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An Overview of Stories in the News

This Page was last updated on:February 6th
[See Veterans and the VA]

February 6: Yahoo News: U.S. Federal Judge Grants an extension of the
injunction against release of anti-abortion videos:

A U.S. judge in San Francisco on Friday granted an extension of a preliminary injunction stopping the distribution of surreptitious videos taken by anti-abortion activists who alleged Planned Parenthood staff discussed the illegal sale of aborted fetal tissue.  The judges’ action was taken until the National Abortion Federation case against the Center for Medical Progress -- claiming the Center for Medical Progresss illegally infiltrated and recorded the private meetings the had with Planned Parenthood -- is decided.

February 6th: Foundation for Economic Education:  Low-Skilled Workers Flee Minimum Wage States
What happens when, in a country where workers are free to move, a region raises its minimum wage? Do those with the fewest skills seek out the regions with the highest wage floors?  New minimum wage research by economist Joan Monras states that theoretically there should be a close relationship between the employment impact of rising minimum wages and the migration of low-skilled workers.  But instead of finding an influx of these workers the opposite is actually happening.

February 6th: The New York Times North Korea Launches Missile Test
Defying warnings of tougher sanctions from Washington, North Korea on Sunday launched a space rocket in a purported satellite program widely considered to be a cover for developing intercontinental ballistic missile technologies.  The rocket blasted off from Tongchang-ri, the North’s main satellite launch site near its northwestern border with China, a spokesman for the South Korean Defense Ministry, said. It is not clear that the rocket launch was successful.

February 6: The Daily Caller: Federal Appeals Court Upholds Second Amendment
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit on Thursday overturned a federal district court decision that had upheld the 2013 State of Maryland Firearm Safety Act as constitutional under intermediate scrutiny review.  The court vacated the district court’s denial of the plaintiffs’ claims and remanded the case to the lower court, ordering that it apply the appropriate strict standard of review.  “We are greatly heartened by the Fourth Circuit panel’s ruling today,” said Lawrence G. Keane, Senior Vice President and General Counsel, National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), one of the lead plaintiffs in this case. “As this important case goes forward, NSSF will continue to work with our co-plaintiffs to ensure that our citizens’ Second Amendment rights are protected and that the lawful commerce in firearms is restored in support of this constitutional protection.”

February 5: Fox News: Benghazi Committee Democrats Gave
$33K+ in bonuses while blasting the cost of said probe!

Democrats on the House committee probing the 2012 Benghazi terror attacks awarded tens of thousands of dollars in bonuses to their staff, while at the same time repeatedly attacking Republicans over the rising cost of the investigation.  According to publicly available reports, a total of $33,600 was given to six Democratic staffers at the end of 2014 and 2015.  While the bonuses make up only a fraction of the panel's total expenses to date, critics suggested they undermine the minority members' complaints about the budget.

February 5: The Daily Caller: Admin Takes Swing at GOP for not holding hearings
on the President’s [Dead on Arrival] Budget:
Sen. Mike Enzi (R-Wyoming) and Rep. Tom Price (R-GA) – the chairmen of the House and Senate Budget Committees – are opting not to hold hearings on President Obama’s fiscal year 2017 budget, saying inviting Director of the Office of Management and Budget Shaun Donovan would not be a productive use of their time.  The president is slated to unveil his final budget request, which is expected to increase government spending, next Tuesday. Republican lawmakers said they will focus on their own proposal, criticizing the commander in chief’s past budgets as being detrimental to the economy.

February 1: Fox News: Cruz takes Iowa with 28% of the vote
Texas Sen. Ted Cruz won the Iowa Republican caucuses Monday night, beating front-runner Donald Trump in a vital victory that could shake up the primary race.   Hillary Clinton is meanwhile clinging to a very narrow lead over Bernie Sanders on the Democratic side. 

February 1: The Daily Caller: Mills Refuses to Speak to State Dept. Investigators about Clinton Emails:
Hillary Clinton’s former chief of staff, Cheryl Mills, refused to speak to investigators with the State Department’s Office of the Inspector General about her handling of a 2012 public records request for information about Clinton’s private email addresses that the agency falsely denied.  Mills was identified in a report about the mishandling of a Freedom of Information request for records pertaining to Clinton’s email account.  The report noted that the FOIA request was denied even though Clinton clearly had a personal email account which Mills and many other officials knew about at the time.

January 31: The Daily Caller: Clinton Non-Disclosure Agreement Could Obliterate Her Classified Email Defense:
Hillary Clinton was finally asked on Sunday about a non-disclosure agreement she signed in Jan. 2009 which completely undermines the defense she uses to downplay the existence of classified information on her private email server. But as is often the case with the Democratic presidential candidate, she dodged the question and gave an inconsistent answer.

January 31: The Hill: Sanders calls for tax hikes across the board – Will it cost him votes?
Bernie Sanders’s explicit call for tax hikes on the middle class is a political gamble that flies in the face of conventional political wisdom.  While academics and strategists believe Sanders’s calls to raise taxes across the board would be more harmful in a general election, some suggested it could cost him Democratic primary voters as well. Sanders, an Independent Vermont senator and self-professed Democratic Socialist, has proposed a number of tax increases, most of which target high earners and corporations.  But he has also called for paid leave and universal healthcare that would be funded in part by tax increases on the middle class.  “We will raise taxes. Yes we will,” Sanders said this week at a town hall in Iowa — just a week before the caucuses. Sanders is locked in a battle with Hillary Clinton to win the first contest in the Democratic primary.

January 31: The New York Post: Former IG: Hillary and State Department are Lying:
The State Department is lying when it says it didn’t know until it was too late that Hillary Clinton was improperly using personal e-mails and a private server to conduct official business — because it never set up an agency e-mail address for her in the first place, the department’s former top watchdog says.

January 28: The Washington Free Beacon:  Russian Fighter Conducts Dangerous Intercept of U.S. Recon Aircraft
“On Jan. 25 an RC-135 aircraft flying a routine route in international airspace over the Black Sea was intercepted by a Russian Su-27 in an unsafe and unprofessional manner,” Navy Capt. Daniel Hernandez, chief spokesman for the U.S. European Command, told the Washington Free Beacon. “We are looking into the issue.”

January 28: CNS News: Close to 50% of Union Members Worked for the Government in 2015
The percentage of American wage and salary workers who belonged to a union was only 11.1 percent in 2015, but the percentage of union members who worked for government was 48.9 percent according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.  The 7,241,000 government workers whom the BLS estimates were members of unions in 2015 equaled almost half of the estimated total of 14,795,000 union-member wage and salary workers in the nation.  And these unionized government workers outnumbered the Census Bureau’s estimated 2015 populations for all but 12 of the states.

January 28: The Daily Caller: 300 Scientists Want NOAA to stop hiding its global warming data.
Hundreds of scientists sent a letter to lawmakers Thursday warning National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration scientists may have violated federal laws when they published a 2015 study purporting to eliminate the 15-year “hiatus” in global warming from the temperature record.   These scientists were concerned that NOAA failed to observe the OMB [Office of Management and Budget] (and its own) guidelines, established in relation to the Data Quality Act.”

January 28: The Daily Caller: Donations from Trump Fundraiser will go to his personal charity:
Donald Trump says that the event he is holding Thursday in Iowa opposite the Fox News GOP debate will raise money to help veterans. But as the event’s donation website shows, the money will first go through Trump’s personal charity, which appears to have contributed more money to the Clinton Foundation than to veterans groups.  Trump set up donaldtrumpforvets.com Thursday morning after announcing that he would not be attending the final debate before the Iowa caucuses because Fox News refused to remove Megyn Kelly as a moderator. Trump and Kelly have feuded since the first GOP debate in August.

January 27: The Daily Caller: Veterans Group Tells Trump it won’t accept donations from his fundraiser
A military veterans group told Donald Trump they do not want his money from his fundraiser for vets.  Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America founder Paul Rieckhoff tweeted Wednesday he would turn away any donation that came from the fundraiser Trump is planning to speak at in lieu of participating in the presidential primary debate in Iowa Thursday.

January 27: The Hill: Trump refuses to reconsider boycott of Iowa Debate
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump on Wednesday night lashed out at Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly in his first appearance on the network since he announced he'd boycott the next GOP debate. He also refused to reconsider his decision to sit out the network's Thursday night debate – the last before the Iowa caucuses in five days – and said he'd move forward with his own competing event to raise money for wounded veterans.

January 25: Fox News Insider: Hillary Mocking FBI Emaill Probe Judge Napolitano said Hillary Clinton is mocking the FBI email probe. In order to get access to these kinds of document you need special codes that change hourly. So this could not have been just an oversight. It was a willful act to disregard highly sensitive classified material and to handle it as unclassified documents. "Even the FBI agents investigating Clinton's use of a personal server don't have access to those codes!" Judge Napolitano said.

January 24: News Max: Trump may skip Fox News Debate over Megyn Kelly
GOP presidential front-runner Donald Trump might skip Thursday's debate on Fox News Channel and hold his own televised town hall at the same time if the network doesn't drop Megyn Kelly from its team of moderators, his campaign manager tells New York Magazine's Gabriel Sherman. . Trump has been calling on Fox News to drop Kelly, who is scheduled to join Chris Wallace and Bret Baier as debate moderators. The trio moderated the first GOP debate in which Kelly and Trump sparred over a question about his treatment of women. Trump took up the feud again last week with a serious of tweets saying Fox shouldn't allow Kelly on the debate stage because she is biased against him. Fox responded that Kelly would not be removed from the team of moderators.

January 24: The Washington Examiner: Immigration Prosecutions drop 36%
while detaining illegals in jail is down by 2/3rds

Criminal prosecution of immigration offenses over the past five years is down 36%, and the once-successful program of detaining illegal immigrants in state and local jails is in free fall, down by two-thirds, according reports from two federal agencies.  Justice Department statistics show that criminal prosecutions for crimes such as unlawful re-entry by an illegal in November totaled 4,861, down 13.2 percent over the previous month. Over the past year, that number is down 22.3 percent.  According to the Center for Immigration Studies which analyzed the data, that is a five year decline of criminal prosecutions.

January 24: The Hill: Pataki: Clinton’s Legal Issues will force consideration of an outsider: 
Former GOP presidential candidate George Pataki is predicting that Democrat Hillary Clinton's "legal issues" will force an outside candidate to jump into the 2016 White House race as a white knight. "People talk about the problems in the Republican Party, but I think Democrats have a bigger problem," the former New York governor said.  "Hillary Clinton is catering, the scandals just keep coming. She has grave legal issues that could totally prevent her from continuing her campaign, and the alternative is a self-avowed socialist who has never run anything.”  Pataki added that it would not surprise him to see an "outsider jump into the race" like Vice President Joe Biden, California Gov. Jerry Brown or Secretary of State John Kerry.

January 23: The Hill: Rubio’s 3-2-1 Early State Strategy, Unique but with some Risks:
Marco Rubio’s campaign appears to be coalescing around a unique and potentially risky strategy to catch fire in the GOP presidential primary, one that isn’t predicated on success in either Iowa and New Hampshire.  The strategy, disclosed earlier this week after conversations with multiple Rubio aides, has earned the nickname of the “3-2-1” strategy—third place in Iowa, second place in New Hampshire and first place in South Carolina. It’s an unconventional path in an unconventional cycle, with potential risks and rewards. 

January 23: The Hill: Glenn Beck endorses Cruz
Conservative commentator Glenn Beck on Saturday endorsed Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz for the White House.  He compared Cruz to the 16th president, Abraham Lincoln, and gave him a compass that belonged to the first one, George Washington.  “I’d like you to hold onto that,” he said, passing Cruz the compass, “to make sure your compass is square and you stay true” to your values.   Beck said he had never endorsed a presidential candidate in his 40 years of broadcasting, but he made an exception because of the urgency of the moment.

January 23: The Hill: Cruz’s plan to beat Hillary?  Tell the truth!
Republican presidential hopeful Ted Cruz says he hates the conventional wisdom that the only way for a conservative to win a general election is to run as a “Democrat-lite.” “How do we win?” Cruz asked voters at an Exeter, N.H., rally earlier this week, according to the Associated Press.“Washington consultants always say ‘the way you win is you run to the middle.’ You run to the mushy middle, you blur the distinctions,” he added. “Every time we do that, we lose.”   The Texas senator said he prefers his approach, which he characterized as “telling the truth with a smile.”  “That’s how we win — with a clear contrast,” he said.

January 23:  Breitbart News Page and McLaughlin: The FBI will recommend Prosecution for Hillary:
Chicago Tribune Editorial Board member Clarence Page and “McLaughlin Group” host John McLaughlin predicted the FBI will recommend Democratic presidential candidate former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton face prosecution for mishandling classified information on Friday.  McLaughlin asked if Hillary would be prosecuted, to which Page responded,  “I’m going to say yes, but she won’t be indicted.”  McLaughlin responded, “I’m with you.”

January 23: The New York Times:  Mayor Bloomberg, Sensing Opportunity,
Considers Potential White House Bid:

Former NYC Mayor Bloomberg has instructed advisers to draw up plans for a potential independent campaign in this year’s presidential race. His advisers and associates said he was galled by Donald Trump’s dominance of the Republican field, and troubled by Hillary Clinton’s stumbles and the rise of Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont on the Democratic side.  Bloomberg, a billionaire has in the past contemplated running for the White House on a third-party ticket, but always concluded he could not win. A confluence of unlikely events in the 2016 election, however, has given new impetus to his presidential aspirations.

January 22: Fox News: Clinton Private Server Exposed Human Intel Sources
At least one of the emails on Hillary Clinton's private server contained extremely sensitive information identified by an intelligence agency as "HCS-O," which is the code used for reporting on human intelligence sources in ongoing operations, according to two sources not authorized to speak on the record.    Both sources are familiar with the intelligence community inspector general’s January 14 letter to Congress, advising the Oversight committees that intelligence beyond Top Secret -- known as Special Access Program (SAP) -- was identified in the Clinton emails, as well the supporting documents from the affected agencies that owned the information and have final say on classification. Dan Maguire, former Special Operations strategic planner for Africom, has said the disclosure of sensitive material impacts national security and exposes U.S. sources.  "There are people’s lives at stake. Certainly in an intel SAP, if you’re talking about sources and methods, there may be one person in the world that would have access to the type of information contained in that SAP,” he said.

2016 Annual March for Life in Washington, DCJanuary 22: The Washington Examiner: President Neglecting the rights of unborn children
It has become a tradition of sorts for presidents to release statements on the anniversary of the Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision, which established “a constitutional” right to abortion and legalized most abortions nationally.  And so it was with President Obama.  The president said the decision "affirmed a woman's freedom to make her own choices about her body and her health." While that's true for women who choose to abort a pregnancy, that's untrue for unborn baby girls, who make up roughly half the victims of abortion in America.  With about 1.2 million yearly abortions in the U.S., that's 600,000 girls who didn't get the freedom to make their own choices about their bodies and their health.  Obama concluded by saying: "In America, every single one of us deserves the rights, freedoms and opportunities to fulfill our dreams." The president seems to have a blind spot for the millions of unborn babies who have been aborted during his presidency and who will never have such opportunities, especially in light of the research that shows unborn babies can dream in the womb.

January 22: The Daily Caller: Chaffetz and Jordan go Ballistic when they learn the IRS
wiped clean yet another hard drive

Leading members of Congress are ripping IRS officials for erasing a computer hard drive after a federal judge ordered it to be preserved.  “The destruction of evidence subject to preservation orders and subpoenas has been an ongoing problem under your leadership at the IRS,” Committee on House Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) and Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), wrote in a letter to IRS Commissioner Koskinen. “It is stunning to see that the IRS does not take reasonable care to preserve documents that it is legally required to protect,” Chaffetz and Jordan said.

January 20: The Daily Caller: Mikulski says she wants to avoid Constitution Arguments
during hearing on Obama’s Executive Gun Actions:

Senator Mikulski (D-MD) said at a Senate hearing Wednesday that she wanted to avoid getting “involved in constitutional arguments.” The only problem is that the hearing in question dealt with President Obama’s recent executive actions on guns, which many believe infringes on Americans’ Second Amendment rights.  Mikulski, an ardent supporter of gun control said she wanted to focus on solving the problem. 

January 20: Fox News: Fast and Furious rifle capable of taking down a chopper
found in El Chapo Weapons Cache

A .50-caliber rifle found at Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman’s hideout in Mexico was funneled through the gun-smuggling investigation known as Fast and Furious, sources confirmed Tuesday to Fox News.  A .50-caliber is a massive rifle that can stop a car or, as it was intended, take down a helicopter.  After the raid on Jan. 8 in the city of Los Mochis officials found a number of weapons inside the house where Guzman was staying, including the rifle, officials said.

January 19: Politico: Judge Rejects Obama’s Assertion of Executive Privilege over Fast and Furious Records
A federal judge has rejected President Barack Obama's assertion of executive privilege to deny Congress access to records pertaining to Operation Fast and Furious, a gunrunning probe that allegedly allowed thousands of weapons to flow across the border into Mexico.  U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson ruled Tuesday that the Justice Department's public disclosures about its response to the so-called "gun walking" controversy undercut Obama's executive privilege claim.

January 14: Associated Press: Migration of Jews from Europe to Israel hits all time high
Jewish immigration to Israel from western Europe has reached an all-time high as a result of a rise in anti-Semitic attacks, a leading nonprofit group said Thursday, as France's beleaguered Jewish community grapples with whether to refrain from donning Jewish skull caps for their own safety.  The Jewish Agency, which works closely with the Israeli government and acts as a link to Jews around the world, told The AP that 9,880 western European Jews immigrated to Israel in 2015 — the highest annual number ever. The figure is more than 10 percent over the previous year and over double the 2013 level.

January 14: The Hill: Rand Paul: I will not be silenced:
Presidential candidate Rand Paul released a video Thursday night during the GOP undercard debate — which he boycotted — saying he refuses to be silenced and that the Republican Party needs to allow "dissent" and a "diversity of opinion."  "I may have been excluded from the debate tonight, but I won't be silenced," he said. Without his voice, he added, the libertarian wing of the party "wonders if they need to look elsewhere, outside of the party for representation." 

January 14: The Hill: State Department: Ten Sailors Captured Not Covered by the Geneva Convention
The ten American sailors captured by Iran this week were not covered under protocols of the Geneva Convention because the United States is not at war with Iran, the State Department said on Thursday.  The determination means that the Obama administration will not accuse Iran of violating the convention’s protections for prisoners of war, as many critics accused Iran of doing with its treatment of the sailors.

January 10: News Max: Two VA Executives Finally Demoted for Scam
Two Veterans Affairs officials who had underlings pushed aside so they could take their jobs at their old pay with fewer responsibilities finally received demotions on Friday, Fox News reports,  but one lawmaker still wondered why criminal charged weren't filed against them.  The VA said Friday that "final action" to "demote" Diana Rubens of Philadelphia and Kimberly Graves of St. Paul from regional office directors to assistant director jobs in other cities.  Federal prosecutors said on December 24 that no charges would be filed against the pair, but has not responded to a message from Florida Rep. Jeff Miller about why they will not be charged.

January 9: Fox News: Clinton may have “coached” aid how to send fax to unsecured machine:
A recently released email from Hillary Clinton when she was secretary of state appears to show her coaching an aide on how to send a fax on a non-secure system, renewing criticism about her perhaps skirting security measures.  Clinton wrote the email as part of an exchange in June 2011 that started when aide Jack Sullivan wrote to say his staff was having problems getting her documents on a secure fax.  Clinton responded by saying she hadn't received the documents and that Sullivan and his staff should “turn (the messages) into nonpaper with no identifying heading and send [it] nonsecure."

January 8: McClatchy News DC: At Least 1,340 Clinton emails contained classified information:
At least 1,340 emails that Hillary Clinton sent or received contained classified material, according to the State Department’s latest update from its ongoing review of more than 30,000 emails. None of Clinton’s emails was marked as classified during her tenure, State Department officials say, but intelligence officials say some material was clearly classified at the time. Her aides also sent and received classified information.  Clinton has been under fire for months for exclusively using personal email routed through a private server while serving as the nation’s top diplomat. The FBI launched an inquiry into the handling of sensitive information after classified information was found in some

January 7: Fox News: North Korea and China Testing the U.S.
The White House no longer talks about “red lines,” but it seems more are being crossed every day.  From the Middle East to Asia, U.S. adversaries are taking provocative and aggressive actions, raising concerns they are feeling emboldened – ever since President Obama backed off the threat of military action against Syria’s Bashar Assad.   North Korea has now tested a fourth nuclear device under orders from Kim Jong Un. China over the weekend brazenly landed its first aircraft on a runway built atop one of its man-made islands in the South China Sea weeks after the U.S. indicated it had no plans to send warships there, and later flew a large civilian airliner to the artificial land mass.

January 6: WND News: Obama’s Executive Actions on Guns Coming on Tuesday
The White House announced it will unveil President Obama’s promised executive orders Tuesday morning on “common sense” gun control, but Second Amendment advocates and Republicans in Congress say “not so fast.”  They’re gearing up for a battle that will extend to the legislative branch and the courts.
Obama is expected to announce his unilateral plans to work around Congress to rein in gun sales and “make our communities safer,” according to a White House statement.

January 7: The Hill: Dept. of State Set to Dump more Classified Clinton emails
The State Department will release 2,900 pages of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s emails on Thursday, after failing to meet a court-ordered deadline last week.  Thursday’s document dump is likely to be the second-to-last release of Clinton’s emails by the State Department, which has been ordered by a court to have the full 55,000 pages of emails to the public by the end of the month.   Forty-five of the emails in Thursday evening’s release have been deemed classified at some level, department spokesman John Kirby said, bringing the total number of emails with now-classified information up to 1,319.

January 7: The Washington Times: Missing U.S. Hell Fire Missile Turns Up in Cuba
One of the most advanced U.S. missiles was unintentionally shipped to Cuba in 2014, according to a report Thursday evening in the Wall Street Journal.  The Hellfire missile was supposed to be sent to Europe for a training mission, the Journal reported, cited “people familiar with the matter.” Shipping such a sophisticated weapon to a communist dictatorship with which the U.S. at the time didn’t have diplomatic relations and has been under U.S. embargo for a half-century would be among the worst mistakes of its kind in U.S. military history, the sources said. 

January 5: The Washington Examiner: Hillary Takes Credit for Obama Gun Plans
Hillary Clinton praised Obama's executive actions on gun control, claiming that his plans were influenced by her own proposals.  "I am very proud of President Obama's announcement today," Clinton said of the president's new series of executive actions. "In fact, I feel really good because I called for some of those measures a few months ago."  The former secretary of state has long touted gun control on the campaign trail, especially in the wake of recent mass shootings.

January 5: The Daily Caller:  Benghazi Soldiers: We believe the families, not Hillary
Three members of the security team who responded to the attack on the Benghazi annex on Sept. 11, 2012 say that they believe the families of the four Americans killed that day when they say that then-Sec. of State Hillary Clinton blamed an anti-Muslim video for the attacks during private conversations.  Clinton has denied claims made by the relatives of State Department information officer Sean Smith, and CIA operatives Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods that Clinton blamed the film, “Innocence of Muslims,” during a Sept. 14, 2012 memorial service for the victims.

January 5: The Springfield News-Leader: Springfield Woman: Gun Rights Saved My Life
Katie Claxton said she was afraid for her life Sunday night when she was approached by a man wielding a large knife.  The Springfield woman said she cringes to think what might have happened if her husband hadn't pointed a gun at the man and scared him off.  "Our Second Amendment right to carry is what saved our lives," Claxton said. "If we didn't have our right to carry, I feel like we wouldn't be here today."

January 4: The Hill: Republicans eye DOJ Funding to block Obama Gun Orders
A powerful House Republican is threatening to block President Obama’s executive order on guns by defunding the Department of Justice (DOJ).  In a letter to Attorney General Lynch, Congressman Culberson (R-TX), chairman of the Appropriations subcommittee that oversees the Justice Department, warned against enforcing the new gun restrictions.  "The next twelve months will be an especially dangerous time for Americans who treasure our Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms,” Culberson said.

January 4: The Washington Times: Gun Background checks increased to a high in 2015
A record number of firearms background checks were conducted by the FBI in 2015 — equating to roughly 44 every minute. The agency reported Monday that it conducted a tltal of 23,141,970 checks last year, eclipsing the prior yearly record of roughly 21.1 million checks set in 2013.  The background checks are conducted through the National Instant Criminal Background Check System for gun purchases from federal firearms licensees and for permits to carry guns, and while the checks serve as an indicator of gun sale trends in the U.S., each check does not always equate to a sale.

January 4: The Daily Caller: Unusual Clinton Payments to the DNC raise Conflict of Interest Questions:
Hillary Clinton and the Democratic National Committee have an unusual agreement in which an entity she controls has paid millions of dollars to the political panel, even as its leadership plays a supposedly impartial role in fostering competition between the former secretary of state and her rivals for the party’s 2016 presidential nomination. 
Clinton created a “joint fundraising committee” Sept. 10 that funneled big-money donations in excess of the per-campaign limit to the DNC. In the next 20 days, she raised and gave $600,000 to the DNC. Fourth-quarter 2015 fundraising reports haven’t been filed yet, but the total would be in the millions.

January 4: The Hill: Bill gutting Obamacare would save half-trillion CBO says
A GOP-led effort to repeal the biggest parts of ObamaCare would save more than a half-trillion dollars over a decade, the congressional budget scorekeeper said Monday.  Legislation to gut most of ObamaCare's mandates and taxes, known as Restoring Americans’ Healthcare Freedom Reconciliation Act, would reduce the deficit by $516 billion over 10 years, according to the bipartisan CBO.

January 4: Yahoo News: Saudi Arabia recruits Sunni allies in row with Iran:
Saudi Arabia rallied Sunni allies to its side in a growing diplomatic row with Iran on Monday, deepening a sectarian split across the Middle East following the kingdom's execution of a prominent Shiite cleric.  Bahrain and Sudan cut all ties with Iran, following Riyadh's example the previous day. Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir told Reuters Riyadh would also halt air traffic and commercial relations between the rival powers.

January 4: Yahoo News: Saudi-Ian Crisis a Reflection of U.S. Policy
Washington's single-minded pursuit of the Iran nuclear deal damaged its alliance with Saudi Arabia, experts say, and fed is escalating the crisis in the Gulf.  The United States failed to manage its traditional Sunni Arab allies in the region while it reached out to mend ties with their bitter Shiite foes in Tehran.  As a result, experts warn, Washington has suffered a loss of influence at a time when it needs to implement the nuclear accord and work with both Tehran and Riyadh to end the Syrian war.

January 1: The Daily Caller: Meat Packer Pulls Rug Out From Under Muslims over Prayer Dispute
A Cargill beef processing plant in Fort Morgan, Colo. has fired nearly 200 Somali Muslims who walked off the job last week in a dispute over the company’s accommodations of their prayer rituals.  The workers’ complaints were vague, but seemed to center on the amount of space and time that Cargill had made available for them to pray at the meat plant, which is located in northeast Colorado. Devout Muslims pray five times a day.  More than 200 workers, mostly Muslims from Somalia, either walked off the job before the second shift was set to begin at the plant on Dec. 21 or failed to show up to work the next day in protest of what they claimed were Cargill’s new, restrictive policies.
After the employees failed to show up to work for three days, Cargill fired them, in keeping with the company’s policies.  Cargill spokesman Mike Martin said that the plant could not facilitate a large prayer facility without disrupting operations.

January 1: The Hill:  Report: Obama plans to increase background check requirements
President Obama plans to increase background-check requirements for those who purchase guns from high-volume dealers, the Washington Post reported Friday.  The report comes on the heels of Obama’s announcement Friday morning that he will meet Monday with Attorney General Loretta Lynch “to discuss options” for reducing gun deaths in America.  The Post, citing unnamed people “familiar with the proposal,” said the White House will unveil the background checks and other policy specifics next week. Obama used his weekly radio address Friday to pledge a continued fight against “our epidemic of gun violence.

January 1: The Hill: Iran: As Long as the U.S. Supports Israel, we will continue our missile program
Iranian leaders are defiantly vowing to expand the nation’s missile program in the face of potential new U.S. sanctions.  “As long as the United States supports Israel, we will expand our missile capabilities,” said the Revolutionary Guards' No. 2 leader, Brigadier General Hossein Salami, Reuters reports. The Wall Street Journal reported late Thursday that the Obama administration is delaying its planned sanctions over Tehran's missile program.

January 1: The Hill: Obama’s 2015 environmental/Climate Changes Heading for Trial
A slate of major environmental rules rolled out by the Obama administration in 2015 will face serious challenges in 2016, as opponents look to beat back the president’s ambitious policies — a core piece of his legacy.  Here are some of the biggest regulations that can be expected to be litigated in 2016.
(1) Clean Power Plan -- the climate rule for power plants, an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulation designed to cut carbon emissions from the power sector by 32 percent from 2005 levels by 2030. It has met with scorching opposition from Republicans, commodity groups, businesses and utilities. Opponents argue the rule will cut carbon emissions at the expense of jobs and American energy bills, which could go up as states shift to cleaner energy mixes.
(2) Clean Water Rule  -- A federal court dealt a blow to another EPA rule in 2015 when it blocked implementation of a new rule setting regulatory authority over small waterways.  The so-called “Waters of the United States” rule looks to clarify which streams, wetlands and other smaller waterways the federal government has regulatory authority over. Opponents  argue the rule is overly-broad and an unjust expansion of federal power. Two separate federal courses have issued separate injunctions against the rule in 2015.


Go to the Chronology of more News Stories from 2015

 

 

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