved by the State Department during the same period of President George W. Bush’s second term.

The Clinton-led State Department also authorized $151 billion of separate Pentagon-brokered deals for 16 of the countries that donated to the Clinton Foundation, resulting in a 143 percent increase incompleted sales to those nations over the same time frame during the Bush administration. These extra sales were part of a broad increase in American military exports that accompanied Obama’s arrival in the White House.”

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3. Sure Barry, it’s the 3 judges in 2 courts who are “misinterpreting” the law. It couldn’t possibly be the “constitutional scholar” who always seems to be wrong. 🙄

From Breitbart  “The White House reacted to the news that the Fifth Circuit court of appeals denied an appeal from the Obama administration to lift a stay on his executive amnesty plan, accusing two judges in the decision of interpreting the law incorrectly.

“Today, two judges of the Fifth Circuit chose to misinterpret the facts and the law in denying the government’s request for a stay,” White House spokesperson Brandi Hoffine said in a statement to Breitbart News.

The court ruled against Obama administrations appeal with a 2-1 vote.

In response Hoffine cited the dissent from Judge Stephen Higginson, who was appointed by President Obama.”

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More here from Reuters/MSN  The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on Tuesday in favor of 26 states challenging President Barack Obama’s executive action on immigration, potentially paving the way for a Supreme Court decision on the issue.

Two judges on the three-judge panel ruled that the executive action, which would grant an estimated 4.7 million undocumented immigrants relief from deportation, should remain on hold while the government appeals its blocking.

The immigration order was first put on hold by Texas Judge Andrew Hanen in February after the states, all led by Republican governors, alleged that taking in migrants would be overly burdensome.

“The President’s attempt to bypass the will of the American people was successfully checked again today,” Texas Governor Greg Abbott said in a news release.”

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4. Cowards, every last one of them.

From TheWashingtonTimes  “The United Nations said Tuesday that Boko Haram is responsible for an “alarming spike” of suicide bombings in Nigeria that have been carried about by women and children.

Girls between the ages of 7 and 17 years have been used for three-quarters of all such attacks in the region since 2014, the U.N. children’s agency reported. There have been 27 suicide bombings in the region over five months, compared to 26 in all of 2014.

“Children are not instigating these suicide attacks; they are used intentionally by adults in the most horrific way. They are first and foremost victims — not perpetrators,” said Jean Gough, UNICEF representative in Nigeria.

UNICEF estimates that 743,000 have been displaced over the past six years because of Boko Haram’s campaign of terror.”

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News/Politics 2-20-15

What’s interesting in the news today?

1. First up, 2 stories, same topic. While I understand the sentiment, I don’t much care for mercenaries, and that’s what this seems like IMO.

From Reuters  “Saint Michael, the archangel of battle, is tattooed across the back of a U.S. army veteran who recently returned to Iraq and joined a Christian militia fighting Islamic State in what he sees as a biblical war between good and evil.”

““It’s very different,” he said, asked how the experiences compared. “Here I’m fighting for a people and for a faith, and the enemy is much bigger and more brutal.”

Thousands of foreigners have flocked to Iraq and Syria in the past two years, mostly to join Islamic State, but a handful of idealistic Westerners are enlisting as well, citing frustration their governments are not doing more to combat the ultra-radical Islamists or prevent the suffering of innocents.

The militia they joined is called Dwekh Nawsha – meaning self-sacrifice in the ancient Aramaic language spoken by Christ and still used by Assyrian Christians, who consider themselves the indigenous people of Iraq.”

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More here, from YahooNewsUK  “Decked out in his US army-issued fatigues and a lip stud shining from his mouth, the young American fighter cuts an unusual figure in the northern Iraqi town of Al-Qosh.

He served in the US army in Baghdad in 2006-2007 and has now returned to fight the Islamic State jihadist group with Dwekh Nawsha, a Christian militia whose name is an Assyrian-language phrase conveying self-sacrifice.

The 28-year-old, who goes by the pseudonym Brett, has become the figurehead of an emerging movement of foreigners coming to Iraq to support Christian groups.

Bearing a tattoo of a machinegun on his left arm and another of Jesus in a crown of thorns on his right, Brett jokingly refers to himself as a “crusader”.”

“Also acting as a recruiter, Brett says he wants to establish a “foreign fighters’ battalion”. In his first week in charge, he brought in five volunteers from the United States, Britain and Canada, all of whom he says have military or contracting experience.

The foreign contingent is tiny compared to the thousands of foreigners who have joined IS, but interest is growing and Brett says he has 20 more volunteers already lined up to join.”

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2. Who is Rashad Hussain?

From TownHall  “President Obama’s appointment of Rashad Hussain, his deputy associate counsel, as special envoy to the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), the second largest inter-governmental organization after the United Nations, charged with safeguarding and protecting “the interests of the Muslim world,” should be of serious concern to Congress and the American public. Especially since Hussain, a devout Muslim, has a history of participating in events connected with the Muslim Brotherhood, according to the Chicago Tribune, “the world’s most influential Islamic fundamentalist group” whose goal is to create Muslim states throughout the world.

In 1991, a memo written by Mohamed Akram for the Shura Council of the Muslim Brotherhood spelled out the objective of the organization. Akram said the Muslim Brotherhood “must understand that their work in America is a kind of grand Jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within and ‘sabotaging’ its miserable house by their hands and the hands of the believers so that it is eliminated and God’s religion is made victorious over all other religions.” I am unable to find any “revelation” that has repealed that objective. Quite the contrary. Terrorists seem on track for implementing it.

The president proudly announced that Hussain is a Hafiz, someone who has completely memorized the Qur’an, but he did not spell out what qualifies Hussain to meet with foreign leaders at a diplomatic level in a role that approximates that of an ambassador. According to Jihad Watch, a blog directed by American author Robert Spencer, which “aims to bring to public attention the role of jihad theology and ideology in the modern world,” Hussain’s ties to the Muslim Brotherhood date back to his days at Yale Law School.

Ask yourself: If you or your group were interested in damaging or destroying the United States, wouldn’t infiltration at every possible level of government and culture be an effective strategy? You would build your schools and mosques, some of which teach and preach Jihad; you would penetrate the government; you would demand special rights because of your religion — such as no body scanners for Muslim travelers at airports and prayer rooms and foot washing facilities at shopping malls; you would seek to change the foreign policy of the United States because you hate Israel and all Jews (and those “cross-worshipping” Christians) and you would dare the U.S. government to monitor your speeches and associations because you want to keep America’s guard lower than it would be for, say, a spy from communist China. “

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3. This one sounds crazy, right? But then again, would it really surprise anyone?

From TheGatewayPundit  “A Catholic Bishop from Nigeria has leveled an explosive charge against President Barack Obama over his failure to adequately help Nigeria in the African nation’s fight againt the Islamist terrorist group Boko Haram that might explain why Obama has let Boko Haram slaughter Nigerian Christians and rape and enslave Christian girls.

Bishop Emmanuel Badejo spoke in Rome to Aleteia, saying of the Obama administration:

“The United States actually said it would help Nigeria with Boko Haram only if we modify our laws concerning homosexuality, family planning, and birth control.””

More on this story here, from Aleteia 

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4. Come on over, just leave your liberal politics in NY. After all, that’s why you’re leavin’.

From WBNG  “The local economy is pushing one organization in Upstate New York to pose a question: Is it possible to secede to Pennsylvania?

The Upstate New York Towns Association is researching this very topic. The group says a few factors pushing its research are high property taxes, low sales tax revenue and the recent decision to ban hydraulic fracturing in New York.

“The Southern Tier is desolate,” said Conklin Town Supervisor Jim Finch (R). “We have no jobs and no income. The richest resource we have is in the ground.”

Finch said the ground in Conklin is rich with natural gas in the Marcellus Shale. However, that shale is unable to be tapped. He described this ban as a violation of his natural rights as a property owner.

There are 15 towns interested in the secession, according to the Towns Association. These towns are in Broome, Delaware, Tioga and Sullivan counties. The association declined to name the towns without their permission and also declined to comment on specifics at this time. As of now, research is ongoing. The group will be updating Action News with all of their findings in the coming weeks.”

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News/Politics 2-19-15

What’s interesting in the news today?

1. Countering extremists, by inviting extremists?

From Breitbart  “As the White House Countering Violent Extremism Summit is entering its second day, the names of some of the participants are leaking out and raising concerns. This is especially true of the Boston delegation – one among those from three cities that the Obama Administration has labelled a pilot for how religious leaders can work with law enforcement to counter violent threats.

One Boston Muslim leader taking part in the summit, Nicole Mossalam, has been dishonest about her controversial mosque blocking congregants from giving police information during their investigation of the Boston Marathon bombing. Another Muslim leader from Boston invited to the White House summit designed a lawsuit to stop the Boston media from reporting what it knows about the radical nature of the largest Islamic center in New England. In addition, this man, Nabeel Khudairi, persecuted moderate Muslim members of his own mosque after they tried to warn New Englanders about Islamic extremists in their midst.

As we expected and warned, the Islamic Society of Boston’s (ISB) Cambridge mosque – the radical Muslim Brotherhood front group attended by the Boston Marathon bombers – was invited to join the summit and is represented there by its executive director, Nichole Mossalam. A few days ago, in Breitbart News and the Washington Times, we reported how over the past decade, 12 of the ISB’s worshippers have either been killed, imprisoned, or declared fugitives due to their involvement in terrorist activity. In the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombings, Ms. Mossalam told media outlets that the ISB urged members to contact law enforcement “immediately after the bombings in case they knew of anyone who might have been involved.”

In reality, the ISB sent out the first email about the bombings to its members a full seven days after the Marathon was blown up, urging them not to talk to the FBI without first contacting the ACLU and the ISB. The ISB wrote: “We have been informed that the FBI may be starting to question some of the community members about the two suspects. Insha’Allah we want to help as much as we can, but of course not put ourselves at risk either. Seeking representation does not imply any guilt on your part but is simply a way of protecting your own rights.””

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2. Libya as a gateway to Europe.

From TheTelegraph  “Islamic State militants are planning a takeover of Libya as a “gateway” to wage war across the whole of southern Europe, letters written by the group’s supporters have revealed.

The jihadists hope to flood the north African state with militiamen from Syria and Iraq, who will then sail across the Mediterranean posing as migrants on people trafficking vessels, according to plans seen by Quilliam, the British anti-extremist group.

The fighters would then run amok in southern European cities and also try to attack maritime shipping.

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3. ISIS is expanding it’s reach. And it looks like they’ve joined with Boko Haram as well.

From TheGatewayPundit  “ISIS forces have joined with Boko Haram in Libya and are moving on the Tunisian border.
ANSA Italiano reported, via Religion of Peace:

Libyan premier Abdallah Al Thani told Tunisian radio Express FM that Isis and Boko Haram members have joined or are about to join terrorist groups in Libya and added that the latter are getting close to the border with Tunisia.

With regard to the Egyptian military intervention, Al Thani said that the aerial bombardments against Isis positions in Libya were carried out with the approval of the Libyan government and that the United Nations Security Council refused to arm the Libyan state in its fight against terrorism.

Meanwhile, Tunisia has deployed military units along its border with Libya both on the ground and at sea and the army has been reinforced with units from the national guard and customs, in order to defend the country from “possible threats to its territorial integrity” and “prevent any attempt of infiltration by terrorists” said ministry of defense spokesman, colonel Belhassen Oueslati.”

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4. Now that Obama’s amnesty plan has been blocked activists are making threats.

From NationalReview  “Illinois Democratic congressman Luis Guiterrez cautioned Republicans against celebrating a federal judge’s decision to halt the White House’s unilateral push for illegal alien amnesty, predicting unprecedented “militancy” in the immigrant community against the injunction.

The long-time advocate for illegal immigration angrily denounced the Texas judge’s decision that the Obama administration’s overstepped its executive authority. But Gutierrez also took aim at those who supported the judicial ruling.

“The Republican party is making a critical mistake,” he said. “The militancy that will be activated throughout the immigrant community — in terms of voter registration, voter participation, voter anger at the Republican party as a party in the United States — I think you’re going to see it in an unprecedented manner.””

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5. Yet another good reason to stop it.

From Breitbart  “An estimated 5,000 aliens were either arrested for committing crimes or absconded over a three year period while they were participating in a supervision program that allowed them to be released from detention and into U.S. communities, the latest publicly available data shows.

In an audit released earlier this month, John Roth, the inspector general (IG) for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), revealed that a total of 2,010 aliens were arrested for committing crimes while they were participating in a supervised release program in 2010 (576), 2011 (729), and 2012 (705).

Furthermore, the DHS watchdog found that a total of 2,760 aliens absconded while they were enrolled in the same scheme over the same period — 2010 (927),  2011 (982), and 2012 (851).”

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6. This is govt. stupidity at it’s worst.

From TheWashingtonPost  “New federal rules that make it harder to get narcotic painkillers are taking an unexpected toll on thousands of veterans who depend on these prescription drugs to treat a wide variety of ailments, such as missing limbs and post-traumatic stress.

The restrictions, adopted last summer by the Drug Enforcement Administration to curb a national epidemic of opioid abuse, are for the first time, in effect, forcing veterans to return to the doctor every month to renew their medication, although many were already struggling to get appointments at overburdened VA health facilities. And even if patients can get appointments, the new rules pose an additional hardship for many who live a good distance from the health centers.

Although the tighter regulation applies to everyone on opioid painkillers, it’s hitting veterans especially hard because so many are being treated for horrific injuries sustained during the long wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and have become dependent on the Department of Veterans Affairs’ beleaguered health-care system for medical care.”

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7. Obama must be spending too much time with Sharpton. Now his DoJ is getting in on the shakedown business.

From CNN  “The Justice Department is preparing to bring a lawsuit against the Ferguson, Missouri, police department over a pattern of racially discriminatory tactics used by officers, if the police department does not agree to make changes on its own, sources tell CNN.

Attorney General Eric Holder said this week he expects to announce the results of the department’s investigation of the shooting death of Michael Brown and a broader probe of the Ferguson Police Department before he leaves office in the coming weeks.”

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News/Politics 2-2-15

What’s interesting in the news today?

Lot’s to cover today.

1. Meet with your buddies in the Obama admin, two days later declare open jihad. Must be more of those “moderates” they keep raving about…..

From TheFreeBeacon  “The Muslim Brotherhood called for “a long, uncompromising jihad” in Egypt just days after a delegation of the Islamist group’s key leaders and allies met with the State Department, according to an official statement released this week.

Just days after a delegation that included two top Brotherhood leaders was hosted at the State Department, the organization released an official statement calling on its supporters to “prepare” for jihad, according to an independent translation of the statement first posted on Tuesday.”

““It is incumbent upon everyone to be aware that we are in the process of a new phase, where we summon what is latent in our strength, where we recall the meanings of jihad and prepare ourselves, our wives, our sons, our daughters, and whoever marched on our path to a long, uncompromising jihad, and during this stage we ask for martyrdom,” it states.”

“The Brotherhood’s renewed call for jihad comes at a time when current Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi is cracking down on the group and imprisoning many of its supporters, who notoriously engaged in violence following the ouster of Brotherhood-ally Mohamed Morsi.”

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2. About time. It’s amazing what you can do without Reid obstructing things, huh?

From TheWashingtonTimes Senate Republicans on Thursday asked President Obama to turn over all communications he and his aides have had with the IRS since 2010, hoping to find out whether the tax collection agency shared private taxpayer information with political operatives at the White House.

The request, made in a letter obtained by The Washington Times, is signed by Senate Finance Chairman Orrin G. Hatch and all 13 other Republicans on the committee, and is addressed specifically to Mr. Obama, saying they want to see if his employees broke the law by acquiring or sharing private information.

“We have an obligation to conduct oversight of the federal government’s administration of our tax laws,” the lawmakers wrote. “As part of this oversight, we are seeking to determine the degree to and manner in which the Internal Revenue Service shares taxpayer information with the Executive Office of the President.””

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3. Also new legislation to deal with the Obama policy of releasing criminal illegals on US streets.

From TownHall  “The Department of Homeland Security currently has a policy in place known as “catch and release,” meaning violent illegal aliens are arrested, processed and put back onto American streets if their home countries won’t take them back.

According to Judicary Comimittee Chairman Chuck Grassley’s office, the policy was “created by a 2001 Supreme Court decision (Zadvydas v. Davis), which prohibits immigrants who had been ordered removed from being detained for more than six months. The Court expanded this decision to apply to all illegal immigrants in Clark v. Martinez in 2005.”

This catch and release policy is not only demoralizing to Immigration and Border Patrol Agents, but it’s dangerous and deadly. There are countless examples of violent assault and murders committed by illegal aliens after being arrested and released by federal authorities. “

“According to Grassley’s office, more than 36,000 criminally convicted illegal aliens were released in 2013. Since their release, 1,000 of these criminal aliens have been convicted of crimes like assault with a deadly weapon, child-rape, rape, participating in street gangs, aggravated assault, robbery, DUI, terroristic threats and more.

“The Zadvydas decision ties the hands of the federal government, forcing law enforcement to release dangerous criminals onto our streets because their home country won’t allow them back. The Obama administration has relied upon this ruling to release thousands of criminally convicted aliens, yet they’ve done nothing to fix the problem. This legislation corrects a very real problem with serious public safety implications,” Grassley said in a statement.”

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4. Ted Cruz is seeking an investigation and documents about the White House’s interfering in Israel’s elections.

PDF of the letter, From Cruz.Senate.Gov 

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5. Control the message, and the messengers….

From Politico  “Reporters covering the House Democrats’ retreat in Philadelphia this week are having a much different experience than when they’re on their home turf on Capitol Hill. 

Reporters are being escorted to and from the restroom and lobby and are being barred from entering the hotel outside of scheduled events, even if they’ve been invited by a member of Congress. 

During Vice President Joe Biden’s remarks at the retreat Friday, reporters were required to have a staff member, usually a junior member of the press team, escort them when going to the bathroom or to the lobby. The filing center for reporters was at a separate hotel from where the retreat was taking place, so access was limited to members of Congress specifically made available to the press.”

“It was a police state. It was absurd how heavy handed the capitol police and Democratic staff were in trying to control everywhere the press went,” New York Times reporter Jeremy Peters said in an interview.

Peters said at one point he was also barred from entering the hotel where the retreat was taking place, despite the fact he had an invitation to eat breakfast with a member of Congress.”

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6. African nations are sending in peacekeepers to deal with Boko Haram.

From TheAP  “African leaders agreed to send 7,500 troops to fight the Boko Haram insurgency in northeast Nigeria, an African Union official said Saturday, as the international community, including long-time foes the U.S. and Iran, rallied in support of Nigeria against the militants.

The move came after the council urged heads of state to endorse the deployment of troops from five West African countries to fight the terror group, said the head of the African Union’s Peace and Security Council, Samil Chergui.

African leaders who are members of the 54-nation African Union are meeting in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa for a two-day summit that ends Saturday.”

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7. John Podesta violates ethics? I didn’t know he had any….

From TheDailyCaller In 2013, John Podesta was paid $87,000 by a shadowy foreign billionaire whose passion is preventing energy exploration on American land.

Just two years later, Podesta is a member of President Obama’s inner circle, and the driving force inside the White House to block 12 million acres of land in Alaska’s Artic National Wildlife Refuge from oil drilling.

 The circumstances suggest Podesta may have run afoul of Obama’s highly-touted ethics pledge, which requires political appointees to disqualify themselves in matters relating to the interests of a former employer or client.

Podesta — who is preparing to leave the White House to take a top position with Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign — has largely avoided public scrutiny during his time as a White House Counselor.”

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News/Politics 1-20-15

What’s interesting in the news today?

1. Something to keep in mind as you listen to the SOTU speech. The middle class has already taken a beating under his plans, so why would anyone think his new plans will be any different?

From Yahoo  “Ahead of Obama’s annual address, the business community is expecting the president to press for passage of the Trans-Pacific trade treaty, though a debate rages within the Democratic Party over whether that would create more middle class jobs than would be lost to increased imports.

Others say he may seek more overtime pay for mid-level salaried workers, propose a higher federal minimum wage, or renew calls for major infrastructure spending.

Along with the tax plan, Obama has proposed expanded access to community college education and improved family leave policies, while some of his allies have called for an outright wealth transfer from the top to the middle.

For Obama’s legacy none of that may matter.

The forces at work in the American economy appear so entrenched that Obama may be remembered as the president who pulled the nation from its worst downturn since the Great Depression, but failed to arrest deepening economic inequality.”

I’d argue it happened in spite of Obama’s policies, not because of. Class warfare is not an economic strategy, but you’ll hear plenty of it tonight.

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2. Global Warming: The most dishonest year on record.

From TheFederalist  “Last week, according to our crackerjack mainstream media, NASA announced that 2014 was the hottest year, like, ever.

No, really. The New York Times began its report with: “Last year was the hottest in earth’s recorded history.”

Well, not really. As we’re about to see, this is a claim that dissolves on contact with actual science. But that didn’t stop the press from running with it.

If you follow the link I gave to the New York Times piece, you will see that this opening sentence has since been rewritten, for reasons which will soon become clear. But the Times wasn’t the only paper to start with that claim, and most of the headlines are still up. The Washington Post has: “2014 Was the Hottest Year in Recorded History.” The Boston Globe: “2014 Was Earth’s Hottest Year in Recorded History.” And so on.

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3. Is an attorney who sticks it to victims really who we want as the nation’s AG?

From NationalReview It should go without saying that the U.S. attorney general, as our nation’s chief law-enforcement officer, is expected to wield the Justice Department’s full powers to fight for those victimized by crime. It should also go without saying that federal prosecutors routinely make deals with criminals to secure convictions for other, larger crimes, or to save themselves time and the taxpayers’ money — and that those criminals’ victims sometimes come out the losers in such deals. Yet new evidence suggests that Loretta Lynch, President Obama’s pick to take DOJ’s reins from Eric Holder, may have gone beyond the accepted norms of prosecutorial conduct in her time in charge of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York. Lynch’s office appears to have let self-professed criminals walk free in exchange for their cooperation with her office, watched impassively as they committed further crimes, and intentionally kept the victims of those crimes in the dark — denying them their chance to seek tens or hundreds of millions of dollars in restitution in direct contravention of federal law.

In April 2013, Paul Cassell, a former federal judge and law professor at the University of Utah, testified before the House Judiciary Committee, urging the committee to investigate potential wrongdoing by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York in its handling of a stock-fraud case, U.S. v. John Doe. Though he didn’t mention Lynch by name, Cassell alleged that her office had failed to comply with important provisions of the Crime Victims’ Rights Act and the Mandatory Victims Restitution Act. The provisions require federal prosecutors to notify victims of criminal proceedings against those who wronged them, so as to guarantee them their legal right to pursue full and timely restitution against the accused. According to Cassell’s testimony, the restitution in question amounted to over $40 million.

The Doe case began just before Lynch’s first term in charge of the Eastern District. In 1998, Felix Sater — later revealed to be the “Doe” to whom the case refers — pleaded guilty to federal money-laundering and fraud charges in a RICO case, admitting that he had artificially inflated the price of stock he bought cheaply, defrauding investors and reaping millions of dollars in profit for himself. Then Sater, who has well-documented connections to the Mafia, apparently leveraged those connections to strike a deal.

In exchange for the government’s protection in keeping his case sealed and secret, the New York Times reported in 2007, Sater may have worked with the CIA, offering to purchase a dozen missiles from Osama bin Laden on the black market. He also reportedly provided evidence against the Mafia. When Sater was eventually convicted in 2009, the government argued vociferously for leniency on his behalf at sentencing, and he served no time behind bars. Despite having previously signed a cooperation agreement with the Justice Department acknowledging that he owed $60 million in restitution, he was given a paltry $25,000 fine and told to forfeit his house in the Hamptons.”

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4. How Boko Haram made people OK with slaughter.

From TheDailyBeast  “In the first few days after Boko Haram’s recent attack in the remote village of Baga, most of the news coverage I saw about it concerned the lack of news. Why, the media wondered, was the media not more interested? As many as 2,000 people had been slaughtered, a figure that, if true, would dwarf the number killed in Paris around the same time.

A big reason the Boko Haram killings haven’t gotten much press is that there isn’t much press there. Baga is extremely remote, with little or no cell service, and it is, by all accounts, a war zone. Nor is the Nigerian government cooperative, or forthcoming, about what’s going on: The military claims no more than 150 people were killed, including militants. President Goodluck Jonathan, who is in the midst of a reelection campaign, hasn’t even publicly commented on the attack.

But even if the western media had been more present, I’m not convinced the western audience would have been more interested. Because, at bottom, there’s a pervading sense here that what happened in Paris was decidedly not normal, while what happened in Nigeria decidedly was.

And normal, unfortunately, doesn’t make the news.”

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News/Politics 1-14-15

What’s interesting in the news today?

1. First up today, a good news story. But it raises some questions as well. If he was aware, how many others in a similar situation are as well? I can’t help but think of Terri Schiavo.

From TheDailyMail  “Martin Pistorius was a happy, healthy boy – until at the age of 12 a mystery illness left him in a virtual coma. Doctors never found the cause of his condition – even his mother gave up hope.”

“My mind began to awaken at about the age of 16. By 19 it was fully intact: I knew who I was and where I was, and understood I’d been robbed of a real life.

I was completely entombed. At first I wanted to fight my fate by leaving some tiny sign to guide people back to me, like the crumbs Hansel and Gretel left to help find their way out of the woods. But my efforts were never enough.

Have you ever seen one of those movies in which someone wakes up as a ghost but they don’t know that they’ve died? That’s how it was, as I realised people were looking through and around me.

However much I tried to beg and plead, shout and scream, I couldn’t make them notice me.

My mind was trapped inside a useless body, my arms and legs weren’t mine to control and my voice was mute. I couldn’t make a sign or a sound to let anyone know I’d become aware again. I was invisible – the ghost boy.”

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2. Boko Haram has tried expanding their territory, and thankfully failed.

From MSN/TheAP  “Cameroon’s government said Tuesday that its military killed 143 militants from the Islamic extremist group Boko Haram, which has been waging war in neighboring Nigeria.

In a statement carried on state television, authorities said hundreds of militants had attacked a Cameroonian military camp in Kolofata the day before after crossing the border from Nigeria.

The fight lasted five hours and left 143 of the militants dead, Cameroonian Information Minister Issa Tchiroma Bakary said in the statement.

“It is by far the heaviest toll sustained by the criminal sect Boko Haram since it began launching its barbaric attacks against our land, people and goods,” he said.”

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3. Some uncomfortable truths, and good questions.

From TheAtlantic  “As many as a million people, joined by 40 world leaders, filled the streets of Paris on Sunday in solidarity after two separate terrorist attacks claimed 17 innocent lives last week. The day before, more than 3,000 miles to the south, a girl believed to be around 10 approached the entrance to a crowded market in Maiduguri, a city of some 1 million in Nigeria’s Borno State. As a security guard inspected her, the girl detonated explosives strapped to her body, killing herself and at least 19 others. Dozens more were injured.

Saturday’s suicide bombing elicited little coverage compared to the events in Paris, which have dominated headlines since last Wednesday’s attack on Charlie Hebdo, a satirical newspaper. Why the slaughter of 17 innocents in France receives more attention than the death of roughly the same number of Nigerians is the kind of question that can result in accusations of indifference, racism, and media bias. But the contrast between the attacks in Paris and the suicide bombing in Maiduguri actually reveals something far more sinister: the ravages of state failure.

Boko Haram is waging a ruthless war throughout northeast Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country. On Wednesday, Boko Haram militants laid siege to Baga, a city that has resisted them, setting fire to buildings and killing residents indiscriminately. Hundreds of people fled into Lake Chad and attempted to swim to a nearby island. Many drowned along the way. Those who didn’t are now marooned without food and shelter and have no defense against the island’s swarm of malarial mosquitos. The death toll in Baga reportedly exceeds 2,000. Some 20,000 others are now displaced.

The New York Times story on this deadly siege appeared on page A6 of Saturday’s print edition, while the paper’s story of the suicide bombing landed on page A8.

How did the attacks in France so thoroughly bury the atrocities in Nigeria?”

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4. Something to consider if you have tech savvy little ones.

From Forbes  “Most parents would be concerned if their children had significant exposure to lead, chloroform, gasoline fumes, or the pesticide DDT.  The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IRIC), part of the United Nations’ World Health Organization (WHO), classifies these and more than 250 other agents as Class 2B Carcinogens – possibly carcinogenic to humans.  Another entry on that same list is radiofrequency electromagnetic fields (RF/EMF).  The main sources of RF/EMF are radios, televisions, microwave ovens, cell phones, and Wi-Fi devices.

Uh-oh. Not another diatribe about the dangers of our modern communication systems?  Obviously, these devices and the resulting fields are extremely (and increasingly) common in modern society.  Even if we want to, we can’t eliminate our exposure, or our children’s, to RF/EMF.  But, we may need to limit that exposure, when possible.

That was among the conclusions of a report published in the Journal of Microscopy and Ultrastructure entitled “Why children absorb more microwave radiation than adults: The consequences.”  From an analysis of others studies, the authors argue that children and adolescents are at considerable risk from devices that radiate microwaves (and that adults are at a lower, but still significant, risk).”

For more on the specifics, just click the link.

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5. Never let a crisis go to waste, eh Barry?

From TheGuardian  “Barack Obama unveiled new cybersecurity measures on Tuesday amid warnings from privacy campaigners about unnecessarily “broad legal immunity” that could put personal information at risk in the wake of attacks like the Sony Pictures hack.

Just one day after the Pentagon’s own Twitter account was compromised and Obama pushed a 30-day window for consumer security breaches, his administration was hoping the proposed legislation would toughen the response of the private sector by allowing companies to share information with government agencies including the NSA, with which the White House admitted there were “overlapping issues”.

“I’ve got a State of the Union next week,” Obama said after a Tuesday meeting with Republican leaders at the White House. “One of the things we’re going to be talking about is cybersecurity. With the Sony attack that took place, with the Twitter account that was hacked by Islamist jihadist sympathizers yesterday, it just goes to show much more work we need to do both public and private sector to strengthen our cybersecurity.”

The administration believes the legislation is necessary partly to give companies legal immunity for sharing information on attacks so that counter-measures can be coordinated, but the White House has stepped back from suggestions that companies should be allowed to individually retaliate against hackers, fearing such encouragement could lead to an escalation of cyber warfare.”

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6. How can you address the problem when you can’t even admit what the problem is?

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News/Politics 10-8-14

What’s interesting in the news today?

1. I’m sure this was part of the Bishop’s reasoning from the story yesterday. There already is a religious war happening, but only one side is fighting it.

From InternationalBusinessTimes  “A prominent Nigerian reverend has revealed Islamist terror group Boko Haram destroyed over 180 churches in the West African country following its capture of towns and villages in the north-eastern states of Borno and Adamawa.

Reverend Gideon Obasogie, the director of Catholic Social Communication of Maiduguri Diocese in Borno State, said the group’s seizure of territory in both states has seen 185 churches torched and over 190,000 people displaced by their insurgency.

In his statement, Obasogie said Boko Haram’s “ransacking and torching” of churches had forced priests to leave their homes for two months while displaced civilians were still unable to return to their towns and villages.

He added the destruction of churches was “sad, heart-aching and potentially dangerous to the territorial integrity and common good of Nigeria.””

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2. Meanwhile in Syria ISIS continues it’s attacks against minorities and those of other faiths as well. The bombing campaign doesn’t seem to be slowing their advance.

From ChristianScienceMonitor Islamic State militants have reportedly advanced to southern and eastern districts of Kobane, a strategically important Kurdish town along the Syria-Turkey border.

The fall of Kobane would further undermine the security of the Kurdish-majority region in northern Syria. It also raises questions over the effectiveness of the US-led bombing campaign in Syria against the self-declared Islamic State. 

IS fighters fought their way into the eastern side of the city on Monday as they pushed back its Syrian Kurd defenders, the BBC reports. The militants then raised their black flag on buildings and hills. 

“These neighborhoods are Kobane’s shantytowns and there are still civilians there who couldn’t flee,” Ismet Sheikh Hasan, a senior defense official in the Syrian Kurdish region, told the Wall Street Journal.”

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3. Everyone’s worried about Ebola, but we already have another epidemic running wild in the US.

From Atlanta/CBSLocal  “While the national media focus on the Ebola outbreak in West Africa and the patient in Dallas, the CDC is reminding Americans that sexually transmitted diseases are an ongoing but hidden epidemic.

In the United States, nearly 20 million cases of new STD infections are reported each year, reports Live Science. Since infections can persist for a long time, and because some victims are not even aware they have a disease and can easily spread it to others.

Based on data from 2008, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the eight most common sexually transmitted diseases are: chlamydia, gonorrhea, hepatitis B virus (HBV), genital herpes, HIV, human papillomavirus (HPV), syphilis and trichomoniasis.

About 50.5 million current infections are in men while 59.5 million are in women, for a total of 110 million Americans with STDs at any given time.”

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4. Not if, the only question is when.

From MSN  “Missouri authorities are drawing up contingency plans and seeking intelligence from U.S. police departments on out-of-state agitators, fearing that fresh riots could erupt if a grand jury does not indict a white officer for killing a black teen.

The plans are being thrashed out in meetings being held two to three times a week, according to people who have attended them. The FBI said it was also involved in the discussions.

Details of the meetings and intelligence sharing by Missouri police agencies and their counterparts around the country have not been reported before.

The grand jury is expected to decide next month whether to bring criminal charges against police officer Darren Wilson, who shot dead Michael Brown, 18, on Aug. 9 in Ferguson, Missouri.”

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5. Once again, never listen to what they say. They lie. Just watch what they do. Or better yet, don’t elect them to begin with.

From CapitolCityProject  “Yesterday, James O’Keefe’s Project Veritas Action released a video showing campaign staffers of  U.S. Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes admitting she’s deceiving voters on her energy plan. They promised if she were elected, she’d destroy the coal industry in Kentucky despite publicly “supporting” it.

Now, a newly released second video shows a real estate mogul and top donor to Democrats saying, “She’s going to @#$% em as soon as she gets elected.”

“Investigators secretly record video at Grimes fundraising event attended by Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein, real estate tycoon Niko Elmaleh and New York Knicks owner James Dolan at a swanky NY restaurant,” writes Project Veritas.

“She will do what she has to do to get elected then “@#$%” the coal industry says major donor.””

I hope loose drunken Dem donor lips sink ships.

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