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If You’re a Second Amendment Supporter, This Story Will Scare You

Mar 24, 2015 // 8:08am
As seen on Fox and Friends
A federal program could be “choking off” legal businesses that deal in guns and ammunition.

Operation Choke Point is a secretive Obama administration program that was originally intended to help prevent fraud by eliminating access to banks for certain businesses. But now it appears that the program – overseen by the Justice Department, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and other agencies – has been expanded and is being used to target legal businesses that Obama administration officials are opposed to.

Gun store owner Mike Schuetz says the federal government forced his bank to close his recently opened account, all because he’s a legal gun dealer.

Luckily, Schuetz operates a private investigation company and he was able to put his investigatory skills to use and capture chilling audio that reveals why his business was targeted.

Schuetz, who opened Hawkins Guns LLC in Hawkins, Wisconsin, in November 2014, explained to Kimberly Guilfoyle on “Fox and Friends” that he recorded a conversation with Heritage Credit Union, in which the branch manager says that they closed his account because they do not service businesses that deal in guns and ammunition.

“It’s a sad day in America when this can happen to you,” Schuetz told Guilfoyle. “I didn’t realize how big of an issue it was until I started investigating what had happened to me.”

Schuetz said that he hopes a Capitol Hill hearing today will bring light to the situation, put the controversy to rest and hold those behind the Operation Choke Point program accountable.

Watch more on this outrageous story above.

New Federal Agency? The Department of Peacebuilding
March 9, 2015 By Cara Delvecchio

Many Democrats have introduced legislation to create a Department of Peacebuilding. The Department would be tasked with promoting peace and have “Peace Days” celebrated in the United States.

Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) introduced the bill with support from nine other Democrats.

The supporters of the new Act say that the Constitution talks about tranquility and promoting the general welfare but say that the U.S. is still dealing with a lot of violence, and that it comes at an economic cost. The bill states the following:

“Violence prevention is cost effective. For every dollar spent in violence prevention and peace building, many lives and many dollars are saved.”

The secretary of peace building would address the domestic and international violence by recommending ways to end them, address family violence and violence against women.

The bill would study how firearms add to violence. The department would employ:

“successful, field-tested programs, and developing new approaches for dealing with the tools of violence, including handguns, especially among youth.”

It even would create a Peace Academy and encourage national “Peace Days” to celebrate peace.

“The secretary shall encourage citizens to observe and celebrate the blessings of peace and endeavor to create peace on Peace Days. Such days shall include discussions of the professional activities and the achievements in the lives of peacemakers.”

The whole idea seems a bit ridiculous — another unneeded government agency. The entire bill is below. H.R.1111

 

 

 

Video, Transcript: Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu Speaks to Congress
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Mar 03, 2015 // 1:00pm

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivered a speech to a joint session of Congress on Tuesday. Netanyahu made his case that President Obama’s ongoing talks for a nuclear agreement with Iran are putting Israel and the world at risk.

Speaker of the House John Boehner, President Pro Tem Senator Orrin Hatch, Senator Minority — Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy.

I also want to acknowledge Senator, Democratic Leader Harry Reid. Harry, it’s good to see you back on your feet.

I guess it’s true what they say, you can’t keep a good man down.

My friends, I’m deeply humbled by the opportunity to speak for a third time before the most important legislative body in the world, the U.S. Congress.

I want to thank you all for being here today. I know that my speech has been the subject of much controversy. I deeply regret that some perceive my being here as political. That was never my intention.

I want to thank you, Democrats and Republicans, for your common support for Israel, year after year, decade after decade.

I know that no matter on which side of the aisle you sit, you stand with Israel.

The remarkable alliance between Israel and the United States has always been above politics. It must always remain above politics.

Because America and Israel, we share a common destiny, the destiny of promised lands that cherish freedom and offer hope. Israel is grateful for the support of American — of America’s people and of America’s presidents, from Harry Truman to Barack Obama.

We appreciate all that President Obama has done for Israel. Now, some of that is widely known.

Some of that is widely known, like strengthening security cooperation and intelligence sharing, opposing anti-Israel resolutions at the U.N. Some of what the president has done for Israel is less well- known.

I called him in 2010 when we had the Carmel forest fire, and he immediately agreed to respond to my request for urgent aid. In 2011, we had our embassy in Cairo under siege, and again, he provided vital assistance at the crucial moment. Or his support for more missile interceptors during our operation last summer when we took on Hamas terrorists.

In each of those moments, I called the president, and he was there. And some of what the president has done for Israel might never be known, because it touches on some of the most sensitive and strategic issues that arise between an American president and an Israeli prime minister.

But I know it, and I will always be grateful to President Obama for that support.

And Israel is grateful to you, the American Congress, for your support, for supporting us in so many ways, especially in generous military assistance and missile defense, including Iron Dome.

Last summer, millions of Israelis were protected from thousands of Hamas rockets because this capital dome helped build our Iron Dome.

Thank you, America. Thank you for everything you’ve done for Israel.

My friends, I’ve come here today because, as prime minister of Israel, I feel a profound obligation to speak to you about an issue that could well threaten the survival of my country and the future of my people: Iran’s quest for nuclear weapons.

We’re an ancient people. In our nearly 4,000 years of history, many have tried repeatedly to destroy the Jewish people. Tomorrow night, on the Jewish holiday of Purim, we’ll read the Book of Esther. We’ll read of a powerful Persian viceroy named Haman, who plotted to destroy the Jewish people some 2,500 years ago. But a courageous Jewish woman, Queen Esther, exposed the plot and gave for the Jewish people the right to defend themselves against their enemies. The plot was foiled. Our people were saved.

Today the Jewish people face another attempt by yet another Persian potentate to destroy us. Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei spews the oldest hatred, the oldest hatred of anti-Semitism with the newest technology. He tweets that Israel must be annihilated — he tweets. You know, in Iran, there isn’t exactly free Internet. But he tweets in English that Israel must be destroyed.

For those who believe that Iran threatens the Jewish state, but not the Jewish people, listen to Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of Hezbollah, Iran’s chief terrorist proxy. He said: If all the Jews gather in Israel, it will save us the trouble of chasing them down around the world.

But Iran’s regime is not merely a Jewish problem, any more than the Nazi regime was merely a Jewish problem. The 6 million Jews murdered by the Nazis were but a fraction of the 60 million people killed in World War II. So, too, Iran’s regime poses a grave threat, not only to Israel, but also the peace of the entire world. To understand just how dangerous Iran would be with nuclear weapons, we must fully understand the nature of the regime.

The people of Iran are very talented people. They’re heirs to one of the world’s great civilizations. But in 1979, they were hijacked by religious zealots — religious zealots who imposed on them immediately a dark and brutal dictatorship.

That year, the zealots drafted a constitution, a new one for Iran. It directed the revolutionary guards not only to protect Iran’s borders, but also to fulfill the ideological mission of jihad. The regime’s founder, Ayatollah Khomeini, exhorted his followers to “export the revolution throughout the world.”

I’m standing here in Washington, D.C. and the difference is so stark. America’s founding document promises life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Iran’s founding document pledges death, tyranny, and the pursuit of jihad. And as states are collapsing across the Middle East, Iran is charging into the void to do just that.

Iran’s goons in Gaza, its lackeys in Lebanon, its revolutionary guards on the Golan Heights are clutching Israel with three tentacles of terror. Backed by Iran, Assad is slaughtering Syrians. Back by Iran, Shiite militias are rampaging through Iraq. Back by Iran, Houthis are seizing control of Yemen, threatening the strategic straits at the mouth of the Red Sea. Along with the Straits of Hormuz, that would give Iran a second choke-point on the world’s oil supply.

Just last week, near Hormuz, Iran carried out a military exercise blowing up a mock U.S. aircraft carrier. That’s just last week, while they’re having nuclear talks with the United States. But unfortunately, for the last 36 years, Iran’s attacks against the United States have been anything but mock. And the targets have been all too real.

Iran took dozens of Americans hostage in Tehran, murdered hundreds of American soldiers, Marines, in Beirut, and was responsible for killing and maiming thousands of American service men and women in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Beyond the Middle East, Iran attacks America and its allies through its global terror network. It blew up the Jewish community center and the Israeli embassy in Buenos Aires. It helped Al Qaida bomb U.S. embassies in Africa. It even attempted to assassinate the Saudi ambassador, right here in Washington, D.C.

In the Middle East, Iran now dominates four Arab capitals, Baghdad, Damascus, Beirut and Sanaa. And if Iran’s aggression is left unchecked, more will surely follow. So, at a time when many hope that Iran will join the community of nations, Iran is busy gobbling up the nations.

We must all stand together to stop Iran’s march of conquest, subjugation and terror.

Now, two years ago, we were told to give President Rouhani and Foreign Minister Zarif a chance to bring change and moderation to Iran. Some change! Some moderation!

Rouhani’s government hangs gays, persecutes Christians, jails journalists and executes even more prisoners than before.

Last year, the same Zarif who charms Western diplomats laid a wreath at the grave of Imad Mughniyeh. Imad Mughniyeh is the terrorist mastermind who spilled more American blood than any other terrorist besides Osama bin Laden. I’d like to see someone ask him a question about that.

Iran’s regime is as radical as ever, its cries of “Death to America,” that same America that it calls the “Great Satan,” as loud as ever. Now, this shouldn’t be surprising, because the ideology of Iran’s revolutionary regime is deeply rooted in militant Islam, and that’s why this regime will always be an enemy of America.

Don’t be fooled. The battle between Iran and ISIS doesn’t turn Iran into a friend of America.

Iran and ISIS are competing for the crown of militant Islam. One calls itself the Islamic Republic. The other calls itself the Islamic State. Both want to impose a militant Islamic empire first on the region and then on the entire world. They just disagree among themselves who will be the ruler of that empire.

In this deadly game of thrones, there’s no place for America or for Israel, no peace for Christians, Jews or Muslims who don’t share the Islamist medieval creed, no rights for women, no freedom for anyone.

So when it comes to Iran and ISIS, the enemy of your enemy is your enemy.

The difference is that ISIS is armed with butcher knives, captured weapons and YouTube, whereas Iran could soon be armed with intercontinental ballistic missiles and nuclear bombs. We must always remember — I’ll say it one more time — the greatest dangers facing our world is the marriage of militant Islam with nuclear weapons. To defeat ISIS and let Iran get nuclear weapons would be to win the battle, but lose the war. We can’t let that happen.

But that, my friends, is exactly what could happen, if the deal now being negotiated is accepted by Iran. That deal will not prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons. It would all but guarantee that Iran gets those weapons, lots of them.

Let me explain why. While the final deal has not yet been signed, certain elements of any potential deal are now a matter of public record. You don’t need intelligence agencies and secret information to know this. You can Google it.
Absent a dramatic change, we know for sure that any deal with Iran will include two major concessions to Iran.

The first major concession would leave Iran with a vast nuclear infrastructure, providing it with a short break-out time to the bomb. Break-out time is the time it takes to amass enough weapons-grade uranium or plutonium for a nuclear bomb.

According to the deal, not a single nuclear facility would be demolished. Thousands of centrifuges used to enrich uranium would be left spinning. Thousands more would be temporarily disconnected, but not destroyed.

Because Iran’s nuclear program would be left largely intact, Iran’s break-out time would be very short — about a year by U.S. assessment, even shorter by Israel’s.

And if — if Iran’s work on advanced centrifuges, faster and faster centrifuges, is not stopped, that break-out time could still be shorter, a lot shorter.

True, certain restrictions would be imposed on Iran’s nuclear program and Iran’s adherence to those restrictions would be supervised by international inspectors. But here’s the problem. You see, inspectors document violations; they don’t stop them.

Inspectors knew when North Korea broke to the bomb, but that didn’t stop anything. North Korea turned off the cameras, kicked out the inspectors. Within a few years, it got the bomb.

Now, we’re warned that within five years North Korea could have an arsenal of 100 nuclear bombs.

Like North Korea, Iran, too, has defied international inspectors. It’s done that on at least three separate occasions — 2005, 2006, 2010. Like North Korea, Iran broke the locks, shut off the cameras.

Now, I know this is not gonna come a shock — as a shock to any of you, but Iran not only defies inspectors, it also plays a pretty good game of hide-and-cheat with them.

The U.N.’s nuclear watchdog agency, the IAEA, said again yesterday that Iran still refuses to come clean about its military nuclear program. Iran was also caught — caught twice, not once, twice — operating secret nuclear facilities in Natanz and Qom, facilities that inspectors didn’t even know existed.

Right now, Iran could be hiding nuclear facilities that we don’t know about, the U.S. and Israel. As the former head of inspections for the IAEA said in 2013, he said, “If there’s no undeclared installation today in Iran, it will be the first time in 20 years that it doesn’t have one.” Iran has proven time and again that it cannot be trusted. And that’s why the first major concession is a source of great concern. It leaves Iran with a vast nuclear infrastructure and relies on inspectors to prevent a breakout. That concession creates a real danger that Iran could get to the bomb by violating the deal.

But the second major concession creates an even greater danger that Iran could get to the bomb by keeping the deal. Because virtually all the restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program will automatically expire in about a decade.

Now, a decade may seem like a long time in political life, but it’s the blink of an eye in the life of a nation. It’s a blink of an eye in the life of our children. We all have a responsibility to consider what will happen when Iran’s nuclear capabilities are virtually unrestricted and all the sanctions will have been lifted. Iran would then be free to build a huge nuclear capacity that could product many, many nuclear bombs.

Iran’s Supreme Leader says that openly. He says, Iran plans to have 190,000 centrifuges, not 6,000 or even the 19,000 that Iran has today, but 10 times that amount — 190,000 centrifuges enriching uranium. With this massive capacity, Iran could make the fuel for an entire nuclear arsenal and this in a matter of weeks, once it makes that decision.

My long-time friend, John Kerry, Secretary of State, confirmed last week that Iran could legitimately possess that massive centrifuge capacity when the deal expires.

Now I want you to think about that. The foremost sponsor of global terrorism could be weeks away from having enough enriched uranium for an entire arsenal of nuclear weapons and this with full international legitimacy.

And by the way, if Iran’s Intercontinental Ballistic Missile program is not part of the deal, and so far, Iran refuses to even put it on the negotiating table. Well, Iran could have the means to deliver that nuclear arsenal to the far-reach corners of the earth, including to every part of the United States.

So you see, my friends, this deal has two major concessions: one, leaving Iran with a vast nuclear program and two, lifting the restrictions on that program in about a decade. That’s why this deal is so bad. It doesn’t block Iran’s path to the bomb; it paves Iran’s path to the bomb.

So why would anyone make this deal? Because they hope that Iran will change for the better in the coming years, or they believe that the alternative to this deal is worse?

Well, I disagree. I don’t believe that Iran’s radical regime will change for the better after this deal. This regime has been in power for 36 years, and its voracious appetite for aggression grows with each passing year. This deal would wet appetite — would only wet Iran’s appetite for more.

Would Iran be less aggressive when sanctions are removed and its economy is stronger? If Iran is gobbling up four countries right now while it’s under sanctions, how many more countries will Iran devour when sanctions are lifted? Would Iran fund less terrorism when it has mountains of cash with which to fund more terrorism?

Why should Iran’s radical regime change for the better when it can enjoy the best of both world’s: aggression abroad, prosperity at home?

This is a question that everyone asks in our region. Israel’s neighbors — Iran’s neighbors know that Iran will become even more aggressive and sponsor even more terrorism when its economy is unshackled and it’s been given a clear path to the bomb.

And many of these neighbors say they’ll respond by racing to get nuclear weapons of their own. So this deal won’t change Iran for the better; it will only change the Middle East for the worse. A deal that’s supposed to prevent nuclear proliferation would instead spark a nuclear arms race in the most dangerous part of the planet.

This deal won’t be a farewell to arms. It would be a farewell to arms control. And the Middle East would soon be crisscrossed by nuclear tripwires. A region where small skirmishes can trigger big wars would turn into a nuclear tinderbox.

If anyone thinks — if anyone thinks this deal kicks the can down the road, think again. When we get down that road, we’ll face a much more dangerous Iran, a Middle East littered with nuclear bombs and a countdown to a potential nuclear nightmare.

Ladies and gentlemen, I’ve come here today to tell you we don’t have to bet the security of the world on the hope that Iran will change for the better. We don’t have to gamble with our future and with our children’s future.

We can insist that restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program not be lifted for as long as Iran continues its aggression in the region and in the world.

Before lifting those restrictions, the world should demand that Iran do three things. First, stop its aggression against its neighbors in the Middle East. Second…

Second, stop supporting terrorism around the world.

And third, stop threatening to annihilate my country, Israel, the one and only Jewish state.

Thank you. If the world powers are not prepared to insist that Iran change its behavior before a deal is signed, at the very least they should insist that Iran change its behavior before a deal expires.

If Iran changes its behavior, the restrictions would be lifted. If Iran doesn’t change its behavior, the restrictions should not be lifted.

If Iran wants to be treated like a normal country, let it act like a normal country.

My friends, what about the argument that there’s no alternative to this deal, that Iran’s nuclear know-how cannot be erased, that its nuclear program is so advanced that the best we can do is delay the inevitable, which is essentially what the proposed deal seeks to do?

Well, nuclear know-how without nuclear infrastructure doesn’t get you very much. A race car driver without a car can’t drive. A pilot without a plan can’t fly. Without thousands of centrifuges, tons of enriched uranium or heavy water facilities, Iran can’t make nuclear weapons.

Iran’s nuclear program can be rolled back well-beyond the current proposal by insisting on a better deal and keeping up the pressure on a very vulnerable regime, especially given the recent collapse in the price of oil.

Now, if Iran threatens to walk away from the table — and this often happens in a Persian bazaar — call their bluff. They’ll be back, because they need the deal a lot more than you do.

And by maintaining the pressure on Iran and on those who do business with Iran, you have the power to make them need it even more. My friends, for over a year, we’ve been told that no deal is better than a bad deal. Well, this is a bad deal. It’s a very bad deal. We’re better off without it.

Now we’re being told that the only alternative to this bad deal is war. That’s just not true. The alternative to this bad deal is a much better deal.

A better deal that doesn’t leave Iran with a vast nuclear infrastructure and such a short break-out time. A better deal that keeps the restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program in place until Iran’s aggression ends.

A better deal that won’t give Iran an easy path to the bomb. A better deal that Israel and its neighbors may not like, but with which we could live, literally. And no country … no country has a greater stake — no country has a greater stake than Israel in a good deal that peacefully removes this threat.

Ladies and gentlemen, history has placed us at a fateful crossroads. We must now choose between two paths. One path leads to a bad deal that will at best curtail Iran’s nuclear ambitions for a while, but it will inexorably lead to a nuclear-armed Iran whose unbridled aggression will inevitably lead to war.

The second path, however difficult, could lead to a much better deal, that would prevent a nuclear-armed Iran, a nuclearized Middle East and the horrific consequences of both to all of humanity.

You don’t have to read Robert Frost to know. You have to live life to know that the difficult path is usually the one less traveled, but it will make all the difference for the future of my country, the security of the Middle East and the peace of the world, the peace, we all desire.

My friend, standing up to Iran is not easy. Standing up to dark and murderous regimes never is. With us today is Holocaust survivor and Nobel Prize winner Elie Wiesel.
Elie, your life and work inspires to give meaning to the words, “never again.”

And I wish I could promise you, Elie, that the lessons of history have been learned. I can only urge the leaders of the world not to repeat the mistakes of the past.

Not to sacrifice the future for the present; not to ignore aggression in the hopes of gaining an illusory peace. But I can guarantee you this, the days when the Jewish people remained passive in the face of genocidal enemies, those days are over.

We are no longer scattered among the nations, powerless to defend ourselves. We restored our sovereignty in our ancient home. And the soldiers who defend our home have boundless courage. For the first time in 100 generations, we, the Jewish people, can defend ourselves.

This is why — this is why, as a prime minister of Israel, I can promise you one more thing: Even if Israel has to stand alone, Israel will stand.

But I know that Israel does not stand alone. I know that America stands with Israel.

I know that you stand with Israel.

You stand with Israel, because you know that the story of Israel is not only the story of the Jewish people but of the human spirit that refuses again and again to succumb to history’s horrors.

Facing me right up there in the gallery, overlooking all of us in this (inaudible) chamber is the image of Moses. Moses led our people from slavery to the gates of the Promised Land.

And before the people of Israel entered the land of Israel, Moses gave us a message that has steeled our resolve for thousands of years. I leave you with his message today, (SPEAKING IN HEBREW), “Be strong and resolute, neither fear nor dread them.”

My friends, may Israel and America always stand together, strong and resolute. May we neither fear nor dread the challenges ahead. May we face the future with confidence, strength and hope.

May God bless the state of Israel and may God bless the United States of America.

Thank you. Thank you very much. Thank you all.

You’re wonderful.

Thank you, America. Thank you. Thank you.

Part 1

Daily Digest
Mar. 2, 2015

THE FOUNDATION
“It is a common observation here that our cause is the cause of all mankind, and that we are fighting for their liberty in defending our own.” –Benjamin Franklin, letter to Samuel Cooper, 1777

TOP 5 RIGHT HOOKS
GOP Rends Over Immigration Fight1
Congressional Republicans tried to defund Barack Obama’s unconstitutional immigration actions through a bill to fund the Department of Homeland Security, but instead they suffered a political defeat that leaves the party uncertainly plotting the next move. As the Friday deadline loomed, Republicans taking a hard line on the immigration fight helped defeat House Speaker John Boehner’s bill to fund the department for three weeks. It was Nancy Pelosi who saved the night, telling Democrats to support a bill2 funding DHS for a meager seven days. Now, there are rumblings that some Republicans will try to force Boehner from his speaker position. And House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy suggests the Senate should simply press the red button and deploy the nuclear option3. That’s the wrong answer. A Wall Street Journal editorial4 concludes, “Republicans need to do some soul searching about the purpose of a congressional majority, including whether they even want it. If they really think Mr. Boehner is the problem, then find someone else to do his thankless job. If not, then start to impose some order and discipline and advance the conservative cause rather than self-defeating rebellion.” This weekend showed Republicans have leadership issues, which Obama continues to exploit. More…5

Left Changes Tone as Netanyahu Arrives in Washington6
Just a few weeks ago, the White House threatened there would be consequences7 for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s visit to Congress. This Sunday, Netanyahu touched down in Washington to talk about the U.S.’s deal with Iran, and everybody has put on their politician smiles. Secretary of State John Kerry essentially denied the Obama administration was plotting to undermine both the event and Netanyahu’s administration. “The prime minister is welcome in the United States at any time,” Kerry told ABC8. “We have an unparalleled close security relationship with Israel, and we will continue to. I talk to the prime minister regularly, including yesterday. We don’t want to see this turned into some great political football. Obviously, it was odd, if not unique, that we learned of it from the speaker of the House and that an administration was not included in this process. But the administration is not seeking to politicize this.” Politicize this? Democrat legislators have issued sound bite after sound bite saying Netanyahu doesn’t speak for them, or that they’ll boycott the speech. And that’s not to mention Obama’s political shenanigans. No, the Left has already succeeded in making a foreign policy speech by one of America’s closest allies into a partisan brouhaha. More…9

Lerner’s Email Cover-Up ‘Potential Criminal Activity’10
Timothy Camus, Treasury deputy inspector general, told the House Oversight Committee “there is potential criminal activity” in how the IRS refused to give Congress Lois Lerner’s emails when it was investigating the agency’s political targeting of conservative groups. The Daily Caller11 reports, “Treasury Department inspectors general testified Thursday that they cannot provide any relevant information related to their search for Lois Lerner’s missing emails. But at least three bits of information came out: the investigation is on hold over software issues, there is potential criminal wrongdoing, and nobody at the IRS even asked for Lerner’s backup email tapes from the people in New Martinsville, West Virginia, who had them.” The IRS told Congress Lerner’s emails were destroyed and irretrievable. But the IG got the emails after two weeks of searching, and that may warrant a criminal investigation. It’s perhaps confirmed one thing that Americans have long suspected, though: The IRS is run by criminals. Oh, and by the way, one of Lerner’s emails to a colleague was this gem: “No one will believe your hard drive and mine crashed within a week.” No, no one will believe that. More…12

Durbin: Constitution Was ‘Fatally Flawed’13
Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) defended Barack Obama’s executive amnesty in the Senate by declaring Obama was just doing what was necessary to save the Constitution from itself. “Before any of us can serve in the United States Senate, we stand in the well of the Senate chamber and publicly take an oath to uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States,” Durbin said. “I know we all take that seriously, as we should.” (Pause for laughter.) He continued, “This is not just another government document. It is really the inspiration of this government and it still governs our actions to this day. Yet, if we view this document with honesty, we know that it was fatally flawed from the start. It got the issue of slavery wrong, in addition to some other issues. It got the issue of race wrong. And since the days when the document was drafted and signed, we have struggled as a nation to right that wrong. It has taken a long, long time.” There’s no question that the Constitution, as a human document, has its flaws. That’s why our Founders set up an amendment process. But Durbin and his fellow Democrats think they are more enlightened than the Founders and, therefore, can do whatever they want with the Constitution – abandoning the legitimate amendment process altogether. And then they have the gall to claim they take their oaths14 seriously.

Who Vets Fox News ‘Experts’?15
STUPID, particularly when it comes to the Second Amendment, is almost exclusive to the Left, but occasionally it slips under the wire on the Right. That is certainly the case with this analysis from Tucker Carlson’s Fox News “2A expert” Regis Giles. Commenting on the absurd ATF ban of 5.56 M855 AR-15 rifle cartridges16, Giles’ remarks were so profoundly ignorant that FNC should have preceded her segment with one of their ubiquitous “FOX NEWS ALERT!” graphics.

According to Giles, “To say that this [5.56 M855 round] is going to pierce through the armor of cops is ridiculous because it’s a tiny bullet like this big [demonstrating the size with her fingers]. And to say that the cop’s Kevlar isn’t tough enough to handle that ammunition is ridiculous. And, like the FBI said, no one has used this in a handgun to shoot a cop.”

Who vets Fox News guests? Giles must have been smoking “green tips.”

Now, for the record, according to the ATF and FBI, there IS NO RECORD of a police officer being murdered with a 5.56 M855 round – and, of course, the ATF ammo ban really has nothing to do with “protecting police” and everything to do with Obama’s incremental encroachment on the Second Amendment. But come on Carlson – giving a platform to Giles did nothing to help 2A rights.

For more, visit Right Hooks17.

RIGHT ANALYSIS
Hillary Lied, Four Americans Died18
Judicial Watch confirmed19 Thursday what many Americans already knew: Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s attempt to blame the attacks in Benghazi on an “offensive video” was a bald-faced lie20. As the result of a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against the State Department, Judicial Watch obtained a series of critical emails that not only reveal State Department officials knew immediately the American compound in Benghazi was under attack but that the attack was perpetrated by assailants tied to a terrorist group. And despite the infamous exasperated question21 from the Democrats’ likely presidential nominee, the truth does make a big difference at this point.

The first email was sent Sept. 11, 2012, at 4:07 p.m. It was forwarded by former Clinton Special Assistant Maria Sand to Clinton’s former Chief of Staff Cheryl Mills, former Deputy Chief of Staff for Policy Jacob Sullivan, former Executive Assistant Joseph McManus, and a host of other Special Assistants in Clinton’s office. It read as follows:

“The Regional Security Officer reports the diplomatic mission is under attack. Tripoli reports approximately 20 armed people fired shots; explosions have been heard as well. Ambassador Stevens, who is currently in Benghazi, and four COM [Chief of Mission] personnel are in the compound safe haven. The 17th of February militia is providing security support.”

Another email arrived at 4:38 p.m. It was sent by the former director of the Diplomatic Security Service, Scott Bultrowicz, who was fired22 following the report issued by the Advisory Review Board (ARB) citing “systematic failures and leadership and management deficiencies at senior levels within two bureaus of the State Department” responsible for security in Benghazi. That would be the same ARB that refused to interview Hillary Clinton as part of its investigation. State Department Foreign Officer Lawrence Randolph forwarded Mills, Sullivan and McManus the email from Bultrowicz with the subject line “Attack on Benghazi 90112012”:

“DSCC received a phone call from [REDACTED] in Benghazi, Libya initially stating that 15 armed individuals were attacking the compound and trying to gain entrance. The Ambassador is present in Benghazi and currently is barricaded within the compound. There are no injuries at this time and it is unknown what the intent of the attackers is. At approximately 1600 DSCC received word from Benghazi that individuals had entered the compound. At 1614 RSO advised the Libyans had set fire to various buildings in the area, possibly the building that houses the Ambassador [REDACTED] is responding and taking fire.”

At 12:04 a.m. Randolph updated Mills, Sullivan and McManus with another email with the subject line “FW: Update 3: Benghazi Shelter Location Also Under Attack”:

“I just called Ops and they said the DS command center is reporting that the compound is under attack again. I am about to reach out to the DS Command Center.”

Contained in that email is a series of equally damning updates:

4:54 p.m.: “Embassy Tripoli reports the firing at the U.S. Diplomatic Mission in Benghazi has stopped and the compound has been cleared. A response team is on site to locate COM personnel.”

6:06 p.m.: “Update 2: Ansar al-Sharia Claims Responsibility for Benghazi Attack (SBU): (SBU) Embassy Tripoli reports the group claimed responsibility on Facebook and Twitter and call for an attack on Embassy Tripoli.”

11:57 p.m.: “(SBU) DS Command reports the current shelter location for COM personnel in Benghazi is under mortar fire. There are reports of injuries to COM staff.”

And finally, at 3:22 a.m., Sept. 12, Senior Watch Officer Andrew Veprek forwarded an email to numerous State Department officials, later forwarded to Mills and McManus. The subject line? “Death of Ambassador Stevens in Benghazi”:

“Embassy Tripoli confirms the death of Ambassador John C. (Chris) Stevens in Benghazi. His body has been recovered and is at the airport in Benghazi.”

Two hours later, McManus forwarded the news of Stevens’ death to the State Department Legislative Affairs office – with instructions not to “forward to anyone at this point.”

Hillary Clinton’s response? An official statement calling the attack “a response to inflammatory material posted on the Internet.”

As for her other, earlier response, blatantly ignored by the mainstream media? A 10 p.m. phone call23 between Clinton and Obama, completely contradicting the previous assertion23 by the White House that Obama made no phone calls the night of the attack. As National Review’s Andrew McCarthy sarcastically asked24, “Gee, what do you suppose Obama and Clinton talked about in that 10 p.m. call?”

The rest of the orchestrated disinformation campaign – sending25 former UN ambassador, current National Security Advisor and reliable propagandist Susan Rice on network news shows to maintain the despicable lie, Obama’s assertion of same on the David Letterman Show and at the UN, the spending26 of $70,000 for a Pakistani ad campaign showing Obama and Clinton denouncing the anti-Islamic video, and a host of other insults to the public’s intelligence – can no longer be obscured.

America twice elected an inveterate liar as commander in chief. And the very same corrupt media that ran interference for Obama’s lies are gearing up to do the same thing for an equally inveterate liar. And make no mistake: All of Clinton’s critics will be characterized as perpetrating a war on women whenever the subject of her horrendous track record27 of prevarication arises – one that included another blatant lie about landing in Bosnia under sniper fire.

And that’s if those questions arise at all. Here are two28 separate29 Google Searches related to the revelations presented by Judicial Watch. Note that not a single mainstream media source has even filed a report, much less made this the kind of headline story, followed by a relentless series of updates, that would have attended any Republican caught doing exactly the same thing. An equal amount of calculated disinterest attends the scandalous conflict of interest surrounding the Clinton Foundation, which received30 millions of dollars from foreign governments while Clinton was secretary of state. Foreign governments and individuals are prohibited from giving money to a U.S. political candidate. Funneling those contributions through the Clinton Foundation allows Hillary to skirt such restrictions.

On Benghazi, Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton gets it exactly right: “These emails leave no doubt that Hillary Clinton’s closest advisers knew the truth about the Benghazi attack from almost the moment it happened. And it is inescapable that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton knowingly lied when she planted the false story about ‘inflammatory material being posted on the Internet.’ The contempt for the public’s right to know is evidenced not only in these documents but also in the fact that we had to file a lawsuit in federal court to obtain them. The Obama gang’s cover-up continues to unravel, despite its unlawful secrecy and continued slow-rolling of information. Congress, if it ever decides to do its job, cannot act soon enough to put Hillary Clinton, Cheryl Mills, and every other official in these emails under oath.”

Whether Congress is up to the job or not, one thing is crystal clear: Hillary Clinton is manifestly unfit to lead this nation. Her election to the Oval Office would be a continuation of the lawlessness and lying this nation has endured for the past six years. Judicial Watch has produced the smoking gun. The voting public ignores it at the nation’s peril.

The CPAC Sizzler: Red Meat for Primaries31
The Republican presidential primary virtually began this past weekend right outside the Washington Beltway. The event is also known as the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC).

The gathering of thousands of activists was treated to candidates and experts engaged in extensive and serious policy discussions. There were no doubts where participants of CPAC stand regarding America’s exceptionalism, Liberty and the Constitution.

Some highlights:

In the face of growing threats in the world (and no, we don’t mean the climate), potential presidential contenders emphasized national security and foreign policy. The Islamic State was clearly identified as Islamic and named as a necessary target for destruction to end its evil and medieval barbarism.

Florida Senator Marco Rubio32 jumped from the obvious problem of ISIL and the cauldron of toil and trouble of the Middle East to pledging to reverse Obama’s cancellation of the missile defense installations in Europe to appease and pacify the angry Bear of Russia. Rubio pegged the KGB-raised Vladimir Putin as a danger in need of countering, arguing for an expansion of missile defense into Eastern Europe beyond Poland and the Czech Republic.

Rubio assessed Obama’s “JV” foreign policy33, characterizing the commander in chief’s frame of reference thusly: “America, and American engagement, is more often the source of our problems than the source of our solutions.” Rubio slammed this view as wrong and dangerous.

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal34 hammered the administration’s “jobs for Jihadistan35” approach: “We don’t need a war on international poverty, we need a war on the evil radical Islamic terrorism.” Furthermore, Jindal asserted, Obama’s administration has incompetently failed at formulating and executing a realistic plan aimed at “degrading and destroying ISIS.” Therefore, Jindal concluded, Obama “has shown himself incapable of being our commander in chief.”

On immigration policy, most all of the CPAC featured speakers were in unison in supporting a secured southern border and enforcement of existing laws to encourage and reward legal immigration.

Rubio – of the Senate’s “Gang of Eight” fame – said he’s learned his lesson: “[Y]ou can’t even have a conversation about [illegal immigrants already in the country] until people believe and know – not just believe, but it’s proven to them – that future illegal immigration is brought under control.” He’s absolutely right, despite what many conservatives view as his blemished track record.

On the other hand – and this is no surprise – Jeb Bush36, the former Florida governor and wannabe-GOP-nominee with big donors on his side, was honest enough not to pander in his proclamation, “Yes, I support a path to legalization” for illegal immigrants currently in our nation. (He also began his tack Left on same-sex marriage37, perhaps signaling he won’t even bother trying to convince voters a la Mitt Romney that he really is “severely conservative.”)

The CPAC speaker with the most election wins (three) over the last four years, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker38, clearly articulated the most basic spirit of America: “Up there in Washington, we have a president who measures success by how many people are dependent on the government. There’s a reason we celebrate the Fourth of July and not April 15, because in America we celebrate our independence from the government and not our dependence on it.”

And former Texas Governor Rick Perry39 offered up downright Reaganesque optimism: “I’ve never been more certain than I am today that America’s best days remain in front of us. The weakness and incompetence of our government shouldn’t be confused with the strength, the ingenuity and the idealism of the American people.” Perry listed the nation’s painful sufferings through the War Between the States, two world wars and the Carter administration before assuring CPACers, “We will survive the Obama years too.”

The economy, education, tax reform, God, guns and family were other key areas where speakers strummed the heartstrings of this constitutionally conservative crowd. Speeches are one thing, but the most important question left unanswered is this: Can the GOP win the White House in 2016? Or will the GOP lose in the same way it lost in 2012 – with lots of highly paid consultants, an embarrassing ground game and a timid approach to a vision for a great America? Based solely on the roster of CPAC speeches, we’re hopeful that history won’t repeat itself. But we’ll find out soon enough.

OPINION IN BRIEF

The Gipper: “A recession is when your neighbor loses his job. A depression is when you lose yours. And recovery is when Jimmy Carter loses his.”

Columnist Jeff Jacoby: “[B]y reacting so poisonously to Netanyahu’s scheduled appearance, the White House has only fueled more interest in what he has to say. Obama may have guaranteed that Israel’s leader will give the speech of his career to a once-in-a-lifetime audience. Only at a superficial level is this about partisan or political loyalties. Immensely more important is the lethal threat of a nuclear-armed Iran. Even without the bomb, Iran is the world’s most dangerous regime – apocalyptic incubator of terrorism and jihad, ruthless suppressor of human rights, unflagging zealot for wiping Israel ‘off the map,’ and fanatic about bringing ‘Death to America.’ Like any democratic politician, Netanyahu can be maddening or fickle. But there is no issue on which he has been so consistent, for so long, as preventing Tehran from acquiring the nuclear capability that would empower it to fulfill its genocidal goals. The fuss over protocol and personalities is interesting. It won’t keep Americans from giving their ally’s leader a respectful hearing.”

Columnist Star Parker: “The President has a bully pulpit waiting for him whenever he wants to use it to explain to the American people why he doesn’t want Benjamin Netanyahu to give this speech. Instead of shooting straight with us, the president is sending out his foot soldiers, his proxies, Democrats in Congress, including the black Caucus, to do his business for him, with flimsy explanations. What’s up with our President? And what’s up with the press? Why aren’t they asking penetrating questions? All of us recall as students reading about the tragedies in history and asking how they could have happened, why they weren’t prevented. We should hear the Israeli Prime Minster’s concerns. And our president, himself, should tell the American people why he so opposes this very sensible speech.”

Comedian Seth Meyers: “Obama’s former press secretary, Jay Carney, will reportedly become a senior vice president at Amazon. Carney says he’s excited to work for someone who doesn’t take six years to deliver.”

Semper Vigilo, Fortis, Paratus et Fidelis!

Join us in daily prayer for our Patriots in uniform – Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsmen – standing in harm’s way in defense of Liberty, and for their families.

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Hillary can’t hide forever

WASHINGTON — The political grudge match between President Obama and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu heats up this week with the Israeli leader’s controversial speech to Congress tomorrow, but it’s Hillary Clinton who is feeling the punch.
The first televised attack ad of the 2016 presidential season targeting the presumed Democratic presidential front-runner doesn’t focus on donations from foreign governments to the Clinton Foundation or the Benghazi embassy attack. It’s about Clinton’s silence over Netanyahu’s address to congressional lawmakers at the invitation of House Speaker John Boehner and over the opposition of the White House — the event that is dividing Democrats and causing a growing number of them to declare their intentions to skip the speech in protest.

“Where’s Hillary Clinton? Does she support the boycotters, or is she too afraid to stand up to them?” the ad’s narrator asks as an image of the former secretary of state disappears from the screen.

The cable television ad from Emergency Committee for Israel, a pro-Netanyahu group helmed by neo-conservative pundit Bill Kristol, was denounced by Netanyahu yesterday. But it brings to light the tough political position Clinton is in as Obama continues to hold talks with Iran over its nuclear program over Netanyahu’s vociferous objections.

If Clinton backs the president, she risks looking anti-Israel. But if she criticizes his approach, she may jam the a wedge deeper within her own party. Avoiding the issue altogether will likely cause her to draw more fire from the right, who will be quick to label her as a coward.

The speech has already forced Democrats to choose sides. Among the Bay State delegation, two lawmakers — U.S. Reps. Katherine Clark and Jim McGovern — have chosen to skip the speech while averring their support for Israel. Others, including U.S. Reps. Mike Capuano and Joe Kennedy III, plan to attend, though they condemned both the timing and politicization of Netanyahu’s appearance just weeks before he faces re-election in Israel. Sen. Elizabeth Warren has yet to disclose whether she will attend.

To make matters trickier for Clinton, Netanyahu’s speech is scheduled on a day Clinton, too, will be in Washington to accept an award from Democratic pro-choice group Emily’s List. A Clinton representative did not answer an inquiry as to whether Clinton planned to meet with Netanyahu while she’s here.

But Clinton will have to face the growing firestorm eventually, especially if Netanyahu is re-elected later this month. As the attack ad demonstrates, even if Clinton remains silent on the issue, her critics won’t.

___

(c)2015 the Boston Herald

Visit the Boston Herald at http://www.bostonherald.com

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC

Hillary Clinton Used Personal Email at State Dept., Possibly Breaking Rules
By MICHAEL S. SCHMIDTMARCH 2, 2015
Photo

Hillary Rodham Clinton had no government email address. Credit Liam Richards/The Canadian Press, via Associated Press

WASHINGTON — Hillary Rodham Clinton exclusively used a personal email account to conduct government business as secretary of state, State Department officials said, and may have violated federal requirements that officials’ correspondence be retained as part of the agency’s record.

Mrs. Clinton did not have a government email address during her four-year tenure at the State Department. Her aides took no actions to have her personal emails preserved on department servers at the time, as required by the Federal Records Act.

It was only two months ago, in response to a new State Department effort to comply with federal record-keeping practices, that Mrs. Clinton’s advisers reviewed tens of thousands of pages of her personal emails and decided which ones to turn over to the State Department. All told, 55,000 pages of emails were given to the department. Mrs. Clinton stepped down from the secretary’s post in early 2013.

Hillary Rodham Clinton in Indiana in 2008. Her economic message in that campaign resonated with white, working-class voters.Economic Plan Is a Quandary for Hillary Clinton’s CampaignFEB. 7, 2015
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Her expansive use of the private account was alarming to current and former National Archives and Records Administration officials and government watchdogs, who called it a serious breach.

“It is very difficult to conceive of a scenario — short of nuclear winter — where an agency would be justified in allowing its cabinet-level head officer to solely use a private email communications channel for the conduct of government business,” said Jason R. Baron, a lawyer at Drinker Biddle & Reath who is a former director of litigation at the National Archives and Records Administration.

A spokesman for Mrs. Clinton, Nick Merrill, defended her use of the personal email account and said she has been complying with the “letter and spirit of the rules.”

Under federal law, however, letters and emails written and received by federal officials, such as the secretary of state, are considered government records and are supposed to be retained so that congressional committees, historians and members of the news media can find them. There are exceptions to the law for certain classified and sensitive materials.

Mrs. Clinton is not the first government official — or first secretary of state — to use a personal email account on which to conduct official business. But her exclusive use of her private email, for all of her work, appears unusual, Mr. Baron said. The use of private email accounts is supposed to be limited to emergencies, experts said, such as when an agency’s computer server is not working.

“I can recall no instance in my time at the National Archives when a high-ranking official at an executive branch agency solely used a personal email account for the transaction of government business,” said Mr. Baron, who worked at the agency from 2000 to 2013.

Regulations from the National Archives and Records Administration at the time required that any emails sent or received from personal accounts be preserved as part of the agency’s records.

But Mrs. Clinton and her aides failed to do so.

How many emails were in Mrs. Clinton’s account is not clear, and neither is the process her advisers used to determine which ones related to her work at the State Department before turning them over.

Continue reading the main storyContinue reading the main story
“It’s a shame it didn’t take place automatically when she was secretary of state as it should have,” said Thomas S. Blanton, the director of the National Security Archive, a group based at George Washington University that advocates government transparency. “Someone in the State Department deserves credit for taking the initiative to ask for the records back. Most of the time it takes the threat of litigation and embarrassment.”

Mr. Blanton said high-level officials should operate as President Obama does, emailing from a secure government account, with every record preserved for historical purposes.

“Personal emails are not secure,” he said. “Senior officials should not be using them.”

Penalties for not complying with federal record-keeping requirements are rare, because the National Archives has few enforcement abilities.

Mr. Merrill, the spokesman for Mrs. Clinton, declined to detail why she had chosen to conduct State Department business from her personal account.

Mr. Merrill said that because Mrs. Clinton had been sending emails to other State Department officials at their government accounts, she had “every expectation they would be retained.” Mr. Merrill declined to answer questions about any emails that Mrs. Clinton may have sent to foreign leaders, people in the private sector or government officials outside the State Department.

The revelation about the private email account echoes longstanding criticisms directed at both the former secretary and her husband, former President Bill Clinton, for a lack of transparency and inclination toward secrecy.

And others who, like Mrs. Clinton, are eyeing a candidacy for the White House are stressing a very different approach. Jeb Bush, who is seeking the Republican nomination for president, released a trove of emails in December from his eight years as governor of Florida.

It is not clear whether Mrs. Clinton’s private email account included encryption or other security measures, given the sensitivity of her diplomatic activity.

Mrs. Clinton’s successor, Secretary of State John Kerry, has used a government email account since taking over the role, and his correspondence is being preserved contemporaneously as part of State Department records, according to his aides.

Before the current regulations went into effect, Secretary of State Colin L. Powell, who served from 2001 to 2005, used personal email to communicate with American officials and ambassadors and foreign leaders.

Last October, the State Department, as part of the effort to improve its record keeping, asked all previous secretaries of state dating back to Madeleine K. Albright to provide it with any records, like emails, from their time in office for preservation.

“These steps include regularly archiving all of Secretary Kerry’s emails to ensure that we are capturing all federal records,” said a department spokeswoman, Jen Psaki.

The existence of Mrs. Clinton’s personal email account was discovered as a House committee investigating the attack on the American Consulate in Benghazi sought correspondence between Mrs. Clinton and her aides about the attack. Awful awful this is good

Two weeks ago, Mrs. Clinton provided the committee with about 300 emails — amounting to roughly 900 pages — about the Benghazi attacks that Mrs. Clinton’s aides had found among her personal emails.

Mrs. Clinton and the committee declined to comment on the contents of the emails or whether they will be made public.

The State Department, Ms. Psaki said, “has been proactively and consistently engaged in responding to the committee’s many requests in a timely manner, providing more than 40,000 pages of documents, scheduling more than 20 transcribed interviews and participating in several briefings and each of the committee’s hearings.”

 

 

F.C.C. Net Neutrality Rules Clear Hurdle as Republicans Concede to Obama

By JONATHAN WEISMANFEB. 24, 2015

Senator John Thune, Republican of South Dakota, said that Democrats were lining up with President Obama in favor of the F.C.C. position on net neutrality. Credit Jabin Botsford/The New York Times
WASHINGTON — Senior Republicans conceded on Tuesday that the grueling fight with President Obama over the regulation of Internet service appears over, with the president and an army of Internet activists victorious.

The Federal Communications Commission is expected on Thursday to approve regulating Internet service like a public utility, prohibiting companies from paying for faster lanes on the Internet. While the two Democratic commissioners are negotiating over technical details, they are widely expected to side with the Democratic chairman, Tom Wheeler, against the two Republican commissioners.

And Republicans on Capitol Hill, who once criticized the plan as “Obamacare for the Internet,” now say they are unlikely to pass a legislative response that would undo perhaps the biggest policy shift since the Internet became a reality.

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Internet Taxes, Another Window Into the Net Neutrality DebateFEB. 20, 2015
The F.C.C. chief, Thomas Wheeler, had proposed the faster speed standard earlier this month.F.C.C. Sharply Revises Definition of BroadbandJAN. 29, 2015
“We’re not going to get a signed bill that doesn’t have Democrats’ support,” said Senator John Thune, Republican of South Dakota and chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee. “This is an issue that needs to have bipartisan support.”

How Net Neutrality Works
The future of protecting an open Internet has been the subject of fierce debate, and potential changes to the rules by the Federal Communications Commission could affect your online experience. Video by Natalia V. Osipova and Carrie Halperin on Publish Date May 15, 2014.
The new F.C.C. rules are still likely to be tied up in a protracted court fight with the cable companies and Internet service providers that oppose it, and they could be overturned in the future by a Republican-leaning commission. But for now, Congress’s hands appear to be tied.

The F.C.C. plan would let the agency regulate Internet access as if it is a public good. It would follow the concept known as net neutrality or an open Internet, banning so-called paid prioritization — or fast lanes — for willing Internet content providers.

In addition, it would ban the intentional slowing of the Internet for companies that refuse to pay broadband providers. The plan would also give the F.C.C. the power to step in if unforeseen impediments are thrown up by the handful of giant companies that run many of the country’s broadband and wireless networks.

Republicans hoped to pre-empt the F.C.C. vote with legislation, but Senate Democrats insisted on waiting until after Thursday’s F.C.C. vote before even beginning to talk about legislation for an open Internet. Even Mr. Thune, the architect of draft legislation to override the F.C.C., said Democrats had stalled what momentum he could muster.

And an avalanche of support for Mr. Wheeler’s plan — driven by Internet companies as varied as Netflix, Twitter, Mozilla and Etsy — has swamped Washington.

“We’ve been outspent, outlobbied. We were going up against the second-biggest corporate lobby in D.C., and it looks like we’ve won,” said Dave Steer, director of advocacy for the Mozilla Foundation, the nonprofit technology foundation that runs Firefox, a popular Web browser, referring to the cable companies. “A year ago today, we did not think we would be in this spot.”

The net neutrality movement pitted new media against old and may well have revolutionized notions of corporate social responsibility and activism. Top-down decisions by executives investing in or divesting themselves of resources, paying lobbyists and buying advertisements were upended by the mobilization of Internet customers and users.

Continue reading the main storyContinue reading the main story
“We don’t have an army of lobbyists to deploy. We don’t have financial resources to throw around,” said Liba Rubenstein, director of social impact and public policy at the social media company Tumblr, which is owned by Yahoo, the large Internet company, but operated independently on the issue. “What we do have is access to an incredibly engaged, incredibly passionate user base, and we can give folks the tools to respond.”

Internet service providers say heavy-handed regulation of the Internet will diminish their profitability and crush investment to expand and speed up Internet access. It could even open the web to taxation to pay for new regulators.

Brian Dietz, a spokesman for the National Cable & Telecommunications Association, said the pro-net-neutrality advocates turned a complex and technical debate over how best to keep the Internet operating most efficiently into a matter of religion. The forces for stronger regulation, he said, became viewed as for the Internet. Those opposed to the regulation were viewed as against the Internet.

The Internet companies, he said, sometimes mislead their customers, and in some cases, are misled on the intricacies of the policy.

“Many of the things they have said just belie reality and common sense,” he said.

In April, a dozen New York-based Internet companies gathered at Tumblr’s headquarters in the Flatiron district to hear dire warnings that broadband providers were about to obtain the right to charge for the fastest speeds on the web.

The implication: If they did not pony up, they would be stuck in the slow lane.

“Tech companies would be better served to work with Congress on clear rules for the road. The thing that they’re buying into right now is a lot of legal uncertainty,” said Mr. Thune. “I’m not sure exactly what their thinking is.”

Mr. Thune said he was still willing to work with Democrats on legislation that he said would do what the F.C.C. is trying to accomplish, without a heavy regulatory hand: Ban paid “fast lanes” and stop intentional slowdowns — or “throttling” — by broadband companies seeking payment from Internet content providers.

But even he said Democrats were ready to let the F.C.C. do the job.

Correction: February 24, 2015
An earlier version of this article, using information from a Tumblr executive, misstated the location of the Tumblr boardroom. It is in the Flatiron district, not in the Flatiron Building.

ISIS abducts at least 90 from Christian villages in Syria
By Jerusalem Post (Israel) February 24, 2015 12:12 pmAMMAN- Islamic State militants have abducted at least 90 people from Assyrian Christian villages in northeastern Syria, a monitor that tracks violence in Syria said on Tuesday.

The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the abductions took place after dawn raids in villages inhabited by the ancient Christian minority near the town of Tel Tmar, a mainly Assyrian town, in the western countryside of the city of Hasaka, a city mainly held by the Kurds.

The latest offensive coincides with a push by Syrian Kurds in northeastern Syria near the Iraqi border that began Sunday and has compounded losses for Islamic State.

The incident comes about a week after the release of a beheading video of 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians in the hands of IS.

A caption of the video released by Islamic State militants referred to the Coptics as “people of the cross, followers of the hostile Egyptian church.”

The victims, kidnapped in Libya, deepened Cairo’s concerns over security threats from militants thriving in the neighboring country’s chaos.

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(c) 2015 The Jerusalem Post Provided by SyndiGate Media Inc. (Syndigate.info).

Senate Democrats warn Netanyahu about ‘lasting repercussions’

Last Updated:February 24 @ 09:43 pm

By Jerusalem Post (Israel) February 24, 2015 12:16 pm

Two senior US Senate Democrats invited Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday to a closed-door meeting with Democratic senators during his upcoming visit to Washington, warning that making US-Israeli relations a partisan political issue could have “lasting repercussions.”
Senators Richard Durbin and Dianne Feinstein extended the invitation “to maintain Israel’s dialog with both political parties in Congress,” according to a letter to the Israeli leader obtained by Reuters.

Netanyahu has faced criticism at home and abroad for his plans to address Congress on Iran’s nuclear program on March 3, just two weeks before Israeli elections. He accepted the invitation from Republican leaders in the US Congress, who consulted neither Democrats in Congress nor Democratic President Barack Obama’s administration.

“This unprecedented move threatens to undermine the important bipartisan approach towards Israel – which as long-standing supporters of Israel troubles us deeply,” the two senators wrote.

“It sacrifices deep and well-established cooperation on Israel for short-term partisan points – something that should never be done with Israeli security and which we fear could have lasting repercussions,” they said.

Durbin is the No. 2 Democrat in the US Senate. Feinstein, who has been in the Senate since 1992, is the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee and a senior member of the Appropriations and Judiciary committees.

The letter was sent on Monday evening. Officials at the Israeli Embassy could not immediately be reached for comment.

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(c) 2015 The Jerusalem Post Provided by SyndiGate Media Inc. (Syndigate.info).

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