(Independent Sentinel) - The White House has plans to legalize 13 to 15 million illegal immigrants who will then establish a “country within a country.”
The following Mark Levin interview with Susan Payne is shocking but it also puts all the pieces into place.
Susan Payne is a contributor to WCBM, Baltimore and Co-Host of the Pat McDonough Radio Show,
Unbeknownst to the Obama officials, Ms. Payne was invited to listen in on conference calls at an immigration rally. Cecilia Munoz, director of the White House Domestic Policy Council, and 16 members of the White House cabinet were on the first call. White House officials were on all three calls. What Ms. Payne learned needs to be immediately shared with Congress and the public. Continue reading
Fiscal Policy: Short of its accounting gimmicks, the president’s budget isn’t a “balanced” plan to get the debt crisis under control. It’s a monument to fiscal irresponsibility.
With much fanfare and a lot of media hype, President Obama unveiled his latest budget plan — two months late. An IBD review of Obama’s budget finds that, among other things, it:
• Boosts spending and deficits over the next two years. Obama’s own budget numbers show that he wants to hike spending over the next two years by $247 billion compared with the “baseline,” which even after his proposed new tax hikes would mean $157 billion in additional red ink.
Obama claims he’ll get tough on spending and deficits later, but every budget expert knows boosting spending today only makes it harder to cut later.
• Vastly exaggerates spending cuts. The press has widely reported that Obama’s budget would cut spending a total of $1.2 trillion over the next decade. But Obama’s own budget shows that he actually cuts spending a mere $186 billion. (The relevant tables can be found at http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/omb/budget/fy2014/assets/tables.pdf on Pages 187-190.)
Obama inflates his claimed savings by first canceling the automatic sequester spending cuts he previously signed into law, then reclaiming them as new savings, and by adding in cuts in interest payments on the debt.
• Relies almost entirely on tax hikes. Obama’s budget shows his plan would increase revenues by $1.14 trillion over the next decade. That means his budget proposes $6 in new taxes for every $1 in spending cuts.
• Cuts the deficit less than claimed. “My budget will reduce our deficits by nearly another $2 trillion,” Obama said Wednesday. But his budget shows total deficit reduction over the next decade would be just $1.4 trillion. Plus, deficits start rising again after 2018.
• Creates a new entitlement without a reliable means to pay for it. Obama claims he can finance a new $76 billion “preschool for all” program by raising tobacco taxes again. But after an initial spike, tobacco tax revenues will start trending downward year after year as more people quit smoking, while the costs of this new program will keep climbing.
The last time Obama hiked tobacco taxes — to pay for an expansion of Medicaid — revenues came in $2.2 billion less than expected.
• Boosts taxes on the middle class. Obama proposes to change the government’s “consumer price index” in a way that will lower the official inflation rate. He’s selling it as a way to cut Social Security annual “cost of living” adjustments, which are based on the CPI.
But because his “chained CPI” would also apply to annual tax bracket adjustments, it will end up hiking taxes by $124 billion — mainly on the middle class — over the next decade through bracket creep, according to the Congressional Budget Office.
In his remarks Wednesday after releasing his 65-day-overdue budget, Obama claimed: “The numbers work. There’s not a lot of smoke and mirrors in here.”
Fact is, if it weren’t for smoke and mirrors, Obama would have no budget plan at all.
During Barack Obama’s presidency there have been 32 background checks for gun purchases every minute.
Since February of 2009, the first full month of Obama’s presidency, there have been 70,291,049 background checks for gun purchases, according to data released by the FBI.
Using February 1, 2009 as our starting date, and March 31, 2013 as our end date, (the latest data from the FBI) Obama has been president for 1,520 days.
That equates to 36,480 hours, or 2,188,800 minutes.
Divide the 70,291,049 background checks by 2,188,800 minutes and you get approximately 32 checks for gun purchases every minute!
Did you know that there are thousands upon thousands of homeless people that are living underground beneath the streets of major U.S. cities? It is happening in Las Vegas, it is happening in New York City and it is even happening in Kansas City. As the economy crumbles, poverty in the United States is absolutely exploding and so is homelessness. In addition to the thousands of “tunnel people” living under the streets of America, there are also thousands that are living in tent cities, there are tens of thousands that are living in their vehicles and there are more than a million public school children that do not have a home to go back to at night. The federal government tells us that the recession “is over” and that “things are getting better”, and yet poverty and homelessness in this country continue to rise with no end in sight. So what in the world are things going to look like when the next economic crisis hits?
When I heard that there were homeless people living in a network of underground tunnels beneath the streets of Kansas City, I was absolutely stunned. I have relatives that live in that area. I never thought of Kansas City as one of the more troubled cities in the United States.
But according to the Daily Mail, police recently discovered a huge network of tunnels under the city that people had been living in…
Below the streets of Kansas City, there are deep underground tunnels where a group of vagrant homeless people lived in camps.
These so-called homeless camps have now been uncovered by the Kansas City Police, who then evicted the residents because of the unsafe environment.
Authorities said these people were living in squalor, with piles of garbage and dirty diapers left around wooded areas.
The saddest part is the fact that authorities found dirty diapers in the areas near these tunnels. That must mean that babies were being raised in that kind of an environment.
Unfortunately, this kind of thing is happening all over the nation. In recent years, the tunnel people of Las Vegas have received quite a bit of publicity all over the world. It has been estimated that more than 1,000 people live in the massive network of flood tunnels under the city…
Deep beneath Vegas’s glittering lights lies a sinister labyrinth inhabited by poisonous spiders and a man nicknamed The Troll who wields an iron bar.
But astonishingly, the 200 miles of flood tunnels are also home to 1,000 people who eke out a living in the strip’s dark underbelly.
Some, like Steven and his girlfriend Kathryn, have furnished their home with considerable care – their 400sq ft ‘bungalow’ boasts a double bed, a wardrobe and even a bookshelf.
Could you imagine living like that? Sadly, for an increasing number of Americans a “normal lifestyle” is no longer an option. Either they have to go to the homeless shelters or they have to try to eke out an existence on their own any way that they can.
In New York City, authorities are constantly trying to root out the people that live in the tunnels under the city and yet they never seem to be able to find them all. The following is from a New York Post article about the “Mole People” that live underneath New York City…
The homeless people who live down here are called Mole People. They do not, as many believe, exist in a separate, organized underground society. It’s more of a solitary existence and loose-knit community of secretive, hard-luck individuals.
The New York Post followed one homeless man known as “John Travolta” on a tour through the underground world. What they discovered was a world that is very much different from what most New Yorkers experience…
In the tunnels, their world is one of malt liquor, tight spaces, schizophrenic neighbors, hunger and spells of heat and cold. Travolta and the others eat fairly well, living on a regimented schedule of restaurant leftovers, dumped each night at different times around the neighborhood above his foreboding home.
Even as the Dow hits record high after record high, poverty in New York City continues to rise at a very frightening pace. Incredibly, the number of homeless people sleeping in the homeless shelters of New York City has increased by a whopping 19 percent over the past year.
In many of our major cities, the homeless shelters are already at maximum capacity and are absolutely packed night after night. Large numbers of homeless people are often left to fend for themselves.
That is one reason why we have seen the rise of so many tent cities.
Yes, the tent cities are still there, they just aren’t getting as much attention these days because they do not fit in with the “economic recovery” narrative that the mainstream media is currently pushing.
In fact, many of the tent cities are larger than ever. For example, you can check out a Reuters video about a growing tent city in New Jersey that was posted on YouTube at the end of March right here. A lot of these tent cities have now become permanent fixtures, and unfortunately they will probably become much larger when the next major economic crisis strikes.
But perhaps the saddest part of all of this is the massive number of children that are suffering night after night.
These days a lot of families that have lost their homes have ended up living in their vehicles. The following is an excerpt from a 60 Minutes interview with one family that is living in their truck…
This is the home of the Metzger family. Arielle,15. Her brother Austin, 13. Their mother died when they were very young. Their dad, Tom, is a carpenter. And, he’s been looking for work ever since Florida’s construction industry collapsed. When foreclosure took their house, he bought the truck on Craigslist with his last thousand dollars. Tom’s a little camera shy – thought we ought to talk to the kids – and it didn’t take long to see why.
Pelley: How long have you been living in this truck?
Arielle Metzger: About five months.
Pelley: What’s that like?
Arielle Metzger: It’s an adventure.
Austin Metzger: That’s how we see it.
Pelley: When kids at school ask you where you live, what do you tell ‘em?
Austin Metzger: When they see the truck they ask me if I live in it, and when I hesitate they kinda realize. And they say they won’t tell anybody.
Arielle Metzger: Yeah it’s not really that much an embarrassment. I mean, it’s only life. You do what you need to do, right?
But after watching a news report or reading something on the Internet about these people we rapidly forget about them because they are not a part of “our world”.
Another place where a lot of poor people end up is in prison. In a previous article, I detailed how the prison population in the United States has been booming in recent years. If you can believe it, the United States now has approximately 25 percent of the entire global prison population even though it only has about 5 percent of the total global population.
And these days it is not just violent criminals that get thrown into prison. If you lose your job and get behind on your bills, you could be thrown into prison as well. The following is from a recent CBS News article…
Roughly a third of U.S. states today jail people for not paying off their debts, from court-related fines and fees to credit card and car loans, according to the American Civil Liberties Union. Such practices contravene a 1983 United States Supreme Court ruling that they violate the Constitutions’s Equal Protection Clause.
Some states apply “poverty penalties,” such as late fees, payment plan fees and interest, when people are unable to pay all their debts at once. Alabama charges a 30 percent collection fee, for instance, while Florida allows private debt collectors to add a 40 percent surcharge on the original debt. Some Florida counties also use so-called collection courts, where debtors can be jailed but have no right to a public defender. In North Carolina, people are charged for using a public defender, so poor defendants who can’t afford such costs may be forced to forgo legal counsel.
The high rates of unemployment and government fiscal shortfalls that followed the housing crash have increased the use of debtors’ prisons, as states look for ways to replenish their coffers. Said Chettiar, “It’s like drawing blood from a stone. States are trying to increase their revenue on the backs of the poor.”
If you are poor, the United States can be an incredibly cold and cruel place. Mercy and compassion are in very short supply.
The middle class continues to shrink and poverty continues to grow with each passing year. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, approximately one out of every six Americans is now living in poverty. And if you throw in those that are considered to be “near poverty”, that number becomes much larger. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, more than 146 million Americans are either “poor” or “low income”.
For many more facts about the rapid increase of poverty in this country, please see my previous article entitled “21 Statistics About The Explosive Growth Of Poverty In America That Everyone Should Know“.
But even as poverty grows, it seems like the hearts of those that still do have money are getting colder. Just check out what happened recently at a grocery store that was in the process of closing down in Augusta, Georgia…
Residents filled the parking lot with bags and baskets hoping to get some of the baby food, canned goods, noodles and other non-perishables. But a local church never came to pick up the food, as the storeowner prior to the eviction said they had arranged. By the time the people showed up for the food, what was left inside the premises—as with any eviction—came into the ownership of the property holder, SunTrust Bank.
The bank ordered the food to be loaded into dumpsters and hauled to a landfill instead of distributed. The people that gathered had to be restrained by police as they saw perfectly good food destroyed. Local Sheriff Richard Roundtree told the news “a potential for a riot was extremely high.”
Can you imagine watching that happen?
But of course handouts and charity are only temporary solutions. What the poor in this country really need are jobs, and unfortunately there has not been a jobs recovery in the United States since the recession ended.
In fact, the employment crisis looks like it is starting to take another turn for the worse. The number of layoffs in the month of March was 30 percent higher than the same time a year ago.
Meanwhile, small businesses are indicating that hiring is about to slow down significantly. According to a recent survey by the National Federation of Independent Businesses, small businesses in the United States are extremely pessimistic right now. The following is what Goldman Sachs had to say about this survey…
Components of the survey were consistent with the decline in headline optimism, as the net percent of respondents planning to hire fell to 0% (from +4%), those expecting higher sales fell to -4% (from +1%), and those reporting that it is a good time to expand ticked down to +4% (from +5%). The net percent of respondents expecting the economy to improve was unchanged at -28%, a very depressed level. However, on the positive side, +25% of respondents plan increased capital spending [ZH: With Alcoa CapEx spending at a 2 year low]. Small business owners continue to place poor sales, taxes, and red tape at the top of their list of business problems, as they have for the past several years.
So why aren’t our politicians doing anything to fix this?
For example, why in the world don’t they stop millions of our jobs from being sent out of the country?
Well, the truth is that they don’t think we have a problem. In fact, U.S. Senator Ron Johnson recently said that U.S. trade deficits “don’t matter”.
He apparently does not seem alarmed that more than 56,000 manufacturing facilities have been shut down in the United States since 2001.
And since the last election, the White House has seemed to have gone into permanent party mode.
On Tuesday, another extravagant party will be held at the White House. It is being called “In Performance at the White House: Memphis Soul”, and it is going to include some of the biggest names in the music industry…
As the White House has previously announced, Justin Timberlake (who will be making his White House debut), Al Green, Ben Harper, Queen Latifah, Cyndi Lauper, Joshua Ledet, Sam Moore, Charlie Musselwhite, Mavis Staples, and others will be performing at the exclusive event.
And so who will be paying for all of this?
You and I will be. Even as the Obamas cry about all of the other “spending cuts” that are happening, they continue to blow millions of taxpayer dollars on wildly extravagant parties and vacations.
Overall, U.S. taxpayers will spend well over a billion dollars on the Obamas this year.
I wonder what the tunnel people that live under the streets of America think about that.
(Ammoland.com)- Vociferous Pro-Victimhood Advocate David Hemenway, PhD, Director of the Harvard Injury Control Research Center managed to insult 10′s of millions of Americans in a recent interview by declaring that anyone who chooses to defend their lives or the lives of their loved ones is a “wuss“. ( http://tiny.cc/o1b8uw )
“The gun is a great equalizer because it makes wimps as dangerous as people who really have skill and bravery and so I’d like to have this notion that anyone using a gun is a wuss. They aren’t anybody to be looked up to. They’re somebody to look down at because they couldn’t defend themselves or couldn’t protect others without using a gun.”
So the good doctor deigns to look down from his ivory perch and hurl invective at anyone that is handicapped, injured, weak (or weaker, such as women vs man, elderly vs criminal), outnumbered or simply not a martial arts expert as “wusses“.
Dr Hemenway has a long and “illustrious” history of doing anything necessary to advance the Citizen Disarmament agenda of the elites. He also admits his desire, parroting that of Eric Holder and Dr. Mark Rosenberg, Director of the CDC’s National Center for Injury Control and Prevention (NCIPC) who in 1994 told The Washington Post:
“We need to revolutionize the way we look at guns, like what we did with cigarettes. Now it [sic] is dirty, deadly, and banned. That it is imperative to “change the social norms”
“This is not acceptable behavior anymore. Another area we talk about where social norms have changed is smoking. What a magnificent change we’ve had in smoking in the United States. We need to see a social norm change on gun violence. “
According to Hemenway, and far to many others, we are supposed to simply accept the notion that only a “wuss” would insist on armed self defense, that a 110lb woman must be able to defeat her potential attacker(s) or submit to rape or anything else that happens to her, or she is not worthy of respect. That a senior citizen (such asMary Sheppard, who was savagely beaten by a recently released violent felon) , that can not cold cock their significantly younger and stronger attacker should be viewed with contempt, or that even a mixed martial arts expert that cannot win out when set upon by multiple attackers such as those found in repeated cases of rampaging flash mobs around the Country is some kind of “lessor” being.
Of course this is also presuming that the potential attackers are all also unarmed, which is never the case.
Give the Dr this much, he’s at least open and public with his contempt, disdain and bigoted views, something that many Anti Gun advocates try desperately to hide from public view. The thing is, his public remarks are a huge, arrogant mistake.
Generally speaking its considered a good idea to not insult millions of people you are trying to persuade to come around to your view point.
Then again, Anti’s like the Dr make these same arrogant mistakes all the time, and as a rather famous General and Political Leader once said ” Never interrupt your enemy when they are making a mistake” - Napolean Bonaparte.
In that light, I would strongly encourage the good doctor to keep opening his mouth at every opportunity.
(investmentwatchblog.com) Newtown parents, including Mark Barden, spoke at the state capitol building on Monday to call for a complete ban on high-capacity ammunition magazines
Lawmakers in the US state of Connecticut have agreed to a sweeping set of gun restrictions, including a ban on new high-capacity magazines.
The proposal requires background checks on all gun sales and expands the state’s assault weapons ban.
It comes as new federal gun measures appear to have stalled in Congress.
HARTFORD, Conn. (CBSNewYork) — Connecticut state lawmakers came to an agreement Monday on what they said will become some of the nation’s toughest gun control laws.
As CBS 2?s Lou Young reported, the deal included a ban on high-capacity ammunition magazines, such as the one that was used in the Sandy Hook Elementary School Massacre in Newtown. The deal also calls for a new registry for existing high-capacity magazines, and background checks that would apply to private gun sales.
Connecticut lawmakers announced a deal Monday on what they called some of the toughest gun laws in the country that were proposed after the December mass shooting at a school in Newtown. Some highlights from the proposal:
—Ban sales of high-capacity ammunition magazines;
—Background checks for private gun sales;
Connecticut Lawmakers Agree to Gun Control Bill – Bans Magazines over 10 rounds, Requires a State Issued Permit to Buy Ammo, & Mental Checks!
Connecticut Lawmakers Agree to Gun Control Bill
Bans Magazines over 10 rounds
Requires a State Issued Permit to Buy Ammo
Must submit to universal background and Mental Checks
Bans any weapon with any “assault weapon” characteristics (pistol grips or anything that “looks scary”)
Conn. lawmakers unveil bipartisan gun control plan
(offgridsurvival.com) In case you missed what happened yesterday, because it was not covered by the Mainstream Media, Senator Rand Paul led a 12 hour filibuster of CIA Nominee John Brennan, after the White House refused to say they don’t have the authority to kill American Citizens on American Soil.
In what should have had 100% support by every member of the Senate, only managed to garner the support of a handful of senators. In fact this morning, the Senate, led by Sens. John McCain and Lindsey Graham, took to the Senate floor to denounce Rand Paul’s demands. Senator McCain said he was doing a “disservice” to the country.
A disservice to the country?
Since when is standing up for our right to live a disservice to the country? Every last one of these people needs to be voted the hell out of office. The fact that we couldn’t even get a majority of the U.S. Senate to agree that the President does not have the authority to Kill American Citizens on American Soil (without a trial), is an absolute travesty of justice. What a sad day it is for America when it’s even up for debate.
What the hell happened to America? The sad reality of what happened yesterday, on the Floor of the Senate, should send chills through the spines of every red blooded American. Can you believe we have come to a place where it’s now being debated whether or not the federal government can ignore the Constitution and kill Americans without a trail?
For the last couple of years we’ve highlighted the drone programs, the effort to disarm America, and how the Department of Homeland Security is stockpiling massive amounts of Ammunition. What some called wild conspiracy theories, don’t seem so wild anymore do they?
Senate Refuses to Pass Non-Binding Bill Saying President doesn’t have the right to Kill Americans
To bring the Filibuster to a close, Senator Rand Paul offered a non-binding resolution opposing the President’s ability to kill Americans in drone strikes on US soil. Something that should have received 100% support in the Senate, couldn’t even get enough votes to pass. We are living in a country where only a handful of our elected representatives seem to have a problem with our government conducting the targeted killing of American Citizens.
Democrat Senator Dick Durbin, speaking for the majority, was designated to say he objects to Paul’s non-binding resolution. The fact that a majority of the U.S. Senate could not even stand together in opposition to something as simple as opposing (in a non-binding resolution) the President’s ability to assassinate citizens in drone attacks on US soil is simply inexcusable.
This is not a Partisan Issue: Both Sides are to Blame
For those that want to claim this as a partisan issue, I want to remind people that both political parties, Democrats and Republicans, overwhelmingly supported President Obama’s ability to kill American Citizens without a trial. In fact, at the same time Rand Paul made his stand to say that, “No President has the right to say that he is judge, jury, and executioner”, a huge number of Republican Senators decided to ignore what was going on in the Senate, and instead attended a swanky dinner with President Obama.
The Following Republicans decided it was more important to be seen eating dinner with the President than it was to Stand with Rand Paul and Support the Constitution and your right to live.
When asked this morning whether the president has the power to kill Americans here at home, Senator Lindsey Graham said “I find the question offensive, I do not believe that question deserves an answer.” Senator John McCain then went to the Senate floor and defended President Obama’s ability to kill American Citizens on American Soil, by arguing that America is part of the worldwide battlefield. He publicly stated that the President has the right to kill Americans (without a trial) who are deemed to be “enemies” of the country.
(From the Trenches) According to the White House Blog website, the Obama administration is working to “counter online radicalization” by “violent extremist groups” such as “al-Qaeda and its affiliates and adherents, violent supremacist groups, and violent ‘sovereign citizens’.”
The White House claims that “these groups use the Internet to disseminate propaganda, identify and groom potential recruits, and supplement their real-world recruitment” with “resources to propagate messages of violence and division.” Through the exploitation of “popular media, music videos and online video games”, allegedly there are “countless opportunities “to draw targets into private exchanges” and provide “violent extremists with access to new audiences and instruments for radicalization.”
The US government stated they will combat these extremist groups by “raising awareness about the threat and providing communities with practical information and tools for staying safe online.” They are solidifying their relationships with private sector corporations involved in technology to implement “policies, technologies, and tools that can help counter violent extremism online.”
The 2011 document entitled “Empowering Local Partners to Prevent Violent Extremism in the United States” outlines how a “comprehensive strategy” to counter the influence of al-Qaeda is being championed by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) with digital information sharing and coordinating intelligence with local law enforcement to thwart terrorist plots and “save many American lives”.
Using propaganda, under the guise of “local partners in their grassroots efforts to prevent violent extremism” the federal government is building a network with local law enforcement against the threat of radicalization online and in the real-world.
The document names plots devised by neo-Nazis, anti-Semitic hate groups, racial supremacists, international and domestic terrorists inspired by al-Qaeda as a threat to the US. The federal government is utilizing local police departments to build a “local level . . . resilience against violent extremism.”
DHS trains local police officers at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) provides funding to local police departments to send their officers to FLETC to receive militarized education in tactical operations.
FLETC has locations in Georgia, New Mexico, South Carolina, andWashington DC. This federal militarization of local police extends tointernational policing agencies which “develops, coordinates, manages, and delivers international training and technical assistance that promotes the rule of law and supports U.S. foreign policy.”
Another report the White House is using to justify the demonization of US citizens as radical extremists is entitled “Strategic Implementation Plan for Empowering Local Partners to Prevent Violent Extremism in the United States”. This report, published in December of 2011, further reinforces the role of local police departments to ‘address community needs and concerns, including protecting rights and public safety.”
The federal government acquires platforms to infiltrate communities they have identified as potentially under threat of violent extremist groups. Across the nation, senior officials are deployed with the assistance of fake grassroots propaganda to partner with “Governor-appointed Homeland Security Advisors, Major Cities Chiefs, Mayors’ Offices, and local partners.”
Training of local police department officers to paramilitarize and integrate them into military tactical operations is the key to combating localized extremism.
Over the last few years the DHS have been indoctrinating local police departments into “non-Federal law enforcement agencies” as outlined in the DHS directive from the Office for State and Local Law Enforcement (SLLE).
DHS is successful in their relationship with local police departments all across the nation because they are contracted private security firms (or hired armed guards) that are placed in a city or town to secure the population and generate revenue for the local government.
In early 2012, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) released a reportentitled “Homeland Security and Intelligence: Next Steps in Evolving the Mission” which outlined in part on how to redirect efforts of the federal government from international terrorism toward home-grown terrorists and build a DHS-controlled police force agency that would control all cities and towns through the use of local police departments.
DHS maintains that “the threat grows more localized” which necessitates the militarization of local police in major cities in the US and the training of staff from local agencies to make sure that oversight is restricted to the federal government.
Countering online extremism is a task allocated to the DHS who have identified “behaviors, tactics, and other indicators that could point to potential terrorist activity.” DHS will host conferences for local police departments and federal partners to attend that will provide education on countering extremism.
Other “training initiatives” include “hundreds of thousands of front line officers” who are the ground-force infantry needed by DHS to “prevent” extremist activities.
The “If You See Something, Say Something” campaign is specifically designed to target local communities to turn ordinary citizens into a Stasi for the federal government with the local police department allocated as their first line of intelligence gathering.
Intelligence on citizens who are supposed to be extremists is gathered from multiple avenues such as:
• Local government
• Local law enforcement
• Parent/Teacher Associations
• School district officials
• Influential members of local communities
• Religious leaders
These collaborations provide “critical information” and real-time “assessments of [any] threat” to local communities and incorporate this information into training programs and federal initiatives.
(Refreshing News) Prison sentences of black men were nearly 20% longer than those of white men for similar crimes in recent years, an analysis by the U.S. Sentencing Commission found.
That racial gap has widened since the Supreme Court restored judicial discretion in sentencing in 2005, according to the Sentencing Commission’s findings, which were submitted to Congress last month and released publicly this week.
In its report, the commission recommended that federal judges give sentencing guidelines more weight, and that appeals courts more closely scrutinize sentences that fall beyond them.
The commission, which is part of the judicial branch, was careful to avoid the implication of racism among federal judges, acknowledging that they “make sentencing decisions based on many legitimate considerations that are not or cannot be measured.”
Still, the findings drew criticism from advocacy groups and researchers, who said the commission’s focus on the very end of the criminal-justice process ignored possible bias at earlier stages, such as when a person is arrested and charged, or enters into a plea deal with prosecutors.
“They’ve only got data on this final slice of the process, but they are still missing crucial parts of the criminal-justice process,” said Sonja Starr, a law professor at the University of Michigan, who has analyzed sentencing and arrest data and found no marked increase in racial disparity since 2005.
Douglas A. Berman, a law professor at the Ohio State University who studies sentencing, said, “It’s not surprising that the commission that’s in charge of both monitoring and amending the guidelines has a general affinity for the guidelines.”
The Sentencing Commission didn’t return requests for comment.
The Supreme Court, in the 2005 case U.S. v. Booker, struck down a 1984 law that required federal district judges to impose a sentence within the range of the federal sentencing guidelines, which are set by the commission.
The law was meant to alleviate the disparity in federal sentences, but critics say placing restrictions on judges can exacerbate the problem by rendering them powerless to deviate from guidelines and laws that are inherently biased. An often-cited example is a federal law that created steeper penalties for crack-cocaine offenses, which are committed by blacks more frequently than whites, than for powder-cocaine offenses.
Congress reduced the disparity in 2010.
In the two years after the Booker ruling, sentences of blacks were on average 15.2% longer than the sentences of similarly situated whites, according to the Sentencing Commission report. Between December 2007 and September 2011, the most recent period covered in the report, sentences of black males were 19.5% longer than those for whites. The analysis also found that black males were 25% less likely than whites in the same period to receive a sentence below the guidelines’ range.
The Sentencing Commission released a similar report in 2010. Researchers criticized its analysis for including sentences of probation, which they argued amplified the demographic differences.
In the new study, the Sentencing Commission conducted a separate analysis that excluded sentences of probation. It yielded the same pattern, but the racial disparity was less pronounced. Sentences of black males were 14.5% longer than whites, rather than nearly 20%.
Jeff Ulmer, a sociology professor at Pennsylvania State University, described the commission’s latest report as an improvement but said it was “a long way from proving that [judicial discretion] has caused greater black-white federal sentencing disparity.”
(Huffington Post) In late January, shortly after President Barack Obama began his second term, Navy Cmdr. Walter Ruiz stood inside an old airplane hangar on the southernmost tip of the island and reflected on a central but unfulfilled promise of Obama’s 2008 campaign.
“We’re still here,” Ruiz said, as reporters milled around the aging hangar, which has been repurposed as a work space for the journalists and human rights observers who have been flying in and out of Guantanamo since the first suspected terrorists were brought here 11 years ago. Instead of planes, the hangar is now home to several trailer-size sheds with slanted roofs. More offices line the hangar’s perimeter, and a giant map of the base is painted on the floor. Screeching bats fly in and out of the hangar at night.
“We’re still in military commissions. We’re still arguing about the basic protections the system affords us. We’re still talking about indefinite detention,” Ruiz continued. “We’re still talking about not closing the facility.”
After years of legal wrangling, the trials of Khalid Sheikh Muhammad and four other men allegedly responsible for the 9/11 attacks have barely gotten off the ground. Ruiz, an attorney for alleged 9/11 organizer and financier Mustafa Ahmed Hawsawi, estimates he has traveled to Guantanamo 50 to 100 times for client meetings and pre-trial hearings on legal minutiae since he joined the military’s defense counsel office in September 2008.
“I’m here trying this case, people were here trying this case in 2008, arguing many of the same motions we’re arguing now,” Ruiz said. “And I think folks that have been around here for a while would tell you not much has changed at all.”
During his first campaign for the White House, Obama pledged to end an ugly chapter in American history and prove to the world that the United States could safeguard the country from terrorism without sacrificing its commitment to freedom and liberty.
“In the dark halls of Abu Ghraib and the detention cells of Guantanamo, we have compromised our most precious values,” Obama declared in a speech on Aug. 1, 2007. In one of his first acts upon taking office in January 2009, the president, flanked by admirals and generals, directed the military to close the prison camp here within a year.
Today, however, the detention center at Guantanamo appears less likely than ever to close. There are 166 people currently imprisoned, down from a high of 684 in 2003. But those who remain are likely to do so indefinitely. Effectively banned from the continental U.S. by Congress, disowned by their home countries and unwelcome pretty much everywhere else, they have no place to go.
In addition to the seven Guantanamo detainees currently facing charges — including the five charged in relation to the 9/11 attacks — 24 may face charges in the future. Three current detainees have already been convicted in military tribunals: one was sentenced to life in prison, one is scheduled to be released pending testimony in another case and one has had his sentencing delayed for four years.
Of the rest, however, the U.S. has designated 86 detainees for release but can’t actually set them free. Thirty are from Yemen, and the U.S. won’t send them back there while it remains a hotbed of terrorism. No country is willing to accept the others. And it’s a political nonstarter to release them into the U.S.
In 2010, Obama’s Guantanamo Task Force determined that another 46 were “too dangerous to transfer but not feasible for prosecution.” And so they remain stuck here, in limbo.
Obama has periodically reiterated his intention to close the detention center, most recently during an appearance on “The Daily Show” with Jon Stewart in October. But the public pressure on him to do so has largely died down, as tales of detainee abuse at the hands of CIA interrogators fade into the past and the media turns its attention to new fronts in the war on terrorism, such as the administration’s drone program.
The truth is that nobody is really in a hurry to close Guantanamo. Defense attorneys, whose ultimate goal is to keep their clients alive, certainly aren’t in a rush, and have adopted a strategy of throwing up procedural objections that often slow the court’s already glacial pace. Prosecutors, anxious to avoid any possible legal challenges that could come up on appeal, are moving deliberately to make sure they’re dotting every “i” and crossing every “t.” Last month, the Obama administration shuttered the State Department office tasked with planning Guantanamo’s closure.
As a result, the vague idea of indefinite detention is looking more specifically like life in prison, at least for those detainees who are not sentenced to death by the military commissions. And with the youngest detainee still in his 20s, Guantanamo could conceivably remain open for decades to come.
‘HAVE A GOOD TIME’
It’s no surprise, then, that as Obama’s second term begins, Guantanamo seems to be putting down roots. Indeed, parts of the naval base have taken on the appearance of a new beachside housing development. Hundreds of homes are currently under construction in neighborhoods with names like Iguana Terrace and Marina Point, to house the growing population of military personnel, civilian contractors and their families, which currently stands at approximately 5,000.
The base features a Starbucks, a Subway, a McDonald’s, a KFC/Taco Bell, a supermarket, a golf course, a restaurant serving Jamaican jerk chicken and an Irish pub. A gift shop sells stuffed iguanas and T-shirts emblazoned with Guantanamo Bay slogans like “Close, But No Cigar.”
Fidel Castro bobbleheads are one of the most popular items for sale at the base’s radio station, Radio GTMO, which broadcasts popular tunes like PSY’s “Gangnam Style”. Cuban music bleeds over from stations on the other side of the island.
Improvements have also been made to the areas of the base that house the detainees. The Bush administration quickly replaced the temporary Camp X-Ray with more permanent facilities in 2002, after photos emerged of detainees in orange jumpsuits sitting in chain-link holding pens, causing an outcry from human rights groups and criticism from around the world. In 2011, the Obama administration added a new soccer field for some of the cooperative detainees, along with covered walkways that allow them to move between cellblocks unescorted.
The joke around Gitmo is that the detainees enjoy nicer facilities than the guards, who live in temporary metal trailers scattered all over the base. But the guards, too, may soon get an upgrade. The commander of the base, Capt. John Nettleton, recently told Reuters that he wants to build a new cafeteria for the camp’s personnel, along with a permanent barracks.
Some of the most significant changes have taken place at Camp Justice, the section of the base that houses the court facilities and the tent city for visiting lawyers, human rights observers, journalists and court officials. The Bush administration had proposed a major $125 million expansion, including a new courthouse and a hotel to replace the tent city. Congress balked at the project, however, and then-Defense Secretary Robert Gates quickly condemned it. The $12 million substitute, technically a temporary facility, was completed in 2008.
The windowless, barn-like structure looks like something that might hold a high-school basketball court, and is surrounded by layers of barbed-wire fences. Inside, however, it is state of the art, featuring a soundproof spectator gallery, digital document displays for lawyers and audio speakers under the table that broadcast Arabic translations of the proceedings for defendants who refuse to wear headphones. Whereas the old courthouse held a single, cramped courtroom, the new facility has space to try up to five defendants at once.
Visiting defense attorneys now stay in new townhouse condos, but journalists and observers remain relegated to Camp Justice’s tent city. In the airplane hangar, there is an “internet cafe” where human rights observers have set up an office. “We now have a printer this time, which we’ve been asking for for a while,” said Laura Pitter, a counterterrorism adviser with Human Rights Watch. “We have a working phone in there now. We didn’t have a working phone last time.”
In addition to his official portrait, visible in a few locations around the base, there are other subtle reminders that Obama is now in charge. The tents at Camp Justice are outfitted with energy-efficient light bulbs. The cover of “The Wire” — the newsletter of Joint Task Force Guantanamo, the entity which runs GTMO’s prisons — features a photo of Obama’s ceremonial swearing in at his second inauguration. A military spokesman who travels with reporters to Guantanamo is married to another man.
There have been victories for members of the media. New divider walls give journalists a bit more privacy in their heavily air-conditioned six-person tents. Reporters are now allowed to roam around parts of the base without an escort and no longer have a curfew — privileges that journalists embedded with the military in Iraq and Afghanistan have enjoyed for years but were absent at Guantanamo until last month. In January, visiting journalists were given a tour of one of the holding cells located next to the courtroom facility for the first time in years.
“Have a good time,” a young guard told the reporters about to tour the cell, after scanning them for metal or electronic devices.
Unlike the Bush administration, the Obama administration has been relatively hands off when it comes to media restrictions at Guantanamo, letting officials on the ground set the rules.
Still, it was under Obama that four reporters, including Miami Herald reporter Carol Rosenberg, widely considered the dean of the Guantanamo press corps, were banned from Guantanamo for life in May 2010 for disclosing the name of a witness whose identity is under a protective order, despite the fact that his name was already public. The reporters fought the ban, and the Pentagon overturned it that July.
The new courthouse, in many ways, is the end result of a long debate about how to try the detainees. The Bush administration — which housed the suspected terrorists at Guantanamo in order to avoid the due process required under the U.S. criminal justice system, as well as the Geneva conventions’ prohibitions on torture — adamantly opposed the idea of trying them in U.S. courts. The Supreme Court has ruled, however, that foreign terrorism suspects do have the right to challenge their detention in U.S. courts.
Obama shut down the military tribunals as soon as he took office and began exploring ways to transfer the suspected terrorists to American soil — possibly to a prison in Illinois — and try them in federal courts. Throughout the long, hot summer of 2009, however, as the Tea Party movement blossomed, Republicans charged that closing Guantanamo would put Americans in danger, potentially even leading to terrorist prison breaks. Senate Democrats, lead by Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), also opposed transfering the detainees and cut off $80 million Obama had requested to do so, claiming the administration had done too little to outline its plans.
Andy Worthington, a journalist and activist who has been writing about the camp for seven years, said that Congress, which has repeatedly prevented Obama from using federal money to transfer any detainees out of Guantanamo, shares some of the blame for the camp’s continued existence. Reid, who recently claimed it was “nobody’s fault” that Guantanamo had not been closed, is “part of the absolute failure,” Worthington said.
Reid did not respond to a request for comment.
At Guantanamo, some members of the military are quick to point out that the Pentagon didn’t seek out the duty of trying terrorists in the tribunal system, but that it was rather a burden imposed on the military by Congress. “They should really call them congressional commissions instead of military commissions,” one officer joked.
But ultimately, Worthington said, Obama will have his name attached to the camp, just as Bush’s was.
“He will go down in history fairly clearly as the man who failed to close this abomination,” Worthington said. “They will judge that President Obama failed to close it pretty much because he ran up against political difficulties.”
“I think that Obama did not want to invest the political capital in it to take the steps necessary to make it happen,” Pitter said.
Unable to close Guantanamo, Obama restarted the military commissions in March 2011. He did succeed, however, in reforming them to a certain extent, increasing transparency and bringing their policies and handling of evidence closer in line with U.S. courts. But the legality of the commissions is still being debated, and the detainees may appeal any verdicts in federal court, setting up a prolonged battle that will likely wind its way back to the Supreme Court.
For now, Brig. Gen. Mark S. Martins is the man with the difficult task of selling the world on the legitimacy of the proceedings. Martins took the job of chief prosecutor in October 2011, and he is a staunch defender of trying the detainees in military commissions as opposed to federal courts.
“There are narrow but important differences, and this often gets lost when I talk about federal courts, because someone will say, ‘Hey, he should try to just mimic federal courts, why do you need [military commissions]?'” Martins said, sitting in a bare-bones office in the old court building at the top of the hill overlooking the new courthouse. “This just fuels the argument about how, why are they necessary? The differences are important.”
Miranda rights don’t apply in military commissions — statements just need to be determined to be voluntary in order to be included as evidence. There are also looser rules on hearsay statements. Martins said the distinctions between U.S. courts and the military commissions could be “decisive in certain cases.”
The reformed military commissions are designed to address some of the concerns of both the U.S. government and human rights advocates. Any statements obtained as a result of torture or cruel or degrading treatment are prohibited. Detainees have greater access to classified information that might be relevant to building their defense cases. Journalists have increased standing before the court.
“Anyone who was familiar with the process before and looks at it now, I think, is looking fairly at it, would say there’s a significant proportion more of this proceeding that we can look at, understand, analyze,” Martins said.
Demonstrating that transparency has proven difficult at times, however. Last month, in the first day of hearings in the 9/11 case, an anonymous censor cut off the closed-circuit TV feed of the proceedings that members of the media were watching. Normally, the judge and the court security officer could censor information they feel should remain classified. But neither had moved to censor the information in this instance, leaving journalists and defense lawyers to infer that the CIA was secretly pulling the strings behind the scenes and undermining the commission’s established rules.
The judge ordered the outside censor button removed, but the controversy ate up most of the week’s proceedings, even bleeding into a separate hearing involving a defendant charged in connection with the attack on the USS Cole in October 2000, as defense attorneys questioned whether they could ethically continue if they believed their communications were being monitored. Two weeks later, when the hearings reconvened, lawyers were still debating issues involving the monitoring of communications that the incident raised.
Similarly, Martins has sought to dismiss charges against a number of detainees that he feels are not sustainable under international law, only to be overruled by the more senior Pentagon officials who oversee the military commissions.
Martins told HuffPost that, to him, the dispute over the charges is about “principled disagreements” between government officials carrying out their duties “honorably and faithfully under the law.” Critics, however, say it shows that the reforms to the commissions system are just cosmetic changes to a fundamentally flawed tribunal process.
“Some people call him the ‘re-brander.’ He was going to come in here, he was going to lend his name, his rank, his stature, and legitimize this process,” Ruiz said of Martins. “Now you have that person talking to another official and telling him, ‘I think this is a bad idea. I think we need to remove these charges because it will remove the legal uncertainty moving forward.’ And you have this non-entity — which is not a party, not a prosecutor, not a defense counsel, he’s not a judge — who says, ‘No, I’m not going to do it.'”
“That alone is remarkable,” said Ruiz.
“What happens when he’s not here?” asked Human Rights Watch’s Pitter, who similarly praised Martins for bringing the military commission procedures closer in line with those of federal courts. “What happens when there’s a prosecutor who is going to use all the rules at his disposal for a commission like this?”
Martins, who is 52 and has deferred promotion and retirement to continue in his role as chief prosecutor at Guantanamo, said he’s in it for the long haul. “We’re making progress,” he insisted.
“I’m here as long as it takes,” Martins said. “This is my last job in the military. I’ve gotten word that although my retirement date would have been November of 2014, it can actually be years, well after that. I’m committed to this.”
(www.sherriequestioningall.blogspot.com) Well is it any wonder they want to wipe out every single Bill of Rights we have? We have had only 2 left, the 2nd amendment (they are working on) and the 1st amendment (up to a point).
Obama is set to sign an Executive order on Wednesday for Cyber Security, due to all the hackings going on.
I have a question for everyone? Have you ever seen any of the “top secret” documents from hackings? We heard about the Pentagon hacking last week. Yet I never saw anything from it. We heard about the Bush email hacks the other day. The only thing released was a portrait that Bush Jr. painted of himself. So, in other words…. we are suppose to just take their word for it all. Just like all the other events. If they say it “it must be true.” Jeez… have they ever lied to us before? The government and media wouldn’t do that now…. would they?
Oh.. how convenient for the government that Aaron Swartz committed suicide a couple of weeks ago, considering he is the one who was instrumental in stopping any other cyber security (control) of the internet.
With the “control” of the internet, we will not actually have our 1st amendment left. They will begin taking down the sites they do not want. They will stop the flow of information of truth and questioning their actions.
Don’t think that won’t happen? When the government takes control of anything…. has any good ever come from it?
We don’t know what is going to be in that Executive order, but I guess we will find out after it is signed. OH… who was that person in 2008 who spoke about transparency and all bills/orders being on the net 2 days before being voted or signed off on? Oh… yeah that Nobel Peace Prize winner who has murdered more innocent people with drones and begun more wars than any other President before him.
Portion from article:
The White House is poised to release a cybersecurity executive order on Wednesday, two people familiar with the matter told The Hill.
The highly anticipated directive from President Obama is expected to be released at a briefing Wednesday morning at the U.S. Department of Commerce, where senior administration officials will provide an update about cybersecurity policy.
The White House began crafting the executive order after Congress failed to pass cybersecurity legislation last year. Officials said the threat facing the United States was too great for the administration to ignore.
(eutimes.net) A grim Federal Security Forces (FSB) “urgent action” memorandum prepared for President Putin is warning that United States President Barack Obama has ordered at least 800 highly trained “death squad” units to disperse throughout his country in preparation for what Russian intelligence analysts are predicting to be a series of high-profile killings of dissident Americans set to begin as soon as February 22nd.
According to this memo, Obama was emboldened to implement this murderous plan against his own citizens after this past weeks US Federal Court ruling granted his regime the right to kill, without trial or charges, any American he so chooses, and keep the reason(s) for doing so secret.
Important to note about this shredding of the US Constitutional protections the American people once lived under was the disgusted wording used by United States District Court Judge Colleen McMahon who in handing down this frightening ruling, in part, said:
“The Alice-in-Wonderland nature of this pronouncement is not lost on me; but after careful consideration, I find myself stuck in a paradoxical situation in which I cannot solve a problem because of contradictory constraints and rules — a veritable Catch-22. I can find no way around the thicket of laws and precedents that effectively allow the Executive Branch of our Government to proclaim as perfectly lawful certain actions that seem on their face incompatible with our Constitution and laws, while keeping the reason for their conclusion a secret.”
Equally important to note about the Obama regimes murderous plan, this memo continues, was a likewise chilling ruling issued last month by United States Appeals Court Judge Raymond Lohier that allows the American President to detain indefinitely any citizen he so chooses without trial or charges, a move so grave and draconian it led to the Academy Award-winning director Oliver Stone saying about Obama:
“I think under the disguise of sheep’s clothing he has been a wolf. That because of the nightmare of the Bush presidency that preceded him, people forgave him a lot. He was a great hope for change. The color of his skin, the upbringing, the internationalism, the globalism, seemed all evident. And he is an intelligent man. He has taken all the Bush changes he basically put them into the establishment, he has codified them.
That is what is sad. So we are going into the second administration that is living outside the law and does not respect the law and foundations of our system and he is a constitutional lawyer, you know. Without the law, it is the law of the jungle. Nuremburg existed for a reason and there was a reason to have trials, there is a reason for due process – ‘habeas corpus’ as they call it in the United States.”
The excuse to be used by the Obama regime in order to begin their targeted killings of American dissidents, FSB analysts say, is that these otherwise lawful citizens were not complying with the new gun control laws Vice President Joseph Biden “guaranteed” Boston Mayor Thomas Menino would be enacted by the end of January.
Critical to note is that Obama permanently solidified the enmity of the American gun-rights supporters when, during the 2008 Presidential primary, he was recorded at a political fundraiser saying of rural, working-class Americans: “So it’s not surprising, then, that they get bitter and they cling to guns or religion, or antipathy toward people who aren’t like them, or anti-immigrant sentiment, or, you know, anti-trade sentiment [as] a way to explain their frustrations.”
Most interesting to note in this memo is its saying that the “master plan” Obama intends to use in disarming his citizens has already been openly discussed and published by the highly influential progressive American political blogDaily Kos, that is said does not repeat Democratic “talking points,” it generates political talking points that later are found in mainstream publications and from Democratic politicians themselves, and is now opening advocating indiscriminate armed raids to be used as an “example” to frighten other citizens into obeying their Washington D.C. masters who will order them all to disarm.
The “death squads” being deployed throughout the United States under Obama’s orders, this memo continues, are frighteningly called VIPER teams, which is the acronym for Visible Intermodal Prevention and Response Team, a programme run by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and whose agents terrify millions of Americans with Nazi-like Gestapo tactics on a daily basis at airports and who report to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
So frightening have these TSA agents become that London’s Guardian News Service, this past April, in their article titled “The TSA’s Mission Creep is Making the US a Police State”, warned that these Obama regime henchmen are spreading out across the entire United States in order to control every aspect of American citizens life: “never in response to actual threats, but apparently more in an attempt to live up to the inspirational motto displayed at the TSA’s air marshal training center since the agency’s inception: “Dominate. Intimidate. Control.”
And to how these TSA VIPER Team “death squads” will “dominate, intimidate and control” dissident Americans, this memo says, was made even more chillingly clear this past week when the DHS ordered another 200,000 rounds of hollow point ammunition on top of the 1.6 billion rounds of this internationally banned ammunitionalready secured by them over the last 9 months alone. These nearly 2 billion rounds of ammunition stand in sharp contrast to US military forces who use only 70 million rounds of ammunition per year in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Russian military analysts contributing to this memo further note that the Obama regimes saying that these massive DHS ammunition purchases are for “practice and training purposes” is “preposterous” as all firearms training done by military and/or police forces “always” use less expensive rounds. Retired US Army Major General Jerry Curry, likewise, agreed with his Russian counterparts when he stated that the Obama regimes “explanation about the bullets fails to pass the smell test”.
Most ominous, perhaps, in this memo is its stating that the “exact” plan for the Obama regimes disarming of its citizens appears to have been predicted by the famous martyred American dissident William Cooper (1943-2001), who in his 1991 book “Behold A Pale Horse” wrote:
“The government encouraged the manufacture and importation of firearms for the criminals to use. This is intended to foster a feeling of insecurity, which would lead the American people to voluntarily disarm themselves by passing laws against firearms. Using drugs and hypnosis on mental patients in a process called Orion, the CIA inculcated the desire in these people to open fire on schoolyards and thus inflame the anti-gun lobby. This plan is well under way, and so far is working perfectly. The middle class is begging the government to do away with the 2nd Amendment.”
Cooper, who former President Bill Clinton once called “the most dangerous man in America”, was gunned down by US authorities shortly after the 11 September 2001 attacks which, in a radio broadcast on 28 June 2001, hepredicted an attack on America and stated that Osama Bin Laden would be named as the primary scapegoat.
With the tragic events of the Sandy Hook Elementary School Massacre still fresh in the American peoples mind, combined with Obama’s new unlimited power to kill and detain any American citizen he so desires, this memo concludes, the conditions for “wholesale rebellion” in the United States is just “one spark” away from becoming a reality, and which these heavily armed TSA VIPER Team “death squads” are sure to provide.
(Washington’s Blog) -The President of the United States, Head of the Federal Reserve and Others Say Blogs Are Good Sources of News
President Obama said:
Blogs are best at debunking myths that can slip through a lot of the traditional media outlets.
Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke noted (according to Matt O’Brien, business and economics editor at the Atlantic):
I read blogs. Blogs have become pretty important source of intellectual exchange.
David Steele – former 20-year Marine Corps infantry and intelligence officer, the second-ranking civilian in U.S. Marine Corps Intelligence, and former CIA clandestine services case officer – says that blogging is crucial for saving our country.
Many of the top economists and financial experts have their own blogs.
So next time someone tells you that blogs aren’t credible, tell ‘em that mainstream leaders disagree …
Postscript: Because mainstream media and even social media tend to censor, many people are turning to blogs for unfiltered news and opinions from top experts.
Ben Emmerson wants to be clear: He’s not out to ban flying killer robots used by the CIA or the U.S. military. But the 49-year-old British lawyer is about to become the bane of the drones’ existence, thanks to the United Nations inquiry he launched last week into their deadly operations.
(Wired.com) Emerson, the United Nations’ special rapporteur for human rights and counterterrorism, will spend the next five months doing something the Obama administration has thoroughly resisted: unearthing the dirty secrets of a global counterterrorism campaign that largely relies on rapidly proliferating drone technology. Announced on Thursday in London, it’s the first international inquiry into the drone program, and one that carries the imprimatur of the world body. By the next session of the United Nations in the fall, Emmerson hopes to provide the General Assembly with an report on 25 drone strikes in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia and Palestine where civilian deaths are credibly alleged.
That carries the possibility of a reckoning with the human damage left by drones, the first such witnessing by the international community. Accountability, Emmerson tells Danger Room in a Monday phone interview, “is the central purpose of the report.” He’s not shying away from the possibility of digging up evidence of “war crimes,” should the facts point in that direction. But despite the Obama administration’s secrecy about the drone strikes to date, he’s optimistic that the world’s foremost users of lethal drone tech will cooperate with him.
In conversation, Emmerson, who’s served as special rapporteur since 2011, doesn’t sound like a drone opponent or a drone skeptic. He sounds more like a drone realist. “Let’s face it, they’re here to stay,” he says, shortly after pausing to charge his cellphone during a trip to New York to prep for his inquiry. “This technology, as I say, is a reality. It is cheap, both in economic terms and in the risk to the lives of the service personnel who are from the sending state.
“And for that reason there are real concerns that because it is so cheap, it can be used with a degree of frequency that other, more risk-based forms of engagement like fixed-wing manned aircraft or helicopters are not,” Emmerson says. “And the result is there’s a perception of the frequency and intensity with which this technology is used is exponentially different, and as a result, there is necessarily a correspondingly greater risk of civilian casualties.”
57th Presidential Inaugural
The United States Secret Service in cooperation with its local, state and federal security, public safety and military partners, has developed an overall security plan for the 57th Presidential Inaugural. Inaugural activities will take place beginning on Sunday, January 20 through Monday, January 21, 2013, with the Inaugural ceremonies scheduled for Monday, January 21.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has designated the Inaugural as a National Special Security Event (NSSE). When an event is designated an NSSE, the Secret Service assumes its role as the lead federal agency for the design and implementation of the operational security plan. The Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Police Department (MPD), the U.S. Capitol Police and the U.S. Park Police as well as a number of other local, state and federal agencies, will play a critical operational role in securing the Inauguration and resources will be deployed to maintain the appropriate level of security.
- Secret Service Announces Security Information for the 2013 Presidential Inaugural (PDF File)
- 2013 Presidential Inaugural Law Enforcement and Public Safety Public Affairs Subcommittee Announces Joint Transportation Plan (PDF File)
- View a map of Vehicle Restrictions (PDF File)
- View a map of Pedestrian Walking Routes (PDF File)
The following security measures will be in place for the 57th Presidential Inaugural:
- Downtown Area Road Closures: Vehicle restricted zones will be in effect beginning at 7 a.m. on Sunday, January 20, through 7 a.m. on Tuesday, January 22. Restrictions will be implemented on a rolling schedule, beginning at Pennsylvania Avenue NW from 2nd Street NW to 15th Street NW. All closures will be in place by the morning of Monday, January 21. All vehicular road closures in Washington, D.C., will be instituted by MPD. Inquiries pertaining to road closures should be directed to the MPD Office of Public Information at (202) 727-4383. Details will also be available online at www.inauguration.dc.gov and at www.secretservice.gov.
- Security Screenings: All attendees, including general public and ticketed guests, are subject to a thorough security screening before entering the Inaugural parade route, the White House reviewing stand and the Inaugural balls. Please allow for additional time for this security screening, as it is expected that lines may be long.
- Prohibited Items: As a security precaution, the following items will be prohibited from the Inaugural parade route, the White House reviewing stand and the Inaugural balls:
- Animals other than helper/guide dogs
- Bags and signs exceeding size restrictions (8″x6″x4″)
- Glass or thermal containers
- Laser pointers
- Mace / Pepper spray
- Supports for signs and placards
- Weapons of any kind
- Any other items determined to be potential safety hazards
Signs and placards must be made only of cardboard, poster board or cloth and have dimensions no greater than three feet in width, 20 feet in length and one-quarter inch in thickness. Surrendered items will not be returned, nor available for pick-up.
The following public entry points will open at 6:30 a.m. on Monday, January 21, 2013, and will remain open until the parade route can no longer accommodate additional people.
- - 2nd Street NW and C Street NW
- - John Marshall Park at C Street NW
- - Indiana Avenue NW between 6th St NW and 7th St NW
- - 7th Street NW and D Street NW
- - 10th Street NW and E Street NW
- - 12th Street NW and E Street NW
- - E Street NW just east of 13th Street NW
- - 13th Street NW and E Street NW
- - 14th Street NW and E Street NW
- - 12th Street NW and Constitution Avenue NW
- - 10th Street NW and Constitution Avenue NW
- - 7th Street NW and Constitution Avenue NW
- - Constitution Avenue between 6th Street NW and 7th Street NW
All parade route security screening entry points will be able to accommodate persons with disabilities. There are additional screening entry points for the ticketed seating at the U.S. Capitol and the White House viewing areas. Details for the swearing-in at the Capitol are available at www.inaugural.senate.gov.
- Prohibited Items at the U.S. Capitol: The following items will be prohibited from the ticketed viewing areas at the U.S. Capitol grounds:
- Aerosol sprays
- Air horns
- Alcoholic beverages
- Animals (other than service animals)
- Duffel bags
- Explosives of any kind (including fireworks)
- Firearms and ammunition (either real or simulated)
- Glass containers
- Knives, blades, or sharp objects (of any length)
- Large bags
- Laser pointers
- Mace and/or pepper spray
- Pocket or hand tools, such as “Leatherman” tools
- Portable chairs (other than those for disabled persons)
- Sticks or poles
- Other items that may pose a threat to the security of the event as determined by and at the discretion of the security screener
- Cold Weather Preparedness: The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reminds attendees to plan ahead to prevent cold-weather related health problems. Infants and the elderly are particularly at risk, but anyone can be affected. Attendees of all ages will likely need hats, water-resistant coats, scarves or knit masks to cover the face and mouth, and gloves or mittens. Mittens are warmer than gloves. Wool, silk or polypropylene inner layers of clothing will hold in more body heat than cotton. Perspiration can increase heat loss, and wet clothing can chill the body rapidly. To prevent cold-related health problems, dress in layers of loose-fitting clothes, including extra socks, which can be removed as they become damp. For more information on cold weather and avoiding hypothermia and frostbite, visit http://emergency.cdc.gov/disasters/winter/.
- Air Security: A combined air security plan will be implemented to provide airspace security for the Washington metropolitan area. Enhanced airspace restrictions on general aviation have been released and can be accessed online at the Federal Aviation Administration web page: www.faa.gov. Pilot inquiries should be directed to 866-598-9522.
- Water Security: There will be an enhanced security presence on the waterways around Washington, D.C. Inquires should be directed to the U.S. Coast Guard via marine band radio VHF channel 16 or the Metropolitan Police Department Harbor Patrol at 202-727-4582.
Additional information for charter operators, as well as residents of the District, Virginia and Maryland, is available online through the following websites:
- Maryland Department of Transportation
- National Capital Region Updates
- Virginia State Police
- Washington Area Metropolitan Transit Authority
In addition, Inaugural information is available on the following sites to help those planning to attend the inaugural events:
- Presidential Inaugural Committee
- Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies
- D.C. Presidential Inaugural Committee
Information will be available prior to and during Inauguration day on social media sites such as Twitter. To see Inauguration related material, please use #inaug2013. Some of the Twitter sites being used to communicate information from the Inaugural public safety and security partners include:
- District Department of Transportation - @ddotdc
- Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies - @jccic2013
- Joint Task Force-National Capital Region - @JTFNCR
- National Terrorism Advisory System - @NTASAlerts
- Office of the D.C. Mayor - @MayorVinceGray
- Secret Service - @SecretService
- U.S. Department of Homeland Security - @DHSgov
- WMATA - @metroinaug
Emergency alerts and public notifications regarding the Inauguration will be available via text messaging. To receive these messages, text the word “INAUGURATION” to 888777. Text messaging fees may apply according to your cellular plan.
(Examiner) -President Obama is heading into his second Inauguration buoyed by his highest approval ratings in three years, though still far from his January 2009 high when Democrats were predicting they were on the verge of eliminating the GOP.
Gallup has Obama at 52 percent approval, a level he hasn’t seen since the beginning of 2010 and John Zogby puts the president at 56 percent approval, his best since October 2009. When he was first inaugurated, he had a 68 percent Gallup approval rating.
The Zogby Analytics poll of 826 likely voters found Obama receiving majority approval ratings from most groups: me, 52 percent; women, 59 percent; Democrats, 91 percent; independents, 55 percent; 18-29 year olds, 68 percent; 30-49 year olds, 60 percent; 50-64 year olds, 53 percent; Hispanics, 65 percent; African Americans, 95 percent.
Moving beyond his base, Zogby told Secrets that president gets a surprising 40 percent approval among evangelical voters, 25 percent among conservatives, and 16 percent among Republicans.
With his positive numbers above 50 percent, it’s probably no wonder, said Zogby, that a majority, 53 percent, are optimistic about the future of the country during Obama’s second term or that 49 percent want the GOP to “put partisan politics aside and support the agenda of President Obama and the congressional Democrats.”
(IBITimes) -Last month’s shooting massacre in Newtown, Conn., not only jump-started a long-stalled conversation about gun control in the United States. It also caused an enormous rise in gun sales, amid rumors that Democrats would attempt to restrict gun ownership in the wake of the tragedy.
The FBI conducted more than 2.7 million criminal background checks ahead of gun purchases in December, a 58.6 percent increase from December 2011. Gun dealers across the nation are reporting record gun and ammo sales, according to a New York Times investigation, with one Iowa dealer telling the newspaper, “If I had 1,000 AR-15s [assault rifles] I could sell them in a week.”
Some say the National Rifle Association has used fear-mongering to increase gun sales, noting that Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre once sent a fundraising letter to members that warned President Barack Obama wanted to “confiscate our firearms” following the Aurora, Colo., movie theater shootings in July. But during an appearance on CNN’s State of the Union on Sunday, NRA President David Keene denied the organization has encouraged Americans to stock up on firearms, instead pointing the finger at gun control advocates.
“The person — the two people who were selling so-called assault rifles are Senator Feinstein and President Obama, not us. They are the ones that are scaring American gun owners,” Keene said, after host Candy Crowley noted that multiple pro-gun lawmakers have supported the idea of reviewing a new assault weapons ban.
U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., has vowed to introduce a new assault weapons bill that would ban the sale and manufacturing of certain semiautomatic rifles, handguns and high-capacity magazines.
For his part, Keene said any additional restrictions on assault weapons or high-capacity magazines would do nothing to combat the country’s epidemic of gun violence. Both policies are expected to be included in a package of proposals that will be released by Vice President Joe Biden’s gun violence prevention task force this week.
After meeting with Biden’s task force last week, the nation’s largest gun lobby released a statement saying it intended to oppose any legislative attempt to restrict federal gun laws.
“We will not allow law-abiding gun owners to be blamed for the acts of criminals and madmen,” the group said. “Instead, we will now take our commitment and meaningful contributions to members of Congress of both parties who are interested in having an honest conversation about what works — and what does not.”
(Western Journalism) - It’s even worse than we previously thought. A retired four-star admiral is now claiming that Barack Obama intentionally conspired with America’s enemies to stage a bogus attack and the kidnapping of an American ambassador so he could “negotiate” the release of a “hostage” and bolster his mediocre approval ratings just prior to the election!
The Washington Examiner, quoting retired Four-Star Admiral James Lyons, writes: “the attack on the American Consulate in Benghazi… was the result of a bungled abduction attempt…. the first stage of an international prisoner exchange… that would have ensured the release of Omar Abdel Rahman, the ‘Blind Sheik’…”
But something went horribly wrong with Obama’s “October Surprise.” Although the Obama Administration intentionally gutted security at the consulate prior to the staged kidnapping, former Navy SEALs Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty disobeyed direct orders to stand down, saved American lives, single-handedly killed scores of attackers…and the attackers, believing that Obama had betrayed them, tortured Ambassador Chris Stevens and dragged his body through the streets.
Some will say that Admiral Lyons’ accusation is not a smoking gun. We agree; that’s exactly why Congress must investigate Benghazi-gate.
Moreover, we firmly believe the problem with Admiral Lyons’ assertion is that he is only scratching the surface; the full and complete truth may be much, much worse.
Benghazi-gate is not about a bogus YouTube video series of lies. It’s not about the Obama Administration’s foreign policy ineptitude. We are dealing with something much more sinister… something potentially treasonous… and the following questions, posed in an article in The New American, go to the heart of the matter:
1. ”What was the Obama administration’s full role in helping violent Jihadists, self-styled al Qaeda terrorists, and Western-backed “revolutionaries” take over Libya in the first place?
2. Did that half-baked scheme to arm Jihadist leaders, who… had previously fought U.S. troops in Iraq, contribute to the attack, as countless experts and officials have suggested?
3. What was actually going on at the compound in Benghazi, which, as the report states, was never a “consulate” despite establishment media claims?
4. Was Ambassador Stevens recruiting and arming Jihadists and terrorists to wage war on the Syrian regime after what Obama called the “success” in Libya, as a growing body of credible evidence suggests?
5. Why did the administration claim for so long that the attack was just a “protest” over a YouTube video gone awry, even when it knew definitively that was not the case?
6. Was the lack of security at the compound a political ploy to conceal the extent of the lawlessness and utter chaos left in the wake of Obama’s unconstitutional “regime change” war on Libya, as even members of Congress have alleged?”
It’s clear. Benghazi-Gate is only a small piece of a much larger operation, an attempt to conceal what The New American calls “the Obama administration’s full role in helping violent Jihadists and self-styled al Qaeda terrorists.”
Prior to the election Barack Obama continually told us that “Osama bin-Laden is dead and GM is alive”; but the sad truth is that Osama bin-Laden’s organization is alive and well, and the Obama Regime may be giving aid and comfort to this terrorist network.
And prior to the election, Fox News’ Geraldo Rivera pontificated that Republicans shouldn’t “politicize” Benghazi-gate. Swaggering onto the set of Fox and Friends, Rivera bloviated: “I think we have to stop this politicizing.” And Rivera issued the following veiled warning to Republicans: “Do we want to try and influence the election with a tragedy that happened in North Africa?”
Ironic, isn’t it? Barack Obama played politics with the lives of Americans; like Rivera, the media covered Obama’s rear and threatened to accuse anyone and everyone who mentioned it of “playing politics.”
Weak-willed Republicans apparently took Rivera’s threat to heart as Rivera also said that Republican Senators John Barrasso, James Inhofe, and Bob Corker, who all sit on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, “all agree that the supercharged atmosphere around the story — prudence dictates that these hearings be postponed until” after the election.
Well, the election has come and gone. Congress now has no excuse. The American people needed the truth before the election; but now that Obama is back in the White House, real conservatives must demand answers.
The American people deserve to have those questions answered; and moreover, the American people deserve justice.
Since President Barack Obama took office, the amount paid out by the SNAP has increased yearly. In FY 2009, it was reported to be at USD 55.6 billion, meaning the amount has increased by USD 24.8 billion during the past three years until 2012.
Food stamps are government vouchers, restricting eligible consumers to buy only food at grocery stores and no hot meals.
The number of Americans using food stamps hit a record high in September of 2012 when 47.7 million received help from the SNAP.
Most often, the Americans living on food stamps live on about USD 4 a day to eat. That is a dollar and forty cents for each meal.
Official figures from September 2012 showed that more than 46 million Americans, 15 percent of the US population, are living in poverty, making it the highest rate during the past 40 years.
(Judicial Watch) -Judicial Watch, the public interest group that investigates and prosecutes government corruption, today released its 2012 list of Washington’s “Ten Most Wanted Corrupt Politicians.” The list, in alphabetical order, includes:
- Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-FL)
- Secretary of Energy Steven Chu
- Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and UN Ambassador Susan Rice
- Attorney General Eric Holder
- Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-IL)
- Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ)
- President Barack Obama
- Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV)
- Rep. David Rivera (R-FL)
- Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius
Dishonorable Mentions for 2012 include:
- Former Sen. John Edwards (D-NC)
- Rep. Michael Grimm (R-NY)
- Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano
- Gen. David Petraeus
- Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA)
- Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA)
In July 2012, the House Ethics Committee, after a haphazard investigation, reported that Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-FL) had omitted information on his financial disclosure forms over four years. However, the ethics committee took no action because once caught, Rep. Buchanan evidently corrected the “errors.” What, exactly, were the errors? In his disclosure statements for 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010, Buchanan failed to report all of his positions or ownership interests in six entities and income received from the entities.
In a separate matter, the committee continues to investigate findings of the Office of Congressional Ethics, Congress’s independent ethics review board, that there is “substantial reason to believe that Representative Buchanan attempted to influence the testimony of a witness in a proceeding before the FEC [Federal Election Commission].”
The alleged violation occurred during an FEC probe of Buchanan’s former business partner, Sam Kazran. According to Kazran, during the FEC probe, Buchanan offered him a $2.9 million settlement in a separate lawsuit if Kazran would lie about his role in a campaign cash laundering scheme involving Buchanan’s Florida car dealerships. CNN reports that the FBI is now conducting its own investigation into possible federal witness tampering.
“The final decisions on Solyndra were mine,” said Secretary of Energy Steven Chu in his testimony before the House Energy and Commerce Oversight Committee on November 17, 2011. And this should be his political epitaph. Chu’s decision to pour $528 million tax dollars into a failing green energy boondoggle that went belly-up in 2011 is indefensible and corrupt, especially in light of the fact that Solyndra’s key investor (Tulsa billionaire George Kaiser) also happens to be a major Obama campaign donor.
On March 12, 2012, Rep. Darrell Issa’s (R-CA) Energy and Oversight Committee exposed the full extent of Chu’s incompetence and corruption in a report citing “numerous examples of dysfunction, negligence and mismanagement by DOE [Department of Energy] officials, raising troubling questions about the leadership at DOE and how it has administered its loan guarantee programs.” The report accused Chu’s DOE of having “turned a blind eye to the risks that have been glaringly apparent since the inception of the program.”
Whether Chu indeed made the “final” decision on Solyndra, or is simply protecting the president and his donor, this is a scandal of a major magnitude. And yet, it is only the tip of the iceberg. As Peter Schweizer, author of the book Throw Them All Out wrote, “According to the Department of Energy’s own numbers … In the 1705 government-backed-loan [green energy] program, $16.4 billion of the $20.5 billion in loans granted … went to companies either run by or primarily owned by Obama financial backers—individuals who were bundlers, members of Obama’s National Finance Committee, or large donors to the Democratic Party.”
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and UN Ambassador Susan Rice lied about the events surrounding the Benghazi massacre. Hillary Clinton, the only First Lady to have been the subject of a grand jury investigation, is a regular visitor to our Most Corrupt list, while this is a first-time appearance for Ms. Rice.
One day after the attack, on September 12, 2012, Sec. Clinton said the following: “Some have sought to justify this vicious behavior, along with the protest that took place at our embassy in Cairo yesterday, as a response to inflammatory material posted on the Internet. America’s commitment to religious tolerance goes back to the very beginning of our nation. But let me be clear — there is no justification for this, none.” She then joined President Obama in taping a television ad apologizing to the Muslim world for the obscure video, spending a reported $70,000 in taxpayer funds on the ad buys.
And then Rice repeated the Benghazi lie, over and over again on every major television news network. Hillary Clinton’s and Rice’s lies about one of the most significant terrorist attacks since 9/11 are, perhaps, the scandal of the year out of this administration. Little wonder that in his October 2012 testimony Eric Nordstrom, a former a top security official in Libya who was criticized for seeking more security in Benghazi, felt compelled to tell the House Oversight Committee that conversations he had with people in Washington led him to believe that it was “abundantly clear we were not going to get resources until the aftermath of an incident. How thin does the ice have to get before someone falls through?”
He said he was so exasperated at one point he told a colleague that “for me the Taliban is on the inside of the building.”
A regular on our annual Top Ten Corrupt list, Holder shamelessly operates the most blatantly politicized Department of Justice (DOJ) in a generation. And, with the Operation Fast and Furious scandal, it is no exaggeration that his agency has blood on its hands.
Fast and Furious was a reckless DOJ/Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) “gun-running” scheme in which guns were sold to Mexican drug cartels and others, apparently in the hope that the guns would end up at crime scenes. Well, they did – and it appears that the guns were involved in the deaths of hundreds of Mexican citizens, as well as the murder of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry, who was killed in a shootout with Mexican criminals in December 2010. On December 5, 2012, CBS News reported that 17 DOJ and ATF officials had been faulted in an Inspector General investigation of the Fast and Furious scandal. But, the man at the top remains unscathed, even after becoming the first attorney general in history to be cited for criminal contempt of Congress for refusing to divulge documents about DOJ lies to Congress about Fast and Furious.
Every day that Eric Holder remains at the helm, the Department of Justice sinks further into the abyss of cronyism, corruption, and deceit. And it is well past time for him to go.
On November 21, 2012, Rep. Jesse Jackson resigned from Congress in disgrace, acknowledging in his statement that he had made his “share of mistakes.” This may well be the understatement of year. Jackson has been under federal investigation for alleged campaign finance improprieties, including reportedly using donor dollars to remodel his home and purchase personal gifts, a potential criminal violation. Add to that the fact that Jackson was one of the major figures implicated in the massive scandal involving jailed former Illinois Governor Rod “Blago” Blagojevich, who was brought to justice in 2011 for a number of crimes, including his efforts to “sell” President Obama’s vacant U.S. Senate seat to the highest bidder. The evidence strongly suggests Jackson was one of those bidders.
Because Jackson refused to resign before the November elections, Illinois taxpayers will now be faced with costs of a special election: estimated to cost $5.1 million.
The late great Chicago newspaperman Mike Royko famously said that the official motto of Chicago should be “Ubi Est Mea — Where’s mine?” Clearly, Jackson and his cohorts have taken this motto to heart.
Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) joins the Judicial Watch’s list of Washington’s “Ten Most Wanted Corrupt Politicians for 2012” in what might be considered a sort of “Lifetime Achievement Award.”
As far back as 2007, Sen. Menendez was investigated by a federal grand jury for illegally steering lobbying business to his former chief of staff Kay LiCausi, with whom he was also romantically linked. In just a few years, her firm reported $1.3 million in business with nearly $300,000 coming from a New Jersey medical center that was later awarded government funding thanks to a push from her former boss and lover.
In 2010, Menendez and his colleague in corruption, Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), allocated $8 million for a public walkway and park space adjacent to upscale, waterfront condos built by a developer whose executives have donated generously to their political campaigns. The veteran legislators have received about $100,000 in contributions from the developer, according to federal election records. Perhaps not so coincidentally, the developer’s Washington D.C. lobbyist was a longtime senior aide to Menendez.
And to top it all off, in October 2012, The Daily Caller broke the story that two women from the Dominican Republic claimed that the senator had procured their services while on Spring Break at the luxurious Casa de Campo. Then in mid-December, the Associated Press revealed that Menendez employed an illegal immigrant as an unpaid intern in his Senate office who was a registered sex offender.
Were there a “Hall of Fame” for broken promises, here is one that would get in on the first ballot: “Let me say it as simply as I can: Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency” (President Barack Obama, January 21, 2009). Instead of transparency and the rule of law over the past four years, we have witnessed the greatest expansion of government in modern political history and, consequently, an explosion of government secrecy, scandals, and abuses of power. Among the low-lights:
- Illegal recess appointments: Perhaps former Attorney General Ed Meese and Todd Graziano summed it up best in their January 5, 2012, Washington Post guest commentary: “President Obama’s attempt to unilaterally appoint three people to seats on the National Labor Relations Board and Richard Cordray to head the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (after the Senate blocked action on his nomination) is more than an unconstitutional attempt to circumvent the Senate’s advice-and-consent role. It is a breathtaking violation of the separation of powers and the duty of comity that the executive owes to Congress.”
- Illegal immigration: In mid-June, Obama announced that by executive decree – and in apparent violation of his oath of office – his administration would stop deporting and begin granting work permits to younger illegal immigrants who came to the U.S. as children. According to The AP, “the policy change … bypasses Congress and partially achieves the goals of the so-called DREAM Act, a long-sought but never enacted plan …” Lest anyone doubt that Obama knew he was overriding the law of the land, in March, 2011, he said, “There are enough laws on the books by Congress that are very clear in terms of how we have to enforce our immigration system that for me to simply, through executive order, ignore those congressional mandates would not conform with my appropriate role as President.”
- Unprecedented secrecy: Judicial Watch has had to file almost 1,000 Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests and nearly 100 lawsuits against the Obama administration on issues ranging from Obamacare to the continued funding of the criminal ACORN network; from tracking Wall Street bailout money to the unconstitutional use of czars; to White House visitor logs; to the attacks on the integrity of our nation’s elections. This president touts transparency but condones law-breaking of open records laws by his administration.
- Unconstitutional czars: As far back as 2009, Reuters reported, “Name a top issue and President Barack Obama has probably got a ‘czar responsible for tackling it.” By the time the Judicial Watch Special Report President Obama’s Czars was published in October 2011, the number of Obama czars had skyrocketed to 45. Largely unconfirmed by and unaccountable to the Senate, many of Obama’s czars are often outside the reach of FOIA. Some of these czars exercise unprecedented and unconstitutional control over major aspects of government policy and programs. And a number of the czars have been linked to scandals, thefts and kickbacks, flagrant and offensive statements, conflicts of interest, and radical leftist political ideologies and policies.
- Use of Executive Privilege to protect Eric Holder: On June 20, 2012, Barack Obama acquiesced to a plea from Attorney General Eric Holder and asserted “executive privilege” to protect the Attorney General from being prosecuted for failing to provide Congress with Fast and Furious documents. On March 22, 2011, when asked by a Univision TV if he had been informed of the Holder gunrunning program, Obama bluntly stated, “Absolutely not. This is a pretty big government, the United States government. I’ve got a lot of moving parts.” So, as Judge Andrew Napolitano said on Fox News, “They can’t have it both ways. If the President was not personally involved, executive privilege does not apply.” To this day, President Obama refuses to detail the specific documents he is withholding from Congress.
The list could go on ad infinitum – with Benghazigate, bailouts, abusing the perks of office for luxury vacations for his family, and, of course, his personal involvement in the Solyndra scandal. But the bottom line is this: The federal government under Barack Obama is off the rails and out of control. And now, with Obama having been given the “flexibility” of a second term, it can only be expected to get worse.
A July 30, 2012, headline in the Las Vegas Review-Journal alerted Nevadans to Sen. Harry Reid’s latest influence-peddling scandal – this one involving ENN Energy Group, a Chinese “green energy” client of the Nevada law firm of which Reid’s son, Rory, is a principal.
As Reuter’s reported on August 31, 2012, “Reid has been one of the project’s most prominent advocates, helping recruit the company during a 2011 trip to China and applying his political muscle on behalf of the project in Nevada. His son, a lawyer with a prominent Las Vegas firm that is representing ENN, helped it locate a 9,000-acre (3,600-hectare) desert site that it is buying well below appraised value from Clark County, where Rory Reid formerly chaired the county commission.”
“Well below appraised value” is a considerable understatement. The deal Rory Reid put together for the firm his dad brought to town saw ENN purchase the site for just $4.5 million – a mere fraction of separate appraisals that valued the property at $29.6 million and $38.6 million. Even with all of that, however, the project has failed to move forward as rapidly as Harry and Rory Reid would like – for the simple reason that there is currently no market in Nevada for the green energy ENN claims it could produce.
But, of course, funneling money to the Reid family is nothing new for the Senate Majority Leader. As the Washington Post reported in a February 7, 2012, story titled “Public projects, private interests:”
In 2004 and 2005, the Senate majority leader secured $21.5 million to build a bridge over the Colorado River, linking the gambling resort town of Laughlin, Nev., with Bullhead City, Ariz. Reid owns 160 acres of undeveloped land in Bullhead City.
And according to Peter Schweizer, writing for Fox News on December 12, 2012, “Sen. Reid has sponsored at least $47 million in earmarks that directly benefitted organizations that one of his sons, Key Reid, [RW1] either lobbies for or is affiliated with.
Needless to say, the well-entrenched Sen. Reid has been a repeat Top Ten offender.
On October 24, 2012, the Florida ethics commission found “probable cause” that Rep. David Rivera (R-FL) had committed 11 violations of state ethics laws during his time in the Florida legislature. This comes amidst reports that Rivera remains under federal investigation over his personal and campaign finances. And, in a separate matter, the congressman is under investigation by the FBI for secretly funding the campaign of Justin Lamar Sternad, a candidate running against Joe Garcia in the Democratic primary earlier this year. Garcia defeated Rivera in the November election.
The “probable cause” findings stem from an investigation by the FBI and the IRS regarding Rep. Rivera’s dealings with the Flagler Dog Track, now known as the Magic City Casino. The basis for the investigation relates to payments reportedly totaling as much as $1 million made by the casino to Millennium Marketing in the guise of a consulting contract. Most of the money is said to have been paid in 2008. Millennium Marketing is owned by Rivera’s mother and godmother, and Rivera supposedly benefited from the arrangement, and is thus the subject of a tax evasion inquiry.
For a long time, Rep. Rivera denied ever receiving any income from the dog track, but just before heading to Congress, Rivera admitted receiving $132,000 in “undisclosed loans” from Millennium. He claims he paid the money back. Investigators are also taking a close look at Rivera’s campaign spending, including $75,000 he paid in 2010 “to a now-defunct consulting company owned by the daughter of a top aide.”
On September 12, 2012, Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius became the first member of the President’s cabinet in U.S. history to have been found guilty of violating the Hatch Act when she campaigned for the reelection of Barack Obama in her official capacity of Secretary of HHS. According to Politico, “During a speech to the Human Rights Campaign Gala in North Carolina in February, Sebelius . . . outlined the Obama administration’s accomplishments so far and said, ‘One of the imperatives is to make sure that we not only come together here in Charlotte to present the nomination to the president, but we make sure that in November he continues to be president for another four years.’”
After the speech, Sebelius tried to cover her tracks by reclassifying the event from “official” to “political,” and claiming her appearance was in her personal capacity. The scheme didn’t work.
According to the official statement put out by the U.S. Office of Special Counsel: “The Office of Special Counsel (OSC) sent findings to the President today from its investigation of complaints of prohibited political activity by Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius. OSC concluded that Secretary Sebelius violated the Hatch Act when she made extemporaneous partisan remarks in a speech delivered in her official capacity on February 25, 2012. The Hatch Act prohibits federal employees from using their official authority or influence to affect the outcome of an election.”
Thoroughly unapologetic, Ms. Sebelius justified her transgression by informing the OSC that she simply “got a little caught up in the notion that the gains which had been made would clearly not continue without the president’s reelection.” In other words, her Obamacare agenda took precedence over the law. Normally, when a government official is found violating the Hatch Act, the punishment is termination. How did President Obama respond? There was no punishment whatsoever.
On May 31, 2012, a jury in the corruption trial of former U.S. Senator from North Carolina and presidential candidate John Edwards said that it could not agree on a verdict for five of six counts, and U.S. District Judge Catherine Eagles was forced to declare a mistrial. But, while Edwards may have been partially exonerated (he was acquitted on one count), he was certainly not vindicated.
John Edwards conducted an illicit affair with campaign employee Rielle Hunter that resulted in the birth of their daughter. Meanwhile, behind the scenes, Edwards reportedly persuaded his former political aide Andrew Young to claim that he was the father of the child, and not Edwards. The ruse failed and Edwards was forced to admit to the whole sordid mess. The focus then shifted to whether Edwards unlawfully diverted campaign funds to hide the affair.
Edwards denies the claim, but according to witness testimony Hunter and Young received nearly a million dollars in “hush” payments from philanthropist Rachel “Bunny” Mellon and Texas billionaire Fred Baron, two campaign donors who did not want to see the scandal derail Edwards’ pursuit of the White House. According to an excellent analysis by Hans Von Spakovsky at the Heritage Foundation, the money paid to Edwards’ mistress was “dishonest, dishonorable, and illegal:”
“Federal law…prohibits the conversion of campaign funds to any personal use (2 U.S.C. §439a). Most important, FEC regulations state that the payment of a personal expense by any person other than the candidate is considered a contribution to the candidate, unless the payment would have been made irrespective of the candidacy (11 CFR 113.1). As the FEC said in a prior advisory opinion (AO 2008-17), the key question is, ‘Would the third party pay the expense if the candidate was not running for Federal office?’”
In short, John Edwards may have eluded the reach of the law. But, in the courtroom of public opinion he remains one of the “Ten Most Wanted Corrupt Politicians” for 2012.
Though Staten Island’s Rep. Michael Grimm managed to eke out a reelection victory on November 6, it wasn’t because he had failed to supply his opponent with serious issues of campaign corruption. During the race, Grimm was the subject of an FBI investigation into allegations that his 2010 congressional campaign had accepted contributions over the legal limit and from noncitizen donors via Ofer Biton, a former aide to a prominent Israeli rabbi, in exchange for helping Biton obtain a green card.
According to ABC News, “In early 2012, the New York Times reported that Grimm, a devout Catholic and former agent for the FBI, allegedly accepted illegal donations from members of an Upper East Side rabbi’s congregation. Ofer Biton, an Israeli citizen and a top aide to the prominent Orthodox rabbi Yoshiyahu Yosef Pinto, came under investigation by the FBI over allegations that Biton embezzled millions of dollars from the congregation. It is said that while campaigning with Biton, the Grimm campaign collected over $500,000 in campaign contributions.”
According a Gallup Poll, a full 62 per cent of the American people believe that stopping illegal immigration should be a top priority of the U.S. government. Unfortunately for the American people, Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano is not numbered among that 62%. And she is the person who is supposed to be enforcing the law. Last year, Napolitano opened the floodgates of illegal immigration by having the Department of Homeland Security review all cases then before the immigration courts with an eye towards halting the deportation of many illegal immigrants allegedly with no criminal backgrounds. (JW uncovered records demonstrating this to be an utter lie. Many of the illegals let off the hook were convicted of violent crimes.)
Not satisfied with skirting the law in 2011, Napolitano decided to abandon it altogether in 2012. Accordingly, on June 15, 2012, she announced: “By this memorandum, I am setting forth how, in the exercise of our prosecutorial discretion, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) should enforce the Nation’s immigration laws against certain young people who were brought to this country as children and know only this country as home.”
In short, this amounted to blanket “temporary” amnesty for illegals under the age of 30. With her single statement, she simply declared upwards of one million illegal aliens entirely legal. Just like that. No legislation. No debate. No votes. No court rulings. The Constitution of the United States notwithstanding. And, in so doing, she violated the Oath of Office she had taken when sworn in as secretary of Homeland Security on January 21, 2009: “I, do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God.”
General Petraeus was forced to resign after news leaked of his long-term extramarital affair with Paula Broadwell, a writer and military analyst who penned a Petraeus biography. Compounding the scandal are questions involving whether Petraeus’ mistress had improper access to classified information from the nation’s top spy. At the University of Denver on July 28, Broadwell said, “I had access to everything, it was my experience not to leak it, not to violate my mentor, if you will.”
There is also a major question about whether Petraeus misled Congress about the Benghazi attack in his initial congressional testimony. On September 14, just days after the attack on the consulate, Petraeus briefed congressional intelligence leaders, reportedly telling them he believed the attack was spontaneous and not carefully pre-planned. Yet on Friday, November 16, in private hearings before Senate and House intelligence committees, Petraeus changed his story. According to Fox News: “Petraeus’ testimony both challenges the Obama administration’s repeated claims that the attack was a “spontaneous” protest over an anti-Islam video, and according to [New York Rep. Peter] King conflicts with his own briefing to lawmakers on Sept. 14. Sources have said Petraeus, in that briefing, also described the attack as a protest that spun out of control.”
Judicial Watch uncovered evidence that Elizabeth Warren gave false statements under oath regarding Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) activities when she served as the agency’s interim director. According to the records, Warren and the CFPB were intimately involved in brokering a 50-state settlement underway with the nation’s largest mortgage lenders related to alleged improper foreclosure procedures. This evidence seems to contradict Warren’s statements before Congress suggesting her office responded to requests for advice, but did not seek to push its views.
During a March 16, 2011, hearing of the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit, Ms. Warren downplayed her agency’s involvement in the state settlement negotiations: “We have been asked for advice by the Department of Justice, by the Secretary of the Treasury, and by other federal agencies. And when asked for advice, we have given our advice.”
But this does not come close to telling the full story.
Emails obtained by Judicial Watch from several states suggest her agency’s participation was far more intense and aggressive. Warren called emergency meetings by phone and in person with attorneys general nationwide to contribute unsolicited input on the matter. The documents also indicate that Warren’s office insisted on keeping its contact with the state attorneys general secret. For example, in a February 25, 2011, email to the Executive Committee of the National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG), Iowa Assistant Attorney General Patrick Madigan wrote: “Elizabeth Warren would like to present the CFPB’s view on loan modifications.” Two weeks earlier, a similar email was distributed to NAAG’s Loss Mitigation Subgroup on Warren’s behalf. In an email on February 15 regarding that meeting, Madigan points out that “The CFPB wanted me to stress the confidential nature of this briefing.”
In early December, Democrats chose the scandal-plagued Rep. Maxine Waters to be the ranking member on the House Financial Services Committee despite her many transgressions over the years. The influential congresswoman has helped family members make more than $1 million through business ventures with companies and causes that she has helped, according to her hometown newspaper.
In August 2010, Waters’ influence peddling earned the attention of a subcommittee of the House Ethics Committee which charged Rep. Waters with three counts of violating House rules and ethics regulations in connection with her use of power and influence on behalf of OneUnited Bank. After a highly controversial investigation, plagued by accusations of impropriety and corruption, on September 12, the committee failed to hold Waters to account for steering a $12 million to OneUnited, in which she and her board member husband held shares.
The Financial Services Committee, among other responsibilities, has jurisdiction over all issues pertaining to; you guessed it, the banking system.
(RT) -President Barack Obama signed the National Defense Authorization Act of 2013 on Wednesday, giving his stamp of approval to a Pentagon spending bill that will keep Guantanamo Bay open and make indefinite detention for US citizens as likely as ever.
The NDAA, an otherwise mundane annual bill that lays out the use of funds for the Department of Defense, has come under attack during the Obama administration for the introduction of a provision last year that allows the military to detain United States citizens indefinitely without charge or trial for mere suspicions of ties to terrorism. Under the 2012 NDAA’s Sec. 1021, Pres. Obama agreed to give the military the power to arrest and hold Americans without the writ of habeas corpus, although he promised with that year’s signing statement that his administration would not abuse that privilege.
In response to the controversial indefinite detention provision from last year, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-California) introduced an amendment in December 2012 that would have forbid the government from using military force to indefinitely detain Americans without trial under the 2013 NDAA. Although that provision, dubbed the “Feinstein Amendment,” passed the Senate unanimously, a select panel of lawmakers led by Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin (D-Michigan) stripped it from the final version of the NDAA two week later before it could clear Congress. In exchange, Congress added a provision, Sec. 1029, that claims to ensure that “any person inside the United States” is allowed their constitutional rights, including habeas corpus, but supporters of the Feinstein Amendment say that the swapped wording does nothing to erase the indefinite detention provision from the previous year.
“Saying that new language somehow ensures the right to habeas corpus – the right to be presented before a judge – is both questionable and not enough. Citizens must not only be formally charged but also receive jury trials and the other protections our Constitution guarantees. Habeas corpus is simply the beginning of due process. It is by no means the whole,” Sen. Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) said after the Feinstein Amendment was removed.
“Our Bill of Rights is not something that can be cherry-picked at legislators’ convenience. When I entered the United States Senate, I took an oath to uphold and defend the Constitution. It is for this reason that I will strongly oppose passage of the McCain conference report that strips the guarantee to a trial by jury,” Sen. Paul added.
Although the Pres. Obama rejected the indefinite detention clause when signing the 2012 NDAA, a statement issued late Wednesday from the White House failed to touch on the military’s detainment abilities. On the other hand, Pres. Obama did voice his opposition to a number of provisions included in the latest bill, particularly ones that will essentially render his promise of closing the Guantanamo Bay military prison impossible.
Despite repeated pleas that Gitmo will be closed on his watch, Pres. Obama failed to do as much during his first term in the White House. Thanks to a provision in the 2013 NDAA, the Pentagon will be unable to use funds to transfer detainees out of that facility and to other sights, ensuring they will remain at the top-secret military prison for the time being.
“Even though I support the vast majority of the provisions contained in this Act, which is comprised of hundreds of sections spanning more than 680 pages of text, I do not agree with them all. Our Constitution does not afford the president the opportunity to approve or reject statutory sections one by one,” Pres. Obama writes.
Congress, claims the president, designed sections of the new defense bill “in order to foreclose my ability to shut down the Guantanamo Bay detention facility.”
“I continue to believe that operating the facility weakens our national security by wasting resources, damaging our relationships with key allies and strengthening our enemies,” he says.
Elsewhere, the president claims that certain provisions in the act threaten to interview with his “constitutional duty to supervise the executive branch” of the United States.
Before the 2013 NDAA was finalized, it was reported by the White House that Pres. Obama would veto the legislation over the provisions involving Guantanamo Bay. Similarly, the White House originally said the president would veto the 2012 NDAA over the indefinite detention provisions, although he signed it regardless “with reservations” on December 31 of that year.
Since authorizing the 2012 NDAA, the president has been challenged in federal court by a team of plaintiffs who say that the indefinite detention clause is unconstitutional. US District Judge Katherine Forrest agreed that Sec. 1021 of the 2012 NDAA violated the US Constitution and granted a permanent injunction on the Obama administration from using that provision, but the White House successfully fought to appeal that decision.
Commenting on the latest signing, American Civil Liberties Union Executive Director Anthony Romero says, “President Obama has utterly failed the first test of his second term, even before inauguration day.”
“His signature means indefinite detention without charge or trial, as well as the illegal military commissions, will be extended,” adds Romero. “He also has jeopardized his ability to close Guantanamo during his presidency. Scores of men who have already been held for nearly 11 years without being charged with a crime-including more than 80 who have been cleared for transfer-may very well be imprisoned unfairly for yet another year. The president should use whatever discretion he has in the law to order many of the detainees transferred home, and finally step up next year to close Guantanamo and bring a definite end to indefinite detention.”
(RT) -With less than a week until a powerful legislation expires that lets the government eavesdrop on the phone and email conversations of Americans, the Senate has convened in DC to discuss whether or not to renew the FISA Amendment Act.
“Everyone becomes suspect when big brother is listening,” Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) said recently while arguing against renewing the FAA in the House of Representatives.
Despite pleas from Rep. Kucinich and others, the House has agreed to support renewing the FAA, a decision that has met the approval of the Obama White House as well.
Earlier this month, Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) even told his colleagues in the Senate that there was no need to debate the bill at all since it had already received the blessing of US President Barack Obama.
Had Sen. Chambliss had his way, the Senate was likely to have skipped debates altogether and approved a renewal of the FAA without any discussion. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada) urged his peers to do otherwise, though, and insisted that talks be held in Washington immediately in order to tackle the FAA before it expires.
Should the Senate not re-new the FAA before December 31, the bill will expire and the warrantless wiretapping provisions will be erased. On Thursday, December 27, members of the Senate met in Washington to begin discussing the act. A vote was scheduled later in the afternoon, but then was moved to Friday.
If the FAA is renewed, the federal government will be extended the ability to warrantlessly wiretap Americans for another five years. If that is the case, though, Congress will be given another chance to consider provisions that will provide for at least some transparency only a day later.
Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Oregon), a long-time opponent of FISA, is expected to have the chance to introduce an amendment on Friday that, if approved, will force the National Security Agency (NSA) to finally open up about their use of the FAA’s warrantless wiretapping provisions.
Earlier this year, Sen. Wyden told Wired’s Danger Room, “If no one will even estimate how many Americans have had their communications collected under this law then it is all the more important that Congress act to close the ‘back door searches’ loophole, to keep the government from searching for Americans’ phone calls and emails without a warrant.”
Wyden — who sits on the Senate Foreign Intelligence Committees — has unsuccessfully asked time and time against for the NSA to explain how they use the FAA. Even if the FAA is renewed this week, the approval of Sen. Wyden’s proposed amendment would mean the NSA would have to at least give a general estimate of how many Americans it has targeted since 2008.
Senators Rand Paul (R-Kentucky), Jeff Merkley (D-Oregon) and Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont) are all expected to propose amendments that will influence how the NSA uses the FAA too.
(Godfather Politics) There are rising concerns on Capitol Hill that President Obama is considering sending US troops into Syria. The military has already taken steps to increase its presence in the area and has been supplying Patriot missiles to Turkey.
At a recent press conference, Rep Walter Jones (R-NC) explained his resolution before the House (H.Con. Res. 107), saying:
“The sense of Congress that the use of offensive military force by a president without prior and clear authorization of an Act of Congress constitutes an impeachable high crime and misdemeanor under article II, section 4 of the Constitution.”
The US Constitution states that only Congress has the power to maintain an army, navy and to declare war. None of these fall under the constitutional duties of the president. Article I, Section 8 of says:
“The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;…”
“To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water;”
“To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years;”“To provide and maintain a Navy;”
In a surprise move, one noted Democratic congressman has sided with Jones. Charles Rangel (D-NY) explained that the proper constitutional procedure for sending troops to war is for the president to go to Congress with the request first. Having Congressional approval is viewed as meeting the will of the people, although that can be questioned in today’s politics.
Others that have expressed support of Jones’ actions are Michael Michaud (D-ME); Ron Paul (R-TX), Mo Brooks (R-AL) and Justin Amash (R-MI).
Jones and his supporters sent a letter to President Obama which read in part:
“Outside of an actual or imminent attack on America, the only precursor to war can be the authorization of Congress. We call on you to abide by our Constitution, and rely on our country’s representatives to decide when war is necessary.”
When asked what he would do if Obama does carry out his intentions of sending troops to Syria without congressional approval, Jones said he would have no choice but to bring impeachment charges against the president.
(OffGridSurvival) -Hours after President Obama’s new Gun Task force met for the first time, Attorney General Eric Holder announced that The Obama Administration may use executive order to implement gun control in the wake of the Connecticut School shooting.
According to Reuters, Attorney General Eric Holder announced that The Obama Administration will consider executive action as part of its new gun policy. Holder, who was once quoted saying we have to “Brainwash people into thinking about guns in a vastly different way”, told reporters that they are working on a range of options that will be rolled out over the coming weeks.
Holder is part of a new gun violence task force, created by President Barack Obama and headed by Vice President Joe Biden, that will guide the administration through their efforts to enact gun control legislation.
Thursday’s meeting included Attorney General Eric Holder, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano and Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius. After the meeting concluded, Holder told reporters that any gun control measures would include a “strong and robust” Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
In my opinion, this action has been in the works for some time. In fact, back in August we reported how the DOJ was in the process of figuring out how they could use their power to make it more difficult for Americans to purchase guns.
(NTEB) -Spurred by a horrific elementary school shooting, President Barack Obama tasked his administration Wednesday with creating concrete proposals to reduce gun violence that has plagued the country.
“This time, the words need to lead to action,” said Obama, who set a January deadline for the recommendations. He vowed to push for their implementation without delay.
The president, who exerted little political capital on gun control during his first term, also pressed Congress to reinstate an assault weapons ban, which expired in 2004. He also called for stricter background checks for people who seek to purchase weapons and limited high capacity clips.
“The fact that this problem is complex can no longer be an excuse for doing nothing,” Obama said. “The fact that we can’t prevent every act of violence doesn’t mean we can’t steadily reduce the violence.”
Obama’s announcement Wednesday underscores the urgency the White House sees in formulating a response to the shooting in Newtown, Conn. Twenty children and six adults were killed when a man carrying a military-style rifle stormed an elementary school.
The massacre has prompted several congressional gun rights supporters to consider new legislation to control firearms, and there is some concern that their willingness to engage could fade as the shock and sorrow over the Newtown shooting eases.
Obama said Wednesday it was “encouraging” to see people of different backgrounds and political affiliations coming to an understanding that the country has an obligation to prevent such violence.
Appealing to gun owners, Obama said he believes in the Second Amendment and the country’s strong tradition of gun ownership. And he said “the vast majority of gun owners in America are responsible.”
The president tasked Vice President Joe Biden with leading the administration-wide effort to create new gun control policies. Obama also wants his team to consider ways to improve mental health resources and address ways to create a culture that doesn’t promote violence.
Joe Biden 2008: If Obama ‘tries to fool with my Beretta, he’s got a problem’ source – Washington Examiner
The departments of Justice, Education, Health and Human Services, and Homeland Security will all be part of the process.
Biden’s prominent role in the process could be an asset for the White House in getting gun legislation through Congress. The vice president spent decades in the Senate and has been called on by Obama before to use his long-standing relationships with lawmakers to build support for White House measures. source – Yahoo News