Tag: Roundup

Your Daley Gator Islamic Terrorism/Leftist Incompetence News Roundup (Videos)

Brussels Bomber Was Deported From Turkey For Terror Offences Last June But Belgian Authorities Let Him Go, Turkish President Sensationally Claims – The Sun

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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has sensationally claimed that one of the Brussels bombers was arrested for terror offences and deported back to Belgium last June.

Erdogan claimed that Turkish authorities informed Belgium that the arrested man – believed to Ibrahim El-Bakraoui – was “a foreign fighter” but investigators allowed him to walk free because they couldn’t establish terror links.

The news raises yet more questions about the embattled Belgian security forces’ ability to prevent acts of terror being plotted and carried out in jihadi hotbeds in the country.

Speaking this afternoon, Erdogan said that Belgian authorities released the suspect despite Turkish warnings that he was “a foreign fighter” who had been captured on the border with Syria.

Erdogan did not identify the individual but NTV television named him as Ibrahim El Bakraoui, one of the two men who blew themselves up at Brussels airport.

He added that Belgian authorities had failed to confirm the suspect’s links to terrorism “despite our warnings” following his deportation.

Erdogan went on to say Belgian consular authorities were formally notified of his deportation on July 14, 2015. He added that he was then released by the Belgian authorities.

“Despite our warnings that this person was a foreign terrorist fighter, the Belgian authorities could not identify a link to terrorism,” he said at a news conference alongside visiting Romanian President Klaus Iohannis.

Erdogan said that the Netherlands were also implicated in the issue as the man had initially been deported to the Netherlands at his own request and the Dutch authorities informed.

He did not specify how he had been transferred from the Netherlands to Belgium where 31 people died in bomb attacks on Tuesday.

“I believe that we can work this out (the fight against terror) if world leaders form an alliance against terror. For that, we need to redefine global terror and terrorists,” Erdogan added.

Turkey has previously complained that Western countries did not heed warnings of the dangers posed by jihadists it had expelled back to Europe after arresting them on the Syrian border.

European officials have also urged Turkey to improve intelligence sharing and praised an increase in cooperation in recent months.

31 people were killed and 270 injured after a series of blasts in Zaventem airport, and an hour later a Metro station in Maalbeek.

One of the airport suicide bombers was named as Ibrahim El-Bakraoui, while his brother Khalid El-Brakraoui has been confirmed as the Metro attacker.

Both brothers were well known to police before the attacks, with Khalid even being hunted by Interpol.

But despite the international manhunt for the pair due to their links with last November’s Paris attacks, the pair appear to have been freely moving around Brussels.

There are also serious concerns over the ease with which Belgium-based jihadis have been able to escape despite huge manhunts.

Paris attacker Salah Abdesalem vanished during one police raid last before being captured.

And there appears to have been no trace of Najim Laachraoui since his suitcase nail failed to explode at Brussels airport yesterday morning.

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ISIS Trains 400 Fighters To Attack Europe In Wave Of Bloodshed – Associated Press

The Islamic State group has trained at least 400 fighters to target Europe in deadly waves of attacks, deploying interlocking terror cells like the ones that struck Brussels and Paris with orders to choose the time, place and method for maximum chaos, officials have told The Associated Press.

The network of agile and semiautonomous cells shows the reach of the extremist group in Europe even as it loses ground in Syria and Iraq.

The officials, including European and Iraqi intelligence officials and a French lawmaker who follows the jihadi networks, described camps in Syria, Iraq and possibly the former Soviet bloc where attackers are trained to target the West. Before being killed in a police raid, the ringleader of the Nov. 13 Paris attacks claimed he had entered Europe in a multinational group of 90 fighters, who scattered “more or less everywhere.”

But the biggest break yet in the Paris attacks investigation – the arrest on Friday of fugitive Salah Abdeslam – did not thwart the multipronged attack just four days later on the Belgian capital’s airport and subway system that left 31 people dead and an estimated 270 wounded. Three suicide bombers also died.

Just as in Paris, Belgian authorities were searching for at least one fugitive in Tuesday’s attacks – this time for a man wearing a white jacket who was seen on airport security footage with the two suicide attackers. The fear is that the man, whose identity Belgian officials say is not known, will follow Abdeslam’s path.

After fleeing Paris immediately after the November attacks, Abdeslam forged a new network back in his childhood neighborhood of Molenbeek, long known as a haven for jihadis, and renewed plotting, according to Belgian officials.

“Not only did he drop out of sight, but he did so to organize another attack, with accomplices everywhere. With suicide belts. Two attacks organized just like in Paris. And his arrest, since they knew he was going to talk, it was a response: ‘So what if he was arrested? We’ll show you that it doesn’t change a thing,'” said French Senator Nathalie Goulet, co-head of a commission tracking jihadi networks.

Estimates range from 400 to 600 Islamic State fighters trained specifically for external attacks, according to the officials, including Goulet. Some 5,000 Europeans have gone to Syria.

“The reality is that if we knew exactly how many there were, it wouldn’t be happening,” she said.

More than four sources with access to tallies of fighters tasked with Europe attacks independently corroborated the numbers of fighters who trained for specific attacks in Europe, including some who have spoken to fighters directly. Others have cross checked information regarding fighters leaving or returning.

Two of the suicide bombers in Tuesday’s attacks, Belgian-born brothers Ibrahim and Khalid El Bakraoui, were known to authorities as common criminals, not anti-Western radicals until an apartment one of them rented was traced to Abdeslam last week, according to Belgian state broadcaster RTBF. Similarly, an Algerian killed inside that apartment on March 15 had nothing but a petty theft record in Sweden – but he’d signed up as an Islamic State suicide bomber for the group in 2014 and returned to Europe as part of the Nov. 13 plot.

In claiming responsibility for Tuesday’s attack, the Islamic State group described a “secret cell of soldiers” dispatched to Brussels for the purpose. The shadowy cells were confirmed by the EU police agency, Europol, which said in a late January report that intelligence officials believed the group had “developed an external action command trained for special forces-style attacks.”

French speakers with links to North Africa, France and Belgium appear to be leading the units and are responsible for developing attack strategies in Europe, said a European security official who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss briefing material. He is also familiar with interrogations of former fighters who have returned to Europe. Some were jailed after leaving IS while others were kicked out of the terror group, and they include Muslims and Muslim converts from all across Europe.

Fighters in the units are trained in battleground strategies, explosives, surveillance techniques and counter surveillance, the security official said.

“The difference is that in 2014, some of these IS fighters were only being given a couple weeks of training,” he said. “Now the strategy has changed. Special units have been set up. The training is longer. And the objective appears to no longer be killing as many people as possible but rather to have as many terror operations as possible, so the enemy is forced to spend more money or more in manpower.”

Similar methods had been developed by al-Qaida but IS has taken it to a new level, he said. Another difference is that fighters are being trained to be their own operators – not necessarily to be beholden to orders from the IS stronghold in Raqqa, Syria, or elsewhere.

Several security officials have said there is growing evidence to suggest the bulk of the training is taking place in Syria, Libya and elsewhere in North Africa.

In the case of Tuesday’s attacks, Abdeslam’s arrest may have been a trigger for a plot that was already far along.

“To pull off an attack of this sophistication, you need training, planning, materials and a landscape,” said Shiraz Maher, a senior research fellow at the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation at Kings College in London, which has one of the largest databases of fighters and their networks.

“Even if they worked flat out, the attackers in Brussels would have needed at least four days,” said Maher, who has conducted extensive interviews with foreign fighters.

The question for many intelligence and security officials is now turning to just how many more fighters have been trained and are ready for more attacks.

A senior Iraqi intelligence official who was not authorized to speak publicly said people from the cell that carried out the Paris attacks are scattered across Germany, Britain, Italy, Denmark and Sweden. Recently, a new group crossed in from Turkey, the official said.

On Wednesday, Turkish authorities said one of the Brussels suicide attackers, Ibrahim El Bakraoui, was caught last June near the Syrian border and deported to the Netherlands, with Ankara warning Dutch and Belgian officials that he was a “foreign terrorist fighter.” But he was released from Dutch custody due to lack of evidence of involvement in extremism.

Belgian Justice Minister Koen Geens said Wednesday that authorities had no reason to detain El Bakraoui because he was “not known for terrorist acts but as a common law criminal who was on conditional release.”

The latest new name to surface this week, Najim Laachraoui, turned out to be the bombmaker who made the suicide vests used in the Paris attacks, according to French and Belgian officials. Attackers used an explosive known as Triacetone Triperoxide, or TATP, made from common household chemicals. DNA evidence indicates he died on Tuesday in the suicide attack on the airport, two officials briefed on the investigation told AP.

Fifteen kilos of TATP were found in an apartment linked to the Brussels attackers, along with other explosive material.

The unidentified man seen on security footage wearing a white jacket and black hat at the Brussels airport on Tuesday remains at large, a fugitive link in a chain still being forged.

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Brussels Bombers Did Plan To Attack Nuclear Power Station As Police Uncover 12 Hours Of Footage Jihadists Filmed Outside A Plant Director’s Home – Daily Mail

The Brussels terrorists were preparing an attack on a nuclear power plant and had recorded 12 hours of reconnaissance footage, it has been reported.

The ISIS cell were spying on the Belgian’s nuclear power chief, possibly as part of a kidnap plan to force him to let them into an atomic facility, according to newspaper Derniere Heure.

Hours of film of the home of the Research and Development Director of the Belgian Nuclear Programme were discovered in an apartment in Brussels raided by anti-terrorist police following the attack in Paris.

The footage confounded investigators at first – as it showed the entrance to the director’s home in Flanders, an area outside the capital.

But detectives made the chilling deduction that the group was attempting to gain entry to an atomic facility after watching all 12 hours of footage, which included images of a local bus.

Armed troops were sent to defend French and Belgian nuclear facilities following the discovery and both countries nuclear programmes were put on the highest state of alert.

Reports of the plan first emerged as early as February and was at that time linked back to the cell responsible for the Paris attacks.

The footage was discovered ‘as part of seizures made following the Paris attacks,’ a Belgian prosecutor said, refusing to divulge the individual’s identity ‘for obvious security reasons’.

At the time, Belgium’s federal agency for nuclear control stressed the importance of not revealing the name of the person involved so as ‘not to endanger the enquiry or nuclear security’ or indeed the person involved and their family.

The images were captured by a camera hidden in nearby bushes and recovered by two suspects who left the area in a vehicle with the lights off, Derniere Heure reported.

However, reports in February did not publicly name Ibrahim and Khalid El Bakraoui – the brothers we now know are responsible for the Brussels bombings – as the creators of the footage.

The claims give further credence to the links now established, at least publicly, between the Paris and Brussels bombings.

The bombings in the Belgian capital on Tuesday which killed 31 people are now believed to have been carried out because the authorities were closing in on the fugitive members of the terror cell.

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Belgian Terrorists Can Still Enter U.S. Without A Visa – Washington Free Beacon

Leading lawmakers identified Belgium as a hotspot for terrorism months ago and are warning that many of the radicalized individuals living there are still able to travel to the United States without first obtaining a visa and undergoing thorough security checks.

Rep. Ron DeSantis (R., Fla.), a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, told the Washington Free Beacon Tuesday afternoon that current flaws in the U.S. visa waiver program – which facilities travel to the United States from partner nations including Belgium – have created a loophole that could permit radicalized individuals to legally enter the United States with minimal background checks.

DeSantis is warning of these flaws on the heels of deadly mass terrorist attack in Brussels on Tuesday that has killed at least 30 and wounded hundreds more.

“The visa waiver reform, this is something we have been perusing and the [Obama] administration has brushed us off at every turn,” DeSantis said, explaining that current policy does not mandate more strenuous checks on individuals identified as coming from terrorist hotspots, such as the small Belgian town of Molenbeek, which has emerged as a principal training site for jihadists.

“It’s the case that if those folks are citizens of Belgium they qualify for the visa waiver program and can hop on a plane and get here,” he added. “Clearly, that is not adequate given what happened.”

The Obama administration “even takes the position it’s safer to allow someone to come in on a visa waiver than make them get one, it’s kind of crazy,” DeSantis said. You’re not going to be able to have intelligence on everyone there because there are so many potential recruits. It’s a clear vulnerability.”

What is worse, DeSantis said, is that the Obama administration has been lax about deporting individuals who overstay their visas, meaning that a radicalized person could disappear in America as they plan a potential attack.

“There’s no enforcement once they get here,” DeSantis said. “Hundreds of thousands of people come over and then overstay” their visas. “You are not going to be removed under current policy under this administration.”

DeSantis and other lawmakers first labeled Belgium as a hotspot for ISIS terrorists in the aftermath of the 2015 attacks in Paris. At least five of the Paris attackers were French nationals, two of whom had been living in Belgium. Another one of the terrorists was a Belgian national.

Citizens from both countries are still able to freely travel to the United States under the visa waiver program, which facilitates travel between the American and a host of foreign countries.

“At least six of the Paris attackers could have attempted to enter the country under this program,” DeSantis said in December, during a congressional hearing on the visa waiver program’s flaws.

Molenbeek in particular “is a hellhole that is filled with Belgian national Islamic radicals who qualify to travel to the U.S. without a visa under the visa waiver program,” DeSantis warned during the hearing.

DeSantis said on Tuesday that following the attack in Paris, he realized that the United States is vulnerable from threats in Europe, in addition to those from Syria and other terror strongholds.

“The problem was not just people coming from Syria,” he explained. “There was a major vulnerability from places in Europe and this Molenbeeck neighborhood was one of the most egregious that I had seen.”

The Department of Homeland Security acknowledged on Tuesday that Belgium is still a part of the visa waiver program, and that policy has not shifted in the wake of the attack.

“Though we do not require Belgian citizens to have a visa to travel here for business or tourism purposes, both the Transportation Security Administration and U.S. Customs and Border Protection have procedures in place to identify and prevent travel here from Belgium by individuals of suspicion,” Jeh Johnson, DHS secretary, said in in a statement on Tuesday.

“All travelers arriving in the United States are vetted against the U.S. Terrorist Screening Database, regardless of whether they arrive with a visa or an Electronic System for Travel Authorization,” Johnson said. “We continually evaluate whether more screening is necessary, particularly in light of today’s attacks.”

Asked about these screening methods, DeSantis cast doubt on the United States’ ability to thoroughly vet these individuals, explaining that gaps in U.S. intelligence cannot account for the large number of radicalized Europeans.

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Columbia University Op-Ed Claims Belgians Are To Blame For Brussels Attack – Daily Caller

A student at Columbia University has authored an editorial saying Belgians deserve to be blamed for Tuesday’s Islamic terrorist attack in Brussels because their society is a front of “Islamophobia.”

“Columbia’s vigils and memorial services allow us to mourn victims and condemn terrorism,” writes student Brian Min in the Columbia Daily Spectator. “Moving forward, however, they should condemn not only terrorism, but also the specific Islamophobic attitudes and policies that facilitated the recent attacks.”

Min, a freshman planning to study French as well as women, gender, and sexuality studies, argues that the Brussels attack and other terrorist attacks, are “usually not arbitrary events without any justification – they often are responses to institutionalized hate and oppression.”

“Belgium remains the only other country in the world besides France to have a national ban of full-face veils,” Min says. “Employers too often get away with discriminating against Muslim employees. It comes as no surprise that the municipality Molenbeek – the site of one of the explosions – has an unemployment rate of more than 25 percent where the majority of Muslim youths are denied equal access to the labor and housing market.”

Despite his remarks, Min claims he is not condoning terrorism, because “hate should never be used to fight against hate.”

Min then argues in favor of repurposing vigils and other mourning events for political purposes, saying they should be used to denounce specific policies he disagrees with.

“[I]t is not enough for vigils and memorial services to broadly condemn Islamophobia and other forms of hatred that helped breed terrorist attacks,” he says. “They should also verbally denounce the specific forms of Islamophobia and hatred in relation to targeted nations and their policies of institutionalized discrimination, such as Belgium’s ban on full-face veils. In order to fight against Islamophobia and hate crimes that dramatically increase after major tragedies like the Brussels attacks, we must localize the specific Islamophobic policies and attitudes that helped to facilitate such attacks.”

Despite Min’s argument, there’s ample reason to believe Belgium is not a strong center of Islamophobia. For instance, in 2013 a Belgian man was sent to jail for hate speech for tearing up a Quran near some Muslims, and the country’s hate speech legislation has been interpreted as generally restricting any rhetoric that is overly hurtful towards Muslims.

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Enough With The Teddy Bears And Tears: It’s Time To Take Our Civilization Back – Raheem Kassam

Teddy bears, tears, candles, cartoons, murals, mosaics, flowers, flags, projections, hashtags, balloons, wreaths, lights, vigils, scarves, and more. These are the best solutions the Western world seems to come up with every few months when we are slammed by another Islamist terrorist attack. We are our own sickness.

Since the world learned of the dozens dead, hundreds injured, and hundreds of thousands affected by Monday’s attack on the NATO and European Union capital, we have seen an outpouring of what is commonly known as “solidarity”.

This word – most commonly associated with hard-left politics, trades union activism, socialism, and poseur indie rock bands – has come to mean very little in reality. In effect, “standing in solidarity” with someone now means that you have observed the situation, changed your Facebook profile picture accordingly, and patted yourself on the back.

And if like dead bodies Facebook profile pictures lost heat, it would be accurate to say that the Tricolores that adorned the social media profiles of many had hardly become cold before we were all changing the colours of the bands on the flags. From blue to black. From white to yellow. The blood red remains.

Because nowadays, teddy bears are the new resolve. They symbolise everything we have become in response to our way of life being threatened, and our people being slaughtered on our streets: inanimate, squishy, and full of crap.

Our security services and our police, hamstrung by political correctness, are just as interested (or more?) in rounding up Twitter “hate speech” offenders than criminal, rapist, or terrorist migrants. Our borders are as porous as our brains. We refuse to realise that there are now literally millions of people amongst us who hate us. Who hate our way of life, and who will, one day, dominate our public life.

But of course, such statements are dismissed as fear-mongering, alarmist, or “out of touch with reality”. As if the data doesn’t exist, or the demographics aren’t shifting quickly enough to notice.

As if vast parts of our towns and cities haven’t become ghettos, or no-go zones, or hubs of child grooming activity, or terrorism.

As if mosques, schools, prisons, and universities aren’t used as recruiting grounds for radicals.

As if the blood of our countrymen hasn’t even been spilled at all.

Instead, we will now think deeply about how we can “reach out” to these populations. How we can “co-exist” and “be tolerant” of one another. As if toleration – which is actually the permittance of what is not actually approved or desired – is a healthy aspiration for a society.

It is as if we model our countries on the practice of bending over and “taking one for the team”, chastising those who fail to “tolerate” the most barbaric traditions of alien cultures. It is everything this cartoon – obviously branded “racist” – suggests.

“But come on, Raheem, not all immigrants, or Muslims, are criminals, or rapists… you’re not!”

Yeah – and look at me. Excoriated daily by Islamists on Twitter. Why? Because I’ve integrated and I love my country. Because I refuse to believe that an Islamic caliphate is the best thing for Britain, or anywhere, quite frankly. Where is my white (or brown) knight? Where are the voices of the moderate Muslim world defending me?

Not that I need protection, or defence, but some people aren’t as hard headed or resolved as I am.

Thusly, the albeit minority evil amongst British Muslims is thriving because good Muslims are doing nothing. At some point, we have to question why. I’m not sure most people are ready for the answers to that one.

So continue to sit there with your head in your hands. Mourning only to make yourself feel better. Missing people you never knew. Exclaiming, as the most immature of minds does: “Why can’t we all just get along?”

Expressing sympathy is no bad thing. But to be truly sympathetic towards someone under attack, one must be chivalrous, gallant, and unafraid.

Watching someone getting raped, and tweeting your solidarity with them is not enough. Human nature and goodness calls upon us to intervene. To assist. To free someone from their torture, and to save them from their demise.

It is not enough to scrawl “no fear” on a post it note, and stick it onto some £3 flowers.

We must be fearless in electing leaders who we feel will best keep us safe. It is one of the few areas of our lives in which we should be able to feel comfortable. We pay our taxes, you keep us safe.

If not, then we must arm ourselves. If our governments refuse to protect us, or even begin to use the tools with which we empower them against us: surveillance, counter-terror laws, detention, then we will need to take the law back into our own hands. We cannot be afraid of doing so. It is where our societies all sprung from.

The defence of ourselves as individuals. The defence of our families, our properties, our means of production, our communities, and our neighbours.

It is why arms sales to individuals has shot up since the migrant crisis in Europe. Many Germans are losing their faith in their elected leaders to protect them. The same applies in Sweden, and in Austria. Some people refuse to take being wiped out laying down. How quaint.

It is also time to start to make serious, wide-reaching demands of our politicians on the subject of immigration and Islamism.

When U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump said what he said about a temporary ban on Muslim immigration, the tolerance lobby went into overdrive: full condemnations across the board from politicians – including presidents and prime ministers, across the media sphere, and you will recall the House of Commons debating a petition to ban the man from the country.

Now even the most politically correct of Hollywood luvvies is asking: is he really that wrong on this?

Because Mr. Trump has thought in a cycle longer than his potential presidency: what does the Western world look like in 20, 30, 50 years? What kind of societies do we leave to our children?

Do we leave cities with soldiers on patrol. With “peace” signs scrawled onto bomb-struck buildings? Or do we leave them safe places, with real promise for the future. Like our parents, or at least our parents’ parents, left us.

In order to confront this question, we have to get to the root cause of the problem. There is too much immigration, or at least, not enough hand-picked immigration, into the Western world today.

People of my age had no choice that our post-war leaders felt the heavy hand of post-colonial guilt on their shoulders, and decided to open up our countries, and flood us with “diversity”.

But we do have a choice to not make the same mistakes again. And we have a duty to correct the ones that were made.

And yes, that does mean exactly what you think it means. It means ending mass migration. It means smashing apart ghettos and no go zones. It means repealing laws that allow for Sharia councils. It means asserting what it means to be British, or European, or American, without fearing a backlash from the political left, or the media classes who scarcely see a face my colour let alone darker.

Let them riot. Let them cry.

I would far rather be subjected to ceaseless “direct action” by the scourges of my own society than import others.

At least if my fellow countrymen are deplorable, I won’t get called a racist for pointing it out.

So put down the teddy bears, burst the balloons, and let’s start demanding again that our countries are safe and civilised. And if we can’t find people who’ll make that happen for us… let’s do it ourselves.

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Your Daley Gator Hillary Clinton Crime Spree News Roundup

Hillary’s State Department Routinely Hid Emails On Purpose – Big Government

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Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s State Department routinely failed to preserve its own emails in order to intentionally hide them from official records.

Clinton-era email use at the State Department was fraught with widespread, intentional concealment, according to an October 2014-March 2015 semiannual report to Congress filed by the State Department’s office of inspector general (OIG).

Only a fraction of the messages sent by email were stored as “record emails,” according to the report.

“The review of the State Messaging and Archive Retrieval Toolset (SMART) and Record Email found that, out of the more than 1 billion emails sent in 2011, employees created just over 61,000 official emails; and they created even fewer – 41,000 – in 2013,” the inspector general found. “OIG recommended that the Department establish policies governing usage and that system designers engage with focus groups to enhance the system’s efficiency.” (p. vii)

Clinton’s administration did nothing to teach people how to store emails and oversaw the widespread cover-up of emails that should have been kept.

“A 2009 upgrade in the Department’s system facilitated the preservation of emails as official records. However, Department employees had not received adequate training or guidance on their responsibilities for using those systems to preserve ‘record emails,’” according to the OIG report.

“Record email usage varied widely across bureaus and missions. The Bureau of Administration needed to exercise central oversight of the use of the record email function. OIG found that some employees did not create record emails because they did not want to make the email available in searches or feared that this availability would inhibit debate about pending decisions.”

Former Secretary Clinton has turned over thumb drives and a private email server containing her emails from her tenure at the State Department. An inter-agency government task force led by the Department of Justice and the FBI is currently investigating how classified information ended up on Clinton’s server, and whether foreign agents were able to obtain any of the information on Clinton’s server.

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CNN National Security Analyst Unloads On Hillary Over Email Scandal: ‘I Wonder Whether She Is Capable Of Being President’ – Daily Caller

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Hillary Clinton’s email scandal should disqualify her from the Oval Office.

At least so says former CIA operative and CNN national security analyst Bob Baer, who is not known for being a political partisan.

“If this was on her server and it got into her smart phone, there’s a big problem there,” Baer said during an appearance on CNN International Saturday, noting that the sensitivity of the information reportedly found on Clinton’s private server was likely more secret than what Edward Snowden pilfered.

“Seriously, if I had sent a document like this over the open Internet I’d get fired the same day, escorted to the door and gone for good – and probably charged with mishandling classified information,” Baer said.

“If this in fact were on her hand held [phone] – was sent to her or she forwarded it in any way – I wonder whether she is capable of being president,” he added.

Pressed by the host as to whether he really thought this situation was a “deal breaker” for Clinton’s presidential candidacy, Baer said, “As a national security employee, a former one, yes.”

“I can’t tell you how bad this is,” he went on. “A lot of things get talked about, a lot of gossip, but having documents like this sent across the Internet, it could be hacked very easily and probably were hacked, is a transgression that I don’t think the president of the United States should be allowed to, you know, have committed.”

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Number Of Hillary Clinton’s Emails Flagged For Classified Data Grows To 60 As Review Continues – Washington Times

While media coverage has focused on a half-dozen of Hillary Rodham Clinton’s personal emails containing sensitive intelligence, the total number of her private emails identified by an ongoing State Department review as having contained classified data has ballooned to 60, officials told The Washington Times.

That figure is current through the end of July and is likely to grow as officials wade through a total of 30,000 work-related emails that passed through her personal email server, officials said. The process is expected to take months.

The 60 emails are among those that have been reviewed and cleared for release under the Freedom of Information Act as part of a open-records lawsuit. Some of the emails have multiple redactions for classified information.

Among the first 60 flagged emails, nearly all contained classified secrets at the lowest level of “confidential” and one contained information at the intermediate level of “secret,” officials told the Times.

Those 60 emails do not include two emails identified in recent days by Intelligence Community Inspector General I. Charles McCullough III as containing “top-secret” information possibly derived from Pentagon satellites, drones or intercepts, which is some of the nation’s most sensitive secrets.

State officials and the intelligence community are working to resolve questions about those and other emails with possible classified information, a process that isn’t likely to be completed until January.

That will be right around the time Mrs. Clinton is slated to face voters in the Iowa caucuses in her bid for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination.

As the number of suspect emails grows and the classification review continues, it is clear that predictions contained in a notification Mr. McCullough sent Congress this summer is likely to hold true: Mrs. Clinton’s personal emails likely contained hundreds of disclosures of classified information.

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How Did Hillary’s Lawyers Search A Server No Longer In Her Possession – Legal Insurrection

There is a time gap which may hold the key to Hillary’s hide-and-seek email game.

According to the Washington Post and other reporting, a Colorado server company obtained possession of Hillary’s server in 2013, transferred the data, leaving a blank server with no usable data at a storage facility in New Jersey.

Yet, in a letter filed on August 12, 2015 with the federal Court in the Judicial Watch FOIA litigation regarding Huma Abedin’s outside employment, Hillary’s lawyer, David Kendall. represented that Hillary did not ask counsel to review her emails until late 2014. [Full embed at bottom of post.] He also confirmed that the Colorado company has had possession of the original server since 2013.

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David Kendall letter Clinton Emails 8-12-2015 excerpt 2

So how could Hillary’s lawyers review a server no longer in Hillary’s possession, and which had been wiped clean?

It’s worth noting that at her March 10, 2015, UN press conference, when a reporter noted that some people suggested an independent review of the server, Hillary did not say that she no longer had the original server or that it had been wiped clean.

Instead, she said “the server will remain private.”

The server contains personal communications from my husband and me, and I believe I have met all of my responsibilities and the server will remain private…

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(transcript)

It is that original server that apparently has been turned over to the federal government. Plus a thumb drive, which purportedly only has work-related emails.

If the data was transferred to some other server, where is that one?

On Friday, August 14, 2015, the State Department is required to provide additional information to the Court.

Maybe that will shed some light.

But I’m not hopeful.

Judicial Watch Foia Case Huma Abedin – Defendant’s August 12, 2015 Status Report

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Fox Poll: Two Percent Of Voters Think Hillary Told The Truth About E-mail Server, And Only Three Percent Of Democrats – Hot Air

Six months ago, Hillary Clinton insisted that her private e-mail system contained no sensitive material, and that the federal government had no need of her server. With federal investigators trying to track down all of the records from her private e-mail server and revelations about Top Secret/compartmented material on her unauthorized system, Hillary’s public statements look like lies to a majority of those polled in the latest Fox News survey. In a poll of 1,008 registered voters, 58% say Hillary lied about the e-mails, and 54% believe she damaged national security:

A Fox News poll released Friday finds a 58 percent majority thinks Clinton “knowingly lied” when she announced in a March press conference that no emails on her private server contained classified information. A third says there is “another explanation” for internal government investigators determining secret info was in fact on Clinton’s server (33 percent).

Moreover, by a 54-37 percent margin, voters feel Clinton put our national security at risk by using a private email server.

The poll gave three options: Clinton lied, There’s another explanation, and Clinton told the truth. Only 2% overall think Hillary told the truth, a staggeringly bad number, and only 33% overall think there’s another explanation than Hillary lying. On option 3, the internals on this poll are instructive. The highest that Clinton told the truth polls in the demographics is 5% among black voters, where 63% choose another explanation. Among Democrats, the number is a whopping three percent. And among younger voters – who are presumably very familiar with e-mail – the “Hillary’s honest” option didn’t get enough responses to register.

Frankly, this question is designed to let respondents get off the hook for deciding whether Hillary lied or not. The middle option of another explanation implies incompetency – not exactly a good look for a presidential candidate – or some milder form of dishonesty. And yet, not many voters took the middle option. Self-described liberal, Democrats, and black voters all had majorities choosing the less-bad option, but almost none of them chose told the truth.

Instead, majorities in almost all other demos believe Hillary lied, even when given a softer option. Younger voters under 35 years of age were especially harsh on this judgment at 63/30/0, but the next age demo (35-54) was almost as dismissive, 61/31/2. In a rare show of consensus, those with (59/34/1) and without (58/33/2) college degrees agree on Hillary’s dishonesty. Two-thirds of independents believe she flat-out lied (67/23/2), and even a majority of women agree (51/40/2).

The responses to the question of harm to national security fall into the same pattern. This was presented as a yes/no, and 54% overall chose yes. The key demos all have yes majorities:

* Independents – 54/36
* Women – 50/40
* College degree – 53/38
* No college degree – 55/37
* 18-35YOs – 61/34

In other words, she’s rapidly approaching Richard Nixon levels of trust in, say, August 1973 or so.

A couple of other notes in the poll will have an indirect impact on Hillary, who’s going to be a continuity candidate based on her participation in the Obama administration. A recent trend toward the positive in Barack Obama’s job approval reversed itself in this poll, the first taken since the Iran deal was announced. He slid from a 46/46 in the beginning of July to 42/51, his worst showing since March. Voters want Congress to reject the Iran deal 31/58, and substantially more of them believe Iran can’t be trusted, 18/75, which is actually a slight improvement from the historical trend. With that hanging in the air, Hillary would have had trouble gaining trust from voters anyway – but the e-mail server scandal all but moots the point now.

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Related videos:

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More August headlines:
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Exclusive: Hillary’s IT Contractor Did Not Have Proper Security Clearance – Daily Caller


The Countless Crimes Of Hillary Clinton: Special Prosecutor Needed Now – Sidney Powell


Tech Company Which Maintained Hillary’s Secret Server Was Sued For ‘Illegally Accessing’ Database And ‘Stealing White House Military Advisers’ Phone Numbers’ – Daily Mail


Hillary Clinton Emails Contained Signal Intelligence From Spy Satellites – Washington Times


*VIDEO* Judge Andrew Napolitano Describes Hillary Clinton’s Crimes


FBI Investigation Of Hillary’s Emails Is ‘Criminal Probe’ – New York Post


Judge Orders Hillary Clinton To Answer For ‘Home-Brew’ Server – Gateway Pundit

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Your Daley Gator Planned-Parenthood-Is-Pure-Evil News Roundup

Planned Parenthood Workers Laugh Sorting ‘5-Star’ Baby Parts, Try Not To ‘Smush’ Them – Newsbusters

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The latest video exposing the trafficking of aborted babies by Planned Parenthood showed workers casually laughing over and probing at pieces of a “baby” and “another boy.”

The Center for Medical Progress (CMP) released a fourth investigative video July 30 showing Planned Parenthood executive, Dr. Savita Ginde, bartering over baby part pricing while admitting that the chances of providing intact organs are better if a woman “delivers before we get to see them.” The video showed Planned Parenthood workers laughing over “five-star” baby parts while trying not to “smush” them.

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Ginde is the Vice President and Medical Director of the Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains (PPRM) in Denver. According to CMP, PPRM is “a wealthy, multi-state Planned Parenthood affiliate” that performs more than 10,000 abortions per year.

In the video, actors posing as buyers and representatives from a human biologics company spoke with Ginde about partnering to harvest intact baby organs. During their interaction, Ginde revealed that, “Sometimes, if we get – if someone delivers before we get to see them for a procedure – then we are intact.”

According to CMP, PPRM does not use digoxin or other feticide in second trimester abortions, which means “any intact deliveries before an abortion are potentially born-alive infants under federal law.”

“We’d have to do a little bit of training with the providers or something to make sure that they don’t crush” baby parts, Ginde added.

But more horrific part of the video came towards the end.

In the clinic’s pathological laboratory, where baby parts are sorted after abortion,

Ginde and a medical assistant casually probed at baby parts from 11-12 week-old aborted babies with utensils in a dish.

At one point, a buyer asked, “What was that? A crack, was that the just the little bits of the skull?” to which they casually responded, “Mhmm.”

Ginde, later looking at the dish proclaimed, “It’s a baby” and pointed out the heart.

The medical assistant also chimed in at one point: “My fingers will smush it if I try to get it out” and laughed over the dead baby, deeming the intact parts worthy of “five stars.”

Ginde also recognized a baby brain “blasted out” with water, and noted she sometimes doesn’t use water, so that the parts aren’t as “war-torn.”

The video ended with one Planned Parenthood medical assistant announcing: “Another boy!”

Ginde and the buyers also discussed ways to talk about the trafficking of aborted body parts. “Putting it under ‘research’ gives us a little bit of an overhang over the whole thing,” Ginde said. “If you have someone in a really anti state who’s going to be doing this for you, they’re probably going to get caught.”

Ginde spoke about PPRM’s legal protection in relation to fetal tissue law: “[W]e were like, ‘We don’t want to get called on,’ you know, ‘selling fetal parts across states.’” When the buyers asked, “And you feel confident that they’re building those layers?” Ginde replied, “I’m confident that our Legal will make sure we’re not put in that situation.”

Planned Parenthood received more than $528 million in taxpayer funding during the fiscal year 2013 – 2014. That amounted to more than $1.4 million per day, through government grants, contracts and Medicaid reimbursements.

The video, following on the heels of this week’s video with former “procurement technician” Holly O’Donnell, is part of CMP’s investigative study, “Human Capital.”

Since the release of CMP’s first video, the networks have spent a total of 11 minutes and 13 seconds on the story. For contrast, the news shows covered Cecil the lion more in one day than they did these videos in two weeks.

The liberal media raced to defend Planned Parenthood after CMP released its first video. In the first 9 hours and 30 minutes of news shows broadcast after the story broke, ABC, NBC and CBS, spent only 39 seconds on the first video. It took more than 24 hours before all three covered the story. In the week after the first video, the networks gave a mere 9 minutes and 11 seconds to the story (in contrast, the networks devoted more than three times that to the Susan G. Komen controversy, when the charity temporarily decided to defund the abortion giant).

Similarly, the media stayed silent on the case of Philadelphia abortionist Kermit Gosnell. Gosnell’s trial, in which witnesses described baby abortion survivors “swimming” in toilets “to get out,” attracted a scant 12 – 15 reporters. Only after 56 days, multiple letters from members of the House of Representatives and a public outcry, did all three broadcast networks report on Gosnell.

Will the media report on this latest video? Don’t bet on it – not when they can go for the cheap outrage of a lion-shooting.

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Related articles:

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Planned Parenthood “Hacking” Sure Looks Like An Orchestrated PR Stunt – The Federalist

Planned Parenthood claims on several of its websites that the organization’s web operations have been attacked by “extremists,” but this so-called hacking has all the hallmarks of an orchestrated public relations stunt.

Numerous people on Twitter pointed to evidence suggesting that this so-called hack wasn’t a hack at all:

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Stephen Miller
@redsteeze

Their site is so hacked right now that someone has been rearranging CSS fonts and alignment.

12:03 AM – 30 Jul 2015
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AllianceDefends
@AllianceDefends

Planned Parenthood Telling Reporters Not To Cover Videos http://alln.cc/1DaXoWN #DefundPP #PPSellsBabyParts

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Manny Garza
@Boldmanny316

@AllianceDefends @ChoosingHats @seanmdav pic.twitter.com/OlVwLPlaxg

1:56 AM – 30 Jul 2015


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A review of the source code of the main page that appears at PlannedParenthood.org shows that as of 9:30 a.m. today, the page is listed as a “Campaign” and uses a specific template named “Site Down Tempalte” (the typo is theirs). The same page then directs visitors to the Facebook page of Planned Parenthood Action Fund, the political fundraising arm of the nation’s largest abortion provider. The web page for PPAF – which can be accessed via both plannedparenthoodaction.org and ppaction.org – repeats the same hacking claims and contains the exact same source code and template used on the PlannedParenthood.org page.

And that’s where Planned Parenthood’s hacking facade begins to crumble. On the splash page declaring that the organization was hacked, visitors are asked “Why do you stand with Planned Parenthood” and invited to share their stories on a separate page housed at ppaction.org.

And wouldn’t you know it, that page functions perfectly. No sign of hacking. No sign of intrusion. Just a perfectly functional and secure web page that exists solely to build Planned Parenthood’s mailing list:

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That’s right. Even though ppaction.org redirects to a page saying the site was hacked, the domain still house a perfectly functional URL and page that are being actively used to help build Planned Parenthood’s fundraising list. Coincidentally, this “hacking” happened just days after Planned Parenthood decided to hire a PR firm, SKDKnickerbocker, to help manage its response to the widening baby organ trafficking scandal.

Planned Parenthood says it’s been hacked by “extremists,” but a review of the publicly available evidence suggests that the only things being hacked at Planned Parenthood right now are perfectly healthy and viable unborn babies.

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Fetal Tissue Company Tries To Halt New Planned Parenthood Videos – Daily Caller

StemExpress, the human tissue processor that has played a key role in recent videos accusing Planned Parenthood of illegally trafficking in fetal organs, has obtained a restraining order against the release of a new video.

The temporary restraining order (TRO), granted by a Los Angeles Superior Court judge, bars the Center for Medical Progress (CMP) from releasing footage of three StemExpress executives the group apparently recorded at a lunch last May. What might have been said at this lunch that StemExpress doesn’t want getting out is unknown.

StemExpress allows buyers to purchase various types of human tissue, including fetal livers and umbilical cord blood. In its court complaint, StemExpress accused CMP of invasion of privacy, breach of contract, receipt of stolen property, and unfair competition.

The most central part of StemExpress’s complaint is that CMP violated California law by videotaping three StemExpress employees without their consent. California is a two-party consent state for video recordings, and the company alleges its personnel never provided such consent. The company also accuses CMP of editing previous videos of Planned Parenthood personnel to show them in a negative light.

“As a result of the coverage [of CMP’s videos, StemExpress founder Catherine] Dyer has been harassed and even received death threats,” the complain says. “StemExpress’s business has already been impacted because of false and misleading assertions… CMP has stated its intention to release more ‘undercover’ video footage. Plaintiffs believe that CMP is at least in part to video illegally taken of the Defendants.”

The complaint asked the judge to bar any such video from being released, arguing both that the video itself is illegal and that it will be maliciously edited.

The restraining order will last until an additional hearing in August. In a statement on its website, StemExpress has pledged to “pursue all available legal remedies” against both CMP and its leader David Daleiden.

CMP released a statement of its own condemning the “meritless” lawsuit.

“StemExpress… is attempting to use meritless litigation to cover-up this illegal baby parts trade, suppress free speech, and silence the citizen press reporting on issues of burning concern to the American public,” the statement says. “They are not succeeding – their initial petition was rejected by the court, and their second petition was eviscerated to a narrow and contingent order about an alleged recording pending CMP’s opportunity to respond.”

CMP but an exclamation mark on its defiance by linking to a StemExpress advertisement touting the “profits” clinics could make by selling tissues to the company.

CMP has also kept up its video releases, launching another video on Thursday that allegedly shows a Planned Parenthood official discussing the pricing for individual fetal body parts.

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Planned Parenthood Received Millions Of Dollars After Lobbying Clinton’s State Department – Washington Free Beacon

Planned Parenthood lobbied the Department of State many times during Hillary Clinton’s tenure there and received tens of millions of dollars from foreign policy agencies over the past few years, according to a new report.

As secretary of state, Clinton attacked the Mexico City Policy, which bans federal funding of abortion overseas. Her husband revoked the policy during his administration and President Obama lifted the ban upon taking office in 2009. The United States Agency for International Development (USAID), which is tied to the State Department, steered more than $100 million in funding to Planned Parenthood and its international affiliates between 2010 and 2012, according to the Government Accountability Office – about 20 percent of the nearly $500 million pro-abortion organizations received from taxpayers during that time frame.

The taxpayer dollars that Planned Parenthood received dwarfed the $3.4 million that Planned Parenthood spent on lobbying during President Obama’s first term. Government records document more than 30 instances of Planned Parenthood lobbying federal agencies, including the State Department while Clinton was serving there.

Congress is now considering bills to deny taxpayer funds to the nation’s largest abortion provider after undercover video surfaced from the non-profit Center for Medical Progress showing Planned Parenthood officials casually discussing the harvesting of fetal organs and the price of body parts. The group released a fourth video Thursday showing executives at Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains carving up aborted babies while saying “it’s a baby” and “another boy.” The executive identified as Savita Ginde also tells the undercover videographers, who posed as prospective organ buyers, how Planned Parenthood justifies the sale of those organs.

“In public I think it makes a lot more sense for it to be in the research vein than, I’d say, a business venture,” she said. Planned Parenthood has responded to the scandal of the videos by claiming the fetal body parts are used for research on numerous occasions.

Clinton is the top recipient of campaign donations from workers at the nation’s largest abortion provider, including a $2,700 donation from the CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains, Vicki Cowart. The nearly $10,000 she received from Planned Parenthood employees and executives is about 20 times more than the rest of the presidential field combined.

Neither the Clinton campaign nor the Clinton Foundation responded to requests for comment.

Pro-life activists, including Marjorie Dannenfelser, the president of the Susan B. Anthony List, have criticized Clinton’s support for abortion and Planned Parenthood throughout her political career.

“For more than two decades, her cozy relationship with Planned Parenthood was a source of cash and powerful political support. In light of yet another video brutally detailing the reality of abortion and harvesting of baby organs, it is a massive liability,” she said.

The Clinton campaign has drawn heavily from pro-abortion professionals. One of its top officials in Iowa, the nation’s first primary state, is Lily Adams, daughter of Planned Parenthood’s president, Cecile Richards. Jane Emerson, the women’s outreach director of Clinton’s failed 2008 campaign, previously served as CEO of the abortion provider’s South Carolina operations.

Planned Parenthood has also partnered with Clinton’s controversial family foundation, helping with six projects under the Clinton Global Initiative umbrella. The Clinton Foundation did not respond to a request for comment.

Clinton, a recipient of the Margaret Sanger Award, initially defended the billion dollar organization when the Center for Medical Progress released several hours of undercover video showing Planned Parenthood officials casually discussing the harvesting of fetal organs and the price of body parts. Those videos captured numerous officials and medical personnel discussing the various techniques that the abortionist employees to recover intact body parts, which would violate federal law. Three congressional committees are now investigating Planned Parenthood over these violations.

Clinton has since backed away from outright support of the organization. After a third video was released Tuesday showing a former organ retrieval technician discuss how clinics financially benefit from the practice, Clinton told the New Hampshire Union Leader that she found the imagery “disturbing.”

“I have seen pictures from them and obviously find them disturbing,” she said. “This raises not questions about Planned Parenthood so much as it raises questions about the whole process, that is, not just involving Planned Parenthood, but many institutions in our country… If there’s going to be any kind of congressional inquiry, it should look at everything and not just one [organization].”

Dannenfelser said that Clinton’s tepid support for the investigation was smart politics as voters react to the video scandal.

“Hillary Clinton, like many Democrats have painted themselves into a corner by supporting abortion on-demand, up until the moment of birth, paid for by taxpayer dollars. The more Americans learn the truth about this extreme position, the more they will reject it,” she said.

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Here Are The Two GOP Senators Who Say They Will Oppose Bill To Defund Planned Parenthood – The Blaze

Two Republican senators have come forward to say they will oppose the heavy push by their colleagues to immediately defund Planned Parenthood following the release of several graphic sting videos.

en. Mark Kirk (R-IL) and Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) have stated their opposition to a bill introduced Wednesdsay that would stop all taxpayer dollars from going to Planned Parenthood after an anti-abortion group released secretly recorded footage that appeared to show doctors and executive officials casually discussing the sale of aborted fetal body parts.

“In other states tissue donation programs should be investigated but in Illinois there is no similar program,” Kirk, who faces re-election next year, told the Hill. “I do not plan to cut access to basic health care and contraception for women, the majority of whom have no other resources.”

Collins, who isn’t up for re-election until 2020, told reporters she is still looking at the bill but added she would likely oppose it if it allows for immediate defunding.

Sens. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and James Lankford (R-Okla.) introduced legislation to cut off funding Wednesday and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell addressed the bill in a statement on Thursday morning.

“It’s a simple choice,” McConnell said. “Senators can either vote to protect women’s health, or they can vote to protect subsidies for a political group mired in scandal.”

Paul, who is running for the 2016 GOP nomination for president, suggested Tuesday that the bill would come up for a vote before Congress leaves Washington, D.C., for its August recess. Paul told the Associated Press that the vote would be “a huge victory for conservatives,” even if it ultimately doesn’t pass.

The bill would require a 60-vote majority to advance in the Senate, but Republicans only hold 54 seats and Democrats are generally opposed because they say it would cut off basic women’s health services. But, as the Hill noted, supporters of the bill say these basic services would be maintained since money would be redistributed among other organizations besides Planned Parenthood.

The bill was introduced just one week after the release of the first undercover video that purported to show Planned Parenthood executives discussing the sale of fetal body parts.

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Nets Covered Cecil The Lion More In 1 Day Than Abortion Videos In 2 Weeks – Big Journalism

According to the Media Research Center, in just one day, the various broadcast networks’ news programs have already given the death of Cecil the Lion more coverage than two weeks of videos that appear to show Planned Parenthood senior officials ghoulishly trafficking illegally in dead baby parts:

Tuesday, the networks spent 5 minutes, 44 seconds during their evening news shows on Cecil – and that’s not even counting the teasers. Wednesday morning, ABC, NBC and CBS lamented over the lion for 8 minutes, 17 seconds.

But they couldn’t do the same for a story of babies “picked” apart by tweezers.

On July 29, Good Morning America co-anchor Lara Spencer highlighted the “very disturbing story” with “international outrage” before turning to ABC correspondent David Wright for the full story on the lion-shooting by an American, now, according to Wright, “pretty much the most hated man on the internet.”

“There are no words,” Spencer added at the end of the segment. Again, we’re talking about a lion.

For CBS’ This Morning, co-anchor Gayle King commented, “The more you hear about it, the more upsetting it is.” For the shooting of a lion, yes. For the weekly videos exposing the trafficking of baby parts, no. (According to the media, that is.).

In summation, in two weeks the networks have given the Planned Parenthood atrocity 11 minutes of coverage. In a single day, the death of an animal has earned 14 minutes of coverage.

Our media is useless, corrupt, and evil.

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White House Says Planned Parenthood Videos Are Fake, Cites Planned Parenthood – Daily Caller

The White House expressed its firm belief Thursday that recently-released videos attacking Planned Parenthood are “fraudulent.” Their source: Planned Parenthood.

Josh Earnest, the White House press secretary, was speaking with reporters when they raised the matter of the videos released by the Center for Medical Progress which appear to show Planned Parenthood officials discussing the sale of fetal organs for profit, a violation of federal law. He claimed the videos were released in a “fraudulent way” with “not a lot of evidence” behind them.

“There is ample reason to think that this is merely the tried and true tactic that we’ve seen from extremists on the right to edit this video and selectively release this edited version of the video that grossly distorts the position of the person that’s actually speaking,” Earnest said.

But Earnest indicated that the reason he thought the videos were fraudulent was because, well, Planned Parenthood had told him as much.

“Planned Parenthood has indicated that’s exactly what occurred here,” he said. “And any review of the policy that PP says they implement indicates the views expressed in the videos, or at least the way they’re pictured on the videos, is entirely inaccurate.”

In other words, Earnest said, because the images on the videos don’t correspond to Planned Parenthood’s official policies, they must be untrue. Earnest even encouraged reporters looking for more information to simply contact Planned Parenthood.

Earnest admitted he did not know if President Obama had actually watched any of the videos.

“I do know he has been following this story in the news,” he said.

Even if Obama had not watched the videos, though, Earnest said he was sure the president would oppose any effort by Republicans to cut off federal funding for Planned Parenthood.

“The President certainly will not support another effort by Republican to try to defund an organization that offers important and needed healthcare services to women across the country.”

Watch the full C-SPAN video of Earnest’s press conference here. The exchange begins about 28 minutes in.

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Evil In America – Ben Shapiro

This week, the Center for Medical Progress, an anti-abortion group dedicated to unmasking the atrocities committed by taxpayer-funded abortion juggernaut Planned Parenthood, released its latest in a series of undercover videos about the organization.

In this video, Dr. Savita Ginde, vice president and medical director of Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains, calmly explains to the undercover reporter that the organs of babies killed in the womb can be sold separately. “I think a per-item thing works a little better,” she tells the faux buyer while standing over a tray of kidney and spinal cord from a recently aborted baby.

The tape sounds like something from the laboratory of Dr. Josef Mengele. But to the left, the murder of the unborn is routine. Former secretary of state and 2016 presidential candidate Hillary Clinton defended Planned Parenthood, stating that Planned Parenthood has “provided essential services for women,” calling the videos “an attack against a woman’s right to choose.”

Presumably, she then ran out of other euphemisms for the butchering of the unborn.

Meanwhile, former Arkansas governor and 2016 presidential candidate Mike Huckabee drew heavy media fire slamming President Obama’s decision to guarantee both Iran’s regional power and nuclear weapons within a decade. Huckabee stated, “This president’s foreign policy is the most feckless in American history. It is so naive that he would trust the Iranians. By doing so, he will take the Israelis and march them of the door of the oven.”

Huckabee’s invocation of the Holocaust to describe Obama’s facilitation of a genocidal anti-Semitic regime offended President Obama significantly more than a similarly timed tweet from Ayatollah Khamenei containing imagery of an Obama silhouette with a gun to its head. Obama whined, “The particular comments of Mr. Huckabee are just part of a general pattern we’ve seen that would be considered ridiculous if it weren’t so sad.” Clinton said she was “disappointed and I am really offended personally… I find this kind of inflammatory rhetoric totally unacceptable.”

She does not, however, find the prospect of a regionally dominant Iran lording over Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Yemen, and building up terrorist groups like Hamas and Hezbollah, all while the United States provides a shield for Iran’s nuclear program. The real problem, she and the left believe, lies in likening Obama’s Iran policy to Western malfeasance with regard to Hitler.

The left’s willingness to participate in Planned Parenthood’s genocide against the unborn and the Iranian government’s planned genocide against the Jews speaks to the nature of evil. Americans are fearful of invoking Hitlerian analogies because Hitler is seen, wrongly, as a sort of evil apart from the norms of humankind – he must have known he was evil, an evil of a different sort altogether from daily evil. The same holds true, people typically think, of the Germans complicit in his designs. That’s inaccurate. Hitler undoubtedly saw himself as a good man. More importantly, millions of Germans joined in Hitler’s evil because it was easier to look the other way than to confront the nature of an evil they had allowed to flourish. It is always easier to shrug through life by relying on euphemisms than to stand up to the daily evil we encounter.

For Planned Parenthood, as for leftists and their head-in-the-sand allies throughout America, babies are less than the sum of their parts. For the Obama administration, as for its allies, threats to Jews can be dismissed as irrational byproducts of religious fanaticism, rather than as core goals of an immensely barbaric regime. All of these accessories to evil convince themselves that euphemistic thinking will bring harmony.

Turning a blind eye to evil, however, doesn’t make it disappear. It allows it to grow. And those who allow evil to grow in order to protect their own convenience will be held accountable for the end results of the evil they facilitate.

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Jeb Bush Was Director Of Philanthropy That Gave Tens Of Millions To Planned Parenthood – LifeSite News

Until the eve of his presidential campaign, Jeb Bush was director of a philanthropy that gave tens of millions of dollars to Planned Parenthood and financed its advocacy of “unrestricted access to abortion” around the world. The charity also approved money to global abortion providers while he sat on its board.

In 2010, Jeb was named one of the founding directors of the Bloomberg Family Foundation, established as a tax-exempt foundation to advance the vision of former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. He resigned from the board at the end of 2014 to prepare his presidential campaign.

While a Bush spokesman has responded to concerns by saying that Bush would not have voted on every initiative of the foundation, a pro-life leader told LifeSiteNews it “stretches credibility” that Bush was unaware of the foundation’s pro-abortion work, given the centrality of such work to the foundation’s mission, and its scope.

LifeSiteNews reached out to Bush for comment, but did not hear back by press time.

$50 million to ‘reproductive health’ and Planned Parenthood

In March of 2014, the Bloomberg Philanthropies announced a $50 million undertaking to expand “reproductive health,” including lobbying foreign nations to loosen restrictions on abortion.

Bloomberg announced a major partnership with Planned Parenthood-Global to train and equip abortion activists in pro-life countries.

“In 2014, we started supporting local nonprofit organizations in Burkina Faso, Senegal, Uganda, and Nicaragua to advocate for better policies in their countries that will expand access to comprehensive reproductive health services,” the foundation stated. “These organizations will receive technical assistance from Planned Parenthood Federation of America – Global Division to help augment their capacity for effective advocacy.”

Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards greeted the news by saying that “governments need to play a stronger role to ensure that all women have access to the health care they need” – including abortion – “no matter who they are, no matter where they live.”

Bloomberg clarified how the partnership would work while receiving Planned Parenthood’s Global Citizen Award at its annual gala last March 27.

“We’ll Push for Less Restrictive Abortion Laws”

“I am happy to say our major partner in this project will be Planned Parenthood – Global,” Bloomberg said. “In some countries, our funding will help advocates work towards better sexual health policies for teens and better access to contraceptives. In others, we’ll help push for less restrictive abortion laws and more government funding for high-quality, accessible services.”

Such advocacy was “necessary,” he continued, because “there are plenty of outside interest groups funding the other side of these issues, and we cannot let them go unanswered.”

“This is a fight to women control their own destinies,” Bloomberg said. “And let me tell you: We are in it to help them win it, and we’re gonna stay in it until they do.”

“Together we can succeed,” he concluded. “Thank you for this award. God bless.”

As head of a foundation with $5.4 billion in assets, which awards more than $200 million a year, the three-term mayor of New York has put his money where his mouth is.

Funding Global Abortion Providers

One aspect of his philanthropy’s overall health initiative is to underwrite “reproductive health services in the most remote areas of” Tanzania. Although all grants say they are intended “to reduce maternal deaths,” alongside the CDC and the World Lung Foundation, Bloomberg Philanthropies has funded two abortion providers.

In 2013, Bloomberg Philanthropies approved a a grant of $1,818,000 for EngenderHealth, and another $250,000 for Marie Stopes International – Tanzania.

“EngenderHealth works to ensure reproductive rights of Tanzanian women and their families by integrating family planning with HIV and comprehensive abortion care services,” the group states on its website.

The group also touts the fact that its expansion to all 26 regions of the country “has also contributed to an increase in uptake of long-acting and reversible methods,” especially Implanon. Long-Acting Reversible Contraceptives (LARCs) work both by preventing conception and by “alterations in the endometrium,” which can cause an early abortion by preventing implantation.

Marie Stopes is known as a global abortion provider. MSI states that it only provides “post-abortion care” in Tanzania, where abortion is legal only to save the life of the mother.

But Marie Stopes officials have admitted that the group performs illegal abortions.

“We do illegal abortions all over the world,” Paul Cornellison, the director of Marie Stopes International in South Africa, said during a Marie Stopes International conference in 2007 in London – remarks that were caught on film. “There’s various options, you know, once we open a center there… if we can just get our foot in the door.”

In other nations, Bloomberg has supported advocates of unlimited, universal abortion-on-demand.

“Abortion services should be made free… for all women and girls”

Bloomberg Philanthropies underwrites political advocacy in African and Central American nations whose laws reflect the pro-life outlook of its citizens. The International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) offers a glimpse into what international abortion lobbyists demand.

Between 2012 and 2014, IPPF wrote a 32-page case study on the Senegalese legal landscape, entitled Over-Protected and Under-Served. While numerous participants told researchers that abortion is “easy” to obtain and “lots of young people are having clandestine abortions,” IPPF focused on promoting “safe” abortion – while making clear that such laws were only one components of its overall mission.

“Advocacy efforts should focus on realizing the ultimate goal of unrestricted access to abortion services, and protection of this right under the law. Abortion services should be made free, safe, accessible and confidential for all women and girls,” the report states.

The abortion industry signaled it rejects incremental aims to achieve the eventual recognition of abortion as a human right. “Anything other than full decriminalization will often lead to abortion remaining inaccessible to all but a very small number of women,” the report says.

The task of pressuring government officials will fall to local activists in the nations targeted by Bloomberg because, in the words of Kelly Henning, the head of the public health program at Bloomberg Philanthropies, “We want this effort to be sustainable.”

If the effort fails, it will not be for lack of resources. In a separate component of its reproductive health plan, Bloomberg partnered with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to enact Family Planning 2020’s global reproductive and population goals.

Is Jeb “Ultimately Accountable”?

The association with Bloomberg conflicts with Jeb’s record as a two-term pro-life governor of Florida who enacted parental consent laws, allowed the regulation of abortion facilities, did not allow state funds to be used for abortion counseling, and created the state’s “Choose Life” license plate.

As one of more than a dozen directors – which include such distinguished names as former Sens. Sam Nunn and David Boren, currently Sen. Cory Booker, and former Bush-43 officials Elaine Chao and Hank Paulson – what responsibility does the former Florida governor bear?

The issue bubbled up in April, giving his yet-unannounced campaign an opportunity to respond.

“Governor Bush was honored to serve on the board of Bloomberg Philanthropies, which does a lot of good work across the world,” Bush spokeswoman Kristy Campbell told the Tampa Bay Times. “As a board member, Governor Bush did not vote on or approve individual projects or programs.”

Although Bush and Bloomberg “disagree on several policy issues, both share a passion for improving education in America,” she added – a reference to their mutual embrace of the Common Core curriculum and other policies.

A spokeswoman for Bloomberg Philanthropies, Meghan Womack, confirmed to the newspaper that directors do not sign off on every project.

But what to what extent was Bush active in the issue?

According to nonprofit norms, directors carry deep responsibility for the organizations they help lead. “Regardless of what board members are called, they are in essence the trustees in the literal and legal sense of the term,” the National Center for Nonprofit Boards wrote on the responsibilities of board members. “No matter how the organization is structured or the degree of authority delegated to staff, committees, or affiliates, the board and therefore the individual trustees are ultimately accountable.”

Bloomberg Philanthropies noted in a press release, “The directors will serve in an advisory and oversight capacity.” Bush earned $37,100 in compensation for his nearly five years of service.

“Bush’s people are probably right that as a board member he did not vote on every project,” Stephen Phelan, the director of mission communications at Human Life International, told LifeSiteNews. “But Bloomberg has been so open about his foundation’s goals for so long that it really stretches credibility to say that Bush or his people wouldn’t have known that the foundation pushes abortion and other population control efforts.”

Bloomberg clarified his goals while accepting his Planned Parenthood award last year. “You can’t fight every battle,” he said. “The things that are high on my priority list are sensible gun laws…I obviously care about a woman’s right to choose… Nobody’s a bigger supporter of gay rights.” He added that “we need a good immigration bill” that provides amnesty for an estimated 11 million illegal immigrants, “so we can continue our economy.”

Bloomberg has described abortion as a “fundamental human right, elevating it to a make-or-break position. “On this issue, you’re either with us or against us.” He once cited abortion among his reasons for endorsing Barack Obama in 2012.

Despite their differences on abortion policy, the billionaire has had no reservations supporting Jeb Bush’s candidacy – even before there was one.

Last spring, he called Jeb and Hillary Clinton “two quality” candidates and “the only two who know how to make the trains run.”

He also showered compliments upon Bush while introducing him to the New York State Republican Party convention in 2010.

“I couldn’t agree more with this guy,” he said of Jeb. “If there’s anyone I would want on my side waging all those important battles and helping provide the government Americans deserve, it is our next speaker.”

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Your Daley Gator Leftist Election Shenanigans News Roundup (Videos)

Cook County Ballot Box Tries To Cast GOP Votes For Democrats – Illinois Watchdog

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Early Voting in Illinois got off to its typical start Monday, as votes being cast for Republican candidates were transformed into votes for Democrats.

Republican state representative candidate Jim Moynihan went to vote Monday at the Schaumburg Public Library.

“I tried to cast a vote for myself and instead it cast the vote for my opponent,” Moynihan said. “You could imagine my surprise as the same thing happened with a number of races when I tried to vote for a Republican and the machine registered a vote for a Democrat.”

The conservative website Illinois Review reported that “While using a touch screen voting machine in Schaumburg, Moynihan voted for several races on the ballot, only to find that whenever he voted for a Republican candidate, the machine registered the vote for a Democrat in the same race. He notified the election judge at his polling place and demonstrated that it continued to cast a vote for the opposing candidate’s party. Moynihan was eventually allowed to vote for Republican candidates, including his own race.

Moynihan offered this gracious lesson to his followers on Twitter: “Be careful when you vote in Illinois. Make sure you take the time to check your votes before submitting.”

Cook County Clerk’s Office Deputy Communications Director Jim Scalzitti, told Illinois Watchdog, the machine was taken out of service and tested.

“This was a calibration error of the touch-screen on the machine,” Scalzitti said. “When Mr. Moynihan used the touch-screen, it improperly assigned his votes due to improper calibration.”

Scalzitti stressed that at no time were Moynihan’s votes actually registered, and that voters are always asked to make sure the votes they cast are correct before they are counted. Scalzitti praised Moynihan for checking his ballot and alerting the election judge of the machine’s failure.

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Low Life Georgia Democrats Campaign Off Ferguson, Pushing A Rich, Out Of Touch, White Woman – Conservative Infidel

The Democratic effort to pump up the Black American vote in Georgia just took an interesting turn.

A reader has sent us this early-voting turnout mailer sent out by the Georgia Democratic party that focuses on the shooting of Michael Brown and subsequent unrest in Ferguson, Mo. It contains an interesting line that concedes the problem of low interest among black voters:

“If we want a better, safer future for our children, it’s up to us to vote for change. The choices may not always be perfect, but the cost of inaction is simply too great.”

Here’s a complete look:

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The mysterious pro-Kay Hagan “lynching” flier warning about the GOP impeaching Obama appeared in Fayetteville, North Carolina. (As Noah noted earlier, the local NAACP chief defended the imagery as reflecting “what the community feels.”) One day after that, Georgia Democrats are hinting to black voters that their children might very well end up shot by white cops unless they turn out for Nunn and Carter. Wendy Davis’s dopey attack on Greg Abbott over interracial marriage yesterday was also aimed at terrifying minorities, although in that case it’s Latinos who are the target. There’s no reason to think Democrats won’t replicate this tactic for Landrieu, Pryor, and Grimes too in the next 14 days. It’s effective, and the media’s not going to shame them over it. The media agrees with them. If it really is racist to support Republicans, how can it be “scaremongering” to emphasize that point, even in ridiculously demagogic ways?

Time for predictions. Which red-state Democrat will be next to use an over-the-top racial pander to goose black turnout? I’m tempted to say Pryor, just because he’s seemed like a dead duck for so long now, but I’m going to go with Grimes. She’s within a single point in one new poll and can’t rely on DSCC TV ads to help her going forward. She needs a cheap, dependable way to get Democratic base voters excited to vote. Time to pull the pin on another racial grenade.

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Dem Senate Candidate In N.C. Skips Debate – Weekly Standard

Democratic Senate candidate Kay Hagan skipped tonight’s debate in North Carolina. Here’s video of the debate opening:

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As the Republican research firm America Rising points out, Hagan’s chair was left empty:

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“Facing new reports of corruption and insider deals, Kay Hagan skipped tonight’s North Carolina Senate debate, leaving an empty chair to represent her campaign. After the last debate, America Rising trackers caught Hagan skipping the post-debate press conference because of her inability to answer questions about missing Armed Services hearings on ISIS,” claims America Rising.

“This is not an image or video that conveys strength or confidence from Kay Hagan’s campaign 2 weeks out from Election Day.”

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Ineligible DACA Beneficiaries Discovered On NC Voting Rolls – Big Government

With the North Carolina U.S. Senate race in a dead heta, state election officials say they have discovered 145 names on the voting rolls who are ineligible to vote because they are illegal immigrants who have been granted President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals status.

According to a Winston-Salem Journal report, the State Board of Elections discovered the potential illegal voters Tuesday night when the N.C. Division of Motor Vehicles ran a search for DACA licenses. The 145 DACA recipients whose names appear on the SBOE’s voting rolls will be sent letters requesting documentation that they are citizens, the report noted.

DACA beneficiaries in North Carolina are able to obtain drivers licenses, but they are not able to vote.

The Journal notes that it is likely more ineligible people may still remain on the voting rolls.

Nearly 10,000 names on the rolls are tagged by the DMV as “legally present,” according to elections and transportation officials. But that doesn’t mean that all 10,000 are ineligible to vote at this time. These are license holders who were not U.S. citizens when they got a license. They may have been green-card holders, foreign workers or foreign students, for example.

Most have become U.S. citizens since getting a license, according to an estimate by elections officials based on a sample of the overall list.

According to the report, earlier this month the SBOE officials did a sample cross-check of 1,600 of the 10,000 “legally present” names against a Department of Homeland Security database and found that 94 percent were U.S. citizens and eligible to vote. However, that still meant that six percent were ineligible, meaning if the ratio held for the whole 10,000, 600 people would be ineligible.

Mike Charbonneau, a DMV spokesman, told the Journal that it is now cross checking all the names.

While the officials work to cross check names, early voting is set to start in the state Thursday.

“We want to know how such a large number of non-U.S. citizens were ever registered to vote in the first place,” Jay DeLancy, executive director of the Voter Integrity Project of North Carolina, told Watchdog.org. “There is clearly a system failure here and we need the Board of Elections and the DMV to help the Legislature and the public understand where the problem lies.”

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NAACP Speaker’s Alleged Remarks: Let’s Create Confusion During The Nov. 2014 Election By Deliberately Misleading Voters – Judicial Watch

According to a letter from a lawyer for the State of North Carolina to the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), a speaker at a recent NAACP conference in North Carolina urged audience members to mislead the NAACP’s own members into believing they do not need to register to vote in advance, or that they do not need to vote at their assigned polling place. Why? The letter alleges: To create confusion and animosity during the upcoming mid-term elections in North Carolina, and to use the evidence of that confusion in the ongoing litigation between Eric Holder’s Justice Department and North Carolina and to show that North Carolina’s election integrity laws are discriminatory. From the letter:

It is also our understanding that during the [NAACP conference], Rev. Barber urged those in attendance to take unregistered voters to vote during the Early Voting period and to engage in get-out-the vote activities that included transporting registered voters to vote in precincts in which they are not assigned to vote on Election Day, or words to that effect. The stated purpose for these activities, as I understand it, was to gather evidence for and thereby enhance plaintiffs prospects of success in the litigation involving [North Carolina’s Election Integrity Laws].

Judicial Watch has been actively involved in this sprawling North Carolina election litigation for the past two years. Judicial Watch has filed two amicus briefs in this case, one in 2013 and one in 2014, supporting North Carolina and election integrity. On both occasions, we were joined in our brief by our partner the Allied Educational Foundation and by local political activist Christina Merrill. We also gave oral arguments and submitted an expert witness report to the trial court explaining that no one is harmed by these election integrity laws, but rather, these laws prevent fraud and ensure all Americans are confident that election results are fair and honest.

If true, the fact that the NAACP’s leaders appear willing to risk the confusion and disenfranchisement of their own members in order to deceive a Court about common sense election integrity laws speaks volumes about the intellectual bankruptcy of the left’s arguments. The left’s weak arguments also explain why the U.S. Supreme Court, by a 7 to 2 vote, recently overruled the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals’ temporary injunction and held that North Carolina’s laws comply with federal law and should be used during the November 2014 election. The litigation between North Carolina and the DOJ is expected to proceed further in 2015.

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In Last Flailing Attempt, Davis Campaign Attacks Abbott Over Dildos – Downtrend

After mocking her wheelchair-bound opponent for being disabled, Texas gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis is now mocking his marriage.

Less than two weeks ago, after polls showed her trailing by double digits, Davis released a campaign ad that ridicules GOP candidate Greg Abbott for being in a wheelchair.

And yesterday, Davis questioned Abbott’s support for interracial marriage, despite the fact that he is married to a Latina.

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And now – amazingly, Davis has topped herself in the one-woman race to the top of the slime pile. She’s attacking Abbott about dildos.

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In an e-mailed press release, Davis’ campaign forwarded an article by the leftist “Texas Observer” with the headline “Greg Abbott: Dildos Against ‘em. Interracial Marriage No Comment.”

It’s a really stupid article, even for a leftist rag, but it attacks Abbott for defending the state’s ban on sex toys as Attorney General.

If this were any other campaign, these desperate flailings might be funny – or infuriating or a little bit of both.

But this is Wendy Davis and it’s the governorship of Texas.

And it’s not even amusing anymore, it’s just sad.

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What Election? Network News Gives Up On Covering Midterms – Hot Air

It is probably safe to assume that you have been following the midterm elections closely. You decided to click on this link, which would indicate that you have at least a passing interest in the coming national vote in which Americans will determine which party controls the upper chamber of Congress for the remainder of the Obama presidency. If, however, you have been closely following the coverage of the coming midterms, you might have noticed that network news outlets do not appear to share your enthusiasm. You’re not imagining things.

According to an exhaustive study performed by Media Research Center analysts, between September 1 and October 20, the three major broadcast networks only bothered to mention the fact that there is a critical election coming up only 25 times. Of those mentions, only 16 of them were in the context of packaged report.

By contrast, in the same period in 2006, when Democrats were believed to be likely to take control of both the House and Senate, the three major networks mentioned the coming midterms 159 times with 91 of those mentions broadcast as part of detailed reports.

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“Amazingly, since September 1 ABC’s newly-renamed World News Tonight has yet to feature a single mention of this year’s campaign, let alone a full story, the MRC report revealed. “In contrast, eight years ago ABC’s World News aired 36 stories that discussed that year’s midterm campaign, including a weekly Thursday night feature that then-anchor Charlie Gibson promised would look at the ‘critical races.’”

“CBS and NBC have scarcely been more comprehensive,” the expose continued. “In 2006, CBS aired a total of 58 evening news stories that discussed the campaign, while NBC Nightly News aired 65 stories. This year, those numbers have fallen to just 14 and 11 as of October 20, declines of 76% and 83%, respectively.”

MRC did not investigate how the press covered the 2010 midterm cycle, when Republicans were believed to be in a competitive position to retake control of the House if not the U.S. Senate, but I would guess that there was more substantial coverage of that race in the nightly network newscasts than there has been in 2014. Perhaps the coverage disparity has something to do with the fact that the outcome in the 2006 race – a Republican loss of control of both chambers – was widely expected for months ahead of the vote.

That attempt to exculpate the media does not hold water. The potential for juicy speculation provided to broadcast news editors and story planners by the prospect of flipping the House and/or Senate is just as potent today as it was in 2006 or 2010. There is no reason why the nightly newscasts would deprive their combined 23 million nightly viewers of details on the coming race unless broadcast news editors and producers were equally unenthusiastic about the coming election. Or, more accurately, the likely blunting effect the coming vote will have on Barack Obama’s waning efficacy in office.

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JAMES O’KEEFE: MARK UDALL ADVOCATES CONDONE VOTER FRAUD

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WEST VIRGINIA SECREATARY OF STATE / SENATE CANDIDATE NATALIE TENNANT OPENLY VIOLATES ELECTION LAW

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MEGYN KELLY: ROCKY MOUNTAIN HEIST – COLORADO VOTER FRAUD

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2014 Election Fraud News Archive – RNLA

9/26/14: Connecticut Democrat state representative arrested on 19 charges of vote fraud
Democrat State Representative Christina Ayala has been arrested on 19 charges of voting fraud, including: eight misdemeanor counts of fraudulent voting, ten felony counts of primary or enrollment violations and one felony count of tampering with or fabricating physical evidence. Her arraignment is scheduled for October 7. Bridgeport State Rep. Christina Ayala arrested on 19 voting fraud charges, NH Register, September 26, 2014

9/18/14: Ex-Kentucky judge disbarred due to vote fraud
Former Clay County Circuit Judge Cletus R. Maricle has been permanently disbarred following his guilty plea of committing vote fraud. Court documents showed Maricle had used his position to bribe officials, candidates for county offices, defendants in his court, and family members of defendants in his court. Ex-Judge Convicted of Vote Fraud, Lexington Herald-Leader, September 18, 2014.

9/9/14: Georgia launches fraud investigation into voter registration group
A preliminary investigation into the New Georgia Project has revealed significant illegal activities including forged voter registration applications, forged signatures on releases and applications with false or inaccurate information. The New Georgia Project is an offshoot of the organization Third Sector Development, a group founded and led by Democrat GA House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams. State launches fraud investigation into voter registration group, Channel Two Action News, September 9, 2014.

8/25/14: Fairfax County Electoral Board Refers Potential Voter Fraud Cases for Investigation
The Fairfax County Electoral Board referred 17 individuals to the DOJ for investigation of possible voter fraud. The individuals seem to have voted in both Fairfax County as well as throughout Maryland in the 2012 elections, and in the case of some individuals, multiple elections over the last decade. Fairfax County Electoral Board Refers Potential Voter Fraud Cases for Investigation, Fairfax County Press Release, August 25, 2014.

8/21/14: Investigations underway, suspected voter fraud in Virginia and Maryland
Virginia Voters Alliance drew attention to multiple duplicate voter registrations in Maryland and Virginia. They said there are 14,646 duplicate registrations between Fairfax County, VA and Maryland alone. If a voter is convicted of voter fraud in Maryland, they are still allowed to vote, as it is only a misdemeanor; in Virginia, it can result in a year in prison and $2,500 fine. Investigations underway, suspected voter fraud in Virginia and Maryland, Daily Caller, August 21, 2014.

6/27/14: Allegations of Voter Fraud in Hotly Contested Minn. House DFL Primary Race
More than 140 people are alleged to have listed their current address as a mail center in the basement of a Minneapolis, Minn. commercial property while registering to vote. An investigation has been started as to whether or not there is a coordinated effort to register voters using the 419 Cedar Avenue address in Minneapolis. Some of these “voters” may also have been registered without knowing. Allegations of Voter Fraud in Hotly Contested Minn. House DFL Primary Race, Eyewitness 5 ABC News, June 27, 2014.

6/20/14: Dothan commissioner’s girlfriend indicted on voter fraud charges
An Alabama grand jury indicted the girlfriend of Dothan, AL commissioner Amos Newsome on 23 counts of vote fraud in the campaign to re-elect Newsome last August. The alleged vote fraud scheme includes two additional women – one charged with 20 counts of vote fraud, the other charged with 10. Dothan commissioner’s girlfriend indicted on voter fraud charges, Dothan First, June 20, 2014.

6/12/14: Judge orders new election in Weslaco City commissioner race due to vote fraud
A Texas judge invalidated a city commissioner election as a result of vote fraud. The judge carefully evaluated each of the 44 contested votes and found many of them were cast by people who deliberately and illegally voted under a “home is where the heart is” residency standard – they registered at homes belonging to the fraudulently-elected commissioner’s friends, neighbors, and relatives. Judge orders new election in Weslaco City commissioner race, KRGV, June 12, 2014.

6/10/14: NH man pleads guilty to voting illegally
A Massachusetts man pled guilty to illegally voting in both the 2008 and 2012 NH primaries. He was charged with one felony county and two misdemeanor counts of “wrongful voting” under NH law for traveling from Massachusetts to New Hampshire to cast votes in both primaries. He was fined $5,000 and given a suspended prison term of one to three years. Carver man pleads guilty to voting illegally in NH, Taunton Daily Gazette, June 10, 2014.

5/22/14: Former Bolivar city council member sentenced for vote fraud
Former Bolivar, TN City Councilwoman Brenda Woods was sentenced for corralling felons to vote for her in the city’s 2009 municipal elections. Woods transported three felons to the polls to case votes for her. She used this method for her election to city council and her failed mayoral bid. She received a suspended sentence of two years in prison, and has lost her voting rights and her ability to run for elected office. Former Bolivar city council member sentenced, JRN News Channel 5, May 22, 2014.

5/12/14: Nashville election worker fired over double voting
A Tennessee state elections commissioner is questioning whether to certify election results after six people voted twice in a Davidson County election last week. The fraudulent voters cast absentee ballots and also appeared at the polls on Election Day. The election worker has been fired. Nashville election worker fired over double voting, Tennessean, May 12, 2014.

4/21/14: Complaint Against Robert Garcia Suggests Voter Fraud
A California mayoral candidate is alleged to have recruited between 15 and 20 non-voters to cast absentee ballots illegally in April. The formal complaint submitted to the Los Angeles County District Attorney states that candidate Robert Garcia hired a bus to transport the individuals into the district to request absentee ballots. Complaint Against Robert Garcia Suggests Voter Fraud, Hews Media Group, April 21, 2014.

4/21/14: Woman Arrested in NV on Voter Fraud
An illegal immigrant with a Nevada ID was arrested in California on two felony charges for allegedly using a false ID to register to vote and also for casting ballots in NV elections. Authorities confirmed that the woman also voted in both the 2008 and 2010 elections. Woman Arrested in NV on Voter Fraud, KOLO News, April 21, 2014.

5/8/14: Final Report: 117 fraudulent votes found in investigation
A two-year investigation of voter fraud in Iowa uncovered 117 illegally cast votes resulting in six criminal convictions. The crimes included non-citizen voting and felony voting. Final Report: 117 Fraudulent Votes Found in Investigation, The Des Moines Register, May 8, 2014.

5/9/14: Three Houston County Women Accused of Felony Voter Fraud
Houston County Sheriff’s Office arrested three women on charges of voter fraud after the narrowly decided election. Police conducted a thorough investigation in which they discovered that the three women created and submitted false ballots in August 2013. Three Houston County Women Accused of Felony Voter Fraud, WTVY News, May 9, 2014.

4/23/14: Two more indicted for vote fraud in Hamilton County
A poll worker in Hamilton County, OH is the eighth person to be indicted on charges of illegal voting in 2013. Authorities say that Ellen Elizabeth Duncan submitted an absentee ballot and also appeared at the polls on Election Day. Two More Indicted for Vote Fraud in Hamilton County, WVXU News, April 23, 2014.

5/8/14: Arraignment Postponed for Paterson Councilman, Wife in Election-Fraud Indictment
New Jersey authorities arrested mayoral candidate Rigo Rodriguez and his wife on charges that they submitted ballots as votes for people who did not vote in 2010. Prosecutors also stated that Rodriguez instructed campaign workers to lie to authorities investigating the allegations. Arraignment Postponed for Paterson Councilman, Wife in Election-Fraud Indictment, Examiner, February 17, 2014.

5/13/14: Wild Acres Man Charged with Voter Fraud in Board Election
Pennsylvania police have charged a man with ballot tampering in Pike County. Myron Cowher allegedly stole 70 ballots and planned to use different colored ink pens so the ballots did not all look the same. Wild Acres Man Charged with Voter Fraud in Board Election, The News Eagle, May 13, 2014.

5/1/14: Alabama Supreme Court to Look at Voter Fraud Allegations
The Alabama Supreme Court will reconsider allegations of voter fraud by college students. The students allegedly received illegal alcohol in exchange for their votes. Alabama Supreme Court to Look at Voter Fraud Allegations , WIAT News, May 1, 2014.

4/15/14: Two Accused of Voter Fraud in 2012 Election
Texas officials recently arrested two felons for alleged voter fraud after voting in May 2012. The two men allegedly knew they were not eligible to vote in the election. Two Accused of Voter Fraud in 2012 Election , Alice Echo News Journal, April 15, 2014.

2/17/14: New York: Noncitizens to Vote in New York?
Under a plan being pushed by de Blasio and the council, noncitizens, including illegal immigrants, would be given city-issued identification cards… GOP State Senator Greg Ball this would open the door to noncitizens, including illegal aliens, to vote illegally in New York State Elections. N.Y. GOP Sen. says Bill de Blasio plans for illegal voting in New York , Examiner, February 17, 2014.

1/27/14: New Hampshire: Temporary Campaign Staffer Continues to be “Voted” After Moving
We confirmed with the city clerk’s office that a vote under Former Jeanne Shaheen spokesperson Caitlin Legack’s name and address was recorded. But Legacki moved out of New Hampshire shortly after the 2008 election (in which she voted) and was in St. Louis on Election Day 2012, working for U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill. .” Vote fraud: It, and mistakes, happen, Union Leader, January 27, 2014.

1/27/14: Texas: Hispanics are the Victims of Vote Fraud
In one example listed in the lawsuit, 23 voters who cast a ballot in favor of Rivera were registered to a home on East 6th street in Weslaco. Controversy over voter fraud continues in Weslaco, Action 4 News, January 27, 2014.

1/12/14: Texas: Campaign Workers trade cash, drugs, beer and more for votes
Three women working as politiqueras in the 2012 elections in Donna were arrested by F.B.I. agents in December and accused of giving residents cash, drugs, beer and cigarettes in exchange for their votes. Texas Vote-Buying Case Casts Glare on Tradition of Election Day Goads, New York Times, January 12, 2014.

Clcik HERE for complete list.

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Your Daily Gator Obama-Caused Border Crisis News Roundup (Videos)

This Is Exactly How Central Americans Illegally Cross The Mexico-Texas Border – Daily Signal

“Welcome to America,” Border Patrol agent Albert Spratte says.

As politicians in Washington debate how to best deal with the influx of illegal immigrants from Central America along the southwest border, smugglers continue to transport women, children, and entire families into the country.

The Daily Signal went on a tour of the border near McAllen, Texas, with Spratte, sergeant at arms of Union 3307 of the National Border Patrol Council, to capture raw footage of the precise location of many border crossings.

In the three videos below, Spratte breaks down the illegal immigrants’ access points, revealing how easy it remains to break into America.

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Along the banks of the Rio Grande Valley, illegal immigrants navigate tall sugarcane to make it onto American shore. The path is difficult and dangerous for Border Patrol agents to access, says Spratte, and easy for smugglers to direct immigrants onto U.S. soil.

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Spratte describes how smugglers transport children and families from one side of the Anzalduas Dam to the other. Once in the U.S., many of them willingly give themselves up. Within the last several months, the Border Patrol agent says, the Department of Homeland Security, or “whoever controls press access” to the U.S. side of the dam, has made it more difficult for the news media to get to that spot.

“It’s really restricted the ability of the American press to report what’s going on to the public,” Spratte said. “We believe the public has a right to know what’s going on, and it’s difficult when the press is being controlled and not allowed to go to those areas.”

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In a highly visible part of Anzalduas Park in the Rio Grande Valley, Spratte describes how human smugglers use jet skis to transport men, women, and children from parkland on the Mexico side of the river to the Texas side. “We don’t have a checkpoint at the park,” he said, making it “impossible” to tell whether people arrived illegally.

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Where Is Obama Really Shipping Illegal Kids? – WorldNetDaily

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Eyewitnesses at dozens of points across the United States have begun working together to track down where the tens of thousands of illegal alien children from Central America are ending up, because the federal government won’t disclose many details of its handling of the immigration crisis.

The information is being presented on an interactive map published by NumbersUSA, an organization that seeks to return immigration to traditional levels.

Even top government leaders have been caught off guard.

Sen. Mark Kirk, a Republican from Illinois, said he did not know the locations of children being held in Illinois, Fox News reported.

He believes the White House does not want such information to be made public.

Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman recently said he discovered that 200 of the children were sent to his state without warning or notice to his office.

Federal agency managers refused to give him the names and locations of the children, he said.

“We need to know who they are,” Heineman insisted. “And so far, they are saying they’re not going to give us that information.”

NumbersUSA’s map, which derives its information from members of Congress, eyewitnesses, reliable sources and news reports, shows children are being taken to many states, including Washington, Oregon, California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Iowa, Nebraska, Illinois, Virginia, Maryland, Connecticut, Rhode Island and Massachusetts.

NumbersUSA Executive Director Roy Beck told WND it’s clear that the Obama administration’s dispersal of the children across the nation conflicts with its promise that many will be returned to their home countries.

“[They want to keep this] as secret as possible for as long as possible,” Beck told WND.

“We’ve been told by advocates of amnesty that you can never get the people here illegally to go back home… Actually, there are ways to get them back home.”

He argued that if the government intended to return them, it “wouldn’t disperse them, because it’s harder to find them.”

The secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, Beck noted, has said “the answer has to be that nearly all these people have to be moved back to Central America.”

But the administration’s actions don’t match its words, he said.

William Gheen, president of Americans for Legal Immigration PAC, told WND that Obama’s plan to handle the flood of incoming children is “to lie to us as long as possible.”

Gheen said the nation’s existing laws, if enforced, would do a great deal to resolve some of the most critical problems. But many citizens feel the need to take immediate action, including stopping buses transporting illegal aliens, a reference to protests in Murrieta, California.

One of many places where the immigration battle is coming to a head is Prince William County, Virginia.

Board of Supervisors Chairman Corey Stewart said he’s asking county staff members to investigate how many children are being brought to Virginia and left there.

Stewart said federal officials had not informed county officials of plans to relocate some of the children to his county.

“The crisis at the border has again reached Prince William County. Without providing the county any notice, the federal government is now placing illegal immigrant children at private and perhaps federal facilities in our county,” he said in a statement at the time.

“Although no county facilities are being used to house the children, I will ask the board tomorrow to direct the county executive to attempt to find out more about the location(s) where these children are being held and whether there is anything that the board can do to stop it. While it may seem cold hearted, it is important that these children be sent back home since letting them stay simply entices even more children to attempt the long and dangerous journey to the United States.”

The crisis is being blamed on Obama’s announcement that he would bend federal law and defer prosecutions and deportations of children who have come to the U.S. illegally. That message apparently is being heard in Central America as an invitation for children to come and obtain housing, schooling, health and even legal benefits as soon as they arrive.

But experts have noted that among the illegal aliens are gang members and carriers of contagious diseases, including tuberculosis.

Officials in Central America say they want “immigration reform” in the United States to make access easier, or they’ll continue sending children illegally to the nation’s border.

A recent Reuters report quoted Jorge Ramon Hernandez, a representative of Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez, saying as long as immigration reform is not approved, “the exodus of children to the United States will continue.”

But regarding the flood of illegals, estimated at more than 50,000 unaccompanied children already this year and forecast for more next year, Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad simply told Washington he doesn’t want them delivered to his state.

“The first thing we need to do is secure the border. I do have empathy for these kids,” Branstad said. “But I also don’t want to send the signal that (you) send your kids to America illegally. That’s not the right message.”

National Review confirmed the secrecy surrounding the handling of the children.

“Across agency lines, officials have ignored questions from the press. ICE officials referred National Review Online’s questions on to Kenneth Wolfe, deputy director of the Office of Public Affairs in HHS’ Administration for Children and Families. Wolfe did not respond to repeated requests for an interview, but did email links to the Administration for Children and Families’ website,” the publication said of its attempts to get information.

“The Army Public Affairs office in Washington also referred Judicial Watch’s questions about Fort Bliss to Wolfe. And a spokesperson for BCFS Health and Human Services, a San Antonio-based network of non-profit organizations, declined comment to the Brownsville Herald about its plans to open a shelter for illegal immigrant children in Weslaco, referring the Herald to Wolfe as well,” the report said. “Federal officials have instructed caseworkers, who identify and verify the sponsors of the illegal immigrant children, not to speak to the media under any circumstance.”

The NumbersUSA map notes that 1,200 illegals were being held at Fort Lewis, Washington, and 1,400 at Fort Sill, Oklahoma.

Its list documents where the illegals are being housed, where more are to be placed and other details.

“NumbersUSA is daily updating this interactive map to show which communities are under threat of the federal government moving large numbers of illegal aliens there from the border,” the report said. “NumbersUSA is providing its members actions they can take to help stop the government’s dispersal of illegal aliens in a way that usually means they never go back home.”

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DHS: Parents Giving Birth Control To Girls ‘In Case They’re Raped’ On Way To USA – CNS

As the Obama administration tries to warn Central American parents about the dangers of exporting their children to the United States, it appears that some of those parents already know the risks.

Some parents are giving their daughters birth control before they head to the United States — “in case they’re raped along the way,” Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson told Congress last week.

“I’ve met with enough of these kids now, including a 15-year old in Nogales (Ariz.) two weeks ago, who was three months pregnant, to have a real sense for what these kids go through,” Johnson told the Senate Appropriations Committee on July 10.

“We’ve heard about how before they leave Central America, some of these kids’ parents actually will give them birth control in case they’re raped along the way.”

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Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) told the committee that he’d just received a report from an immigration advocacy group at the University of Chicago Law School describing the ordeal of two unaccompanied children:

“Samuel and Emily are siblings; amazingly, ages 3 and 6 — 3 and 6. They got here from Honduras. I don’t know how,” Durbin said.

“When they initially arrived in the United States, they were very quiet and they didn’t open up. They were clearly victims of trauma. After two months of care and custody of these 3- and 6-year-old children by HHS, Emily revealed that both children had been raped by members of a local drug cartel.

“I think about those children when I think about this debate. Are they the exception? God, I pray they are. But I’m afraid there are many more with similar stories.”

Durbin told the panel that President Obama’s $3.7 billion emergency spending request to deal with the flood of children coming to the U.S. illegally does not include enough money “to provide the kind of representation and advocacy to protect these kids.”

Committee Chair Sen. Barbara Mikulski said border agents are finding the children “dehydrated, malnourished, scared. Many have been abused. They come here relying on smugglers’ false promises, smugglers that are part of dangerous gangs and cartels who see women and children like commodities to be able to buy and sell them across the borders. Children leave home based on lies, endure dangerous journeys and the threat of being trafficked along the way.”

As of mid-June of the current fiscal year, the U.S. Border Patrol had apprehended more than 52,000 children at the U.S.-Mexico border. Approximately three-quarters of them originated from El Salvador, Guatemala or Honduras after traveling for weeks through Mexico.

Some die along the way, including a 15-year-old boy who was buried in Guatemala on Saturday.

The Associated Press reported that the decomposed body of Gilberto Francisco Ramos Juarez was discovered on June 15 in the Rio Grande Valley, just over the Texas border with Mexico. He apparently got lost on his way north and likely died from exposure in hot, dry brush country of South Texas.

“Around his neck was a rosary he had received as a gift for his first communion as a Roman Catholic. Scribbled inside his belt buckle was the phone number of an older brother in Chicago he had hoped to reach,” the report said.

At last week’s hearing, Sen. Susan Collins noted that the influx of Central American children began in 2012. “So we need to look at what happened that year,” she said.

“Well, on June 15th of 2012, President Obama took unilateral action and announced his Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy.

“Now let me make clear that I think the president’s action was motivated by compassion. But it seems clear to me that it sent the wrong message to those parents in Central America. And it demonstrates what happens when the president unilaterally decides to issue an executive order affecting immigration without securing the border.”

Collins noted that the number of children coming to the U.S. from Central America more than doubled between Fiscal Year 2011 and Fiscal Year 2013. “Yet until just recently, the president did not even speak out to warn their parents and to tell them that the journey would be horrendously dangerous for their children and that they would be sent home.

“We know that many of these children have been abused or harmed on their way here. And when the wave became evident two years ago, the president took no action at that time to try to stem the tide,” Collins said.

Rep. Kay Granger (R-Texas) recently traveled to Central America, where she met with the presidents and first ladies of Guatemala and Honduras. They “want their children back,” she said.

“And they’re willing to cooperate with us to send the children back as quickly as possible,” Granger told Fox & Friends on Tuesday.

“Did they indicate that President Obama had reached out to them? And if so, what did he say?” Elizabeth Hasselbeck asked Granger.

“No, they didn’t. They didn’t say anything about that,” Granger replied.

“I did ask them how helpful it would be if the president of the United States spoke out clearly and strongly and said, don’t send your children to the United States illegally, because we will send them back; they will not complete their journey. And they said that could be – could be very helpful. They did not indicate that that was happening.”

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Urdu Dictionary (Pakistani) Dropped By Illegal Immigrant Smuggler In Texas – Gateway Pundit

Nothing to see here, move along…

Dr. Michael Vickers and Chris Burgard learn a few phrases of Urdu, from an Urdu dictionary, that was dropped by a coyote on the Vickers’ ranch in Texas. Urdu is spoken in Pakistan.

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Pentagon Expands Training Of Mexican Military – Weasel Zippers

Training Mexico to secure their southern border.

Via Stars and Stripes

The United States is quietly expanding its training of Mexico’s armed forces, helping to reverse decades of mistrust that made Mexico’s military reluctant to cooperate with its northern neighbor.

The amount the Pentagon spent on training Mexico’s armed forces, though small, increased to more than $15 million last year, up from about $3 million in 2009, according to U.S. Northern Command, which oversees U.S. military contacts with Mexico.

The training comes as Mexico’s armed forces have been drawn deeper into the country’s war on drugs and organized crime.

“For decades, Mexico’s military tried to remain autonomous from the U.S. military,” said David Shirk, a fellow at the Wilson Center.

U.S. military officials are reluctant to discuss the relationship openly because of sensitivities in Mexico about appearing dependent on American help. In a statement, the Pentagon said the U.S. military participated in 150 “engagements” with Mexican troops on both sides of the border, “sharing training opportunities with more than 3,000 Mexican soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines.”

The statement said the Pentagon’s “interactions” with Mexico’s military have expanded over the past three years. Mexican government officials declined to speak on the record about the training.

The Mexican navy and marine corps have been particularly receptive, allowing the United States to expand its training with Mexico’s armed forces and build trust.

“Our security agencies have focused heavily on cooperation with the navy and marines,” said George Grayson, a professor at William and Mary who has written a book about Mexican drug cartels.

By contrast, the army is a more “insular” institution less willing to cooperate with foreign military forces, Shirk said.

“The navy has earned a tremendous amount of trust from American authorities,” Shirk said.

The army is more susceptible to corruption, since its soldiers have been deployed throughout the country in fixed locations, where there are more opportunities to be bribed. They have direct contact with drugs through eradication efforts.

Keep reading

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Dem Governor: Let The Children Through Our Borders… Just Don’t Send Them To My State! – Independent Journal Review

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Democrat Maryland Governor (and potential 2016 Presidential candidate) Martin O’Malley’s words and actions don’t line up regarding what to do with the thousands of unaccompanied illegal alien children showing up at the border.

Just last week, at a National Governors Association meeting in Nashville, O’Malley said:

“We are not a country that should turn children away and send them back to certain death… Through all of the great world religions we are told that hospitality to strangers is an essential human dignity.”

Hours later, O’Malley was singing a different tune about a proposal to convert a former Army Reserve Center into housing for the children.

“He privately said ‘please don’t send these kids to Western Maryland,’” a Democratic source told CNN. The heated discussion between O’Malley and White House domestic policy adviser Cecilia Munoz occurred during a phone call late Friday evening, sources familiar with the conversation added.

HHS has since scuttled the plan for the Western Maryland site, an O’Malley official said.

Don’t send the children back to certain death, but don’t send them to my state either. Oh, and about that “hospitality to strangers” you referenced, Governor, have you been a part of any private relief efforts that religious organizations have been organizing to help these children, regardless of their legal status? Or is that just something somebody else should do as well?

Touting hospitality to strangers and then hours later begging the government to not send the children to Maryland sounds pretty hypocritical, Governor.

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Your Daley Gator ‘How Corrupt Can These Dirtbags Be?’ IRS Targeting Scandal News Roundup

After A Year Of Delays, IRS Says They Lost Lois Lerner’s Emails In Computer Crash – Gateway Pundit

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The IRS Conservative Targeting Scandal involved:

Hundreds of conservative groups were targeted
At least 5 pro-Israel groups
Constitutional groups
Groups that criticized Obama administration
At least two pro-life groups
An 83 year-old Nazi concentration camp survivor
A 180 year-old Baptist paper
A Texas voting-rights group
A Hollywood conservative group was targeted and harassed
Conservative activists and businesses
At least one conservative Hispanic group
IRS continued to target groups even after the scandal was exposed
10% of Tea Party donors were audited by the IRS
And… 100% of the 501(c)(4) Groups Audited by IRS Were Conservative

Now this…

After a year of delays the Obama IRS says it lost Lois Lerner’s emails in a computer crash.

From the Ways and Means Committee website, via Human Events:

Today, Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-MI) issued the following statement regarding the Internal Revenue Service informing the Committee that they have lost Lois Lerner emails from a period of January 2009 – April 2011. Due to a supposed computer crash, the agency only has Lerner emails to and from other IRS employees during this time frame. The IRS claims it cannot produce emails written only to or from Lerner and outside agencies or groups, such as the White House, Treasury, Department of Justice, FEC, or Democrat offices.

“The fact that I am just learning about this, over a year into the investigation, is completely unacceptable and now calls into question the credibility of the IRS’s response to Congressional inquiries. There needs to be an immediate investigation and forensic audit by Department of Justice as well as the Inspector General.

“Just a short time ago, Commissioner Koskinen promised to produce all Lerner documents. It appears now that was an empty promise. Frankly, these are the critical years of the targeting of conservative groups that could explain who knew what when, and what, if any, coordination there was between agencies. Instead, because of this loss of documents, we are conveniently left to believe that Lois Lerner acted alone. This failure of the IRS requires the White House, which promised to get to the bottom of this, to do an Administration-wide search and production of any emails to or from Lois Lerner. The Administration has repeatedly referred us back to the IRS for production of materials. It is clear that is wholly insufficient when it comes to determining the full scope of the violation of taxpayer rights.”

This is unbelievable.

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IRS Commissioner Previously Testified Lois Lerner Emails Were Archived – Breitbart

As news breaks that the IRS is claiming to have lost 2 years worht of Lois Lerner’s Emails to Outside Agencies Are Gone, Representative Jason Chaffetz took to Twitter to point out previous testimony in which it was claimed Lerner’s emails were archived.

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Jason Chaffetz
@jasoninthehouse

IRS Commissioner testified in March Lois Lerner emails were archived. Here is the video #IRS http://youtu.be/Ax6QGmKhRwo
6:45 PM – 13 Jun 2014

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Veteran IT Professional Gives Six Reasons Why The IRS’ Claim That It ‘Lost’ Two Years Of Lois Lerner’s Emails Is ‘Simply Not Feasible’ – The Blaze

A veteran IT professional tells TheBlaze that the IRS’ claim that the agency lost two years’ worth of former IRS official Lois Lerner’s emails is “simply not feasible.”

On Friday, members of Congress revealed that the IRS would not be able to hand over Lerner’s emails to and from other IRS employees from January 2009 to April 2011, possibly due to a “glitch” or “crash.” Lawmakers were seeking the emails as part of their investigation into the IRS targeting scandal.

Norman Cillo, an Army veteran who worked in intelligence and a former program manager at Microsoft, argued it is very difficult to lose emails for good and laid out six reasons why he believes Congress is “being lied to” about the Lerner emails:

1. I believe the government uses Microsoft Exchange for their email servers. They have built-in exchange mail database redundancy. So, unless they did not follow Microsofts recommendations they are telling a falsehood. You can see by the diagram below that if you have three servers in a DAG you have three copies of the database.

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2. Every IT organization that I know of has hotswappable disk drives. Every server built since 2000 has them. Meaning that if a single disk goes bad it’s easy to replace.

3. ALL Servers use some form of RAID technology. The only way that data can be totally lost (Meaning difficult to bring back) is if more than a single disk goes before the first bad disk is replaced. In the diagram below you can see that its possible to lose a single disk and still keep the data.

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4. If the server crashed (Hardware failure other than disks), then the disks that contain the DATA for the Exchange database is still available because the server hardware and disks are exchangeable. Meaning that if I have another server with the same hardware in it, I can put the disks in and everything should boot right up.

5. All email servers in a professional organization use TAPE backup. Meaning if all the above fails, you can restore the server using the TAPE backups.

6. If they are talking about her local PC, then it’s a simple matter of going to the servers which have the email and getting them from the servers. If the servers have removed the data you can still get them by using the backups of the servers to recover the emails.

However, Cillo, who has been working in IT for roughly 16 years and is currently a consultant for a tech company, said it’s possible the IRS is telling the truth if the federal agency is “totally mismanaged and has the worst IT department ever.”

Other than that, it’s just not “feasible,” he told TheBlaze. “If the IRS’ email server is in such a state that they only have one copy of data and the server crashes and it’s gone, I’ve never heard of such a thing.”

“I don’t know of any email administrator that doesn’t have at least three ways of getting that mail back,” he added. “It’s either on the disks or it’s on a TAPE backup someplace or in an archive server. There are at least three ways the government can get those emails.”

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Your Daley Gator ‘Whose Side Is Obama On, Anyway?’ War On Terror News Roundup (Pictures/Videos)

ISIS Terror Leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi Was Released By Obama From Camp Bucca In 2009 – Gateway Pundit

Abu Bakr al Baghdadi, the leader of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), has transformed a few terror cells on the verge of extinction into the most dangerous militant group in the world.

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi or Abu Dua was once held by the US in Camp Bucca Iraq.

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But the Obama administration shut down the Bucca prison camp and released its prisoners, including Abu Dua in 2009.

The Telegraph reported:

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

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

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

…“This guy was a Salafi (a follower of a fundamentalist brand of Islam), and Saddam’s regime would have kept a close eye on him,” said Dr Michael Knights, an Iraq expert at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

“He was also in Camp Bucca for several years, which suggests he was already considered a serious threat when he went in there.”

That theory seems backed by US intelligence reports from 2005, which describe him as al-Qaeda’s point man in Qaim, a fly-blown town in Iraq’s western desert.

“Abu Duaa was connected to the intimidation, torture and murder of local civilians in Qaim”, says a Pentagon document. “He would kidnap individuals or entire families, accuse them, pronounce sentence and then publicly execute them.”

Why such a ferocious individual was deemed fit for release in 2009 is not known. One possible explanation is that he was one of thousands of suspected insurgents granted amnesty as the US began its draw down in Iraq. Another, though, is that rather like Keyser Söze, the enigmatic crimelord in the film The Usual Suspects, he may actually be several different people.

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Al-Qaeda ISIS members from ISIS celebrate in Diyala Province, Iraq.

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Democracy Now added this on the closing of Camp Bucca in 2009.

The US meanwhile has closed Camp Bucca, once its largest prison in Iraq. The Pentagon says it’s transferred Bucca’s remaining 180 prisoners to two jails near Baghdad. US Lieutenant Colonel Kenneth King said the prison’s closure comes as part of the US-Iraq security deal.

Lieutenant Colonel Kenneth King: “As a show of progress for the security agreement and moving forward the government of Iraq, we’re going to put the theater internment facility as a piece of history. And we’re going to – it will be history, and we’ll move forward from here and progress.”

Camp Bucca once hosted thousands of prisoners without charge, with many allegations of torture and abuse by US guards.

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ISIS Butchers Leave ‘Roads Lined With Decapitated Police And Soldiers’: Battle For Baghdad Looms As Thousands Answer Iraqi Government’s Call To Arms And Jihadists Bear Down On Capital – Daily Mail

The full horror of the jihadists’ savage victories in Iraq emerged yesterday as witnesses told of streets lined with decapitated soldiers and policemen.

Blood-soaked bodies and blazing vehicles were left in the wake of the Al Qaeda-inspired ISIS fanatics as they pushed the frontline towards Baghdad.

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

Images from captured cities such as Mosul and Tikrit showed deserted streets, burnt out vehicles and discarded uniforms left by government troops fleeing the brutal fanatics;

ISIS leaders urged their bloodthirsty followers to continue their march and warned that battle would rage in Baghdad and in the holy city of Karbala;

Thousands of residents in the capital answered a call to arms to repel the invaders amid fears the government’s own troops were not up to the job;

Aid groups warned of a new refugee crisis after half a million terrified Iraqis left their homes to escape the jihadists.

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In the swathe of captured territory across northern Iraq, ISIS declared hardline Sharia law, publishing rules ordering women not to go outside ‘unless strictly necessary’, banning alcohol and smoking, and forcing all residents to attend mosques five times a day. BBC correspondent Paul Wood said one woman from Mosul, Iraq’s second city, had spoken of seeing a ‘row of decapitated soldiers and policemen’.

The refugee woman told how the victims’ heads were placed in rows – a trademark, trophy-style execution favoured by ISIS militants.

The fanatics captured Tikrit, Saddam Hussein’s birthplace, by overrunning an army base and rounding up hundreds of soldiers and police. Dozens of members of a police special forces battalion were paraded on the back of a truck in the city.

As the balaclava-clad militants took Mosul and Tikrit, thousands of Baghdad’s residents young and old queued at recruiting stations to form a ‘Dad’s army’ to defend the capital.

Trucks carrying volunteers in uniform rumbled towards the frontlines to defend the city, with many chanting slogans against the ISIS militants.

Meanwhile the Iraqi air force carried out at least four bombing raids on insurgent positions in and around Mosul. State television showed targets exploding in black clouds.

Britons working in Baghdad’s Green Zone where most of the foreign embassies are based were on high alert. The lightning advance of ISIS has caused alarm in London, Washington and across the Middle East.

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Despite vastly outnumbering the jihadists, government troops have melted away in the face of the insurgents, allowing them to capture two helicopters, 15 tanks, weapons and several armoured cars that used belonging to the American military. They also seized £350million-worth of dinars by robbing a bank in Mosul.

According to bitter Iraqi footsoldiers, their commanders slipped away in the night rather than mount a defence of the city.

One said: ‘Our leaders betrayed us. The commanders left the military behind. When we woke up, all the leaders had left.’

Last night Barack Obama said America would help with ‘short-term immediate actions… militarily’ to push back the insurgents, but ruled out sending troops.

Foreign Secretary William Hague said Britain would not get involved militarily because Iraq was now a democracy.

Iraqi prime minister Nouri al-Maliki vowed: ‘We are not going to allow this to carry on, regardless of the price. We are getting ready. We are organising.’

As the situation spiralled out of control, even Iran was said to have deployed two battalions from its Revolutionary Guard to help the Iraqi government retake Tikrit.

The development was likely to enrage Washington, which has been steadfast in its determination for Baghdad not to cosy up to Tehran.

It also emerged that members of Saddam’s old guard were joining the insurrection. Fighters loyal to his disbanded Baath Party were said to be actively supporting the rebels. ISIS stands for Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham but has also been referenced as Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.

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Its insurgency is the biggest threat to Iraq since US troops withdrew in 2011.

ISIS commanders issued chilling warnings to any police officers or soldiers to ‘repent or be killed’.

In a sinister video, the extremists urged followers to ‘march to Baghdad – we have a score to settle’. They also pledged to take the holy cities of Karbala and Najaf.

‘Continue your march as the battle is not yet raging,’ a voice said to be that of ISIS spokesman Abu Mohammed al-Adnani says. ‘It will rage in Baghdad and Karbala. So be ready for it. Put on your belts and get ready.’

But taking Baghdad would be much tougher for ISIS than the towns where they have triumphed so far. The United Nations Security Council met behind closed doors last night to discuss the crisis.

Iraq’s foreign minister, Hoshyar Zebari, speaking in London, insisted the government had halted the rebel advance and even claimed insurgents were ‘on the run’.

But at Baiji, near Kirkuk, insurgents surrounded Iraq’s largest refinery. And the fighters have reached Samarra, 70 miles north of Baghdad.

About a quarter of Mosul’s two million residents have fled. The flood of terrified families escaping the fighting there was described as ‘one of the largest and swiftest mass movements of people in the world in recent memory’. Many have headed east into the autonomous region of Kurdistan.

Aid groups fear a new refugee crisis. Neighbouring countries already struggling to look after 2.8million refugees from the Syrian civil war now face the prospect of a new influx of displaced people desperately seeking a safe haven.

Meanwhile Iraqi Kurds seized control of the major northern oil city of Kirkuk today after the central government’s army abandoned its posts.The Kurds – a semi-autonomous ethnic group based in the north – have their own 250,000-strong military, but have not used them to engage ISIS.

Footage emerged yesterday evening from TIkrit, which appears to show a long line of captured men and boys, being forcibly marched down a highway in the city.

The minute-long video, uploaded to YouTube, showed a snaking column of men stretching the entire visible length of the stretch of road. A voice captured by the recording describes a great Islamic ‘family’ and later an ‘army’, suggesting a possible intention to recruit the captives.

Most of the men and boys have both hands on their heads, while others – some wearing head coverings and some bare-faced – move up and down the column encouraging the march.

The startling developments raise the spectre of Iraq being carved up and divided into several states. Respected commentators have raised the prospect that, with Kurdish forces holding the north, the Sunni ISIS militants taking parts of the north and west, leaving the central and south-eastern to the Shiite population who currently run the government and military.

Yesterday the Iraqi Ambassador to Washington warned the ‘integrity of Iraq is in question’, while Dr Ayad Allawi, a former prime minister of Iraq, added that a break-up was ‘not impossible’.

The governor of Mosul, who escaped the city and is now in Erbil in the Kurdish north, said that Iraq must be divided as centralisation had ‘failed’.

Speaking to the Telegraph, Atheel al-Nujaifi said prime minister Nouri al-Maliki ‘didn’t devolve authority to us before, but now we must do it. Now we are saying his centralisation policies have failed,’ Mr Nujaifi said.

Repercussions from the conflict are also being felt in global oil markets, where prices shot to a three-month high. The RAC said disruption could add more than 2p to the price of a litre of petrol.

The price of Brent crude rose $2 to a three-month high of more than $112 on fears about supply from the second-biggest producer in the Opec oil cartel.

The RAC said: ‘The worsening situation in Iraq is causing a knee-jerk reaction in the global fuel market with wholesale prices going up one pence over Wednesday and Thursday.’

This was likely to push the pump price of both petrol and diesel up by 2p per litre in the short term, the RAC said, ‘and this could well go much further’.

Iraq has insisted sectarian violence will not spread to the south, from which the vast majority of oil output comes.

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After the capture of Mosul, the Islamic State issued a triumphalist statement declaring that it would implement its strict version of Shariah law in Mosul and other regions it had overrun.

Its laws state that women should stay in their homes for modesty reasons, command residents to attend prayers five times a day, and warned thieves that they would have their hands cut off.

It came as Kurdish forces took full control of Iraq’s oil-rich city of Kirkuk after the federal army abandoned its bases there.

Peshmerga fighters, the security forces of Iraq’s autonomous Kurdish north, swept into Kirkuk after the army abandoned its posts there, a peshmerga spokesman said.

‘The whole of Kirkuk has fallen into the hands of peshmerga. No Iraqi army remains in Kirkuk now’, said Jabbar Yawar.

Kurds have long dreamed of controlling Kirkuk, a city with huge oil reserves just outside their autonomous region, which they regard as their historical capital.

The swift move by their highly organised security forces demonstrates how this week’s sudden advance by ISIS fighters has redrawn Iraq’s map.

Insurgents surrounded Iraq’s largest refinery in the northern town of Baiji this afternoon – they first moved in late on Tuesday, closing in on the refinery, but later withdrew to the surrounding villages after reaching a deal with local tribal chiefs.

A White House spokesman this evening said that they believed the Iraqi government were in control of the facility, but had no further details.

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In the midst of the crisis, Iraq’s parliament failed to declare a nationwide state of emergency after not enough MPs turned up for a vote.

Opposition politicians representing Sunni and Kurdish populations boycotted parliament because the oppose a motion to give extraordinary powers to Shiite Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.

Turkey is negotiating for the release of 80 nationals held by ISIS in Mosul and cannot confirm reports that some of them have been freed, government officials said today.

The pro-government Turkish newspaper Yeni Safak reported that the hostages, who include diplomatic staff, children and special forces soldiers, had been released to the Iraqi governor of Mosul and would be brought to Turkey tonight.

The capture of Mosul – along with the fall of Tikrit and the militants’ earlier seizure of the city of Fallujah and parts of Ramadi, the capital of western Anbar province – has undone hard-fought gains against insurgents in the years following the invasion by U.S.-led forces.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon strongly condemned the abductions and the seizure of Iraqi territory by the militants, urging ‘the international community to unite in showing solidarity with Iraq as it confronts this serious security challenge.’

‘Terrorism must not be allowed to succeed in undoing the path towards democracy in Iraq,’ he added.

Mosul, the capital of Ninevah province, and the neighboring Sunni-dominated province of Anbar share a long and porous border with Syria, where the Islamic State is also active.

Without assigning direct blame, al-Maliki said a ‘conspiracy’ led to the massive security failure that allowed militants to capture Mosul, and said members of the security forces who fled rather than stand up to the militants should be punished.

‘We are working to solve the situation,’ al-Maliki said. ‘We are regrouping the armed forces that are in charge of clearing Ninevah from those terrorists.’

Iranian airlines cancelled all flights between Tehran and Baghdad due to security concerns, and the Islamic Republic has intensified security measures along its borders, Iran’s state news agency IRNA reported.

Shiite Iran, a major regional power, has strong ties with Iraq’s government. Some 17,000 Iranian pilgrims are in Iraq at any given time, according to IRNA, which cited the director of Iran’s Hajj and Pilgrimage Organization.

Tikrit residents said the militant group overran several police stations in the Sunni-dominated city.

Two Iraqi security officials confirmed that the city, 80 miles north of Baghdad and the capital of Salahuddin province, was under ISIS’s control and that the provincial governor was missing.

The major oil refinery in Baiji, located between Mosul and Tikrit, remained in government control, the officials said. There were clashes and gunmen tried to take the town but were repelled in a rare success for Iraqi government forces protecting an important facility, the officials said.

The International Organisation for Migration estimated that 500,000 people fled the Mosul area, with some seeking safety in the Ninevah countryside or the nearby semi-autonomous Kurdish region.

Getting into the latter has become more difficult, however, with migrants without family members already in the enclave needing to secure permission from Kurdish authorities, according to the IOM.

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The Islamist militia is so ruthless and extreme that even al-Qaeda has cut ties and distances itself from them.

The Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as Isis), used to be part of the international terror network, but was cast out in February this year in light of its violent behaviour towards rival jihadist groups.

It is famed – and feared – for spreading hardline Islamic law to the areas it subdues. Transgressors are sentenced to death and swiftly executed in public, their bodies left to decay in the streets.

This treatment has even been doled out against other jihadist leaders, who have been assassinated in a brutal struggle over strategy in the Middle East. Young jihadists are increasingly drawn to Isis over less extreme groups – particularly in the light of their rapid military progress through Iraq.

In the past days the group has overrun the northern city of Mosul, and today also took Tikrit, the hometown of executed Iraqi ruler Saddam Hussein.
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In February, the leader of al-Qaeda issued a statement dissociating itself from Isis, which it accused of ‘forbidden bloodshed’ directed at fellow fighters.

Ayman al-Zawahiri, al-Qaeda’s chief, cut ties after Isis attempted to bolster its strength by merging with other rebels in Syria.

He said: ‘We weren’t informed about its creation, nor counselled. Nor are we satisfied with it: rather we ordered it to stop… Nor is al–Qaeda responsible for its actions and behaviour.’

The organisation is led by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who has a U.S. bounty of $10million on his head, second only to al-Zawahiri.

The ISIS leader, who was born in 1971 in Baghdad, is touted as a battlefield commander and tactician.

Baghdadi, who has a degree in Islamic studies, apparently joined the insurgency that erupted in Iraq soon after the 2003 U.S.-led invasion.

He was taken as a prisoner of the Americans in Camp Bucca between 2005 and 2007 – it was here that one of the only two photos know to be in existence was taken of him.

He is known as ‘The Ghost’ to members of the pro-Assad Lebanese Shi-ite militia Hizballah.

The secretive Baghdadi talks with a scarf covering his face even when dealing with close allies, according to militants who worked with him in Iraq.

He addresses his ISIS followers through audio recordings posted to the internet, rather than in public places.

Military sources have reported his death on numerous occasions in the past years, but the fighter always seems to reappear. This has led to speculation that al-Baghdadi is in fact a name used jointly by several commanders.

Some estimates claim Isis group has in excess of 10,000 fighting men in its ranks. Many of its fighters are thought to be radicalised Western Muslims who have poured in from Europe and North American to join the fighting in Syria and elsewhere.

The group, which controls large areas of land in Syria, is thought to be pouring resources and money from those areas into its burgeoning Iraqi campaign, which has seen it tear through the northern regions on the country.

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Its military progress, largely unhindered by Iraq’s own security forces, have given it control over several highly valuable oil fields, which leaders will hope to exploit to strengthen their hand.

The situation has alarmed officials in Turkey, who called an emergency meeting of NATO ambassadors after 80 of its citizens were taken hostage by Isis.

‘Turkey briefed the other allies on the situation in (the Iraqi city of) Mosul and the hostage-taking of Turkish citizens, including the consul general,’ a NATO official said.

He said the meeting was held for informational purposes and not under Article 4 of NATO’s founding treaty, which permits a member of the 28-nation alliance to ask for consultations with other allies when it feels its security is threatened.

Turks seized included 48 from the consulate in Mosul – including the consul-general and three children. Separately, 28 truck drivers who were delivering diesel to a power plant were captured on Monday.

Meanwhile, Baghdad residents were stockpiling food, fuel and weaponry in anticipation of an attack on the capital in the coming days.

Prime Minister Maliki has previously encouraged ordinary Iraqis to take up arms against the advancing soldiers of Isis, especially in light of claims that members of the police and military are intentionally defecting.

Senior sources in the Iraqi government have said that they have a plan to take back Mosul, but were unclear on the details.

Isis is pushing to expand its territory, which currently straddles the border between Syria and Iraq, and includes land extremely close to the Turkish border.

The group’s centre of power is Raqqa, a city in northern Syria, which is being run under the regime’s oppressive and violent code.

Raqqa was heavily contested throughout the Syrian conflict, and was held by several rebel groups until Isis threw out all other contenders in 2013.

Recently Isis leaders imposed punitive rules on the city’s Christian population, demanding that they pay a levy of gold for ‘protection’ else face being killed on the streets for their faith.

Horrifying images have also emerged from the cities of crucifixions being used to punish men who attacked Isis fighters.

Seven men were sentenced to death after a grenade was thrown at a soldier near a roundabout in Raqqa. The men, who were riding motorbikes, were then hunted down by Isis forces, according to a statement from the group. Two of the men were sentenced to die by crucifixion.

One of the two was wrapped in a banner, which said: ‘This man fought against Muslims and threw a grenade in this place.’

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Obama To Release Osama Bin Laden’s Bodyguards – Conservative Tribune

Apparently President Obama’s new favorite hobby is seeing how quickly he can release the world’s most dangerous terrorists from Gitmo.

Hot on the heels of releasing five detainees in an illegal deal to obtain Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, a possible deserter and defector, the President has made another wrong decision involving high ranking al-Qaeda prisoners.

One would think that after catching so much flack from the public and members of Congress, including a new investigation to add to the list of the ones that are already on-going, Obama would think twice before pulling another stunt that endangers American lives.

Unfortunately, that’s exactly what the president is about to do.

According to new reports, Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder have approved the release of one of Osama bin Laden’s personal bodyguards. Yes, you read that correctly.

Via Daily Caller:

President Barack Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder have approved one of Osama bin Laden’s personal bodyguards for release or transfer from the Guantanamo Bay detention center to another country, according to prison records released by WikiLeaks and a recently published list of approved-transfer detainees from the Justice Department.

Idris Ahmad Abdu Qadir Idris is the second name on Holder’s Justice Department list of 55 Gitmo detainees approved for release or transfer. This detainee, according to a Jan. 26, 2008, Defense Department document published by WikiLeaks, provided security for bin Laden both before and after the deadly Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the United States.

“Detainee is assessed to be a member of al-Qaida and was identified as a bodyguard for Usama Bin Laden (UBL) beginning shortly before the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks. Detainee is also assessed to be an al-Qaida recruiter associated with a Salafist network in Yemen,” the document reads. “Detainee transited through multiple extremist support guesthouses, received militant training at the al-Qaida al-Faruq Training Camp in Afghanistan (AF), and is assessed to have received advanced training.”

Spokespeople for the Justice Department and for the White House haven’t responded to requests for comment on why they want to release or transfer one of Bin Laden’s bodyguards from U.S. custody, even as reports surface suggesting the recent anti-American attacks in Libya were organized by a released Gitmo detainee.

Unbelievable. President Obama, the Commander-in-Chief, one of the top U.S. officials tasked with ensuring America’s safety, continues to release terrorists back into the wild, who will no doubt be back on the battlefield fighting against the U.S.

This man is either trying to destroy America, or he is the most intellectually inept president this nation has ever had in office. Obama needs to be impeached right now before he does any further damage to our civil liberties and our national security.

Please share this article if you agree President Obama is putting the nation in danger and needs to be impeached immediately.

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Alarmed By Iraq, Iran Open To Shared Role With U.S. – Reuters

Shi’te Muslim Iran is so alarmed by Sunni insurgent gains in Iraq that it may be willing to cooperate with Washington in helping Baghdad fight back, a senior Iranian official told Reuters.

The idea is being discussed internally among the Islamic Republic’s leadership, the senior Iranian official told Reuters, speaking on condition of anonymity. The official had no word on whether the idea had been raised with any other party.

Officials say Iran will send its neighbor advisers and weaponry, although probably not troops, to help its ally Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki check what Tehran sees as a profound threat to regional stability, officials and analysts say.

Islamist militants have captured swathes of territory including the country’s second biggest city Mosul.

Tehran is open to the possibility of working with the United States to support Baghdad, the senior official said.

“We can work with Americans to end the insurgency in the Middle East,” the official said, referring to events in Iraq.

“We are very influential in Iraq, Syria and many other countries.”

For many years, Iran has been aggrieved by what it sees as U.S. efforts to marginalize it. Tehran wants to be recognized as a significant player in regional security.

Common Cause

Relations between Iran and Washington have improved modestly since the 2013 election of President Hassan Rouhani, who promised “constructive engagement” with the world.

And while Tehran and the United States pursue talks to resolve the Islamic state’s decade-old nuclear standoff with the West, they also acknowledge some common threats, including the rise of al Qaeda-style militancy across the Middle East.

On Thursday, President Barack Obama said the United States was not ruling out air strikes to help Baghdad fight the insurgents, in what would be the first U.S. armed intervention in Iraq since the end of the U.S.-led war.

Rouhani on Thursday strongly condemned what he called violent acts by insurgent groups in the Middle East.

“Today, in our region, unfortunately, we are witnessing violence, killing, terror and displacement,” Rouhani said.

“Iran will not tolerate the terror and violence… we will fight against terrorism, factionalism and violence.”

Asked on Thursday about Iranian comments, U.S. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said: “Clearly, we’ve encouraged them in many cases to play a constructive role. But I don’t have any other readouts or views from our end to portray here today.”

Fearing Iraq’s war could spill into Iran, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has urged the international community to back Maliki’s administration “in its fight against terrorism”.

Brigadier-General Mohammad Hejazi said Iran was ready to supply Iraq with “military equipment or consultations,” the Tasnim news agency reported. “I do not think the deployment of Iranian troops would be necessary,” he was quoted as adding.

The senior Iranian official said Iran was extremely worried about the advance of ISIL, also a major force in the war against Iran’s close ally Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, carving out a swathe of Syria territory along the Iraqi border.

“The danger of extremist Sunni terrorist in Iraq and the region is increasing… There have been several high-ranking security meetings since yesterday in Tehran,” the official said.

“We are on alert and we also follow the developments in Iraq very closely.”

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Militants ‘Ready For New Assault On Iraq’s Samarra’ – Yahoo News

Militants were gathering Friday for a new attempt to take the Iraqi city of Samarra, home to a revered Shiite shrine whose 2006 bombing sparked a sectarian war, witnesses said.

A major offensive launched by the jihadist Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant and its allies late Monday has overrun second city Mosul and a swathe of northern and north-central Iraq.

Witnesses in the Dur area, between militant-held Tikrit and Samarra, said they saw “countless” vehicles carrying militants south during the night.

And witnesses in Samarra, just 110 kilometres (70 miles) north of Baghdad, said gunmen were gathering to the north, east and southeast of the city.

A tribal leader said that militants had approached the security forces in the city, asking them to leave peacefully and promising not to harm the Al-Askari shrine.

They also proposed that tribal leaders form a force to protect the shrine and the city’s residents, but security forces refused to withdraw, he said.

Militants already mounted two assaults on Samarra, one on Wednesday and one late last week, which were thwarted only after heavy fighting.

The Al-Askari shrine was bombed by militants in February 2006, sparking sectarian conflict between Iraq’s Shiite majority and Sunni Arab minority that left tens of thousands dead.

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Your Daley Gator ‘Obama Is Intentionally Losing The War On Terror’ News Roundup (Videos)

Now Tikrit Falls To Islamist Terrorists: Hundreds Of Thousands Flee As Second Iraqi City Is Seized By The Extremist Warlord Who Is More ‘Virulent And Violent Than Bin Laden’, And Will Baghdad Be Next? – Daily Mail

Iraq was under siege yesterday after Al Qaeda-inspired jihadists seized control of Saddam Hussein’s home town of Tikrit and closed in on the country’s biggest oil refinery.

Coming less than 24 hours after the country’s second city Mosul was overrun by the militants, there were fears that the loss of Tikrit could open the way for an assault on Baghdad just 80 miles to the south.

British security firms working in the capital are said to have been put on high alert amid fears that insurgents will target the ‘Green Zone’ where most of the foreign embassies are based.

As well as Mosul and Tikrit, several other northern towns were reported to have fallen to the spectacular offensive by the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

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And the fundamentalist fighters, led by former preacher Abu Bakr al Baghdadi, were today expected to take over the massive Baiji refinery after 250 security personnel abandoned their posts rather than fight.

ISIL was also battling security forces near the town of Samarra, 70 miles north of Baghdad on the main highway to Mosul, and home to a revered Shia shrine.

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki asked parliament to declare a state of emergency to give him more powers as he called on the international community for help.

The sense of unravelling chaos in the country, from which American troops withdrew in 2011, was compounded this evening by a suicide bomber killing 16 in a Shi’te slum in the country’s capital Baghdad.

As night fell, several hundred gunmen were in Tikrit, with clashes still taking place between the insurgents and military units on its outskirts, according to city officials.

While the West has so far refused to assist with military support, the US has said it will come to the aid of the 500,000 people who have fled fierce fighting in Iraq.

Denouncing ISIS as ‘one of the most dangerous terrorist groups in the world, Stuart Jones, the nominee to be the next US envoy to Baghdad, told US politicians the United States ‘will continue to monitor the situation closely, and will work with our international partners to try to meet the needs of those who have been displaced’.

Today UK Foreign Secretary William Hague played down any suggestion of sending troops to support the Iraqi military.

The White House National Security Council said only: ‘President Obama promised to responsibly end the war in Iraq and he did’.

A country into which America poured so much blood and money faces the prospect of dealing with this major new military threat by itself in light of Western governments’ insistence that the matter is not their concern.

However, international momentum appeared to be turning as Turkey called a meeting of Nato officials in light of concerns over security and its captured citizens.

Militants seized 48 Turks from the Turkish consulate Mosul today including the consul-general, three children and several members of Turkey’s special forces. 28 Turkish lorry drivers were already being held.

Tonight Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu warned it will retaliate if any of its citizens and diplomats are harmed.

‘Right now we are engaged in calm crisis management, considering our citizens’ security. This should not be misunderstood. Any harm to our citizens and staff would be met with the harshest retaliation,’ he said.

The rampage through Mosul – which is near the Turkish and Syrian border – by the black banner-waving insurgents was a heavy defeat for Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki as he tries to hold onto power, and highlighted the growing strength of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.

The group has been advancing in both Iraq and neighboring Syria, capturing territory in a campaign to set up a militant enclave straddling the border.

This afternoon the Al Qaeda-inspired militants have seized control of Saddam Hussein’s home town of Tikrit.

Iraqi security officials confirmed Tikrit was under the control of Isis and said the provincial governor was missing.

Tikrit, the capital of Salahuddin province, is 80 miles north of Baghdad.

The insurgents expanded their offensive closer to the Iraqi capital as soldiers and security forces abandoned their posts following clashes.

A woman in Baghdad said: ‘People are buying up food and may not come to work tomorrow because they think the situation is getting to get worse.’

A Mosul businessman who has fled the city of Mosul told the Guardian: ‘The city fell like a plane without an engine.’

Another resident explained that after government forces began to desert the city they felt compelled to leave in case the government started to bomb the city to force out the militants.

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Today the governor of an Iraqi province said authorities are determined to recapture the northern city.

The Ninevah province governor, Atheel al-Nujaifi, said authorities have a plan to restore security and defeat the militants raiding government buildings, pushing out security forces and capturing military vehicles as thousands of residents fled.

Al-Nujaifi also accused senior commanders of the security forces of providing Baghdad with false information about the situation in Mosul and demanding that they should stand trial.

He also says smaller armed groups joined the al Qaeda breakaway group known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant during the fight for control the city.

This morning Iraq’s foreign minister said Baghdad will cooperate with Kurdish forces to flush out militants from Mosul.

‘There will be closer cooperation between Baghdad and the regional Kurdistan government to work together and flush out these foreign fighters,’ Iraqi foreign minister Hoshyar Zebari said on the sidelines of a EU-Arab League meeting in Athens.

He called on all Iraqi leaders to come together to face the ‘serious, mortal’ threat to the country.

‘The response has to be soon. There has to be a quick response to what has happened,’ he said.

Militants have seized the Turkish consulate in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul and efforts are under way to ensure the safety of diplomatic staff, according to two Turkish government sources.

‘Certain militant groups in Mosul have been directly contacted to ensure the safety of diplomatic staff,’ a Turkish government source said, adding there was no immediate information on the status of the diplomats.

Last night militants advanced into the oil refinery town of Baiji, setting the court house and police station on fire and today they are unconfirmed reports that the town ‘in flames’.

They said around 250 guards at the refinery had agreed to withdraw to another town after the militants sent a delegation of local tribal chiefs to persuade them to pull out.

Baiji resident Jasim al-Qaisi, said the militants also warned local police and soldiers not to challenge them.

‘Yesterday at sunset some gunmen contacted the most prominent tribal sheikhs in Baiji via cellphone and told them: ‘We are coming to die or control Baiji, so we advise you to ask your sons in the police and army to lay down their weapons and withdraw before (Tuesday) evening prayer’.’

Militants entered Baiji late on Tuesday evening in around 60 vehicles, releasing prisoners in the town.

Baiji refinery is Iraq’s biggest, supplying oil products to most of the country’s provinces. A worker there said the morning shift had not been allowed to take over and the night shift was still working.

The United States condemned the siege ‘in the strongest possible terms.’

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White House spokesman Josh Earnest deplored ‘despicable’ acts of violence targeting civilians in Mosul. Mr Earnest said the group has gained strength from the situation in neighbouring Syria.

But the White House is not saying what additional military assistance the US might provide Iraq in response to the siege. Mr Earnest said the US is committed to its partnership with Baghdad but is urging Iraq’s government to take steps to be more inclusive of all Iraqis.

There were no immediate estimates on how many people were killed in the four-day assault, a stark reminder of the reversals in Iraq since U.S. forces left in late 2011.

Earlier this year, Islamic State fighters took control of Fallujah, and government forces have been unable to take it back.

Mosul is a much bigger, more strategic prize. The city and surrounding Ninevah province, which is on the doorstep of Iraq’s relatively prosperous Kurdish region, are a major export route for Iraqi oil and a gateway to Syria.

‘This isn’t Fallujah. This isn’t a place you can just cordon off and forget about,’ said Michael Knights, a regional security analyst at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. ‘It’s essential to Iraq.’

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Al-Maliki pressed parliament to declare a state of emergency that would grant him greater powers, saying the public and government must unite ‘to confront this vicious attack, which will spare no Iraqi.’

Legal experts said these powers could include imposing curfews, restricting public movements and censoring the media.

Iraqi state television today reported that its legislators would meet on Thursday.

Parliament speaker Osama al-Nujaifi, a Sunni from Mosul, called the rout ‘a disaster by any standard.’

Regaining Mosul poses a daunting challenge for the Shiite prime minister.

The city of about 1.4 milliion has a Sunni Muslim majority and many in the community are already deeply embittered against his Shiite-led government.

During the nearly nine-year American presence in the country, Mosul was a major stronghold for al-Qaeda. U.S. and Iraqi forces carried out repeated offensives there, regaining a semblance of control but never routing the insurgents entirely.

‘It’s going to be difficult to reconstitute the forces to clear and hold the city,’ Knights said. ‘There aren’t a lot of spare forces around Iraq.’

Today UK Foreign Secretary William Hague told ITV News the civilian population of Mosul must be protected.

He added: ‘We left Iraq in the hands of elected Iraqi leaders with armed forces, with their own security forces, so it is primarily for them to deal with.’

‘It’s very important that Iraqis take the leadership and responsibility of dealing with this, working with neighbouring countries.

National Security Council spokeswoman Bernadette Meehan said the U.S. would continue to help the Iraqi government fight ISIS.

‘President Obama promised to responsibly end the war in Iraq and he did,’ she said, according to the Wall Street Journal.

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White House spokesman Josh Earnest deplored what he called the ‘despicable’ acts of violence against civilians in Mosul.

He said Washington is committed to its partnership with Baghdad but is urging the government to take steps to be more inclusive of all Iraqis.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon condemned the attacks across Iraq in recent days ‘that have killed and wounded scores of civilians.’

He urged all political leaders ‘to show national unity against the threats facing Iraq, which can only be addressed on the basis of the constitution and within the democratic political process,’ according to U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric.

Insurgents and Iraqi troops have been fighting for days in Mosul, but the security forces’ hold appeared to collapse late Monday night and early Tuesday.

Gunmen overran the Ninevah provincial government building – a key symbol of state control – Monday evening, and the governor fled the city.

The fighters stormed police stations, bases and prisons, capturing weapons and freeing inmates. Security forces melted away, abandoning many of their posts, and militants seized large caches of weapons.

They took control of the city’s airport and captured helicopters, as well as an airbase 60 kilometers (40 miles) south of the city, the parliament speaker said.

Later Tuesday, Islamic State fighters took over the large town of Hawija, 125 kilometers (75 miles) south of Mosul, according to officials there.

On Tuesday, the militants appeared to hold much of the eastern half of Mosul, which is bisected by the Tigris River. Residents said fighters were raising the black banners that are the emblem of the Islamic State.

Video taken from a car driving through the streets of Mosul and posted online showed burning vehicles in the streets, black-masked gunmen in pickup trucks mounted with anti-aircraft guns, and residents walking with suitcases.

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ISIL supporters posted photos on social media showing fighters next to Humvees and other U.S.-made military vehicles captured from Iraqi forces.

The video and photos appeared authentic and matched Associated Press reporting of the events.

A government employee who lives about a mile from the provincial headquarters, Umm Karam, said she left with her family Tuesday morning.

‘The situation is chaotic inside the city and there is nobody to help us,’ she said ‘We are afraid. … There is no police or army in Mosul.’ She spoke on condition she be identified only by her nickname for fear of her safety.

An estimated 500,000 people have fled Mosul, according to a U.N. spokesman in New York, citing the International Organization for Migration.

The spokesman said aid organizations hope to reach those in need with food, water, sanitation and other essential supplies as soon as the volatile security situation permits.

The Islamic State has ramped up its insurgency over the past two years, presenting itself as the Sunni community’s champion against al-Maliki’s government

The group was once al-Qaida’s branch in Iraq, but under its leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi it has escalated its ambitions, sending fighters into Syria to join the rebellion against President Bashar Assad.

Its jihadists became notorious as some of the most ruthless fighters in the rebellion – and other rebels turned against it, accusing it of trying to hijack the movement.

Al-Qaida’s central command, angered over its intervention in Syria, threw the group out of the terrorist network.

But it has been making gains on both sides of the border. In Syria, it took control of an eastern provincial capital of Raqqa, and in the past month it has launched an offensive working its way toward the Iraqi border.

Islamic State fighters in eastern Syria crossed into Iraq to help their brethren in the Mosul area, activists on the Syrian side said.

They tried to take the border crossing itself, but Kurdish fighters on either side fended them off. The militants were able to seize the nearest Iraqi town to the border, Rabeea, the activists said.

The group earlier this year took over Fallujah and parts of Sunni-dominated Anbar province, and has stepped up its long-running campaign of bombings and other violence in Baghdad and elsewhere.

The Mosul crisis comes as al-Maliki is working to assemble a coalition after elections in late April, relying even more on Shiite parties. Sunnis and Kurds have grown increasingly disillusioned with al-Maliki, accusing him of dominating power.

The autonomous Kurdish region in the north has its own armed forces – the peshmerga – and on Tuesday, the region’s prime minister suggested his willingness to intervene beyond the formal borders of the self-ruled enclave.

That could be politically explosive, since the Mosul region lies on Kurdistan’s doorstep, has a significant Kurdish population, and the Kurds claim parts of the area.

Militant gains in territories the Kurds consider theirs could push them ‘to send in their own troops to protect communities they consider as part of their jurisdiction,’ said Jordan Perry, an analyst at risk analysis firm Maplecroft.

Kurdistan’s prime minister, Nechirvan Barzani, sharply criticized Baghdad’s handling of the Mosul crisis, saying the Kurds had tried unsuccessfully to work with Iraqi security forces to protect the city.

‘Tragically, Baghdad adopted a position which has prevented the establishment of this cooperation,’ he said in a statement.

Barzani urged the Kurds to aid those displaced from Mosul and called on the U.N. refugee agency to help with the relief effort.

He said the peshmerga are prepared to handle security in areas outside the regional government’s jurisdiction – presumably referring to parts around Mosul inhabited by Kurds that are disputed with the central government.

Kurdish official Razgar Khoushnaw said about 10,000 Mosul residents took refuge Tuesday in the Kurdish province of Irbil, while security officials in neighboring Dahuk province said 5,000 displaced people were let in there.

Far larger numbers of people are believed to have fled Mosul for other communities in the Ninevah countryside.

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Iraq Asked U.S. To Bomb ISIS Staging Areas Before They Took Mosul, Obama Said No – Weasel Zippers

I don’t get it, Obama drones Pakistan and Yemen like it’s going out of style but he won’t do it in Iraq?

WASHINGTON – As the threat from Sunni militants in western Iraq escalated last month, Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki secretly asked the Obama administration to consider carrying out airstrikes against extremist staging areas, according to Iraqi and American officials.

But Iraq’s appeals for military assistance have so far been rebuffed by the White House, which has been reluctant to open a new chapter in a conflict that President Obama has insisted was over when the United States withdrew the last of its forces from Iraq in 2011.

The swift capture of Mosul by militants aligned with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria has underscored how the conflicts in Syria and Iraq have converged into one widening regional insurgency with fighters coursing back and forth through the porous border between the two countries. But it has also cast a spotlight on the limits the White House has imposed on the use of American power in an increasingly violent and volatile region.

A spokeswoman for the National Security Council, Bernadette Meehan, declined to comment on Mr. Maliki’s requests and the administration’s response, saying in a statement, “We are not going to get into details of our diplomatic discussions, but the government of Iraq has made clear that they welcome our support” in combating the Islamic extremists. […]

Hoshyar Zebari, Iraq’s foreign minister, last year floated the idea that armed American-operated Predator or Reaper drones might be used to respond to the expanding militant network in Iraq. American officials dismissed that suggestion at the time, saying that the request had not come from Mr. Maliki.

By March, however, American experts who visited Baghdad were being told that Iraq’s top leaders were hoping that American air power could be used to strike the militants’ staging and training areas inside Iraq, and help Iraq’s beleaguered forces stop them from crossing into Iraq from Syria.

“Iraqi officials at the highest level said they had requested manned and unmanned U.S. airstrikes this year against ISIS camps in the Jazira desert,” said Kenneth M. Pollack, a former C.I.A. analyst and National Security Council official, who is a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and who visited Baghdad in early March. ISIS is the acronym for the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, as the militant group is known.

As the Sunni insurgents have grown in strength those requests have persisted. In a May 11 meeting with American diplomats and Gen. Lloyd J. Austin III, the head of the Central Command, which oversees American military operations in the Middle East, Mr. Maliki said that he would like the United States to provide Iraq with the ability to operate drones. But if the United States was not willing to do that, Mr. Maliki indicated he was prepared to allow the United States to carry out strikes using warplanes or drones.

Keep reading

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As Militants Advance In Iraq, U.S. Embassy In Baghdad Readies Evacuation – Hot Air

According to U.S. sources who spoke with The Blaze reporter Sara Carter, the United States Embassy in Baghdad is preparing plans to facilitate the evacuation of that massive facility as Islamic militant groups continue their blitz across that country.

“The U.S. official told TheBlaze that the U.S. Embassy, United Nations and other foreign organizations with a presence in Iraq are ‘preparing contingency plans to evacuate employees,’” The Blaze reported.

A counterterrorism expert added that the level of violence in Iraq is at levels “not seen since 2007,” just prior to the implementation of the “surge” strategy which temporarily pacified the growing insurgency in that country.

The $750 million complex is the world’s largest foreign embassy facility and was built to house tens of thousands of government employees and contractors, but it has not been fully staffed since the end of 2013.

The al-Qaeda-linked group Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) or Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) have already captured the cities of Mosul, Tikrit, and Fallujah, and may be setting their sights on the Iraqi capital. The group’s aim is to create a pan-Islamic state that stretches from the Mediterranean coast to the Iranian border.

The State Department has warned American citizens against traveling to Iraq amid the escalating violence.

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Al Qaeda Offshoot Captures American Humvees And Transfers Them To Syria – Business Insider

The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), a radical offshoot of al Qaeda, has taken control of Iraq’s second largest city.

Iraqi police and security forces reportedly fled Mosul prior to the attack, leaving the facilities of the city open for plunder. Mosul was a key area of focus for U.S. forces in an effect to stabilize Iraq, and large amounts of military hardware was left in the city for the Iraqis.

Iraq’s parliament speaker said that ISIS took control of the city’s airport and obtained helicopters. ISIS also took control of U.S. Humvees, which they are now proceeding to send to Syria.

The Humvees are reportedly in fine condition. The vehicles would be a significant upgrade to the current equipment that ISIS has, and it further increase their ability to carry out attacks in both Iraq and Syria.

One interesting note is that the U.S. military gave these Humvees to the Iraqi military, which was long ago infiltrated by Iran-backed groups that killed Americans.

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Phillip Smyth
@PhillipSmyth

Yet, ISF/Iraq Army was fully infiltrated by Iran-backed groups which killed US troops-and they were given those humvees. (Part 2)
12:27 PM – 10 Jun 2014

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Upwards of 150,000 people are now fleeing from Mosul towards Baghdad or Iraqi Kurdistan. U.S. trained Iraqi soldiers are apparently leaving behind their uniforms too as they flee from ISIS.

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Al Qaida-Inspired Militant Group Vows To March On Baghdad – CNS

The al-Qaida-inspired group that captured two key Sunni-dominated cities in Iraq this week vowed on Thursday to march on to Baghdad, raising fears about the Shiite-led government’s ability to slow the assault following the insurgents’ lightning gains.

Fighters from the militant group known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant took Saddam Hussein’s hometown of Tikrit on Wednesday as soldiers and security forces abandoned their posts and yielded ground once controlled by U.S. troops.

That seizure followed the capture of much of Mosul, Iraq’s second-largest city, the previous day. The group and its allies among local tribesmen also hold the city of Fallujah and other pockets of the Sunni-dominated Anbar province to the west of Baghdad.

Baghdad does not appear to be in imminent danger from a similar assault, although Sunni insurgents have stepped up car bombings and suicide attacks in the capital in recent months.

The capital, with its large Shiite population, would be a far harder target for the militants. So far, Islamic State fighters have stuck to the Sunni heartland and former Sunni insurgent strongholds where people are already alienated by the Shiite-led government over allegations of discrimination and mistreatment. The militants also would likely meet far stronger resistance, not only from government forces but by Shiite militias if they tried to advance on the capital.

In contrast, online video posted Thursday showed some Tikrit residents celebrating the militant takeover. As Islamic State fighters drove through largely empty streets in a captured military Humvee and a pickup truck mounted with an anti-aircraft gun, what appeared to be a few dozen people shouted “God is great,” and celebratory gunfire could be heard. The video appeared authentic and was consistent with AP reporting.

The Islamic State’s spokesman vowed to take the fight into the capital at the heart of Shiite Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s government. In a sign of the group’s confidence, he even boasted that its fighters will take the southern Shiite cities of Karbala and Najaf, which hold two of the holiest shrines for Shiite Muslims.

“We will march toward Baghdad because we have an account to settle there,” he said in an audio recording posted on militant websites commonly used by the group. The statement could not be independently verified.

Meanwhile, Kurdish fighters from the ethnic group’s autonomous enclave in the north showed signs of taking a greater role in fighting back against the Islamic State. Their role is a potential point of friction because both Sunni and Shiite Arabs are wary over Kurdish claims on territory outside their enclave.

Kurdish security forces known as peshmerga took over an air base and other posts abandoned by the Iraqi military in the ethnically mixed flashpoint city of Kirkuk, Brig. Halogard Hikmat, a senior peshmerga official told the Associated Press. But he denied reports the whole city was under peshmerga control.

“We decided to move… because we do not want these places with the weapons inside them to fall into the hands of the insurgents,” said Hikmat. Iraqi government officials could not be reached to confirm the account.

A force of 20 pick-up trucks carrying Islamic State militants attacked peshmerga positions near the town of Sinjar, on a highway between Mosul and the Syrian border. The two sides battled for four hours late Wednesday night in a firefight that killed nine militants and wounded four peshmerga, Hikmat said.

Militants also attacked an Iraqi security checkpoint Thursday in the town of Tarmiyah, 50 kilometers (31 miles) north of Baghdad, killing five troops and wounding nine, said officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to the media.

After Mosul’s fall, al-Maliki asked parliament to declare a state of emergency that would give him the “necessary powers” to run the country – something legal experts said could include powers to impose curfews, restrict public movements and censor the media.

Lawmakers tried to hold a session to approve the measure Thursday, but too few showed up and they were unable to reach quorum to vote.

Hundreds of young men crowded in front of the main army recruiting center in Baghdad on Thursday after authorities urged Iraqis to help battle the insurgents.

Iran’s foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, offered his country’s support to Iraq in its “fight against terrorism” during a phone call with his Iraqi counterpart, Iranian state TV reported.

Shiite powerhouse Iran, which has built close ties with Iraq’s postwar government, a day earlier said it was halting flights to Baghdad because of security concerns and has intensified security measures along its borders.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Wednesday blasted the Islamic State as “barbaric” and said that his country’s highest security body will hold an immediate meeting to review the developments in neighboring Iraq.

The Islamic State aims to create an Islamic emirate spanning both sides of the Iraq-Syria border. It has been able to push deep into parts of the Iraqi Sunni heartland once controlled by U.S. forces because police and military forces melted away after relatively brief clashes.

The White House said Wednesday that the United States was “deeply concerned” about the Islamic State’s continued aggression.

Human Rights Watch expressed concern Thursday about the group’s advances, noting its history of violence and other abuses. The rights group also called on Baghdad to deal with the crisis “without the brutal tactics for which civilians elsewhere in the country have long been paying a heavy price,” deputy Middle East director Nadim Houry said.

There were no reliable estimates of casualties or the number of insurgents involved, though several hundred gunmen were involved in the Tikrit fight, said Mizhar Fleih, the deputy head of the municipal council of nearby Samarra. An even larger number of militants likely would have been needed to secure Mosul, a much bigger city.

Mosul, the capital of Ninevah province, and the neighboring Sunni-dominated province of Anbar share a long and porous border with Syria, where the Islamic State is also active.

Mosul’s fall was a heavy defeat for al-Maliki. His Shiite-dominated political bloc came first in April 30 parliamentary elections – the first since the U.S. military withdrawal in 2011 – but failed to gain a majority, forcing him to try to build a governing coalition.

In addition to being Saddam’s hometown, Tikrit was a power base of his once-powerful Baath Party. The former dictator was captured by U.S. forces while hiding in a hole in the area and he is buried south of town in a tomb draped with the Saddam-era Iraqi flag.

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White House Worried As Militants Take Iraqi Cities – The Hill

The White House on Wednesday expressed concerns that Islamic militants had regained a foothold in Iraq after an al Qaeda-affiliated group seized control of a second major city.

Islamist militants seized the northern city of Tikrit on Wednesday, an action that sparked alarm in Washington and Baghdad, just days after rebel forces also captured Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city.

“The situation in Iraq is grave,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest conceded to reporters traveling with the president Wednesday to Massachusetts.

“There is no doubt that the situation has deteriorated over the last 24 hours,” he added.

Earnest said the U.S. was “deeply concerned” the instability could create a humanitarian crisis, with reports saying Iraqi security forces had fled both cities and thousands of refugees were seeking shelter.

Rebel groups have allegedly seized control of government buildings and released prisoners, adding to the chaos.

Earnest called on Iraqi leaders to organize a response to turn back the rebel forces, and said Washington was offering its support to Baghdad.

The Iraqi government plans to meet Thursday in Baghdad to vote on whether to give Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki emergency powers that would give him broader latitude to combat the sectarian violence.

The U.S. also condemned the kidnapping of 49 Turkish diplomatic personnel in Mosul by the group the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. Earnest called the attack “despicable” and demanded the immediate release of the prisoners.

State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said earlier Wednesday that Secretary of State John Kerry had called Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu to express “their mutual concern” about the security situation.

“We join Turkey and the international community in calling for the immediate release of Turkey’s kidnapped diplomatic personnel,” Psaki said.

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*FLASHBACK* Obama: ‘We’re Leaving Behind A Sovereign, Stable And Self-Reliant Iraq’ – CNS

When President Barack Obama removed the last U.S. forces from Iraq in December 2011, he announced that – as he had planned – the U.S. was leaving behind a “sovereign, stable and self-reliant Iraq, with a representative government.”

It was a “moment of success,” he said.

On Feb. 27, 2009, a little more than a month after his first inauguration, Obama gave a speech at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina that the White House entitled, “Responsibly Ending the War in Iraq.”

Obama said then that his strategy was based on the “achievable goal” of a “sovereign, stable and self-reliant” Iraq–and that he intended to withdraw all U.S. forces from Iraq by the end of 2011, as had been envisioned in the Status of Forces agreement negotiated by the Bush Administration.

“Today, I can announce that our review is complete, and that the United States will pursue a new strategy to end the war in Iraq through a transition to full Iraqi responsibility,” said Obama. “This strategy is grounded in a clear and achievable goal shared by the Iraqi people and the American people: an Iraq that is sovereign, stable, and self-reliant. To achieve that goal, we will work to promote an Iraqi government that is just, representative, and accountable, and that provides neither support nor safe-haven to terrorists.”

“And under the Status of Forces Agreement with the Iraqi government, I intend to remove all U.S. troops from Iraq by the end of 2011,” said Obama. “We will complete this transition to Iraqi responsibility, and we will bring our troops home with the honor that they have earned.”

Almost three years later, on Dec. 14, 2011, when he was removing the last U.S. troops from Iraq, Obama gave a speech at Fort Bragg in North Carolina. Here he said his strategy based on building a sovereign, stable, self-reliant Iraq had succeeded.

“It’s harder to end a war than begin one,” Obama said at Fort Bragg. “Indeed, everything that American troops have done in Iraq – all the fighting and all the dying, the bleeding and the building, and the training and the partnering – all of it has led to this moment of success. Now, Iraq is not a perfect place. It has many challenges ahead. But we’re leaving behind a sovereign, stable and self-reliant Iraq, with a representative government that was elected by its people. We’re building a new partnership between our nations. And we are ending a war not with a final battle, but with a final march toward home. This is an extraordinary achievement, nearly nine years in the making.”

In the past seven months, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) – a terrorist group that sprang from al Qaeda – has captured Fallujah and Mosul, and is now intent on capturing the Iraqi capital of Baghdad.

In February, CIA Director John Brennan told the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence that al Qaeda camps on both sides of the Syrian-Iraq border are a threat to the United States.

“Do you believe that there are training camps that have been established on either side of the Iraqi or Syrian border for the purposes of training al Qaida operatives?” House Intelligence Chairman Mike Rogers asked Brennan.

Brennan said: “There are camps inside of both Iraq and Syria that are used by al Qaida to develop capabilities that are applicable both in the theater as well as beyond.”

Chairman Rogers asked: “Do you believe that that ungoverned space presents a real threat to the United States of America, via al Qaida operations, or the West?”

“I do,” said Brennan.

Obama had announced on Oct. 21, 2011, that all U.S. troops would in fact leave Iraq by the end of that year. The next day, the New York Times ran a story headlined: “Despite Difficult Talks, U.S. and Iraq Had Expected Some American Troops to Stay.” The top of that story said:

“President Obama’s announcement on Friday that all American troops would leave Iraq by the end of the year was an occasion for celebration for many, but some top American military officials were dismayed by the announcement, seeing it as the president’s putting the best face on a breakdown in tortured negotiations with the Iraqis. And for the negotiators who labored all year to avoid that outcome, it represented the triumph of politics over the reality of Iraq’s fragile security’s requiring some troops to stay, a fact everyone had assumed would prevail.”

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Your Daley Gator ‘How Treasonous Can Obama Get?’ Bergdahl Scandal News Roundup (Videos)

Taliban Commander: More Kidnappings To Come After Bergdahl Deal – Time

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A Taliban commander close to the negotiations over the release of U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl told TIME Thursday that the deal made to secure Bergdahl’s release has made it more appealing for fighters to capture American soldiers and other high-value targets.

“It’s better to kidnap one person like Bergdahl than kidnapping hundreds of useless people,” the commander said, speaking by telephone on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to speak to the media. “It has encouraged our people. Now everybody will work hard to capture such an important bird.”

The commander has been known to TIME for several years and has consistently supplied reliable information about Bergdahl’s captivity.

The U.S. agreed on May 31 to exchange five Taliban commanders from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba for Bergdahl, America’s only living prisoner of war. Following the deal, the outpouring of relief by those who had long lobbied to “Bring Bowe Home” was soon eclipsed by accusations and recriminations as Republican lawmakers accused the administration of making a dangerous precedent.

“What does this tell terrorists?,” Republican Senator Ted Cruz said on ABC’s This Week the day after Bergdahl’s release. “That if you capture a U.S. soldier, you can trade that soldier for five terrorist prisoners?”

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Administration Bypassed Intel Community To Pursue Bergdahl Trade, Shelved Ransom Plan – Fox News

The Obama administration largely bypassed the intelligence community to green-light the risky swap of five Taliban leaders for American Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, officials tell Fox News, as new details emerge about concerns with the deal at the highest levels of President Obama’s team.

A military intelligence source also confirmed to Fox News that a second option – involving the payment of a cash ransom for Bergdahl’s freedom – was pursued as late as December 2013.

The source said the goal was to reach out to Pakistan leadership with direct ties to the Taliban, and float the possibility of trading cash, instead of prisoners, for Bergdahl. That option, though, was put “on hold” in December when it was made clear the administration intended to pursue a prisoner swap.

Intelligence officials confirmed to Fox News that the Bergdahl prisoner swap was then on an accelerated track, and no formal assessment of the entire intelligence community was conducted. This made the opportunity to push back against the transfer extremely limited.

Further, top officials including Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and then-Defense Secretary Leon Panetta were firmly against the proposed transfer in 2012 after it was first floated.

The details add to concerns that the White House and others involved in the decision did not adequately assess the risks before springing five senior Taliban leaders from Guantanamo over the weekend.

“I think he bypassed the intelligence community,” Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., told Fox News. “I believe he bypassed Congress because this was done for political reasons. There was no policy justification for this.”

Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., the top Republican on the Senate Intelligence Committee, claimed the freed Taliban members are likely more dangerous now than they were when they were captured.

“This is Mullah Omar’s board of directors, it’s his fab five team,” he told Fox News, referring to the Taliban leader. Chambliss has called on the administration to declassify the files on the five men.

The Washington Post reports that Panetta and Clapper weren’t the only ones who had misgivings about a prisoner trade after it first came up. According to an article on Wednesday, then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton also opposed the original terms of the prisoner exchange deal.

It’s unclear how the terms may have changed since then, and whether different Guantanamo prisoners were considered since the original plan emerged.

Clapper’s office and other intelligence agencies have been notably quiet since the prisoner trade was announced over the weekend. In a brief statement, a spokesman for Clapper said he had concerns but the conditions of the transfer limited the risk.

One Gulf official, though, was quoted by Reuters on Tuesday saying the Taliban leaders would be free to move about in Qatar – where they are staying – for a year, and then would be allowed to travel outside the country.

In an apparent attempt to turn the transfer into propaganda, the Taliban have also released a video showing the handover of Bergdahl into U.S. custody. It was emailed to media outlets on Wednesday – a Pentagon spokesman said they have “no reason to doubt [its] authenticity.”

According to Time magazine, the decision to proceed with the transfer was ultimately made among top officials on Obama’s national security team.

Given past opposition to the plan, though, one unidentified official told Time: “This was out of the norm.” The official said the White House and State Department had previously urged the military to “suck it up and salute.”

Members of Congress who were first briefed on a possible trade more than two years ago voiced similar concerns.

House Speaker John Boehner said Tuesday the administration “never satisfactorily answered” lawmakers’ questions and concerns that surfaced from the beginning about the proposed trade. Further, Boehner alleged that the only reason the administration failed to notify Congress is “the administration knew it faced serious and sober bipartisan concern and opposition.”

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Congress Twice Rejected Release Of Taliban From Gitmo In Trade For Bergdahl – Washington Times

President Obama’s aides met with unanimous opposition from Congress when they first raised the possibility of releasing five Taliban guerrillas from Guantanamo Bay in 2011 and 2012, and administration officials publicly and repeatedly vowed to return to Capitol Hill before making any final moves.

But with what they now say was a closing window to secure the release of ArmySgt. Bowe Bergdahl, Mr. Obama made the call to bypass Congress and make a deal swapping the five Taliban fighters in exchange for Sgt. Bergdahl – and sparking a major constitutional battle with Congress.

With anger boiling over, the administration dispatched officials to deliver a closed-door briefing to senators late Wednesday, but many lawmakers emerged to say they still have too many unanswered questions about the legality of Mr. Obama’s move, the details of Sgt. Bergdahl’s capture and the likelihood that the five Taliban will return to the battlefield.

“I think there’s still an awful lot that has to be looked into. There’s a lot of information that came out of this, but this is something that is extremely disturbing. It’s something that needs to be looked into, and I came out of there with more questions than I got answers,” said Sen. Joe Manchin III, West Virginia Democrat.

Lawmakers were shown a short video that the Taliban-aligned group holding Sgt. Bergdahl provided as “proof of life,” and several lawmakers said the soldier did appear to be unwell in the video – countering speculation from some corners that his health situation was not as desperate as the administration had suggested.

But the administration made little headway in convincing senators that it was a good decision to release the five Taliban members, who have been sent to Qatar, where they are supposed to be monitored for a year but seem to be living openly.

“I promise you, in a year from now, if not before, they will be back in Afghanistan and in the fight,” said Sen. John McCain, Arizona Republican.

In an earlier closed-door briefing, officials even confirmed there was a great likelihood some of them will return to war-fighting, a possibility Mr. Obama himself had acknowledged earlier this week.

“I think the White House was looking for a twofer, to announce in one week that we were going to withdraw from Afghanistan, ending the longest war in U.S. history and, oh, by the way, as commander in chief I secured the last captive – the only captive – of that war. That was in their mind a pretty good political story for that week. It blew up in their face,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham, South Carolina Republican.

Sen. Saxby Chambliss, Georgia Republican and vice chairman of the intelligence committee, called on Mr. Obama to declassify the prisoner review files kept on each of the five Taliban.

He said Americans will see from the files that the men had been deemed too dangerous to release – if Mr. Obama approves declassifying the documents.

“Every prisoner at Guantanamo has a file. That file is updated every so often. What we’re asking for is that file on those five prisoners, with the recommendations of the review committee spelled out as to their opinion of what should happen with these guys. And their opinion – it’s already been stated publicly – is these five guys should have been held indefinitely,” the Georgian said.

In another sign of the growing skepticism about the prisoner swap, Sgt. Berdahl’s hometown of Hailey, Idaho, announced Wednesday that it had canceled plans for a welcome-home celebration. The town of 8,000 said it was not sure it could handle the expected crowds and pro- and anti-Bergdahl demonstrations at the planned June 28 event.

The split was reflected in two public opinion polls released Wednesday. A Fox News survey had 47 percent of Americans disapproving of the swap, while 45 percent approves. And a Rasmussen poll showed a similar split, with 40 percent agreeing with the government’s decision and 43 percent disagreeing.

But both surveys had error margins larger than those gaps that favor the “disapprove” answer, meaning those edges are statistically insignificant and the public is essentially evenly split.

Sgt. Bergdahl disappeared from night guard duty at a remote outpost roughly two hours south of the Afghan city of Sharana on June 30, 2009. Comrades said they found his gear – save for his compass – neatly stacked, which they took to be a signal that he had left of his own accord.

Some of those comrades say American lives were lost in the ensuing search for someone they termed a “deserter.”

A Pentagon official, who spoke under condition of anonymity for fear of reprisal, said that Sgt. Bergdahl maintained a status of “Missing-Captured” but was not considered to be a deserter during the time he was being held by the Islamist militia.

Sgt. Bergdahl could, if the Army deems appropriate, receive a promotion to staff sergeant “in accordance with Army policy for captured personnel,” the official said.

Debate over whether to make the exchange has raged – within the administration and between it and Congress – since 2011.

Mr. Chambliss said that when the possibility of releasing the five Taliban fighters was raised, there was unanimous opposition from those in Congress who were briefed on it.

In the years since, both State Department and White House officials went on record saying that any final decision would be made in consultation with Congress and in accordance with the law, which requires Mr. Obama to give Congress 30 days’ notice before releasing detainees from Guantanamo.

The White House has argued that the short window of time to seal the deal for Sgt. Bergdahl’s release created extenuating circumstances – though they also argue that the previous secret briefings with Congress in 2011 and 2012 constituted consultation.

With questions about the legal situation mounting this week, a White House official said the Defense Department “consulted” with the Justice Department but declined to say whether a formal legal opinion was produced justifying the decision to bypass Congress.

“We’re not going to get into the details of our internal legal deliberations,” the official said.

The Justice Department did not respond to requests for comment from The Washington Times.

After initial reports of dissent, the administration presented a unified front Wednesday, including pushing back on press reports that Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper had initially rejected the release of the five Taliban fighters.

“Like others, DNI Clapper expressed concern in 2012 about the prospect of releasing these five detainees. However, the circumstances have changed dramatically,” Shawn Turner, the chief spokesman for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, said in a statement.

Mr. Turner said Mr. Clapper was swayed by Sgt. Bergdahl’s deteriorating health, the assurances of the Qatari government that the five will be monitored and the ongoing drawdown of U.S. troops from Afghanistan, which Mr. Clapper argued would make recovery efforts for Sgt. Bergdahl tougher.

Several Democratic leaders in the Senate also defended the administration’s moves.

“It was a very complex negotiation. It was a last-minute negotiation, and as we heard more and more detail and circumstances, I think it was a lot different than we’ve seen in the press,” Senate Majority Whip Richard J. Durbin said as he emerged from the evening briefing.

“I think it was a very hard decision. If I’d been challenged to make it myself, I might have come to the same conclusion under the pressure of the moment,” the Illinois Democrat said. “But now that you can step back and reflect on it, it’s easy to pick it apart and criticize it.”

Sen. Harry Reid of Nevada, the Democrats’ leader in the chamber, said GOP critics were trying to harm Mr. Obama politically.

“It’s clear they’re worried his release could be seen as a victory for President Obama. Let me put that notion to rest – it’s not a victory for President Obama. It’s a victory for our soldiers, their families and the United States of America,” he said. “No member of the armed forces should be left behind, and President Obama saw to that.”

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Obama Official Friedman Deletes Bio After Attacking Bergdahl’s “Psychopath” Platoon Leaders – Gateway Pundit

Yesterday Obama administration official Brandon Friedman floated the idea that Bowe Bergdahl was justified in deserting his platoon in Afghanistan and joining the Taliban over disagreements with the platoon’s “psychopath” leadership.

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Brandon Friedman
@BFriedmanDC

Here’s the thing about Bergdahl and the Jump-to-Conclusions mats: What if his platoon was long on psychopaths and short on leadership? (1/5)
11:44 PM – 4 Jun 2014

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Brandon Friedman, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs for the Department of Housing and Urban Development posted a series of tweets Wednesday evening.

Friedman speculated that Bergdahl deserted over bad leadership of his platoon and that is why his fellow soldiers were smearing him.

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This morning Brandon Friedman deleted his bio – His anti-military tweets are still posted.

Via Twitchy:

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Right Wing M nailed it:

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Kristinn Taylor
@KristinnFR

@TheRightWingM @TwitchyTeam @redsteeze @RBPundit He’s got the attitude for the Obama West Wing.
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The Right Wing M
@TheRightWingM

1st shot: Platoon not credible 2nd: Platoon Swift Boating Now: Platoon ldrs were psychopaths @KristinnFR @TwitchyTeam @redsteeze @RBPundit
1:11 AM – 5 Jun 2014

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General: Deserter Should Never Draw A Free Breath – WorldNetDaily

Retired U.S. Army Lt. Gen. William “Jerry” Boykin says Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl is clearly a deserter who should never draw a free breath, and President Obama is guilty of high crimes and misdemeanors for once again ignoring federal law in pursuit of an administration goal.

Boykin is also ripping the president for releasing five key Taliban figures in exchange for Bergdahl and slamming the Obama administration for attacking the character of Afghanistan veterans who publicly denounce Bergdahl’s actions in Afghanistan.

The general said Obama’s actions in this episode demonstrate why he is unfit for office. He categorically dismissed Obama’s contention that the exchange had to happen to honor America’s commitment to leave no Americans behind. Boykin said that clearly wasn’t true in Benghazi and that the administration seems to have little regard for a U.S. Marine jailed in Mexico, an American pastor imprisoned in Iran or the Sudanese Christian in custody for her faith along with her two American children.

“This was about emptying out Guantanamo,” he said. “This was a backdoor deal. The reasons for it, the details of it will probably never come out in its entirety, but this is an ugly story.”

The general is also taking the commander in chief to task for once again flouting the law, this time skirting a requirement to give Congress 30 days notice of his intent to free any Guantanamo detainees. Boykin said he understands why Obama would feel constrained by the law and admits that it might not be constitutional. However, as long as it is the law, he said Obama is required to abide by it instead of ignoring statutes he doesn’t like, whether on this issue or several others.

“It was really bad form for him not to at least call in the chair and ranking member of the intel or armed services committee and tell them what he was about to do with regard to the release of these prisoners,” he said.

“It’s an example of how this president only obeys the laws and follows the policies that he wants to. In our Constitution, it falls under the category of high crimes and misdemeanors, where you just selectively obey certain laws and ignore others.”

As for Bergdahl, Boykin said he has no doubt the soldier ended up in Taliban custody because he deliberately deserted his unit.

“We know for sure that he is a deserter,” Boykin said. “In fact, the 15-6 investigation that was conducted immediately after his departure from his base concluded that he had deserted, and I think all the evidence supports that conclusion, particularly given the fact that he had asked a series of bizarre questions of his teammates. He also left a very revealing message explaining how he was ashamed of being an American and wanted to help the people of Afghanistan. This guy’s a deserter.”

Boykin added, “The fact that (National Security Adviser) Susan Rice went on television and said that served honorably is just another example of why she needs to be removed and replaced, because this is the second time, Benghazi being the first, where she has gone on television and openly lied to the American public. This administration knows he deserted. They knew how people felt about him, and she went out there and called his service honorable. If that’s the case, then you tell me what the concept of honorable service is for this administration.”

The term “desertion” has been used far and wide in media reports this week. While no one applauds a soldier abandoning his unit, considerable debate has ensued about how significant of an issue this ought to be.

Boykin said it’s an extremely serious issue.

“Desertion in combat – and I emphasize in combat, which means you are in a combat zone and routinely engaged with the enemy – is punishable by death,” he said. “That should give you some indication as to how serious this is taken. When a man walks off and leaves his post in combat, he jeopardizes everybody else.”

Boykin said, in addition to leaving his men shorthanded against the enemy, Bergdahl compromised military intelligence, whether he willingly went along with the Taliban or was interrogated.

“You have a tremendous amount of information, which would be very useful to the enemy,” Boykin said. “Whether he was a collaborator or not is yet to be determined. My guess is that he was. Even if he was not a deliberate collaborator, the interrogation techniques of these people is such that he probably provided an awful lot of very useful, valuable information to the enemy.”

So what should happen to Bergdahl as a result of his desertion?

“They should do an Article 32 investigation immediately. It should be ongoing right now. That is a prelude to a court-martial. There can be no other option. They must take him to court-martial, and they must hold him accountable for his actions. If he didn’t desert, then the truth will come out,” said Boykin, who explained that Bergdahl’s actions are even more severe than desertion.

“There are are other soldiers that were endangered and even some we are positive now that were killed in the efforts to find him,” he said. “As far as I’m concerned, that exacerbates his crime from being a simple desertion to being one that resulted in the deaths of his comrades. I think that has to be considered as we talk about what to do with him. From my perspective, he needs to spend the rest of his life in prison at a minimum.”

At least one of the other soldiers who served alongside Bergdahl in Afghanistan believes this is a case of desertion at best and treason at worst.

Is Boykin willing to go that far?

“Absolutely. What else could you call it?” he asked

At least a half-dozen soldiers who served with Bergdahl are speaking publicly. They all consider him a deserter and not the hero portrayed by the administration. In response, the State Department accuses those veterans of not telling the truth, and White House aides tell reporters that their criticism amounts to a swift-boating of Bergdahl, a reference to the criticism Vietnam veterans leveled at John Kerry in the 2004 presidential campaign.

“Do you think if Bergdahl had served honorably that those guys wouldn’t be coming out now rejoicing in the fact he had been returned?” Boykin asked. “Use a little common sense and just ask yourself: Would they have had this reaction had he not deserted his unit?”

Boykin is appalled that Bergdahl’s return also came at the cost of five high-level Taliban leaders being held at Guantanamo Bay. The general said he would not even have paid such a price for an honorable soldier being held by the enemy, but he would have quickly gathered intelligence by which to launch a rescue mission. He believes the military knew exactly where Bergdahl was but didn’t have any motivation to go get him.

“That’s what should have happened if this was a man with honorable service. He wasn’t,” Boykin said. “So you have to ask the question, ‘Why didn’t the military go and try to rescue him?’ I’m going to speculate that it’s because they were not willing to risk another life for a guy they knew was a traitor.”

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Is Obama Really That Stupid? – Joseph Cur

There’s something very odd going on these days at the White House.

How else to explain the Bowe Bergdahl debacle? Team Obama, which games every move it makes to gauge the political leverage gained or lost, must have known the true story about the Army sergeant who his former comrades say was disgruntled with the war and simply walked away.

If the charge of desertion is true, why trade five top-level Taliban terrorists for him? Why would the White House expose itself to such easy criticism? Why would President Obama so clearly violate the law that requires him to notify Congress 30 days before any release of prisoners from Guantanamo Bay?

And why on earth would the president send National Security Adviser Susan Rice, she of the multiple lies on the Benghazi attack that left four Americans dead, to the Sunday talk shows to proclaim that Sgt. Bergdahl had “served the United States with honor and distinction”?

There can be only one answer: Mr. Obama saw more upside than down with the hostage-for-terrorists trade. Aside from changing the subject from the president’s latest scandal – the horrendous treatment of veterans at the nation’s VA hospitals – Mr. Obama must have concluded that the controversial move would, in the end, deliver him political leverage against Republicans, which he sorely needs going into what is expected to be a bloodbath for Democrats on Election Day 2014.

Of course, part of the calculation was that the U.S. media would once again defend Mr. Obama. And while some news outlets have run stories about the puzzling details behind Sgt. Bergdahl’s “capture,” others are adhering to the White House talking points.

On Tuesday, the Washington Post said “the long arc of Bergdahl’s deployment and captivity is being scrutinized in light of the rising, mostly partisan debate.” The White House calculation was no doubt that Republicans would object to the swap, allowing the president to charge that the GOP will “say no” to anything – even the release of an American soldier.

The New York Times on Monday disputed reports that some U.S. soldiers were killed searching for Bergdahl. And ABC News has moved on altogether, opening its Tuesday nightly news with a story about a big hailstorm in Nebraska.

That the White House had gamed out every scenario for the post-release spin was evident Sunday, when Mrs. Rice and other Democrats hewed closely to talking points: That Sgt. Bergdahl was a “prisoner of war,” not a “hostage”; that his “deteriorating health” made the swap so urgent there was simply no time to notify Congress; that questions about the Army sergeant are “not the point,” as Mrs. Rice said, “The point is that he is back.”

What then of congressional objections? Even top Democrats, like Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said she wasn’t notified of the swap. The takeaway: Mr. Obama is more willing to negotiate with the Taliban than Congress.

But the White House conclusion on lawmakers was this: Let ‘em whine. Their approval rating is in single digits, so no one cares what Congress thinks.

Still, there’s this: The White House must have known that first-hand accounts of Sgt. Bergdahl and his disgruntlement with America would eventually make the press. Even though Army colleagues were ordered to sign nondisclosure agreements, Team Obama had to know that if Sgt. Bergdahl suddenly became a “hero,” members of his platoon would be outraged and talk, damn the consequences.

Mr. Obama must have also known that more details would emerge, like the fact that top Pentagon and intelligence community officials had nixed previous deals for the five terrorists, citing top-secret information. Time magazine reported that in the end, the White House and State Department won by arguing that the military should “suck it up and salute.”

So the question that remains is: Could Mr. Obama and his advisers have so miscalculated the swap? Is the terrorist trade just another example of a Year Six president drunk with power, taking advice from a handful of sycophantic yes men on the couches in the Oval Office?

“We are going to learn the facts on what happened here,” State Department spokesperson Marie Harf said Tuesday. “We do not know the fact pattern yet.”

But the White House is delivering its own “fact pattern,” so far being followed by the media. And the Sgt. Bergdahl saga is playing out almost exactly like the aftermath of Benghazi, right down to lies from Mrs. Rice. Mr. Obama and his fellow Democrats are painting Republicans as purely partisan. Soon, the entire mess will be plunged into a “blue ribbon investigation,” allowing administration officials to refuse comment.

Mr. Obama is all about the politics. The White House has done this time after time with scandal after scandal. They know how to play the game. And despite appearances now, this whole saga is going along as planned.

The president may be incompetent, but he’s not stupid. He’s just counting on the American people to be.

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Fox’s Rosen: Sources Claim Bergdahl’s Taliban Collaboration ‘As Serious As You Can Imagine’ – Daily Caller

Fox News reporter James Rosen claimed intelligence sources have told him not only that Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl willingly collaborated with the Taliban, but that his involvement with the terrorist group may be “as serious as you can imagine.”

Rosen spoke with Bill O’Reilly Wednesday night about his ongoing conversations with intelligence and Pentagon officials regarding both old and new investigations into Bergdahl’s likely desertion and possibly treasonous activities.

“My reporting has shown that the intelligence community also undertook a separate [from the Army] investigation of Sgt. Bergdahl,” Rosen explained, “both his final period of active duty that culminated in that mysterious evening, and also his conduct over the past five years, which is said to have been a period of captivity.”

“Alright, now why would – you say the intelligence, I assume that’s defense intelligence, the CIA, all those people – why would they bother investigating a sergeant who was taken captive?” O’Reilly asked. “I mean, why would they spend those resources?”

“Well, with greatest proximity, because they were tasked with doing so,” Rosen responded cagily. “But my reporting on this is that there are many inside the intelligence community who harbor outstanding concerns not just that Sgt. Bergdahl may have been a deserter, but that he became an active collaborator with the enemy.”

The reporter reiterated information regarding Bergdahl’s emails, the packing up of his personal effects, his failure to take certain equipment with him before he left his post and “anecdotal evidence” from Taliban commanders – including how Bergdahl taught Islamist fighters how to reprogram a mobile phone into an IED.

“The last thing I will tell you is – I’m still working on this story, I’m talking to a broad range of sources in and out of the government, in and out of the military,” Rosen explained. “And all I will say is, there are many forms that active collaboration can take. I’m investigating claims that it could go as serious as you could imagine.”

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Stunning: WH Officials Thought Exchanging 5 Taliban Leaders For 1 Deserter Would Encourage “Moderate” Taliban To Take Peace Process Seriously – Weasel Zippers

It’s mind-boggling how clueless this administration is. In reality it does nothing except encourage the Taliban to kidnap more U.S. soldiers.

Via WaPo:

[I]nside the administration, the calculations over Bergdahl’s fate were complicated by seemingly unrelated events, including the raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound in May 2011, when U.S. forces traveled deep into Pakistan and killed the al-Qaeda leader. The operation infuriated Pakistan’s government and raised fears among U.S. officials that their uncertain ally’s already mixed support for the war effort would wane further.

Around that time, U.S. officials began to contemplate an operation to rescue Bergdahl, according to a former senior administration official who participated in the discussions.

At least twice before Bergdahl’s release, U.S. officials had a possible fix on where he was being held, but some administration officials familiar with the intelligence said there were gaps that left his circumstances unclear. And there were strong voices opposed to an operation, led by then-national security adviser Thomas Donilon and his deputy, Denis McDonough, who is now White House chief of staff.

Their concern, the official said, was further angering Pakistan’s government and spy agency, which has close connections to the Haqqani network.

Those who supported a rescue operation included Adm. Mike Mullen, then chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and then-CIA Director Leon E. Panetta. Their argument in favor of a high-risk, lower-reward operation than the bin Laden raid eventually failed.

During the same debate, officials were considering the emerging prisoner-exchange proposal. White House advisers believed that a successful exchange would not only free Bergdahl but would also encourage moderate Taliban members to take an Afghan-led reconciliation process seriously.

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Devastating Criticism: NBC Reporter Makes Unfavorable Comparison Of Obama Admin. To The Taliban – Independent Journal Review

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Reporting from just outside the Landstuhl military hospital in Germany, NBC chief foreign correspondent Richard Engel says that the media is receiving more information about the release of Sgt. Bergdahl from the Taliban than from our own government.

Morning Joe co-host Mika Brzezinski also noted how difficult it is to get information from the Administration, save for the few press releases it periodically releases.

How does it look for the “most transparent administration in history” when a reporter says it is providing less information than a terrorist organization? Whatever it is, it can’t be good.

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Obama Ignored Chances To Rescue Bergdahl On The Ground Because He Wanted A Terror Trade To Help Close Down Guantanamo Bay, Claim Pentagon Sources – Daily Mail

The Obama administration passed up multiple opportunities to rescue Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl because the president was dead-set on finding a reason to begin emptying Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, according to a Pentagon official.

‘JSOC went to the White House with several specific rescue-op scenarios,’ the official with knowledge of interagency negotiations underway since at least November 2013 told MailOnline, referring to the Joint Special Operations Command. ‘But no one ever got traction.’

‘What we learned along the way was that the president wanted a diplomatic scenario that would establish a precedent for repatriating detainees from Gitmo,’ he said.

The official said a State Department liaison described the lay of the land to him in February, shortly after the Taliban sent the U.S. government a month-old video of Bergdahl in January, looking sickly and haggard, in an effort to create a sense of urgency about his health and effect a quick prisoner trade.

‘He basically told me that no matter what JSOC put on the table, it was never going to fly because the president isn’t going to leave office with Gitmo intact, and this was the best opportunity to see that through.’

While military commanders wavered on the value of rescue plans, a second Pentagon source said Wednesday, they were advised by their chain of command that the White House was pushing hard for a prisoner swap, over the objections of the intelligence community.

That official told MailOnline that at least two separate intelligence agencies cautioned against taking the January video at face value.

The Daily Beast reported Monday, however, that the White House moved the process along too fast to permit a formal intelligence assessment of the impact of allowing what some on Capitol Hill are now calling the Taliban’s ‘dream team’ to return to the Middle East.

Florida GOP Sen. Marco Rubio told Fox News on Wednesday that the Obama administration ‘bypassed the intelligence community’ to make the deal, adding that ‘I believe he bypassed Congress because this was done for political reasons. There was no policy justification for this.’

The result, according to multiple published reports, was an environment in which the White House could insist on moving forward quickly on the basis that a soldier’s health was at immediate risk – using that justification also to explain its failure to keep Congress informed.

The White House has yet to explain why the deterioration of Bergdahl’s health, seen in a video in January, was sufficient reason to steamroll a decision that ended up taking four months to execute.

In a video distributed Wednesday morning by the Taliban, Bergdahl appeared to be strong and in good health as he was handed over to U.S. Special Forces on Saturday

The Washington Times reported that a congressional aide said JSOC never forwarded specific military rescue plans to the White House, judging independently that President Obama was more interested in a diplomatic solution.

But both the Times’ sources and MailOnline’s also agreed that commanders on the ground were not in favor of sending Special Forces into the Pakistan-Afghanistan border region and risking their lives to rescue a presumed deserter from the terrorist Haqqani network.

‘Military commanders were loath to risk their people to save this guy,’ a former intelligence official told the Times. ‘They were loath to pick him up and because of that hesitancy, we wind up trading five Taliban guys for him.’

Evidence suggests that at least six soldiers were killed in the search for Bergdahl after he walked away from his unit on June 30, 2009, and another eight perished in a bloody eastern Afghanistan battle later that year because their air support and relief infantry units were occupied in the search.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, however, said Wednesday in Brussels that he does ‘not know of specific circumstances or details of U.S. solders dying as a result of efforts to find and rescue Sergeant Bergdahl.’

Less than 48 hours after Bergdahl, then an Army private, disappeared, military commanders in Afghanistan were offered terms to reclaim him. It’s unclear why that opportunity fell through.

According to field reports published online by WIkileaks, soldiers conducting a Key Leader Engagement (KLE) discussion with tribal elders and Afghanistan National Police in Paktika province weretold of a Taliban offer for his safe return.

Battallion Command was radioed that officers had ‘just finished with the KLE with 2 x elders from Mest and the Mest ANP commander. The elders were asked by the Taliban to [arrange] a trade between the U.S. and Taliban.’

‘The Taliban terms are 15 of their Taliban brothers in U.S. jail and some money in exchange for Pvt Bergdahl,’ a transcript of the radio traffic read. ‘The elders assured me that Pvt Bergdahl is alive and that he is not being harmed.’

Police offered help the tribal elders with money for a car, fuel and light weapons in order to make the exchange, but it never happened.

It’s also unclear whether the ‘U.S. jail’ the Taliban referred to was Guantanamo Bay or a local holding facility in Afghanistan.

Obama’s promise to close the Guantanamo Bay detention camp has been controversial since he first made it in 2008, and his January 22, 2009 executive order calling for it to be shuttered in a year – his first such order as president – was met with eye-rolls in Washington.

But political momentum has slowly gathered on the president’s side, even as military and foreign policy concerns continue to make the task seem impossible.

First the Justice and Defense departments were ordered in late 2009 to acquire a defunct prison in Illinois as a replacement, but six months later Congress blocked funding for any project that would move Guantanamo Bay’s detainees to U.S. soil.

Then in 2011 Obama ordered the creation of a formal review process for detainees and green-lighted the military tribunals that prisoners could turn to for due process before he canceled them upon taking office in 2009.

In early 2013 the State Department announced that it had closed down its office in charge of handling Guantanamo’s closure. But in January a group of 31 retired U.S. military officers grabbed the national spotlight with a letter urging Obama to shut down the camp and move its population somewhere else.

‘As long as it remains open, Guantanamo will undermine America’s security and status as a nation where human rights and the rule of law matter,’ they claimed.

Obama’s latest political stroke came around the same time, when he signed the latest National Defense Authorization Act into law. It loosened the requirements he must satisfy before he can transfer detainees from Guantanamo to foreign nations.

The fly in the ointment is that he is required to tell Congress 30 days in advance of relocating any of Guantanamo’s prisoners – something his administration failed to do before cutting a deal that sent five Taliban ringleaders to Qatar in exchange for Bergdahl’s safe return.

California Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein told The Wall Street Journal, which first reported the existence of the secret Taliban videos, that there still ‘certainly was time to pick up the phone and call and say “I know you all had concerns about this, we consulted in the past, we want you to know we have reviewed these negotiations”,’

Ultimately, White House Deputy National Security Adviser Tony Blinken called Feinstein to apologize for the lack of notice, claiming that it was an ‘oversight.’

Other members of Congress were quick to suggest on Wednesday that the Berghdal prisoner swap was thin cover for the president’s desire to empty Guantanamo’s cells.

South Caroline Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham told The Washington Examiner that Obama was floating a ‘trial balloon,’ to test the political waters for a larger prison release.

And Oklahoma GOP Sen. Jim Inhofe said Tuesday on TheBlaze TV that ‘this president has an obsession – has two obsessions, I guess I should say – that he wants to turn into his legacy when he leaves office.’

‘One of those happens to be to close Gitmo.’

With five Taliban leaders now in Qatar and a year to work with – the length of time that country’s emir has said he will keep them under a loose form of house arrest – an only somewhat forgiving clock has started ticking.

‘Obama now has the tool he’s always wanted,’ a former U.S. intelligence official who is now a private government contractor told MailOnline on Wednesday.

‘The question is how many of these Taliban guys he can sneak past the goalie while Congress is busy hassling him about the IRS, the VA and Obamacare.’

Already, Graham has threatened to invoke Congress’s ultimate nuclear option – impeachment – if Obama relocates any more Guantanamo detainees without putting Capitol Hill in the loop.

He warned The Hill that ‘it’s going to be impossible for them to flow prisoners out of Gitmo now without a huge backlash.’

‘There will be people on our side calling for his impeachment if he did that.’

None the four senior congressional leaders who serve as chairmen or ranking minority members on the two intelligence committees were notified. And of the four most senior House and Senate members, only Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid was apparently told about the prisoner exchange ahead of time.

Reid complained Wednesday that Republicans in Congress have blocked Democrats’ attempts to pass a bill closing the Guantanamo Bay prison for good.

Graham countered that he has added language to the pending defense authorization bill – the successor to the 2013 legislation that included the 30-day notification rule – forbidding Congress from closing Guantanamo without a public up-or-down vote.

Shutting down the facility would still require a decision about where to relocated the remaining detainees, whose reported number is now 149.

Graham also said his legislative language would deny the Defense Department the option of sending any of them to Yemen, a small Arab nation that has served as a crossroads for al-Qaeda and other Islamist terror groups to train together and cross-pollinate their missions and tactics.

Liberal advocacy groups have leaped for joy at the prospect of closing the facility.

Ken Gude of the Center for American Progress told Politico that the Bergdahl case marks ‘the first time’ the Obama White House has ‘followed through on their repeated separation-of-powers objections to the transfer restrictions. Hopefully, [there’s] more to come.’

‘The Obama administration’s backbone on Gitmo and assertion of its executive branch prerogatives finally seem to have solidified,’ American Civil Liberties Union executive director Anthony Romero added.

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White House Stonewalls Congress In Closed-Door Bergdahl Brief – Washington Free Beacon

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Obama administration officials continued to stonewall Congress about the Taliban prisoner exchange deal during a classified closed-door briefing Wednesday evening in which senior administration officials attempted to justify the White House’s decision to skirt congressional approval of the controversial deal, according to multiple Senate insiders familiar with the briefing.

Obama administration officials attempted to show that there was an imminent threat to the life of released soldier Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl and that this justified President Obama’s decision to release five top Taliban leaders from prison.

Senators were presented with a “proof of life” video from December that showed Bergdahl in Taliban captivity. This video is said to be the sole basis for the administration’s decision to accept the exchange deal, according to Senate insiders.

Obama administration officials, including representatives from the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Department of Defense, did not present any new evidence to justify the deal and stonewalled lawmakers when they asked for concrete information about the exchange, according to those familiar with the brief.

The administration also sought to deflect accusations that Obama broke U.S. law by signing off on the deal without first consulting with Congress.

“There was nothing new that they brought to the table,” said one Senate insider who spoke to the Washington Free Beacon. “It was the typical, ‘We don’t know, we have to get answers, we have to investigate, we don’t know all the facts.’”

“One person described it by saying it’s like Benghazi all over again: A constant stonewall and providing no new information,” added the source.

Questions continue to circulate around the so-called proof of life video that was provided by the Taliban to the State Department in December.

Taliban leaders apparently led the administration to believe that Bergdahl’s condition was rapidly deteriorating, a move that some now describe as a “pressure tactic” to force the White House into making a deal.

While Bergdahl appeared “weaker” and in poor health in the video, there was no solid evidence to show that his life was in imminent danger, according to a second Senate insider familiar with the briefing.

However, the Obama administration is believed to have used this December video as the sole basis for their decision to accept the prisoner exchange deal, taking the Taliban at their word that Bergdahl’s life was in immediate danger due to deteriorating health conditions.

“That video alone was where they made the basis that there was an imminent threat to life,” explained the first Senate insider familiar with the brief.

Administration officials would not give an assessment of Bergdahl’s current status and could not explain why a December video was relied upon to justify the deal.

There was “no new info to indicate a threat to his life to justify why this happened now,” the source said.

The Obama administration is under the impression that “it could cause some sympathy for Bergdahl if the video would be leaked,” according to the second Senate source, who described the briefing as “worthless.”

Bergdahl himself has come under scrutiny for purportedly deserting his war post, leading to a massive search and rescue operation that resulted in the deaths of several other U.S. soldiers.

“Every person who spoke seemed very scripted from the White House,” the source said. Senators “didn’t learn anything new aside from what the administration has leaked to the press.”

Some in attendance at the briefing expressed concern that the administration is attempting to closely control the narrative by leaking only select classified details to the press and keeping Congress in the dark.

The White House is “tying congressmen’s hands behind their back by saying you can’t talk about it or provide oversight over it,” said the second Senate source.

There was a broad consensus among senators that the administration wrongly sought to skirt congressional oversight of the deal.

Concerns remain on Capitol Hill that the prisoner swap was the first step to release more prisoners from the Guantanamo Bay prison camp, which the White House hopes to shut down.

Obama has indicated that he seeks to end U.S. war authorization in Afghanistan by the end of 2014, a decision that could pave the way for roughly 100 or so Guantanamo detainees to be released.

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Father Of 1st US Afghanistan Fatality Blasts Prisoner Swap With Taliban – Stars And Stripes

The father of America’s first fatality in Afghanistan denounced the Obama administration for releasing Taliban prisoners that he holds responsible for his son’s death, saying the move was a slap in the face to every American who died in the war against terror.

Johnny “Mike” Spann, part of a CIA paramilitary unit, was killed Nov. 25, 2001 during an uprising by Taliban prisoners near Mazar-e-Sharif a month after President George W. Bush ordered U.S. forces into Afghanistan to punish al-Qaida and its allies for the 9/11 attacks in the United States.

Two of the five Taliban prisoners released last weekend from Guantanamo prison in exchange for Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl were present during the uprising at Qala-i-Jangi prison, according to U.S. documents obtained by The Washington Post. They were Mullah Mohammad Fazl and Mullah Norullah Noori.

Spann’s father, Johnny Spann, told Stars and Stripes that his first reaction to the exchange was “disappointment and disbelief.

“I couldn’t believe what I was hearing,” Spann recalled. “It’s a slap in the face to everybody that’s died in this war on terror… Every American that’s lost their life to the hands of the Taliban and al-Qaida – this is a slap in their face to know that we had five high-powered leaders that we just turned loose.”

Details of the two mullahs’ roles in the uprising have never been publicly spelled out by the U.S.

Nevertheless, Spann, 65, of Winfield, Alabama, is convinced the two were responsible even if they weren’t the ones that pulled the trigger.

“I’m convinced from all the reports and all the information that I have that that was a planned event from the night before, and [the Taliban] knew exactly what they were going to do and when they were going to do it. And I think that those two men were part of it — part of the planning,” he said.

“Everybody that was inside there had a hand in it. Nobody tried to protect Mike’s life — not a single soul in there tried to. Everybody in there was hell-bent on killing Americans… Mike lost his life inside Qala-i-Jangi, and yes, I hold everybody responsible that was inside that prison for Mike’s death… Everybody inside Qala-i-Jangi has blood on their hands and was a part of it,” he said.

Questions about the 2001 uprising have been raised again since the release of Bergdahl, 28, of Hailey, Idaho.

Bergdahl went missing in June 2009 in Paktika province in southeastern Afghanistan while serving with a unit of the 25th Infantry Division from Fort Richardson, Alaska.

Some former members of Bergdahl’s unit have accused him of deserting and that American lives were lost looking for him.

Bergdahl is currently at the Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany, where he was sent soon after his release.

Spann is withholding judgment on Bergdahl for now. But even if Bergdahl wasn’t a deserter, Spann thinks the trade wasn’t worth it.

“I see no equality in what was traded for Bergdahl. I don’t see no equality as far as value there,” Spann said. “I mean [the detainees] were very valuable to us as far as they were responsible for a lot of American lives… They weren’t the average Joe out there carrying a rifle on the battlefield. They were leaders. They were the people that were planning things.”

Obama has defended his decision, saying America had a “sacred duty” to ensure that no U.S. servicemember was left behind on the battlefield.

Spann thinks the U.S. government should try to get American prisoners of war freed, but he says the Taliban can’t be dealt with like a normal enemy at the end of a conflict.

“Certainly the U.S. needs to always work for the release of those [American] prisoners,” Spann said. “If we knew that we were making a deal with a responsible group of people and we knew that they were going to lay down their arms and they were not going to continue to try to kill Americans, then you might consider that to some extent. But now, we don’t have any agreement like that in this war with al-Qaeda and the Taliban. This war on terror is nowhere near over.”

Spann also thinks the swap sends the wrong signal and will put more Americans in danger.

“[Our enemies] know that they can get an American and they can hold them hostage, and at some point we’ll trade,” he said.

Still, Spann can sympathize with Bergdahl’s parents, who have made a high-profile effort to push for their son’s release. They appeared next to Obama in the Rose Garden on Saturday after Obama announced the swap.

“If it was my son, would I want him home? Why yeah. But… that’s a reason that parents and kin folks can’t be on the jury and they can’t be the judge because they would be biased… You can ask a parent, ‘Well, if that was your son, would you want him home?’ Well, of course I’d want him home. But if your son committed murder, would you still want him home? Yeah, the majority of the people [you asked] would want him to not go to jail… But that’s not the way this system works. They’re not the judge, and your kin folks don’t get to decide that,” Spann said.

Spann thinks Obama doesn’t understand the raw emotions people in his position feel.

“I’d almost bet you that if one of President Obama’s children had been killed in this war or on 9/11, he would have a different reflection and a different attitude as far as any leniency that he would give to al-Qaida and Taliban leaders who have been active in the death of Americans,” he said.

Spann thinks about Mike and the 9/11 attacks all the time.

“I’ve got a big picture in the front of my office of the towers smoking and falling with the airplane sticking out of it. Every day I see that. I’ve got several pictures of my son throughout my office. So it’s constantly on my mind that I remember him and I remember those people that died on 9/11, because when I walk into the front door, the first thing I see is that photo of the towers,” he said. “[My] disbelief is we would give five people back that were instrumental… in the deaths of thousands of American people all the way back to 9/11.”

Spann thinks the released detainees will try to kill more Americans, and he mocks the Obama administration’s assurances that measures are in place to prevent them from doing that.

“I don’t think any responsible American will look at this situation and think that they’re going to go to Qatar [where they’ll spend the next year under the supervision of the Qatari government] and Qatar is going to keep them under some kind of security measures where they’re not going to be able to have any kind of influence on the Talban and al-Qaida movements throughout the world. I just don’t believe that… I just don’t think they were rehabilitated. I think that’s sort of a joke for us to think that or even suppose that they have been. And I think they’ll be out there costing more American lives or more American deaths,” he said.

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Wife Of Disabled Veteran Supposedly Wounded In Bergdahl Search Breaks Silence With Powerful Message – Independent Journal Review

On Monday, Shannon Allen, wife of disabled Afghanistan veteran Sgt. 1st Class Mark Allen, took to social media to voice her personal concerns on the idea that Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl is a hero. Sgt 1st Class Mark Allen was severely wounded while supposedly searching for Bergdahl during a firefight in Kabul, when sniper fire pierced the armor on his helmet and passed through the frontal lobe of his brain.

Shannon posted this image on Facebook with the caption:

“Meet my husband, injuries directly brought to you by the actions of this traitor. He can’t give an account of what went down, because he can no longer speak. Now, which guy is a ‘hero’ again?!? Sick.”

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The lengths to which our service members are willing to go to leave no man behind are boundless.

As more information continues to develop surrounding #Bergdahlgate, one thing is for certain: there are many questions left to be answered. When all is said and done, we can only hope the right judgement call is made.

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*VIDEOS* Your Daley Gator ‘Has Barack Obama Been Impeached Yet?’ Bowe Bergdahl News Roundup



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Your Daley Gator Bowe Bergdahl/Taliban Prisoner Exchange News Roundup (Videos)

Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl Exchanged For top 5 Taliban Commanders At Gitmo – Long War Journal

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The US government announced today that Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, who was held by the Taliban since 2009, has been released. Bergdahl was exchanged for the top five Taliban commanders held at Guantanamo. The Taliban detainees are reportedly being transferred to Qatar, which helped broker the deal.

The Taliban has long sought freedom for the “Gitmo Five,” all of whom are experienced jihadists and helped run the Taliban’s operations in pre-9/11 Afghanistan. They served in various military and intelligence roles.

All five of the detainees were deemed “high” risks to the US and its allies by Joint Task Force Guantanamo (JTF-GTMO). Two of the five, according to files prepared at Guantanamo, have been wanted by the UN for war crimes.

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One of them served as a key intermediary between the Iranian regime and the Taliban after 9/11. During meetings between these two former foes, the Iranians pledged to assist the Taliban in its war against the US.

The Obama administration has long sought to coax the Taliban into meaningful peace talks, which have thus far been fruitless. The Taliban has demanded that the “Gitmo Five” be released before those talks move forward.

A key goal of those talks is to get the Taliban to renounce al Qaeda, something Mullah Omar’s group has declined to do. It is difficult to see how the prisoner swap helps to achieve that goal. All five of the now ex-Gitmo detainees were closely allied with al Qaeda prior to their detention. And Bergdahl was initially captured by members of the Haqqani Network, which remains one of al Qaeda’s strongest allies to this day.

The Long War Journal has published extensive profiles of the five former Guantanamo detainees previously. See LWJ reports: Iran and the Taliban, allies against America; Afghan peace council reportedly seeks talks with Taliban commanders held at Gitmo; DC district court denies former Taliban governor’s habeas petition; Taliban seek freedom for dangerous Guantanamo detainees; and Afghan Taliban announces new ‘political office’ in Qatar.

The profiles below, which are based on declassified and leaked documents, are culled from these previous accounts.

Abdul Haq Wasiq (Internment Serial Number 4), senior Taliban intelligence official

Abdul Haq Wasiq, a former Taliban intelligence official, “had direct access to Taliban and Hezb-e-Islami Gulbuddin (HIG) leadership,” according to a leaked JTF-GTMO threat assessment. Wasiq “was central to the Taliban’s efforts to form alliances with other Islamic fundamentalist groups to fight alongside the Taliban against US and Coalition forces after the 11 September 2001 attacks.”

JTF-GTMO concluded that Wasiq “utilized his office to support al Qaeda and to assist Taliban personnel elude capture” in late 2001. Wasiq also “arranged for al Qaeda personnel to train Taliban intelligence staff in intelligence methods.”

Al Qaeda’s training of Taliban operatives, arranged by Wasiq, was reportedly conducted by Hamza Zubayr, a terrorist who was formerly an instructor at one of al Qaeda’s most important training camps. Zubayr was killed during the same September 2002 raid that netted 9/11 facilitator Ramzi Binalshibh. The assistance from Zubayr was crucially important to the Taliban’s intelligence efforts, according to the JTF-GTMO file, because many of the administrators in the Taliban Ministry of Intelligence “had no prior intelligence background.”

Mullah Norullah Noori (ISN 6), senior Taliban military commander

Another leaked JTF-GTMO file described Noori as a “senior Taliban military commander” who was engaged in hostilities “against US and Coalition forces in late 2001.” Noori is “wanted by the United Nations (UN) for possible war crimes including the murder of thousands of Shiite Muslims.”

When the JTF-GTMO threat assessment for Noori was authored in February 2008, his brother was still active in the fight against the Coalition. Noori’s “brother is a Taliban commander directing operations against US and Coalition forces in Zabul Province.” Noori himself “remained a significant figure to Taliban supporters” even after his capture.

In addition to his ties to Mullah Omar and other senior Taliban leaders, Noori was “associated with…senior al Qaeda members and other extremist organizations.”

Declassified memos authored at Guantanamo provide more details about Noori’s al Qaeda ties. Noori “fought alongside al Qaeda as a Taliban military general, against the Northern Alliance” in September 1995. Noori also “hosted al Qaeda commanders” and “met a subordinate of Osama bin Laden to pass a message from the Taliban supreme leader” – that is, a message from Mullah Omar.

Mullah Mohammad Fazl (ISN 7), Taliban deputy minister of defense

Mullah Mohammad Fazl was one of the Taliban’s most experienced commanders prior to his capture in November 2001. Like Noori, according to another leaked JTF-GTMO file, Fazl is “wanted by the UN for possible war crimes including the murder of thousands of Shiites.” Fazl “was associated with terrorist groups currently opposing U.S. and Coalition forces including al Qaeda, Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU), Hezb-e-Islami Gulbuddin (HIG), and an Anti-Coalition Militia group known as Harakat-i-Inqilab-i-Islami.”

Fazl had “operational associations with significant al Qaeda and other extremist personnel,” according to JTF-GTMO. One of the high-ranking al Qaeda commanders Fazl long cooperated with was Abdel Hadi al Iraqi, who led Osama bin Laden’s Arab 055 Brigade in the Taliban’s Afghanistan. The 055 Brigade was bin Laden’s chief fighting force and served alongside Taliban units.

Immediately “following the assassination of Northern Alliance commander Ahmad Shah Massoud in September 2001,” al Iraqi explained to US officials, “the Northern Alliance was demoralized” and he met with Fazl to “coordinate an attack with the Taliban against the Northern Alliance.”

Prior to his detention, Fazl “wielded considerable influence throughout the northern region of Afghanistan and his influence continued after his capture.” Fazl’s “name and capture have been used in recruiting campaigns by the Taliban.”

“If released,” JTF-GTMO warned in a February 2008 memo, Fazl “would likely rejoin the Taliban and establish ties with [Anti-Coalition Militia] elements participating in hostilities against U.S. and Coalition forces in Afghanistan.”

Mullah Khairullah Khairkhwa (ISN 579), former governor of Herat province

Khairkhwa was one of Mullah Omar’s closest confidantes prior to his capture. According to a JTF-GTMO file, Khairkhwa “was directly associated” with both Osama bin Laden and Mullah Omar. “Following the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks,” the leaked JTF-GTMO file reads, Khairkhwa “represented the Taliban during meetings with Iranian officials seeking to support hostilities against US and Coalition Forces.” In June 2011, a DC district court denied Khairkhwa’s petition for a writ of habeas corpus, based in large part on his admitted role in brokering the Taliban’s post-9/11 deal with the Iranians. [See LWJ report, DC district court denies former Taliban governor’s habeas petition.]

As the governor of Afghanistan’s western Herat province, Khairkhwa and “his deputy were probably associated with a militant training camp in Herat operated by deceased al Qaeda commander (in Iraq) Abu Musab al Zarqawi.”

In declassified memos prepared at Guantanamo, US officials alleged that Khairkhwa became a major drug trafficker as well. Khairkhwa reportedly built three walled compounds that he used to manage his opium trade. And he allegedly oversaw one of Osama bin Laden’s training facilities in Herat, too. One US government memo noted that only Khairkhwa or bin Laden himself “could authorize entrance” to the facility, which was one of bin Laden’s “most important bases” and “conducted terrorist training two times per week.”

Mohammad Nabi Omari (ISN 832), senior Taliban leader who served multiple roles

In a leaked memo dated Jan. 23, 2008, JTF-GTMO analysts recommended that Nabi be held in “continued detention” by the Defense Department. Nabi “was a senior Taliban official who served in multiple leadership roles,” according to JTF-GTMO. Nabi “had strong operational ties to Anti-Coalition Militia (ACM) groups including al Qaeda, the Taliban, the Haqqani Network, and the Hezb-e-Islami Gulbuddin (HIG), some of whom remain active in ACM activities.”

Intelligence reports cited by JTF-GTMO indicate that Nabi was a “member of a joint al Qaeda/Taliban ACM cell in Khowst and was involved in attacks against US and Coalition forces.” Nabi also “maintained weapons caches and facilitated the smuggling of fighters and weapons.”

Prior to the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, Nabi worked for the Taliban’s border security and in this capacity had “access to senior Taliban commander and leader of the Haqqani Network, Jalaluddin Haqqani.” Haqqani was the Taliban Minister of Frontiers and Borders at the time and this is what gave Nabi the opportunity to become Haqqani’s “close associate,” according to JTF-GTMO.

One “sensitive contact” told authorities that Nabi was one of “three former Taliban commanders loyal to Haqqani.” The other two are Nabi’s brother-in-law, Malim Jan, and Gul Majid. The three worked under still another Taliban commander, Zakim Khan.

Malim Jan was nicknamed the “Butcher of Khowst” for his reported role in murdering 300 people there. Jan was a sub-commander under Haqqani and the head of a “Secret Police” unit.

Intelligence reports cited by JTF-GTMO indicate that Malim Jan, Gul Majid, and Zakim Khan were all still active in the insurgency in Afghanistan as of late 2007.

A “sensitive contact” told authorities that Nabi participated in a Jan. 26, 2002 “planning session to identify a new Governor of Khowst and to propose a list of members for the Khowst City Shura Council loyal to Haqqani.” Several other high-level Taliban and Haqqani officials attended the meeting. One of them “directed the group to reconvene after members discussed names with al Qaeda members in their provinces.” The leaked JTF-GTMO memo notes: “The plan was to have all personnel identified and vetted to prepare for future al Qaeda control of the area under Jalaluddin Haqqani.”

Beginning in February 2002, according to another intelligence report cited by JTF-GTMO, Nabi and “three al Qaeda affiliated individuals held weekly meetings to discuss ACM plans and to coordinate Haqqani loyalists.”

Then, in July 2002, an “Afghan government employee” reported that Nabi had joined “a new Khowst province ACM cell comprised of Taliban and al Qaeda commanders who had operated independently in the past.” The list of cell members provided by this source included not only Taliban and al Qaeda leaders, but also individuals affiliated with the HIG and the Haqqani Network.

The JTF-GTMO file includes an intriguing detail about one member of Nabi’s cell – a Haqqani money courier named Malik Khan. “Ayman al Zawahiri, the number two leader of al Qaeda” at the time, and now al Qaeda’s emir, “has stayed at Khan’s compound located outside Miram Shah,” Pakistan.

In August 2002, Nabi reportedly helped two al Qaeda operatives smuggle “an unknown number of missiles along the highway between Jalalabad and Peshawar,” Pakistan. The missiles were smuggled in pieces, with the intent of rebuilding them for attacks near the Jalalabad airport. On Aug. 28, 2002, JTF-GTMO analysts noted, “two Americans were killed during attacks against the Khowst, Gardez, and Jalalabad airports.”

Nabi was captured in September 2002, detained at Bagram, and then transferred to Guantanamo. It was the end, temporarily at least, to a career that started in the 1980s when Nabi first fought as a mujahideen against the Soviets.

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GOP Lawmakers: Obama Broke The Law With Taliban Prisoner Swap – Business Insider

Two Republican lawmakers on Saturday accused President Barack Obama of breaking the law by approving the release of five Afghan detainees held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, in exchange for a U.S. soldier believed held by Islamist insurgents for five years.

The White House agreed that actions were taken in spite of legal requirements and cited “unique and exigent circumstances” as justification.

Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, 28, of Hailey, Idaho, was handed over to U.S. special operations forces by the Taliban. In return, five Afghans who were held at a U.S. detention facility in Cuba were released to the custody of the government of Qatar, which served as a go-between in negotiations for the trade.

Rep. Howard “Buck” McKeon of California and Sen. James Inhofe of Oklahoma said in a statement that Obama is required by law to notify Congress 30 days before any terrorists are transferred from the U.S. facility. They said Obama also is required to explain how the threat posed by such terrorists has been substantially mitigated.

McKeon is chairman of the House Armed Services Committee. Inhofe is the top Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee.

In response, the White House said it moved as quickly as possible given the opportunity that arose to secure Bergdahl’s release. Citing “these unique and exigent circumstances,” the White House said a decision was made to go ahead with the transfer despite the legal requirement of 30 days advance notice to Congress.

While saying they celebrate Bergdahl’s release, McKeon and Inhofe warned that the exchange “may have consequences for the rest of our forces and all Americans.”

“Our terrorist adversaries now have a strong incentive to capture Americans. That incentive will put our forces in Afghanistan and around the world at even greater risk,” they said.

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American Soldier Who Served With Freed POW Casts Doubt On Official Story; Fears Reprisal From Obama Administration – Independent Journal Review

Early Saturday it was announced by the administration that the only American prisoner of war in Afghanistan was released in exchange for 5 Guantanamo Bay terrorists being set free to Qatar. [Explicit language below.]

The circumstances of the capture of Bowe Bergdahl had been in question long before his release – supposedly he had wandered off and captured by the Taliban.

But a soldier on Twitter is claiming that the official story is untrue, and has posted his version of the events that led to Bowe’s capture as I originally posted on my blog.

Towards the end of his story, he says he fears reprisal from the Obama administration, and asks for legal help. It must be noted also that he has a avatar that bears a picture of Bowe with the word “traitor” posted over it.

After stating that “F[***] what you heard. I was there.,” HERE are the tweets telling his version of the story so far.

Cody seems to come under attack from people threatening to make him suffer for simply putting out his view of what happened. We do not have independent corroboration of his serving with Bergdahl, but many others have questioned the official story before Cody.

It should also be alarming to Americans that Bergdah’s dad seems to have deleted a tweet in sympathy with the Taliban. So what’s the real story here?

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Flashback: A reminder About Bowe Bergdahl’s Desertion Problem – Michelle Malkin

While many people jumped aboard the Bowe Bergdahl bandwagon, I was not one of them. His release today in exchange for five Taliban commanders who had been in custody at Gitmo underscores troubling questions that have persisted since his alleged abduction.

Longtime readers will recall questions raised here about the circumstances of Bergdahl’s disappearance. Here’s a flashback from my July 20, 2009 blog post:

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My prayers are with the family of Pfc. Bowe Bergdahl, the U.S. soldier seen on the Taliban abduction video released this weekend. The Jawa Report has the full clip.

All Americans should hope and pray for his release from jihadi custody.

There’s one question I have, though, about strange details initially reported on the case – details which have been deleted from later wire dispatches. Read:

The circumstances of Bergdahl’s capture weren’t clear.

On July 2, two U.S. officials told the AP the soldier had “just walked off” his base with three Afghans after his shift. He had no body armor or weapon and they said they had no explanation for why he left. The officials spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the case.

On July 6, the Taliban claimed on their Web site that five days earlier “a drunken American soldier had come out of his garrison” and was captured by mujahadeen.

In the video, Pfc. Bergdahl said he was lagging behind a patrol when he was captured.

Details of such incidents are routinely held very tightly by the military as it works to retrieve a missing or captured soldier without giving away any information to captors.

The question is: Which account is accurate?

The first account strongly suggests desertion, a la Wassef Ali Hassoun.

The second account might provide an explanation for why Pfc. Bergdahl had no armor or weapon on him when captured.

The third account is totally at odds with the other two.

Follow-up questions:

Were the AP’s sources mistaken?

Did the AP botch the reporting?

Or is the disturbing first account the right one? Knowing, as the AP pointed out, that “[d]etails of such incidents are routinely held very tightly by the military,” wouldn’t the two U.S. officials have been extremely careful in passing on such sensitive details to the media on July 2?

And what about the “three Afghans” that Pfc. Bergdahl reportedly “just walked off” with after his shift?

Who are they?

Did they have security clearances at the base?

Did any or all of them work as translators?

Are they still missing?

Did one of them serve as the English-speaking questioner on the Taliban video?

Is anyone else puzzled by the completely conflicting stories? Will the Associated Press explain them?

What’s going on?

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More strangeness via the Oregonian blog:

Kim Harrison Dellacorva, who moved from Idaho last fall and lives in the Pearl District of Northwest Portland…is listed on military documents as Bergdahl’s godmother. She ran the extracurricular performing arts school in Ketchum that Bergdahl attended.

A military casualty assistance officer knocked on Dellacorva’s door June 30, after Bergdahl was reporting missing from his company’s outpost in Afghanistan’s Paktika province. At the time, nobody knew where he was or what happened to him. The military declined to release his name to the public, although his disappearance was an open secret in Hailey, the Idaho town near Ketchum where Bergdahl’s parents live in a remote canyon.

But over the weekend, his Taliban captors posted a 28-minute video that shows Bergdahl answering questions and eating.

Kim, Shane and Shane’s sister, Kayla Harrison, were relieved to see that Bergdahl is alive. But they say that parts of the video they have seen don’t sound like the Bowe they know.

“The only part that sounded like Bowe was when he said, ‘It’s very unnerving to be a prisoner,’” Kayla Harrison said.

A lot of the other stuff, about relatives and having a girlfriend back home he hoped to marry, sounded completely unnatural, the Harrisons say. Bergdahl doesn’t have a serious girlfriend, they say.

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This is an indisputable truth:

“The Taliban are using the soldier for propaganda purposes,” said Navy Lt. Robert Carr, a spokesman for U.S. forces in Afghanistan.

Partial transcript of Bergdahl video:

“Please, please bring us home so that we can be back where we belong and not over here wasting our time and our lives and our precious life that we could be using back in our own country.”

“Please bring us home. It is America and the American people that have that power.”

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Update: Lt. Col. Ralph Peters had tough words about Pfc. Bergdahl’s reported desertion yesterday and has a warning for the media:

Partial transcript:

PETERS: On that video, he is collaborating with the enemy. Under duress or not, that’s really not relevant. He’s making accusations about the behavior of the military in Afghanistan that are unfounded, saying there are no rules. He’s lying about how he was captured, saying he lagged behind a patrol.

Julie, I’ll tell you, any 11 Bravo infantryman will tell you, that’s not how it works. In a war zone, any soldier is aware of where all his buddies are. If it’s a night patrol, you’re sure of where the guy in front of you and behind you is. So we know this private is a liar. We’re not sure if he’s a deserter. But the media needs to hit the pause button and NOT portray this guy as a hero…

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Received from a USARPAC soldier this morning:

“Please don’t list my name – I am here in Afghanistan– I know the story and the accounts that he was drunk or that he was lagging behind on patrol are not true– this soldier planned this move for a long time. He walked off the post with a day’s supply of water and had written down before that he wanted to live in the mountains. He has violated the Code of Conduct in his 28 minute speech and he is an e[m]barrassment to everyone who has worn the uniform. He made it to two towns and was asking for water when the locals turned him over to the Taliban. That is really all I can say– since we are still looking for this soldier.”

And from P.J. Tobia:

I’ve been reporting for over a week (along with the AP and WaPo) that Pfc. Bowe Bergdahl, the US soldier who’s gone missing in eastern Afghanistan, walked off the base on his own accord.

Now, somebody close to the people searching for Bergdahl has repeated this assertion saying that the soldier left “a note behind that said he was going to the mountains to find himself. He took a journal and 4 or 5 knives with him.” My source tells me that Bergdahl arrived at a village and asked if anybody spoke English. That’s when he was captured.

My source tells me that there is no doubt Bergdahl deserted, which in a time of war is punishable by a court martial at the least, or even execution.

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More: Is Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl a hero or a deserter?

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‘God Will Repay’: Did Sgt. Bergdahl’s Dad Delete Disturbing Tweet About Fight To Free Gitmo Prisoners? – The Blaze

Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, believed to have been in Taliban captivity since 2009, was released Saturday in exchange for five Guantanamo Bay detainees.

But the tale seems to be far from a cut-and-dried story of Americans refusing to leave one of their own behind.

A tweet sent earlier this week from an account that appears to be that of Bergdahl’s father said he was “still working to free all Guantanamo prisoners.”

The tweet has since been deleted.

The Twitter account is not verified, but the account’s activity level is high and contains numerous tweets about Afghanistan, POWs and Islam.

The tweets are just the latest elements in the mix of uncertain details surrounding Bergdahl’s release.

President Barack Obama violated the law, high-ranking Republicans are saying, because he failed to notify Congress 30 days ahead of the prisoner exchange.

The circumstances surrounding Bergdahl’s captivity are strange, as the soldier had sent his parents emails shortly before he went missing saying how he was disillusioned with the war and “ashamed to even be an American.”

Bergdahl was listed first as “duty status unknown” when he went missing, and debate continues over whether he was truly captured or whether he may have deserted.

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Another Disastrous Susan Rice Interview: Obama Did Not Negotiate With Terrorists for Bergdahl’s Release – Gateway Pundit

Another disastrous interview by dunce Susan Rice

When asked this morning on CNN’s State of the Union if the US negotiated with terrorists for the release of Sgt. Bowe Berdahl, Susan Rice would not answer.

When asked point blank she replied, “I wouldn’t put it that way.”

Rice went on to say the Obama administration was actually negotiating with the government of Qatar… Not the Taliban.

Wow!

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Taliban Gloats Over Jihad Victory – Daily Caller

Taliban leaders claimed a jihadi victory following President Barack Obama’s decision to release five of their top leaders held at Guantanamo Bay, in exchange for one U.S soldier who walked off his base in 2009.

The five leaders were “released due to the benevolence of Allah Almighty and the sacrifices of the heroic and courageous Mujahidin of the Islamic Emirate,” which is formal name of the Taliban’s movement, said the June 1 statement.

Obama described the trade as a “recovery” of the U.S. soldier. But the Taliban’s press release described it as a trade.

“To get the preceding five heads released, it is worth mentioning that the Islamic Emirate handed over the American soldier to the US government who was captive with us approximately for the last five years,” read the statement.

On May 30, the Taliban promised to continue its jihad until all U.S. forces are out of Afghanistan.

“The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan has explicitly manifested its stance on behalf of its pious masses about the US occupation i.e. even the presence of a single American soldier inside Afghanistan is unacceptable for our nation and masses,” the statement continued.

“Jihad is obligatory against them and our people will continue their legitimate resistance and Jihad against them,” it added.

The Taliban also gloated over Obama’s deicsion to retreat from Afghanistan in 2016.

In 2001, “we had told the Americans that they will not benefit from this felony, rather it will increase their miseries. But they did not pay any heed and now they are not only stuck into the longest and humiliating war of their history but also internationally their foes are increased; their military, political and economic majesty and supremacy are demolished; rather their decline and deterioration started from the start of this futile war,” said the May 30 statement.

The Taliban also reiterated the demand that all of their imprisoned jihadis be released.

“The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan is determined to get all the Mujahidin prisoners released as soon as possible,” read the June 1 statement.

The Taliban said they expect Western legal groups, such as ACLU, to help in their campaign.

“In this regard, we expect all the legal and human rights societies particularly the United Nations to share and accelerate their efforts with Afghan people and the Islamic Emirate on the basis of human sympathy so that all the incarcerated people are freed and their basic legal and human rights are safeguarded and they could lead an independent and peaceful life of their own accord,” said the statement.

Click HERE For Rest Of Story

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Your Daley Gator Obamacare Nightmare News Roundup

O-Care Premiums To Skyrocket – The Hill

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Health industry officials say ObamaCare-related premiums will double in some parts of the country, countering claims recently made by the administration.

The expected rate hikes will be announced in the coming months amid an intense election year, when control of the Senate is up for grabs. The sticker shock would likely bolster the GOP’s prospects in November and hamper ObamaCare insurance enrollment efforts in 2015.

The industry complaints come less than a week after Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius sought to downplay concerns about rising premiums in the healthcare sector. She told lawmakers rates would increase in 2015 but grow more slowly than in the past.

“The increases are far less significant than what they were prior to the Affordable Care Act,” the secretary said in testimony before the House Ways and Means Committee.

Her comment baffled insurance officials, who said it runs counter to the industry’s consensus about next year.

“It’s pretty shortsighted because I think everybody knows that the way the exchange has rolled out… is going to lead to higher costs,” said one senior insurance executive who requested anonymity.

The insurance official, who hails from a populous swing state, said his company expects to triple its rates next year on the ObamaCare exchange.

The hikes are expected to vary substantially by region, state and carrier.

Areas of the country with older, sicker or smaller populations are likely to be hit hardest, while others might not see substantial increases at all.

Several major companies have been bullish on the healthcare law as a growth opportunity. With investors, especially, the firms downplay the consequences of more older, sicker enrollees in the risk pool.

Much will depend on how firms are coping with the healthcare law’s raft of new fees and regulatory restrictions, according to another industry official.

Some insurers initially underpriced their policies to begin with, expecting to raise rates in the second year.

Others, especially in larger states, will continue to hold rates low in order to remain competitive.
After this story was published, the administration pointed to some independent analyses that have cast doubt on whether the current mix of enrollees will lead to premium hikes.

ObamaCare also includes several programs designed to ease the transition and stave off premium increases. Reinsurance, for example, will send payments to insurers to help shoulder the cost of covering sick patients.

But insurance officials are quick to emphasize that any spikes would be a consequence of delays and changes in ObamaCare’s rollout.

They point out that the administration, after a massive public outcry, eased their policies to allow people to keep their old health plans. That kept some healthy people in place, instead of making them jump into the new exchanges.

Federal health officials have also limited the amount of money the government can spend to help insurers cover the cost of new, sick patients.

Perhaps most important, insurers have been disappointed that young people only make up about one-quarter of the enrollees in plans through the insurance exchanges, according to public figures that were released earlier this year. That ratio might change in the weeks ahead because the administration anticipates many more people in their 20s and 30s will sign up close to the March 31 enrollment deadline. Many insurers, however, don’t share that optimism.

These factors will have the unintended consequence of raising rates, sources said.

“We’re exasperated,” said the senior insurance official. “All of these major delays on very significant portions of the law are going to change what it’s going to cost.”

“My gut tells me that, for some people, these increases will be significant,” said Bill Hoagland, a former executive at Cigna and current senior vice president at the Bipartisan Policy Center.

Hoagland said Sebelius was seeking to “soften up the American public” to the likelihood that premiums will rise, despite promises to the contrary.

Republicans frequently highlight President Obama’s promise on the campaign trail to enact a healthcare law that would “cut the cost of a typical family’s premium by up to $2,500 a year.”

“They’re going to have to backpedal on that,” said Hoagland, who called Sebelius’s comment a “pre-emptive strike.”

“This was her way of getting out in front of it,” he added.

HHS didn’t comment for this article.

Insurers will begin the process this spring by filing their rate proposals with state officials.

Insurance commissioners will then release the rates sometime this summer, usually when they’re approved. Insurers could also leak their rates earlier as a political statement.

In some states, commissioners have the authority to deny certain rate increases, which could help prevent the most drastic hikes.

Either way, there will be a slew of bad headlines for the Obama administration just months before the election.

“It’s pretty bad timing,” said one insurance official.

Other health experts say predictions about premiums are premature.

David Cutler, who has been called an architect of Obama-Care, said, “Health premiums increase every year, so the odds are very good that they will increase next year as well. None of that is news. The question is whether it will be a lot or a little. That depends in part on how big the insurers think the exchanges will be.”

Jon Gruber, who also helped design the Affordable Care Act, said, “The bottom line is that we just don’t know. Premiums were rising 7 to 10 percent a year before the law. So the question is whether we will see a continuation of that sort of single digit increase, as Sebelius said, or whether it will be larger.”

The White House and its allies have launched a full-court press to encourage healthy millennials to purchase coverage on the marketplaces.

HHS announced this week that sign-ups have exceeded 5 million, a marked increase since March 1.

White House press secretary Jay Carney on Tuesday claimed the administration has picked up the pace considerably, saying months ago reporters would have laughed if he “had said there would be 5 million enrollees by March 18.”

It remains unclear how many of those enrollees lost their insurance last year because of the law’s mandates. Critics have also raised questions about how the administration is counting people who signed up for insurance plans.

Political operatives will be watching premium increases this summer, most notably in states where there are contested Senate races.

In Iowa, which hosts the first presidential caucus in the nation and has a competitive Senate race this year, rates are expected to rise 100 percent on the exchange and by double digits on the larger, employer-based market, according to a recent article in the Business Record.

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AP: Best Cancer Hospitals ‘Off-Limits’ To O-Care – Sweetness & Light

From a suddenly ‘concerned’ Associated Press:

Concerns about cancer centers under health law

By RICARDO ALONSO-ZALDIVAR | March 18, 2014

WASHINGTON (AP) – Some of America’s best cancer hospitals are off-limits to many of the people now signing up for coverage under the nation’s new health care program. Doctors and administrators say they’re concerned. So are some state insurance regulators.

With that missing Malaysian airliner getting all of the news media’s attention, the AP must think it is safe to finally get around to reporting on how the better hospitals are refusing to take Obama-Care.

An Associated Press survey found examples coast to coast. Seattle Cancer Care Alliance is excluded by five out of eight insurers in Washington’s insurance exchange. MD Anderson Cancer Center says it’s in less than half of the plans in the Houston area. Memorial Sloan-Kettering is included by two of nine insurers in New York City and has out-of-network agreements with two more.

In all, only four of 19 nationally recognized comprehensive cancer centers that responded to AP’s survey said patients have access through all the insurance companies in their states’ exchanges…

Those patients may not be able get the most advanced treatment, including clinical trials of new medications…

Tough toe nails. This is social justice. Not real justice, or even fairness.

To keep premiums low, insurers have designed narrow networks of hospitals and doctors. The government-subsidized private plans on the exchanges typically offer less choice than Medicare or employer plans.

Less choice than Medicare? How wonderful. But choice only matters when it comes to getting an abortion, anyway.

By not including a top cancer center an insurer can cut costs. It may also shield itself from risk, delivering an implicit message to cancer survivors or people with a strong family history of the disease that they should look elsewhere…

Still, look on the bright side. Thanks to Obama-Care you can get a ‘free’ sex change operation. And ‘free’ birth control pills.

After all, it’s not like people buy health insurance to get cancer treatment.

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Obama Making Last Ditch Effort To Shame Youth Into Obamacare – Big Government

Obamacare does not have enough young people paying into the system to keep it all from collapsing. So President Obama is making a last ditch effort to shame America’s youth into signing up for Obamacare in these last weeks before the deadline hits.

The President appeared on Ryan Seacrest’s radio show to urge young people to hurry up and get signed on with Obamacare before the March 31 deadline. Fittingly, the very next day after the deadline is April 1, known across the nation as April Fools Day.

On Seacrest’s show, Obama scolded young people for not signing up in sufficient numbers and warned them that if they don’t come out and support him, he’ll have to fine them.

“If you can afford it–you just decide you don’t want to get it because your attitude is ‘nothing’s ever going to happen to me’–then you’ll be charged a penalty,” he told Seacrest.

The President is desperate to get more people under 35 years of age to sign up because it is that age group who will be footing the bills for Obamacare. Millions of young, healthy people who won’t be using the coverage any time soon are need to pay into the system so that the older generation can pull money out without bankrupting the whole thing.

The Obama administration has estimated that it needs some 38 percent of those enrolled and paying premiums to be made up of the important age demographic. Unfortunately for Obama, only about 27 percent of those signed up thus far fit into that age demo.

Experts warn that unless more young people sign up, the current premiums will have to go up for everyone in order to compensate for the lopsided statistics.

Obama is already under fire for his years of claiming that the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) will actually be affordable. He continually said that premiums would be cheaper than a cell phone bill, but those promises have turned out to be false. And now, if the already high premiums have to go up to compensate for a lack of young enrollees, that lie will only grow in stature.

Speaking of his faltering “cell phone bill” analogy, recently, the President drew criticism when he told a Latino audience at a Spanish language townhall that they should cancel their cell phones and cable bills so that they could pay their expensive new Obamacare premiums.

Finally, Healthcare.gov launched its own scolding campaign with a new ad featuring a stern looking mother figure warning kids that they’d better get covered – or else!

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Consumer Reports Warns: “Stay Away From Healthcare.gov” – Daily Sheeple

One of America’s most well known and trusted organizations has given potential health care seekers yet another concern over the Patient Affordable Care Act.

According to Consumer Reports the government’s healthcare.gov web site, which is the primary entry point for millions of people needing to sign up for health care plans, is a “mess.”

Citing numerous issues including login problems, non functioning activation emails and a near 97% failure rate for account creation, the consumer watchdog has warned that people should stay away from the site for at least another month.

Frustrated by trying to register on HealthCare.gov? You’re hardly alone. Of the 9.47 million people who tried to register in the first week, only 271,00 were able to create an account, according to one analysis. That’s about 1 in 35. Many people couldn’t even create user names and passwords.

If all this is too much for you to absorb, follow our previous advice: Stay away from Healthcare.gov for at least another month if you can. Hopefully that will be long enough for its software vendors to clean up the mess they’ve made. The coverage available through the marketplaces won’t begin until Jan. 1, 2014, at the earliest, and you have until Dec. 15 to enroll if you need insurance that starts promptly.

Historically, when Consumer Reports issues product warnings manufacturers, distributors and retailers may initiate a product recall, advising consumers of the dangers involved. In a free market involving the free exchange of goods and service Consumer Reports’ warnings are often heeded in an effort to prevent a public relations nightmare and the potential for class-action lawsuits.

In this case, however, the warning involves government mandated services, so the normal rules don’t apply because, frankly, government officials could care less.

In a perfect world we could just issue a recall, take the product of the shelves, and send the promoters to prison for false advertising and consumer endangerment.

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McKinsey: Only 14% Of Obamacare Exchange Sign-Ups Are Previously Uninsured Enrollees – Forbes

The Obama administration has, for months now, been peddling nice-sounding numbers as to how many people are gaining health coverage due to Obamacare. But their numbers have been inflated on two fronts. First, not everyone who has “selected a marketplace plan” under Obamacare has actually paid the required premiums, payment being required to actually gain coverage. Second, only a fraction of people on the exchanges were previously uninsured. A new survey from McKinsey gives us a better view into the real numbers. Of the 3.3 million people that the White House has touted as Obamacare exchange “sign-ups,” less than 500,000 are actual uninsured people who have actually gained health coverage.

Many Obamacare ‘enrollees’ aren’t actually enrolled

McKinsey, the leading management consulting firm, has been conducting monthly surveys of the exchange-eligible population under the auspices of its Center for U.S. Health System Reform. McKinsey’s most recent survey, conducted in February with 2,096 eligible respondents, found that only 48 percent had thus far signed up for a 2014 health plan. Within that 48 percent, three-fifths were previously insured people who liked their old plans and were able to keep them. The remaining two-fifths were the ones who signed up for coverage on the Obamacare exchanges.

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Of the Obamacare sign-ups, only 27 percent had been previously uninsured in 2013. And of the 27 percent, nearly half had yet to pay a premium. (By contrast, among the 73 percent who had been previously insured, 86 percent had paid.)

Put all those percentages together, and you get two key stats. Only 19 percent of those who have paid a premium were previously uninsured. Among those that the administration is touting as sign-ups, only 14 percent are previously uninsured enrollees: approximately 472,000 people as of February 1.

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Those not signing up cited affordability of plans as biggest issue

Here’s an important finding from McKinsey. The authors of the study – Amit Bhardwaj, Erica Coe, Jenny Cordina, and Mahi Rayasam – asked those who decided not to enroll in a plan what their reasons were for doing so. The most frequent reason – cited by 50 percent of respondents – was that “I could not afford to pay the premium.” Only 27 percent cited technical challenges; 14 percent said they couldn’t find a plan that met their needs. 21 percent said they were still deciding.

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This is the biggest problem with the way the “Affordable Care Act” approached coverage expansion. The reason why so many Americans are uninsured is because health insurance in this country is too expensive. Obamacare increases the underlying cost of health insurance, and then uses taxpayer-funded subsidies to offset those costs for some.

AP: 4.7 million Americans have had their plans canceled

Keep in mind another fact: According to the Associated Press, at least 4.7 million Americans who shop for coverage on their own have had their plans canceled because they don’t conform to Obamacare’s regulations. So Obamacare has disrupted the coverage of millions of Americans, requiring many to purchase costlier policies with higher deductibles and narrower doctor networks, for a fairly modest expansion of coverage.

According to the administration, total sign-ups now exceed 4 million. But on a recent HHS conference call, Obamacare implementation point man Gary Cohen was asked the key question: how many of the people who have signed up for Obamacare were previously insured? His response: “That’s not a data point that we are really collecting in any sort of systematic way.”

So. The whole point of Obamacare was to expand coverage to the uninsured. But for the tens of thousands of regulations that the law has imposed on the country, its authors never bothered to try to measure the one thing that they were actually trying to achieve. That about sums it all up.

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Obama To Hispanics: We Won’t Deport Relatives Because You Enroll In ObamaCare – The Hill

President Obama on Tuesday sought to assure legal immigrants that they can sign up for ObamaCare without worrying that “the immigration people” will come for family members who are in the country illegally.

In an interview with Univision Deportes, a Spanish-language sports radio show, Obama said immigration officials won’t have access to the personal information that consumers provide when signing up for healthcare on the new exchanges.

“Well, the main thing for people to know is that any information you get, you know, asked with respect to buying insurance, does not have anything to do with… the rules governing immigration,” Obama said. “And you know, you can qualify if you’re a legal resident, if you are… legally present in the United States.

“You know, if you have a family where some people are citizens or legally here, and others are not documented, the immigration people will never get that information.”

Adolf Falcon, the senior vice president of the National Alliance for Hispanic Health, told The Hill that Hispanic families are wary of Obama’s assurances because of his record on deportations.

“It is a big concern of mixed status families – they hear [the president’s] assurance, but because of the level of deportations that have happened, there’s a lot of families that don’t know whether they can trust that assurance,” he said. “It creates an atmosphere of concern.”

In Obama’s first four years in office, his administration deported people at a faster rate than any of the four previous administrations.

Falcon said his group fields about 4,000 calls a week from potential Hispanic consumers seeking information about the exchanges. He said that a good deal of the callers are asking about mixed-status families, seeking to make sure their applications can’t be used against family members.

For example, a family with a parent who is in the country illegally, and thus not eligible for ObamaCare, will still have to enroll his or her child who is eligible. This provokes fears in the parent that they are leaving themselves exposed.

Obama on Tuesday sought to allay those fears.

“You know, you will qualify, you know, regardless of what your family’s status is,” Obama said. “So, you know, people should not hold back just because they’re in a mixed-family status.”

The White House has said there are 10.2 million uninsured Hispanics eligible for ObamaCare in the country, and about 8.1 million are likely eligible for tax credits. Hispanics have the highest rate of uninsured of any ethnic group in the country.

The federal government doesn’t require consumers to identify their ethnicity when applying for healthcare coverage, but data from some state health exchanges suggest Hispanics are lagging.

The administration has focused intensely on Hispanics in its final enrollment push through initiatives like the Latino Enrollment Week of Action, and in partnership with a broad array of Spanish-language media outlets.

There are a host of other reasons that Hispanics have been slow to enroll – many are gaining coverage for the first time and worry the costs are prohibitive.

Falcon said the enrollment push depended too much on the technology, rather than in-person assistance. The administration has been criticized for the long delay in releasing the Spanish-language ObamaCare website, CuidadoDeSalud.gov, and some have said the final product was sloppy.

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Your Daley Gator Crimean Annexation News Roundup

Masked Forces Storm Ukrainian Navy HQ, Raise Russian Flag and Detain Commander – The Blaze

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Masked Russian-speaking troops on Wednesday seized control of Ukrainian naval headquarters in Crimea after it was stormed by militiamen. Pro-Moscow Crimean authorities also detained the Ukrainian navy commander and reportedly blocked the defense minister and another government official from traveling to the peninsula in what they said was a bid to defuse tensions.

Ukraine’s military, which is heavily outnumbered in Crimea, has come under increased pressure since the region was nominally incorporated into Russia on Tuesday.

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Members of the Crimean pro-Russian self-defense forces climb up to take down a Ukrainian flag, right, and a Ukrainian navy flag, left, at the Ukrainian navy headquarters in Sevastopol, Crimea, Wednesday, March 19, 2014. Crimea’s self-defense forces on Wednesday stormed the Ukrainian navy headquarters in the Black Sea port of Sevastopol, taking possession without resistance a day after Russia signed a treaty with local authorities to annex the region. In center is a Russian flag. (AP Photo/Andrew Lubimov)

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Crimean pro-Russian volunteers in military fatigues line up in a square in front of a statue of Vladimir Lenin, next to the Council of Ministers of Crimea’s building, in Simferopol, on March 14, 2014, two days ahead of the referendum over Crimea’s bid to break away from Ukraine and join Russia. US Secretary of State John Kerry said on March 14 that Russian President Vladimir Putin will make no decision on Ukraine until after Sunday’s referendum on the region of Crimea. AFP PHOTO / DANIEL LEAL OLIVAS AFP/AFP/Getty Images

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Russian soldiers stand guard near Ukranian soldiers walking inside the Ukranian navy headquarters in Simferopol on March 18, 2014. Russia’s Constitutional Court unanimously ruled on March 19, 2014 that President Vladimir Putin acted legally by signing a treaty to make Crimea part of Russia, in an essential step in the Russian legal process towards ratifying the treaty. AFP PHOTO/ Filippo MONTEFORTE

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The several hundred militiamen who captured the base in Sevastopol met no resistance. Sevastopol is also the home port of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet, and tens of thousands of Russian-led troops are now patrolling Crimea.

It came a day after a confrontation between Ukrainian soldiers and pro-Russian militia left two dead.

The Russian-speaking troops, who arrived on the base after the storming, wore helmets, flak jackets and uniforms with no identifying insignia. By afternoon, they were in full control of the naval headquarters, a set of three-story boxy white concrete buildings with blue trim. It was not immediately clear how many, if any, Ukrainian servicemen remained on the base.

Ukraine’s Defense Ministry said no one was injured in the raid, which it said was led by pro-Russian militiamen and Cossacks.

The ministry said in its statement that Rear Adm. Sergei Haiduk was detained by unknown people after the storming of the fleet headquarters. The Russian state ITAR-Tass news agency reported that he was being questioned by Crimean prosecutors.

Ukraine’s defense minister and deputy prime minister had planned to travel to Crimea on Wednesday in what they said was a bid to avert an escalation in hostilities.

The prime minister in Crimea warned after the announcement of their departure that they would be turned back, however.

“They are not welcome in Crimea,” Sergei Aksyonov was quoted as saying by the Interfax news agency. “They will not be allowed to enter Crimea. They will be sent back.”

Interfax later cited Welfare Minister Lyudmila Denisova as saying the officials had been denied entry to Crimea. She said an emergency session of the National Security and Defense Council will held in response.

At the Ukrainian navy headquarters, an Associated Press photographer said the militiamen took down the gate and made their way onto the base. They then raised the Russian flag on the square by the headquarters.

The unarmed militiamen waited for an hour on the square and, following the arrival of the commander of the Russian Black Sea Fleet, they took over the building.

The AP photographer was able to enter the headquarters and saw the militia roaming around while the Ukrainian servicemen were packing up and leaving.

On Tuesday, President Vladimir Putin signed a treaty to incorporate Crimea into Russia following a referendum Sunday in which residents of the region overwhelmingly backed the move.

Jubilant crowds in Moscow and other cities across Russia hailed the annexation, while Ukraine’s new government called Putin a threat to the “civilized world and international security,” and the U.S. and the European Union threatened tougher sanctions against Moscow. On Monday, Washington and Brussels targeted Russian and Crimean officials with visa bans and asset freezes.

Russian news agencies on Wednesday cited Constitutional Court chairman Valery Zorkin as saying the treaty signed by Putin has been ruled valid, thus formally clearing another hurdle for Moscow to annex Crimea. The treaty now only requires ratification by the Russian parliament.

A Ukrainian serviceman and a member of a militia were killed by gunfire in the incident in Crimea on Tuesday.

It is unclear whether the militiaman was a Ukrainian citizen. Although Moscow has insistently denied it has not deployed its own troops in Crimea, people in the peninsula have reported seeing a large number of military vehicles with Russian plates.

Thousands of troops under apparent Russian command took over Crimea two weeks before Sunday’s hastily called referendum, seizing Ukrainian military bases, blockading others and pressuring Ukrainian soldiers to surrender their arms and leave.

Putin insisted Russia’s military presence in Crimea was limited to those stationed under the terms of a treaty with Ukraine that allows Russia to have up to 25,000 troops at its Black Sea fleet base. Ukraine claims that Russia deployed further forces, however, and expressly went against its request for troops to remain confined within their barracks.

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Russia Confiscates Half Of Ukrainian Fleet In Crimea Including Submarine – Gateway Pundit

Twenty Ukrainian ships were confiscated by the Russians.

Unian.net reported:
(Article was translated)

Those ships and vessels, which are now in the Crimea will formally first in the so-called “maritime self-defense force” of the Crimea, and then in the Battle of the Black Sea Fleet of Russia.

Up to 20 warships and support vessels of the Naval Forces of Ukraine (VMSU) may enter into operation in the Black Sea Fleet of Russia, told RIA Novosti Chairman of Russian State Duma Committee on Defense, former Black Sea Fleet commander Admiral Vladimir Komoyedov.

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Biden’s Turn To Warn Russia With A Sternly Worded Statement – Weasel Zippers

I’m sure Russia is riddled with fear.

VILNIUS, Lithuania (AP) – Issuing an outright warning to Moscow, Vice President Joe Biden declared Wednesday the United States will respond to any aggression against its NATO allies, as Russia’s neighbors looked warily to the escalating crisis in nearby Ukraine.

Standing side by side with a pair of Baltic leaders in Vilnius, Lithuania, Biden said the U.S. was “absolutely committed” to defending its allies, adding that President Barack Obama plans to seek concrete commitments from NATO members to ensure the alliance can safeguard its collective security.

In a jab at Russia, he said the U.S. stands resolutely with Baltic states in support of the Ukrainian people against Russian aggression.

“Russia cannot escape the fact that the world is changing and rejecting outright their behavior,” Biden said, after meeting in Vilnius with Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite and Latvian President Andris Berzins.

Biden’s comments came at the close of a two-day trip to Lithuania and Poland with a two-pronged theme: Sending a stern message to Russian President Vladimir Putin that the U.S. won’t abide Russian intervention in Ukraine, and reassuring fretful NATO allies that the U.S. and others will come to their defense if necessary.

“We’re in this with you, together,” Biden said.

Amid the tough talk from Biden and the Baltic leaders, Russia’s annexation of Crimea was increasingly looking like a foregone conclusion.

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Jubilant Putin Urged To Snatch Back Belarus And Kazakhstan As Demonstrations Celebrating Crimea Secession Erupt Across Russia – Daily Mail

Russian politicians and media were last night demanding Vladimir Putin goes further by grabbing back more former Soviet regions and states.

The nationalistic frenzy whipped up by the return of Crimea – in defiance of the West – has led to calls on state-run TV for Moscow to take back oil and gas-rich Kazakhstan and authoritarian Belarus as well as more slices of a battered Ukraine, already filleted by the Kremlin.

Putin was last night riding the crest of an adulatory wave after righting what many Russians see as an historical wrong and reintegrating Crimea and the Black Sea fleet headquarters of Sevastopol back in to Russia after a gap of 60 years.

Senior politicians openly mocked Western sanctions and discounted Putin’s assertion that he did not seek more of Ukraine as long as the West stops seeking sway in his backyard.

The Russian strongman defiantly told a joint session of the Russian parliament that he would not accept NATO ‘next to our home or on our historic territories’.

Accusing the West of hypocrisy in pushing for self-determination for Kosovo but denying Crimea, he said the peninsula had been ‘robbed’ from Russia in Soviet times while ‘regions of Russia’s historic south’ were only now Ukrainian because of a Bolshevik blunder.

In an emotional and historic address he said: ‘In the hearts and minds of people, Crimea has always been and remains an inseparable part of Russia.’

Putin has succeeded in uniting many of his foes behind him but last night it also appeared he had unleashed a tidal wave in favour of more land grabs.

Senior politician Sergei Mironov hailed ‘the great day when the gathering of Russian lands began’.

Sergey Zheleznyak, deputy chairman of lower house, demanded Russian ‘support’ for other Ukrainian regions.

‘We cannot feel calm and happy as long as we realise how our brothers in other regions of Ukraine are suffering,’ he said.

A prime time TV talk show speculated about restoring the sovereign states of Belarus and energy-rich Kazakhstan in a substantial remaking of the Soviet Union, while also calling for the historically Russian cities of Donetsk and Odessa in Ukraine to be returned.

Meanwhile a campaign was underway for the breakaway republic of Transdniestria – in Moldova – to follow Crimea back into the embrace of the Russian bear.

With some parliamentarians in tears during Putin’s historic speech – when he officially welcomed Crimea and Sevastopol back to Russia – only his prime minister Dmitry Medvedev, caught napping during the barnstorming address, failed to join the patriotic fervour punctuated by standing ovations.

Politicians queued up to pour scorn on Western sanctions with deputy speaker Sergey Zheleznyak branding them a ‘kindergarten measure’ and close Putin ally Igor Sechin accusing the U.S. and EU of ‘hysteria’.

Stage-managed patriotic celebrations were marked across Russia’s nine time zones yesterday.

In Moscow, residents were urged by officials to fly Russian flags from their balconies to ‘celebrate’ the return of Crimea.

Ukraine watched helplessly as Putin and Crimean leaders penned an agreement restoring the territory to Russia.

Senior diplomat Yevhen Perebyynis warned: ‘What has made the entire world shudder is the real rebirth of Russian imperialism, for which nothing is sacred, neither internationally recognised borders of sovereign states, nor the rights and freedoms of citizens, nor international obligations.’

Kiev protested that the move ‘has nothing in common with law or democracy or common sense’.

But in a warning to the world, the country’s foreign ministry said: ‘Putin’s address very clearly demonstrates just how real the threat is that Russia poses to international security and international security.’

Ukrainian volunteers were queuing to sign up for a newly-created National Guard amid fears that the threat of invasion from Russia remains, or that Putin will use alleged ‘saboteurs’ to spark riots and political protests in major cities.

Kiev claimed it had uncovered ‘convincing evidence of the participation of Russian special services in organizing unrest in the east of our country.’

Last night it was claimed a Ukrainian naval officer was shot twice in the leg seeking to defend a naval facility from pro-Moscow attack in Crimea.

But Putin insisted: ‘The residents of Crimea and Sevastopol turned to Russia with a request to protect their rights and their lives. We could not have rejected their appeal and left them in trouble.’

He complained that the fall of the USSR left Russia ‘the biggest divided nations in the world’ with millions of compatriots waking up in a foreign country.

In Ukraine, ethnic Russians were undergoing ‘forced assimilation’ in a country where ‘neo-Nazis’ played a key role in decision making.

Western diplomats saw him as using rhetoric which could act as justification for future military adventures to restore other areas of the old USSR.

But Putin told Western leaders to ‘stop the hysteria’ and respect his country’s national interests. ‘They keep trying to drive us into a corner’, and could have grabbed Sevastopol for themselves.

NATO members ‘are great guys, but it’s better for them to come visit us in Sevastopol, than for us to visit them there’.

Crimean clocks are to be switched back two hours later this month, so they tick by Moscow time. Putin ordered three official languages in his new province – Russian, Ukrainian and Crimean Tatar.

The Kremlin last night began pouring roubles into Crimea but was eyeing the seizure of 20 warships in the Ukrainian navy which are stranded here.

Former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev – often seen as a Putin critic – hailed Crimea’s vote to join Russia as a ‘happy event.’

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The British House of Commons Supports Additional Sanctions Against Russia – Washington Free Beacon

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While answering questions in the British House of Commons Prime Minister David Cameron was asked by Opposition Leader Ed Miliband, “Does the Prime Minister agree with me that the referendum was illegal, and in direct violation of the terms Ukrainian constitution? Does he all so share my deep concern following the news that a Ukrainian servicemen were shot and killed at a military base in Crimea yesterday?”

Prime Minster David Cameron responded, “Well the right honorable gentleman is absolutely correct that the referendum in the Crimea was illegitimate and illegal. It was brought together in the 10 days and held at the point after Russian Kalashnikov. This can not be accepted legitimatized by international community.”

When asked if he would support further sanctions on the Russia Federation David Cameron answered:

We said if the Russian Federation did not take part in a contact group with the Ukrainian government to take forward discussions, then asset freezes travel bans should follow. Those have been put in place at the Foreign Affairs Council on Monday. And I believe further action should be taken at the European Council of Ministers which I will take part in on Thursday. I also think we should be responding to the fact of this annexation. That we said that if there was further action to destabilize the Ukraine and this annexation is that action, further consequences need to follow. We need to set that out, on Thursday, in concert with our European partners and at the same time I think we need to put down a very clear warning that if there was further destabilization for instance, going into the eastern Ukraine in any way, then we would move to a position of sorts of economic sanctions that we discussed in The House last week.

Opposition Leader Ed Miliband told Prime Minster Cameron that he would have the full support of the House of Commons to enact, “for the toughest possible diplomatic and economic measures against the Russian Federation given the totally illegitimate actions they have taken.”

Prime Minster David Cameron finished his remarks by indicating he would be open to expelling Russia from the G-8.

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Beaten Obama Turns His Back On The World – Michael Goodwin

The words came out of my mouth before I could stop them. “I feel sorry for Obama,” I said. As my wife looked at me in disbelief, I quickly added a correction. “Well, almost.”

Beset by failures at home and abroad, the president cuts a lonely and sad figure these days. His aura of grief reflects his profound loss.

His worldview crashed headlong into reality, and reality won. Obamaism is dead, may it rest in peace.

That’s sad for him, but hold the tears – his loss is mankind’s hope. If Obama wakes from his utopian visions and faces the truth, there is a fighting chance to reverse America’s slide and keep the peace.

But first, he must come to grips with the historic dimensions of what has happened, and I’m not sure he’s capable of it. The signs aren’t encouraging.

In many ways, Vladimir Putin’s grab of Crimea is as significant as the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan 35 years ago.

Then-President Jimmy Carter quickly understood he had been wrong to trust the Soviets, and shifted to offense. His January 1980, speech was defiant and bold. Compared to Obama’s timid rebukes of Putin, Carter sounded like Churchill rousing Great Britain against Hitler.

Obama is still stuck in the belief that Putin is either crazy, or secretly looking for a way to save face and end the confrontation. He hasn’t accepted Putin for what he is because to do so would mean acknowledging that Obama’s whole approach to international relations has been a mistake.

The world, meaning friend and foe alike, already knows the president is uncomfortable with American power. The result is that his once-magical ability to inspire with words is now an international punch line because they are just words. He promised change and delivered disaster.

From Syria and Iran to North Africa and North Korea, the abdication of American leadership is proving calamitous. And now Putin’s move in Europe demolishes once and for all any illusion that Obama’s election would herald a turning point for mankind. Instead of people the world over beating their swords into plowshares, the 21st century is turning out to be a chaotic and bloody mess.

“The tide of war is receding,” Obama insisted.

Like so many of his pronouncements, he was confusing the ideas in his head with reality. It is not clear if he knows the difference.

The world looks to America, and America looks away. “It it is time to focus on nation-building here at home,” he declared, as though the Earth would take care of itself in a one-big-happy-family kind of way.

It turns out that the committee system is no better at running the global order than it is at running a corner grocery.

Somebody has to take the lead and assume responsibility for success. Somebody has to set the rules and enforce them.

That somebody used to be America, and it is no accident that when America led, the Earth became a better place for more people. The seven decades after World War II marked a historic era of peace and stability around the globe.

As Robert Kagan wrote in “The World America Made,” his 2012 book, “The most important features of today’s world – the great spread of democracy, the prosperity, the prolonged great-power peace – have depended directly and indirectly on power and influence exercised by the United States.”

But the reverse is also true, and that is what we are witnessing today. As Kagan put it, “when American power declines, the institutions and norms American power supports will decline too.”

All is not lost – yet. But Obama must take off his rose-colored glasses and face the facts.

Putin is his most immediate test. The president’s wrist-slap sanctions at a few functionaries were predictably dismissed, and widely regarded as a sign of weakness. That can only embolden the would-be czar.

Even worse was the timing, with talks on Iran’s nuclear program starting again. Bet the farm the mullahs will take their cue from whether Putin pays a serious price for carving up a country.

If he gets away with it, the Iranians won’t even bother to pretend to care what Obama says. Why should they?

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Your Daley Gator Obamacare Nightmare News Roundup

March Madness? Fake ObamaCare Enrollment Numbers – Commentary

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The administration is claiming a limited victory by saying the number of those enrolled in ObamaCare has now hit 5 million with two weeks to go until the March 31 deadline. If accurate, the number does represent a steep increase over the 4.2 million that were said to have signed up at the beginning of the month. At this rate, administration cheerleaders reason, the goal of 7 million enrolled in the Affordable Care Act may yet be reached at some point in the near future, if not quite on time. This burst of enrollments is seen as a vindication of President Obama’s all-out push to promote the law including such questionable activities as appearing on the “Between Two Ferns” web show where he traded barbs with comedian Zach Galifianakis.

But before the president and his team start popping the champagne corks to celebrate their achievement and their faux hipness, it’s time once again to point out that the administration’s Potemkin enrollment figures should be read with a truckload of salt. As the New York Times reported last month, as much as 20 percent of all those enrolled had not actually paid their premiums, meaning they were not covered by the program. While Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius told Congress she had no idea what the numbers of unpaid enrollees were, more states are reporting these figures and, as CNBC reported last week, the results are literally all over the map. While some states report high pay rates, others like Maryland say only 54 percent have paid.

All this calls in to question not only the effectiveness of the sales job done by the president and celebrity supporters such as Lebron James. It also means that the odds that this system can sustain itself without mandating vast increases in rates for those who do pay are getting slimmer every day.

For months we’ve been told by the administration that the only problem with ObamaCare was a “glitchy” website that had since been fixed. But what has since become clear is that the effort to convince young and healthy Americans to sign up for insurance that is both expensive and not something they may need is a failure. Though many of those who clearly benefit from the new health law, such as the poor and those with pre-existing conditions, have signed up, the scheme requires large numbers of those who won’t need the coverage as often in order to be economically viable. That problem will be exacerbated by the failure of much larger percentages of customers to pay for their insurance.

As we’ve noted previously, the non-payment of the premium is not a technicality. Many of those purchasing the insurance may be first-time buyers and not understand that they must pay their bill before coverage starts rather than long after the fact, as they can with a credit card transaction. Or it may be that some enrolled with no intention of paying or thinking that the hype about the glories of ObamaCare they’ve heard in the mainstream media and from the president absolved them of the obligation to pay for it. But either way, the large number of non-payments renders the enrollment figures meaningless and ensures that the rates for those who do pay are going up next year by percentages that will shock them.

The president claimed that the number of enrollees has already reached the point where the law will work rather than collapse from lack of participation. But even if we accept his premise that falling millions of customers short of the announced goal of seven million is no big deal, the fact that hundreds of thousands of those being counted in the pool of those he’s counting are not covered because of non-payment of premiums makes his assertion a colossal fraud.

The president may think that a March madness ad blitz during the NCAA basketball tournament may save ObamaCare. But if the past pattern holds, any further surge in enrollment will provide the scheme with a false sense of security. Until we get a full accounting not only of those who signed up on a website but completed the process by paying for the plan they chose, we’ll have no idea how many people truly are enrolled. Seen in that light, the president’s enrollment promises may well turn out to be no different from other pledges he has made about the ACA in the last few years: completely untrue.

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Obamacare Leaves Las Vegas Man Owing $407,000 In Doctor Bills – Las Vegas Review-Journal

The hospital bills are hitting Larry Basich’s mailbox.

That would be OK if Basich had health insurance. But he doesn’t.

Thing is, he should be covered. Basich, 62, bought a plan through the state’s Nevada Health Link insurance exchange in the fall. He’s been paying monthly premiums since November.

Yet the Las Vegan is stranded in a no-man’s-land where no carrier claims him, and his tab is mounting: Basich owes $407,000 for care received in January and February, when his policy was supposed to be in effect. Instead, he’s covered only for March and beyond.

Basich has begged for weeks for help from the exchange and its contractor, Xerox. But Basich’s insurance broker said Xerox seems more interested in lawyering up and covering its hide than in working out Basich’s problems. Nor is Basich the only client facing plan-selection errors through the exchange, she added.

Xerox, meanwhile, said it’s working every day to fix Basich’s problem, and its legal counsel is routine.

In the rollout of the Affordable Care Act and its insurance exchanges, you can find a success story for every failure. But Basich’s case is extreme.

WHO’S RESPONSIBLE?

Basich said he began trying to enroll on Oct. 1, the day the exchange website went live. Like many consumers, he fought technical flaws during multiple sign-up attempts. In mid-November he finally got through and chose his plan: UnitedHealthcare’s MyHPNSilver1.

“It was like reaching the third level of Doom,” Basich said of the torturous sign-up process.

Basich paid his first premium on Nov. 21, and within days the exchange withdrew the $160.77 payment from his money-market savings account. Because Basich paid a month before the Dec. 23 deadline, his coverage was to begin Jan. 1.

Weeks ticked by, but Basich received nothing to confirm he had insurance. Nevada Health Link kept telling him he was enrolled, but UnitedHealthcare said he wasn’t in their system.

Basich’s predicament went critical on Dec. 31, when he had a heart attack. His treatment, which included a triple bypass on Jan. 3, resulted in $407,000 in medical bills in January and February that no insurer is covering.

Basich and his insurance broker, Tamar Burch of Branch Benefits Consultants, said the issue appears to be confusion at the state exchange. Xerox’s system says Basich chose a plan from another insurer, Nevada Health CO-OP, even though Basich has paperwork that shows he selected MyHPNSilver1. In short, Xerox can’t seem to decide where Basich belongs, Burch said.

So the exchange is trying to compromise, putting Basich with Nevada Health CO-OP for January and February, when he incurred his bills, and with UnitedHealthcare from this month on. But CO-OP officials say Basich is not their member.

Nevada Health CO-OP CEO Tom Zumtobel told the exchange board on Feb. 27 that the nonprofit carrier spent seven days with Xerox determining Basich’s eligibility, only to find that Basich hadn’t chosen the group’s coverage.

“If he had picked our health plan, we would be advocating for a solution. But he didn’t pick us,” Zumtobel said. “We need someone on the board to advocate for him.”

Why have four months passed without a resolution?

“Xerox is truly out of their league. They need to understand they are an administrator, they are not an insurance company,” Burch said. “They need to understand their boundaries. They don’t understand this world. Everybody is at the mercy of Xerox, and they are not doing this right.”

Xerox representatives responded that they’re working hard to make it right.

“Mr. Basich’s issue is complex, and we’re working on it every day. We are in touch with Mr. Basich, his broker, the carriers, (Silver State Health Insurance Exchange) leadership, and the Division of Insurance to sort it out,” said spokeswoman Jennifer Wasmer.

The help didn’t come fast enough, said Basich, who blames his back-and-forth with the exchange in December at least in part for stress that caused his heart attack. That stress has turned up a few notches now that Basich is getting the bills. He fretted in the exchange board’s Thursday meeting about what will happen to his credit rating – and his ability to qualify for a mortgage – if the bills are not covered.

“All I wanted to do when I moved here was buy a house, get a dog and go to some spring training games for the Dodgers,” said Basich, who moved to Las Vegas from Hawaii in 2012.

Meanwhile, the exchange sent Basich premium invoices for January and February. He paid them both.

WHO CAN HELP?

Basich has sought help at virtually every level of the system, from the Xerox customer-service reps who answer the phones at the exchange’s Henderson call center all the way to Gov. Brian Sandoval and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. Both Sandoval’s and Reid’s offices have told him they want to help, Basich said, but there’s been no resolution so far.

Even Reid, who took flak for his Feb. 26 statement that “all” Obamacare “horror stories” are “untrue,” is trying to help. Reid spokeswoman Kristen Orthman said one of the senator’s health-care legislative aides has been on the phone with Basich almost daily, “but at this point it’s in the hands of Xerox to see what can be done.”

Sandoval spokesman Mac Bybee said the office “regularly engages” the exchange and Xerox on behalf of any consumer who reaches out with concerns about Nevada Health Link.

Officials with the Nevada Division of Insurance said they’re also watching the situation.

“Mr. Basich’s concerns are certainly on our radar. We have discussed them with our partners at the Silver State Health Insurance Exchange, and we feel confident that his concerns will soon be resolved appropriately,” division spokesman Jake Sunderland said.

But there hasn’t been much action. What’s more, when Burch discussed Basich’s case with Xerox executives on March 11, they said they couldn’t tell her much because the company had hired legal counsel. That’s even though Basich has no interest in suing and has not retained a lawyer. He said he merely wants the exchange to keep the promise it made when it withdrew three premium payments from his savings account.

Xerox seems to be spending inordinate time documenting Basich’s phone calls, website access and emails, Burch said. She said a Xerox executive tried to throw blame on Basich for writing four different applications with four separate sets of information.

“I said, ‘Larry’s not the only one who did that. Lots of people have created multiple applications. Nothing is concrete until people pay. If you have a problem with multiple applications, then you’ll have to come to our office and take back hundreds of cases,’” Burch said.

“I believe Xerox is covering themselves because of a huge system error. They don’t want the accountability of saying, ‘Yes, we did mess this up, and here’s the plan you selected.’ It’s like, ‘What did he pay for?’ That’s it. They are making this more complicated than it has to be,” she added.

Wasmer said there was nothing unusual about bringing in Xerox’s attorneys.

“Our internal counsel is part of the extended Xerox team looking into the situation,” she said. “It’s regular practice for a corporation to tap experts across its organization to best understand complicated issues like this one. We’ll continue to keep the goal of resolving Mr. Basich’s issue front and center as we work through its complexities.”

Though Basich’s problem is exceptional for its dollar value, his situation is not unusual, Burch said. She estimates that of nearly 200 Branch Benefits Consultants client sign ups via Nevada Health Link, only 5 percent have gone through problem-free. More than 20 customers have the same plan-selection issue as Basich. One gave up trying to fix it and is sticking with the plan the exchange put her in.

With the March 31 enrollment deadline looming, Burch said she still sees other widespread enrollment problems, including frequent website error messages; inaccurate federal subsidy calculations; payments missing in the system despite clients’ canceled checks; and wrong effective coverage dates. One client chose an effective coverage date of March 1. Her insurance card showed an effective date of Jan. 1. Burch said that when she called to fix the issue, a customer-service rep told her the system showed a start date of April 1.

Burch said her brokerage supports the Affordable Care Act and launched a department to sell exchange plans. But she said the experience is not what she or her clients hoped for.

“We think it’s a great concept for those who need insurance. It’s just unfortunate, with all of the roadblocks we’re dealing with right now,” Burch said. “The bottom line is, we’re talking about people. It’s not a system, it’s people. I think, somehow, Xerox forgot that.”

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State Touted As Obama’s Healthcare Reform Model Fires Its Obamacare Website Contractor – Daily Caller

The state of Massachusetts – touted by President Obama as the model for national health-care reform – is firing the company that designed both its failed state Obamacare enrollment website and also the Obama administration’s federal enrollment site.

Massachusetts is firing Canadian company CGI, which holds a $69 million contract to run the state’s Obamacare site. The state has already paid the company approximately $15.9 million. CGI was previously fired by the federal government in January.

“We have made the decision that we are going to be parting ways with CGI,” said Sarah Iselin, who serves as Governor Deval Patrick’s special assistant on the state’s Obamacare website fix, at a Monday board of directors meeting for the Massachusetts Obamacare exchange.

CGI’s incompetence is costing the state $10 million per month in unforeseen enrollment costs and preventing Massachusetts from having a fully working enrollment website until October 2014, according to an estimate.

But while CGI’s relationship with the Bay State is over, the company is still on good terms with the federal government.

The Daily Caller reported that CGI received six additional contracts from the Obama administration’s Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services after the disastrous launch of the federal government’s Obamacare enrollment site. The six contracts were awarded between October 1 – when the over $600 million Obamacare website launched – through January 2014.

CGI Federal is the U.S. arm of the Canadian company CGI Group, and was formed in 2009 to bring CGI into the federal contracting business. The company employs Michelle Obama’s Princeton classmate, and 2010 White House Christmas guest, Toni Townes-Whitley as a top executive.

CGI, which received the Obamacare website contract in Obama’s first term, was fired from its role as prime contractor on the federal government website in January. But the company still holds numerous government contracts, including a $6 billion contract with the Department of Homeland Security awarded less than a month before the failed Obamacare site went live and a prime contract on the Army’s much-maligned Human Terrain System, a failed program that sends academics into war zones to help soldiers understand local populations.

Massachusetts’ capital city of Boston now has the longest wait times to see a doctor of any of the 15 major U.S. cities. Bostonians wait an average of 45.5 days for an appointment with a family physician, dermatologist, orthopedic surgeon, or cardiologist.

“And it’s because you guys had a proven model that we built the Affordable Care Act on… Your law was the model for the nation’s law,” Obama said in an October 30 speech at Boston’s Fanueil Hall.

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Health Insurance Premiums Up 39% To 56% Under Obamacare, Reach $2,604 A Month In California – Washington Examiner

Americans buying health insurance outside the new Obamacare exchanges are being forced to swallow premiums up to 56 percent higher than before the health law took effect because insurers have jumped the cost to cover all the added features of the new Affordable Care Act.

According to a cost report from eHealthInsurance, a nationwide online private insurance exchange, families are paying an average of $663 a month and singles $274 a month, far more than before Obamacare kicked in. What’s more, to save money, most buyers are choosing the lowest level of coverage, the so-called “bronze” plans.

The firm provided the costs to Secrets through their new online price index, which gives the averages of what people are paying for insurance sold through their system. In California, for example, some families are paying a high of $2,604 a month and in New York, $1,845.

The shocking surge in prices show what Americans not in Obamacare or covered by their employer are paying as they seek lower premiums. Typically, they are not eligible for the subsidies Obamacare offers those with low incomes.

“Premiums are increasing primarily because of the new required provisions for 2014 Affordable Care Act compliant plans, including guaranteed issue, essential health benefits, modified community rating and minimum actuarial values,” said Brian Mast, spokesman for eHealthInsurance. “It is also likely that health insurance companies expected additional risk in the risk pool, because people with pre-existing conditions could no longer be denied coverage, and may have priced their plans higher to accommodate for this risk,” said Mast.

His firm’s price index also gives an average age for singles buying plans, and the results are worrying for insurers and the Obama administration. That’s because the average age is 36, older than the administration had hoped for.

Explaining the higher costs, Mast said, “There are likely other factors, but what is important is that moving forward, there needs to be a collective effort to enroll as many people as possible and create a broad and diverse risk pool to keep premiums in check. eHealth can help in that effort by enrolling consumers off-exchange and is pushing to be able to enroll people in subsidy-eligible plans as well.”

There is a hint of good news, though, in firm’s the price index. While the current costs for insurance are higher than before Obamacare, they have come down over the past several months.

Below is a cost summary provided by eHealthInsurance:

– Premiums have increased by 39 percent to 56 percent, compared to pre-Obamacare coverage. As of Feb. 24, the average premium for an individual health plan selected through eHealth without a subsidy was $274 per month, a 39 percent increase over the average individual premium for pre-Obamacare coverage.

– The most recent average premium for plans without a subsidy chosen by families was $663 per month, a 56 percent increase over the average family premium in Feb. 2013, which was $426 per month.

– For both individual and family applicants, bronze plans have been the most popular plan type chosen since the beginning of open enrollment.

– Shoppers chose less expensive plans as open enrollment progressed

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Pastor Diagnosed With Cancer: ‘No Compassion In The Affordable Care Act’ – Weekly Standard

A pastor recently diagnosed with cancer, and who is covered under Obamacare, tells a local Iowa reporter that there’s “no compassion in the Affordable Care Act.”

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“Back in January, Pastor Angran was diagnosed with stage three cancer of the esophagus. He had insurance, but because of a previous heart condition, it did not cover the treatments he needed for his cancer. He found that out just minutes before receiving life-saving chemo,” says the local reporter.

The pastor says, “One of the workers came and said let me talk to you. And so I went to talk to her. She says that we found out that your insurance does not include chemo.”

“Over the past two months, the Angrans have emptied their savings account and racked up $50,000 in debt. They signed up for the Affordable Care Act,” says the local reporter, “but found it to be anything but affordable. It will cost the couple more than $800 per month, money they just don’t have.”

The reporter adds, “As a pastor, Angran has devoted his life to helping others, to being compassionate. He says, ‘There’s no compassion in the Affordable Care Act.'”

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White House Now Touting Obamacare With Twerking, Cat Gifs – Daily Caller

The newest Obamacare promotion has the official White House website imitating a March Madness-style bracket featuring gifs of twerking girls, cats and “YOLO” to convince coveted young millennials to sign up.

While President Obama’s campaigns were noted for their successful youth outreach, he has been unable to attract young people to sign up for insurance under Obamacare so far. Last week, Obama tried to up youth exchange enrollment with an appearance on “Between Two Ferns” with the often foul-mouthed star Zack Galifianakis.

Now the White House has moved onto gifs with “The 16 Sweetest Reasons to Get Covered.”

White House advertising experts spent taxpayer dollars putting together a bracket of new Obamacare benefits, intended to attract young viewers. People are encouraged to vote for their favorite benefit, with an accompanying gif that paints a picture of what Obamacare supposedly does for you.

One features young girl attempting to twerk on a countertop in a public bathroom and failing catastrophically – “because accidents happen.”

Twerk girl’s moves are set against Michelle Obama dunking a mini-basketball – because “women can’t be charged more than men,” despite women’s higher usage of health care services.

White House Deputy Director of Online Engagement Erin Lindsay already weighed in on the most pressing question facing the Obama administration – whether the girl in the gif is successfully twerking. Though she’s not a “twerk expert,” Lindsay admitted in a tweet Monday afternoon, “I certainly think she’s trying.”

“Birth control is free,’ one bracket proclaims, alongside a gif of several ducks that reads “I’m so excited.” Regulations directly hitting insurance companies are illustrated by cats – one decked out in a blazer with cash splashed about in front of it.

The benefits are illustrated with dogs, cats, pandas, even an over-excited Elmo. But the best might be a waving proclamation that “You only YOLO once,” “So don’t gamble with your health.”

Though the Obama administration predicted it would need at least 39 percent of exchange customers to fall between the ages of 18 and 35 in order for the marketplaces to remain afloat, they’ve currently topped out at 25 percent with just a few weeks left.

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Obamacare News Roundup… The Leftist Nightmare Continues

February Numbers: 6.2 Million Lost Insurance Thanks To Obamacare; 4.2 Million Sign Up For New Obamacare Plans – Gateway Pundit

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In February 2014, Karl Rove reported in the Wall Street Journal that 6.2 million Americans have lost their health care plans:

Mr. Obama saw the firestorm that erupted last fall when Americans lost their health policies because their policies didn’t conform to ObamaCare’s requirement for “essential benefits” and other mandates. Based on a flurry of reports and estimates that have come out since October, Jim Angle of Fox News says that 6.2 million have lost their health coverage so far.

Yesterday the Wall Street Journal reported that 4.2 million Americans have enrolled in health care plans.

Some 4.2 million people enrolled in health-care plans using government portals as of last month, the Obama administration said Tuesday, leaving millions more sign-ups needed this month to meet the Affordable Care Act’s enrollment targets.

Around 943,000 people picked plans in February, down slightly from 1.14 million who chose plans in January, a decrease that federal officials attributed to February’s shorter length.

That means two million more Americans are without insurance today than when Obamacare started.

Nice job, Democrats.

More… And, 900,000 enrolleesv still haven’t paid for their coverage.

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Obama Secretly Waives The Individual Mandate For Millions, Tries To Hide It From Public View – Right Scoop

Wow. The administration is more politically desperate than thought. Now they are waiving the individual mandate in secret and intentionally trying to conceal it:

WSJ – ObamaCare’s implementers continue to roam the battlefield and shoot their own wounded, and the latest casualty is the core of the Affordable Care Act – the individual mandate. To wit, last week the Administration quietly excused millions of people from the requirement to purchase health insurance or else pay a tax penalty.

This latest political reconstruction has received zero media notice, and the Health and Human Services Department didn’t think the details were worth discussing in a conference call, press materials or fact sheet. Instead, the mandate suspension was buried in an unrelated rule that was meant to preserve some health plans that don’t comply with ObamaCare benefit and redistribution mandates. Our sources only noticed the change this week.

That seven-page technical bulletin includes a paragraph and footnote that casually mention that a rule in a separate December 2013 bulletin would be extended for two more years, until 2016. Lo and behold, it turns out this second rule, which was supposed to last for only a year, allows Americans whose coverage was cancelled to opt out of the mandate altogether.

In 2013, HHS decided that ObamaCare’s wave of policy terminations qualified as a “hardship” that entitled people to a special type of coverage designed for people under age 30 or a mandate exemption. HHS originally defined and reserved hardship exemptions for the truly down and out such as battered women, the evicted and bankrupts.

But amid the post-rollout political backlash, last week the agency created a new category: Now all you need to do is fill out a form attesting that your plan was cancelled and that you “believe that the plan options available in the [ObamaCare] Marketplace in your area are more expensive than your cancelled health insurance policy” or “you consider other available policies unaffordable.”

This lax standard – no formula or hard test beyond a person’s belief – at least ostensibly requires proof such as an insurer termination notice. But people can also qualify for hardships for the unspecified nonreason that “you experienced another hardship in obtaining health insurance,” which only requires “documentation if possible.” And yet another waiver is available to those who say they are merely unable to afford coverage, regardless of their prior insurance. In a word, these shifting legal benchmarks offer an exemption to everyone who conceivably wants one.

Keep in mind that the White House argued at the Supreme Court that the individual mandate to buy insurance was indispensable to the law’s success, and President Obama continues to say he’d veto the bipartisan bills that would delay or repeal it. So why are ObamaCare liberals silently gutting their own creation now?

The answers are the implementation fiasco and politics. HHS revealed Tuesday that only 940,000 people signed up for an ObamaCare plan in February, bringing the total to about 4.2 million, well below the original 5.7 million projection. The predicted “surge” of young beneficiaries isn’t materializing even as the end-of-March deadline approaches, and enrollment decelerated in February.

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Obama To People Who Can’t Afford Obamacare: Give Up Your Phone Or Cable To Pay For It – Weasel Zippers

Shared sacrifice?

(Washington, D.C.) – The President recently participated in a health care town hall with Spanish-language media. He responded to a question received via email, from a consumer who makes $36,000 per year and cannot find insurance for a family of three for less than $315 per month. The President responded that “if you looked at their cable bill, their telephone, their cell phone bill… it may turn out that, it’s just they haven’t prioritized health care.” He added that if a family member gets sick, the father “will wish he had paid that $300 a month.”

According to the National Center for Public Policy Research, the health care law is reducing choice and increasing premiums for millions of Americans. Ehealthinsurance reports that consumers are paying an average of 39% more than they did before the law was implemented. The high cost of policies is contributing to the continued weak enrollment numbers under the law, which are now showing signs of decreasing with less than 3 weeks left to enroll. When he sought the Presidency, Mr. Obama said his plan would deliver affordable care that people would be “desperate” to purchase. – See more at: http://www.thelibreinitiative.com/press/president-choose-between-cable-phone-or-health-care#sthash.Sccqkr8C.dpuf

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Georgia’s House Just Voted To Nullify Obamacare – Conservative Tribune

All across the country, the movement to stop Obamacare is spreading like wildfire. Doctors and hospitals, along with private businesses, are in open rebellion over this destructive monstrosity.

At the state level, governments are doing everything they can to undermine the law through the courts and through legislation. We’ve already seen attempts by Missouri and South Carolina to “nullify,” which, in a broad sense, means to undermine federal law.

Now, the state of Georgia is attempting to use the same legislative strategy that these other states are employing to keep Obamacare from being enforced in the state.

The legal basis for these attempts is what’s known as the anti-commandeering doctrine, which is a constitutional doctrine articulated by the Supreme Court in Printz and Mack vs. United States that simply states that Congress cannot commandeer states’ resources, agencies, and other state actors in the enforcement of federal law.

These laws make this explicit by prohibiting state officials from carrying out Obamacare in any way, shape or form. This would effectively gut the law by making its implementation in the state impossible.

Via Freedomworks:

The bill, H.B. 707 passed with an overwhelming 115-59 majority and travels now to the State Senate, where a solid Republican majority should be able to pass the bill.

The legislation effectively nullifies ObamaCare by stopping state and local officials from assisting in the law’s implementation in any way. This would stop Medicaid expansion in the state, stop the health insurance exchange, and would make it very difficult for the Obama Administration to force Georgians into the one-size-fits-all federal program.

Freedomworks President Matt Kibbe had this to say about the bill’s passage:

“The passage of this ObamaCare nullification bill would not have been successful without the relentless efforts of grassroots activists across Georgia. They’re the ones that insisted their legislators listen and pass this bill. If and when the bill passes the State Senate, Georgia will be a model for other states who want to effectively push back against the federal health care takeover.”

This is great news. States are using all available legal resources, including important legal doctrines like the anti-commandeering doctrine that spring from principles of federalism, to fight back against federal overreach. We need other states to follow the example of South Carolina, Missouri, and now Georgia to stop Obamacare dead in its tracks before it ushers in more developed forms of socialism.

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Your Daley Gator Ukrainian Revolution News Roundup (Pictures)

House Fit For A Tyrant: Protestors Storm The Sprawling, Luxury Estate Of Ukraine’s Fugitive President Which Has Its Own Private Zoo, Golf Course And Is Half The Size Of Monaco – Daily Mail

A beautiful forested estate of graceful waterways, summer houses and exotic gardens.

This is the home of Ukraine’s fugitive president, who was dramatically ousted from power after one of the worst periods of violence in the country’s history.

Ukraniains streamed to see Viktor Yanukovich’s luxury estate, which has been closed off to the world for nearly a decade, and rubbed their eyes in disbelief when they were confronted by the scale of the opulence he built around him.

The property in Mezhyhirya, an hours drive from Kiev, has a golf course, helicopter pad and is situated in a country where the average salary is less than £300 a month.

Below the house, a garage is filled with classic sports cars worth millions, while in the exotic gardens Australian and African ostriches stretch their legs.

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Yanukovich, 63, who fled into hiding on Saturday as the turmoil of three months confrontation with his people caught up with him, relaxed at weekends in luxury behind high walls patrolled by scores of security guards.

When the dream ended and Yanukovich’s staff fled the Gatsby-like mansion in the early hours of Saturday, the Kiev protest movement that had opposed him invited Ukrainians to go to see the opulence Yanukovich lived in.

As they poured in their thousands, by foot and by car, onto the 140-hectare grounds for a first glimpse at a luxury they could only suspect, Ukrainians gawped in wonderment at the fairytale surroundings.

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What they saw reflected more the inflated dreams of a Middle East potentate – with all the attendant obsessions with security – rather than a rough-hewn man from the gritty eastern Ukraine who got to the top the hard way.

Yanukovich bought a small house on the plot at the start of his presidency in 2010. Subsequently, according to local media, he acquired control of the full estate which exists today through a chain of companies with which he had close interests.

Beyond a five-floor Russian-style house – some said it was his guest house – a stone staircase opened up to a landscaped vista of water features, arboreal walkways and tree-lined avenues stretching into the distance.

Few people – apart from Yanukovich’s chosen few and family – have visited a secret place which has been charted by satellite images that show a helicopter pad and a golf course.

With Yanukovich obsessed by security and fear of attack, they had to leave their mobile phones at the entrance to the grounds and pick them up only on leaving, locals said.

‘This is a monument to a tyrant which we want to show the people,’ said Eduard Leonov, a parliamentary deputy from the far-right nationalist Svoboda party.

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Graeco-Roman statues – a Goddess covering her modesty with her hair, lovers intertwined – decorated the lawns. Ornate ponds – half frozen on Saturday – nonetheless bubbled with water being pumped through them. Love-seats and colonnaded meeting places dot the estate.

There is a Russian bath-house – closed to the public on Saturday with an opposition protester’s helmet on a chair across the door. On a hilltop, looking down on the Dnipro river through trees, was a plaza for a barbecue.

Families and lovers out for a different sort of Sunday afternoon excursion, posed for family album snaps at a once-in-a lifetime occasion.

Most shook their heads in wonderment at the ambitions of a president who had always proclaimed that he was on the side of the poor people of Ukraine.

‘We did not expect anything like this. It is really extensive and all done with our money, the money of ordinary people. It really is too much for one person. It’s very emotional when you see something like this,’ said Serhiy Remezovsky, who had brought his wife and nine-month old son.

Ukrainian opposition icon and former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko spoke to supporters at a Kiev protest camp just hours after being released from a hospital where she was incarcerated.

She arrived on stage in Kiev in a wheelchair and looked frail as she addressed thousands of demonstrators who had packed into Independence Square.

Tymoshenko, heroine of the 2004 Orange Revolution, is the chief rival of President Viktor Yanukovych.

His rule is crumbling after protesters took control of the capital Saturday and parliament voted to remove him from power.

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You are heroes, you are the best thing in Ukraine’ she said of those killed in the violence, looking tired and speaking from a wheelchair as she addressed the euphoric crowd.

She also congratulated the protestors for ‘removing the cancer from Ukraine’ and demanded the ousted President Yanukovych be brought to Independence Square.

‘This is your victory, no politicians could do what you have done,’ she said.

‘This country is now free, you have given this country its freedom.

‘You have removed this cancer from our country. I am convinced that any bullet shot through the heart of the people went through the heart of each Ukrainian.

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Upon her release, Tymoshenko promised to run for president and immediately went to Kiev’s Independence Square.

‘When I came to Kiev the first thing I wanted to do was come to the barricades,’ she added.

‘I wanted to feel the feelings that had all these boys and girls on the barricades had been through.

‘All the people responsible will be brought to justice.’

The appearance brought Tymoshenko back to the square where she attracted world attention in the 2004 Orange Revolution protests, a riveting figure then for her rhetoric, her elaborate blond peasant braid and her fashionable clothing.

The square has been the nucleus of a three-month protest movement that pushed Yanukovych to major concessions this week.

Parliament arranged the release of the current President Viktor Yanukovych’s arch-rival, who has been imprisoned since 2011, but the president said he would not recognize any of the lawmakers’ decisions as valid.

Her release will send shockwaves through Ukrainian politics, at a moment of deep turmoil following the worst unrest in the sprawling country since the days of the Soviet Union.

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Protesters in the Ukrainian capital claimed full control of the city Saturday following the signing of a Western-brokered peace deal aimed at ending the nation’s three-month political crisis.

They were seen demanding the resignation of their president and attacking politicians, a move which President Victor Yanukovych branded ‘a coup’ and likened it to the rise of Nazis in the 1930s.

Viktor Yanukovych also says he has no intention of resigning or leaving the country. Hours after he and opposition leaders signed an agreement aimed at resolving the country’s turmoil yesterday, Mr Yanukovych went to Kharkiv in eastern Ukraine, the heartland of his support.

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On Saturday, he made the coup accusation in a televised statement.

The opposition has demanded a new election be held by May 25, as the pro-Russian leader’s grip on power rapidly eroded following bloodshed in the capital.

The nation’s embattled president, Viktor Yanukovych, reportedly had fled the capital for his support base in Ukraine’s Russia-leaning east.

Ukraine’s border guard service said that a leading governor and a mayor from the president’s eastern base have fled to Russia.

A spokesman for the border guard service, Oleh Slobodyan, said Kharkiv regional governor Mikhaylo Dobkin and Kharkiv Mayor Hennady Kernes left Ukraine across the nearby Russian border.

Both are top allies of President Viktor Yanukovych, whose rule appeared increasingly under question after protesters took over the capital and parliament voted to remove him.

There are fears that Ukraine might split in two, creating a Russian-leaning east and Europe-leaning west.

Police abandoned posts around the capital, and protesters took up positions around the presidential office and residence.

Parliament discussed voting on impeaching Yanukovych and setting a quick date for new elections to end a crisis over Ukraine’s identity and future direction.

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Yanukovych’s whereabouts were unclear Saturday morning. Media outlets reported that he left Kiev for his native eastern Ukraine after surrendering much of his powers and agreeing to early elections by the end of the year.

But despite the promise of an election and significant concessions, protesters blame him for police violence and amassing too many powers and want him ousted immediately.

At a special parliament session on Saturday, Oleh Tyahnybok, head of the nationalist Svoboda party, called for discussion of impeachment.

The parliament speaker – Yanukovych ally Volodymyr Rybak – announced resignation, citing ill health as the reason.

The president’s representative in parliament warned against splitting the country in two, an outcome that worries many but is increasingly seeming a possibility.

The country’s western regions want to be closer to the EU and have rejected Yanukovych’s authority in many cities, while eastern Ukraine – which accounts for the bulk of the nation’s economic output – favors closer ties with Russia.

The president’s concessions came as part of a deal intended to end violence that killed scores and left hundreds wounded in Kiev this week as snipers opened fire on protesters. It was the worst violence in Ukraine’s modern history.

Andriy Parubiy, a leader of the protest camp on Independence Square, known as the Maidan, was quoted by the Interfax news agency as saying that Yanukovych fled for Kharkiv, the center of Ukraine’s industrial heartland. Kharkiv was the capital of Soviet Ukraine from 1919-1934.

The claims of the president’s departure could not be immediately confirmed, however.

A group of protesters in helmets and shields stood guard at the president’s office, with few police in sight.

Protesters booed opposition figures who took to a stage last night to present their deal with the president, which cuts Yanukovych’s powers.

‘Death to the criminal!’ some chanted, referring to Yanukovych.

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Ukraine Parliament Votes To Remove President – USA Today

Ukraine’s parliament voted to remove President Viktor Yanukovych on Saturday, even as the embattled leader remained defiant, calling the country’s political crisis a “coup” and saying he has no intention of resigning or leaving the country.

“They are trying to scare me. I have no intention to leave the country. I am not going to resign, I’m the legitimately elected president,” Yanukovych said in a televised statement. “What we see today is a coup – I did everything to prevent the bloodshed. We adopted two amnesty laws. We did everything to stabilize the political situation.”

“I will do everything to protect my country from breakup, to stop bloodshed,” he added.

In the vote, parliament also moved to have early elections on May 25. In a deal brokered Friday to stop the violence, early elections were set for December.

Lawmakers said the move to impeach was necessary. “Yanukovych is not capable of fulfilling his presidential duties,” said opposition lawmaker Oleh Lyashko. Lawmakers will also consider banning the president from running in upcoming elections.

Meanwhile, imprisoned opposition leader and former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko was released Saturday after spending 2 1/2 years in prison.

Hours after her release, the 53-year-old Tymoshenko spoke to a crowd gathered at Independence Square.

“No one could do what you have done, eliminate a tumor,” she said “A dictator is gone and you are the heroes, you are the best of Ukraine. But you may not leave here until you finish the job and we go all the way.”

“And now every person in our country must get the kind of life that these people died for,” she added, referring to the dozens of protesters killed over the past week by government forces. “I believe in Ukraine.”

On Saturday, the Health Ministry said the death toll in clashes between protesters and police had reached 82. Earlier, as many as 100 were reported killed.

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Ukraine’s New Leaders Order Arrest Of Former President Yanukovych – Fox News

Ukraine’s acting government announced Monday that an arrest warrant has been issued for the country’s former president, Viktor Yanukovych, whose whereabouts are unknown.

In a statement on his official Facebook page, acting interior minister Arsen Avakhov wrote that Yanukovych and several other officials were wanted on charges of “mass killing of civilians” in violence that engulfed Ukraine’s capital city, Kiev, earlier this week. At least 82 people, most of them protesters, were killed in clashes with members of the police and security forces. Some of the dead were shot by snipers in strategic positions overlooking the main protest camp in Kiev’s Independence Square.

Calls are mounting in Ukraine to put Yanukovych on trial after a tumultuous presidency in which he amassed powers, enriched his allies and cracked down on protesters.

Avakhov said Yanukovych arrived in the pro-Russian Black Sea peninsular region of Crimea on Sunday and relinquished his official security detail before driving off to an unknown location.

Ukrainian law enforcement agencies said earlier Monday that they have no information about the whereabouts of Yanukovych, who reportedly was seen in the port city of Sevastopol, home of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet.

After signing an agreement with the opposition to end a conflict that turned deadly, Yanukovych fled the capital for eastern Ukraine. Ukraine’s border service said he tried to fly out of the country Saturday from Donetsk but was stopped by their officials.

Opposition lawmaker Volodym Kurennoy said on his Facebook page that he had unconfirmed information that the president had been arrested in Crimea. Ukrainain news portal Liga.net also reported that Sevastopol residents saw Yanukovych in the company of Russian marines.

But the claims could not be independently verified, and spokespersons for the regional and national Interior Ministry and Security Service said Monday they had no such information.

Avakhov published a letter that he said was from Yanukovych, dated Monday, in which he gives up his security guard. Yanukovych’s aides and spokespeople could not be reached Monday to verify the reported letter – they have been rapidly distancing themselves from him as his hold on power disintegrates.

Yanukovych set off a wave of protests by shelving an agreement with the EU in November and turning toward Russia, and the movement quickly expanded its grievances to corruption, human rights abuses and calls for Yanukovych’s resignation.

“We must find Yanukovych and put him on trial,” said protester Leonid Shovtak, a 50-year-old farmer from the western Ivano-Frankivsk region who came to Kiev’s Independence Square to take part in the three-month protest movement. “All the criminals with him should be in prison.”

The acting finance minister said Monday that the country needs $35 billion (25.5 billion euros) to finance government needs this year and next and expressed hope that Europe or the United States would help.

“The state treasury has been torn apart, the country has been brought to bankruptcy,” Arseniy Yatsenyuk, a protest leader and prominent lawmaker whose name is being floated as a possibility for prime minister, said in parliament Monday.

The speaker of parliament, Oleksandr Turchinov, assumed the president’s powers Sunday, but a presidential aide told the AP on Sunday that Yanukovych plans to stay in power. Turchinov said Monday that he hopes to form a coalition government by Tuesday.

But emotions are running high among the country’s rival parties. When a leading member of Yanukovych’s party, Oleksandr Efremov, told parliament Monday that he was crossing over to the opposition, an opposition lawmaker got up and waved his fist in Efremov’s face, showering him with insults.

Russia’s prime minister said the legitimacy of the new Ukrainian authorities is questionable.

Dmitry Medvedev said Monday, according to Russian news agencies, that the new authorities have come to power as a result of “armed mutiny,” so their legitimacy is causing “big doubts.”

He said that Russia doesn’t know with whom to communicate in Ukraine, and criticized the West for recognizing the new authorities following the ouster of Yanukovych.

Tensions have also been mounting in Crimea, where pro-Russian protesters gathered in front of city hall in the port of Sevastopol on Monday chanting “Russia! Russia!” Russia maintains a big naval base in Sevastopol that has tangled relations between the countries for two decades. The head of the city administration in Sevastopol quit Monday.

Turchinov has said that top priorities include saving the economy and “returning to the path of European integration,” according to news agencies. The latter phrase is certain to displease Moscow, which wants Ukraine to be part of a customs union that would rival the EU and bolster Russia’s influence. Russia granted Ukraine a $15 billion bailout after Yanukovych backed away from the EU deal.

U.S. Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt said the U.S. is ready to help Ukraine get aid from the International Monetary Fund.

The European Union, meanwhile, is reviving efforts to strike a deal with Ukraine that could involve billions of euros in economic perks. EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton is visiting Kiev on Monday and Tuesday.

The protest movement has been in large part a fight for the country’s economic future – for better jobs and prosperity.

Ukraine has struggled with corruption, bad government and short-sighted reliance on cheap gas from Russia. Political unrest has pushed up the deficit and sent exchange rates bouncing, and may have pushed the economy back into a recession.

Per capita economic output is only around $7,300, even adjusted for the lower cost of living there, compared to $22,200 in Poland and around $51,700 in the United States. Ukraine ranks 137th worldwide, behind El Salvador, Namibia, and Guyana.

Ukraine has a large potential consumer market, with 46 million people, an educated workforce, and a rich potential export market next door in the EU. It has a significant industrial base and good natural resources, in particular rich farmland.

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Why A New Ukraine Is The Kremlin’s Worst Nightmare – The Independent

The details still need to be decided, but the revolutionaries have won in Ukraine. Some elements of the old regime may survive, but that is precisely why the protesters on the “Maidan” (Kiev’s main square) don’t trust the mainstream politicians who claim to be negotiating on their behalf.

The politicians in suits can do the donkey work – writing a new constitution to improve on the old one they have just restored, and trying to save the collapsing economy. But the Maidan leaders in the fatigues and helmets will set the agenda on justice – dismantling the militia and reworking the corrupt legal system, so that the many guilty end up behind bars. And there are credible reports that the snipers who killed more than 70 on Thursday were based in the government buildings that are already being occupied by protesters combing for evidence. Once the world knows who gave the deadly orders, justice will decapitate the old regime. And the “official” opposition will be radicalised by the need to compete with the moral authority of the Maidan.

All of which is the Kremlin’s worst nightmare. When the protests started back in November they were about a trade deal with the EU. Russia was ecstatic that it had persuaded Ukraine to walk away from that deal, and was picking off the other states in the EU’s “Eastern Partnership” programme (Armenia caved in September, Georgia and Moldova were expected to come under enormous pressure in 2014). Russia hoped to drag them into its alternative Eurasian Union instead, which is due to be launched in January 2015.

But this is 10 times worse than Brussels expanding its bureaucracy to Russia’s borders. A real democracy in Ukraine is an existential threat to the entire system that Vladimir Putin has built since 2000. Ironically because Putin is right – most Russians regard Ukraine as a kin state, or not really a different state at all. They are used to stepping in tandem; so if something changes in Ukraine, why not in Russia too? And now the dominoes might fall in the other direction. Other Maidans might appear in other neighbouring states – maybe first in Moldova where the Russia-backed Communist Party was hoping to return to power in elections due in November.

Putin marginalised his own protest movement after the last Russian election cycle. He does not want to see that flare up again. So far, the Russian opposition has been quiet. Few have supported the Ukrainian Maidan, even fewer sound inspired to copy it – for now. But Putin will need to come up with something more convincing than the scattergun propaganda the Russian media has pumped out to date.

None of the favourite Russian myths – the protesters are all crazy nationalists, which is why they are also backed by the Americans, the young guys throwing rocks are really only interested in promoting gay rights – make much sense in the long run.

So the new government in Ukraine, however it’s made up, will be given the briefest of ritualistic honeymoons before Russia uses every instrument at its disposal to try to make it fail. Unfortunately, Russia holds most of the economic cards. Ukraine’s coffers are almost empty, and the old guard is busy looting what is left. It has less than $18bn (£10.9bn) in hard currency reserves, its currency is dropping and immediate debt-repayment needs are more than $10bn.

Russia tied Ukraine to a $15bn bailout deal in December, which is parcelled out by the month to maximise leverage, and periodically suspended whenever the opposition looked like getting the upper hand. But Russia’s real aim was to provide just enough money to support the old semi-authoritarian system (helping Viktor Yanukovych pay the police) and keep Ukrainian society post-Soviet, that is, still dependent on government. So Ukraine’s new leaders will have to be honest and say their aim is to dismantle both. They cannot declare victory now, but will have to plead for popular support during what will be two or three difficult years.

And if the West is serious about an alternative deal, Ukraine needs a lot of money fast. Fortunately, the West would no longer be throwing it down the black hole created by the old regime. Instead the money would support the kind of kamikaze leader Ukraine has never had in the past. Politicians were reluctant to make difficult choices and lose elections, because they’d never get back into power. Now Russia and the old regime will back any populist who promises to keep government subsidies flowing; but an honest kamikaze might just win the long-term credit and at least write his place in the history books.

Russia has talked a lot about its “soft power” in recent years. It isn’t particularly soft. The new Ukraine will pay more for gas, which will be regularly cut off for “technical reasons”. Russia’s crazy “food safety” agency will declare that everything that comes out of Ukraine is radioactive. Ukrainian migrant workers will be sent home now they have finished helping to rebuild Sochi.

Worst of all, Russia will work hard to try to re-corrupt the political system. The Kremlin used to boast that it could exploit Ukraine’s old-style “democracy” – meaning that, just like Yanukovych, they could launch their own puppet parties and buy agents of influence in the honest ones. The Ukrainian Front, a bizarre alliance of hooligans and bikers with a vaguely pan-Slavist ideology that appeared in the eastern city of Kharkiv two weeks ago, was backed by the Russians. Skinheads and sportsmen with the money to spend on propaganda are not a natural combination. Similar groups may pop up in Crimea and elsewhere, where the last elements of the old regime may try and regroup.

But Russia’s ultimate problem is the same as Yanukovych faced. The Kremlin simply can’t understand that protesters would be motivated by ideology rather than by money or foreign support. The Russians were good at manipulating the old system, but dealing with real revolutionaries is a different matter. Ukraine is starting a very bumpy ride.

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Your Daley Gator IRS Scandal News Roundup (Videos)

Smoking Gun: Email Proves IRS’s Lois Lerner & Treasury Dept. Secretly Drafted Rules Targeting Conservatives – Gateway Pundit

The IRS Conservative Targeting Scandal involved:

* At least 292 conservative groups
* At least 5 pro-Israel groups
* Constitutional groups
* Groups that criticized Obama administration
* At least two pro-life groups
* An 83 year-old Nazi concentration camp survivor
* A 180 year-old Baptist paper
* A Texas voting-rights group
* A Hollywood conservative group was targeted and harassed
* Conservative activists and businesses
* At least one conservative Hispanic group
* IRS continued to target groups even after the scandal was exposed

The Obama IRS gave preferential treatment to liberal groups during the same period.

Now their is proof the IRS and Treasury Department secretly drafted rules to target conservatives. This email shows the IRS’s Lois Lerner and Treasury Department conspired to draft new 501(c)(4) regulations targeting conservatives.

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Rep. Dave Camp (R-MI) revealed this email yesterday during House Committee on Ways and Means committee hearing with the IRS commissioner John Koskinen.

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The Daily Caller reported:

The Obama administration’s Treasury Department and former IRS official Lois Lerner conspired to draft new 501(c)(4) regulations to restrict the activity of conservative groups in a way that would not be disclosed publicly, according to the House Committee on Ways and Means.

The Treasury Department and Lerner started devising the new rules “off-plan,” meaning that their plans would not be published on the public schedule. They planned the new rules in 2012, while the IRS targeting of conservative groups was in full swing, and not after the scandal broke in order to clarify regulations as the administration has suggested.

The rules would place much more stringent controls on what would be considered political activity by the IRS, effectively limiting the standard practices of a wide array of non-profit groups.

“Don’t know who in your organizations is keeping tabs on c4s, but since we mentioned potentially addressing them (off -plan) in 2013, I’ve got my radar up and this seemed interesting…,” Treasury official Ruth Madrigal wrote in a June 14, 2012 email to Lerner and others obtained by Ways and Means and provided to The Daily Caller.

Ways and Means chairman Rep. Dave Camp blasted the off-the-record plan during a hearing Wednesday with IRS commissioner John Koskinen, and called for the administration’s newly proposed 501(c)(4) rules to be halted until criminal investigations into the IRS targeting scandal are complete.

It looks like President Obama was just caught in another lie.

The IRS was targeting conservative groups despite what he told Bill O’Reilly.

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If You Were Taken Aback By Obama’s ‘Smidgeon Of Corruption’ Claim, Wait Until You Hear Trey Gowdy – The Blaze

Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) on Thursday blasted President Barack Obama’s recent claim that there was “not even a smidgen of corruption” involved in the Internal Revenue Service’s alleged targeting of conservative groups.

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“The president says there’s not a ‘smidgeon’ of criminality or corruption,” Gowdy said during a House Ways and Means hearing on the IRS scandal.

“Do either of you,” he said, addressing two Tea Party leaders who appeared to testify on their experiences with the IRS, “remember seeing a witness named Lois Lerner, sitting at the very table y’all are sitting at?”

Lerner, formerly in charge of the IRS’ tax-exempt organization division, ignited the scandal in May after she apologized for the agency’s handling of conservative groups. She later invoked the Fifth Amendment and resigned her post in September.

“Do you remember her invoking her Fifth Amendment privilege? The same privilege that she targeted some of your groups for trying to educate people about?” Gowdy asked. “Some of your groups just want to simply educate people about the Constitution – the one she availed herself of the very second she was exposed to criminal investigation.”

“So how can the president say there’s not a ‘smidgeon’ of criminality when Lois Lerner invoked the Fifth Amendment? Forty-one witnesses haven’t been interviewed, including the two who are here right now!” he added. “How can he possibly draw that conclusion?”

Watch the South Carolina representative’s heated take on Obama’s assessment:

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Tea Party Leader Filing Ethics Complaint Against Dem Rep – Big Government

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One of the most high-profile victims of the IRS Tea Party targeting scandal is planning to unveil surprising new allegations about the top Democrat on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee at a hearing this morning.

Catherine Engelbrecht, the head of election integrity group True The Vote and Tea Party group King Street Patriots, alleges Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) demanded information from her group in a similar manner to the IRS, according to her testimony. “Hours after sending letters, he would appear on cable news and publicly defame me and my organization,” Engelbrecht said.

The Tea Party leader is filing a formal ethics complaint against Cummings with the Office of Congressional Ethics, a panel of outside advisers who review allegations and refer those they consider to have merit to the official Hosue Ethics Committee.

Engelbrecht is one of several witnesses testifying at an oversight subcommittee hearing on the IRS scandal on Thursday. The committee’s subcommittee on Economic Growth, Job Creation and Regulatory Affairs will be holding a hearing titled: “The IRS Targeting Investigation: What is the Administration Doing?”

In her opening statement, published on the committee’s website late Wednesday, Engelbrecht offers the painstaking details of how the IRS and administration as a whole targeted her, noting “my private businesses, my nonprofit organizations, and family have been subjected to more than 15 instances of audit or inquiry by federal agencies.”

Engelbrecht said she is disgusted with Cummings’ behavior, and that Cummings was engaged in activity that “misrepresent[s] this governing body in an effort to demonize and intimidate citizens.”

“Such tactics are unacceptable,” Engelbrecht wrote in her prepared testimony. “It is for these reasons that immediately after this hearing I am filing a formal complaint with the House Office of Congressional Ethics and asking for a full investigation.”

Earlier in her testimony, Engelbrecht lumped Cummings’ actions in with those of the administration, writing that after she filed IRS papers to create her groups, “an assortment of federal entities – including law enforcement agencies and a Congressman from Maryland, Elijah Cummings – came knocking at my door.”

It is highly unusual for a witness at a hearing to announce she is filing a formal ethics complaint against the ranking member of the committee holding it. Cummings’ office did not respond to a request for comment sent late Wednesday.

Cummings has been a Democratic thorn in the side of oversight efforts of full committee chairman Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) and other committee Republicans on the IRS scandal since he ascended to the top Democratic slot on the committee in 2010.

Cummings released sensitive investigation documents this past summer, including a redacted transcript of an interview committee investigators conducted with IRS employee John Shafer. Cummings did so, according to an NPR story on the matter, because he said the transcript “debunks conspiracy theories about how the IRS first started reviewing these cases.”

But Rep. Mike Turner (R-OH) said in response to that renegade Cummings action that it “will severely undermine the Oversight Committee’s ability to gain the full truth of what has transpired at the IRS.”

“Since he called for an end to this investigation, we have learned that IRS officials in Washington had been more involved in the targeting of Tea Party and conservative groups than we initially were lead to believe,” Turner said then. “This maneuver will do nothing more than obstruct the Committee’s investigation. It’s clear that Ranking Member Cummings is concerned only with ending a highly embarrassing and troubling investigation before we learn the full truth of who was responsible and why.”

On the Benghazi scandal, Cummings outed a trip Issa was taking to Libya – something Issa’s office feared could have put the chairman in danger as terror threats were being made against Issa’s life at the time by a Libyan national.

Testifying along with Engelbrecht at Thursday’s IRS hearing will be American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) chief counsel Jay Sekulow, Alabama’s Wetumpka Tea Party president Becky Gerritson and lawyer Cleta Mitchell of Foley & Lardner LLP. Barbara Bosserman of the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division is invited to testify, according to the House Oversight Committee’s website but has not confirmed.

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George Will: IRS Scandal As Big As Watergate And Iran-Contra; So Where’s The Media? – Mediaite

Appearing on Fox News Channel’s Special Report on Wednesday, conservative columnist George Will said the scandal involving the Internal Revenue Services’ targeting of conservative groups is as serious as Watergate or Iran-Contra. The distinction between those scandals and the one involving the IRS, he said, was that the press covered those earlier controversies heavily while they have largely dismissed the latest.

Will began by recalling that, immediately after former IRS official Lois Lerner preemptively apologized for targeting conservative groups, President Barack Obama called the scandal “outrageous.” Lerner would go on to resign and refuse to testify before Congress about the details of the scandal.

Today, however, Will noted that the scandal has evolved to a point where the president dismisses the IRS’s actions as mere “boneheaded decisions.”

He added that the nation’s capital has seen three major scandals “involving the distortion and abuse of institutions” in the past 40 years; Watergate, the Iran-Contra affair, and the IRS targeting scandal.

“The first two were ravenously covered by the media – they were Republican presidents’ problems,” Will said. “This is not being pursued and the president knows that. Hence, his sense of weariness and boredom as he discussed this with Bill O’Reilly.”

Watch the clip below, via Fox:

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House Oversight & Government Reform Subcommittee Hearing On The IRS Targeting Of Conservative Groups – C-SPAN

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Your Daley Gator Anti-War-In-Syria Op-Ed Roundup

Unserious About Syria – Thomas Sowell

Why are we even talking about taking military action in Syria? What is that military action supposed to accomplish? And what is the probability that it will in fact accomplish whatever that unknown goal might be?

What is painfully clear from President Obama’s actions, inactions, and delays is that he is more or less playing by ear what specifically he is going to do, and when. He is telling us more about what he is not going to do – that he will not put “boots on the ground,” for example – than about what he will do.

All this is happening a year after issuing an ultimatum to the Bashar Assad regime in Syria against the use of chemical or biological weapons. When the president of the United States issues an ultimatum to another sovereign nation, he should know in advance what he is going to do if that ultimatum is rejected.

But that is not the way Barack Obama operates. Like so many people who are masters of lofty words, he does not pay nearly as much attention to mundane realities. Campaigning is his strong suit. Governing is not.

With the mainstream media ready to ooh and aah over his rhetoric, and pass over in silence his policy disasters as president, Obama is home free as far as domestic politics is concerned. But, on the world stage, neither America’s enemies nor her allies are hypnotized by his words or his image.

Nations that have to decide whether to ally themselves with us or with our enemies understand that they are making life-and-death decisions. It is not about rhetoric, image, or symbolism. It is about whether nations can count on the realism, wisdom, and dependability of the American government.

Make no mistake about it, Barack Obama is a very clever man. But cleverness is not wisdom, or even common sense.

When he was in the Senate, Obama – along with Senators Joe Biden, Chuck Hagel, and Hillary Clinton – was critical of the Bush administration for not being favorable to the Assad regime.

Hillary Clinton said that she and other lawmakers who visited Assad considered him a “reformer.” Back in 2007, when Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice appeared before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, both Senator Biden and Senator Hagel chided her for not being more ready to negotiate with Assad.

Senator John Kerry in 2009 said, “Syria is an essential player in bringing peace and stability to the region.”

Some people said that having Joe Biden as vice president meant that President Obama had someone with many years of foreign-policy experience. What they ignored was that Biden had decades of experience being wrong on foreign-policy issues time and time again.

Biden opposed President Ronald Reagan’s military buildup that countered the Soviet Union’s buildup and helped bring about both the end of the Cold War and the end of the Soviet Union. General David Petraeus’s “surge” strategy that greatly reduced the terrorist attacks in Iraq was opposed in 2007 by Senator Biden, who said, “We need to stop the surge and start to get our troops out.”

Senator Hillary Clinton not only opposed the surge from the outset, she was among those who refused to believe that it had succeeded, even after all the hard evidence had convinced most other people.

The grim reality is that the people in key positions to shape our foreign policy during the Obama administration – the president, the vice president, two secretaries of state, and the current secretary of defense – all have a track record of grossly misconceiving the issues, our enemies, and our national interest.

This is the administration that is now asking for a blank check from Congress to take unspecified military action to achieve unspecified goals. “Military action” is a polite phrase for killing people. It would be nice to believe that this has some purpose other than saving Barack Obama from political embarrassment after he issued an ultimatum without having thought through what he would do if that ultimatum was ignored.

He has the authority to take military action if he wants to. The question is whether he can sucker the Republicans into giving him political cover by pre-approving his unknown actions and unknown goals.

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Clear-Cut Stupidity On Syria – Jonah Goldberg

‘The genius of you Americans,” the Arab-nationalist and one-time president of Egypt, Gamal Abdel Nasser, once explained, “is that you never make clear-cut stupid moves, only complicated stupid moves which make us wonder at the possibility that there may be something to them which we are missing.”

I’ve long taken patriotic pride in such statements of befuddlement from foreigners. America is a gloriously complicated thing. We often confuse our national creeds for universal principles. We are a Jacksonian people (that’s Andrew Jackson, in case you were wondering) in love with Jeffersonian ideals and legalistically committed to Madisonian mechanisms. Like a guard dog that would rather not leave the porch, we are quick to anger but not necessarily quick to fight, and we are just as eager to forgive.

So from the vantage point of foreign brutes, bullies, and buffoons, it’s understandable that America’s methods could be confused for stupidity. This is why I love the old expression, “America can choke on a gnat, but swallow a tiger whole.”

So I am trying very hard to hold onto this perspective as I watch the president of the United States behave in a way you don’t have to be a pan-Arab autocrat to think is incredibly stupid.

Where to begin? Perhaps with Obama’s initial refusal to support the moderate rebels seeking to overthrow Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad, a puppet of Iran and bagman for Hezbollah. Or we might start with Obama’s refusal to support the Green Movement in Iran, which sought to overthrow the Iranian regime, which would have been a triumph for both our principles and our national interests.

These were odd choices, particularly given his decision to help depose Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi, an indisputably evil man, but also a dictator who posed no threat, who abided by our demands to relinquish WMDs, and whose domestic death toll was a tiny fraction of Assad’s.

“We cannot stand idly by when a tyrant tells his people there will be no mercy… where innocent men and women face brutality and death at the hands of their own government” was Obama’s justification for an attack on Libya – without congressional approval. But when Assad killed tenfold as many men, women, and children, Obama refused to act for nearly two years. And when he finally decided it was imperative to attack Assad – after the dictator crossed a chemical-weapons “red line” drawn by Obama himself – he suddenly discovered the need for congressional authorization.

Sort of.

Obama doesn’t believe he needs authorization from Congress to strike Syria, he just wants it. He’s like a kid desperate for a prom date, but too vain to admit it. In Libya, Obama had the U.N. and NATO on each arm, so he didn’t bother with asking the dog on Capitol Hill for a date. But now, faced with the prospect of going it alone, he’s in effect telling Congress, “Hey, it’s not like I need your company, but you’d be crazy not to go to war with me.”

Whoops. As even Nancy Pelosi’s own grandkid now knows, we mustn’t call it a war. “The president is not asking you to go to war,” Secretary of State John Kerry told Congress. He’s merely asking them to authorize a sustained cruise-missile attack on military installations to “degrade” the regime’s “capabilities.”

But, according to Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman General Martin Dempsey, no one has asked the military to do anything that might change the “momentum” of the Syrian civil war. This is like saying you’re going to attack a runaway car barreling toward a crowd of kids, but do nothing to actually, you know, slow it down. What good does it do to trash the radio and rip out the cup holders on an out-of-control car?

Meanwhile, according to numerous accounts, Assad is moving military assets into civilian areas and civilians into military areas, even as the Obama administration insists it makes no difference militarily to wait for Congress to debate. That’s not just stupid; it’s an outright lie that will be fact-checked with blood.

I understand the attraction the buddy system has for a man who, as a state legislator, perfected the art of voting “present” on hard questions. But it’s hard to see this as anything other than rank political cowardice.

The buck stopped with Truman. For Obama, the buck is kryptonite.

In Stockholm on Wednesday, the president said that the credibility of the world, America, Congress, and the international community is on the line. Everybody is on the hook for his red line, except for the one person who actually drew it.

I’d love to see the genius in that argument, but it looks like clear-cut stupidity to me.

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Community Organizer Goes To War – Ann Coulter

Oh, how I long for the days when liberals wailed that “the rest of the world” hated America, rather than now, when the rest of the world laughs at us.

With the vast majority of Americans opposing a strike against Syria, President Obama has requested that Congress vote on his powers as commander in chief under the Constitution. The president doesn’t need congressional approval to shoot a few missiles into Syria, nor – amazingly – has he said he’ll abide by such a vote, anyway.

Why is Congress even having a vote? This is nothing but a fig leaf to cover Obama’s own idiotic “red line” ultimatum to President Bashar al-Assad of Syria on chemical weapons. The Nobel Peace Prize winner needs to get Congress on the record so that whatever happens, the media can blame Republicans.

No Republican who thinks seriously about America’s national security interests – by which I mean to exclude John McCain and Lindsey Graham – can support Obama’s “plan” to shoot blindly into this hornet’s nest.

It would be completely different if we knew with absolute certainty that Assad was responsible for chemical attacks on his own people. (I’m still waiting to see if it was a Syrian upset about a YouTube video.)

It would be different if instead of killing a few hundred civilians, Assad had killed 5,000 civilians with poison gas in a single day, as well as tens of thousands more with chemical weapons in the past few decades.

It would be different if Assad were known to torture his own people, administer summary executions, rapes, burnings and electric shocks, often in front of the victim’s wife or children.

It would be different if Assad had acted aggressively toward the United States itself, perhaps attempting to assassinate a former U.S. president or giving shelter to terrorists who had struck within the U.S. – someone like Maj. Nidal Hasan, the Fort Hood terrorist.

It would be different if Assad were stirring up trouble in the entire Middle East by, for example, paying bounties to the families of suicide bombers in other countries.

It would also be different if we could be sure that intervention in Syria would not lead to a multi-nation conflagration.

It would be different if we knew that any action against Syria would not put al-Qaida or the Muslim Brotherhood in power, but rather would result in a functioning, peaceful democracy.

And it would be different if an attack on Syria would so terrify other dictators in the region that they would instantly give up their WMDs – say, Iran abandoning its nuclear program.

If all of that were true, this would be a military intervention worth supporting!

All of that was true about Iraq, but the Democrats hysterically opposed that war. They opposed it even after all this was known to be true – indeed, especially after it was known to be true! The loudest opponent was Barack Obama.

President Saddam Hussein of Iraq had attempted to assassinate former president George H.W. Bush. He gave shelter to Abdul Rahman Yasin, a conspirator in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. He paid bounties to the families of suicide bombers in Israel.

Soon after Bush invaded Iraq in 2003, Libya’s Moammar Gadhafi was so terrified of an attack on his own country, he voluntarily relinquished his WMDs – which turned out to be far more extensive than previously imagined.

Al-Qaida not only did not take over Iraq, but got its butt handed to it in Iraq, where the U.S. and its allies killed thousands of al-Qaida fighters, including the leader of al-Qaida in Iraq, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. Iraq became the first genuine Arab democracy, holding several elections and presiding over a trial of Saddam Hussein.

Does anyone imagine that any of this would result from an Obama-led operation in Syria? How did his interventions work out in Egypt and Libya?

As for chemical weapons – the casus belli for the current drums of war – in a matter of hours on March 16, 1988, Saddam Hussein slaughtered roughly 5,000 Kurdish civilians in Halabja with mustard, sarin and VX gas. The victims blistered, vomited or laughed hysterically before dropping dead. Thousands more would die later from the after-effects of these poisons.

Saddam launched nearly two dozen more chemical attacks on the Kurds, resulting in at least 50,000 deaths, perhaps three times that many. That’s to say nothing of the tens of thousands of Iranians Saddam killed with poison gas. Indeed, in making the case against Assad recently, Secretary of State John Kerry said his use of chemical weapons put him in the same league as “Adolf Hitler and Saddam Hussein.”

Not even close – but may we ask why Kerry sneered at the war that removed such a monster as Hussein?

There were endless United Nations reports and resolutions both establishing that Saddam had used chemical weapons and calling on him to give them up. (For the eighth billionth time, we did find chemical weapons in Iraq, just no “stockpiles.” Those had been moved before the war, according to Saddam’s own general, Georges Sada – to Syria.)

On far less evidence, our current president accuses Assad of using chemical weapons against a fraction of the civilians provably murdered with poison gas by Saddam Hussein. So why did Obama angrily denounce the military operation that removed Hussein? Why did he call that a “war of choice”?

Obama says Assad – unlike that great statesman Saddam Hussein – has posed “a challenge to the world.” But the world disagrees. Even our usual ally, Britain, disagrees. So Obama demands the United States act alone to stop a dictator, who – compared to Saddam – is a piker.

At this point, Assad is at least 49,000 dead bodies short of the good cause the Iraq War was, even if chemical weapons had been the only reason to take out Saddam Hussein.

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Say No On Syria – Dick Morris

Congress should reject President Obama’s appeal for authorization to attack Syria in retaliation for its alleged use of chemical weapons.

Just as state Sen. Barack Obama opposed the use of force resolution against Saddam Hussein in 2002, Congress should turn aside the president’s appeal to attack now that his particular “red line” has been crossed in Syria. If he was against drawing the line against Hussein, what is the need to draw the line with Bashar Assad?

In “The Great Deformation,” former Budget Director David Stockman writes eloquently about the costs of a “welfare” and a “warfare” state, noting that they both drain our national economy – the warfare state particularly. With our economy trembling on the brink of a major crash, in the opinion of many economists, this is no time for another expensive military operation.

Above all, it is wrong to commit our nation’s military to a confused and contradictory conflict. How can we fight when The Wall Street Journal attributes to a Pentagon official the fear that “the wrong groups in the opposition would be able to take advantage of [an American bombing campaign]?” He said that the administration did not want to topple Assad from power – just to punish him for using gas.

This kind of half-in, half-out mission is exactly the kind of intervention we must avoid. It creates its own momentum and leads to ever greater involvement, regardless of the initial intent.

Former Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) has said that we would become “al Qaeda’s airforce” should we attack Assad. The evidence is overwhelming that al Qaeda is the alternative to Assad in Syria. The illusion of a liberal, democratic alternative is as ephemeral in Syria as it has proven to be in Egypt. In bombing Assad, we would inevitably become involved on the wrong side of a civil war. Not that Assad is the right side; there is no right side, and we should stay out.

Why is the president asking for congressional approval of his intervention? Is it a sudden concern for the limitations of executive power? Or is it a desire to use the gas episode to get a Gulf of Tonkin-style open-ended OK for intervention in this civil war? Could it be related to his desire to appease the Saudi monarchy by backing the rebels that Riyadh desperately wants to win?

We must all step back, at this juncture, and question what five decades of war have accomplished. Vietnam was, unquestionably, a total waste of men, money and political credibility. We lost, and we would have accomplished nothing had we won. The fall of the Soviet Empire would not have been hastened one day by defeat or advanced one day by victory. The war between China and Vietnam within years of the end of U.S. involvement showed how flawed the domino theory really was.

The first Gulf War, obviously, achieved nothing. It left Hussein in power and we had to go in again. The second Gulf War is increasingly appearing to be destructive in its impact. We seem to have succeeded only in giving Iran a staunch ally in the Middle East. The recent killing of 52 Iranian dissidents in Camp Ashraf – the sanctuary we established for opponents of the Ayatollah – reportedly by Iraqi forces, shows how flawed our involvement was.

The Afghan War has degraded al Qaeda’s ability to fight, but the broader effort at nation-building has only really propped up a regime that non-governmental organization Transparency International rates as the second most corrupt on Earth.

Libya? The jury is still out, but the activity of al Qaeda there, as evidenced by the Benghazi raid, indicates it may have a similarly disappointing outcome.

It is plainly time to say no. It is time to heed the warning of President Eisenhower against limited wars, unbalanced budgets and the military industrial complex.

Syria is, indeed, the time to draw a red line. But the line should be against military adventures.

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Why Many Republicans Won’t Support Obama On Syria Attack – Byron York

Early signs say it will be hard for President Obama to win congressional authorization for military action in Syria. That could change; lawmakers might re-write the president’s draft authorization into something they can live with, ultimately allowing Obama to go forward. But whatever happens, Republicans have a compelling case for rejecting the president’s request. Based on off-the-record conversations with some of them, this is it:

1) The chemical weapons evidence. The Obama administration appears to believe that conclusive proof that the Assad regime used chemical weapons against Syrian civilians creates an unassailable case for U.S. intervention. A few lawmakers will likely challenge whether the proof is really conclusive. But a far larger number will accept the evidence that Assad used chemical weapons – and still reject intervention.

Those lawmakers will argue that Obama did not intervene when Assad used conventional weapons to slaughter thousands of innocent people; the death toll in the two-and-and-half-year civil war is put at 100,000. What is different now? They will also point to the various atrocities and human rights violations around the world in which the United States has not intervened. American involvement, they will argue, should be contingent on a genuine U.S. national security interest, not the simple fact that an awful thing has been done.

2) The blank check problem. Lots of lawmakers, Republican and Democrat, believe Obama’s draft resolution gives the president too much power. The draft would grant Obama the authority to use armed force “as he determines to be necessary and appropriate” in connection with weapons of mass destruction in Syria, for the purpose of preventing the future use or spread of those weapons, or, more generally, protecting the U.S. and its allies.

For many lawmakers, that’s too broad a mandate. But a significant number of members might reject even a narrowed version of the resolution on the grounds that, once the use of force is authorized, Congress as a practical matter will have little control over how the president exercises it.

3) The nature of the Syrian opposition. Many Republicans will never be convinced the U.S. can come to the aid of good rebels in Syria without also helping bad rebels in Syria. It’s just too complicated, they believe, and there are simply too many bad guys. Why risk aiding al Qaeda or its affiliates? These Republicans remain unconvinced by arguments from fellow GOP lawmakers like John McCain, who point out that in the Libyan operation the U.S. essentially set up a safe area for good rebels in Benghazi. Given what happened later in that Libyan city, the skeptics will remain unconvinced.

4) The lack of confidence in Barack Obama. There’s no doubt the president has been extremely reluctant to take action in Syria. He also showed terrible judgment by painting himself into a corner with his 2012 “red line” comments on chemical weapons. For those reasons, and more, some Republicans will argue that they simply cannot entrust special warmaking powers to a president who they believe is not competent to use them.

5) The “first to die” dilemma. Some Republicans are so war-weary that they would be loathe to authorize any military action in the absence of an actual attack on the United States. When Sen. Rand Paul re-phrased John Kerry’s words from Vietnam – Kerry famously asked, “How do you ask a man to be the last to die for a mistake?” which Paul changed to “How do you ask a man to be the first to die for a mistake?” – the senator from Kentucky was signaling that there is virtually no way lawmakers like him will ever support a Syrian initiative.

How many Republicans hold some or all of these beliefs? Quite a few. Perhaps in anticipation of a close vote, a new argument is circulating among pro-interventionists which says that protecting the prerogatives of future presidents is so important that Republicans should support Obama’s Syrian action even if there is no good case for doing so.

Rejecting Obama could permanently weaken the presidency, argues political scientist James Ceaser in an article cited by influential conservative commentator William Kristol. Therefore, Republicans should vote to authorize force “even if they think that the president’s policy will prove ineffective, do no good, waste money, or entail unforeseen risks…even if they think he has gotten the nation into this situation by blunders, fecklessness, arrogance, or naiveté; and…even if, and especially, if they have no confidence in his judgment.”

That will be a very hard sell for Republicans. In the end, many will carefully consider all the evidence and then vote their instincts. And that will mean a vote against Barack Obama.

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Unless He’s Serious, Vote No – Charles Krauthammer

Sen. Bob Corker: “What is it you’re seeking?”

Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff: “I can’t answer that, what we’re seeking.”

– Senate hearing on the use of force in Syria, Sept. 3

We have a problem. The president proposes attacking Syria, and his top military officer cannot tell you the objective. Does the commander in chief know his own objective? Why, yes. “A shot across the bow,” explained Barack Obama.

Now, a shot across the bow is a warning. Its purpose is to say: Cease and desist, or the next shot will sink you. But Obama has already told the world – and Bashar al-Assad in particular – that there will be no next shot. He has insisted time and again that the operation will be finite and highly limited. Take the shot, kill some fish, go home.

What then is the purpose? Dempsey hasn’t a clue, but Secretary of State John Kerry says it will uphold and proclaim a norm and thus deter future use of chemical weapons. With a few Tomahawk missiles? Hitting sites that, thanks to the administration having leaked the target list, have already been scrubbed of important military assets?

This is risible. If anything, a pinprick from which Assad emerges unscathed would simply enhance his stature and vindicate his conduct.

Deterrence depends entirely on perception, and the perception in the Middle East is universal: Obama wants no part of Syria.

Assad has to go, says Obama, and then lifts not a finger for two years. Obama lays down a “red line,” and then ignores it. Shamed finally by a massive poison gas attack, he sends Kerry to make an impassioned case for righteous and urgent retaliation – and the very next day, Obama undermines everything by declaring an indefinite timeout to seek congressional approval.

This stunning zigzag, following months of hesitation, ambivalence, contradiction and studied delay, left our regional allies shocked and our enemies gleeful. I had strongly advocated going to Congress. But it was inconceivable that, instead of recalling Congress to emergency session, Obama would simply place everything in suspension while Congress finished its Labor Day barbecues and he flew off to Stockholm and St. Petersburg. So much for the fierce urgency of enforcing an international taboo and speaking for the dead children of Damascus.

Here’s how deterrence works in the Middle East. Syria, long committed to the destruction of Israel, has not engaged Israel militarily in 30 years. Why? Because it recognizes Israel as a serious adversary with serious policies.

This year alone, Israel has four times conducted airstrikes in Syria. No Syrian response. How did Israel get away with it? Israel had announced that it would not tolerate Assad acquiring or transferring to Hezbollah advanced weaponry. No grandiloquent speeches by the Israeli foreign minister. No leaked target lists. Indeed, the Israelis didn’t acknowledge the strikes even after they had carried them out. Unlike the American president, they have no interest in basking in perceived toughness. They care only about effect. They care about just one audience – the party to be deterred, namely Assad and his allies.

Assad knows who did it. He didn’t have to see the Israeli prime minister preening about it on world television.

And yet here is Obama, having yet done nothing but hesitate, threaten, retract and wander about the stage, claiming Wednesday in Sweden to be the conscience of the world, upholding not his own red line but the world’s. And, incidentally, Congress’s – a transparent attempt at offloading responsibility.

What should Congress do?

To his dovish base, Obama insists on how limited and militarily marginal the strike will be. To undecided hawks such as Sens. John McCain and Lindsey Graham, who are prepared to support a policy that would really alter the course of the civil war, he vaguely promises the opposite – to degrade Assad’s military while upgrading that of the resistance.

Problem is, Obama promised U.S. weaponry three months ago and not a rifle has arrived. This time around, what seems in the making is a mere pinprick, designed to be, one U.S. official told the Los Angeles Times, “just muscular enough not to get mocked.”

That’s why Dempsey is so glum. That’s why U.S. allies are so stunned. There’s no strategy, no purpose here other than helping Obama escape self-inflicted humiliation.

This is deeply unserious. Unless Obama can show the country that his don’t-mock-me airstrike is, in fact, part of a serious strategic plan, Congress should vote no.

John McCain changed the administration’s authorization resolution to include, mirabile dictu, a U.S. strategy in Syria: to alter the military equation (against Assad). Unfortunately, Obama is not known for being bound by what Congress passes (see, for example: health care, employer mandate).

When Obama tells the nation what he told McCain and Lindsey Graham in private – that he plans to degrade Assad’s forces, upgrade the resistance and alter the balance of forces – Congress might well consider authorizing the use of force. But until then, it’s no.

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An Accidental War – Mark Steyn

I see the Obama “reset” is going so swimmingly that the president is now threatening to go to war against a dictator who gassed his own people. Don’t worry, this isn’t anything like the dictator who gassed his own people that the discredited warmonger Bush spent 2002 and early 2003 staggering ever more punchily around the country inveighing against. The 2003 dictator who gassed his own people was the leader of the Baath Party of Iraq. The 2013 dictator who gassed his own people is the leader of the Baath Party of Syria. Whole other ball of wax. The administration’s ingenious plan is to lose this war in far less time than we usually take. In the unimprovable formulation of an unnamed official speaking to the Los Angeles Times, the White House is carefully calibrating a military action “just muscular enough not to get mocked.”

That would make a great caption for a Vanity Fair photo shoot of Obama gamboling in the surf at Martha’s Vineyard, but as a military strategy it’s not exactly Alexander the Great or the Duke of Wellington. And it’s trickier than it sounds: I’m sure Miley’s choreographer assured her she was “just muscular enough not to get mocked,” and one wouldn’t want to see the United States reduced to twerking arrhythmically to no avail in front of an unimpressed Bashar Assad’s Robin Thicke. Okay, okay, that metaphor’s as thinly stretched as Miley’s talent, so what does unmockable musculature boil down to? From the New York Times: “A wide range of officials characterize the action under consideration as ‘limited,’ perhaps lasting no more than a day or two.”

Yeah, I know, that’s what Edward III said about the Hundred Years’ War. But Obama seems to mean it:

An American official said that the initial target lists included fewer than 50 sites, including air bases where Syria’s Russian-made attack helicopters are. The list includes command and control centers as well as a variety of conventional military targets. Perhaps two to three missiles would be aimed at each site.

Got that? So, if you’re a Syrian air-base commander, you might want to think about moving those Russian helicopters, or at least yourself – perhaps to that black-eyed cutie’s apartment, above the restaurant where the kibbeh with the pomegranate sauce is to die for, just for the night, until the Great Satan has twerked his ordnance at you twice or thrice and gone away to threaten the Yemenis or Somalis or whoever’s next.

In the world’s most legalistic culture, it was perhaps inevitable that battle plans would eventually be treated under courtroom discovery rules and have to be disclosed to the other side in your pre-war statement. But in this case it doesn’t seem to be impressing anyone. Like his patrons in Tehran and Moscow, Assad’s reaction to American threats is to double up with laughter and say, “Bring it, twerkypants.” Headline from Friday’s Guardian in London: “Syria: ‘Napalm’ Bomb Dropped on School Playground, BBC Claims” – which, if true, suggests that even a blood-soaked mass murderer is not without a sense of humor. Napalm, eh? There’s a word I haven’t heard since, oh, 40 years ago or thereabouts, somewhere in the general vicinity of southeast Asia.

The BBC footage is grisly; the British media have been far more invested in the Syrian civil war than their U.S. colleagues. But what’s the net effect of all the harrowing human-interest stories? This week, David Cameron recalled Parliament from its summer recess to permit the people’s representatives to express their support for the impending attack. Instead, for the first time since the British defeat at Yorktown in 1782, the House of Commons voted to deny Her Majesty’s Government the use of force. Under the Obama “reset,” even the Coalition of the Willing is unwilling. “It’s clear to me that the British Parliament and the British people do not wish to see military action,” said the prime minister. So the Brits are out, and, if he goes at all, Obama will be waging war without even Austin Powers’s Union Jack fig leaf.

“This House will not fight for king and country”? Not exactly. What the British people are sick of, quite reasonably enough, is ineffectual warmongering, whether in the cause of Blairite liberal interventionism or of Bush’s big-power assertiveness. The problem with the American way of war is that, technologically, it can’t lose, but, in every other sense, it can’t win. No one in his right mind wants to get into a tank battle or a naval bombardment with the guys responsible for over 40 percent of the planet’s military expenditures. Which is why these days there aren’t a lot of tank battles. The consummate interventionist Robert Kagan wrote in his recent book that the American military “remains unmatched.” It’s unmatched in the sense that the only guy in town with a tennis racket isn’t going to be playing a lot of tennis matches. But the object of war, in Liddell Hart’s famous distillation, is not to destroy the enemy’s tanks (or Russian helicopters) but his will. And on that front America loses, always. The “unmatched” superpower cannot impose its will on Kabul kleptocrats, Pashtun goatherds, Egyptian generals, or Benghazi militia. There is no reason to believe Syria would be an exception to this rule. America’s inability to win ought to be a burning national question, but it’s not even being asked.

Let us stipulate that many of those war-weary masses are ignorant and myopic. But at a certain level they grasp something that their leaders don’t: For a quarter-century, from Kuwait to Kosovo to Kandahar, the civilized world has gone to war only in order to save or liberate Muslims. The Pentagon is little more than central dispatch for the U.S. military’s Muslim Fast Squad. And what do we have to show for it? Liberating Syria isn’t like liberating the Netherlands: In the Middle East, the enemy of our enemy is also our enemy. Yes, those BBC images of schoolchildren with burning flesh are heart-rending. So we’ll get rid of Assad and install the local branch of al-Qaeda or the Muslim Brotherhood or whatever plucky neophyte democrat makes it to the presidential palace first – and then, instead of napalmed schoolyards, there will be, as in Egypt, burning Christian churches and women raped for going uncovered.

So what do we want in Syria? Obama can’t say, other than for him to look muscular without being mocked, like a camp bodybuilder admiring himself in the gym mirror.

Oh, well. If the British won’t be along for the ride, the French are apparently still in. What was the old gag from a decade ago during those interminable U.N. resolutions with Chirac saying “Non!” every time? Ah, yes: “Going to war without the French is like going hunting without an accordion.” Oddly enough, the worst setback for the Islamic imperialists in recent years has been President Hollande’s intervention in Mali, where, unlike the money-no-object Pentagon, the French troops had such undernourished supply lines that they had to hitch a ride to the war on C-17 transports from the Royal Air Force and Royal Canadian Air Force. And yet they won – insofar as anyone ever really wins on that benighted sod.

Meanwhile, the hyperpower is going to war because Obama wandered off prompter and accidentally made a threat. So he has to make good on it, or America will lose its credibility. But he only wants to make good on it in a perfunctory and ineffectual way. So America will lose its credibility anyway.

Maybe it’s time to learn the accordion…

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5 Reasons Not To Bomb Syria – John Hawkins

Barack Obama knows that America’s military is a big stick, but unfortunately Roosevelt’s advice about speaking softly doesn’t seem to have stuck. Because Barack Obama recklessly shot off his mouth about a “red line” in Syria, he’s demanding that our nation insert itself into a civil war between terrorist groups, both of which have chemical weapons, to protect his ego. Happily, the American people recognize what a foolish move this would be. A Reuters/Ipsos poll shows that only 9% of Americans currently support bombing Syria. This is why Barack Obama has punted his Syrian War to Congress. He’s hoping that it’ll be foolish enough to vote in favor of war to give him the political cover he needs to bomb. Not only should Congress vote against the war in Syria, if Obama bombs that country anyway, Congress should immediately cut off funds for the war and move to impeach him. Why?

1) We don’t have a son-of-a-b*tch in Syria. During the Cold War, America used to semi-regularly ally itself with some rather unsavory leaders and groups. The oft repeated rationale for supporting a dictator in those days was, “He may be a son-of-a-b*tch, but he’s our son-of-a-bitch.” In other words, both sides are bad guys, but this bad guy would work with us instead of the Soviets. In this case, we don’t have a dog in the fight. It’s a civil war between two groups that both despise us and will continue to hate us. Why risk American blood and treasure for people who will hate our guts no matter what we do?

2) Why act as Al-Qaeda’s Air Force? Barack Obama is not the sharpest knife in the drawer, but even he should know that Al-Qaeda attacked America on 9/11. Well now, Bin Laden’s boys are teamed up with the rebels that are fighting Bashar al-Assad. We just spent a decade killing as many members of Al-Qaeda as humanly possible in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan; so how much sense does it make for Barack Obama to help Al-Qaeda take over Syria by bombing Bashar al-Assad? Bashar al-Assad may be our enemy, but we should be thrilled he’s killing Al-Qaeda and getting more of his terrorist pals in Hezbollah offed in the process.

3) What makes anyone think Obama can pull this off with no repercussions? What is there in Barack Obama’s tenure in the White House that makes anyone think he’s likely to handle this well? The fact that he didn’t kill a drone program George W. Bush set up? Because he was too distracted playing cards with Reggie Love to screw up killing Osama Bin Laden? Bush essentially won Iraq and Obama screwed up pulling out of that country and has put a hard-earned victory at risk. He’s also on track to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory in Afghanistan. His incompetence got Americans killed in Benghazi, Libya. In Egypt, Obama helped get rid of a relatively friendly dictator in favor of anti-American, pro-terrorist theocrats who lasted just over a year before they were thrown out of power by an Egyptian public that seems to hate Obama almost as much as the Muslim Brotherhood. Yet, we now think Obama is going to insert himself into a terrorist-heavy civil war in the Middle East without creating as many problems as he solves? That’s like emptying a box of live spiders in a teenage girl’s slumber party and not expecting any screaming.

4) It invites retaliation from Iran and Hezbollah. Many conservatives believe that if we have a choice between bombing Iran or letting it acquire nuclear weapons, we’d be better off to bomb Iran. However, that is supposed to be a last resort after every other measure has failed. Given that Iran and Hezbollah are actively supporting Bashar al-Assad, bombing him means actively opposing both of them in a war. Could they retaliate against us with terrorist attacks? That’s certainly possible. Will they go after Israel to get at us? That’s highly likely. Will Israel respond to those attacks? Yes, Israel will. Could this set off a larger regional war? Again, that’s certainly possible. While Iran and Hezbollah have much more to fear from us than we do from them, you don’t walk up and kick a bee hive just because President Prissy Pants has worked himself into a huff.

5) It’s not in our national interest to bomb Syria. Costly though it may have been, it was in our national interest to overthrow the Taliban in Afghanistan over 9/11 and to target an aggressive enemy of America like Saddam Hussein in Iraq. That being said, had we known in advance how long our troops would be stuck in Iraq, it’s highly doubtful that we would have ever invaded. On the other hand, what’s the rationale for bombing the side that’s fighting Al-Qaeda in Syria? Both sides hate America. Both sides cooperate with terrorists. If anything, since Al-Qaeda is determined to kill Americans and Assad is not, the current dictator in charge is probably the lesser of two evils. Moreover, encouraging other nations to join us in imposing harsh sanctions on Syria would be just as effective as bombing when it comes to discouraging the use of WMDs without being as provocative. So, what argument is left? Are we supposed to bomb Syria to avoid looking “weak?” Well, if people have that impression, they can ask Saddam Hussein, Osama Bin Laden, and Anwar al-Awlaki what they think about that if they’re willing to search through the bowels of hell long enough to find them.

Click HERE For Rest Of Story

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Your Daley Gator Saturday Op-Ed Roundup Featuring John Hawkins, Mark Steyn, Stephen Hayes, Thomas Sowell, Michelle Malkin, Walter E. Williams And Jonah Goldberg

Everything You Need To Know About The Rubio/McCain Amnesty Catastrophe In 15 Quotes – John Hawkins

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1) This is President Obama’s number one political agenda item because he knows we will never again have a Republican president, ever, if amnesty goes into effect. We will perpetually have a progressive, liberal president, probably a Democrat, and we will probably see the House of Representatives go into Democrat hands and the Senate will stay in Democrat hands. – Michele Bachmann

2) The bill is worse than universal healthcare. Listen to me, it is worse than universal healthcare, and in the coming days as we get closer, we will explain why it’s worse than universal healthcare. It is the death knell of the country, there is no recovery from this one. None. No recovery. – Glenn Beck

3) If Republicans are opposed to what mass immigration is doing to the country demographically, ethnically, socially and politically, there are, as Reagan used to say, “simple answers, just no easy answers.”

Those answers: No amnesty, secure the border, enforce laws against businesses that hire illegals, and impose a moratorium on new immigration so wages can rise and immigrants enter the middle class and start voting as did the children and grandchildren of the immigrants of 1890-1920 by 1972.

So what are the Republicans doing?

Going back on their word, dishonoring their platform, and enraging their loyal supporters, who gave Mitt 90 percent of his votes, to pander to a segment of the electorate that gave Mitt less than 5 percent of his total votes.

Whom the gods would destroy they first make mad. – Pat Buchanan

4) The nation’s plutocrats are lined up with the Democratic Party in a short-term bid to get themselves cheap labor (subsidized by the rest of us), which will give the Democratic Party a permanent majority. If Rubio’s amnesty goes through, the Republican Party is finished. It will be the “Nancy Pelosi Democratic Party” versus the “Chuck Schumer Republican Party.” – Ann Coulter

5) Instead of cracking down on the Administration’s abuse of power, S. 744 places unprecedented new restrictions on interior enforcement – making the current situation much worse and much more hazardous. It is as if S. 744 were explicitly written to handcuff law enforcement officials – binding their hands while giving virtually unchecked authority to executive branch officials to prevent future removals, including removals of criminal aliens. – ICE Council president Chris Crane

6) It doesn’t stop illegal immigration. If anything it makes the problem worse by not securing the border and by incentivizing future illegal immigration. – Ted Cruz

7) Creating more than 30 million new immigrants, including 11 million former illegals, and supplanting their numbers with another 20-odd million guest workers is from a sociological and demographic point of view quite radical: 30 million is roughly a tenth of the current population of the United States. How we handle immigration is of fundamental importance to questions ranging from national security to economic growth to the character of our nation itself. That we cannot get a couple of small-time performance benchmarks written into the bill suggests that this issue is not being treated with the intelligence and the prudence it deserves. – The Editors at National Review

8) This is the administration that has refused to enforce the law… they have created new law out of nothing. They’ve violated the law in a number of ways. And our guys are counting on the administration to all of a sudden actually keep their word on something like securing the border when they’ve never done it before and they believe it’s in their political interest to continue not to secure the border even if there’s a deal? I mean that’s crazy to think they’re going to start securing the border and until we secure the border everything else is completely meaningless. – Louie Gohmert

9) Should this be grounds to primary challenge every Republican who voted for this bill, and I mean every single one? I don’t care if they just got re-elected. Next time they’re up for re-election. Ann Coulter’s right. This is a single issue – this is a single-issue primary challenge. You know why? Because this is it. As Bill Kristol said on this show, as he said on this show, once you give this pathway to citizenship all these benefits, all this discretion to [Janet] Napolitano, it’s over. It’s too late to complain about it. It’s over. – Laura Ingraham

10) The federal judge in Crane v. Napolitano has ruled that the ICE agents are likely to prevail in their argument that the Obama administration is ordering them to violate federal law. Think about that: This administration is ordering career law enforcement personnel to break the law. Now, the administration is pushing for an amnesty bill that contains almost nothing to improve immigration enforcement. All that the American citizens will get in return for the amnesty is the promise from the Obama administration that they will try harder to enforce the law. The administration has already shattered that promise, doing exactly the opposite. This is a stark warning to Congress. I sincerely hope that they hear it. – Kris Kobach

11) Almost every requirement in this bill can be waived by Janet Napolitano: for instance, the time limits on when people can be legalized, the requirements on criminal activity or even the enforcement triggers. Those basically don’t mean anything if any of them is held up in court, still. …The litigation over the 1986 bill didn’t end until just a few years ago. The ACLU has been quite clear that it intends to sue to stop mandatory e-verify and probably sue to stop a bunch of other things. If, for instance, mandatory use of electronic verification is still in the courts 10 years after the bill passes, it’s entirely possible the Secretary of Homeland Security can just give everybody Green Cards on her own – and there are hundreds of other examples of that kind of discretion. It’s not too much of an exaggeration to say that this 1,000 page bill after all of the amendments could be boiled down to, “We trust you, Obama; just do the right thing.” – Mark Krikorian

12) The ‘Gang of Eight’ bill is not immigration reform. It is big government dysfunction. It is an immigration Obamacare. All advocates of true immigration reform – on the left and the right – should oppose it. – Mike Lee

13) Okay. So what does that mean, the republic is at stake? This is the ball game. I remember people saying that about Obamacare. Now they’re saying it about immigration reform. And they’re both right. In the case of immigration reform, it effectively wipes out the Republican Party. – Rush Limbaugh

14) Will they listen? Suicidal Republicans have supported illegal alien amnesties dating back to the Reagan era. They have paid a steep, lasting price. As bankrupt, multiculti-wracked California goes, so goes the nation. The progs’ plan has always been to exploit the massive population of illegal aliens to redraw the political map and secure a permanent ruling majority.

Now, in the wake of nonstop D.C. corruption eruptions, SchMcGRubio and Company want us to trust them with a thousand new pages of phony triggers, left-wing slush-fund spending and make-believe assimilation gestures. Trust them? Hell, no. There’s only one course for citizens who believe in upholding the Constitution and protecting the American dream: Stop them. – Michelle Malkin

15) On every major front, this legislation fails to deliver on its core promises. It delivers only for the special interest groups who helped write it. Should it pass, it would represent the ultimate triumph of the Washington elite over the everyday citizen to whom Congress properly owes its loyalty. – Jeff Sessions

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More opinion articles:

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Big Politically Correct Brother – Mark Steyn

Excerpt – Every time I go on his show, my radio pal Hugh Hewitt asks me why congressional Republicans aren’t doing more to insist that the GOP suicide note known as “the immigration deal” include a requirement for a border fence. I don’t like to tell Hugh that, if they ever get around to building the fence, it won’t be to keep the foreigners out but to keep you guys in.

I jest, but only very slightly and only because the government doesn’t build much of anything these days – except for that vast complex five times the size of the Capitol the NSA is throwing up in Utah to house everybody’s data on everything everyone’s ever done with anyone ever.

Click HERE For Rest Of Article

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Our Disappearing President – Stephen Hayes

Excerpt – One might expect Keith Alexander to advocate on behalf of the two programs at the center of our national debate about terrorism and surveillance. He is, after all, the head of the National Security Agency, which runs them. “It’s dozens of terrorist events that these have helped prevent—both here and abroad-in disrupting or contributing to the disruption of terrorist attacks,” Alexander testified last week.

And it’s not entirely surprising that the four leading members of Congress on intelligence matters would argue on behalf of these programs, known as “215” and “702,” for the sections of the laws that authorize them.

Click HERE For Rest Of Article

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Who ‘Needs’ Immigrant Labor? – Thomas Sowell

Excerpt – One of the most common arguments for allowing more immigration is that there is a “need” for foreign workers to do “jobs that Americans won’t do,” especially in agriculture.

One of my most vivid memories of the late Armen Alchian, an internationally renowned economist at UCLA, involved a lunch at which one of the younger members of the economics department got up to go get some more coffee. Being a considerate sort, the young man asked, “Does anyone else need more coffee?”

“Need?” Alchian said loudly, in a cutting tone that clearly conveyed his dismay and disgust at hearing an economist using such a word.

Click HERE For Rest Of Article

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Barack Onama’s “Social Innovation” Slush Fund – Michelle Malkin

Excerpt – We all know now what the vengeful Obama IRS has been doing to conservative nonprofits the past four years: strangling them in the crib. But do you know how much pampering and largesse far-left welfare-state charities have received while limited-government groups suffered? You don’t know the half of it.

Before President Obama took office, I warned that Democrats planned to steer untold amounts of taxpayer dollars to his shady community-organizing pals. The Dems’ 2008 party platform proposed the creation of a “Social Investment Fund Network” to subsidize “social entrepreneurs and leading nonprofit organizations (that) are assisting schools, lifting families out of poverty, filling health care gaps and inspiring others to lead change in their own communities.”

Click HERE For Rest Of Article

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Unasked And Unanswered Questions – Walter E. Williams

Excerpt – Grutter v. Bollinger was the landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision that upheld the University of Michigan Law School’s racial admissions policy. Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, writing for the majority, said the U.S. Constitution “does not prohibit the Law School’s narrowly tailored use of race in admissions decisions to further a compelling interest in obtaining the educational benefits that flow from a diverse student body.” But what are the educational benefits of a diverse student body?

Intellectuals argue that diversity is necessary for academic excellence, but what’s the evidence? For example, Japan is a nation bereft of diversity in any activity. Close to 99 percent of its population is of one race. Whose students do you think have higher academic achievement – theirs or ours?

Click HERE For Rest Of Article

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Freedom: The Unfolding Revolution – Jonah Goldberg

Excerpt – “Why are there no libertarian countries?”

In a much-discussed essay for Salon, Michael Lind asks: “If libertarians are correct in claiming that they understand how best to organize a modern society, how is it that not a single country in the world in the early twenty-first century is organized along libertarian lines?”

Such is the philosophical poverty of liberalism today that this stands as a profound question.

Definitions vary, but broadly speaking, libertarianism is the idea that people should be as free as possible from state coercion so long as they don’t harm anyone.

Click HERE For Rest Of Article

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Your Daley Gator Obamatastic Police State News Roundup For Friday (Videos)

Author Of Patriot Act Says NSA Phone Records Collection ‘Never The Intent’ Of Law – Fox news

The author of the Patriot Act said Thursday that a secret program under which the Obama administration was collecting phone records from millions of Americans is “excessive” and beyond the scope of the law.

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Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., who wrote the 2001 law, was among a host of lawmakers on both sides of the aisle who raised alarm over the practice.

The Guardian newspaper first reported the National Security Agency had been collecting records under a court order from millions of Verizon customers in the U.S. Defenders of the program tried to ease the furor by assuring the public this is “nothing new” – and in fact has been going on for seven years. But the acknowledgement that the program is long running only fueled the outrage from civil liberties groups and lawmakers who described it as a blatant overreach.

“This is a big deal, a really big deal,” Sensenbrenner told Fox News, adding that such a broad seizure was “never the intent” of the law. He floated the possibility of amending the Patriot Act before its 2015 expiration to stop this.

In a separate statement, he called the program “excessive and un-American.”

The Republican lawmaker also fired off a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder – who would not comment on the program when asked about it Thursday – explaining why he thinks the records collection goes astray of the law. He noted that the key section of the law that allows the government to obtain business records requires the information to be relevant to an authorized investigation.

“How could the phone records of so many innocent Americans be relevant to an authorized investigation?” he asked in the letter.

He said the order “could not have been drafted more broadly,” and said he does not think it’s “consistent” with the law’s requirements.

A handful of in-the-know lawmakers lined up to defend the program, while acknowledging the need to protect privacy.

Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Mich., chairman of the House intelligence committee, said the effort is not “data mining,” and has helped quash a terrorist attack on U.S. soil in the past few years. He would not elaborate.

The leaders of the Senate intelligence committee also defended the program, saying it is “nothing new.” Republican Georgia Sen. Saxby Chambliss said it’s been going on for seven years.

Chairwoman Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., said these orders are actually renewed every three months through the court. She said the records are there for investigators to access if there is suspicion of terrorist activity.

“The threat from terrorism remains very real and these lawful intelligence activities must continue, with the careful oversight of the executive, legislative and judicial branches of government,” Feinstein and Chambliss said in a joint statement.

Speaking later in the day, Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid said “everyone should just calm down.”

Administration officials, while not directly acknowledging the order, defended their authority to collect records and stressed they’re not listening in on conversations.

However, civil liberties groups and some lawmakers sounded the alarm over the collection effort.

“The National Security Agency’s seizure and surveillance of virtually all of Verizon’s phone customers is an astounding assault on the Constitution,” Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., said.

One civil liberties group called this the “broadest surveillance order to ever have been issued.”

“It requires no level of suspicion and applies to all Verizon subscribers anywhere in the U.S.,” the Center for Constitutional Rights said in a statement.

Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., who has historically opposed the Patriot Act, said the effort “is not what democracy is about.”

The report in the Guardian newspaper follows revelations that the Justice Department was seizing the phone records of journalists, including at Fox News, in the course of leak probes.

The order, a copy of which apparently was obtained by The Guardian, reportedly was granted by the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court on April 25 and is good until July 19.

It requires Verizon, one of the nation’s largest telecommunications companies, on an “ongoing, daily basis” to give the NSA information on all telephone calls in its systems, both within the U.S. and between the U.S. and other countries.

The text of the order, as published by The Guardian, says that “the Custodian of Records shall produce to the National Security Agency (NSA) upon service of this Order, and continue production on an ongoing daily basis thereafter for the duration of this Order, unless otherwise ordered by the Court, an electronic copy of the” the records in question.

The newspaper claims the document shows for the first time that under the Obama administration the communication records of millions of U.S. citizens were being collected indiscriminately and in bulk, regardless of whether they were suspected of any wrongdoing.

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Related article:

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NSA, FBI Secretly Mines Data From Major Internet Companies – Daily Caller

The NSA and the FBI are mining the user data of nine major Internet companies, an expose by The Washington Post revealed Thursday evening.

The previously undisclosed program – called PRISM – allows intelligence analysts to directly tap the servers of Microsoft, Yahoo, Google, Facebook, PalTalk, AOL, Skype, YouTube, and Apple.

The audio and video chats, photographs, emails, documents and connection logs of users are all available to be extracted and analyzed by intelligence analysts.

The names of the companies appear in the order of when they joined the “court-approved” program, which began in 2007. Dropbox is reportedly “coming soon.”

98 percent of PRISM’s product is derived from intelligence gathered from Yahoo, Microsoft, and Google.

The Guardian and NBC News also confirmed the existence of PRISM, whose analysis is used in out of seven NSA reports and was cited in 1,477 articles of the President’s Daily Brief in 2012.

“In exchange for immunity from lawsuits, companies such as Yahoo and AOL are obliged to accept a “directive” from the attorney general and the director of national intelligence to open their servers to the FBI’s Data Intercept Technology Unit, which handles liaison to U.S. companies from the NSA,” wrote The Washington Post.

“In 2008,” the newspaper continued, “Congress gave the Justice Department authority for a secret order from the Foreign Surveillance Intelligence Court to compel a reluctant company “to comply.”

The companies that responded to the Post’s requests for comment – including Google, Facebook and Apple – denied any participation in PRISM.

The government’s 41-slide PowerPoint presentation – dated April 2013 – and supporting materials describing the program were provided to The Washington Post by a career intelligence officer looking to expose a “gross intrusion of privacy.”

“They quite literally can watch your ideas form as you type,” the officer said to The Washington Post.

Intelligence analysts are able to query the servers of the participating companies using “selectors” to determine with 51 percent confidence a target’s “foreignness.”

Information accidentally collected about innocent Americans by analysts is considered “incidental” and “nothing to worry about.”

PRISM is not a new thing for the government, despite the involvement of fairly modern technology.

“PRISM is an heir, in one sense, to a history of intelligence alliances with as many as 100 trusted U.S. companies since the 1970s,” wrote The Washington Post. These alliances are called Special Source Operations.

“PRISM was launched from the ashes of President George W. Bush’s secret program of warrantless domestic surveillance in 2007, after news media disclosures, lawsuits and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court forced the president to look for new authority,” wrote The Washington Post.

A parallel program to PRISM described in The Washington Post expose called BLARNEY collects “metadata” – address packets, device signatures and the like – as it streams past choke points along the backbone of the Internet.”

This type of effort by the NSA was first exposed when former AT&T technician Mark Klein went public about his knowledge of a secret room at a San Franciscio AT&T facility that intercepted all Internet traffic.

The Washington Post expose comes directly on the heels of a separate report by The Guardian, which revealed late Tuesday evening that Verizon was being secretly ordered on an ongoing basis to hand over the phone data of all communications inside the U.S.

The phone data includes phone numbers, when the call was made and for how long the call took place.

Randy Milch, Verizon’s Executive Vice President and General Counsel, would not confirm the accuracy of The Guardian’s report, but said that if such an order were issued to Verizon, the company would be “required to comply.”

California Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein affirmed that the court order was a routine three month renewal of a secret program that has been ongoing since the previous administration.

The NSA and the FBI both declined The Daily Caller’s request for comment.

Click HERE For Rest Of Story

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Glenn Greenwald: The U.S. Wants To ‘Destroy Privacy Around The World’ – Business Insider

The journalist who took part in breaking two attention-grabbing stories on government surveillance charged that the United States is interested in destroying privacy all over the world.

“There is a massive apparatus within the United States government that with complete secrecy has been building this enormous structure that has only one goal,” Greenwald said on CNN’s “Piers Morgan Live” on Thursday.

“And that is to destroy privacy and anonymity not just in the United States but around the world.”

Greenwald’s subsequent comments came just hours after The Guardian and The Washington Post both broke another bombshell report detailing a program dubbed as “PRISM.” According to the reports, the program involves the National Security Agency and FBI tapping into the servers of nine leading Internet companies to extract information.

Greenwald jump-started Thursday’s discussion over civil liberties and government surveillance with a report late Wednesday night that detailed the NSA’s collection of data from millions of Americans’ phone records.

“It’s well past time that we have a debate about whether that’s the kind of country and world in which we want to live,” Greenwald said on CNN. “We haven’t had that debate because it’s all done in secrecy and the Obama administration has been very aggressive about bullying and threatening anybody who thinks about exposing it or writing about it or even doing journalism about it. It’s well past time that that come to an end.”

The Obama administration and some members of Congress have defended the use of the programs. Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) said the NSA’s collection of phone data has been going on for seven years. Feinstein said it’s about “protecting America.”

“People like Dianne Feinstein and Saxby Chambliss can have press conferences threatening people for bringing light to what it is they’re doing, but the only people who are going to be investigated are them,” Greenwald said in response.

“It’s well past time that these threats start to be treated with the contempt that they deserve.”

Watch the clip below, via CNN:

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Worse Than We Thought? Gov’t Tracked Credit Card Transactions, Shared Phones Records With UK – The Blaze

You may want to sit down for this.

It appears that along with online information, the U.S. government has tracked credit card purchases and, in some cases, shared phone data with the U.K., according to The Wall Street Journal and The Daily Beast.

It was revealed earlier this week that the feds have been monitoring Verizon, Sprint Nextel, and AT&T customers and that the National Security Administration had established a massive program, code-named PRISM, that indicates the monitoring of Americans.

Now the Wall Street Journal’s sources claim NSA operations also encompass purchase information from credit-card providers.

“It couldn’t be determined if any of the Internet or credit-card arrangements are ongoing, as are the phone company efforts, or one-shot collection efforts,” the WSJ notes.

What is known at this time, however, is that the NSA has established with credit-card companies the same type of relationship it has established with tech companies. That is, the NSA asks for the data and they get it.

Also, according to The Daily Beast’s Eli Lake, at least “one foreign government has gained access to sensitive data collected by the National Security Agency from U.S. telecommunications companies in dragnet court warrants demanding the secret transfer of U.S. customers’ calling records.”

The collected information, referred to as “metadata,” does not include conversation content or the names of people associated with accounts. It does, however, record when and where calls are made and for how long.

And in a few “discreet cases,” as Lake puts it, “the NSA has shared unedited analysis of these records with its British counterpart, the Government Communications Headquarters.”

Furthermore, in 2010, GCHQ actually gained access to the NSA’s PRISM program, The Guardian reports.

“The documents showed the British generated 197 intelligence reports from access to the system in 2012,” Lake notes.

“With advances in computer science, intelligence services can now mine vast amounts of data collected by telecom companies, Internet service providers, and social-media sites for patterns that can illuminate terrorist networks and help solve crimes,” he adds, citing intelligence officers.

“These metadata … reside in vast hard drives that belong to the NSA. Analysts there can then take a phone number or email address and uncover suspected terrorists’ associates, find their locations, and even learn clues about their possible targets.”

A former senior U.S. intelligence official told The Daily Beast, “My understanding is if the British had a phone number, we might run the number through the database for them and provide them with the results.”

“I do not know of cases where the U.S. government has shared this kind of metadata with the United Kingdom, but I would be surprised if this never happened,” Peter Wood, the CEO of First Base Technologies, said in the same report. “Both countries cooperate very closely on counterterrorism.”

Click HERE For Rest Of Story

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Why PRISM Is Different And Scarier Than Other NSA Spying – National Journal

PRISM, the latest surveillance program leaked to the press, makes the collection of metadata from the three major phone companies seem quaintly old-fashioned. Its Big Brother implications are stunning from the standpoints of both technology and audacity.

I’ve written twice this week on how presidents routinely overstep the bounds when they are facing urgent security threats like war or al-Qaida, and how that should not be shocking, given the stakes. But PRISM, which reportedly allows the government to track people’s Internet activities as they occur, does come as a shock.

The metadata collected by the National Security Agency from Verizon and other phone companies is an aggregation of phone numbers and lengths of calls, and does not harvest the content of the calls. PRISM, first disclosed Thursday night by The Washington Post and The Guardian, is different. According to the intelligence official who leaked the information to The Post: “They quite literally can watch your ideas form as you type.”

James Clapper, the director of national intelligence, says PRISM is “important and entirely legal” and “cannot be used to intentionally target any U.S. citizen, any other U.S. person, or anyone located within the United States.” Obama himself said Friday that he was skeptical about NSA surveillance programs when he took office, but he and his team concluded after assessing them that “they help us prevent terrorist attacks.”

Both the phone and Internet programs are “under very strict supervision” by all three branches of government, Obama said, and added that he has put in place new safeguards and audits. He called the encroachment on privacy modest. “Nobody is listening to your telephone calls,” he said, or reading the email of U.S. citizens.

Still, the stew of threats, technology, and government authority seems like a scandal waiting to happen. The potential for invasion of privacy is as enormous as the scale of the program. PRISM reportedly involves nine giant Internet companies: Microsoft, Yahoo, Google, Facebook, PalTalk, AOL, Skype, YouTube, and Apple. Some are denying they participate.

PRISM dates from the George W. Bush administration and, according to Clapper, has been overseen by Congress and the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. That means some insiders wouldn’t have been surprised by the revelations and may explain why former Bush spokesman Ari Fleischer stood by it last night when I asked him about it. “I support it, just as I support detecting patterns that can lead us to terrorists,” he told me on Twitter.

The leaked information makes clear that the PRISM program is central to U.S. intelligence gathering. Clapper called the unauthorized disclosure of its existence “reprehensible” and said it “risks important protections for the security of Americans.”

In fact the twin leaks of PRISM and the phone data-collection program appear more serious and consequential than the leaks that led the Justice Department to investigate the Associated Press and Fox News’ James Rosen.

Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder have all but admitted overzealousness in those two investigations, in which Rosen was labeled a coconspirator and so many AP phone records were subpoenaed that one member of Congress called it a constitutionally questionable dragnet. Obama and Holder have been trying to dial back and reassure the media that reporters won’t be prosecuted for doing their jobs.

Investigations of these latest leaks will be a stiff test of their restraint, and their ability to explain why PRISM in particular is not something that should worry people who use the Internet. In other words, almost everyone in America.

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Flashback: Whistleblower Revealed NSA Scandal 14 Months Ago, MSM Refused To Report – Pundit Press

In April of 2012, whistleblower William Binney went on the program Democracy Now to reveal that the NSA was lying to the American people about their actions. Binney is a former intelligence agent.

He stated that the NSA had “20 trillion transactions” on record. Specifically, transactions are phone calls, emails, internet searches, and credit card purchases made by average citizens.

When asked if he believed that the United States government had every single email American citizens had sent, Binney stated that, “I believe they have most of them.”

When asked about the difference between the Obama and Bush administrations, Binney cautioned, “Actually, I think the surveillance has increased, in fact I would suggest that they’ve assembled on the order of 20 trillion transactions about US citizens with other US citizens. 20 trillion.”

“They can target anyone they want,” he warned.

Yet it was only this week that the Main Stream Media officially reported on the NSA’s activities, and that was after the story was broken by the Guardian.

You can watch the interview below:

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If You Think Obama’s Defense Of NSA Monitoring Is ‘Laughable,’ You’re Not Alone – Fox News Insider

Constitutional law expert Jonathan Turley told Megyn Kelly he is “astonished” at President Obama’s dismissive attitude toward criticism of NSA monitoring.

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…………………….Click on image above to watch video.

After hearing a thorough defense of the NSA’s monitoring of Americans’ phone calls, Megyn Kelly discussed it with constitutional law expert Jonathan Turley, who took particular issue with Obama referring to the program as a “modest encroachment” on privacy. He called that statement “laughable,” saying Obama did not address the questions that civil libertarians like himself have been asking since the Bush administration.

“Telephone companies were demanding every single phone call made by every single citizen. It’s the type of surveillance that once was though futuristic, that wasn’t even technically possible, but it is now… I’m really astonished by the dismissive attitude of the president,” said Turley, calling it a “major violation of privacy.”

Check out the full interview above, including why Turley believes Obama is “unconnected from reality.”

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Dem. Senator Contradicts Obama: ‘I Had No Idea’ About PRISM, ‘Don’t Know’ How Many In Congress Knew – Mediaite

Appearing on MSNBC’s Now with Alex Wagner, Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) said that he was never briefed on the National Security Agency’s sweeping PRISM program which databases electronic communications data. Merkley said that he had no idea about the program and he suspects that a small number of members of the congressional intelligence committees were the only individuals informed of the program.

Wagner recalled that the president said that he welcomes the debate over how much privacy Americans should expect to give up in order to ensure security. She asked Merkley if he thought it was even possible to have that debate.

“I think it is possible,” he replied. “Much more possible now that there is public examination.”

“When I sought information, the only information I got was related to that, ‘yes, there is a program sweeping up broad amounts of data through the Records Act,” Merkley continued.

“This second thing we’ve just learned about called PRISM, I had no idea about,” he said. “I don’t know how many people knew about it in Congress, but I suspect a very small number on the intelligence committees.”

Merkley noted that President Barack Obama‘s assertion that members of Congress were informed of these programs was not true in his case.

Watch the clip below via MSNBC:

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Mark Levin: “We Have The Elements Of A Police State Here” (Video) – Gateway Pundit

Conservative radio host and best-selling author Mark Levin went on “Your World with Neil Cavuto” yesterday to discuss the recent revelations that the National Security Agency had been collecting the phone records of millions of Verizon customers.

Levin told Cavuot:

“We have the elements of a police state here.”

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The Daily Caller reported:

He said that the NSA news in addition to other openings for intrusion by the federal government are the makings of a “police state.”

“I tell you what I make of this – we have the elements of a police state here, and I’m not overstating it,” Levin said. “When you step back and realize the Supreme Court the other day ruled 5-to-4 that law enforcement can take DNA from you even if you’re arrested – by the way, you’re arrested even when you’re stopped for a speeding ticket, and Scalia was right, concerned about a national database. That goes way over the line of our traditions.”

“The Department of Homeland Security now is checking laptops and iPhones and other data, making copies of it and keeping it, and now we have this,” he continued. “And some of my brothers and sisters in law enforcement, prosecutors, are saying, ‘Look, look, this is permitted. We need to be able to go through and match -’ wait a minute. You don’t throw a whole net on the entire country and everybody’s phone numbers and check the duration and see if you can come up with some overlaps. That’s not law enforcement. That’s not how national security works. I don’t care what the hell the Supreme Court said 30 years ago or what some judge said 15 minutes ago. This is America, and our government is collecting way too damn much data on we the private citizen.”

Read the rest here.

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Related videos:

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Flashback – March, 2013: National Intelligence Director James Clapper denies the NSA collects any type of data on millions of Americans.

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And, of course, our glorious leader is right on top of the situation.

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