Tag Archive: government


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

 

 

 

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
http://patriotpost.us/
http://patriotpost.us/articles/33533
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
http://patriotpost.us/alexander/25527
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/
http://www.nationalreview.com/article/348677/10-pm-phone-call-andrew-c-mccarthy
http://www.factcheck.org/2012/10/benghazi-timeline/
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http://patriotpost.us/articles/33399
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http://patriotpost.us/articles/29858
http://patriotpost.us/articles/33074
http://patriotpost.us/posts/33215
http://patriotpost.us/articles/31821
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http://patriotpost.us/articles/32717
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http://patriotpost.us/opinion

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.

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.

All rights reserved

(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.

All rights reserved

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

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Rumors: ISIS Captures Ramadi City, ‘300 Marines’ Trapped at al-Asad Air Base
By Jack Phillips, Epoch Times | February 12, 2015Last Updated: February 13, 2015 12:08 pm.

The city of al-Baghdadi in Iraq was taken by ISIS militants on Thursday, a few miles from an air base with U.S. Marines, according to Reuters.

But a rumor that was being spread on social media sites and several blogs said “300 Marines” were “trapped” at a nearby base, and it said Iraqi officials lost contact with them. Another rumor claimed that Ramadi city, located about 50 miles from al-Baghdadi was also taken, but that hasn’t been confirmed either.

Mainstream news outlets have not reported on 300 Marines–or any U.S. soldiers in Iraq–being “trapped” by ISIS, or the Islamic State, which is also known as ISIL.

UNCONFIRMED: There are initial reports of ISIS attack/capture of al-Asad air base in which there are over 300 U.S. marines

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.

Utah firing-squad proposal faces key vote Friday
The Associated Press – By By MICHELLE L. PRICE – Associated Press27 minutes ago

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Legislation that resurrects Utah’s use of firing squads to carry out executions faces a key vote Friday morning before the Utah House of Representatives.
The bill from Clearfield Republican Rep. Paul Ray barely won approval from a House committee last week, but it’s unclear if enough of the 75 members in the GOP-dominated House are willing to back the measure.
Ray argues a team of trained marksmen is faster and more humane than the drawn-out deaths that have occurred in botched lethal injections. His bill would call for a firing squad if Utah cannot get lethal injection drugs 30 days before an execution.
Critics say the firing squad is a gruesome relic of Utah’s Wild West past and would bring international condemnation upon the state. That criticism and excessive media attention was one of the reasons many lawmakers voted in 2004 to stop allowing condemned prisoners to choose death by firing squad.
A handful of inmates on Utah’s death row were sentenced before the law changed and still have the option of going before a firing squad in a few years once they have exhausted any appeals.
It was last used in 2010 when Ronnie Lee Gardner was executed by five police officers with .30-caliber Winchester rifles.
For years, states used a three-drug combination to execute inmates, but European drug makers have refused to sell the drugs to prisons and corrections departments out of opposition to the death penalty.
Drug shortages and troubles with administering lethal injections have led several states begin revisiting alternatives over the past year
A bill to allow firing squad executions is working its way through Wyoming’s Legislature, while lawmakers in Oklahoma lawmakers are considering legislation that would allow that state to use nitrogen gas to execute inmates.
Ray has argued the firing squad is the fastest, most reliable method and the most humane way to kill someone.
The Washington, D.C.-based Death Penalty Information Center, which opposes capital punishment, says that a firing squad is not a foolproof method because the inmate could move or shooters could miss the heart, causing a slower, more painful death. One such case appears to have happened in Utah’s territorial days back in 1879, when a firing squad missed Wallace Wilkerson’s heart and it took him 27 minutes to die, according to newspaper accounts.
If Utah’s House votes in favor of the proposal Friday, the bill advances to the Senate, where leaders have declined to say whether they’d support it.
Gov. Gary Herbert, a Republican, has discussed the idea with Ray, but he has not committed to signing the bill if it makes it to his desk, according to Herbert’s spokesman Marty Carpenter.
Carpenter has said Herbert supports Ray’s “efforts to try to address the situation, to try to address the potential situation that the state would be in.”

Daily Digest
Jan. 29, 2015

THE FOUNDATION
“[A] bill of rights is what the people are entitled to against every government on earth, general or particular, and what no just government should refuse, or rest on inference.” –Thomas Jefferson, letter to James Madison, 1787

TOP 5 RIGHT HOOKS
After Undermining Cuts, Obama Plans More Spending1
Despite Republican budget cuts helping the nation boost its Index of Economic Freedom score2, Barack Obama worked to make sequestration as painful as possible – even though it was his idea in the first place. For example, he blamed the Republican budget for his drawdown of military strength to anemic levels. Not only that, an analysis of federal grants3 by Reuters and the Brookings Institution shows Obama funneling more money to states he won in 2012 than to states he didn’t. On average, blue states saw their federal dole decline 25% while red states saw the payout slashed 40%. As Congress banned the practice of earmarking funds, the executive branch picked up that power. It’s all been a strategy to further Obama’s “middle-crush economics4,” as he’s about to introduce a budget to Congress that lifts sequestration entirely. It’s for the middle class, leftists like Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) argue: “Arbitrary cuts through sequestration never made sense, and House Democrats have consistently supported replacing them with a smarter, more balanced approach to long-term deficit reduction. What our country needs is a growing economy that works for all Americans, not just the wealthy few.” But waging class warfare and then redistributing the loot on vote-buying schemes won’t accomplish economic growth.

CBO Says ObamaCare to Cost Less? Yeah, Right5
Two projections about ObamaCare in the Congressional Budget Office’s latest report6 will probably contradict each other. First came the breathless news that the government will spend 20% less7 than what the CBO first divined back in April. Now, the government is expected to spend $1.35 trillion from 2016 to 2025 – $2 trillion in expenses8 offset by income from penalty payments and other tax revenue. Here’s what CBS News has to say about it: “Consequently, the CBO reduced its 10-year cost estimate for Obamacare by $101 billion by making the following changes: It’s predicting the government will spend $68 billion less on Obamacare subsidies, spend $59 billion more on Medicaid, and bring in $97 billion more in revenues from projected changes in employer-based coverage. Additionally, the CBO is projecting the government will spend $5 billion more due to changes in estimated penalty payments and certain taxes collected.” In short, they are expecting businesses to pick up a larger portion of the nation’s health care tab. But the CBO also says 10 million Americans will lose employer-provided insurance9 during that same period. With the track record the federal government has on ObamaCare promises, expect to see a revision soon.

White House: Taliban ‘Insurgents,’ Not Terrorists10
ABC News’ Jonathan Karl wanted to know: What was the difference between the Bowe Bergdahl exchange11 with the Taliban and Jordan’s attempted swap12 of prisoners with ISIL? When Karl brought the question up at a White House press conference, Deputy Press Secretary Eric Schultz responded that prisoner exchange is a “traditional end of conflict transaction.” But then Schultz said, “I would also point out that the Taliban is an armed insurgency. ISIL is a terrorist group. So we don’t make concessions to terrorist groups.” So if the full brunt of the U.S. military is thrown against a terrorist organization, it legitimizes the organization in the eyes of the Obama administration? This is just another example of Obama playing verbal gymnastics, obfuscating his foreign policy. As political analyst Charles Krauthammer observed, the Taliban “slits throats, it attacks busses, it drives car bombs into markets, and it’s not a terrorist group? Look, you can’t parody this administration.” Sad, but true. More…13

Narcissist in Chief Praises Himself 118 Times in Single Speech14
Can you ever get tired of hearing yourself talk, much less making it all about you? Not if you’re Barack Obama. The president made a stop in New Delhi this week to deliver a speech that was once again replete with personal pronouns. After analyzing the yawn-inducing remarks, Grabien reported, “Somehow in the span of just 33 minutes, Obama referenced himself 118 times.” They added, “For those keeping score at home, that’s 3.5 Obama references per minute.” Whether he’s demogugeing here at home, or proselytizing abroad, it’s never about “We the People,” as the beginning words of the U.S. Constitution make clear. It’s about “I, Barack Obama.” As if that weren’t embarrassing enough, the man actually believes he’s accomplished something.

Virginia Senate Defends Right to Bear Arms15
The proposal to restrict the Second Amendment rights of Virginians backfired on Governor Terry McAuliffe when he watched his bills die in committee while measures granting greater gun freedom moved forward. McAuliffe announced16 in December gun control would be a cornerstone of his administration, such as renewing Virginia’s expired law limiting handgun purchases to once a month. In what Philip Van Cleave, president of Virginia Citizens Defense League, called “an awesome day,” the commonwealth’s Senate Courts of Justice Committee rejected the governor’s bills and instead approved bills that would allow Virginians to get a lifetime gun permit and carry on school grounds if school is not in session. While Charles Cooke17 says McAuliffe signing these bills has about as much chance as a donut before Michael Moore, Virginia’s senate couldn’t have sent a stronger message. More…18

For more, visit Right Hooks19.

PUBLISHER’S NOTE
Support the NRA! This week, NRA Life members or those who have been members for five or more years, will receive National Board ballots in your NRA publication. I ask your support for a seasoned member of that board, my colleague Joe DeBergalis, an NRA Benefactor Life Member. Joe’s a career law enforcement officer in New York, but he has dedicated untold hours in support of the Second Amendment20 and the NRA, serving as Chairman of the NRA’s Education and Training Committee – there are now more than 117,000 certified Instructor and Coach members. He also serves as Vice Chair of Action Shooting and on the Executive, Finance, Law Enforcement, Legislative Affairs and Sport Shooting Committees. In addition to the NRA, Joe has promoted Essential Liberty21 nationwide. He is the founder of the very popular AR15.com Pro-AM 3 Gun Championship and works with numerous other 2A training and advocacy groups. Joe is an active opponent of the so-called NY SAFE Act and Leftist Michael Bloomberg’s gun control schemes22 in Colorado, California and across the nation. Check for your ballot in your magazine, or if you receive the magazine electronically, a ballot will be mailed to you via USPS. Support our friend Joe DeBergalis and make plans to attend the NRA Convention23 in Nashville, April 10-12, 2015.

Don’t Miss Alexander’s Column
Read Obama’s ‘Middle-Crush Economics’4, on the platform for his final years.

If you’d like to receive Alexander’s Column by email, update your subscription here24.

RIGHT ANALYSIS
Lynch Will Take Up Holder’s Torch of Injustice25
Attorney General Eric Holder announced his resignation last September, effective when a replacement is confirmed. On Wednesday, Congress conducted the first day of hearings with that nominee, U.S. attorney Loretta Lynch. And it appears she’ll pick up right where Holder left off.

Early in the hearing, Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) explained, “[T]he Attorney General is the premier law enforcement officer … in America. He or she sets the tone for law in America, the commitment to law, and must resist politicizing law and do the right thing on a daily basis.”

And Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA) lamented, “Public confidence in the department’s ability to do its job without regard to politics has been shaken, with good reason.”

Indeed, what a tone Holder set. To name but a few egregious activities from the last six years in which he served as Barack Obama’s criminal co-conspirator26, the AG trafficked illegal guns to Mexican drug cartels via Operation Fast and Furious27, tossed an airtight voter-intimidation case28 against the New Black Panther Party in Philadelphia and sued Southern states over voter ID laws29. So he’s leaving big shoes to fill.

Enter Lynch, the current U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York. Grilled by Senate Republicans hoping to find that she’s “not Eric Holder,” Lynch gave every reason to believe that she’d endeavor to be his heir.

That isn’t to say she didn’t strike some euphonious political notes. Regarding law enforcement, she said it would be a priority to strengthen “the vital relationships between our courageous law enforcement personnel and all the communities we serve.” In fact, she added, “In my career, I have seen this relationship flourish – I have seen law enforcement forge unbreakable bonds with community residents and have seen violence-ravaged communities come together to honor officers who risked all to protect them. As attorney general, I will draw all voices into this important discussion.”

All well and good, but the relationship between communities and law enforcement has absolutely not flourished in the wake of Holder’s noxious race-baiting30 after police shootings in Ferguson and New York City. Notwithstanding Lynch’s conciliatory rhetoric, we find it hard to believe she’ll do much better. Obama wouldn’t choose her if she would.

So what about immigration? If the AG “sets the tone” for the nation, as Sessions accurately noted, what can we expect from the Justice Department after Obama’s lawless amnesty?

First, Lynch claims it was only a “temporary deferral” of enforcement and therefore not “a legal amnesty” – by which she means Obama didn’t grant amnesty. While she wasn’t part of crafting the policy, she doesn’t “see any reason to doubt the reasonableness” of the action.

Second, in a convoluted line of testimony, she seemed to contend that illegals have the right to work in the U.S. “I believe that the right and the obligation to work is one that’s shared by everyone in this country regardless of how they came here,” she said. “And certainly, if someone is here, regardless of status, I would prefer that they be participating in the workplace than not participating in the workplace.”

Lynch did later clarify that there is currently a “legal framework” requiring proof of citizenship or eligibility for employment, but that hardly eases the concern we have over her “right to work” answer. The issue of “rights” for illegals is at the root of Obama’s lawlessness, and Lynch’s answer signifies that she’s in lockstep with the president. Shocking, we know.

And don’t think for a minute that any leftist actually believes a poverty plantation31 welfare recipient has an “obligation to work.”

Lynch cannot possibly restore trust between American communities and law enforcement when the law is based on nothing more than the political whim of the White House. Her answer regarding Holder’s decision not to defend the Defense of Marriage Act in court is illustrative: There are, she said, “rare instances” when the Justice Department may find “constitutional issues” with a law. This is Left-speak for selective law enforcement.

Unfortunately, though Sessions and a few other Republicans will oppose32 Lynch’s confirmation, it seems she will win enough votes to become the next attorney general. Worse, her quiet demeanor, diminutive stature (she’s all of five feet tall) and the fact she will be the first black woman to serve as AG (with the last name of Lynch, no less) add up to mean she could be both worse than Holder and harder to oppose.

Dropping Out of (Taxing) College (Savings)33
In less time than it takes to fill out a college application, Barack Obama dropped his plan to tax 529 college savings accounts in order to offer two “free” (ahem) years of community college. Just seven days after floating the idea in the State of the Union address34, the White House deduced that it had become such a “distraction” as to warrant abandonment.

Given this administration’s penchant for coming up with, and then bitterly clinging to, economically disastrous ideas (ObamaCare, anyone?), political resistance was quick and universal enough that even Obama couldn’t ignore reality.

You see, 529s are education savings plans that help families set aside money for college. While contributions are not tax-deductible on federal tax returns, distributions from the funds to pay for college are tax-free, making 529 plans highly attractive for families wanting to save for their children’s education. The problem – well, one among many – is that the president seemed to assume those who take advantage of these accounts are “rich,” defined in his parallel universe as those who make $250,000 per year. So taxing these accounts would be the obvious choice in Obama’s class-warfare utopia. Shared responsibility and all.

He grossly underestimated the backlash given how many middle-class people actually have college savings. As of last year, there were more than 12 million accounts, and the average balance was $19,774 – far less than the $240,000 the Obamas put into college savings for their private-school-educated daughters in one year alone.

Furthermore, according to the College Savings Foundation35, some 70% of 529 accounts are held by households earning less than $150,000 per year – hardly “rich.” Almost 10% are held by households making less than $50,000 per year, and nearly 95% of 529 plans are owned by households making less than $250,000 annually. The president can’t pass this one off as trying to tax the One Percent.

Still, demonstrating his ever-present disconnect from reality, he actually pitched his proposal as part of his “middle-class economics” plan. He defines this campaign theme as36 “the idea that this country does best when everyone gets their fair shot, everyone does their fair share, and everyone plays by the same set of rules.”

In reality, Obamanomics means government calls the shots, fair share is forcibly relinquishing what you earn fair and square to those who do squat, and the rules are whatever the latest executive order says they are. It would be better known as middle-crush economics4.

Far from helping the middle class, Obama’s plan took direct aim at average Americans, as the truly “rich” often pay out of pocket for college and the poor are eligible for financial aid, something middle-class families are often deemed too well-off to receive.

The idea that anyone would propose such a middle-class-crushing tax seems ludicrous, but it’s par for the course when you’re trying to fund exponentially bigger government and running out of revenue sources.

The president must have realized things were bad when two of his top cheerleaders, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY), pleaded with him to drop the idea. They realized that nothing says “don’t re-elect me” quite like “I want to scalp your college savings.”

While some may call the plan a political blunder, at the end of the day it was simply a case of Obama exposing his true economic philosophy. As Robert Tracinski notes37, “The truly committed leftist looks upon our private savings as a vast reserve of capital unfairly withheld from its proper function of servicing the needs of the state.”

So don’t think the president’s money grab is over. Instead, be on the lookout for what he’ll try to commandeer next.

OPINION IN BRIEF

British novelist C. S. Lewis (1898-1963): “Again, the new oligarchy must more and more base its claim to plan us on its claim to knowledge. If we are to be mothered, mother must know best. This means they must increasingly rely on the advice of scientists, till in the end the politicians proper become merely the scientists’ puppets. Technocracy is the form to which a planned society must tend.”

Economist Stephen Moore: “The big news from [last] week’s State of the Union address is that the economic ‘crisis is over.’ Apparently, we’ve been rescued from a second Great Depression and everything this president has done to fix the economy has worked. All that was missing from Mr. Obama’s celebration was the old ‘Icky Shuffle’ end zone dance. This no doubt came as a bit of a shock to voters since the economy has been sickly for a long, long time. As recently as this fall, half of Americans were saying that the country is still in recession. Conditions have improved in the last six months for sure, with growth accelerating, inflation low and stable, hiring picking up and gas prices tumbling. Still, if things are as good as the White House says they are, why do we feel so bad? … Americans aren’t breaking out the champagne because they instinctively realize that an economic recovery built on trillions of dollars of debt, overspending, and trillions more in easy money is a house of sand. Mr. Obama’s only economic idea is to redistribute wealth via ever-rising taxes from the productive class and the job creators to everyone else. If Republicans let him, things will get worse for everyone before they get better.”

Columnist Ann Coulter: “The Republican leadership in Congress still hasn’t held hearings on why college is so expensive, although I proposed the idea two weeks ago. Of course, it’s been a month since the GOP took control of Congress, and they also haven’t voided Obama’s unconstitutional executive amnesty, passed e-Verify, a fence bill or the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Act. Democrats are on offense all the time, even when they’ve just had their legs cut off. They announce absurd agenda items and then indignantly demand to know why Republicans are refusing to deal with the free unicorn-rides proposal. Obama is a lame-duck president and, three months ago, his party was slaughtered in midterm elections. And yet, I gather that his State of the Union address consisted of a litany of insanely expensive, utterly pointless ideas. And Republicans fall for it every time. They consider it a major victory to come back with a free-market approach to surrender. In response to Obama’s ‘free’ community college idea, Republicans should say: We’re not giving you anything, and, in fact, we’re demanding answers from the entire ‘higher ed’ establishment. You’ll be surprised how liberating and fun it is to go on offense, Republicans.”

PJTV’s Scott Ott: “Meteorologists: If anyone gives you a hard time about your blizzard prediction, hold your head high. At least you’re not an economist.”

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/32751
http://patriotpost.us/posts/32716
http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/01/28/us-usa-politics-spending-idUSKBN0L10F120150128
http://patriotpost.us/alexander/32722
http://patriotpost.us/posts/32742
http://patriotpost.us/posts/32681
http://www.cbsnews.com/news/obamacare-will-be-cheaper-than-expected-budget-analysts-say/
http://patriotpost.us/posts/32662
http://news.investors.com/ibd-editorials-obama-care/012715-736559-cbo-says-obamacare-will-push-10-million-of-employer-plans.htm
http://patriotpost.us/posts/32752
http://patriotpost.us/alexander/26253
http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2015/01/28/jordan-isil-hostag/22453709/
http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2015/01/28/semantics-white-house-draws-rebuke-for-saying-isis-trade-bergdahl-swap/
http://patriotpost.us/posts/32724
http://patriotpost.us/posts/32721
http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/virginia-politics/mcauliffe-to-unveil-gun-control-measures-including-expanded-background-checks/2014/12/13/666f61f2-8146-11e4-8882-03cf08410beb_story.html
http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/397301/terry-mcauliffes-gun-control-push-goes-down-flames-charles-c-w-cooke
http://hamptonroads.com/2015/01/va-senate-committee-defeats-gun-control-proposals
http://patriotpost.us/
http://patriotpost.us/alexander/5176
http://patriotpost.us/alexander/3467
http://patriotpost.us/articles/24992
http://www.nraam.org
http://patriotpost.us/manage/
http://patriotpost.us/articles/32749
http://patriotpost.us/alexander/29609
http://patriotpost.us/alexander/10531
http://patriotpost.us/digests/6382
http://patriotpost.us/articles/20538
http://patriotpost.us/alexander/31640
http://patriotpost.us/alexander/14816
http://www.sessions.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/news-releases?ID=A3B017BF-ED12-4C29-B64D-AF6234C722CF
http://patriotpost.us/articles/32741
http://patriotpost.us/alexander/32548
http://www.collegesavingsfoundation.org/pdf/PR-White-House-State-of-the-Union-2015.pdf
http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2015/01/20/remarks-president-barack-obama-prepared-delivery-state-union-address
http://thefederalist.com/2015/01/28/anti-middle-class-economics-what-obamas-529-grab-revealed/
http://patriotpost.us/opinion/32736
http://patriotpost.us/opinion/32737
http://patriotpost.us/opinion/32730
http://patriotpost.us/opinion/32735
http://patriotpost.us/opinion/32733
http://patriotpost.us/opinion

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