News/Politics 12-3-14

What’s interesting in the news today?

1. Told ya it was a bad idea. Now all those US supplied weapons are in the hands of the people they’re supposed to be fighting them with.

From McClatchyDC   “Seventy-two Syrian rebel groups on Saturday announced a new coalition to battle the government of President Bashar Assad. But hopes that moderate rebels would dominate the meeting were dashed when extremists gained more of the 17 executive positions than had been expected.”

“On Friday, as the groups were meeting here, the Nusra Front stormed the bases of two moderate rebel groups in Syria’s north: the Ansar Brigades in Idlib and the Haqq Front in Hama. The two groups, both of which were receiving U.S. support through a covert CIA program, surrendered to Nusra, delivered their weapons to Ahrar al Sham and returned to their homes. Some of the leaders escaped to Turkey, fearing arrest or revenge from Nusra.

With these attacks, Nusra completed the elimination of FSA groups from Idlib and leaves just one group in Hama province receiving U.S. support. Nusra now controls all the resupply routes to Turkey.”

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2. Dark days ahead for ObamaCare. Good.

From TownHall The Hill’s Elise Viebeck chronicles Obamacare’s continued losing streak, major elements of which were predicted months ago.  Viebeck’s story begins with a mention of the destruction Jonathan Gruber hath wrought, then outlines four categories of forthcoming Obamacare headaches.  They include pending legal challenges, the still-simmering threat of Ebola, as well as open Enrollment 2.0 challenges (“the back-end of HealthCare.gov remains partly unfinished”), dramatically scaled-back sign-up projections, and the fallout from the administration’s bogus enrollment figures:

A Republican investigation revealed Nov. 20 that ObamaCare enrollment figures at HHS were inflated by roughly 400,000 people after the department miscounted dental plans as medical coverage. The finding was a public relations setback for Burwell and the Obama administration, bringing back partisan strife over enrollment figures that had quieted since the spring. Seeking to contain the fallout, Burwell asked managers at HHS to report suggestions for strengthening the department’s “culture of increased transparency, ownership and accountability.” Still, Tavenner is expected to receive tough questions about the mistakes when she testifies before House Oversight on Dec. 9. The blunders are also likely to cloud any future enrollment figures the administration seeks to tout for 2015.

Indeed, those “blunders” are likely to cloud the White House’s credibility even further.  Speaking of which, the editors of Nevada’s largest newspaper shredded Obamacare’s architects and champions in a Monday editorial, underscoring how rising costs for millions was an entirely intentional and cynically-hidden byproduct of the law:”

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3. Obama’s tampering with military programs to push his amnesty plan.

From CIS.org  “The latest public relations attempt by the White House to link illegal aliens with the military has just hit a major obstacle – the Pentagon has suspended an otherwise useful recruiting program while it tries to sort out how to use DACA beneficiaries in it.

As Mark Krikorian pointed out in a blog a couple of months ago the White House had decided that beneficiaries of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program should be eligible to participate in a highly specialized recruiting program that sought rare skills among the nation’s legal nonimmigrant alien population (such as foreign students or H-1Bs). The military wanted (even before Ebola) more people with health care training, as well as people speaking a list of 43 languages rarely encountered in the U.S., such as Cebuano (the Philippines) and Igbo (Nigeria).

Most childhood arrivals speak Spanish, not Urdu or Moro, for example, and Spanish was not on the list. Further, most DACAs do not have high school diplomas, much less specialized training in the health sciences. So no more than a handful of DACAs could possibly qualify for the specialized recruiting program.

The recruiting program, carrying the initials MAVNI (Military Accessions Vital to the National Interest), had signed up some 2,900 recruits before the DACA involvement. Now, according to Politico, the program has been put into deep freeze: “Army officials confirmed … that the [MAVNI] program … has been suspended while the service tries to finalize screening procedures for the immigrants who want to enlist.”

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4. Obama is promising to shut down the govt if his amnesty plan isn’t funded.

From TheDailyCaller  “White House spokesman Josh Earnest said Monday that President Barack Obama will block a government budget bill if the GOP denies him the funds needed to provide amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants.

“Yes,” Earnest said when asked by ABC News reporter Jonathan Karl if Obama would veto a government-wide budget that defunded the amnesty program.

If Obama blocks the budget to help the illegals, large sections of the federal government would shut down on Dec. 12.”

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5. I’m getting the impression that even they know she’s not qualified. But hey, she’s a bundler, soooo….

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News/Politics 9-25-14

What’s interesting in the news today?

1. My guess would be Obama donors and ACORN like “Navigator” groups.

From TheHill  “The Obama administration has spent at least $3.7 billion to build and promote online marketplaces under the Affordable Care Act, but it can’t prove exactly where it all went, according to an audit released Monday. 

Federal investigators said the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) does not properly track certain data that public officials need in order to determine whether the healthcare law is working. 

The government tracks its healthcare spending in an outdated records system that cannot easily respond to data requests such as salaries or public relations contracts in certain departments. Instead, officials rely on manually prepared spreadsheets that can take months to produce. 

Out of that data, “we were not able to determine the reliability of most of the information,” according to the report by the independent Government Accountability Office (GAO). 

“CMS’s processes are inconsistent with certain federal accounting and internal control standards,” the report states. To improve the system, the GAO recommends that CMS staff create new procedures to provide more timely and reliable information to the public. “Particularly for programs subject to a significant degree of public and congressional scrutiny,” the GAO reports. “

That would be the same CMS that’s run by an Obama donor that totally blew the website launch.

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2. Yes, these are the same “moderates” that Obama just gave missiles and weapons to.

From TheLATimes  “In Iraq, Washington at least has the support of allies on the ground, including the army, affiliated Shiite Muslim militias and the spirited if ill-equipped Kurdish peshmerga force, not to mention a functional government to work with.

In Syria, however, the U.S. has no reliable on-the-ground partner, only disparate “moderate” rebels who have steadily lost territory to Islamist militants.”

“It’s not yet clear whether Washington’s purported allies in Syria are completely on board with the U.S. offensive against Islamic State. One of the administration’s favored moderate rebel factions, Harakat Hazm, part of the Free Syrian Army alliance and a recipient of U.S. missiles and training, issued a statement Tuesday denouncing the “external intervention” — that is, the U.S.-led bombing campaign in Syria — as “an attack on the revolution.”

The group said its main goal was toppling Assad. It is demanding “unconditional arming” of the Free Syrian Army, yet its members also acknowledge fighting alongside Al Nusra Front, the official Al Qaeda force in Syria.”

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3. The deafening silence of the anti-war left.

From HotAir  “The tragic lamentations howled by the septuagenarians who make up the remnants of Code Pink may never fully dissipate, but the majority of the once ascendant anti-war left seems to have dissolved.

And why wouldn’t they? Theirs was a movement which once bestrode the political and media complex with unmatched influence. The movement culminated in the toppling of Hillary Clinton as the likely Democratic nominee and the election of Barack Obama, the anti-war candidate, to the White House in 2008.

Just six short years later, it is Barack Obama who is deploying the American war machine in a preemptive engagement against Islamist threats in the Middle East. A president who twice campaigned on policies disengagement and retrenchment from the Middle East has utterly abandoned his own stated policy preferences. The sense of hopelessness among anti-war liberals is palpable.

The Washington Post’s Dana Milbank recently made the trek to a rather sad anti-war protest outside the White House that was attended by a meager 22 true believers.

“It was the latest display of how Obama has neutralized the left,” Milbank observed.”

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4. Silly reporters, you should have thought of that before you became his personal lap-dogs. Now you act shocked that only White House approved propaganda is allowed? 🙄 

From TheWashingtonPost  “White House press-pool reports are supposed to be the news media’s eyes and ears on the president, an independent chronicle of his public activities. They are written by reporters for other reporters, who incorporate them into news articles about President Obama almost every day.

Sometimes, however, the White House plays an unseen role in shaping the story.

Journalists who cover the White House say Obama’s press aides have demanded — and received — changes in press-pool reports before the reports have been disseminated to other journalists. They say the White House has used its unusual role as the distributor of the reports as leverage to steer coverage in a more favorable direction.

The disputed episodes involve mostly trivial issues and minor matters of fact. But that the White House has become involved at all represents a troubling trend for journalists and has prompted their main representative, the White House Correspondents’ Association, to consider revising its approach to pool reporting.”

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5. Your tax dollars at work……. watching porn.

 From CapitolCityProject  “Months after it was discovered an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) employee was watching porn on the job, a new report shows they have yet to be fired and are still on the government payroll.

During a House hearing back in May, it was brought forth that a senior-level EPA employee had been watching between two and six hours of porn per day on their government issued computer. This wasn’t just a one time deal either, it dated all the way back to 2010 and the employee downloaded over 7,000 pornographic files.”

“How much pornography would it take for an EPA employee to lose their job?” Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) asked at the hearing.

Apparently more than two to six hours per day for years on end. The EPA has yet to fire the employee and they are still collecting their hefty government pay while on administrative leave, admitted EPA spokeswoman Liz Purchia. The name of the employee is not known as it has been withheld by investigators and the agency.”

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6. Atheists and the political left will not like this.

From HotAir  “This seems counterintuitive in an environment where many secularists believe that “separation of church and state” is a quote from the Constitution, but Pew’s results make sense when considering the broader context of American public life. In the same survey that found the general public split on whether businesses should be forced to participate in same-sex marriages, Pew also finds that Americans want more faith-based input on political matters:

Nearly three-quarters of the public (72%) now thinks religion is losing influence in American life, up 5 percentage points from 2010 to the highest level in Pew Research polling over the past decade. And most people who say religion’s influence is waning see this as a bad thing.

Perhaps as a consequence, a growing share of the American public wants religion to play a role in U.S. politics. The share of Americans who say churches and other houses of worship should express their views on social and political issues is up 6 points since the 2010 midterm elections (from 43% to 49%). The share who say there has been “too little” expression of religious faith and prayer from political leaders is up modestly over the same period (from 37% to 41%). And a growing minority of Americans (32%) think churches should endorse candidates for political office, though most continue to oppose such direct involvement by churches in electoral politics.”

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News/Politics 9-11-14

What’s interesting in the news today?

1. The President has announced his plan t deal with ISIS. While I disagree with much that he said, and I don’t see the reason you would announce your intent to ISIS and the world, they are a problem that needs addressing. I’ll leave the criticism for the anti-war left, who I’m sure are rallying protestors as we speak. 🙄

OK, not really. We know they only do that for Republican Presidents. But getting some backing from Congress first would be nice, but it’s obvious from his speech that Obama doesn’t feel the need for their approval.

From TheHill  “President Obama vowed to “destroy” Islamic State in Iraq and Syria terrorists in a prime-time address Wednesday that sought to restore eroding public confidence in his leadership and ability to safeguard national security.

The president announced a “systematic campaign of airstrikes” against fighters with the ISIS “wherever they exist,” signaling U.S. targets will expand from Iraq to Syria.”

“The speech marked a dramatic shift for a president largely elected on the promise to end the Iraq War. Obama has sought to use his second term to end American engagement in Afghanistan, the longest-running war in U.S. history.

Speaking on the eve of the anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks that ushered in those conflicts, Obama took pains to say he would not commit U.S. ground troops to the new fight. He compared the new engagement against ISIS to fights in Yemen and Somalia, where the U.S. has used drones and government partners to attack suspected terrorists.

“I want the American people to understand how this effort will be different from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan,” Obama said. “It will not involve American combat troops fighting on foreign soil.”

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2. His overall foreign policy is taking some friendly fire.

From HotAir  “Via Ace, something to keep in mind tonight while The One is doing his johnny-on-the-spot shtick about fighting jihadism in Iraq. “Lie” is my word, not Tim Arango’s, but read his comment and tell me what’s more likely. That the vast American intelligence community was “ignorant” of how bad things were in a country where we’d spent eight years developing assets? Or that the White House had every reason to know how dangerous Iraq was becoming but chose to suppress that information because the truth was problematic?”

“Is “ignorant” really the best word to describe willful blindness to a politically inconvenient truth? Obama got elected promising to bring the troops home; the only way he could do that without major domestic headaches was to claim that Iraq didn’t need them anymore. So he did, the truth notwithstanding. Imagine how many low-information voters will watch tonight’s speech and wonder where this bolt-from-the-blue known as ISIS came from. Last they heard, Iraq was doing just fine.

You guys know better, though. I’ve linked it more than once before but it’s worth re-reading Peter Beinart’s post from a few months ago about Obama’s history of malign neglect in Iraq. He had one Iraq goal as president — to get out, come what may, just as he promised voters he would do in 2008. And he did it, even though that meant denying Iraq a small but potent residual American force that could have held Maliki’s sectarian impulses in check (which in turn would have made Iraq’s Sunnis less inclined to turn to ISIS) and would have been well positioned to smash ISIS once it crossed the border from Syria. Dexter Filkins of the New Yorker has written about this at length. Quote:

“We used to restrain Maliki all the time,” Lieutenant General Michael Barbero, the deputy commander in Iraq until January, 2011, told me. “If Maliki was getting ready to send tanks to confront the Kurds, we would tell him and his officials, ‘We will physically block you from moving if you try to do that.’ ” Barbero was angry at the White House for not pushing harder for [a Status of Forces] agreement. “You just had this policy vacuum and this apathy,” he said. “Now we have no leverage in Iraq. Without any troops there, we’re just another group of guys.” There is no longer anyone who can serve as a referee, he said, adding, “Everything that has happened there was not just predictable—we predicted it.””

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3. The majority of the public agrees something must be done about ISIS, but they don’t exactly trust the feds ability to handle international affairs.

Also from HotAir  “Wow: Public’s trust in federal government to handle international problems now lower than during the Bush years”

“I may have buried the lede with that headline, actually. Turns out the public’s trust in the feds to handle domestic problems has also sunk below Bush levels. And not just Bush levels but Nixon levels. Per Gallup, during the Watergate months of 1974, 51 percent said they trust the feds to handle domestic problems and 73 percent said they trusted them to handle international ones.

In a week full of gruesome polls for Obama, I think this might be the most gruesome. In fact, at this point if the GOP doesn’t pick up at least 10 Senate seats this fall, they’ve arguably underperformed.”

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4. And something else to keep in mind…..

From CNSNews  “Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Ca.), a senior member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, warned Tuesday that destroying ISIS would only empower those fighting against the terrorist group – who are almost as evil as ISIS.

“If you destroy one power in the Middle East, you empower the other side, and the four groups that are fighting ISIS now are in many ways nearly as evil as ISIS itself, and in fact, those who are fighting against ISIS today on the ground have killed far more Americans than ISIS has,” said Sherman, top Democrat on the Terrorism, Nonproliferation and Trade Subcommittee.”

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5. Here comes the other shoe.

From TownHall  “Dan wrote up yesterday’s Washington Post/ABC News poll, which was jammed with crooked numbers for President Obama.  Most striking was the (30/55) majority deeming Obama’s presidency “a failure,” along with the prevailing opinion that he’s divided the country, and his unsightly leadership score.  The survey also included a dreadful (38/56) presidential approval rating on the implementation of Obamacare; support for the law itself was also underwater, with an outright majority opposed, despite this polling series’ silly question wording that omits any mention of ‘Obamacare’ or the ‘Affordable Care Act.’  A new Kaiser Family Foundation poll produces similar findings, with support for the president’s signature domestic accomplishment swamped by opposition. It’s been this way for years, across hundreds of national surveys.

One major reason for the enduring opposition is that the law has violated virtually every major promise erected in dishonest ideologues’ sales pitch.  Another is that an ongoing parade of unpleasant developments continues to make headlines, including the recent revelation that Healthcare.gov was hacked last month.  Apologists can cherry-pick useful data points to try to convince the public that Obamacare is reducing premium costs and driving down costs, but that’s simply not the case.  Individual market premiums exploded in 2014, and are expected to grow by roughly eight percent in 2015 (with many consumers confronting double-digit spikes) — to say nothing of high out-of-pocket costs and narrow coverage networks. Overall health spending continues an upward climb.  The law was billed as a dramatic premium reducer that would also bend down the so-called “cost curve.”  Healthcare industry expert Bob Laszewski is out with a must-read post on next steps for Obamacare.  He argues that the law may have been largely out of the news for the last few months, but a fresh round of cancellations and the coming open enrollment period are about to change all that:”

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News/Politics 8-21-14

What’s interesting in the news today?

1. Sure. Why not? What could possibly go wrong?

From TheHill   “Protesters are expected to gather Thursday evening at the White House as part of a national “Day of Rage” over the fatal police shooting of an unarmed black teen earlier this month in Missouri.

The planned rally is among dozens around the nation organized by the group Anonymous, which is demanding the “immediate arrest and prosecution” of officer Darren Wilson.  Wilson has been identified as the officer who shot 18-year-old Michael Brown on Aug. 9, touching off violent protests in the streets of Ferguson, Mo. 

“We call upon the citizens of the United States to collectively gather in support for those who are suffering in Ferguson,” a voice claiming to represent Anonymous says in a video posted to YouTube. “We must indeed all hang together as one nation or most assuredly we will all hang separately.””

The gathering is being held at night? Gee, I wonder why?….. 🙄

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2. We now know that the US launched a failed attempt to rescue American journalist James Foley and others.

From ABCNews  “U.S. special operations forces early this summer launched a secret, major rescue operation in Syria to save James Foley and a number of Americans held by the extremist group ISIS, but the mission failed because the hostages weren’t there, senior administration officials told ABC News today.

President Obama authorized the “substantial and complex” rescue operation after the officials said a “broad collection of intelligence” led the U.S. to believe the hostages were being held in a specific location in the embattled Middle Eastern nation.

When “several dozen” U.S. special operation members landed in Syria, however, they were met with gunfire and “while on site, it became apparent the hostages were not there,” one of the officials said. The special operators engaged in a firefight in which ISIS suffered “a good number” casualties, the official said, while the American forces suffered only a single minor injury.

The American forces were able to get back on helicopters and escape.”

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3. The already shady indictment of Rick Perry is lookin’ even shadier now.

From MediaTrackers  “Rho Chalmers, who disclosed to the Houston Chronicle yesterday that she was a member of the grand jury that indicted Texas Gov. Rick Perry, was an active delegate to the Texas Democratic Party convention during grand jury proceedings. Chalmers’ active participation in Democratic state politics is important because she claimed yesterday to the Houston Chronicle that her decision to indict Perry, a Republican, was not based on politics.

“For me, it’s not a political decision,” Chalmers told the newspaper. “That’s what a grand jury is about – take the emotion out of it and look at the facts and make your best decision based on your life experience.” More troubling, however, is the fact that Chalmers attended, photographed, and commented on an event with Democratic state Sen. Kirk Watson while grand jury proceedings were ongoing.”

“The grand jury was selected in April of 2014 and its proceedings did not conclude until it returned two indictments of Perry last week. While grand jurors are not generally prohibited from engaging in political activity, Chalmers’ apparent giddiness at attending an event for a grand jury witness calls into question her ability to objectively scrutinize his testimony. Watson had testified before Chalmers and the rest of her colleagues on the grand jury just one month before Chalmers attended his event. Knowingly seeking out participation in an event featuring a grand jury witness while grand jury proceedings were ongoing also seems highly questionable.

Numerous posts from both of Chalmers’ Facebook pages — her personal page, which she shares with her husband, Davis, and her “Developer’s Dungeon” page — make clear that she is a partisan Democratic activist, and that she was an active participant in the Texas Democratic Party’s state convention in June while grand jury proceedings were ongoing.”

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4. 35.4%=Unsustainable.

From CNSNews  “109,631,000 Americans lived in households that received benefits from one or more federally funded “means-tested programs” — also known as welfare — as of the fourth quarter of 2012, according to data released Tuesday by the Census Bureau.

The Census Bureau has not yet reported how many were on welfare in 2013 or the first two quarters of 2014.

But the 109,631,000 living in households taking federal welfare benefits as of the end of 2012, according to the Census Bureau, equaled 35.4 percent of all 309,467,000 people living in the United States at that time.

When those receiving benefits from non-means-tested federal programs — such as Social Security, Medicare, unemployment and veterans benefits — were added to those taking welfare benefits, it turned out that 153,323,000 people were getting federal benefits of some type at the end of 2012.”

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5. Something to keep in mind as summer winds down.

From TheAP  “The Old Farmer’s Almanac, the familiar, 223-year-old chronicler of climate, folksy advice and fun facts, is predicting a colder winter and warmer summer for much of the nation.

Published Wednesday, the New Hampshire-based almanac predicts a “super-cold” winter in the eastern two-thirds of the country. The west will remain a little bit warmer than normal.

“Colder is just almost too familiar a term,” Editor Janice Stillman said. “Think of it as a refriger-nation.”

More bad news for those who can’t stand snow: Most of the Northeast is expected to get more snowfall than normal, though it will be below normal in New England.”

Yay. 😦

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News/Politics 6-13-14

What’s interesting in the news today?

1. Perhaps this is why folks are so concerned about the 5 just released.

From TheTelegraph/UK  “The FBI “most wanted” mugshot shows a tough, swarthy figure, his hair in a jailbird crew-cut. The $10 million price on his head, meanwhile, suggests that whoever released him from US custody four years ago may now be regretting it.

Taken during his years as a detainee at the US-run Camp Bucca in southern Iraq, this is the only known photograph of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the new leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq and Syria. But while he may lack the photogenic qualities of his hero, Osama bin Laden, he is fast becoming the new poster-boy for the global jihadist movement.

Well-organised and utterly ruthless, the ex-preacher is the driving force behind al-Qaeda’s resurgence throughout Syria and Iraq, putting it at the forefront of the war to topple President Bashar al-Assad and starting a fresh campaign of mayhem against the Western-backed government in Baghdad.

On Tuesday, his forces achieved their biggest coup in Iraq to date, seizing control of government buildings in Mosul, the country’s third biggest city. Coming on top of similar operations in January that planted the black jihadi flag in the towns of Fallujah and Ramadi, it gives al-Qaeda control of large swathes of the north and west of the country, and poses the biggest security crisis since the US pull-out two years ago.”

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2. CONTENT WARNING!!!! Some of the photos at the link are extremely gruesome. Baghdad is their next target.

From TheDailyMail  “The full horror of the jihadists’ savage victories in Iraq emerged yesterday as witnesses told of streets lined with decapitated soldiers and policemen. Blood-soaked bodies and blazing vehicles were left in the wake of the Al Qaeda-inspired ISIS fanatics as they pushed the frontline towards Baghdad.

They boasted about their triumphs in a propaganda video depicting appalling scenes including a businessman being dragged from his car and executed at the roadside with a pistol to the back of his head. The extent of the carnage came as:

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3. Of course they did. This has always been orchestrated by top Democrats from day one.

From PowerLine  “It is just about impossible to keep up with all of the Obama administration scandals, but the corruption of the Internal Revenue Service ranks near the top. Unfortunately, it has gone hand in hand with Barack Obama and Eric Holder’s corruption of the Department of Justice. The perversion of law enforcement agencies for political ends is starkly revealed by the fact that in 2010, as part of its effort to stem the Tea Party movement, the IRS gave the FBI disks containing more than 1.1 million pages of documents on Section 501 non-profits, so that the FBI could selectively prosecute conservative groups and donors.

The facts, as we know them so far, were laid out yesterday in a letter from Congressmen Darrell Issa and Jim Jordan to John Koskinen, Commissioner of the IRS. The letter includes a series of emails that the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform has finally obtained, after more than a year of stonewalling by the Obama administration. The IRS originally told the House committee–falsely–that the disks contained only publicly available filings by the non-profit organizations. But the IRS later admitted that it had illegally transferred confidential taxpayer information to the FBI.

The IRS’s purpose was explicitly political. Sarah Ingram, Lois Lerner’s predecessor in charge of tax-exempt organizations at the IRS, wrote in a September 21, 2010 email, the subject of which was a favorable front-page story in the New York Times:

Thanks, as always, for the excellent support from Media. I do think it came out pretty well. The “secret donor” theme will continue–see Obama salvo today and Diane Reehm (sp).”

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4. The FBI has finally opened up a criminal probe of the VA scandal.

From CNN  “The FBI says it has opened a criminal investigation of the Veterans Affairs Department, which is grappling with a scandal over long waiting lists to provide care and allegations that paperwork was faked to make delays appear shorter.

FBI Director James Comey told a House hearing on Wednesday the bureau’s Phoenix office has joined an ongoing review by the VA inspector general.

The move at least partly satisfies requests from key members of Congress from both parties who have pressed for a full probe by the Justice Department as the scandal accelerated in recent weeks and led to the resignation of VA Secretary Eric Shinseki in May.

Officials have said the inspector general is sharing findings with federal prosecutors, and the Justice Department could launch a full-blown criminal probe if any of the information meets the standard for doing so.”

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News/Politics 5-8-14

What’s interesting in the news today?

1. Ted Cruz and the definitive list of Obama’s 76 lawless actions. Not surprising. As today’s news shows, everything this administration does has an element of fraud involved.

From TheDailyCaller Republican Sen. Ted Cruz released a definitive list Wednesday of 76 “lawless” Obama administration actions and abuses of power.

Cruz’s “The Legal Limit Report No. 4,” obtained by The Daily Caller, delves into little-known and little-reported details of President Obama’s executive actions. Cruz was set to discuss his report at the Federalist Society in the Promenade Ballroom of the Mayflower Hotel in Washington at 2:15 PM Wednesday.

“Of all the troubling aspects of the Obama presidency, none is more dangerous than the President’s persistent pattern of lawlessness, his willingness to disregard the written law and instead enforce his own policies via executive fiat,” Cruz stated in the report’s introductory remarks.

“President Obama has openly defied [rule of law] by repeatedly suspending, delaying, and waiving portions of the laws that he is charged to enforce. When President Obama disagreed with federal immigration laws, he instructed the Justice Department to cease enforcing the laws. He did the same thing with federal welfare law, drug laws, and the federal Defense of Marriage Act,” Cruz wrote. “In the more than two centuries of our nation’s history, there is simply no precedent for the White House wantonly ignoring federal law and asking others to do the same.”

You can read the entire list at the link. It speaks for itself, and he more than makes his case.

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2. Will they lock her up if that’s what it takes to get answers from her?

From RollCall  “Deep in the recesses of congressional power — and in precedent stretching back to the 18th century — is the ability to pursue “inherent contempt” against individuals, including the right to imprison a person in the Capitol to compel compliance with lawmakers’ authority.

Congress hasn’t exercised inherent contempt power since 1935 and there’s no suggestion that lawmakers are actively considering the option in Lerner’s case.

But House attorneys, and lawyers for the former Internal Revenue Service official, are looking at the potential legal paths as House leaders consider first whether to take a contempt citation to the floor and, if it passes, whether the Justice Department will pursue prosecution.

The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform voted on party lines to recommend the full House hold Lerner in contempt and refer her to the Justice Department for refusing to testify before the committee on allegations of political targeting at the IRS of conservative political groups seeking tax-exempt status. The GOP members said Lerner, who resigned from the IRS last year under fire for her role as the head of the office at the heart of the controversy, waived her Fifth Amendment privilege by delivering an opening statement declaring her innocence before the panel last year.”

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3. Of course they are. After all, nobody’s been held responsible for the IRS scandal, so why would they fear scrutiny of yet another potential scandal blatantly targeting their political enemies?

From TheWashingtonExaminer  “Government officials, reacting to the growing voice of conservative news outlets, especially on the internet, are angling to curtail the media’s exemption from federal election laws governing political organizations, a potentially chilling intervention that the chairman of the Federal Election Commission is vowing to fight.

“I think that there are impulses in the government every day to second guess and look into the editorial decisions of conservative publishers,” warned Federal Election Commission Chairman Lee E. Goodman in an interview.

“The right has begun to break the left’s media monopoly, particularly through new media outlets like the internet, and I sense that some on the left are starting to rethink the breadth of the media exemption and internet communications,” he added.

Noting the success of sites like the Drudge Report, Goodman said that protecting conservative media, especially those on the internet, “matters to me because I see the future going to the democratization of media largely through the internet. They can compete with the big boys now, and I have seen storm clouds that the second you start to regulate them, there is at least the possibility or indeed proclivity for selective enforcement, so we need to keep the media free and the internet free.”

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4. Told you the ObamaCare numbers were just more fuzzy math. And fraud. Lots of fraud.

From Rare.US  “In a House Energy and Commerce Oversight and Investigations subcommittee hearing this morning, a major health insurance trade association representative testified that the administration is reporting inflated enrollment numbers.”

According to their testimony:

“Duplicate enrollments: Because of the challenges that surfaced with the launch of the Exchanges in October 2013, some consumers were advised to create a new account and enroll again. As a result, insurers have many duplicate enrollments in their system for which they never received any payment. In cases where an insurer has a new enrollment for a consumer who previously enrolled, they are not expecting that original policy to be effectuated – even though that data is still reported.”

In other words, due to website glitches, some individuals may have enrolled multiple times. In these cases, the government may count all of these enrollments toward the total enrollment number. The insurer, knowing that the individual enrolled multiple times, will count that individual as having paid.”

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5. I guess this is to replace the operation they had running in Benghazi. They’re goin’ legit this time.

From TheLongWarJournal  “While the opposition Syrian National Coalition, headed by Ahmad Jarba, has been meeting with US officials this week in Washington in an effort to secure further support, including more funding and additional antitank and antiaircraft weapons, news from Syria indicates that some advanced US-made weapons are already being used in various Syrian provinces by rebel fighters.

Over the past few weeks, media reports have stressed that US officials have begun a “pilot program” of providing small quantities of advanced weapons, including TOW missiles, to vetted “moderate” groups, and specifically the Harakat Hazm, which fights in a newly formed coalition called the Southern Front. [See Threat Matrix, The shadowy flow of US weapons into Syria.]

As we at LWJ have pointed out, however, alliances and accommodations between the so-called ‘moderate’ rebel groups and the Islamists have made it very difficult for outside backers of the Syrian opposition to ensure that weapons and other aid provided does not end up in the hands of the Islamists, who dominate the battlefields. [See Threat Matrix, Southern Front tries to disassociate itself from Al Nusrah, which illustrates that an increasing number of reports from ‘moderate’ commanders claiming independence from Islamist groups such as Al Nusrah appear to be concocted in order to secure the provision of more weapons and funding from the West.]

Yesterday the opposition activist group Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) reported that the Islamic Front, a large coalition of mainly Islamist fighting groups, was using US TOW missiles in clashes in Aleppo against the forces of President Bashar al Assad and allies. According to SOHR, the Islamic Front (which it refers to as “Islamic battalions”) employed the weapons in Aleppo’s Al Sheik Najjar area and near Al Brej, and possibly near the air force intelligence building in Al Zahraa district as well.”

What could possibly go wrong? I’m sure it’s OK, they vetted ’em and they’re all like totally moderate, or something. 🙄

As if such a simple Jedi mind trick will make us forget we’re arming the bad guys.

These aren’t the droids Al-Qaeda you’re looking for. 🙄

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6. Not shocking. And remember, they’re independent and they’re like totally unbiased professionals. It’s true, I think they were vetted by the same people as the “moderates” above, so you know you can trust ’em. 🙄

From TheWashPost  “A majority of American journalists identify themselves as political independents although among those who choose a side Democrats outnumber Republicans four to one, according to a new study of the media conducted by two Indiana University professors.

Write Lars Wilnat and David Weaver, professors of journalism at Indiana, of their findings:

Compared with 2002, the percentage of full-time U.S. journalists who claim to be Democrats has dropped 8 percentage points in 2013 to about 28 percent, moving this figure closer to the overall population percentage of 30 percent, according to a December 12-15, 2013, ABC News/Washington Post national poll of 1,005 adults. This is the lowest percentage of journalists saying they are Democrats since 1971. An even larger drop was observed among journalists who said they were Republicans in 2013 (7.1 percent) than in 2002 (18 percent), but the 2013 figure is still notably lower than the percentage of U.S. adults who identified with the Republican Party (24 percent according to the poll mentioned above).”

“Over the last several decades, three things have happened: 1) The number of Democratic-identifying reporters increased steadily prior to a significant drop in the latest survey 2) The number of Republicans has steadily shrunk with that number dipping into single digits for the first time ever in the new survey c) more and more reporters are identifying as independents.  What seems to be happening — at least in the last decade – is that journalists are leaving both parties, finding themselves more comfortable as unaffiliateds.”

Independent. Sure. 🙄

Regardless of self identified party label, liberal is more accurate. Just like the college professors teaching at most of today’s journalism schools.

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News/Politics 1-30-14

What’s interesting in the news today?

Lot’s to cover today, and in no particular order…

1. First, some good news. Kim posted it yesterday, but I’m reposting it.

From FoxNews  “A number of motorists who had to abandon their vehicles in the snow on Highway 280 outside of Birmingham, Ala. were able to find shelter in the storm thanks to the kindness and generosity of Chick-fil-A restaurant employees and the restaurant’s owner, Mark Meadows.

Once the snow started accumulating, Meadows closed the restaurant and sent his staff home. But a few hours later, many of them returned – unable to get to their homes.”

“Some of the drivers had been stuck in their cars for nearly seven hours without any food or water. So the staff of the Chick-fil-A decided to lend a helping hand.

“We cooked several hundred sandwiches and stood out on both sides of 280 and handed out the sandwiches to anyone we could get to – as long as we had food to give out.”

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2. In other storm news, the blame game has begun. People want to know why this happened and how authorities could be taken by surprise.

From NBCNews  “Under fire from Georgia government officials caught flat-footed by the winter storm that socked the South this week, weather forecasters are mad as heck and want them know: They’re not going to take it anymore.

With the capital city, Atlanta, paralyzed by less than 3 inches of snow, Georgia officials complained that they weren’t warned what was on the way Tuesday:”

“In a post on a blog he set up Wednesday specifically to defend the performance of forecasting services this week, Shepherd pointed out that the weather service issued watches and warnings well before the storm arrived, providing plenty of time for Georgia officials to make the right decisions.

“Yet, as soon as I saw what was unfolding with kids being stranded in schools, 6+ hour commutes, and other horror stories, I knew it was coming, I knew it. Some in the public, social medial or decision-making positions would ‘blame’ the  meteorologists,” Shepherd wrote in a post titled “An Open Thank You to Meteorologists in Atlanta.”

Officials in Atlanta and the state of Georgia all seem to have come from the Ray Nagin school of government. Don’t do your job, and then blame someone else for your failure to act even though you had plenty of warning the storm was coming. So it’s probably Bush’s fault.

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3. Now that everyone has had time to digest the SofU speech, more reactions are out as well, as the next few will show.

First they blame Bush for everything, now they’re plagiarizing him?

facepalm-double

I’ve been waiting for the chance to use that. 🙂

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4. Some folks seemed to really like the speech though. 🙂

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5. Somebody’s gettin’ audited.

From TheHill “Rep. Steve Stockman (R-Texas) said Tuesday night he left President Obama’s State of the Union speech early after “hearing how the president is further abusing his Constitutional powers.”

“Stockman said Obama was promising to “break his oath of office and begin enacting his own brand of law through executive decree.”

“This is a wholesale violation of his oath of office and a disqualifying offense,” the Texas congressman said.

Stockman also criticized Obama for refusing to admit “his policies have failed,” and for advancing a plan for more taxes and spending that is a “blueprint for perpetual poverty.”

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6. With the President’s talk of ruling by executive order, some have questioned where he thinks he gets this authority. Even his own Attorney General can’t answer that question, and he’s the one who would defend those actions in court.

From TheWashingtonExaminer  “Attorney General Eric Holder couldn’t explain the constitutional basis for executive orders such as President Obama’s delay of the employer mandate because he hasn’t read the legal analysis — or at least, hasn’t seen it in a long time.

“I’ll be honest with you, I have not seen — I don’t remember looking at or having seen the analysis in some time, so I’m not sure where along the spectrum that would come,” Holder replied when Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, asked him to explain the nature of Obama’s constitutional power to delay the mandate.”

“”When you look at the quality, not just the quantity but the quality, the nature of the executive orders that he has issued, he has usurped an extraordinary amount of authority within the executive branch,” Lee countered. “This is not precedented, and I point to the delay — the unilateral delay, lawless delay, in my opinion — of the employer mandate as an example of this. And so, at a minimum, I think he owes us an explanation as to what his legal analysis was.”

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7. ICE union officials have taken the opportunity to point out the President’s violation of, and failure to enforce other laws, as well as his hypocrisy.

From NationalReview  “Chris Crane, president of the National ICE Council, the union representing officers of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, issued a statement Tuesday ahead of President Obama’s State of the Union address. Crane blasted the president for his repeated refusal to meet with ICE officers at the White House, and asked House Republican leaders to consult with ICE personnel as they work to outline their immigration reform “principles”:

According to news accounts, the President has once again invited illegal immigrants to the State of the Union – and yet the President still refuses to meet with ICE officers. We have a President who will provide those illegally in the US with the seat of honor at one of the most important events of the year, but ICE officers who serve under him are unwelcome in the White House. This is symptomatic of the President’s continued demonstration of contempt for immigration officers and his blatant disregard for Congressionally-enacted law. ICE officers are forced every day to release violent offenders back into the streets; we are prohibited from enforcing immigration violations and document fraud and from cracking down on illegal employment; we are prohibited from enforcing public charge law to protect taxpayers; and we are forced to catch-and-release illegal aliens who are not ‘priorities’ even when officers’ believe there is a threat to public safety.”

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8. I could use a triple face palm for this one. Another Obama admin foreign policy success.

From Reuters  “- Syria has given up less than 5 percent of its chemical weapons arsenal and will miss next week’s deadline to send all toxic agents abroad for destruction, sources familiar with the matter said on Wednesday.

The deliveries, in two shipments this month to the northern Syrian port of Latakia, totaled 4.1 percent of the roughly 1,300 tonnes of toxic agents reported by Damascus to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), said the sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

“It’s not enough and there is no sign of more,” one source briefed on the situation said.