Category: Govenment


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.

Links
http://patriotpost.us/posts/33534
http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2015/02/28/dhs-funding-vote/
http://thehill.com/homenews/house/234248-house-gop-leader-senate-should-change-its-rules
http://www.wsj.com/articles/squandering-a-gop-majority-1425250184
http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/house-gop-faces-familiar-dilemma-on-homeland-security-funding/2015/03/01/f5f41e5e-c038-11e4-9ec2-b418f57a4a99_story.html
http://patriotpost.us/posts/33541
http://patriotpost.us/posts/32618
http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-politics/wp/2015/03/01/john-kerry-plays-down-tensions-caused-by-netanyahus-speech/
http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/03/02/us-usa-israel-idUSKBN0LX13D20150302
http://patriotpost.us/posts/33520
http://dailycaller.com/2015/02/26/lerner-email-search-is-on-hold-over-software-problems-there-is-potential-criminal-activity/
http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2015/feb/26/irs-watchdog-reveals-lois-lerner-missing-emails-no/?page=all
http://patriotpost.us/posts/33527
http://patriotpost.us/alexander/3192
http://patriotpost.us/posts/33525
http://patriotpost.us/articles/33184
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http://www.judicialwatch.org/press-room/press-releases/documents-obtained-judicial-watch-reveal-top-hillary-clinton-advisers-knew-immediately-assault-benghazi-armed-attack/
http://patriotpost.us/alexander/25317
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http://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2012/12/22/diplomatic-securitys-top-agent-leaves-office-after-scathing-benghazi-report-the-director-of-the-security-service-is-among-those-ousted-from-office-following-a-review-into-the-benghazi-attacks-sources-say
http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2013/feb/14/white-house-no-phone-calls-benghazi/
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http://www.factcheck.org/2012/10/benghazi-timeline/
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http://patriotpost.us/articles/33074
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http://patriotpost.us/opinion

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
Former Gov. Martin O’Malley of Maryland spoke at a conference hosted by the South Carolina Democratic Party in Myrtle Beach, S.C. on Saturday.Martin O’Malley, in Veiled Jab at Hillary Clinton, Derides Politics of ‘Triangulation’FEB. 28, 2015
Jeb Bush at an event in Florida last week. When he was governor of Florida, he seemed to enjoy back-and-forths with familiar journalists via email.On the Record: Emails to Florida Reporters Show a Jeb Bush Eager to EngageFEB. 19, 2015
Fans watched a video of Senator Elizabeth Warren in Iowa last month.Hillary Clinton vs. Elizabeth Warren Could Delight RepublicansJAN. 28, 2015
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.

Tom Wheeler, F.C.C. chairman, has been working for the last year on new rules for the Internet.F.C.C. Plans Strong Hand to Regulate the InternetFEB. 4, 2015
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.

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.

All rights reserved

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

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The Patriot Post · http://patriotpost.us/digests/33147
Daily Digest
Feb. 13, 2015

THE FOUNDATION
“Liberty is to faction, what air is to fire, an aliment without which it instantly expires. But it could not be a less folly to abolish liberty, which is essential to political life, because it nourishes faction, than it would be to wish the annihilation of air, which is essential to animal life, because it imparts to fire its destructive agency.” –James Madison, Federalist No. 10, 1787

TOP 5 RIGHT HOOKS
The Selfie Debate Is Over1
A recent study2 at Ohio State University “showed that men who posted more online photos of themselves than others scored higher on measures of narcissism and psychopathy.” As Exhibit A, we submit the following:

The science is settled.

By the way, he played college frat boy with BuzzFeed on the same day Kayla Mueller was confirmed dead. Stay classy.

CNN Talkinghead: ‘Our Rights Do Not Come From God’3
CNN anchor Chris Cuomo debated Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore over rights and marriage, particularly regarding the recent kerfuffle over same-sex marriage in the Heart of Dixie. When Moore explained that marriage is a matter of law and rights that come from God, Cuomo vehemently disagreed. “Our rights do not come from God, your honor, and you know that. They come from man,” Cuomo insisted. Later he added, “That’s your faith, that’s my faith, but that’s not our country. Our laws come from collective agreement and compromise.” What utter hogwash. As Moore aptly noted, the Declaration of Independence is the law of the land, and it begins, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed…” But Cuomo isn’t just mistaken. He and his deceased father, Mario, and his brother Andrew, former and current governors of New York, hold a typical leftist view that government and not God creates rights. Therefore, those rights are subject to the whims of politicians because, as Chris Cuomo insisted, “Times change. Definitions change.” Such views are dangerous and completely antithetical to the foundation of our country. More…4

Last Summer, Obama Partied With Terrorists5
By what we can gather, the wedding Barack Obama attended last August was the bomb. The wedding between MSNBC anchor Alex Wagner and Sam Kass, a former White House chef, was kept hush-hush – probably because Obama was there with his pals and members of Weather Underground, Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn. The Leftmedia rag Gawker, which got the scoop, reports pair, who cavorted with leftist terrorists that bombed federal buildings in the ‘70s, “were likely invited due to their connection to Kass. Though the nature of their relationship with him is unclear, Kass resided for several years in Chicago, where Ayers and Dohrn live, and appear to have close mutual friends. In 2012, for example, the trio attended the same 22-guest wedding at a San Francisco art gallery.” Furthermore, it’s unlikely Obama ignored the duo, as he started his 1995 Illinois Senate bid from their house. This is further evidence that Obama considers himself above scrutiny, as he doesn’t have a re-election to win. But imagine the resulting 24-hour outrage machine if George W. Bush had a friend who bombed abortion clinics. More…6

IRS to Give Tax Benefits to Illegals7
The administration that says this year’s tax refunds will be delayed8 has enough time to give tax benefits to illegal immigrants. In a House hearing, IRS Commissioner John Koskinen said the IRS will start paying refunds to amnestied illegals. Koskinen said, “To be eligible for the earned income tax credit, you have to work. … To be able to apply for it, you have to have a Social Security number.” Barack Obama’s executive amnesty gives illegals Social Security numbers, though the Obama administration never estimated the impact of the program. As Koskinen put it, “I haven’t talked to the White House about this at all.” In response to this admission, Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-SC) told Koskinen, “That’s just outrageous. If Congress had passed a law doing exactly what the president did, we would have had not only an estimate of the costs, but we would have also been required to propose ways to pay for the programs. This is just another example of the administration operating outside the rule of law.” Furthermore, Obama’s action muddles the line between citizen and non-citizen, all in a cynical play for more Democrat votes. More…9

Don’t Worry, We Still Have Six Middle East Embassies10
Despite the closure of the U.S. embassy in Yemen, which follows the abandonment of embassies in Syria and Libya, the Obama State Department says not to worry. A reporter asked State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki, “Is there a broader concern that you’re being – the U.S. is being run out of town in the Arab world?” Pish posh, she responded: “We certainly don’t look at it in that way. I would remind you that we were not the only country that moved our staff out of Yemen last night (so did the UK and France), and we have to take precautions to protect the men and women who are serving on our behalf. There’s no question that in each of the countries you’ve mentioned there’s a great bit of volatility, but that’s – the fact is that that’s what’s happening on the ground. It’s not a reflection of the United States and our engagement. It’s a reflection of the trouble and challenges happening in these countries.” On the contrary, it absolutely is a reflection of Barack Obama’s failed foreign policy.

For more, visit Right Hooks11.

RIGHT ANALYSIS
GOP Still Stymied by Democrat Filibuster12
The Republican plan to roll back Barack Obama’s immigration actions appears on the verge of collapse thanks to intra-party squabbling and a united Democrat opposition.

GOP congressmen originally called for passing a budget for the Department of Homeland Security that stripped out funding for immigration enforcement. The House passed its version of the bill last month with 10 Republicans joining all but two Democrats in opposition. The legislation is now mired in the Senate, where the GOP has failed to reach cloture three times. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will try again – perhaps three more times.

But there is virtually no possibility they can pick up the Democrat votes needed to overcome the filibuster before the Feb. 27 deadline for funding, and the Senate adjourned Thursday for a 10-day recess.

That’s why some House Republicans want the Senate to deploy the nuclear option and eliminate the filibuster so they can pass the bill. Not that such a move would win Obama’s signature. And few, if any, Senate Republicans support such a move, which they decried when Harry Reid did it for non-Supreme Court nominations.

Before calling for more cloture votes, McConnell began looking to House Speaker John Boehner to fix the situation. “We can’t get on it, we can’t offer amendments to it,” McConnell lamented. “And the next step is obviously up to the House.”

House Republicans see things differently. “I think the speaker’s position is that the House has already acted. It’s time for the Senate to act,” said Rep. Tom Price (R-GA).

That’s putting it mildly. Boehner himself was far more colorful, saying, “The House has done its job. Why don’t you go ask the Senate Democrats when they are going to get off their a– and do something?”

The House GOP opposes restoring immigration funding to the bill. They appear motivated to challenge Obama’s abuse of power – as he clearly overstepped his constitutional authority when he made changes to immigration policy. Senate Republicans, however, are more interested in getting a DHS funding bill passed. Talk of considering some Democrat concessions has been circulating, but Democrats feel the wind at their backs and they’re likely to accept nothing less than a fully funded bill.

If appropriations run out, the DHS won’t be able to perform some of its functions – an unwelcome situation in a time of heightened terrorist activity. Sen. Mark Kirk (R-IL) said, “If there is a successful attack during a DHS shutdown – we should build a number of coffins outside each Democratic office and say, ‘You are responsible for these dead Americans.’”

But what’s far more likely to happen is the Leftmedia and the public will blame Republicans. No matter the circumstances, no matter who’s in the majority, the Leftmedia does its job effectively in turning public opinion against the GOP.

Hence, the bickering going back and forth between House and Senate Republicans is unfortunate. To be at loggerheads on strategy this early into their majority doesn’t instill confidence in Republicans’ ability to lead. But the truth is, Obama will veto any bill that doesn’t preserve his amnesty. Republicans need to use that to their political advantage by putting the focus on Obama’s unconstitutional actions, even if they’re unable to stop him.

Inability to overcome the Democrat filibuster is something the 54 Senate Republicans will either have to get used to or find a strategy to surmount. They need to get things ironed out or their majority will be a short one. And the White House will grow further from reach as well.

Closer to Capitulation on Iranian Nukes13
The long-running game of nuclear cat-and-mouse between Iran and the rest of the world seems to be nearing its conclusion. Both U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif say talks won’t be extended past the March 31 deadline. Then again, Barack Obama has long played fast and loose with deadlines when it comes to Iran’s nuclear program.

There are serious concerns about this prospective deal. Speaking from the left side of the aisle, Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA) worried such a pact could be enacted without the Senate’s approval and warned, “[T]he end result [of these negotiations] is more likely to be a North Korean situation.”

Former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, criticized the talks14 in remarks before the Senate Armed Forces Committee. “Nuclear talks with Iran began as an international effort, buttressed by six UN resolutions, to deny Iran the capability to develop a military nuclear option,” he recounted. “They are now an essentially bilateral negotiation over the scope of that capability through an agreement that sets a hypothetical limit of one year on an assumed breakout. The impact of this approach will be to move from preventing proliferation to managing it.”

In short, Obama has conceded the main point as he’s led from behind.

Yet Obama has come up with a new excuse for allowing Iran to get its way. He’s now sufficiently blinded by Islamophilia15 as to take Iran’s supreme leader at his word that “it would be contrary to their faith16” for Iran to build a nuclear weapon. That nonsense fits well with the narrative he’s still trying to sell about Islam being the Religion of Peace™, but history has repeatedly shown just the opposite – Obama’s ridiculous lecture about the Crusades17 notwithstanding.

The U.S. has eased sanctions against Iran, while the mullahs kept working on their nuclear program under the guise of peaceful use. It won’t be long before sanctions are gone and Iran has its nuclear bomb. Kissinger fretted that other Middle East nations could then engage in a nuclear arms race. It’s not inconceivable that Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Turkey could quickly follow Iran. If Iran has nukes, these nations will reason it’s in their own security interests to obtain them in order to balance their regional foe.

Nor should we forget the effect this would have on Israel, which is calling the nuclear deal with Iran “bad and dangerous.” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has warned us before about Iran18, saying, “Iran is not your ally. Iran is not your friend. Iran is your enemy. It’s not your partner. Iran is committed to the destruction of Israel.” (He could have added the part about the “Death to America” chants that are a staple of Friday prayers in Tehran.)

Netanyahu has allies in Congress, where the sentiment to expand sanctions against Iran is much stronger. In the past, Israel has threatened to go it alone in destroying Iran’s nuclear program, and it may yet come to that. We’ll see what the Israeli leader says when he addresses Congress in March.

Regardless, by continually appeasing this rogue regime, Barack Obama has further destabilized the situation and once again shown his reverse Midas touch in world affairs.                                                                                                                                  OPINION IN BRIEF

Mark Twain (1835-1910): “Few things are harder to put up with than the annoyance of a good example.”

Columnist Charles Krauthammer: “Russia pushes deep into eastern Ukraine. The Islamic State burns to death a Jordanian pilot. Iran extends its hegemony over four Arab capitals – Beirut, Damascus, Baghdad and now Sanaa. And America watches. Obama calls the policy ‘strategic patience.’ That’s a synonym for ‘inaction,’ made to sound profoundly ‘strategic.’ Take Russia. The only news out of Obama’s one-hour press conference with Angela Merkel this week was that he still can’t make up his mind whether to supply Ukraine with defensive weapons. The Russians have sent in T-80 tanks and Grad rocket launchers. We’ve sent in humanitarian aid that includes blankets, MREs and psychological counselors. How complementary: The counselors do grief therapy for those on the receiving end of the T-80 tank fire. … America was once the arsenal of democracy, notes Elliott Abrams. We are now its linen closet. … The line between the Washington prayer breakfast and the Ukrainian grief counselors is direct and causal. Once you’ve discounted your own moral authority, once you’ve undermined your own country’s moral self-confidence, you cannot lead. If, during the very week Islamic supremacists achieve ‘peak barbarism’ with the immolation of a helpless prisoner, you cannot take them on without apologizing for sins committed a thousand years ago, you have prepared the ground for strategic paralysis. All that’s left is to call it strategic patience.”

Columnist Jonah Goldberg: “At an event in London on trade policy, Scott Walker was asked about evolution. … As my National Review colleague Kevin Williamson notes, ‘Everybody wants to know what Scott Walker and Sarah Palin think about evolution, but almost nobody is asking what Nancy Pelosi and Barack Obama think about homeopathy, acupuncture, aromatherapy and the like.’ Even though such remedies have been given elevated legitimacy under the Affordable Care Act. Presidents have become avatars in the culture war being fought across the Internet and the airwaves, and nothing gives secular liberal journalists more of a buzz than exposing the alleged backwardness of those they consider backward. It’s a cultural wedge issue used by the very people who claim they hate cultural wedge issues. … When Barack Obama was asked when life begins, he responded that such questions are above his pay grade, even though a president is in fact paid to make myriad decisions which hinge on precisely that question. But liberal politicians are allowed such dodges precisely because liberal journalists know what the politician really believes.”

Comedian Conan O’Brien: “NBC has suspended Brian Williams for six months without pay. Williams said he’s not worried, because soon his veteran’s benefits will kick in.”

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.

Links
http://patriotpost.us/posts/33125
http://news.osu.edu/news/2015/01/06/hey-guys-posting-a-lot-of-selfies-doesn’t-send-a-good-message/
http://patriotpost.us/posts/33119
http://patriotpost.us/alexander/18968
http://patriotpost.us/posts/33143
http://gawker.com/obama-secretly-partied-with-bill-ayers-last-summer-1684584845
http://patriotpost.us/posts/33137
http://patriotpost.us/posts/31877
http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2015/feb/11/irs-pay-back-refunds-illegal-immigrants-who-didnt-/
http://patriotpost.us/posts/33113
http://patriotpost.us/
http://patriotpost.us/articles/33144
http://patriotpost.us/articles/33135
http://www.wsj.com/articles/kissinger-on-iran-1423527223
http://patriotpost.us/alexander/33080
http://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2015/02/09/obama_according_to_irans_supreme_leader_it_would_be_contrary_to_their_faith_to_obtain_a_nuclear_weapon.html
http://patriotpost.us/articles/33004
http://www.cbsnews.com/news/netanyahu-iran-is-not-your-friend-iran-is-your-enemy/
http://patriotpost.us/opinion/33117
http://patriotpost.us/opinion/33132
http://patriotpost.us/opinion/33129
http://patriotpost.us/opinion/33126
http://patriotpost.us/opinion/33131
http://patriotpost.us/opinion

Misunderstanding ObamaCare’s Employer Mandate could be Costly for Small Businesses
BY ASHTON ELLIS
THURSDAY, AUGUST 08 2013

[W]hen it comes to the employer mandate, the key number is not whether there are 50 full-time workers – it’s whether the total number of hours worked for an employer is the equivalent of 50 full-time workers…

What if Congress amends a key part of ObamaCare, but doesn’t fix the underlying problem?

That could very well be the case if either of two bills passes to change the health law’s definition of a full-time employee.

As written, ObamaCare defines “full-time” as “an employee who is employed on average at least 30 hours of service per week.” A company that employs 50 such workers or more becomes subject to the law’s employer mandate, which levies fines ranging from $2,000 to $3,000 for every full-time employee not offered health insurance.

To avoid the mandate and its fines, many small businesses are planning to cut employee hours to stay below the 50/30 threshold. One study by the University of California Berkeley Labor Center estimates that as many as 2.3 million Americans working hourly jobs in the restaurant, retail and services, and nursing home industries can expect fewer hours (and less pay) as employers increase reliance on part-time staff.

Still, the business community is chaffing at the 30 hour definition since the normal standard for full-time employment is working 40 hours per week.

So, in order to make ObamaCare fit reality, Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) and Representative Dan Lipinski (D-IL) have introduced identical pieces of legislation to amend the law’s full-time definition to 40 hours per week.

Both are called the “Forty Hours Is Full Time Act of 2013,” and would replace “30 hours” with “40 hours,” but retain the 50 full-time workers trigger.

The idea behind the amendment push is to “keep the usual 40 hour full-time work week in place without sacrificing the goal of providing affordable, quality health to Americans,” Lipinski said in a statement.

If only it were that simple.

Because of media reports about the shift to part-time workers and legislative bills like those proposed by Collins and Lipinski, there is a widespread misperception that ObamaCare’s employer mandate applies only to individuals who themselves meet the definition of a full-time employee, however many hours it is.

This misperception creates the impression that all a company needs to do to avoid the employer mandate is reduce its full-time workforce and spread out its work to a greater number of part-timers.

But a careful reading of the law reveals a different story.

The text of ObamaCare and subsequent regulations say there are two ways a company can reach the dreaded 50 full-time employee (FTE) threshold. One way is to have 50 individuals, each employed full-time.

The other way is to add the number of full-time positions to the total number of part-time hours worked. Every time the number of part-time hours worked is equivalent to one full-time employee, ObamaCare will treat those combined part-time hours as one full-time equivalent employee. If enough part-timers can be aggregated into the number of full-time equivalent employees needed to reach 50, then the employer mandate will apply.

In other words, “Switching from full-time to part-time workers of equal total hours worked may not avoid the employer’s responsibility for offering its workers health insurance,” notes Andrew Kurz of HealthReformTrends.com.

The problem with the Collins-Lipinski solution is that it ignores the fact that ObamaCare’s employer mandate is really a tax on business formation and growth, not just jobs. What the FTE count means is that there will now be a practical limit to the amount of hours a small business can pay for before it is hit with massive increases in compliance costs. For example, under the current 50/30 formula, the threshold that triggers the employer mandate becomes 1,500 hours of work paid a week.

Passage of the Collins-Lipinski bill does not fix this problem. Instead, all it does is increase the practical limit of pre-mandate business growth by a third. By changing the formula to 40 hours, but keeping the 50 full-time employee and FTE measures, the bill raises the triggering threshold to 2,000 work hours a week.

Any work paid for at or beyond this threshold brings with it tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars in either fines or increased insurance costs.

Imagine the consequences. Depending on the business, once the mandate applies, it will take hiring many additional employees just to start making a profit again. This amounts to a huge tax on business growth as employers are forced to create new firms rather than expand an existing one, or forego expansion altogether. It could even stifle enterprise formation if the number of working hours necessary to make a business go falls between 50 full-time workers and a higher staff level that doesn’t escape the mandate’s profit-killing effects.

Either way, when it comes to the employer mandate, the key number is not whether there are 50 full-time workers – it’s whether the total number of hours worked for an employer is the equivalent of 50 full-time workers, however defined.

None of this is surprising if you remember that the whole point of the employer mandate is to force the private sector to pay for an expensive benefit that the government can’t afford.

That’s the essential problem with the employer mandate, and why the only economically prudent reform is to repeal it outright.

Choose to refuse: Say ‘no’ to PARCC/SBAC testing Michelle Malkin – Guest Columnist
http://michellemalkin.com/

Wednesday, January 28, 2015
Michelle MalkinParents, you need to know that Common Core-aligned testing racketeers in your children’s schools are doing everything they can to marginalize you. You also need to know you CAN do something about it.

This is National School Choice Week, but I want to talk about parents’ school testing choice. Moms and dads, you have the inherent right and responsibility to protect your children. You can choose to refuse the top-down Common Core racket of costly standardized tests of dubious academic value, reliability and validity.

Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

I’m reminding you of your right to choose because the spring season of testing tyranny is about to hit the fan. Do you object to the time being taken away from your kids’ classroom learning? Are you alarmed by the intrusive data-sharing and data-mining enabled by assessment-driven special interests? Are you opposed to the usurpation of local control by corporate testing giants and federal lobbyists?

You are not alone, although the testing racketeers are doing everything they can to marginalize you. In Maryland, a mom of a 9-year-old special needs student is suing her Frederick County school district to assert her parental prerogative. Cindy Rose writes that her school district “says the law requires our children be tested, but could not point to a specific law or regulation” forcing her child to take Common Core-tied tests. Rose’s pre-trial conference is scheduled for Feb. 4.

The vigilant mom warns parents nationwide: “While we are being treated like serfs of the State, Pearson publishing is raking in billions off our children.” And she is not just going to lie down and surrender because some bloviating suits told her “it’s the law.”

Pearson, as I’ve reported extensively, is the multibillion-dollar educational publishing and testing conglomerate — not to mention a chief corporate sponsor of Jeb Bush’s Fed Ed ventures — that snagged $23 million in contracts to design the first wave of so-called “PARCC” tests.

The Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers raked in $186 million through the federal Race to the Top program to develop the nationalized tests “aligned” to the Common Core standards developed in Beltway backrooms.

As more families, administrators and teachers realized the classroom and cost burdens the guinea-pig field-testing scheme would impose, they pressured their states to withdraw. Between 2011 and 2014, the number of states actively signed up for PARCC dropped from 24 (plus the District of Columbia) to 10 (plus DC). Education researcher Mercedes Schneider reports that the remaining 10 are Arkansas, Colorado, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, New Jersey, New Mexico, Ohio and Rhode Island.

State legislators and state education boards in Utah, Kansas, Alaska, Iowa, South Carolina and Alabama have withdrawn from the other federally funded testing consortium, the $180-million tax-subsidized Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium, which administered field tests last spring to three million students in 23 states. In New Jersey, the parental opt-out movement is “exploding,” according to activist Jean McTavish. Many superintendents have conceded that “they can’t force a student to take a test,” NJ.com reports.

Last week, Missouri withdrew from PARCC, while parents, administrators and the school board of the Chicago Public Schools spurned PARCC in the majority of their 600 schools.

In California, the Pacific Justice Institute offers a privacy protection opt-out form for parents to submit to school districts. PJI head Brad Dacus advises families to send the notices as certified letters if they get ignored. Then, be prepared to go to court. PJI will help. The Thomas More Law Center in Michigan also offers a student privacy opt-out form.

Don’t let the bureaucratic smokescreens fool you. A federal No Child Left Behind mandate on states to administer assessments is not a mandate on you and your kids to submit to the testing diktats. And the absence of an opt-out law or regulation is not a prohibition on your choice to refuse.

Here in Colorado, the State Board of Education voted this month to allow districts to opt out of PARCC testing. Parents and activists continue to pressure a state task force — packed with Gates Foundation and edu-tech special interest-conflicted members — to reduce the testing burden statewide. For those who don’t live in PARCC-waivered districts, it’s important to know your rights and know the spin.

In Colorado Springs, where I have a high-schooler whose district will sacrifice a total of six full academic days for PARCC testing this spring, parents are calling the testing drones’ bluff about losing their accreditation and funding.

“The Colorado Department of Education is threatening schools to ensure that 95 percent of students take these tests,” an El Paso County parent watch group reports. “Be assured that MANY parents across Colorado — FAR ABOVE 5 percent in many schools — are refusing the tests, and not one school yet is facing the loss of accreditation, funding, etc. As long as schools can show that they gave a ‘good faith attempt to get 95 percent to test, they can appeal a loss of accreditation’ due to parental refusals to test.”

You also have the power to exercise a parental nuclear option: If edu-bullies play hardball and oppose your right to refuse, tell them you’ll have your kid take the test and intentionally answer every question wrong — and that you’ll advise every parent you know to tell their kids to do the same. How’s that for accountability?

Be prepared to push back against threats and ostracism. Find strength in numbers. And always remember: You are your kids’ primary educational providers.

COPYRIGHT 2015 CREATORS.COM

Michelle Malkin is the author of “Culture of Corruption: Obama and his Team of Tax Cheats, Crooks and Cronies” (Regnery 2010). Her e-mail address is malknblog@gmail.com.

Justice Roy Moore strikes a major blow against judicial tyranny Bryan Fischer – Guest Columnist

Wednesday, January 28, 2015
Bryan FischerThe U.S. Constitution gives no jurisdiction whatsoever to any branch of the federal government to dictate marriage policy to the states. That’s the argument Roy Moore is making – and he’s on solid constitutional grounds in doing so.

Chief Justice Roy Moore of the Alabama Supreme Court has taken a stand against judicial tyranny on the matter of natural marriage. And strikingly and importantly, he has called on the governor of Alabama to do the same.

Last Friday, another judicial activist, U.S. District Judge Callie Granade, overturned Alabama’s marriage amendment, which was passed in 2006 by a staggering 81 percent of voters. (The judge has stayed her own ruling for two weeks.)

Justice Moore says he will not recognize the federal court ruling, and he is calling on Gov. Robert Bentley to do the same. And the beauty of it is that he is doing it all on solid constitutional grounds.

In Justice Moore’s letter to the governor (which you can read here) he states the constitutional and legal facts plainly and correctly. The Constitution, he says bluntly, gives no jurisdiction whatsoever to any branch of the federal government to dictate marriage policy to the states.

“As you know,” Judge Moore wrote, “nothing in the United States Constitution grants the federal government the authority to redefine the institution of marriage.” This, of course, is manifestly true. The authority to dictate marriage policy to the states is conspicuously absent from the list of powers “We the People” granted to the central government in Article I, Section 8.

In fact, the word “marriage” does not occur anywhere in the Constitution. You can read it front to back, back to front, upside down and in Sanskrit and you will find nary a mention of marriage anywhere in there, including the 14th Amendment, which was about slavery, not marriage. (On top of that, homosexual conduct was a crime everywhere in the United States at the time the 14th Amendment was enacted.)

All this means is that the issue of the definition of marriage is reserved, as Justice Moore correctly observes, to the states and the states alone.

“As Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, I will continue to recognize the Alabama Constitution and the will of the people overwhelmingly expressed in the Sanctity of Marriage Amendment,” Moore wrote.

Here’s how Justice Moore concludes his letter to the governor: “I ask you to continue to uphold and support the Alabama Constitution with respect to marriage, both for the welfare of this state and for our posterity. Be advised that I stand with you to stop judicial tyranny and any unlawful opinions issued without constitutional authority.”

Moore points out that 44 federal judges have already imposed their own view of morality on 21 states against the manifest will of the people as expressed at the ballot box, disenfranchising millions of voters in the process. The key to breaking the power of this out-of-control judicial tyranny is in the hands of our elected officials at the state level.

State justices can, as Justice Moore has done, defy unconstitutional federal rulings which have overturned marriage amendments. Governors, such as Gov. Bentley, can defy unconstitutional federal rulings by forbidding county clerks to issue marriage licenses which would be in violation of the state constitution. (First Amendment law firms such as the Alliance Defending Freedom have pledged to defend pro bono any clerks who refuse to issue same-sex licenses on grounds of conscience.)

Such actions would most emphatically not represent civil disobedience, but rather the best in civil obedience. An elected official can hardly be charged with rebellion when he is simply fulfilling the oath he took before God to uphold both the federal Constitution and the constitution of his own state.

What Justice Moore is advocating is not rebellion at all, but a call to quash the rebellion which has already occurred, the rebellion of federal judges against the limits imposed on them by our supreme legal document. With regard to federal judges, it is time, in Jefferson’s words, “to bind (them) down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution.” Justice Roy Moore is showing us how. May his tribe increase.

Bryan Fischer hosts “Focal Point with Bryan Fischer” every weekday on AFR Talk (American Family Radio) from 1:00 – 3:00 p.m. (Central).

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