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An Overview of Stories in the News

This Page was last updated on:August 25th [See The Veterans Administration Story]

AP File Photo by Charles Dharapak of the President Speaking at the White HouseAugust 25: The Daily News: Impeaching the President? Really?
The photo, left [AP/Charles Dharapak File Photo], is of the President speaking at the White House. The "Three Musketeers" point out that dispite the talk about impeaching the President, it isn't going to happen! Such talk is, however, a great way to raise campaign funds for the November mid-term elections!

August 24: Fox News: Journalist Released after nearly two years in captivity:
American freelance journalist Peter Theo Curtis, held hostage for nearly two years by the terror group Jabhat Al-Nusrah in Syria, has been released, the State Department said Sunday.  “We are all relieved and grateful knowing that Theo Curtis is coming home,” Secretary of State John Kerry said.  Curtis, a resident of Massachusetts and Vermont, is also an author fluent in Arabic and French, according to his family.

August 23: The Washington Free Beacon: Navy sends second aircraft carrier to South China Sea as Chinese aggressive actions increase
The Navy is sending a second aircraft carrier strike group to the Asia Pacific region amid new tensions with China over a dangerous aerial encounter between a Chinese interceptor and Navy P-8 surveillance craft.  The strike group led by the USS Carl Vinson departed San Diego for the Pacific on Friday, the Navy said in an announcement of what it terms a “planned” deployment. 

August 22: The Wall Street Journal: Pentagon says U.S. patrol plane harassed by Chinese military aircraft:
An armed Chinese fighter jet on Tuesday conducted what Pentagon officials described as an unusually dangerous and aggressive midair intercept of a U.S. Navy patrol aircraft during a routine patrol in international airspace.  During the incident, which took place about 135 miles east of Hainan island in the South China Sea, the Chinese fighter made three passes under the U.S. aircraft at close range, and conducted a series of provocative maneuvers that brought them nearly wingtip to wingtip, officials said. The U.S. protested through official diplomatic channels, the Pentagon said.

August 22:  The Washington Post: Russia escalates conflict in Ukraine by firing shells
The conflict between Russia and Ukraine hit dangerous new heights Friday as Russia sent an enormous aid convoy into rebel-held Ukrainian territory without the permission of the Kiev government, a move that a top Ukrainian security official described as a “direct invasion.” The maneuver came amid reports from NATO that Ukrainian troops were coming under Russian artillery fire from inside their borders.   “Russian artillery support — both cross-border and from within Ukraine — is being employed against the Ukrainian armed forces,” NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said in a statement accusing Moscow of a “blatant breach of Russia’s international commitments” that would intensify a crisis he said it had helped to create and fuel.

August 21: The Daily CallerAnother 2,000 losing healthcare insurance, this time in Colorado:
More than 2,000 more Coloradans had their health insurance plans cancelled as a result of the Affordable Care Act, according to a letter from the state regulatory agency to state Senate Republicans.  Following a dust-up earlier this year between Colorado Democratic Sen. Mark Udall and the Division of Insurance, Republicans have requested regular updates on policies that are cancelled because they don’t conform to Obamacare or because companies are getting out of the individual insurance market.

August 21: Roll Call: Top Republican from Senate Intelligence wants Special Counsel to investigate prisoner swap:
The top Republican on the Senate Intelligence Committee wants a special counsel to investigate President Barack Obama’s swap of five Taliban members for the release of Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl.  An aide to Sen. Saxby Chambliss said in an email that the Georgia Republican wants the Department of Justice to appoint a special counsel to investigate the prisoner swap, which the GAO contended Thursday violated federal law.  The GAO opinion said the administration violated the notice requirement for transfers out of the prison facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and the Antideficiency Act, which is the federal law barring spending without appropriated funds. The Defense Department has contended that the notice requirement is unconstitutional.

August 21: Fox News: Hamas admits to the abduction and killing of three Israeli Youths:
A top Hamas official has admitted that the militant group is behind the abduction and killings of three Israeli teenagers in the events leading up to the current Gaza fighting.  Saleh al-Arouri told delegates at the International Union of Islamic Scholars in Istanbul on Wednesday that “the popular will was exercised throughout our occupied land, and culminated in the heroic operation by the Qassam Brigades in imprisoning the three settlers in Hebron,” according to a recording of the meeting.

August 21: The Hill: Hagel: ISIS poses greater threat then al Qaeda
The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) is beyond "just a terrorist group" and poses a greater threat than al Qaeda, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said Thursday.   "This is beyond anything that we've seen," he said during a briefing on Thursday afternoon about the Sunni militant group that has taken over territory in Iraq and Syria and earlier this week beheaded American journalist James Foley.   "ISIL (ISIS) is as sophisticated and well-funded as any group that we have seen," Hagel said. Hagel's remarks come months after President Obama dismissed ISIS, calling the group "JV". 

August 21: The Daily Caller: GAO says Obama Administration Broke the Law:
The Obama administration broke the law earlier this year by secretly ordering the swap of five Guantanamo Bay detainees in return for American prisoner of war Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, according to a new report by the U.S. Government Accountability Office.  The report, released Thursday, faulted the Department of Defense for transferring the five detainees to Qatar without giving a heads up to congressional committees 30 days in advance, as required by the law.

August 20: Roll Call:  Ryan Rules Out another Government Shutdown:
 House Republicans won’t shut down the government in September, Heritage Action is “constructive at the end of the day” and a person can write a book without necessarily running for president.  Those were some of the points Rep. Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis., hit home during an exclusive interview with CQ Roll Call Wednesday afternoon from the ornate Union League Building in downtown Philadelphia.

August 19: Fox News: Young Kurdish fighters learn on the front line
Thousands of inexperienced Kurdish troops are being taught basic military skills while already serving on the front lines, Peshmerga officers have told FoxNews.com.  Night and day, a handful of experienced fighters move up and down the front - just 1,500 yards from Islamic State forces - teaching new volunteers basic weapons, movement and artillery skills. The green recruits know they have to learn fast, as a clash with the murderous jihadi army could come without warning.  “There are so many problems with our unity and our training, and this is affecting our army," said veteran Peshmerga officer Sherdyl Rwandzi. "Soldiers come to us knowing very little, and we must teach them everything here [on the front lines].”

August 18: Fox News: One Who Should Know Calls Perry Indictment a “Conspiracy”
Former House majority leader Tom DeLay on Monday sharply criticized the local prosecutor's office that indicted both him and more recently fellow Texas Republican Gov. Rick Perry, calling it a “vendetta” and another example of the “criminalization of politics.”  In an interview with FoxNews.com, DeLay attacked nearly every aspect of the prosecution’s case against Perry -- suggesting it was political retribution for the governor's attempt to remove a county district attorney with a criminal record and a “conspiracy” likely traceable to Washington Democrats.   “There is no doubt [the case] is politically motivated,” the former House majority leader said. “Once again, the district attorney of Travis County presented a case, not unlike mine, that was very weak, if it was a case at all. … It’s a conspiracy to use the legal system to politicize politics.”

DeLay was indicted in 2005 by a Travis County grand jury for allegedly conspiring to break election laws several years earlier in a case that involved charges of money laundering.  He was convicted in January 2011 and sentenced to three years in prison. But he was allowed free on bail while appealing his conviction. The Texas Court of Appeals ruled in Sept. 2013 that the evidence in the case was “legally insufficient” to sustain the convictions and DeLay was formally acquitted.

The So Called War on Women from women's perspectiveAugust 18: The Daily News: The So Called Republican War on Women!
It seems that the major way that Republicans are accused of being oppressors of women has to do with their stance on abortion.  Surprisingly enough, the recent Supreme Court decision regarding Hobby Lobby’s unwillingness to provide post-conception abortion-inducing drugs was actually based on a law passed by a Democrat Congress and signed by Democrat President Bill Clinton.  That law was designed to protect the religious freedom of employers.  As it happens, the drugs in question are available at no cost to anyone who requests them from Planned Parenthood, so you’d think the issue wouldn’t cause such an uproar.  It’s the principle of the thing, of course.  In some minds, women have the right to do as they please with their own bodies, but employers have no right to refuse to kill children. It’s an insensitive way of putting it, we know.  But that seems to be the popular mind-set these days.  Personally, we believe that a woman does have the right to do as she wishes with her own body.  However, we also believe that, once a woman is pregnant, she is carrying another body inside her own, a body that would choose to live if able to speak for itself.

Republicans Fighting for Women's RightsAugust 18: The Daily News:
Republicans Fighting for Women's Rights:

Today, August 18th is the 94 anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution granting women the right to vote. In 1879 a Republican U.S. Senator from California was the first person to introduce the language of this amendment. His wife continued the fight after his death and then in 1920 Tennessee became the 36th state to ratify the measure making it the law of the land. Read an account of how this all happened!

August 16: The Star-Telegram: Governor Perry Calls the Indictments a “Farce”
Texas Gov. Rick Perry said Saturday that the indictment against him was an “outrageous” abuse of power and vowed to fight it.  “This indictment amounts to nothing more than abuse of power and I cannot and will not allow that to happen,” Perry said at a news conference on Saturday.  Perry spoke a day after a grand jury indicted the Republican on two felony counts of abuse of power for making good on a veto threat. He dismissed the prosecution as a “farce.”

A special prosecutor spent months calling witnesses and presenting evidence that Perry broke the law when he promised publicly to veto $7.5 million over two years for the Public Integrity Unit run by the office of Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg.  Lehmberg, a Democrat, was convicted of drunken driving, but refused Perry’s calls to resign.  [See Video of Lehmberg’s actions in jail]  The governor said he was absolutely correct in seeking Lehmberg’s resignation, and given the chance to do it all over again, he would.

August 16: The Daily Caller:  Even Liberals Think Perry Indictment is “Sketchy”
Even liberals find Rick Perry’s indictment for allegedly abusing his power hard to swallow.  Since a grand jury indicted Perry Friday, conservatives have largely dismissed the charges as being part of a political witch-hunt against the Republican Texas governor, who is considering a 2016 presidential run. But what’s most surprising is that many prominent liberals have taken to Twitter to express befuddlement over the indictment as well.

David Axelrod, the architect of President Barack Obama’s two presidential campaigns, tweeted that he found the indictment “pretty sketchy.”   Jonathan Chait, the liberal New York magazine writer, tweeted he couldn’t figure out “what law [Perry] broke.”  Liberal MSNBC.com writer Timothy Noah declared, “Texas Democrats: I think you just messed up big time.”

August 16: Fox News: Senate Dems and Obama Action on Immigration
Senate Democrats at risk of losing re-election in moderate or conservative-leaning states this fall are wary about President Obama using his executive powers to sidestep Congress and act alone on immigration reform.  Their biggest concerns appear to be that Obama will expand his 2012 executive action that deferred deportation for young illegal immigrants by extending it to as many as 5 million more people living illegally in the United States. 

August 16: Fox News: US Launches Airstrikes on ISIS controlled Iraqi Dam
The United States on Saturday launched several more air strikes in Iraq at Islamic State, including ones targeting members of the Islamic militant group who are positioned around the country’s largest dam, near Irbil.  Islamic State captured the Mosul Dam last month in its surprisingly swift and deadly run across northern Iraq in recent months. 

August 16: Associated Press: German Intelligence Spied on John Kerry and Hillary Clinton
Germany's foreign intelligence agency eavesdropped on calls made by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and his predecessor Hillary Clinton, German magazine Der Spiegel reported Saturday.  The respected news weekly reported that the agency, known by its German acronym BND, tapped a satellite phone conversation Kerry made in 2013 as part of its surveillance of telecommunications in the Middle East. The agency also recorded a conversation between Clinton and former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan a year earlier, Der Spiegel claimed.

August 15: Associated Press: Governor Perry Indicted for Veto Threat but in Democrat County and Democrats?
A grand jury indicted Texas Gov. Rick Perry on Friday for allegedly abusing the powers of his office by carrying out a threat to veto funding for state prosecutors investigating public corruption - making the possible 2016 presidential hopeful his state's first indicted governor in nearly a century.  Though the Republican governor now faces two felony indictments, politics dominates the case. Lehmberg is based in Austin, which is heavily Democratic, in contrast to most of the rest of fiercely conservative Texas. The grand jury was comprised of Austin-area (Democrat) residents. The video provides an interesting insight into who the Austin DA is and why Perry acted as he did.

August 15:  The Daily Caller: University of Santa Barbara Prof’s Defenders say Slavery Caused Her Actions!
The saga of University of California, Santa Barbara feminist studies professor Mireille Miller-Young has taken yet another bizarro twist after her defenders urged a judge to excuse the criminal allegations against her because of the “cultural legacy of slavery.”  Miller-Young pleaded no contest last month to misdemeanor counts of battery, theft and vandalism after she attacked abortion protesters Thrin Short, 16, and Joan Short, 21. A radical feminist armada forcibly stole a graphic anti-abortion sign from the two protesters. Miller-Young scratched and appeared to push the 16-year-old girl, then destroyed the sign.  Now, as Miller-Young awaits sentencing, a coterie of her fellow professors has submitted letters about their colleague to the judge presiding over the case, Brian Hill.

A UCSB professor/supporter charged “It would be tragic if Dr. Miller-Young were sentenced to jail time or mandatory anger management classes based on the press’ portrayal of her as an Angry Black Woman,” Spikard wrote. But Miller-Young failed to mention either “racial hatred” or “right-wing political sentiment” when she speaking to police about the event in Marc just after it initially happened. Read the Police Report

August 14: Israel National News: Obama continues anti-Israel Actions -- blocks Israel Missile Shipment
A new report reveals that US President Barack Obama's administration stopped a shipment of missiles to Israel late last month and tightened weapons shipment procedures to Israel, as tensions between the two nations grow amid Operation Protective Edge.  The Pentagon stepped in and put the transfer on hold apparently under instructions from top White House officials that instructed them to get approval first from the Department of State before shipping these needed supplies to Israel.

August 14: The Free Beacon: U.S. Postal Service apologizes for denying mail deliveries to Israel:
The United States Postal Service (USPS) is apologizing to customers in several states who were reportedly denied delivery of their mail to Israel, according to a USPS spokesman.  The USPS has faced criticism in recent days from human rights groups after reports from several states emerged that customers were told that mail to Israel was not being accepted as a result of the current conflict in the Gaza Strip and the brief suspension in U.S. flights to the Jewish State. 

August 14: Fox News:
Al-Maliki agrees to step down as Prime Minister
Embattled Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has agreed to step aside and support his nominated replacement in the post, potentially ending the political deadlock that has plunged Baghdad into uncertainty as the country fights a Sunni militant insurgency. 

August 14: BND.Com: Hillary Clinton’s Lead over GOP Candidates Shrinks:
Potential Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s lead over a crowded prospective Republican field has narrowed and her support has slipped below 50 percent, according to a new McClatchy-Marist poll.  Clinton caused a stir in June when she said that she and former President Bill Clinton left the White House in 2001 “dead broke” and in debt, a statement many potential voters found hard to accept given that both Clintons received millions of dollars in book deal advances and commanded six figures on the speech circuit.  She later said she regretted the comment, calling it “inartful” in an interview. 

August 14: The National Journal: How a Democrat Congress Helped Create Militarized Police
Since 2006, the Pentagon has distributed 432 mine-resistant armored vehicles to local police departments. It has also doled out more than 400 other armored vehicles, 500 aircraft, and 93,000 machine guns.  DOD has been making these donations under a law passed twenty years ago when Democrats controlled both houses of Congress. During this time there has been a steady drop in violent crime in the U.S.

August 14: The Hill: Police Chief Rips Obama for Monday Morning Quarterbacking about Ferguson Shooting
The executive director of the Fraternal Order of Police criticized President Obama Thursday for his remarks about law enforcement in Ferguson, MO.  "I would contend that discussing police tactics from Martha's Vineyard is not helpful to ultimately calming the situation," director Jim Pasco said in an interview with The Hill.  "I think what he has to do as president and as a constitutional lawyer is remember that there is a process in the United States and the process is being followed, for good or for ill, by the police and by the county and by the city and by the prosecutors’ office," Pasco added.   

Pasco harkened back to 2009, when Obama criticized a Massachusetts police officer for arresting Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates, when he was attempting to break into his own home. Obama said the officer had “acted stupidly.”  "I'm not there, and neither is the president," Pasco said. "That is why we have due process in the United States. And this will all be sorted out over time. But right now, I haven't seen anything from afar — and maybe the president has — that would lead me to believe the police are doing anything except to restore order."

August 14: Fox News: Majority continues to oppose ObamaCare:
Opposition to the 2010 health care law has been above 50 percent for over a year. And that continues to be true, as the latest Fox News national poll finds voters oppose the law by a 52-41 percent margin.   Support for Obamacare has been as high as 43 percent and as low as 36 percent.  As in the past, the new poll shows that most Democrats favor Obamacare (74 percent), while most Republicans (84 percent) and independents (61 percent) are against it.  Accept for people over 65 years old, voters in every age group are more likely to oppose the law than favor it.  

August 13: The Weekly Standard: SecDef: “The World is Exploding All Over”
Fresh off a trip to India and Australia, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel addressed a group of Marines in San Diego, California Tuesday, and may have delivered a line that will show up in Republican campaign ads this election cycle. After updating the troops on some issues in the Pacific region and the Middle East, Hagel took questions from some of the Marines and gave a stark assessment of the global security situation: "The world is exploding all over." The remark came in response to a question about the Obama administration's realignment of the military towards the Asia-Pacific theater.

August 13: The Jerusalem Post: Rocks fired on Israel Targets before cease fire is scheduled to end
Terrorists in Gaza breach three-day cease-fire set to end at midnight by launching rocket at Israel; one projectile strikes open area in Sha'ar Hanegev, no injuries; Hamas denies firing rockets.  Rockets were fired from Gaza Wednesday night two-hours before the midnight deadline to Sunday's 72-hour cease-fire, as the IDF enhanced its troop presence along the border preparing to once again wage war against Hamas in Gaza.

August 13: Fox News: Companies desperate to avoid ObamaCare Cadillac Tax are shifting costs to workers:
A national business group representing the nation’s large employers reported Wednesday that companies desperate to avoid a 40 percent ObamaCare “Cadillac tax” are finding ways to shift the costs to workers. Some are shifting workers into plans with higher deductibles others are putting employees into plans that increase premiums for spouses who have access to other plans. 

August 13: National Review: Sen. Sessions Warns of Chilling Obama Immigration Plotting:
Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL) called for Americans to pressure their senators to vote against President Obama’s expected executive orders on immigration, which he described as a “chilling” plot with activists to undermine national laws.  “Open-borders groups have grown bolder and louder in their unlawful demands, launching a campaign for the president to ‘go big,’ and demanding that he ‘stand up’ to Congress and ‘expand DACA,’” Sessions said, citing an Associated Press report that administration officials were meeting with immigration activists and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.  “It is chilling to consider now that these groups, frustrated in their aims by our Constitutional system of government, are plotting with the Obama administration to collect their spoils through executive fiat,” he said.

August 13: The New York Post: Illegal immigrant children hit the jackpot as lenient NY judges start hearing cases
Thousands of kids who crossed illegally into the United States will hit the jackpot Wednesday, when their expedited cases begin coming before New York City immigration judges — who are the most lenient in the country.  The first judge assigned to the so-called “surge docket” is Frank Loprest, an Obama administration pick who grants asylum in 88 percent of the cases before him.

Making a Coastal Barrier System HappenAugust 11: The Daily News: Making a Coastal Barrier System that protects the entire Galveston Bay Community Happen:
This column not only makes the case for protecting all the communities on Galveston Bay but also shows why it is the responsibility of the Federal government to build it and pay for it. It then goes on and lays out a plan for actually making it happen!

August 9: Fox News: Senior Hamas member killed in Gaza as fighting resumes
Israeli forces struck more than 20 targets Saturday in the Gaza Strip in response to rocket fire from the area after the expiration of a cease-fire between Israel and the terror group Hamas, reportedly killing a senior member of the militant group.  Hamas officials said Israel airstrikes hit houses, mosques, its warehouses and training sites. Three bodies were found under the ruins of the al-Qassam mosque in Gaza, including that of senior Hamas official Moaaz Zaid, said Palestinian health official Ashraf al-Kidra.  The Israeli military said militants in Gaza fired five rockets Saturday toward Israel, for a total of 70 since the truce expired. In response, Israel has targeted more than 30 sites in Gaza since Friday, it said.

August 9: Fox News: Obama: Iraq situation will take more than “weeks” so solve
President Obama braced Americans on Saturday for a sustained military involvement in Iraq, saying the United States is prepared to continue with air strikes to protect U.S. diplomats and citizens and others under attack from the ISIL terror group.    "I don't think we’re going to solve this problem in weeks," the president said on the South Lawn of the White House. “This is going to be a long-term project.” 
Obama laid out a three-part strategy for heightened U.S. involvement in Iraq, one day after U.S. aircraft began launching air strikes on ISIL military installations and dropping humanitarian aid for the estimated thousands who have fled from the terror group into the Sinjar mountains, in the northern region of the country.  The president also sharply rejected the premise that it was his decision to pull out from Iraq and said it was because Iraqis didn't want U.S. troops there.

August 8: Fox News: US warns Russia: Any intervention in Ukraine will be viewed as an invasion
The United States is warning Russia that any further intervention in Ukraine would be viewed as "an invasion of Ukraine."  U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power delivered the warning Friday at a Security Council meeting on Ukraine.  It follows recent reports by the West and Ukraine's pro-Western government that accused Moscow of beefing up its military on the border, dispatching what NATO estimates is 20,000 troops to the frontier.  "Therefore any further unilateral intervention by Russia into Ukrainian territory, including one under the guise of providing humanitarian aid, would be completely unacceptable and deeply alarming — and it would be viewed as an invasion of Ukraine," she said.

August 7: The Daily Caller: Wendy Davis Going Negative In First Ad
Texas Democratic gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis plans to go up with her first television ad on Friday — a harsh 60-second spot slamming her Republican opponent for how he sided in a state Supreme Court case having to do with a brutal rape.  A source closely connected to media buying leaked the ad to The Daily Caller on Thursday. The ad criticizes Republican candidate Greg Abbott’s time as a justice on the Texas Supreme Court.   Specifically, the ad brings up a 1998 case about whether a vacuum company should have to pay damages because a contractor who worked for one of its distributors raped a woman while selling vacuums door-to-door.  Davis’ negative ad stands in contrast to a feel-good spot released by Abbott’s campaign Thursday, featuring his mother-in-law.  Liberal groups have tried using the case to hurt Abbott before. Planned Parenthood Texas Votes PAC referenced the case on a site headlined, “Abbott’s Anti-women Record.”

August 7: The Washington Post: Obama signs bill giving more than $16 billion to the scandal-plagued V.A.
President Obama signed a bill that will inject more than $16 billion into the beleaguered Department of Veterans Affairs, money that will help an agency beset by scandal improve access to medical care for veterans.  “As a country we have a sacred obligation to serve you as well as you served us,” Obama, flanked by flags and members of Congress, said. It is, he said, “an obligation that doesn’t end with your tour of duty.” In one of its last actions before August recess, the Senate passed the bill 91 to 3 in an unusual, of late, show of bipartisan support.

Arugust 7: Breitbart: Obama Flashback: We’re Leaving Behind a Soverign, Stable, and Self-Reliant Iraq:
In a speech at Ft. Bragg, NC on December 14, 2011, President Barack Obama said the United States was “leaving behind a sovereign, stable and self-reliant Iraq, with a representative government that was elected by its people.”  “Iraq’s future will be in the hands of its people.  America’s war in Iraq will be over” he remarked.  And “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.”

Today, CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer reported that Iraq is “falling apart.” The White House is currently debating dropping in aid or engaging in airstrikes against Iraq while stating “there could be a humanitarian catastrophe” inside Iraq.

August 7: The New York Times: Isis/Iraqi Rebels seize the Country’s Largest Dam
Sunni militants captured the Mosul dam, the largest in Iraq, on Thursday as their advances in the country’s north created an onslaught of refugees and set off fearful rumors in Erbil, the Kurdish regional capital.  Residents near the dam and officials in the region confirmed that the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, held the dam, a potentially catastrophic development for Iraq’s civilian population.   The dam, which sits on the Tigris River and is about 30 miles northwest of the city of Mosul, provides electricity to Mosul and controls the water supply for a large amount of territory.

August 7: The Washington Times: Russian bombers penetrate U.S. Air Defense Zones 16 times in ten days:
Russian strategic nuclear bombers conducted at least 16 incursions into northwestern U.S. air defense identification zones over the past 10 days, an unusually sharp increase in aerial penetrations, according to U.S. defense officials.  The numerous flight encounters by Tu-95 Russian Bear H bombers prompted the scrambling of U.S. jet fighters on several occasions, and come amid heightened U.S.-Russia tensions over Ukraine. Also, during one bomber incursion near Alaska, a Russian intelligence-gathering jet was detected along with the bombers.

August 7: The Daily Caller: Where Have We Heard This Before; Obama Official Deleted ObamaCare Email Sought by Congress
The administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) deleted some of her emails and may not be able to cooperate with a congressional investigation into the flawed Obamacare rollout, CMS has warned Congress.   Though Tavenner’s computer did not crash like ex-IRS official Lois Lerner’s computer allegedly did, Tavenner may be unable to cooperate with House Oversight and Government Reform Committee subpoenas.

August 7: Yahoo News: Not Just Children coming into the U.S. Illegally -- Rwandan man accused of war crimes arrested
A Rwandan man accused of war crimes was arrested by the U.S. Border Patrol in northern Maine after a local citizen reported a "suspicious person" walking near the Canadian border, law enforcement officials said on Thursday.  Jean Leonard Teganya, 42, a Rwandan who authorities said had violated international law and the Canadian Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes Act, walked across the border into the United States illegally on Sunday when he was spotted, according to a statement issued by the Department of Homeland Security.  He was later detained and processed for removal from the United States, a spokeswoman said.

August 7: Breitbart News: DOJ: Most Crime in the U.S. is along the Mexican Border:
About half of the nation's federal criminal cases last year were filed in regions near the U.S.-Mexico border, according to an alarming annual report from the Obama Administration's Department of Justice (DOJ).   Regions along the border each had more convictions than in any other district. 6,341 cases were filed in Western Texas, suggesting it is home to the country's most severe crime patterns. 6,130 cases were filed in Southern Texas; 4,848 were filed in Southern California; 3,889 were filed in New Mexico; and 3,538 were filed in Arizona. 

August 5: Fox News: HHS grapples with massive ObamaCare backlog
Now that the ObamaCare exchange websites are largely up and running, federal health officials are finding themselves swamped as they fact-check a flood of paperwork from applicants seeking taxpayer subsidies.   The department, which oversees the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, has gotten hit by audits showing it hasn't done enough to crack down on fraudsters trying to scam the system. At the same time, some frustrated applicants say they have played by the rules -- signed up on time and submitted the necessary paperwork -- only to be caught up in bureaucratic red tape. 

August 5: Fox News: Suspects in murder of Border Patrol Agent were arrested and deported numerous times | Now face murder charges
Two illegal immigrants from Mexico who were charged with first-degree murder in the shooting death of an off-duty U.S. Border Patrol agent in front of his family in Texas have been arrested and deported numerous times, police sources told FoxNews.com.  One suspect has been arrested no fewer than four times for entering the U.S. illegally, according to federal court records. The other has been deported twice after entering the U.S. illegally, sources said.

August 5: ABC News: Two Star General Killed in Afghanistan
Major General Harold Greene has been identified as the army official killed in an attack this morning at a military academy in Afghanistan.  Greene was a two star major general and the highest ranking official to have been killed in the Afghanistan war. He was deployed to Afghanistan in January, according to the Pentagon's website.   The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack, in which a gunman wearing an Afghan army uniform opened fire on Americans and others Afghans at Camp Qargha, a military academy 11 miles west of Kabul. The camp trains hundreds of Afghan forces a month and was recently renamed the Marshal Fahim National Defense University for the country's deceased vice president. Fifteen others were injured, including eight Americans, all of whom are expected to live. Among the injured was a German brigadier general and two Afghan generals, the Associated Press reported.

Monday Column on Israel and defending its countryAugust 4: The Daily News: Enemies of Isreal Should Think Twice: Israel was being invaded by terrorists using tunnels combined with firing rockets, into Israeli civilian areas, trying to inflict maximum casualties. What were they supposed to do? We all want Peace, but ask yourself what would you do if you had only fifteen seconds from the sounding of an alarm to make it to a bomb shelter? That is what the people in Israel have needed to have in the back of their minds 24x7. The problem is that Israel is dealing with people who are bent on destroying all Christians and Jews and who are willing to sacrifice their own children to accomplish their goal.

Note the difference in thinking here. Israel doesn’t act needlessly and it believes in the sanctity of life. Hamas -- which was elected as the leadership for the Palestinians -- does not value life in the same way. From its perspective, life is expendable as long as it moves them further down the road to the elimination of the nation of Israel. So what is the answer? Is Israel always right? The answer is no, but in this case they are. They need to destroy the threat to their country and the United States needs to stand with them saying they have an obligation to defend themselves.

August 2: Associated Press: Netanyahu to the Administration: Don’t Try to Second Guess me on Hamas!
Following the quick collapse of the cease-fire in Gaza, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the White House not to force a truce with Palestinian militants on Israel. Sources familiar with conversations between Netanyahu and senior U.S. officials, including Secretary of State John Kerry, say the Israeli leader advised the Obama administration "not to ever second guess me again" on the matter. The officials also said Netanyahu said he should be "trusted" on the issue and about the unwillingness of Hamas to enter into and follow through on cease-fire talks.  

August 2: The BBC: Israel reports the kidnapped soldier is believed to be dead:
Hadar Goldin was believed to have been captured by militants during fighting, leading to the collapse of a ceasefire shortly after it had been declared. The Israel Defense Forces said it had determined that Lt Goldin, previously considered captured, had died. Hamas had denied it was holding the 23-year-old captive, saying it did not know the soldier's whereabouts. Confirmation of Lt Goldin's death means 66 Israelis have now died in the fighting, all but two of them soldiers.

August 1: The Times of Israel: Two soldiers Killed a Third Kidnapped: The Truce is Over!
Prime Minster tells Kerry that Hamass will pay for seizing Goldin and killing two soldiers during the "cease fire" that lasted only 90 minutes before Hamas inititated the attack on Israeli personnel. The Times of Israel live blogged events as they unfolded through Friday, the 25th day of Operation Protective Edge.

Announcement of the House Vote on the Border BillAugust 1: Breitbart.com: House Passed Border Bill
The House of Representatives passed the border supplemental bill Friday night by a vote of 223 to 189 with 21 members not voting.  Late-night meetings and tweaks to the original bills found members emerging from a Friday morning House GOP conference meeting expressing optimism about the prospects of passing a supplemental border bill to help alleviate the ongoing crisis of unaccompanied minors and family units illegally crossing the southern border.  The GOP victory comes after conservative House members pressed hard for changes tightening up the initial bill that failed to come to the floor Thursday due to lack of support.  According to Fox News four Republicans voted “no:” (Massie (R-KY), Fincher (R-TN), Jones (R-NC) and Broun (R-GA), and one Democrat voted “yes:” Cuellar (D-TX). 

August 1: The Daily Caller: NBC Host to Top Democrat: "The only people talking about impeachment this week are the Democrats"
NBC reporter Chuck Todd needled Debbie Wasserman Schultz over the Democratic National Committee’s relentless fundraising on the issue of President Obama’s possible impeachment, asking if she has “any qualms” about the strategy since “frankly, the only people talking about impeachment are Democrats.” “Do you have any qualms about raising money off of the idea of impeachment when Speaker Boehner says it’s off the table.” While very few congressional Republicans have openly called for the impeachment of President Obama, that hasn’t stopped Democrats from using that prospect to pull massive amounts of money from their base.

August 1st: The Daily Caller: Administration asks the full D.C. Court of Appeals to take a second look at its ObamaCare ruling:
The Obama Administration is asking the full D.C. Court of Appeals -- which is heavily weighted with Democrat appointees (four by Obama himself) -- to revisit the three judge panel's split decision over whether subsidies can be provided to federal healthcare exchanges. The law was drafted in a way that attempted to entice states to set up their own exchanges by providing subsidies for only those that did so. But the tactic backfired when the vast majority of states decided let the federal government set up healthcare exchanges instead of doing so themselves. The suit contends that only state sponsored healthcare exchanges qualify. If the three judge panel's decision stands then the case is likely to go to the Supreme Court for a final decision. But the Obama Administration is hoping that the entire appeals court will overrule the previous decision. If the federal exchanges are not eligible for subsidies then it is highly likely that the entire Affordable Healthcare law will start to crumble for lack of funding.

July 31: Fox News: California battle over concealed-weapon rights could end up in the Supreme Court
The Supreme Court has turned aside all Second Amendment challenges since a pair of landmark rulings in 2008 and 2009 confirmed the rights of individuals to keep and bear arms.  But some believe a California case could make the high court return to the controversial area and determine whether gun ownership rights extend beyond the corners of one's home.  In February, a divided three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals concluded that responsible citizens have the right to carry a concealed weapon for self-protection.  But the California Attorney General is entering the fray wanting to overturn this ruling.

July 31: Fox News: Wisconsin Supreme Court Upholds collective bargaining crackdown; a Victory for Gov. Walker
After three years of legal battles, the war for Gov. Scott Walker’s cornerstone public-sector collective bargaining reforms is over, with the state Supreme Court on Thursday upholding Act 10 in its entirety.  Altogether, it was a big day for conservative causes. Wisconsin’s high court also ruled in favor of the state’s controversial voter ID law, but that matter is far from settled.  The Supreme Court, in a 5-2 decision, with liberal Judge Patrick Crooks begrudgingly agreeing Act 10 is constitutional, put an exclamation point of approval on the public employee labor law that sent thousands protesters to the state Capitol and 14 Democratic senators fleeing across the state line in a bid to stop it.  All but one liberal Dane County judge had concluded Act 10, which holds wage negotiations to the rate of inflation, ends automatic union dues deductions, and requires annual union recertification votes, meets constitutional muster.

July 31: Reuters: Conservatives Cause Speaker Boehner to pull his immigration/border-security funding bill
A bill to fund border security blew up in House Speaker John Boehner's face on Thursday, leaving establishment Republicans struggling to reconcile conservative demands with the need to deal with a humanitarian crisis on the southwestern border with Mexico.  Speaker Boehner (R-OH) withdrew the bill after failing to corral a sufficient number of Republican votes for passage.

July 31: The Daily Caller: Conservatives Battle the GOP Leadership on Immigration Policy:
The GOP leadership’s new immigration bill shows that top Republicans won’t fight against the Democrats’ unpopular immigration policies, even when the public overwhelmingly agrees with the GOP, say several GOP-affiliated conservatives.  Conservatives say the Speaker’s bill would increase and accelerate low-skill migration from Latin American; create a new opportunity for Democrats and business lobbyists to revive the Senate’s 2013 immigration rewrite; do nothing to deter President Barack Obama from acting independently;   and allow the Democrats to shift the increasingly painful blame for the arrival of 100,000-plus Central American migrants, away from the president.   

July 31: Breitbart Texas: Meanwhile Polling Data Shows GOP Voters Think Standing Tough on Immigration is the most important issue facing Congress:
Polling data compiled by TEA Party Patriots shows that a majority of Republican voters think Republicans standing strong on immigration is the most important issue facing Congress.

July 31: Reuters: EU adopts tougher sanctions on Russia:
In response to the situation in the Ukraine, the European Union has published a law that is aimed at preventing Russian banks from raising money on Western capital markets, while others limit defense sales and the export of hi-tech equipment for the oil sector.

July 30: Yahoo News: Israeli troops w/dogs and robots track Gaza tunnels
Israeli Colonel Tomer was literally tipped off to the tunnel snaking under a Palestinian village when the tank-churned earth gave way to the weight of one of his behemoth bulldozers' treads.  Twenty-four hours later his forces had cleared a greenhouse that had provided cover and dug a three-metre-deep (10 foot) crater exposing the concrete-reinforced passage wide enough for a man in battle gear to squeeze through.  "We don’t put men in the tunnels. There is too much risk of booby traps," he said.

July 30: The Hill: The House of Representatives Votes to Sue (not impeach) Obama!
The House voted Wednesday to rebuke President Obama by passing a resolution authorizing a GOP lawsuit against his use of executive power.  The 225-201 vote fell along party lines, with five Republicans voting against the measure. No Democrats supported it.  The lawsuit is a direct response to frustration with Obama’s wide-ranging use of executive power.  Republicans have been particularly angry over Obama’s decision to ignore several deadlines in the Affordable Care Act and his decision to defer the deportation of certain young people who illegally immigrated to the United States as children.

In the last week, lawmakers have been riled up by reports that immigration advocates and Democrats are pushing the administration to take additional executive actions to give more immigrants legal status.  Rather than seeking to impeach Obama, however, GOP leaders in the House rallied around the lawsuit as a way of bottling up grassroots anger that would not backfire on Republicans in an election year. And Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) has insisted he has no intention of moving an impeachment measure.

July 30: The Hill: My Way or the Highway: Obama to House GOP – I will veto your border-immigration bill
The White House threatened Wednesday to veto the $659 million border bill crafted by House Republicans, calling it an insufficient bill that places “arbitrary and unrealistic demands” on the nation’s immigration system.  In a statement of administration policy, the White House said advisers would recommend President Obama veto the bill if it reached his desk. The veto threat came just hours before the House and Senate were set to hold dueling votes on competing border packages, on the next to last day of legislative work before a five-week August recess. 

July 30: Fox News: Reports reveal trend of brazen attacks against border security by gangs & Drug Traffickers
A game warden hit in the head with a rock while trying to seize a raft. Police officers wounded in an hours-long standoff with a gang member wanted for murder. Criminals spewing obscenities and death threats at local cops before asking for – and receiving – medical treatment.  And that was just last week!

July 30: The Daily Caller: MSNBC Host: Obama’s Possible Executive Order-Amnesty Could Doom Dems
Hard-left MSNBC host Ed Schulz is worried that Democrats will be hammered by voters if President Barack Obama uses his executive authority to distribute work-permits to millions of illegal immigrants.  “Hold the phone — this would be a mistake if the president were to do this,” Schultz told his audience July 29.  Politically, there is no way Democrats can go home and campaign on across-the-board amnesty for millions of undocumented workers… it could be an electoral death knell for the Democrats,” he said. White House officials have repeatedly said that Obama will soon use his executive authority to give millions of illegals work-permits that would allow them to compete for good jobs against hard-pressed American workers, including African-American and Latino youths. 

July 30: The Hill: Vulnerable Dems with Tight Races Balk at Obama’s Talk of Immigration Reform by Executive Actions
Democratic senators facing tough reelections want to put the brakes on President Obama’s plan to reform the nation’s immigration enforcement system through executive action.  Two of the Senate’s most vulnerable incumbents, Sens. Mark Pryor (D-AR) and Kay Hagan (D-NC), say Obama should not act unilaterally to reduce deportations, arguing it’s Congress’s job to change the law. 

July 30: The Washington Times: New Emails show that Lois Lerner hated conservatives:
Newly released Lois Lerner emails, show the former IRS official at the center of the TEA party targeting scandal, had “deep animus towards conservatives, which she refers to as [language deleted],” according to a House committee.  Chairman Camp [R-MI] argued  the newly discovered emails demonstrated Lerner’s “personal hostility toward conservatives,” who were targeted by the IRS office she ran.  The committee also turned over evidence that Lerner used her personal home computer for IRS business, including storing taxpayer information.

July 30: The Hill: Overwhelming Support for Veterans Administration Bill in the House!
The House on Wednesday overwhelmingly approved a $17 billion overhaul of the troubled Veterans Affairs Department.  The 420-5 vote sends a conference agreement worked out by negotiators in both chambers to the Senate, where it is also expected to be approved. Under the bill, veterans may seek treatment at non-VA providers who participate in Medicare if they live more than 40 miles away from a VA facility, or if agency physicians cannot see them within 30 days.  Negotiators agreed that $12 billion would be considered emergency spending that would add to the deficit. The other $5 billion in costs are offset with spending cuts within the department.

July 29: Sky News: Hamas Leader’s House “Hit by Israeli Missile”
While “misdirected” Hamas Rockets hit Palestinian Hospital in Gaza
The home of Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh has been hit by an Israeli missile, according to the Gaza Interior Ministry.  An Israeli aircraft fired a missile at the house early on Tuesday causing damage but no casualties, the ministry said.  Mr Haniyeh's son confirmed the strike on his Facebook page and added that the house of the former Hamas Gaza prime minister was empty.   As night fell over Gaza, army flares illuminated the sky and the sound of intense shelling could be heard.  The military warned thousands of Palestinians to flee their homes in areas around Gaza City - usually the prelude to major army strikes.  A number of rockets fired from Gaza were launched toward various regions in southern and central Israel, including the Tel Aviv area.  At least one of the rockets was intercepted by the Iron Dome system.   Earlier, Israel accused Hamas of misfiring two rockets - one of which struck Gaza's main hospital and the other a refugee camp, killing nine children.

July 29: Fox News: Head of Benghazi probe – No witness is off limits including Hillary Clinton
The Republican head of the Benghazi Select Committee warned Tuesday that no witnesses would be off limits in its upcoming probe and that he would consider going to court, if necessary, to compel testimony.  "I can't skip over a witness that I think we ought to talk to simply because there is an assertion of either privilege or immunity," Chairman Trey Gowdy [R-SC] said.  Gowdy said the investigation will be driven by facts, characterizing as strongly bipartisan his work with the committee's ranking Democrat, Elijah Cummings of Maryland, to review documents and identify witnesses.  He also said he anticipates the first public hearing will be held in September and will focus on the State Department investigation into the 2012 attack and whether its recommendations have been implemented.

July 28: The Telegraph: Prime Minster Cameron Announces Immigration Crackdown in Britian
David Cameron is to announce tough action on immigration that will halve the amount of time foreigners can claim benefits in the UK. The Coalition will introduce laws to ensure that European Union migrants can only claim out-of-work benefits for three months, Mr Cameron said.  The Prime Minister also pledges to stop more than 500,000 British jobs being advertised across the EU and announces tough new curbs on colleges offering visas to “bogus” students. Mr Cameron said. “We changed the rules so that no one can come to this country and expect to get out-of-work benefits immediately; they must wait at least three months, and we are announcing today that we are cutting the time people can claim these benefits for."

Taking a look at the Roberts' Supreme CourtJuly 28: The Daily News: A Look at the Roberts' Supreme Court:
The Roberts' Supreme Court has a history of seeking narrow decisions and a consensus among the members of the Court. The National Labor Relations Board decision is one example where the ruling against the Obama Administration was unanimous. But stay tuned, there is an ObamaCare case that may be heading for the Roberts’ Court for a final decision.  The question is whether the IRS can offer health insurance subsidies to people who are using the “federal” exchanges.  The statute passed by Congress was purposely crafted in a manner to encourage states to form their own exchanges using the “carrot” that if they did so, insurance premiums would be subsidized by the Federal government.  But with only sixteen sates establishing their own exchanges, this tactic has backfired. The law clearly states that in order to qualify for subsidies people must use  “state exchanges.”  If the Court decides to stick with the letter of the law then the funding for ObamaCare will quickly start unraveling and that could doom the law’s future.

July 28: The Daily Caller: White House Advisor Soothed  Top Insurer on Big ObamaCare Hikes
New documents reveals that top White House adviser Valerie Jarrett personally conducted damage control with nervous health insurance companies after those companies saw no other way to hold premiums down under Obamacare without a taxpayer-funded bailout.  Their pleas worked.  A month later, the Obama administration issued rules to allow for a taxpayer-funded insurer bailout.

July 28: Fox News: Illegal immigrants protest outside White House – Little Fear of Arrest/Repercussions
Illegal immigrant demonstrators were protesting outside the White House on Monday – but don’t expect America’s immigration officers to intervene.  An Immigration and Customs Enforcement [ICE] official indicated that even if the protesters end up getting arrested by D.C. police, they’d have to be serious criminals for ICE to get involved.  “Unless the individuals meet ICE’s enforcement priorities, it’s unlikely that the agency would get involved in the case,” the official said.  Under a policy that’s been in effect for several years, ICE focuses deportation mostly on serious criminals and – in some cases -- those caught in the act of crossing the border. The agency prioritizes deportation for felons, repeat offenders, gang members and others with a serious criminal record. But the agency largely gives a free pass to other undocumented residents.

July 27: The Daily Caller:   Pelosi gets upset on CNN when she isn’t given time to bash Republicans!
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi [D-CA]was grilled by CNN’s Candy Crowley on Sunday about President Obama’s response to an aggressive Russia and the Israeli government’s behavior in Gaza — but all she really wanted to do was talk about Republicans.  Crowley had just finished interviewing the congresswoman on the crisis in Ukraine and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. ”I have to leave it there,” the “State of the Union” host said. “I hope you’ll come back and we will talk politics and midterms, and all kinds of things that are going around –” 

But Pelosi cut her off before she could finish. “Right, well that just — I think it’s important to note, though, that through all of this, the Republicans are trying to sue the president — on a path to impeach the president — while we’re trying to create jobs and have stability in our country and in the world,” she blurted out. “And I’m sorry that we didn’t get a chance to talk more about that.”

July 27: Fox News: Netanyahu: We will do “whatever is necessary” in fight with Hamas
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday vowed to do "whatever is necessary" in the country's latest weeks-long battle with Islamic militant group Hamas.  “Hamas has broken five cease-fires,” Netanyahu told said.   “They’ve violated their own cease-fires. They  are firing on us now. … We’ll do whatever is necessary to achieve our goal of a sustained quiet.”  The military had earlier said about a dozen rockets were fired toward Israel since midnight -- without causing casualties or damage -- and that as a result it would "resume its aerial, naval and ground activity in the Gaza Strip." "The military is aiming its fire at terror sites, but if citizens are accidentally harmed Hamas is responsible for this since it once again violated an offer for a humanitarian lull that Israel accepted," Netanyahu's office said in a statement.

July 27: The Daily Caller: 
House Majority Whip Decries White House for being the first one in history pushing for impeachment.

New House Whip Steve Scalise [R-LA] called President Obama’s extended discourse on his own impeachment nothing but a political game, noting this “might be the first White House in history trying to start the narrative of impeaching their own president.”  Scalise spoke with Fox New’s Chris Wallace on Sunday about the president’s impending plan for executive action on immigration — which many suspect will include amnesty for millions of illegal immigrants.  “You’re already suing the president for overreach,” Wallace noted, asking if House Republicans will consider impeachment should the White House move around Congress on yet another major issue.  “You know what, this might be the first White House in history that’s trying to start the narrative of impeaching their own president,” Scalise said incredulously. “Ultimately, what we want to do is see the president follow the laws."

“We’ve made it clear we’re going to put options on the table to allow the House to take legal action against the president when he overreaches his authority,” he continued, noting the Supreme Court and others have routinely found against President Obama’s expansive view of his own powers.  “But impeachment is off the table?” Wallace pressed.  “Well, the White House wants to talk about impeachment,” Scalise replied. “Ironically, they’re going out and trying to fundraise off of that too.”  “Look, the White House will do anything they can to change the topic away from the president’s failed agenda,” the House Whip explained. “People are paying higher costs for food, for healthcare, for gas at the pump. And the president isn’t solving those problems. So he wants to try to change the subject.”

July 27: Fox News: Federal Judge rules DC ban on carrying guns is unconstitutional
A federal judge in the District of Columbia on Saturday overturned the city’s total ban on residents being allowing to carry firearms outside their home in a landmark decision for gun-rights activists.  Judge Frederick Scullin, Jr. wrote in his ruling in Palmer v. District of Columbia that the right to bear arms extends outside the home, therefore gun-control laws in the nation’s capital are “unconstitutional.”  The lead attorney for the 2nd Amendment Rights Foundation said “I’m very pleased with the decision that the city can’t forbid the exercise of a fundamental constitutional right."  He expects the District to appeal this decision but added, “We’ll be happy to keep the fight going.”

July 27: Reuters: Russians push locals aside and take over top rebel posts in eastern Ukraine
As Ukrainian troops gained ground in eastern Ukraine in early July, separatist leader, Aleksander Borodai, a Russian national, left for Moscow for political consultations.  After what he described as successful talks with unnamed people there, he returned to the rebel stronghold of Donetsk to introduce a new senior figure in his self-proclaimed republic, a compatriot seasoned in the pro-Russian separatist movement in Moldova and a war between Russia and Georgia  Vladimir Antyufeyev was named "deputy prime minister" by Borodai on July 10, one of several native Russians to have taken charge of the separatist rebellion in Ukraine's eastern regions.  Joining Borodai and rebel commander Igor Strelkov, Antyufeyev's arrival underlines a change at the top of the separatist movement, highlighting Moscow's involvement in the conflict, Western officials say. The Kremlin denies any involvement.

Russian Missile System Being Used to Shoot Down Military and Civilian AircraftJuly 26: The New York Times: Pentagon Plan would help Ukraine Target Rebel Missiles:
The Pentagon and American intelligence agencies are developing plans that would enable the Obama administration to provide specific locations of surface-to-air missiles controlled by Russian-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine so the Ukrainian government could target them for destruction, American officials said.  But the proposal has not yet been debated in the White House, a senior administration official said. It is unclear whether Obama, who has already approved limited intelligence sharing with Ukraine, will agree to give more precise information about potential military targets, a step that would involve the United States more deeply in the conflict.

July 27: Fox News: New House Whip vows to stay in Washington until Congress has immigration plan
Rep. Steve Scalise [R-LA], the incoming House Majority Whip, said Sunday he will stay in Washington until Congress agrees to an emergency spending plan for the border-immigration crisis, but declined to say whether he will cancel the lower chamber’s August recess.  He also laid out House Republicans' legislative agenda before the November elections, including a vow to agree to a spending bill before the federal government runs out of money in October -- avoiding the possibility of a so-called government shutdown.  He noted the Republicans want to keep the government funded at current levels. 

July 26: The Washington Times: Impeachment is not imminent, it’s a Cash Raising Scheme!
In a bid to bring in more campaign cash, House Democrats sent out a plea to donors to pitch in more funds to defend President Obama from a seemingly-imminent impeachment.  In an email, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) solicited immediate donations citing House Speaker Boehner’s lawsuit against Mr. Obama.    “The White House announced yesterday that Boehner’s lawsuit could lead to the impeachment of President Obama,” the email read.  “Boehner’s lawsuit against the President is more than a political stunt. It’s a full on attack on President Obama’s agenda, his legitimacy, and the Democratic process that elected him twice,” the email states.  The DCCC asked donors to reach into their pockets to smash their 100,000 donation goal saying, “We’ve had enough of it.”  The latest public campaign filings show that House Democrats are already ahead of Republicans in the election cycle.

July 25: Christian Science Monitor: Obama will take executive action on immigration after summer White House says:
President Obama will go ahead with a “very significant” executive action on immigration after the summer – a move that may well trigger impeachment proceedings against him, senior Obama adviser Dan Pfeiffer told reporters Friday.   “The president acting on immigration reform will certainly up the likelihood that [Republicans] would contemplate impeachment at some point,” said Mr. Pfeiffer, who has been at the Obama White House since its inception.  Pfeiffer said, “I would not discount that possibility.” Speaker Boehner has flatly denied an interest in impeachment, saying, “I disagree” with those who support it. Next week, the GOP-controlled House is expected to pass a resolution to sue the president for executive overreach on the Affordable Care Act, or “Obamacare.” The impeachment rhetoric “...is a fundraising exercise for Democrats,” said Boehner spokesman Michael Steel in an e-mail response to Pfeiffer’s impeachment comments. “It is telling, and sad, that a senior White House official is focused on political games, rather than helping these kids and securing the border."

July 25: Time:  Meanwhile Time reports the President may be eyeing granting temporary legal status to undocumented residents: When President Obama issues executive orders on immigration in coming weeks, pro-reform activists are expecting something dramatic: temporary relief from deportation and work authorization for perhaps several million undocumented immigrants. If the activists are right, the sweeping move would upend a contentious policy fight and carry broad political consequences. 

July 25:  Breitbart News: Sessions: Melt Congressional Phone Lines, Stop Obama’s Planned Executive Amnesty:
Senate Budget Committee ranking member Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) is putting a call out to the American people: He needs help to kill President Barack Obama’s plans to grant executive amnesty to millions of illegal aliens. Sessions wants Americans to melt Congress’ phone lines, demanding their members make a precondition of any border crisis bill that Obama’s executive order amnesty via the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and any future plans be stopped.  All of this is based upon what might be considered a false assumption.  If we have a President who refuses to abide by and enforce the laws of the country, then what good does it do to pass any legislation?  If the Congress continues to fail to stand up for its rights under the Constitution, then the President’s actions could ultimately succeed!

July 25: The Israeli Times: For the Second Time, Hamas Rockets Found at a U.N. School in Gaza
For the second time in less than a week, rockets have been found in a school in Gaza operated by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency.   As soon as the rockets were discovered, UNRWA staff were withdrawn from the premises, and so we are unable to confirm the precise number of rockets. The school is situated between two other UNRWA schools that currently accommodate 1,500 internally displaced persons at each facility.  Israeli officials reacted furiously to the discovery. “How many more schools will have to be abused by Hamas missile squads before the international community will intervene,” Foreign Ministry spokesperson Yigal Palmor said. “How many times can it turn its head the other way and pretend that it just doesn’t see?”

July 24: The New York Times: Administration Considering Granting Legal Status to Youth in Honduras Saving them a Dangerous Trip North:
Hoping to stem the recent surge of migrants at the Southwest border, the Obama administration is considering whether to allow hundreds of minors and young adults from Honduras into the United States without making the dangerous trek through Mexico, according to a draft of the proposal.  If approved, the plan would direct the government to screen thousands of children and youths in Honduras to see if they can enter the United States as refugees or on emergency humanitarian grounds. It would be the first American refugee effort in a nation reachable by land to the United States, the White House said, putting the violence in Honduras on the level of humanitarian emergencies in Haiti and Vietnam, where such programs have been conducted in the past amid war and major crises.

July 24: The Hill: House Republicans to Meet Friday to Discuss Immigration Legislation
House Republicans will huddle privately Friday morning in a pivotal members-only meeting on tackling the border crisis and trying to figure out what sort of a package they can support days before Congress breaks for a five-week recess.  Conservative Republicans have aired concerns about passing any bill sending money to President Obama’s administration for border protection, suggesting it will be difficult for Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) to move a bill with just GOP votes.  Meanwhile the Speaker is not getting a lot of help from the Democrats who have lined up in opposition to policy changes sought by Republicans. On Wednesday, a House GOP working group recommended changing a 2008 human trafficking law to a $1.5 billion spending package. The changes would make it easier for authorities to quickly send young immigrants from Central American countries back to their homelands.  Republicans have been adamant that any new funding sent to address the influx of child migrants across the border must also be paired with policy changes that tighten border security and make it easier to quickly process and deport those people who came here illegally.

July 24: Fox News: Massachusetts Police Chiefs Bristle over Legislature “Shooting Down” bill to control long guns:
Police chiefs in Massachusetts are blasting state lawmakers for shooting down a provision that would have given them sole discretion over who can get hunting rifle or shotgun permits, regardless of criminal records.  The Bay State, which has some of the nation's toughest gun laws, has long left it up to a community's top cop to sign off on handgun permits. Lawmakers were considering extending that to include the Firearms Identification Card, or FID, needed to possess long guns. But lawmakers, leery of the constitutionality of the law, which critics say can result in law-abiding citizens being denied their Second Amendment rights, have stripped a proposed bill of that provision. This week, police chiefs from throughout the state and gun control advocates converged on the Statehouse in Boston to blast state senators for removing the provision.

July 23: Reuters: Two Ukrainian jet fighters shot down by missiles that may have been launched from Russian territory
Kiev said two of its fighter jets were shot down over the rebel-held territory in eastern Ukraine on Wednesday, and the missiles that brought them down might have been fired from Russia.  A spokesman for Ukraine's military operations said the planes were shot down near Savur Mogila, not far from where a Malaysian airliner was brought down last week, killing all 298 passengers on board.

July 23: The Daily Caller: IRS Commissioner: We’re Not Investigating the Missing Lerner Emails right now
IRS Commissioner John Koskinen revealed Wednesday that he is not speaking to any potential witnesses in the missing-emails case while his agency’s inspector general conducts his own investigation.  Koskinen claimed that IRS inspector general Russell George told him “not to do any further investigations or interviews” with employees pertaining to hard drive crashes, and that’s why he did not voluntarily provide a key witness to congressional investigators. But Koskinen later admitted that the inspector general never told him not to cooperate with Congress.

July 23: Fox News:
You've Got the Tapes, You have them Not; You've Got the Tapes, You have them Not! [IRS confirms the Lerner backup tapes aren’t lost after all]
The head of the IRS confirmed Wednesday that investigators looking into missing emails from ex-agency official Lois Lerner have found and are reviewing "backup tapes" -- despite earlier IRS claims that the tapes had been recycled.   IRS Commissioner John Koskinen, testifying before a House oversight subcommittee, stressed that he does not know "how they found them" or "whether there's anything on them or not." But he said the inspector general's office advised him the investigators are reviewing tapes to see if they contain any "recoverable" material.  The revelation is significant because the IRS claimed, when the agency first told Congress about the missing emails, that backup tapes "no longer exist because they have been recycled." 

July 23: The Hill: Senator Cruz warns his House colleagues about Democrats fooling them:
Sen. Ted Cruz is urging House Republicans to reject legislation addressing the border crisis, arguing that passing a bill through the lower chamber would play into the hands of Senate Democrats.  In a Wednesday morning meeting, Cruz told a group of more than 20 House conservatives that they would regret passing legislation addressing the Texas border crisis because Senate Democrats were likely to gut it and use it as a vehicle to pass other immigration legislation.  Should the speaker and his confederates try to pass a border bill through the House soon they will need every vote they can get. Some House Republicans have signaled they won’t vote for any supplemental spending border bill and most Democrats are expected to oppose it.

July 23: Fox News: Terrorist Win as the FAA extends its ban on flights to Tel Aviv Airport:
In a move that has some wondering whether the terrorist have “won,” the FAA extended its flight ban to Israel’s Tel Aviv airport for an additional 24 hours Wednesday as European airlines canceled their flights amid fighting in the region. The FAA says it will continue to monitor and evaluate the situation at Israel's Ben Gurion International Airport, where a Hamas rocket exploded nearby on Tuesday.  Senator Cruz (R-TX) charged that the cancellation of flights was tantamount to an economic boycott of Israel [something U.S. law prohibits!].  Other European countries have followed suit and cancelled as many as twenty flights daily to Israel.  But hats off to the Brits!  British Airways  said Wednesday it has not canceled any of its Tel Aviv flights and had no immediate plans to do so.

July 23: The Daily Caller: White House to Boehner: Give us the $3.7 Billion then we’ll talk!
Speaking at an informal press gaggle on Air Force One on Wednesday, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest indicated that the White House was uninterested in brokering a deal with Republicans over the immigration crisis.  Earnest had been asked about House Speaker Boehner’s letter to the president in which he called on the administration to make changes to the 2008 immigration law that many say is a root cause of the current crisis. The White House is apparently more interested in getting the requested $3.7 billion in emergency funds to help overwhelmed departments manage the surge of migrants, and to fund programs in the home countries of immigrants that are designed to lower migration levels.

July 23: The Daily Caller: West Virginia Senator says corporations moving overseas to avoid high U.S. Corporate Taxes should be illegal
Even though his daughters are doing it, Senator Joe Manchin (D-WVA) thinks it should be illegal for U.S. companies to move overseas in order to avoid the high U.S. corporate tax rates. Manchin made his stance known, hesitantly, in an interview with the National Journal. The publication reported last week that the Democrat senator’s daughter, Heather Bresch, who is CEO of the generic drug maker Mylan, announced that the company would be moving its headquarters to the Netherlands.  By renouncing its U.S. citizenship, Mylan would be taking advantage of a “tax inversion” loophole and avoid the 35% U.S. corporate tax rate.

July 23: The Daily Caller: Seattle’s Minimum Wage Referendum Effort Fails
An effort in Seattle, Washington, to put a city council passed minimum wage bill before the voters failed to garner the required 16,500 petition signatures. Their goal was to place the increase to a $15 an hour minimum wage on the November 2014 election ballot.   Supporters of the referendum argued that the minimum wage increase was rushed through without proper debate and input from the public. Recent moves by the Obama Administration and local jurisdictions to increase the minimum wage reject the notion that by doing so, the increased costs are passed directly on to the consumer and that businesses have often responded by either firing current employees or not hiring additional workers in an effort to mitigate the higher labor costs so they can remain competitive in the marketplace.

July 22: The New York Times: Two Courts Issue Conflicting Opinions on ObamaCare
Two federal appeals court panels issued conflicting rulings Tuesday on whether the government could subsidize health insurance premiums for people in three dozen states that use the federal insurance exchange. The United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, in Richmond, upheld the subsidies, saying that a rule issued by the Internal Revenue Service was “a permissible exercise of the agency’s discretion.”  The ruling came within hours of a 2-to-1 ruling by a panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, which said that the government could not subsidize insurance for people in states that use the federal exchange.

July 22: The Daily Caller: So much for Checks and Balances as White House plans to ignore Court Ruling:
The Obama administration will continue handing out Obamacare subsidies to federal exchange customers despite a federal court’s ruling Tuesday that the subsidies are illegal.  The DC Court of Appeals panel ruled Tuesday morning that customers in the 36 states that didn’t establish their own exchange and use HealthCare.gov instead cannot be given premium tax credits, according to the text of the Affordable Care Act itself.  But the White Houise said in response that it will continue handing out the billions of taxpayer dollars in subsidies. White House press secretary Josh Earnest said that while the case continues to be battled out in the courts, the administration will continue to dole out billions in tax credits to federally-run exchange customers. 

July 22: Breitbart.com: Dueling Court Rulings on ObamaCare: What’s Next?
Split appeals court decisions are a classic route to the Supreme Court. But in this situation, it's far from clear what will happen because the administration still has a legal card to play.  Since the Washington case was decided by a three-judge panel, the administration will ask the full 11-member appeals court to hear the case. The full U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit has seven judges appointed by Democratic presidents, including four by Obama.  If the full court comes out in favor of the administration, the prospect of Supreme Court involvement would be greatly diminished. On the other hand, if the full Washington court stays out of it or, after a hearing, essentially leaves the panel's decision in place, then the Supreme Court would almost certainly weigh in.

July 22: The Daily Caller: Texas Congressman goes ballistic over Planned Parenthood setting quotas for the number of Texas  babies to kill:
The Texas congressman in whose district a Planned Parenthood clinic allegedly had abortion quotas reacted angrily to the news Tuesday, saying, ”The criminal behavior of Planned Parenthood has no limits.”  The Daily Caller obtained a 2010 budget statement from the now-closed abortion clinic in Bryan, Texas, which a former director explained was proof that the clinic had annual abortion quotas it needed to meet to make its budget.  “While the murder of any unborn child is appalling,” said Rep. Bill Flores [R-TX], “even more criminal is the establishment of a target to kill over 1,100 innocent Texas children in order to meet financial targets.”  According to the clinic’s former director Abby Johnson, the clinic needed to perform at least 1,135 in the 2010 fiscal year, which would generate over $350,000 in revenue.

July 21: Fox News: Will we ever know the Truth about the Obama Administration Scandals?
President Obama’s new spokesman, Josh Earnest, recently declared – with a straight face – that the Obama Administration was, in fact, the most transparent administration in history – The question is whose history!  Even the very liberal Huffington Post website has run stories noting that the Obama administration has gone to “unprecedented lengths” to restrict freedom of the press, declaring it (in the ultimate” Huffpo” insult) “worse than Bush.” 

July 22: Fox News: Militia Moved in Next Door to the US Consulate in Benghazi, Subsequent Requests for Additional Security Rejected:
Sources say members of Ansar al-Sharia moved to the house just outside the east wall of the compound within three weeks of American personnel renting the facility, and later used the location to help plan and take part in the attack on the American Consulate on Sept. 11, 2012.  Despite concerns about the dangerous neighbors, “nothing was done.”

July 22: The Wall Street Journal: Funding the Veterans Administration without using Budget Gimmicks
The worst scandal in decades at the Department of Veterans Affairs doesn't only involve unethical staffers cooking the books on waiting times, inexcusable as that is. Woefully inadequate VA funding and budget gimmicks by multiple Congresses and administrations created the long waiting lists in the first place.  Last week's request to Congress by acting VA Secretary Sloan Gibson for $17.6 billion more over the next three years to meet patient demand and drive down waiting times acknowledges the problem. The additional resources, he argues, are needed to hire 10,000 new clinical staff members, including 1,500 new doctors, nurses and other health-care providers, undertake major repairs and renovations at eight VA facilities, and lease an additional 77 clinics. Without the additional funding, he says, wait times would "just get longer."

Anti-Semitic Riots in FranceJuly 21: Yahoo News:

French Minister Slams “Anti-Semitic” Gaza Protests
:
France's interior minister on Monday slammed "intolerable" acts of anti-Semitism after a rally against Israel's Gaza offensive descended into violence pitting an angry pro-Palestinian crowd against local Jewish businesses.  Sunday's demonstration in the north Paris suburb of Sarcelles was the third to deteriorate in a week, as shops were looted and riot police lobbed tear gas and rubber bullets at the crowd.  The rally had been banned amid concern the Jewish community would be targeted after protesters last weekend tried to storm two synagogues in Paris. 

July 21: The Washington Times: IRS Seeks Help in Destroying another 3,200 computer hard drives:
Days after IRS officials said in a sworn statement that former top agency employee Lois G. Lerner’s computer memory had been wiped clean, the agency put out word to contractors Monday that it needs help to destroy at least another 3,200 hard drives.  The IRS solicitation for “media destruction” services reflects an otherwise routine job to protect sensitive taxpayer information, but it was made while the agency’s record destruction practices remain under a sharp congressional spotlight. 

July 21: The Financial Times: Photos of Malaysian Airliner shows damage from missile strike
The first apparent hard evidence that Malaysia Airlines Flight #MH17 was brought down by a surface-to-air missile is emerging from the crash site in eastern Ukraine, after experts confirmed on Monday there were signs of shrapnel damage to the aircraft.  A photograph, first published by the Financial Times over the weekend, shows a piece of the downed Boeing 777 about a meter square with a gaping hole in the middle, surrounded by smaller holes and apparent burn marks.  Two defense analysts in London and a former military pilot who have studied the picture corroborated the claim by a local man, who said he had served in the military, that much of the damage was consistent with a missile strike.

July 21: CBS News: Governor Perry Deploying up to a Thousand National Guard to the Border
Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX) announced Monday that he is activating up to 1,000 National Guard troops to the U.S.-Mexico border as he accuses the federal government of offering "lip service" on border security.  The announcement comes as the Obama administration is still struggling to deal with the influx of more than 50,000 unaccompanied minors most from Central America, who have crossed into the United States in the past year. The additional resources [troops] are not aimed at the children themselves, Perry said, describing them instead as a "force multiplier" to help the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) "combat the brutal Mexican drug cartels that are preying upon our communities." 

July 21: Breitbart News: TX State Senator: 100,000 Illegal Immigrant Gang Members in our State:
On Monday's Laura Ingraham Show, Texas State Senator Dan Patrick said from 2008 to 2012, 143,000 illegal immigrant criminals were arrested and jailed in Texas. He said these were "hardened criminals, gang members, and other criminals that we identified as being in Texas illegally."  "We charged them with 447,000 crimes, a half-million crimes in four years, just in Texas, including over 5,000 rapes and 2,000 murders," Patrick said. "We estimate we have 100,000 gang members here illegally."

Let's Get Serious About Immigration and Securing our Borders and Stop Using Babies on the Border as Pawns!July 21: The Daily News: Stop Using Babies on the Border as Pawns:
It seems like every day now we see something in the news about the immigration problem on the border. So, what should we do about it?  There seems to be two schools of thought.  One is that we should process these children quickly, get them before a judge and, within a few days, send most of them back home.  (A Republican Senator and Democrat Congressman have introduced legislation to do just that.)  Many in the Border Patrol believe sending the children back would be a clear message that it is not worth risking life and limb to come to our country illegally.

Others believe we should err on the side of compassion, take in the children and care for them.  But is this a role the government should take on?  America has a history of providing voluntary aid.  We feel the better way is to return these children to safe places within their own country accompanied with privately funded or donated medical assistance. Perhaps Bill Gates and Michael Bloomberg might chip in some millions to assist with the effort!  Glen Beck is already providing aid. 

July 20: The Daily Beast: Did the United Nations Really Give the Rockets back to Hamas?
The U.N. agency that runs schools and hospitals in Gaza is supposed to be neutral. But it gave the Hamas rockets found in one of its buildings to cops who many believe report to Hamas. The U.N. was quick to condemn the discovery but this may not be the only instance of this happening in Palestinian/Hamas controlled Gaza.   In other words, the supposedly neutral agency may have given weapons to one of the combatants in a conflict that has claimed more than 360 lives in the past two weeks.  Hamas, which is designated by the U.S. State Department as a terrorist organization, has been lobbing hundreds of rockets into Israel over the past week. In response, Israel has launched an ongoing air and ground campaign to destroy Hamas rocket capabilities and smuggling tunnels. Hamas stands accused of using international facilities in its attacks because such facilities are seen to be less vulnerable to Israeli strikes.

July 20: The Hill: White House not worried about chatter of Ginsberg Retirement
The White House says it’s not worried about a possible retirement by Ruth Bader Ginsburg or any other Supreme Court justice.  Speculation on the high court’s next vacancy has centered on the 81-year-old Ginsburg, who has had health problems.  Some on the left have openly worried it could be tough for the Obama administration to fill a vacancy, especially if the GOP wins back the Senate this fall.  Republican senators are already irked with Senate Democrats’ unilateral decision to change the chamber’s filibuster rules so that all presidential nominees apart from the Supreme Court may be considered by majority vote. Until the rule change last year, nominations needed to clear procedural hurdles that require 60 votes.

But administration officials and those close to the White House say they're not particularly concerned about a Ginsburg retirement, before or after the midterm elections, or the likely difficult process to replace her.  And they are certainly not trying to apply any indirect pressure for Ginsburg to step down now, which would set up a nomination fight before the midterm elections.  While the officials conceded that they would not want to be caught unprepared by a decision by Ginsburg to step down, it's ultimately the justice's decision and one “that transcends politics,” one senior administration official put it. 

July 19: The Times of Israel: Tens of Thousands Rally in London Against Israel’s Operations in Gaza – Muslims?
Tens of thousands protested in London Saturday afternoon against Israel’s military operations in Gaza, denouncing Israel as a terrorist state and castigating British Prime Minister David Cameron for backing Israel’s right to self-defense against Hamas rocket fire.  

Our View? Read other stories below about Hamas tunnels from Gaza into Israel, raids from the tunnels against civilian and military targets in Israel, and over 1,200 rockets fired into Israel from Gaza.  Then ask yourself, what would the people in London do if France started to lob rockets into their city like the Germans did in World War II?  Israel has the right to protect itself and if that means invading Gaza to destroy the tunnels and the supply of Hamas rockets, so be it!

July 18: The Daily Caller: Operation “Choke Point” hearing reveals DOJ Threats and Strong Arm Practices
A Justice Department fraud prevention program came under fire Thursday for allegedly morphing into actively pressuring banks to deny financial services to businesses for political reasons.  The controversy is over allegations that the DOJ is pressuring financial institutions to decline doing business with so-called “high risk” industries which line up squarely against the political leanings of the current administration. These businesses include ammunition sales, payday loans, fireworks companies, and others—24 industries in total, as listed by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). 

July 18: The Washington Post: Initial U.S. Assessment: Pro-Russians shot down the Civilian Jetliner
A preliminary U.S. intelligence assessment indicates that a Malaysia Airlines plane that crashed Thursday in eastern Ukraine was shot down by an antiaircraft missile fired by pro-Russian separatists, U.S. officials said Friday.  President Obama said “Our assessment is that Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was likely downed by an SA-11 missile, operated from a separatist-held location in eastern Ukraine,” Samantha Power , the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, told the U.N. Security Council earlier Friday.   Because of the “technical complexity” of the Russian-made surface-to-air missile system, “it is impossible to rule out Russian technical assistance” to the separatists in operating it, Power said.

July 18: The New York TimesWorld Leaders Match anger with Calls for Inquiry into Ukraine Plane Crash
Angered and dismayed by the downing of a Malaysian airliner over Ukraine, European leaders cast about for some form of joint response to the tragedy on Friday, but beyond calls for an international inquiry they showed few signs of immediately following the United States in imposing harsher sanctions on Russia.  With sentiments ranging from shock to fury, political leaders across the globe urged a rapid, independent and international effort to investigate the crash, which killed 298 people and provoked accusations and counteraccusations about who brought the plane down.

Tunnels are used by Hamas to infiltrate Israel for terrorist attacks and kidnappingsJuly 18: The New York Times: Hamas Tunnels Prompted Israeli Invasion of Gaza
Israel’s decision to invade Gaza has its roots just outside a small kibbutz in Sufa in southern Israel where open fields and citrus orchards offer a pastoral scene that residents say has long been deceptive.  At dawn on Thursday, 13 Hamas gunmen from Gaza emerged from the mouth of an underground tunnel about a mile away, inside Israel territory. The air force thwarted the attack, but the government said that the attempted incursion was the final straw and that the ground invasion would commence.  By Friday, the Israeli military said it had already uncovered approximately 13 openings of “terror tunnels, “and that there were “dozens” spread around Gaza. In a statement, it described tunnels crossing the border from Gaza to Israel as “complex and advanced,” and said they were “intended to carry out attacks such as abductions of Israeli civilians and soldiers alike; infiltrations into Israeli communities, mass murders and hostage-taking scenarios.”

July 18: The Daily Caller: Insurer Drops N.Y. Medicaid Coverage for 53,000 Over Unsustainable Losses:
Blue Cross Blue Shield in New York is dropping out of the state’s Medicaid program due to serious financial losses, dropping 53,000 New Yorkers from coverage.  “We have incurred losses in excess of $40 million over the past three years in these programs,” the insurer’s vice president of state and federal relations Don Ingalls wrote in a memo.. “We have a 20+ year history of supporting these programs and members; however, we cannot continue to do so as the losses ultimately have been funded by other lines of business.” 

July 17: The Washington Post: Israel moves ground forces into Gaza in effort to stop rocket fire from Hamas
Israeli forces backed by artillery barrages and airstrikes launched a major ground offensive into Gaza late Thursday, marking a dramatic escalation of the 10-day-old conflict with the Palestinian militant group Hamas.  Spokesmen for the Israel Defense Forces said the goal of the offensive was limited: to destroy tunnels used by the militants to infiltrate into Israel.

July 17: The Washington Times: Depending on the courts:
Five Million people could be in for spikes in their ObamaCare health insurance premiums

A Washington-based consultancy estimated Thursday that 5 million Americans would see their health premiums spike if the courts rule in favor of a lawsuit that seeks to cut off Obamacare subsidies to about two-thirds of the states.  The suit argues the Affordable Care Act explicitly reserved subsidies for people who purchased a plan on an exchange “established by the State.” In real terms, that would mean the 15 exchanges set up and run by 14 states and the District.  The plaintiffs say Congress set it up this way to compel states to take responsibility for running their exchanges. But in 2012, the IRS unlawfully extended tax credits to all the exchanges, they argue.

July 17: The Washington Post: Obama Just Took Away ObamaCare from the U.S. Territories
Looking for a place where Obamacare doesn't exist? Try moving to the U.S. Territories, where the Obama administration just provided a pretty big waiver from the law's major coverage provisions.  The Affordable Care Act's design dealt a pretty big problem to the territories. Up until Wednesday it required insurers there to comply with the law's major market reforms — guaranteed coverage, mandated benefits, limits on profits, etc. — without requiring residents to get coverage or providing subsidies to help them afford coverage. But then the Obama administration told the territories that the coverage requirements actually don't apply to them.  It's an apparent reversal from last July, when a HHS official told the territories there was nothing HHS could do to help them out and it appears that the Administration may have, again, overstepped its authority by acting without Congressional Authority.

Russian BUK launcher like the type that shot down a civilian airliner with over 295 people onboardJuly 17: Associated Press: Both Ukraine and Russia Deny shooting down civilian airliner near their border:
A Ukrainian official said a passenger plane carrying 295 people was shot down Thursday over a town in eastern Ukraine.  Anton Gerashenko, an adviser to Ukraine's interior minister, said on his Facebook page the plane was flying at an altitude of 10,000 meters (33,000 feet). He also said it was hit by a missile fired from a Buk launcher [see image], which can fire missiles up to an altitude of 22,000 meters (72,000 feet).  The Buk missile system is Russian made and was developed by the former USSR. The region where the civilian jet was shot down is currently under the control of armed pro-Russian separatist and has been the scene of severe fighting between Ukrainian and pro-Russian forces

July 17: The Washington Times: Top DOJ official denies conspiring with IRS to target TEA party groups:
Deputy Attorney General James Cole said Thursday that the Department of Justice didn’t conspire with theirs to try to target TEA party groups, and said the FBI didn’t even know it had been given private taxpayer information by the tax agency until years afterward.  He went on to say that the FBI never used or even reviewed the substance of the information which was provided on 21 disks turned over by the IRS.   In a statement that stunned Subcommittee Chair Jim Jordan (R-OH) Cole couldn’t say why the IRS turned over the information in the first place.

July 17:  The Daily Caller: National Journal: Biden’s “Hope and Change” Backtrack is a Bad Moment for the White House:
National Journal’s Ron Fournier called Joe Biden’s claim that the change promised by President Barack Obama “didn’t happen” was “a really bad moment for the White House,” noting it undermines the central premise of Obama’s election to the presidency in 2008.  Fournier appeared on CNN’s “New Day” on Thursday morning to discuss the vice president’s inconvenient admission on Wednesday.  “There must be a clip after that where he says, ‘Hey, I’m just kidding,’” Fournier remarked. “He basically conceded the original sin of the Obama presidency, which is, ‘We promised to at least start changing Washington, and we failed.’”  “And then later on, what he does say there is, ‘We can change things if we’re the drivers of the change,’” the National Journal reporter continued. “Well, who’s been driving the last five and a half years? It was a really bad moment for the White House.”

July 17: ABC News: Feds Struggling to Cope with Medical “Breakdown” at the Border
The federal government is so overwhelmed by the current tide of migrants crossing the border it can’t provide basic medical screening to all of the children before transporting them – often by air – to longer-term holding facilities across the country, ABC News has learned.  Government officials are sounding alarms, fearing that they and their teams who come in contact with the sick children face potential exposure to infectious diseases from chicken pox to influenza, including rare cases of H1N1, more commonly called swine flu.  [Want more information? Click on the link!]

July 17: Real Clear Politics: Obama Said to Assure Hispanic Caucus on Limiting Deportations
President Obama reassured members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Wednesday that he will flex his executive muscle later this year to be "as great and big and bold as he can be" to reduce deportations of undocumented immigrant families who have lived and worked in the United States for years, one Democratic lawmaker said at the conclusion of the meeting. 

July 17: The Daily Caller: Obama Promised to “Shortly” Grant Amnesty to Illegals
Lawmaker Tony Cardenas (D-CA) revealed that President Barack Obama promised the Congressional Hispanic Caucus on Wednesday he will “act shortly” to bypass Congress and grant some form of amnesty to many illegal immigrants.  The Congressman claimed that Obama committed to broad executive action on immigration reform — including granting legal status to hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants without congressional approval — and that such action will come “shortly.”

July 17: USA Today: Microsoft to cut 18,000 jobs over the next 12 months
Microsoft confirmed it will cut up to 18,000 jobs over the next year, part of the tech titan's efforts to streamline its business under new CEO Satya Nadella. Nadella stated the "vast majority" of employees affected by layoffs will be notified within the next six months. They will also earn severance and job transition help in many locations. All cuts will be completed by next June.  The cuts were expected but far larger in scope than generally anticipated.

July 16: The Wall Street Journal:  How to Run Against ObamaCare:
Draw attention to the pernicious effects on ordinary Americans [OpEd piece by Karl Rove]
Liberal columnists and Democratic strategists have taken to arguing that ObamaCare is working and no longer a political negative. Republicans should pray Democrats use support for this program, assuming the GOP knows how to respond.  They should draw attention to the law's pernicious effects on ordinary Americans.   Many people who lost their existing policies because they didn't comply with ObamaCare's mandates are finding their new premiums and deductibles are much higher.

Antenna on Cold War listening post that Russia had in Cuba, 145 miles from the U.S. mainlandJuly 16: The Daily Mail: Russia to open cold war Cuban listening post used to spy on the U.S.
Russia has agreed to reopen a major Cold War listening post on Cuba that was used to spy on America, it was reported today.  The signals intelligence facility near Havana known as Lourdes, was the largest Russian SIGINT site abroad, but has been mothballed since 2001.  It covered a 28 square-mile area with 1,000-1,500 Russian engineers, technicians, and military personnel working at the base. [see image] A former head of Russia's foreign intelligence service, Vyacheslav Trubnikov, told the newspaper the base would strengthen Russia's international position.  'Lourdes gave the Soviet Union eyes in the whole of the western hemisphere,' he said.

July 16: The San Francisco Chronicle (SFGate.com): Lessons from Nazi Gun Control
Stephen Halbrook writes that history offers numerous examples of well-intentioned gun control policies to control crime that have had disastrous consequences. In his new book, "Gun Control in the Third Reich," one particularly horrific case study begins in Germany during the tumultuous early 1930s. The German government warned that gun-ownership records must be stored securely so they wouldn't fall into the wrong hands. It failed to consider that only law-abiding citizens would register, whereas political extremists and criminals would not. When Hitler seized power, the author contends, he immediately set about using gun-registration records to identify, disarm and attack "enemies of the state" (e.g. a euphemism for all political opponents).

July 14: CBS News: Russian Rocket may have downed Ukrainian Military Plane:
A Ukrainian military transport plane was shot down Monday along the country's eastern border with Russia, the defense minister said.  Rebels in conflict-riddled eastern Ukraine immediately claimed responsibility for downing the Antonov AN-26 but Ukrainian Defense Minister Valeriy Heletey said the rocket may have been fired from Russia.  Heletey said the plane was flying at an altitude of 21,300 feet, which he said was too high to be reached with the weapons used by the separatists fighting government troops.  Ukrainian authorities say plane may have been carrying around 20 people but there was no immediate word on casualties.

July 14: The Daily News: Choosing Hope and Freedom in Troubled Times
Although the challenges we face are many, we choose not to despair. We are a resilient people and in the darkest times; great American leaders have taught us to have hope, live by faith, and stand against those who stand against the principles that made this nation great. Through the steadfastness of leaders like George Washington, Abraham Lincoln and Ronald Reagan, we have learned that we each must be beacons of truth so that others might find strength to stand in troubled times. We choose to follow their example because we know it works. 

July 13: The Washington Times: DOJ to investigate Nebraska parade float critical to Obama – an issue of Free Speech?
The Department of Justice has sent a member of its Community Relations Service team to investigate a Nebraska parade float that criticized President Obama.  A Fourth of July parade float featured at the annual Independence Day parade in Norfolk sparked criticism from some when it depicted a figure resembling Mr. Obama standing outside an outhouse, which was labeled the “Obama Presidential Library.”   At issue here is what is, and is not, allowed under the free speech protections included in the First Amendment?  Regardless of whether the float was in good taste; are people in our country allowed to speak out against their President and his policies or must they toe the line?

July 13: The Telegraph:   First Israeli ground forces wounded while silencing a rocket launching site
The Israeli military says four soldiers have been lightly wounded in fighting in northern Gaza.  The military says the soldiers were hurt during a brief incursion to destroy a rocket launching site. It says they have returned to Israeli territory.  It is the first time that Israeli ground troops are known to have entered Gaza in the current offensive. But the operation was carried out by special forces and did not appear to be the beginning of a broad ground offensive.

July 13: The Hill: Holder sees “racial animus” in opposition; Is there true in this or is it because of lawlessness on the part of the Administration?
Attorney General Eric Holder said Sunday he and President Obama have been targets of “a racial animus” by some of the administration’s political opponents.  “There's a certain level of vehemence, it seems to me, that's directed at me [and] directed at the president,” Holder told ABC. “You know, people talking about taking their country back. … There's a certain racial component to this for some people. I don’t think this is the thing that is a main driver, but for some there's a racial animus."  Not mentioned was the possibility that some of those wanting their country back are referring to decisions on the part of the Administration and the Justice Department as to what laws they will, and will not, enforce.  Something Senator Cruz (R-TX) cites as “lawlessness.”

July 11: The National Journal: Congress subpoenas top Obama Political Advisor:
Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA) said Friday he was subpoenaing a top administration official, David Simas, the director of the White House's Office of Political Strategy and Outreach, and demanding that he testify next week.  Issa, who has been one of the Obama administration's fiercest critics in Congress, has pressed the White House for more information about the political office that Simas runs since it was reopened earlier this year.  In a March letter to White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough, Issa wrote that the decision to reopen the political office "heightens concerns about the illegal use of taxpayer funds to support congressional campaigns during the 2014 midterm elections."

Apparently, Issa has been unsatisfied with the Obama administration's responses to his repeated inquiries for documents and more information. In a letter to Neil Eggleston, counsel to the president, dated Friday, Issa stated he was holding a hearing next week and wrote, "I am left with no alternative but to use compulsory process to require Mr. Simas to appear." The hearing is scheduled for July 16.

July 11: The Washington Times: Sniper Heaven: Pentagon has self-guided ammunition – nowhere to hide from sniper fire:
The research arm dedicated to creating breakthrough technology for the Pentagon has shared video of a successful test of self-guided bullets. DARPS (the Pentagon’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) conducted a test April 21 with Teledyne Scientific & Imaging. A video, posted on YouTube earlier this month shows a round with a ballistic path far from its intended target. As the round makes its way along the errant trajectory it suddenly curves, corrects itself and hits the intended target. “The Extreme Accuracy Tasked Ordnance system seeks to improve sniper effectiveness and enhance troop safety by allowing greater shooter standoff range and reduction in target engagement timelines,” DARPA’S Website claims.  The new rounds will make American snipers even more efficient, allowing them to acquire moving targets in any environment. A self-guided bullet makes eliminating a target with one shot more likely, which better safeguards the sniper’s exact location.

July 11: Breitbart Texas: The TSA is allowing Illegals to Fly without Verificable IDs, Border Patrol Union says
Illegal aliens are being allowed to fly on commercial airliners without valid identification, according to the National Border Patrol Council (NBPC). “The aliens who are getting released on their own recognizance are being allowed to board and travel commercial airliners by simply showing their Notice to Appear forms, ...these are the same planes that the American public uses for domestic travel” NBPC’s Local 2455 Spokesman, Hector Garza, told Breitbart Texas.

July 11: The Gateway Pundit: Joe Arpaio: My tents are Hilton Hotels compared to what is going on at illegal immigrant camps:
“As I mentioned we have four thousand illegal immigrants in the jails that I run, including a tent city jail. So why not put up tents, at least for those that 15, 16, 17 and put them all in tents. In fact when you look at how they are being incarcerated by the federal government my tents are Hilton hotels comparing to what they’re doing down there. But for six years the Department of Justice has been investigating me. They should be investigating what’s going on right now.”

July 10: Breitbart Texas: Border Patrol Agent asks “Why would anyone want to hire a smuggler when the United States Government is doing if for free?”
Border Patrol agent Hector Garza stated in an interview on the Thursday broadcast of Fox News Channel’s “Hannity” that the U.S. government is “completing the smuggling cycle” of unaccompanied minors into the United States, and asked “why would anyone want to hire a smuggler when the US government is actually doing it for free?” 

July 10: Yahoo News: Israel’s Iron Dome cuts incoming terrorist rockets down to size!
Israel's "Iron Dome" defense system has emerged as a game-changer in the current round of violence with Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip, shooting down dozens of incoming rockets and being credited with preventing numerous civilian casualties. By shooting down more than 90 percent of its targets, the system is ensuring Israel's decisive technological edge that has helped it operate virtually unhindered in Gaza. So far, Hamas and other Gaza militants have fired more than 420 rockets toward Israel in three days of fighting. The military says it has shot down 90 of those, including several over Tel Aviv and central Israel.  “I'm sure that Hamas is feeling frustrated with this situation because after launching hundreds of rockets, they haven't managed to get Israeli casualties," said a retired Israeli general and the current director of Israel’s Strategic Affairs.

July 10: The Hill: Democrats push race issues in order to turnout base for midterm elections:
Democrats are injecting the race card into the 2014 midterm elections amid fears that a drop-off in minority voters could severely cost them at the polls this fall.  Democratic leaders in Congress and administration officials have suggested GOP opposition to policies ranging from immigration reform to ObamaCare are, at least partly, motivated by race.  More broadly, they’ve suggested conservative Tea Party criticism of President Obama is based on the fact that he is black.  Democrats reject charges that the rhetoric is a concerted political calculation on their part as they try to retain their Senate majority and make gains in the House.

Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC), the only African-American Republican in Congress and a leader in his party’s outreach to minority voters, slammed the perceived approach.  “What alienates people is getting all of us stirred by the notion that we should be afraid of somebody else. [Democrats’] comments are designed to evoke fear from my perspective,” said Scott. “It’s unfortunate, and it should be shameful, frankly.”

July 10: Fox News: Court Decision Looms over challenge to ObamaCare subsidies
and has the possibility of toppling the healthcare plan:

A few blocks down the street from where the U.S. Supreme Court recently issued its ruling in the Hobby Lobby case, a powerful federal appeals court is preparing its own decision in a case that could cause serious complications for ObamaCare.  The plaintiff is claiming that the Obama administration/IRS is breaking the law by offering tax subsidies in all 50 states to offset the cost of health insurance while the statute only allows the subsidies for the 14 state-run exchanges and not the 36 federally run programs. A ruling against the subsidies would mark the biggest blow to ObamaCare to date, and would threaten the entire foundation of the newly devised health care system. A total of $1 trillion in subsidies is projected to be doled out by U.S. taxpayers over the next decade.  A legal victory for those challenging the subsidies would essentially unravel much of the ObamaCare Healthcare program.

July 10: Fox News: New Testimony shows there is more evidence that the Benghazi Attacks were premeditated
Transcripts of congressional testimony released by the House Armed Services committee are the latest in a growing body of evidence that the 2012 Benghazi attacks were premeditated.  Gen. Carter Ham, who at the time led the military's Africa command, known as AFRICOM, told Congress in April the terrorists who attacked the CIA annex, during the third wave of the terrorist assault, had professional training. 

July 10: Fox News: Perry: Illegal immigrant surge is a “humanitarian crisis” Obama can stop
Texas Gov. Rick Perry said Wednesday that President Obama needs to act now to stop the surge in illegal immigrants flooding across his state’s border, calling it “a humanitarian crisis that he has the ability to stop.”  The governor spoke out after meeting with Obama. Perry said he is concerned that Obama did not indicate he will take the immediate action he requested: to use his power as commander-in-chief to send the National Guard to secure the border.

Perry criticized the fact that Obama is not visiting the border on his trip to Texas so he can witness the crisis first-hand. Obama said in a press conference Wednesday that doing so would be engaging in political “theater” and not productive.  However, some news analysts are saying the President wants to avoid having a photo opt that might tie his policies to the crisis on the border.

July 9: The Daily Caller: Senator DeMint: Obama trying to link border solutions to Congress not acting on supplemental appropriations – not his immigration policies:
During an interview following President Obama’s speech in Texas, former U.S senator and current President of the Heritage Foundation Jim DeMint stated that the White House is taking a dishonest, indirect approach towards immigration reform. “I found this statement extraordinarily dishonest,” DeMint said, “What you see here is the president is trying to make this a fight between him and Congress,” DeMint said, "He doesn’t need an emergency bill right now. He has got the flexibility to act in every area that he is talking about.”

July 9: CBS News – Houston: Cruz sends Obama Map with Directions from Fundraisers to Border towns:
Sen. Ted Cruz, (R-TX) has joined Texas Gov. Rick Perry in calling on President Barack Obama to visit the Mexican border personally, with Cruz sending Obama actual directions to the border from the president’s planned fundraiser stops in Austin and Dallas.  Cruz took to Twitter to invite Obama to take a look at the border itself amid a growing immigration crisis along the southern border with Mexico. “If President Obama wants to have a real border meeting with GovernorPerry, here are a couple suggested detours,” Cruz tweeted on Tuesday.  The maps show driving routes from Austin to the border town of Laredo (235 miles, 3 hours) and Dallas to border town McAllen (506 miles, 7 hours and 29 minutes).

July 9: Fox News: Gaza Rockets aimed at Israel: What would you do with 15 seconds before rockets hit? [Editorial]
Imagine that wherever you live in the United States you have only 15 seconds to reach a secure place to avoid a rocket or missile. Seriously, count down from 15 to 1, and think about what you would do. For more than 3.5 million Israelis, Jews and Arabs, their mental stopwatch is ticking as Hamas extends the reach of its barrage from Israeli communities near the Gaza border to Hadera, 26 miles north of Tel Aviv.  Some of the hundred-per-day rockets have been stopped by Israel’s Iron Dome anti-missile system. Most have landed in open fields or in buildings that, by chance, were empty. But given past experience with Hamas, the deadly projectiles are likely to soon maim or kill.

July 9: Fox News: Special Report: Lerner message warns about being careful what is said in emails because Congress might want to see them | Video
“I was cautious about email and how we have had several occasions where Congress has asked for emails and there has been an electronic search for responsive emails – so we need to be cautious about what we say in emails,” Lerner wrote in one of her email messages.  Shortly after this the Inspector General started investigating IRS activities related to the targeting of conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status. 

July 9: The Washington Post: New Gun-Control Fight May Be Simmering in the Senate:
Fifteen months since gun legislation stalled on Capitol Hill, the Senate is on the verge of a new fight over whether to expand gun rights, an unanticipated development at a moment of already high tensions in the fractured chamber.  The new political gun fight could be over the Bipartisan Sportsmen Act, a measure that would make it easier to hunt and fish on some federal lands, allow the construction of more public shooting ranges at national parks and wildlife refuges and make it easier to purchase federal permits to hunt ducks, geese and other waterfowl. Senators of both parties are readying gun-related amendments and are poised to introduce them this week.

July 8: National Review: Border Patrol Tells Agent: “You Must Cease and Desist” from Speaking with Media
The U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency has served one of its agents with a letter saying “you must immediately cease and desist” from issuing statements and press releases to the media with information that is “Law Enforcement sensitive,” according to the document obtained by National Review Online.  Kathleen Scudder, assistant chief patrol agent of the San Diego Sector, sent the letter to agent Ron Zermeno, health and safety director of National Border Patrol Council Local 1613, notifying him of an investigation into his conduct and to “remind” him that no agent should make statements or issue press releases “without proper authorization.”  

July 8: The Daily Caller: Obama Wants You to Fund Lawyers for New Illegals
President Barack Obama is asking Congress to provide free lawyers to the illegal immigrants surging across the U.S. border from Central America.  The request for $18 million of free legal services, which White House officials describe as an emergency, is included in White House request to Congress for $3.7 billion.  Under normal practice, most border-crossers are sent home without any chance to get into a courtroom.  Also, the federal government does not provide free immigration-lawyers to illegals.  A 2008 law allows the federal government to fund lawyers for foreign children and youths seeking asylum, but does not say it is a right.

July 8: Fox News: House Select Committee on  Benghazi could cost up to $3.3 Million
The select committee investigating the deadly 2012 attacks on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya could cost taxpayers as much as $3.3 million this year, according to a committee document released by the House Democratic leader’s office Monday.  According to the document, which was first reported on by USA Today, the seven Republicans on the 12-member committee would receive just under $2.2 million, while the five Democrats would be budgeted just over $1.1 million. In addition to the members, 30 congressional staffers are expected to work on the committee.

July 8: Yahoo News: Israel foils seaborne attack from Gaza Strip
The Israeli military launched a major offensive in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip on Tuesday, striking more than 100 sites and mobilizing troops for a possible ground invasion in what Israel says is an operation aimed at stopping a heavy barrage of rocket attacks from the Palestinian territory.  Late Tuesday, Israeli troops shot and killed four militants who tried to infiltrate a military base in southern Israel by sea. Hamas claimed responsibility for the attack.

July 7:  Fox News: Israel reportedly launches offensive against militants in Gaza
Israel reportedly launched an aerial offensive in the Gaza Strip on Tuesday as violence in the region continued to increase, with militants in the Gaza Strip unleashing dozens of rockets on southern Israel.  Reuters reported that the Israeli strikes were part of a campaign called "Operation Protective Edge" aimed at striking back at Hamas militants.

July 7: National Review: Administration Muzzles Media during Immigrant Housing Tour
Health and Human Services officials will allow reporters to visit a military facility housing some of the immigrant children who have arrived at the southern border in recent weeks, but only if the media promises not to record anything, not to ask any questions during the tour, and not to talk to any of the staff members or children. 
“This violates the First Amendment,” Representative Jim Bridenstine (R-OK) who represents the congressional district containing the housing facility at Fort Sill, said of the HHS invitation to the media.  “This is not transparent. HHS is trying to muzzle the media and hide the human tragedy that has resulted directly from the administration’s failure to enforce the law.” 

July 7: The Daily Caller: Nurse: VA Medical Staff Stole Morphine from Dying Patients:
Vials of morphine were systemically stolen from a VA Medical Center and replaced with water and saline so that dying veterans got the wrong treatments, a longtime VA nurse told The Daily Caller.  “A nurse taking care of hospice patients over the past year had been diverting vials of morphine,” said Valerie Riviello, a 28-year veteran nurse at the Albany Stratton VA Medical Center in Albany, New York. “Those patients that were dying in hospice were not getting their intended pain medication.”

July 7: The Daily Caller: Poll: Most Workers Fear Being Pushed into ObamaCare Exchanges:
Workers who already have health coverage through their employer are afraid of being dumped into Obamacare exchanges against their wishes, according to a Monday poll.  The Morning Consult found that 63 percent of workers are at least somewhat concerned that their employers will end their current health insurance programs and shift workers into Obamacare exchanges instead.  A majority of workers also believe that moving to the government exchanges would lower the quality of their health care. Fifty-one percent think the quality of their coverage would drop if they were shifted into the exchanges; meanwhile, just 16 percent think it would improve. Any shift would make 52 percent of workers consider looking for a new job.

July 7: Fox News: GOP Senator launches effort to sue administration over ObamaCare for Congressional Staffers
Sen. Ron Johnson, (R-WI) launched an effort to sue the Obama administration because it gave many staffers in Congress something no other American has: tax-free money to cover their costs under ObamaCare.  "Americans hate it when elected officials or people in power are exempt from laws," Johnson said after the first hearing to determine whether he has standing to sue. 

The original health care law was clear that lawmakers and their staffers should be treated the same as other Americans, but then the administration issued a ruling that did just the opposite.  Former Solicitor General Paul Clement, who is advising Johnson, said, "it's not only that it wasn't in the legislation, the exact contrary rule was in the legislation."  

July 7: Fox News: GITMO a great deal for U.S. Taxpayers
As the debate flares anew over whether to close the detention center at Guantanamo Bay, supporters of the prison camp are pointing to an often forgotten factoid: Gitmo is one of the best real estate deals the U.S. taxpayers have ever seen.  Under a treaty signed more than a century ago, the United States technically pays Cuba a little more than $4,000 a year for the land. That's roughly the monthly cost of an apartment in Midtown Manhattan. And it's a check the Castro brothers' government rarely cashes.  Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., among those lawmakers pushing for the camp to remain open, calls it a "good deal."  "Rent is only $4,000 a year, which Fidel Castro routinely refuses to cash ... out of protest,” the senator told FoxNews.com on Monday

July 6: CNN: Opinion: Why we must now sue President Obama – House Speaker makes the case
Every member of Congress swore an oath to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States. So did President Barack Obama.  But all too often over the past five years, the President has circumvented the American people and their elected representatives through executive action, changing and creating his own laws, and excusing himself from enforcing statutes he is sworn to uphold -- at times even boasting about his willingness to do it, as if daring the American people to stop him.  That's why, later this month, we will bring legislation to the House floor that would authorize the House of Representatives to file suit in an effort to compel President Obama to follow his oath of office and faithfully execute the laws of our country. 

The President's response: "So sue me."  What's disappointing is the President's flippant dismissal of the Constitution we are both sworn to defend. It is utterly beneath the dignity of the office. I know the President is frustrated. I'm frustrated. The American people are frustrated, too.

July 6: The Hill: Democrat: Obama “One step behind on crisis”
The Obama administration has botched its response to the wave of migrants flooding the southern border, a Texas Democrat charged Sunday.  Congressman Cuellar (D-TX), who represents a border district, said the administration simply failed to anticipate a predictable crisis and remains "one step behind" in addressing it.  "We should have been ready for this surge, the administration should have been ready," Cuellar said on CNN's "State of the Union" program. "With all respect to the administration, they're one step behind. They should have seen this coming a long time ago … because we saw those numbers increasing."

July 6: Breitbart News: Feds to Bring in Riot Squads Against Illegal Immigration Protesters
As illegal immigrants continue to spill across the U.S.-Mexico border, federal authorities are attempting to relocate the migrants from South Texas to housing facilities in states across the nation. One such facility is located in Murrieta, California, where a large group of protesters recently blocked a bus full of migrants from arriving. The protesters remain there, adamant that illegal immigrants don't get dumped in their town. But soon the concerned citizens may be forced to step down--Breitbart Texas has learned that federal agents plan to arrive in Murrieta on Monday with riot gear to ensure that another busload makes it to the housing facility.

Supreme Court Reigns in Presidential Actions, not once but twice in a week's time

July 6: The Daily News: Supreme Court Reigns in Presidential Actions, Not just once but twice in one week! Obama attempted to appoint three people to the NLRB while the Senate was out for a 2-3 day break. The Court, in a 9-0 decision, ruled the President's actions did not meet the Constitutional requirements. Next the court ruled in favor of Hobby Lobby finding that a statute passed by Congress in 1993 and signed into law by President Clinton, trumps an Obamacare regulation. Read the column!

July 5: Fox News: Panning for Gold in Defiance of EPA Regulations!
The American West was settled in part by gold miners exploring a new frontier, and now modern-day prospectors are fighting to keep that tradition alive.  A group of miners began illegally dredging for gold this week in Idaho’s Salmon River to challenge what they call federal government overreach into the waterway, Reuters reported. They are protesting regulations by the EPA that forbid suction dredging and other mining in the river in order to protect the habitat of an “endangered fish.”  "It's a matter of states' rights," he said.

July 5: The Daily Caller: Border Meltdown: Obama delivers 290,000 illegals to U.S. homes!
The vast majority of 50,000 unaccompanied youths and children who have illegally crossed the Texas border during the last few months have been successfully delivered by federal agencies to their relatives living in the United States, according to a New York Times article. A second NYT article reports revealed that officials have caught an additional 240,000 Central American migrants since April, and are transporting many of them to their destinations throughout the United States.  The deluge of 290,000 illegals — so far — are exploiting legal loopholes that allow them to get temporary permits to stay in the United States.

July 5: Fox News: One out of three government workers is a union member
Unions representing government workers are expanding while organized labor has been shedding private sector members over the past half-century.  Roughly 1-in-3 public sector workers is a union member, compared with about 1-in-15 for the private sector workforce, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Overall, 11.3 percent of wage and salary workers in the United States are unionized, down from a peak of 35 percent during the mid-1950s in the strong post-World War II recovery.

The typical union worker now is more likely to be an educator, office worker or food or service industry employee rather than a construction worker, autoworker, electrician or mechanic. Far more women than men are among the union-label ranks.  In a blow to public sector unions, the Supreme Court ruled this week that thousands of health care workers in Illinois who are paid by the state cannot be required to pay fees that help cover a union's cost of collective bargaining.  The justices said the practice violates the First Amendment rights of nonmembers who disagree with stances taken by unions.

July 4: Fox News: ICE henceforth will not use “Alien” when referring to children entering the country illegally!
Immigration and Customs Enforcement [ICE] will no longer use the word “alien” in its references to illegal immigrant minors who have been apprehended without their parents at the U.S. border, according to an internal agency email.  The children have commonly been referred to as “unaccompanied alien children,” or “UACs.” With the new directive, laid out in a June 4 email, both terms will be dropped and replaced with “unaccompanied children.”  “This was briefed earlier today during he [sic] command and staff meeting,” reads the email, which was forwarded to reporters by the Center for Immigration Studies.

July 4: Fox News: Ukraine Government claims victory over rebel stronghold
Government troops have taken a rebel stronghold in east Ukraine, the country's president and a spokesman for the rebels said Saturday. President Poroshenko said in a statement that government troops took Slovyansk, a city of about 100,000 that has been a center of the fighting between Kiev's troops and the pro-Russian insurgents, after a night of fighting. It was a rare significant success for Kiev's forces in their struggle to quell the rebellion. There was some damage to buildings in the center of the city, but said much of the rest of the city had been left untouched.

July 4: The Washington Times: China invests in Nuclear Submarines:
China’s military is investing heavily in advanced submarines, including both ballistic and cruise missile firing vessels and attack subs.  Recently, Beijing showed off what appears to be a mock-up of its next-generation nuclear-powered attack submarine, according to veteran military analyst Rick Fisher.  “A large outdoor model of a next generation nuclear attack submarine [SSN] has appeared at the People’s Liberation Army Navy [PLAN] submarine academy in Qingdao, China,” Fisher stated in a report published by the International Assessment and Strategy Center, a think tank.

July 3: The Hill: Supreme Court Rules for College in Contraception Fight
The Supreme Court said Thursday that an evangelical college in Illinois will not have to fill out a form that would enable third parties to pay for birth control coverage under the healthcare law.  In a split vote, the court offered injunctive relief to Wheaton College while its case is pending, and said that instead of filling out the form, it could declare itself a religious nonprofit organization to the Department of Health and Human Services. 

“To meet the condition for injunction pending appeal, the applicant need not use the form prescribed by the government, EBSA Form 700, and need not send copies to health insurance issuers or third-party administrators,” a majority of the justices wrote in the order.   Wheaton said filling out the reform to allow third-parties to pay for the contraception coverage would have violated its constitutional rights.  The decision comes days after the Supreme Court ruled ObamaCare's mandate that employers include contraception coverage in their health plans violated federal law. 

July 3: CNS News: Massive Number of People Have Left the Job Market
The number of Americans 16 and older who did not participate in the labor force climbed to a record high of 92,120,000 in June, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).  This means that there were 92,120,000 Americans 16 and older who not only did not have a job, but did not actively seek one in the last four weeks.
The figures released this week also show that about 500,000 full time jobs were lost last month while 799,000 part time jobs were added.  But still the Administration either doesn’t understand or refuses to admit that ObamaCare is causing the loss of full time employment opportunities as companies hire more part timers in order to avoid healthcare costs or fines.

July 3: The Daily Caller: Whistleblower fights back against VA hospital over secret waiting lists:
Despite denials by the Department of Veteran Affairs, a whistleblower is standing by his claim that a Louisiana VA hospital maintained a secret waiting list for patient care.  According to hospital employee Shea Wilkes and internal emails leaked to the media, there have been wait times of up to fifteen months for appointments in the mental health department of the Overton-Brooks VA Medical Center in Shreveport, Louisiana.  Wilkes told The Daily Caller that 620 veterans still need appointments.

July 3: Arizona Central: VA Scandal: Here are six veteran’s stories of anger and betrayal
In the months since the VA scandal first came to light, the story has only grown.  Report after report has confirmed the details.  Hundreds of thousands of veterans fell through the cracks while waiting for medical appointments at Veterans Affairs healthcare centers. Some died while they were waiting. The agency has responded since then, putting executives who drew big bonuses on leave, replacing its top official in Phoenix and recently nominating a new secretary of the VA. The VA also ordered interval reviews -- though systemic changes have yet to come.  The video isn't about reviews, investigations or systems. This video is about people. Six veterans, what they promised their country, and what they faced at home.

July 2: National Review: Congressman Barred from Visiting a Federal Detention Facility holding illegal immigrant children
A Health and Human Services [HHS] official refused to allow a member of Congress to enter a facility in his district where some of the unaccompanied immigrant children are being housed.  Congressman Bridenstine (R-OK) was told he could schedule an appointment for July 21. “​What are they trying to hide?” he said after the incident. “​Do they not want the children to speak with Members of Congress? As a Navy pilot, I have been involved in operations countering illicit human trafficking. I would like to know to whom these children are being released.”

July 2: Fox News: NSA Internet spying program an “effective tool” bipartisan privacy board says
A federal watchdog group said Wednesday that the National Security Agency’s data collection and surveillance program has been “an effective tool” for the country.  Seven months earlier, the same bipartisan group found fundamental flaws with another program, arguing in a January report that the NSA’s collection of domestic calling records “lacked a viable legal foundation” and recommended that it be shut down. 

July 2: Money News: Donald Trump Tells Americans to Prepare for “Financial Ruins”
The United States could soon become a large-scale Spain or Greece, teetering on the edge of financial ruin.   That’s according to Donald Trump, who painted a very ugly picture of where this country is headed. Trump made the comments during a recent appearance on Fox News’ “On the Record with Greta Van Susteren.”

July 2: Fox News: Colorado burger joint where waitresses pack heat in Rile, CO
It's called Shooters Grill and it is located in Rifle, Colo., so naturally, the waitresses pack heat.  The burger joint, about 180 miles west of Denver, embraces the firearms theme with menu items like the "M16 burrito," "Smith & Wesson Grilled Cheese" and "Locked and Loaded Nachos." The salt and pepper shakers are made from shotgun shells. But the biggest Second Amendment statement is in the guns waitresses carry, including the Rueger Blackhawk .357 Ashlee Saenz sports.

July 2: CNS News: Feds sue Wisconsin Company for Requiring use of English Language
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), a federal agency tasked with enforcing workplace discrimination laws, is suing a private American business for firing a group of Hispanic and Asian employees over their inability to speak English at work, claiming that the English-language requirement in a U.S. business constitutes  “discrimination.”  The government is accusing Wisconsin Plastics, Inc. of violating the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination based on “national origin.” The government argues this includes the “linguistic characteristics of a national origin group.”  Irene Garcia, the blog editor and Spanish media liaison for Judicial Watch, called the EEOC’s accusation “ludicrous.” “That’s ludicrous and an overreaching of government,” Garcia told CNSNews.com. “If you are a private company in the United States, you should be able to require your employees to speak English.”

July 2: The Daily Caller: Issa to IRS Commissioner: Your Testimony Was Disputed by Lerner Attorney    
Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) has told IRS commissioner John Koskinen that his sworn testimony on Lois Lerner’s missing emails was contradicted by recent statements from Lerner’s lawyer, and offered Koskinen a chance to amend his testimony.  “Recent public statements from William W. Taylor III, the attorney representing former IRS official Lois Lerner, have raised new questions about Ms. Lerner’s Federal Records Act compliance practices and the circumstances surrounding the loss of e-mails and destruction of her hard drive,” Issa wrote in a letter Wednesday to Koskinen. “Accordingly, I ask that you assist the Committee in reconciling apparent discrepancies between your claims that Ms. Lerner fully maintained records and statements by her attorney that she did not and that it was not her responsibility.”

July 1: NBC News Los Angeles: Protesters Block Bus Carrying Illegal Immigrants
Buses carrying migrant families were rerouted to a U.S.-Mexican border station after being blocked by protesters waving American flags in a suburban Southern California city.  Protesters, some yelling, "They're not born here!" and "Go back to Mexico!" stood in the street, blocking the buses as they were headed to the suburban border patrol station in Murrieta.  The buses were coming to Murrieta to drop off 140 illegal immigrants, who crossed into the United States through Texas.  They are the first wave of migrants who are supposed to be processed at that location, before being released to family or friends until they are called into immigration court.

July 1: Fox News: Medical staff warned to keep their mouths shut about illegal immigrants or face arrest
A government-contracted security force threatened to arrest doctors and nurses if they divulged any information about the contagion threat at a refugee camp housing illegal alien children at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas, sources say.  In spite of the threat, several former camp workers broke their confidentiality agreements and shared exclusive details with me about the dangerous conditions at the camp. They said taxpayers deserve to know about the contagious diseases and the risks the children pose to Americans. I have agreed to not to disclose their identities because they fear retaliation and prosecution.

July 1: Real Clear Politics:  Krauthammer: If fences don’t work why is there one around the White House?
You start with a fence. It's very simple. People say, 'Oh, fences don't work. You make a ladder.' Well, then you build two fences, triple strand fences. San Diego did that in the mid 90's and within a decade, the illegal immigration rate at that point was reduced by 90% and people ended up going through other places like Arizona.

July 1: The Washington Examiner: Another Federal Judge tells IRS to explain itself on lost emails:
IRS attorneys will be even busier than normal next week, because another federal judge has told them to show up in court July 11 to explain to U.S. District Court Judge Reggie Walton why the IRS shouldn't be required to let an outside expert evaluate whether emails on the computer hard drives of former IRS official Lois Lerner and six of her colleagues really are lost forever, as the agency recently told Congress.  Responding to a motion filed Monday by Houston-based True the Vote, a conservative nonprofit at the center of IRS targeting during the 2010 and 2012 campaigns, Walton issued an order Tuesday to hear arguments next week.

July 1: The Wall Street Journal: Set Backs Cast Cloud over the Obama Second Term
The demise of immigration overhaul legislation; Supreme Court decisions chipping away at his signature health care legislation; a botched Obamacare rollout; VA and IRS targeting scandals; and foreign policy disappointments have cast a cloud over the President’s second term.  In recent days, Mr. Obama moved the U.S. back into Iraq after championing the end of the unpopular war there. He also committed to new U.S. involvement in a Syrian civil war he had avoided.

June 30: ABC News: Supreme Court rules in favor of Hobby Lobby but narrows its findings:
The Supreme Court, today, rejected the government’s claim that neither the owners nor the corporations could bring a religious liberty claim against the ObamaCare mandate that contraceptives be included in healthcare insurance.  In rejecting the government’s position, Justice Alito wrote: “Protecting the free-exercise rights of corporations like Hobby Lobby, Conestoga … protects the religious liberty of the humans who own and control those companies.”   Alito went on to say the court has “little trouble” concluding that the HHS contraceptive mandate substantially burdens the exercise of region: "The Hahns and the Greens believe that providing the coverage demanded by the HHS regulation is connected to the destruction of an embryo in a way that is sufficient to make it immoral for them to provide the coverage.” [See earlier related story]

June 30: Associated Press: Public Unions cannot force non-members to pay fees
In a 5-4 decision the Supreme Court ruled today that thousands of home health care workers in Illinois cannot be required to pay fees that help cover a union's costs of collective bargaining.  The decision which was a major blow to public sector unions found that the practice of requiring non-union workers to pay union dues violates the First Amendment rights of nonmembers who disagree with the positions that unions take.

The ruling is a setback for labor unions that have bolstered their ranks and their bank accounts in Illinois and other states by signing up hundreds of thousands of in-home care workers. It could lead to an exodus of members who will have little incentive to pay dues if nonmembers don't have to share the burden of union costs.  But the ruling was limited to "partial-public employees" and stopped short of overturning decades of practice that has generally allowed public sector unions of teachers, firefighters and other government workers to pass through their representation costs to nonmembers.

Believe it or not:  The IRS ScandalJune 30: The Daily News: IRS can't find promised documents:
This story is not just about lies, stonewalling and the willful destruction of possible evidence.  It is a story about arrogance and abuse of power at the highest levels. It is the story of an agency of the government that has the power to harass and intimidate every taxpayer in America being used by the administration for political purposes

June 29: USA Today: Obama plans to nominate Bob McDonald to head VA
President Obama intends to nominate West Point graduate Robert "Bob" McDonald — most recently chairman of Procter & Gamble, a Fortune 500 company — as secretary of the embattled Department of Veterans Affairs, wracked by a scandal of systemic delays in health care. The nomination of McDonald, subject to confirmation by the Senate, was confirmed by two administration officials who declined to be identified ahead of the official announcement.

June 28: The Washington Times: Obama Ignores Speaker’s Threat of a Lawsuit
– I will continue to act on my own!

Seemingly unfazed by the threat of a lawsuit, President Obama on Saturday vowed to press on and use executive actions wherever and whenever possible.  In his weekly address, the president didn’t directly address House Speaker John A. Boehner’s announcement earlier this week that he’ll sue Mr. Obama for supposed abuses of executive authority.  But the president did take aim at the so-called GOP “obstruction” that, in his view, necessitated the go-it-alone strategy now utilized by this White House — an approach that bypasses both the House and Senate.  Mr. Obama’s remarks come as he attempts to reconnect with average Americans.

Military Hardware for Local PoliceJune 27: National Review: Barney Fife Meets Delta Force -- Hypermilitarized police departments are they more dangerous than whatever they fight.
Ooops! Wrong House!  A woman describes what happened one night when a local SWAT team broke down their door and threw a flashbang grenade into her son's crib. They were searching for drugs but had the wrong house.  

Historians looking back at this period in America’s development will consider it to be profoundly odd that at the exact moment when violent crime hit a 50-year low, the nation’s police departments began to gear up as if the country were expecting invasion — and, on occasion, to behave as if one were underway. SWAT teams in the United States conduct around 45,000 raids each year, only 7 percent of which have anything whatsoever to do with the hostage situations for which they were created deal with. According to the ACLU many of these raids routinely involve “armored personnel carriers,” “military equipment like battering rams,” and “flashbang grenades.” [read the column]

June 27: Politico: Lerner Fights Back:
Lois Lerner has no records of two years of missing emails and Republican claims that she’s hiding something are “silly,” her lawyer said in his first interview since the controversy around the former IRS official erupted two weeks ago. “She doesn’t know what happened,” lawyer William Taylor III said of the 2011 computer crash that erased two years worth of Lerner’s correspondence. “It’s a little brazen to think she did this on purpose.”  When the IRS finally told congressional investigators that the Lerner emails from 2009 through mid-2011 were lost when her hard drive buckled it revived a firestorm among members of Congress, who are incredulous that technology cannot bring the emails back and accuse IRS Commissioner John Koskinen of lying. 

June 26: The Hill: Immigration Reform Advocates Arrested at California Congressman’s Office
Six immigration activists were arrested for protesting outside of Rep. Ed Royce's (R-CA) district office late Friday after they stopped traffic in the middle of a busy street near Los Angeles, according to reports.   The protest, organized by the Service Employees International Union, was one of dozens held around the country Friday to mark the one-year anniversary of the Senate passing a sweeping immigration bill, which would pave the way for 11 million illegal immigrants to stay in the country. But House Republicans have refused to take up similar legislation, angering many immigration activists. On Friday, many of the protesters arrived on buses from outside the district.

June 26: KRGV.Com  Brooks County Rancher fears for life as gang-member-illegal immigrant comes up on her porch
Vickers and her family own a 1,000 acre ranch on the border in Brooks County.  She routinely reports incidents of illegal immigrants crossing her land to the Border Patrol.  As of yesterday 196 have been reported with 136 being apprehended.” Some are helpless people,” she says, “Then there are some really bad ones.” Earlier this week she took a photo of one man on her porch with gang tatoos.  Some of those arrested are wanted for murder and sex offenses in the Rio Grande Valley.

June 24: The National Journal: Chief Justice Roberts: Round Two on Obamacare
– What is at stake in the Hobby Lobby Case

Even if the Supreme Court rules in favor of Hobby Lobby it won't strike down Obamacare's contraception mandate, but a ruling for the law's challengers could still render the policy of mandating the provision of contraception toothless.  The court has plenty of options.  The most sweeping option available to the court is to rule that all corporations, just as people, have a fundamental right to exercise religion, in this case by refusing to cover birth control in their employees' health care plans. Alternatively the Court could rule in their favor without setting a broader precedent that corporations in general can practice religion.  A decision limited to closely held corporations could be a way to skirt the outcome liberals fear most—a broad and explicit expansion of corporate “personhood.” But it would still allow a significant number of employers to exclude birth control from their health plans.

June 24: WND News: IRS Chief branded as a Liar
Oversight Committee Chair Darrell Issa (R-CA) told IRS Commissioner Koskinen, “At a minimum, you did not tell the whole truth,” during previous testimony, and  “We are wondering what your word is worth.”  In his opening statement, Issa flatly told Koskinen he had given false testimony by promising to provide all emails of former IRS tax-exempt division chief Lois Lerner, while knowing two years of those emails were actually missing.  “You promised to produce documents and you did not!” he said.  “Perhaps you hoped Congress would never know” about the missing emails.  Issa suggested.   Although Issa admitted the Commissioner wasn’t directly involved he said “But by your actions and your deception, you now own this scandal.”

June 23: The Washington Post: Supreme Court: EPA can regulate greenhouse gas emissions with some limitations:
The Supreme Court on Monday mostly validated the Environmental Protection Agency’s plans to regulate power plant and factory emissions of greenhouse gases blamed for global warming while imposing some limits on the agency’s reach.   The justices said the EPA could not rewrite specific standards written into the law, but they still handed the Obama administration and environmentalists a big victory by agreeing there was another way for the EPA to carry out its program.  Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel A. Alito Jr. said they disagreed that the agency had clear power to address greenhouse gases.  The EPA was challenged by industry groups, the Chamber of Commerce and a number of states, led by Texas.

There are no shortage of questions about IraqJune 23: The Daily News: No Shortage of Questions about Iraq:
Looking back, President Obama should have heeded the advice of his military commanders and Republican leaders who warned him not to announce when the U.S would withdraw our troops from Iraq and Afghanistan.  The President should not have lifted the financial sanctions off of Iran and released the Taliban-Five Dream Team.  But once again our foreign policy is in shambles and, according to the Associated Press; the President has been on trips to North Dakota and California where he was fund-raising and playing golf!

June 21: Breitbart.com: U.S. Media Restricted at Border, Safety Concerns cited
A remote section of the U.S.-Mexico border near the Anzalduas International Bridge is one of the few places where media can witness and record the mass crossings of minors coming from Central America. The U.S. Border Patrol is now restricting journalists' access to the area citing safety concerns. “You can’t be here," a Border Patrol agent said. After learning that he was speaking with Breitbart Texas, the agent repeated his assertion and stated, “It isn’t safe for you here.” The agent refused to give his name and then grabbed his phone, acting as though he had a phone call. He then raised his arm over his name badge. When a camera was put on him, he quickly sped off.

June 21: Bloomberg News: Putin puts 65,000 troops on Alert as U.S. broaden sanctions on Russia:
Russia put more than 65,000 troops on combat alert and ordered them to take part in a drill a day after Ukraine called a week-long cease-fire to quell violence in the eastern part of the country.  The Russian drill is the biggest since the country annexed the Black Sea Crimean peninsula in March. The U.S. has accused the government in Moscow of aiding the separatists and this week imposed sanctions on people linked to the insurgency.

June 20: Your Houston News: Kevin Brady: This is the most deceitful and corrupt IRS in History:
In a statement, Kevin Brady (R-TX), a senior member of House Ways and Means, said  “Today, Commissioner Koskinen [of the IRS] confirmed through his contradictory testimony that he withheld key evidence from the congressional investigation into IRS targeting, and intentionally misled the committee when he promised in May to deliver all of Ms. Lois Lerner’s emails without limitation.  His continued claim that none of Ms. Lerner’s emails have been lost is contradicted by the IRS’s newest invention – that her hard-drive and server containing key years of emails has been irretrievably damaged and lost, along with the emails of six other key figures in the IRS investigation. That’s simply not believable.”

June 20: Audience Gasps as IRS Commissioner says the hard drive with the Lerner emails on it was destroyed and sent out for recycling: [Listen to the video - click on the "June 20" link]

June 20: Fox News: Why the IRS scandal won’t die
IRS Commissioner John Koskinen is on the Hill today for another round of contentious hearings on mounting allegations of misconduct at the agency. Taking center stage: the vanished emails of key figures in the scandal. The agency, accused of harassing conservative groups, claims that emails from individuals who are the focus of congressional investigators are gone and unrecoverable – a dubious claim. This isn’t just an ordinary story about an over-powerful government agency run amok. The allegations here are of political corruption in which officials appointed by the party in power allegedly sought to impede and punish those of the opposing view with the intent to alter the outcome of two elections. That’s not just the usual stuff we read about with regulators gone wild. This is an allegation of rigging two elections by high officials in an agency with enormous powers to harass and intimidate.

June 20: Arizona Central: Migrants amassing at the Rio Grande’s edge
Reynosa, Brayan from Honduras made it from a small Central American coastal city to the Texas-Mexican border but ran out of money to pay smugglers to take him across the Rio Grande.  Now he, like many others following the hopes of making it into the U.S. and not being deported, is stuck in one of the most dangerous cities in the world, in shelters like Senda de Vida, which sits on a hill overlooking the Rio Grande in this border city.

June 19: Fox News: Colorado governor tries to apologize for gun control measures, blames staff
Governor John Hickenlooper’s (D-CO) awkward attempt to patch things up with his state’s sheriffs over his support of controversial gun control legislation isn’t going as planned.   The governor  offered a series of unusual explanations -- including blaming his staff -- during a meeting he held last Friday with a group of Colorado sheriffs for why he signed legislation that restricts the sale of ammunition magazines of more than 15 rounds.  After a group of gun control bills were signed into law earlier this year, 55 of the state’s 62 elected sheriffs filed a federal lawsuit against the state, claiming the regulations violated the Second Amendment. The judge ruled the sheriffs could not sue the state while in office but did say they could once their terms ended. 

June 19: The Washington Post: Lawmakers outraged: Senior VA officials get bonuses in the middle of the scandal
Members of a House committee want to know why an agency that has come under fierce attack for covering up long delays in service to veterans says all of its senior executives are “fully satisfactory” or better.   That and the performance awards given to Senior Executive Service members in the Veterans Affairs Department were the focus of incredulous representatives at a House Veterans’ Affairs Committee hearing Friday.  Committee Chair Jeff Miller (R-FL) said he called the hearing to examine “the outlandish bonus culture at VA and the larger organizational crisis that seems to have developed from awarding performance awards to senior executives despite the fact that their performance fails to deliver on our promise to our veterans…. "

U.S. Border with MexicoJune 18: My San Antonio: Texas Leaders OK millions for new border surge
Texas’ top three lawmakers agreed Wednesday to spend tens of millions dollars to fund a surge operation along the border to deal with the influx of Central American children pouring into Texas.  Together they authorized a deal for emergency funding of $1.3 million per week for DPS surge operations that will run through at the least the end of the year.  Some 60,000 unaccompanied children and teens are expected to cross into the Texas border this year — up from about 6,560 in 2011.

June 18: The Daily Beast: Paging Rose Mary Woods: Obama’s Unbelievable Missing IRS emails:
The IRS scandal is back, with Lois Lerner mislaying two years of communiqués – just like Nixon’s secretary Rose Mary Woods and her erased 18 minutes of tape, but the presidential characters couldn’t be more different.  As if the allegations of targeting political enemies weren’t enough, now the Obama must contend with missing emails.  Reminiscent of the missing 18 minutes of tape. Today’s sought-after communiqués,  we are told, are the victim of a crashed computer and a failed hard drive, both belonging to  Lois Lerner, the chief of the IRS tax-exempt office at the center of the controversy.  But it’s not just Lerner’s email that are lost and unaccounted for, there are six more IRS employees connected to the original targeting outrage that the IRS cannot submit to Congress.  Worse, the IRS decided not to notify Congress until they were confronted -- three months after IRS leaders “learned” of the problem! 

Rather than a president in over his head, Obama is behaving like a president who doesn’t believe the onus should be on him to head off an appearance of impropriety at the pass.  And, oh yes Mr. President “There is not a smidgeon of corruption” at the IRS!

June 18: The Washington Examiner: WSJ Poll: Is the public saying Obama’s Presidency is over?
President Obama's approval rating has dropped to 41 percent, a majority of Americans disapprove of his handling of foreign policy issues, he has lost support from the Hispanic community and Americans actually think his administration is less competent than the Bush White House post-Hurricane Katrina, according to a new survey from the Wall Street Journal and NBC News.  In short, the poll is nothing but bad news for the president.  Even  NBC News' Chuck Todd said Tuesday that the poll basically means the public has declared the Obama presidency to be over.  "On the issue of do you believe he can still lead? A majority believe no. Essentially the public is saying your presidency is over," Todd said.

June 18: Fox News: Nabbing Ahmed Abu Khattala: It only took 32 minutes to accomplish
The mission to nab Benghazi terror suspect Ahmed Abu Khattala was months in the making. Once a Delta Force team at last launched into Libya on Sunday to carry out the plan, it was over in 32 minutes.  Officials still face questions over why it took so long for the U.S. to go after Khattala.  After all, U.S. teams had been following the suspect and knew his whereabouts since about five or six weeks after the Sept. 11, 2012 attack, when he started giving interviews. At the moment, officials describe the Navy's the USS New York carrying him as being on a "slow" trip back to the United States. [Interestingly enough, part of this ship is made from steel salvaged from the former World Trade Center in New York City which was brought down by a terrorist attack.] 

June 17: The Daily Caller: Hillary Talks Guns on CNN: “Minority Terrorizes Majority”
During a televised town hall, Hillary Clinton was asked about guns, and said that the viewpoint held by gun-rights advocates “terrorizes” the majority of Americans. The town hall, broadcast live on CNN on Tuesday, closely resembled a commercial for Clinton’s new memoir, “Hard Choices.”

June 17: The Daily Caller: Former HHS Secretary Sebelius Blames “Right-Wing Media” for Obamacare failures:
Former Secretary of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius took aim at her “hostile” right-wing opponents Tuesday, in her first speech after resigning her top post.  Sebelius addressed a friendly audience saying “We had right-wing media, leadership in Congress who was determined on the House side to stop this law at any cost, shadow political organizations, hostile governors, hostile legislators, all working to make sure you couldn’t do the job that was so important.” She only once mentioned “our well-known issues with the website” putting a damper on customers getting coverage.

June 17: The Hill: Benghazi suspect will not go to GITMO
The surprise capture of a suspected ringleader behind the Sept. 11, 2012, attacks in Benghazi, Libya, refueled a Washington debate Tuesday over whether those accused of terrorism should be sent to Guantánamo Bay as enemy combatants.  The White House ruled out sending Ahmed Abu Khattala to the U.S. detention center in Cuba after several Republican lawmakers demanded that he be detained, interrogated and tried there. 

June 17: The Daily Mail: Congressman Barletta says there are probably enough votes in the House to Impeach Obama:
President Barack Obama has acted so unlawfully that he 'probably' wouldn't survive an impeachment vote in the House of Representatives, Republican Rep. Lou Barletta told a radio host on Monday.  'He’s just absolutely ignoring the Constitution, and ignoring the laws and ignoring the checks and balances,' the Pennsylvania lawmaker told News Radio 910 WSBA personality Gary Sutton yesterday.  In asking are the majority of the American people in favor of impeaching the President, Barletta said “I’m not sure about that [but] I don’t think so.”

Barletta’s communications director, Tim Murtaugh, is quoted as saying his boss was not 'advocating or proposing' that the House impeach Obama.  The congressman was merely relating one proposed way Congress could stop the president's 'consistent disregard for the law,' Murtaugh said.  His 'full answer is this: ‘Could that pass the House? Probably. Would the Senate ever convict? Certainly not.'

June 17: The Daily Caller: Chairman Issa subpoenas Lois Lerner’s hard drive
Congress wants proof!  House Oversight Chair Darrell Issa (R-CA) subpoenaed the IRS Tuesday to produce ex-IRS official Lois Lerner’s computer hard drive and other electronic devices.  The IRS recently claimed that it lost 24,000 emails that Lerner exchanged with other Obama administration agencies and the White House between 2009 and 2011, during the period that Lerner was overseeing the improper targeting of conservative and tea party groups. The IRS claimed that Lerner’s computer crashed in 2011 and the emails were lost. IRS commissioner John Koskinen, however, testified in March that Lerner’s emails were all stored on a computer server.

June 17: Fox News: Lawmakers: IRS knew for months of the “lost” Lerner emails, more documents missing:
Republican lawmakers charged Tuesday that the IRS knew for months they had "lost" a massive trove of emails from embattled ex-IRS official Lois Lerner, but kept it "secret" until this past Friday.  The lawmakers noted that during this period, newly appointed Commissioner John Koskinen nevertheless assured Congress the agency would produce the documents, which are considered critical to their efforts to probe the targeting of Tea Party and other groups. Further, lawmakers said records from six other IRS workers appear to have gone missing as well. 

June 16: Fox News:  Supreme Court allows pro-life group to challenge Ohio ban on false campaign statements
The Supreme Court delivered a major victory on Monday to an anti-abortion group that sought to challenge an Ohio law that bans campaign statements deemed to be false.  The justices, in a unanimous decision, ruled that the Susan B. Anthony List can go ahead with a lawsuit challenging the law as a violation of free-speech rights.  Both liberal and conservative groups have criticized the law, saying it has a chilling effect on political speech. Even Ohio attorney general Mike DeWine declined to defend the law in court, sending his deputies to argue for the state. 

The Susan B. Anthony List was accused of violating the law during the 2010 election, when it accused then-Ohio Democratic Rep. Steve Driehaus of supporting taxpayer-funded abortion because he backed the new health care law. Driehaus threatened to take them before the Ohio commission that reviews the accuracy of political ads.  Writing for the court, Justice Clarence Thomas cited concerns about the chilling effect on groups wishing to run political ads.  "The credibility of that threat is bolstered by the fact that authority to file a complaint with the Commission is not limited to a prosecutor or an agency. Instead, the false statement statute allows 'any person' with knowledge of the purported violation to file a complaint," the opinion said. 

June 16: The Washington Post: Here’s how the IRS Supposedly lost emails from key witness Lois Lerner
On Friday, the IRS informed Congressional investigators it could not recover two years of emails from Lois Lerner, the former head of the agency's tax-exempt status department. Lerner Her emails are one of the only record of what happened in her own words. The disappearance that quickly sparked skepticism from those seeking the truth about what actually happened. Here's what the IRS says happened.

Column on the Commander in Chief and Chief DiplomatJune 16: The Daily News:
The position of Commander-in-Chief and Chief Diplomat:

Today we see a pattern of non-engagement on the part of the President and his administration. Nobody is telling where the President was during the attack on the consulate in Benghazi but we do know the next day he headed to Las Vegas for a fundraiser. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton refused to provide adequate security for the consulate in Benghazi and then in front of the world said “What difference does it make?” Secretary of State Kerry undercut our Israeli allies because they would not weaken their own national security. There is a U.S. Marine in a Mexican jail because he mistakenly took a wrong turn at the border and we seem powerless to do anything about getting him released. What is wrong with this picture? What’s the message being sent to our friends around the world? It’s time for us to learn from our history. Peace through strength works. Peace through appeasement doesn’t!

June 14: Yahoo News/Reuters: Pentagon Sends another aircraft carrier to the Gulf if needed to deal with Iraq
U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel ordered an aircraft carrier moved into the Gulf on Saturday, readying it in case Washington decides to pursue a military option after insurgents overwhelmed a string of Iraqi cities this week and threatened Baghdad.
U.S. leaders ruled out sending U.S. troops back into combat in Iraq, where over 4,000 U.S. soldiers died in the war that followed the 2003 invasion to oust Saddam Hussein, and said any intervention would be contingent on Iraqi leaders overcoming their longstanding political and sectarian divisions. 

June 14: The Daily Caller: Police Reports indicated Bergdahl’s Dad was a peeping-tom stalker
The father of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl creepily harassed a pair of twin sisters in Hailey, Idaho, for several months, according to police reports obtained by the Daily Mail.  In 2011, long before Robert “Bob” Bergdahl began learning Pashto and Arabic or tweeted a Taliban spokesman, police documents indicated bizarro bearded dad stalked Lacey and Allie Hillman.  He allegedly tried to steal a peek at one of the twins in the shower and even stole a little gnome from their garden.

June 13: Fox News: Groups Angry with South Carolina requiring the teaching of the U.S. Constitution
The South Carolina legislature has rankled liberal groups after requiring that a pair of public schools use state funds to teach the U.S. Constitution and other founding documents -- on the heels of a budget fight over gay-themed books in the curriculum.   State House lawmakers previously had cut funds from two public universities in retaliation for required-reading material containing homosexual themes. A revised budget passed by both the House and the Senate earlier this month and is expected to be signed by the Governor. Though the money has been restored there is a requirement that it be spent "for instruction in the provisions and principles of the United States Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, and the Federalist Papers, including the study of and devotion to American institutions and ideals."   The bill restored at least $52,000 for the College of Charleston, and at least $17,000 for USC-Upstate, which were the original amounts cut back in March. The legislation also says that any school that conducts a mandatory reading program must provide an alternative in case the chosen book conflicts with any students’ moral or religious beliefs. 

June 13: The Hill: VFW Blasts “No” Votes by GOP Senators on VA Reform Bill:
On Thursday the Veterans of Foreign Wars slammed the “no” votes by Republican Sens. Bob Corker (TN), Ron Johnson (WI) and Jeff Sessions (AL) who “put dollars and cents above the interests of the nation’s veterans,” the VFW said in a statement.  “There is a cost of going to war that includes taking care of those who come home wounded, ill and injured, and if these three senators have determined that we can’t afford to properly care for our veterans, then they should seek employment elsewhere!” The bill grants the VA new powers to fire managers and allows veterans to seek private healthcare under certain circumstances.  But it also included funding for things not directly related to VA healthcare. (See story below) Those voting against the measure said the Congressional Budget Office financial "scoring" of the bill was not available for them to review until one hour prior to the vote and did not address their budgetary concerns.

June 13: The Hill: Lesson of the VA Scandal: Predictability of Washington
If the ongoing scandal in the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) health care system provides evidence of anything — in addition to our ongoing failure to provide adequate care for our veterans — it's that Washington's response is sadly predictable.  The first instinct in Washington is to look for scapegoats or a sacrificial lamb.  The second instinct is to throw money at the problem. The Senate has now done this, increasing VA spending by roughly $2 billion, with also includes funding for things that have nothing to do with health care.  If we should know anything from this situation by now it's that government does a terrible job of running a health care system. 
Solutions:
- First, we should return the VA health care system to its core mission of treating combat and other service-related injuries. Nearly 56 percent of VA patients today are being treated for illnesses that have nothing to do with their time in service.  
- Second, we should give the veterans themselves, not the government, more control over their health care. [Read more on this important story]

June 13: Politico: GOP Senators Ask if Bergdahl Swap Broke Spending Law
Nine Republican appropriators are questioning whether the Pentagon ran afoul of a law that prevents spending funds without approval from Congress in the move to transfer five Taliban leaders to Qatar.  The letter asks the Government Accountability Office to review the move for possible violations of the federal spending law known as the Antideficiency Act.  The transfer of the senior Taliban figures came about as part of the swap that freed Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl from Taliban custody in Afghanistan.  “If, indeed, DOD’s obligation of appropriated funds runs afoul of section 8111, we also seek your legal opinion as to whether DOD has violated the Antideficiency Act,” the senators wrote.

June 13: The New York Times/BBC: There is proof the Russians have sent tanks to separatists in Ukraine
The State Department said Friday that Russia had sent tanks and other heavy weapons to separatists in Ukraine, supporting accusations Thursday by the Ukrainian government.  A convoy of three T-64 tanks, several BM-21 multiple rocket launchers and other military vehicles crossed the border near the Ukrainian town of Snizhne, State Department officials said. The Russian government has strenuously denied that any of its tanks crossed the border into Ukraine. But now NATO has released satellite imagery, linked to existing video material, which appears to give added weight to assertions from the Ukrainian authorities that the tanks used by separatist forces that crossed into its country just a few days ago were indeed supplied by the Russians. 

June 11: Associated Press: DC Rocked by Cantor Loss to Under Funded TEA Party Primary Candidate
In an upset, Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) -- the second-most powerful man in the House -- was dethroned Tuesday by a little-known, tea party-backed Republican primary challenger David Brat, a local economics professor.  Brat was carried to victory on a wave of public anger over calls for looser immigration laws.   The victory was by far the biggest of the 2014 campaign season for tea party forces, although last week they forced veteran Mississippi Sen. Thad Cochran into a June 24 runoff, and hope state Sen. Chris McDaniel can prevail then.  Cantor's defeat was the first primary setback for a senior leader in Congress in recent years. Former House Speaker Thomas Foley of Washington and Senate Democratic leader Tom Daschle of South Dakota both lost their seats at the polls in the past two decades, but they fell to Republicans, not to challengers from within their own parties.

June 11: Fox News: Hagel admits the Administration mishandled parts of the Prisoner Swap
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel on Wednesday sought to ease concerns about the controversial swap of five hardened Taliban leaders for Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, but under pressure from lawmakers acknowledged that the administration mishandled the announcement. "We didn't handle some of this right," Hagel admitted to the House Armed Services Committee.

June 11: WND News: Organization of Ex-Border Agents say the flood of immigrants is “orchestrated”
An organization of former Border Patrol agents Wednesday charged that the federal government, under the administration of President Obama, is deliberately arranging for a flood of immigrant children to arrive in America for political purposes.  “This is not a humanitarian crisis. It is a predictable, orchestrated and contrived assault on the compassionate side of Americans by her political leaders that knowingly puts minor illegal alien children at risk for purely political purposes,” said the statement released by officials with the National Association of Former Border Patrol Officers. 

June 11: Fox News: US spy agencies heard Benghazi attackers using State Dept. cell phones to call terrorist leaders:
The terrorists who attacked the U.S. consulate and CIA annex in Benghazi on September 11, 2012 used cell phones, seized from State Department personnel during the attacks, and U.S. spy agencies overheard them contacting more senior terrorist leaders to report on the success of the operation, multiple sources confirmed to Fox News.  The disclosure is important because it adds to the body of evidence establishing that senior U.S. officials in the Obama administration knew early on that Benghazi was a terrorist attack, and not a spontaneous protest over an anti-Islam video that had gone awry, as the administration claimed for several weeks after the attacks. 

June 10: The Washington Post: ABC News’ Diane Sawyer destroys Hillary Clinton on Benghazi
A standard defense for Hillary Rodham Clinton when facing questions about Benghazi, Libya, has been to cite her commissioning of a report from the State Department’s Accountability Review Board (ARB), which took a deep look at the attacks that claimed the lives of four U.S. personnel on Sept. 11, 2012. In an interview on ABC News, anchor Diane Sawyer threw the ARB right back in the face of the former secretary of state. The two tangled over the preparedness of the U.S. diplomatic installation in Benghazi for a terrorist attack.

June 10: Breitbart.com: Border children reportedly sickened by food in U.S. Facilities:
A tidal wave of illegal immigrants along the U.S.-Mexico border has caused federal housing and processing facilities to become overwhelmed and overcrowded. As a result, officials have resorted to a makeshift housing center in Nogales, Arizona, especially for the surge of thousands of children who were part of the influx. They are being transported there via plane. Many of the minors at one facility -- which only opened on Friday -- are reportedly being sickened by the food -- and throwing the food in the trash.

June 10: The Daily Caller: Cruz: Israeli strike against Iran could happen soon
Texas Sen. Ted Cruz told a small gathering of pro-Israel American leaders Tuesday that an Israeli strike against Iranian nuclear facilities “could happen in a matter of months. In my view, Khamenei believes there is no credible deterrence from the United States. That means, that if they keep going forward, I think if it comes down to it, I have real confidence that the nation of Israel will act to preserve her national security, even if this administration will not act first. And that could happen sooner rather than later — that could happen in a matter of months.” In Cruz's view, a policy of weakness and appeasement on the part of the U.S. only increases the chance of military conflict.

June 10: The Washington Times: Two U.S. Stealth bombers head to Europe for first time, putting Putin on notice
Two U.S. B-2 Spirit stealth bombers are being deployed to Europe for the first time. The deployment of the advanced aircraft will be used for “short term deployment” at Fairford, a Royal Air Force base in England — just three hours from Russia. The radar-evading B-2 bombers are likely being used as a show of force to Russian President Vladimir Putin, who has been accused of fomenting unrest in eastern Ukraine after the Russia’s recent annexation of Crimea.  In the meantime, four Russian bombers flew near Alaska, two of them then came within 50 miles of Northern California. U.S. fighter-inceptors were scrambled to interdict the Russian aircraft.  

June 9: CBS Houston:  Hundreds of Illegal Immigrant Minors sleeping on Plastic Boards, Roatating Through four Showers at Shelter
About 700 unaccompanied minors mostly from Central America were sleeping on plastic boards at a Border Patrol warehouse in Nogales, Arizona, this weekend, the vast majority flown from South Texas. It is the latest illustration of how a wave of immigrants from Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala has overwhelmed U.S. border authorities. President Barack Obama called the surge a crisis last week and appointed the Federal Emergency Management Agency to lead the government’s response. Here are some questions and answers. In the meantime the Obama Administration is seeking $1.4 million to pay for "free lawyers" to represent the children who have entered the country illegally.

June 9: The Weekly Standard: Hillary Rewrites Her History on Israel
In her new book, Hillary Clinton picks out a few foreign policy topics that she thinks are now safe, even helpful, to express disagreement with the course taken by the Obama administration. She acknowledges that the Obama administration's demand for a settlement freeze from Israel as a precondition to talks with the Palestinians “didn’t work” and that she opposed this approach. Yet for all her alleged opposition to the policy Clinton took the lead in making indignant, confrontational public statements that were clearly intended to intimidate the Israelis and gratify the Palestinians.

President Obama in search of a positive legacy

June 9: The Daily News: President Obama is in Search of a Positive Legacy:
We have a President whose legacy is marred with scandals.  First it was Operation Fast and Furious; then his Attorney General was found to be in contempt of Congress; then there was the targeting of his political foes by the IRS and another contempt of Congress, this time for Lois Lerner; and there was the loss of American lives in Benghazi, with Secretary Clinton saying, “What difference does it make?”  Then there was the disastrous rollout of Obamacare and the “If you like your plan you can keep your plan” broken promises.  Last month the scandal broke of secret waiting lists at VA hospitals and possible deaths caused by long waits for appointments that never came. The President is in search of a positive legacy, but, instead, he continues to find it scarred with lies, failed promises, and scandals.

Now ask yourself, why is he taking these extraordinary actions for Sgt. Bergdahl while closer to home a U.S. Marine who did serve with honor but who took a wrong turn at a border crossing remains in a Mexican jail? 

June 6:  Fox News: Alaska town sues feds for blocking road over preservation concerns:
A group of native tribes in Alaska is suing the Obama administration after being blocked for years from building an emergency road from their fishing hamlet to a vital airport over preservation concerns.   An Aleut fishing community has waited for over three decades to build a one lane 11-mile gravel road to give them better access to an all-weather airport located 19 miles from their village, access they say is about protecting human lives in life-threatening situations.  The Federal government has resisted granting the needed permits out of concern for the native habitat.  So far this year eleven people have need air evacuation from the village.

June 6: Fox News: Bergdahl declared Jihad in captivity, secret documents show:
U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl at one point during his captivity converted to Islam, fraternized openly with his captors and declared himself a "mujahid," or warrior for Islam, according to secret documents prepared on the basis of a purported eyewitness account and obtained by Fox News.  The reports are rich in on-the-ground detail -- including the names and locations of the Haqqani commanders who ran the 200-man rotation used to guard the Idaho native -- and present the most detailed view yet of what Bergdahl's life over the past five years has been like.

June 6: Time: Behind the Scenes of Bowe Bergdahl’s Release:
In the days and hours leading up to the release of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl last week, his Taliban captors in Pakistan prepared for a big send-off. Those selected to physically hand Bergdahl over to U.S. officials at a pre-arranged location on the other side of the border in Afghanistan rehearsed the messages they wanted to convey to the American people. A videographer was assigned to cover the event, for propaganda purposes.

June 5: Fox NewsObama digs in on Taliban-for-Bergdahl trade, Vows ‘no apologies’
President Obama, facing rising bipartisan criticism over his handling of the Taliban-for-Bergdahl prisoner swap, dug in his heels Thursday and declared he would make "absolutely no apologies" for bringing an American soldier home -- as his administration stepped up its defense of the controversial deal.   The comments come as those close to the negotiation process privately fume over the media firestorm that has ensued. Senior U.S. officials briefed by negotiators, in defending the controversial exchange of five high-value Taliban leaders for Bergdahl, told Fox News there are many points about the deal that need clarification. 

June 5: USA Today: 18 Vets on List in Phoenix, Died
Investigators have determined that more than 100,000 veterans nationwide were kept off waiting lists for medical appointments, and Acting Veterans Affairs Secretary Sloan Gibson said the nation will learn Monday how many patients were relegated to "secret lists."  During a news conference Thursday at the Medical Center in Phoenix Gibson also disclosed that at least 18 Arizona veterans died while awaiting doctor appointments, though it remains unclear whether the delayed care is to blame for those fatalities.  Gibson said he had details on 14 of the deaths and it appeared most had contacted the VA for "end of life care." 

June 5: CBS Houston: Gun Store Sign: Will Trade Obama to Mexico for Sgt. Tahmooressi:
Continuing its critical shots at President Barack Obama, the Tactical Firearms store of Katy, Texas, has yet another weekly message for the president: “Will Trade Obama To Mexico For Sgt. Tahmooressi. God help us all.”  The message references Marine Corps Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi, who is being held in a Mexican prison after mistakenly crossing the border with registered guns.  A few weeks before, the store posted another sign taking aim at Obama: “I like my guns like Obama likes his voters: Undocumented,” the Tactical Firearms sign states.  The store’s owner, Jeremy Alcede, said the “undocumented” sign was meant to be looked at as a joke.

June 4: Breitbart.Com: Diaz-Balart: House Immigration Reform Effort Gaining Momentum – Expect action by August:
In an interview with Roll Call published Wednesday, Florida Republican Congressman Diaz-Balart said his bipartisan immigration reform effort is gaining Republican supporters and that believes the House will pass something before the August recess. “Every day I’m getting more and more Republicans — conservatives — who are frankly approaching me saying, ‘How do we move forward?’ I feel very very confident that a majority — a strong majority — of Republicans want to finally tackle this system that everyone understands is broken — with some caveats,” he told CQ Roll Call. “Republicans are insisting that we take this step-by-step.”

June 3: Fox News: Unequal treatment: Soldier in Mexican Jail verses release of Deserter in Afghanastan!
The Obama administration’s extraordinary effort to free Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl has some wondering why the president can’t make a simple phone call on behalf of a former Marine being held in a Mexican prison after mistakenly driving across the border with registered guns.  Obama announced Saturday in a dramatic Rose Garden news conference that five Taliban prisoners from Guantanamo Bay would be exchanged for Bergdahl, a 28-year-old infantryman held captive for five years by the terrorist group. The swap angered many in the military and on Capitol Hill, because it went against long-standing policy of not bargaining with terrorists.

June 2: The Daily Caller: Obama Offers “Mini-Amnesty” to 200,000 Kids by 2016:
White House officials said Monday that they are treating a wave of youthful illegal immigrants as an “humanitarian situation” that requires billions of dollars in aid for shelter, nutrition, healthcare and education.  Officials are not treating the expected influx of 60,000 youths this year — and perhaps 130,000 in 2015 — as a wave of illegal immigrants that should rapidly be returned home. 

June 2: WOAI News: Flood of Illegal Immigrant Children into Texas is Costing U.S. Taxpayers Billions:
The surge of illegal immigrant minors rushing over the Rio Grande threatens to overwhelm the Texas Border Patrol, and new figures show the unexpected development will cost U.S. taxpayers more than $2 billion this year, 1200 WOAI news reports.  More than 1,000 unaccompanied immigrant children are arriving in the U.S. each week, according to figures released by the Department of Homeland Security, and some 60,000 are expected to arrive in the U.S. this year.  That is up ten times just since 2011. 

June 2: Fox News: Coal-state lawmakers rally against power plant emissions crackdown:
Coal-state lawmakers, accusing President Obama of using a back door to impose strict emissions limits on power plants, are rallying to slam that door shut -- claiming the plan would cost jobs and jack up electric bills.  In Kentucky, West Virginia, and other states that rely on coal to fuel their own economies -- and that help generate power for everybody else -- officials vowed Monday to introduce legislation halting the newly announced EPA plan.   Under the draft regulation unveiled Monday, carbon emissions at fossil fuel-burning power plants would be cut 30 percent by 2030.  The 645-page plan, expected to be finalized next year, is a centerpiece of Obama's climate change agenda.

June 2: Fox News:  Arizona Congressman:  Mr. President, Help the Marine in Mexican Jail!
Rep. Matt Salmon (R-AZ) who recently visited Marine Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi at his Mexican prison, told Greta Van Susteren Monday on “On the Record” The President needs to  get off his duff and do the right thing. Salmon said. “You’ve boldly sid you have a pen and a phone – put that phone to good use for once and a while.”   He also said that when he visited Tahmooressi Saturday he was in good condition and good spirits. The Marine was arrested March 31 after he drove across the border with three weapons in his car. 

June 2: The Daily CallerHow Bergdahl could become Obama’s “Bergdahizi”
If President Barack Obama hoped his deal with the Taliban to bring back Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl would be a political boon in the midst of the VA scandal, he is in for a big surprise.  Soon after Obama revealed that Bergdahl was to be released, we learned the president agreed to release five of the most hardcore Taliban fighters from America’s terrorist detention facility in Guantanamo Bay in exchange.  “The Taliban 5 were some of the worst outlaws in the U.S. war on terror,” Eli Lake and Josh Rogin report in The Daily Beast, noting a Pentagon “dossier” that deemed all five “a high risk to launch attacks against the United States and its allies if they were liberated.”

Perhaps Obama hoped that seeing a captured American serviceman return home would overwhelm any American outrage over the deal. But then we learned that Bergdahl was taken into Taliban captivity only after allegedly deserting his fellow troops. 

June 2: The Daily Caller: Pentagon Official: White House Trade with the Taliban was “political”
Here is the truth: The deal to trade five senior Taliban detainees to secure the release of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl was political. It was publicly justified with lies, it breaks decades of U.S. policy, it breaks American law, it puts Americans at risk, it undermines the government of Afghanistan, and it passes responsibility on to the next administration.  But first of all, it was political.  But no, it was not to take the spot light off of the failures at the Department of Veterans Affairs.  Simply stated, it was because so long as Bergdahl remained in Taliban captivity in Pakistan, the Obama administration would never be able to close the chapter of the failed Afghanistan campaign it has owned since approving — and then under-resourcing — a surge of U.S. forces in the country.

June 2: The Daily Caller: White House Story is Unraveling:  U.S. Knew Bowe Bergdal Had Deserted and Investigated Him:
As early as 2010, the Pentagon had confirmed that Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl had deserted his post in 2009, and even before he deserted he had been the subject of “a major classified file” by U.S. intelligence.  A 2010 investigation by the Pentagon found there was solid evidence that Bergdahl hadn’t lagged behind on patrol, as first reported, and had indeed walked from his post, AP reports. The Pentagon decided at that point to draw down search-and-rescue operations. 

June 2: Media-ite: CNN’s Toobin: Obama Clearly Broke the Law!
CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin declared on Monday that President Barack Obama “broke the law” when his administration failed to give Congress notice of at least 30 days before releasing five ranking Taliban members from Guantanamo Bay. “The law says 30-days’ notice. He didn’t give 30-days’ notice.” Toobin added that Obama’s opinion expressed in a signing statement “is not law.”  “The law is on the books, and he didn’t follow it,” Toobin added.

June 2: The Daily Mail: Is the Prisoner Swap an Impeachable Offense?
The Daily Mail, in a column asks if the recent prisoner swap is an impeachable offence noting that the President ignored a law – which he signed last year – requiring him to notify Congress 30 days before releasing anyone from Guantanamo Bay.  A White House insider said Obama administration officials didn't anticipate how controversial Bergdahl's rescue would be, and compared it to the 1981 release of 52 US hostages in Iran.  .

June2 the Veterans Administration StoryJune 2: The Daily News: Another Day, Another Scandal at the White House
It’s true the long wait times existed under the Bush Administration.  It is also true that the Obama transition team knew about it back in 2008 and promised to fix it.  In the past five years the problem has not been fixed.   While the President is talking about wielding his pen if Congress fails to act, here’s an area he should have acted and seemingly failed to do so.  Second, it was his vision that the VA medical system would be the example of how he would fix healthcare in this country. What does that bode for us under ObamaCare if there are long waits and apparently some people dying as a result?

Our veterans put their lives on the line for us.  Some no longer have arms/legs because of their service.  They deserve timely and quality healthcare.  A suggestion -- one we support -- is to let veterans get high quality health care at local and regional hospitals using vouchers paid for by the VA.  Next, start privatizing healthcare for veterans.   In the meantime, Nancy (Pelosi), stop blaming George W. Bush who is well known for his work with wounded warriors!

June 1: The Daily Caller: White House Aide Reveals Obama Doctrine: Don’t Do Stupid Shit”
Still trying to figure out what President’s foreign policy doctrine is? Search no more. The White House has got you covered.  “For those pining for an Obama Doctrine victory for the president, here it is: ‘Don’t Do Stupid Shit,’” Politico’s Mike Allen wrote in his daily tip sheet, the Politico Playbook. The Daily Caller normally does print four letter words but in this case they did  because that is the precise phrase President Obama and his aides are using in their off-the-record chats with journalists.  What’s not clear is how a high school cliché will help successfully define a foreign policy that many on the right and left find soft and uninspired.

June 1: The Daily Caller: Does Obama’s End Justify the Means?
“What President Obama is doing, as anyone who avowedly wants to transform the United States and doesn’t have the votes to do it, is using lawlessness as a means to implement his transformative agenda,” says former prosecutor and author Andy McCarthy in his new book

Mr. McCarthy names the two most important reasons to discuss removing President Obama from office as the usurping congressional authority as he makes up law as he goes along and pervasive fraud.  He says there are only three ways to stop a lawless president: elections, Congress restraining through the power of the purse, and finally impeachment.   In his book he includes six proposed articles of impeachment to remind people of the important offenses and putting them into context.  Of course, the problems with impeaching the President are first getting enough votes in a Democrat controlled Congress and second that even is one was successful in this endeavor, one would be stuck with Joe Biden as President!

May 30: The Daily Caller: Jay Carney Resigns as White House Press Secretary: 
President Obama announced the resignation of White House Press Secretary Jay Carney Friday afternoon.  Obama also announced that current deputy press secretary Josh Earnest will replace Carney in the post.  Carney is the second Obama White House press secretary and has held the post since February 2011.  Some radio talk show hosts have suggested covering for the President and his scandals was becoming increasingly stressful and contributing to the Carney decision.

May 30:  The Hill: Shinseki resigns as VA Secretary
Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki resigned Friday as the White House sought to take steps to control a widening controversy.  President Obama cast the widely expected resignation as Shinseki's decision, saying the former four-star general told him during a meeting in the Oval Office he did not want to be a distraction as the department worked to respond to systematic management issues. Lawmakers were outraged by a preliminary inspector general report released earlier this week that suggested as many as 42 veterans facilities may have been falsifying patient records and delaying care.  At the same time some Congressmen said Shinseki fell victim to those who were not telling him the truth and that this should not reflect upon the service the General has given to his country.   Shinseki himself said he had been too trusting of subordinates, and vowed to take responsibility.  “I was too trusting of some, and I accepted as accurate reports that I now know to be misleading with regard to patient wait times,” he said. 

May 30: The Washington Times: D’Sousa’s “America” warns Hillary Clinton will finish off the country:
In his highly anticipated new book and movie "America," conservative author Dinesh D'Souza is warning that Hillary Clinton won't be a clone of her moderate husband, but will instead take the baton from President Obama to continue radicalizing the country and “undo the nation's founding ideals.”  "America -- Imagine a World Without Her," published by Regnery and set for release Monday, charges that as students of radical organizer Saul Alinsky, Obama and Clinton could have enough time to “unmake and then remake America” into a nation the founding fathers wouldn't recognize.  “They may not be responsible for the suicide of America, but they certainly will have helped to finish off a certain way of life in America, and they will leave us with a country unrecognizable not only to Washington and Jefferson but also to those of us who grew up in the 20th century,” wrote D’Souza.  “If they succeed, there may be no going back. Then it will be their America, not ours, and we will be a people bereft of a country, with no place to go,” he contends.

May 30: Fox News: Analysts predict most employer-provided health insurance will disappear as ObamaCare takes hold:
Across the political spectrum, analysts now say that 80 to 90 percent of employer-provided insurance, the mainstay of American health coverage for decades, will disappear as ObamaCare takes hold.  The estimate is that less than 10% of those who get insurance at work will still get it there ten years from now.  "The companies will really be hard pressed to justify why they would continue to have to spend the kind of money they spend by offering insurance through corporate plans when there's an alternative that's subsidized by the government" said Michael Thompson, head of S&P IQ.

Employers could offer more pay to workers, pay the $2,000 annual fine and still come out ahead, while workers would still get health care.  The only losers in all this would be the federal deficit and taxpayers, since the taxpayers will be left holding the bag because many workers going into the ObamaCare exchanges would qualify for federal subsidies, thereby driving up the cost.

May 29: PoliticoGOP House Establishment Considers Crackdown on Conservatives
and TEA Party Members who don’t toe the line:

They’ve given John Boehner constant headaches during his three years as speaker.  Now, Boehner’s friends are trying to make sure that a small pocket of tea-party-aligned Republicans won’t have a chance to derail his speakership next year. And if they try, they could be punished.  A group of his closest allies are discussing tactics such as trying to change GOP Conference rules to punish members who do not support the party’s nominee during a floor vote. A lawmaker who bucks the Republicans’ choice for speaker could lose committee assignments — or worse. Boehner’s allies have already stripped some Republicans of their committee assignments for straying too far from the team.  In a sign of force, some of Boehner’s friends are considering releasing a letter with the names of several dozen GOP lawmakers pledging to vote for no one else besides the speaker — making the election of a more conservative rival highly unlikely.

May 29: Fox News: Obama under bipartisan pressure to oust Shinseki on heels of an IG Report:
President Obama is coming under heavy pressure from both sides of the aisle following a scathing inspector general report to tackle the problems at the Department of Veterans Affairs head-on -- first, by relieving VA Secretary Eric Shinseki of his command.   More than a half-dozen Democratic senators who are up for reelection in November are now calling for Shinseki's resignation, since the Office of Inspector General released an interim report on Wednesday finding "systemic" problems with clinics lying about patient wait times.  

May 29: Fox News: Late-night fireworks on Capitol Hill as VA officials face Congressional Critics:
"We've lost true north," lamented VA Assistant Deputy Secretary for Health Thomas Lynch late Wednesday night. Lynch testified at a rare nocturnal hearing before the House Veterans Affairs Committee probing the scandal about secret VA wait-lists. The hearing came just hours after the Office of Inspector General released a damning report effectively confirming that workers at the Phoenix VA covered up long wait times, in order to make their internal numbers look good.   "I will not stand for a department cover-up," charged Chairman Miller. "We expect VA to be forthcoming."

May 29: The Hill: House to vote on bolstering gun checks:
The House is scheduled to vote Thursday on a bipartisan proposal to bolster the background check system for gun sales.  Unveiled late Wednesday, the legislation would provide $19.5 million in additional grant money to help states submit records to a national FBI database designed to block gun sales to certain criminals and the severely mentally ill.  Supporters of the measure said the funding is vital to keeping firearms out of the hands of potentially dangerous people – an issue highlighted in tragic fashion by last Friday's deadly shooting rampage in Santa Barbara, California.

May 28: The Washington Times: Government Directive Outlines Obama Plan to use Military against Civilians:
A 2010 Pentagon directive on military support to civilian authorities details what critics say is a troubling policy that envisions the Obama Administration’s potential use of military force against Americans.  The troubling aspect of the directive outlines presidential authority for the use of military arms and forces, including unarmed drones, in operations against domestic unrest.  “This appears to be the latest step in the administration’s decision to use force within the United States against its citizens,” said a defense official opposed to the directive. [See Related Story]

May 28: Stars and Stripes: Biden challenges Air Force Grads to Create a “New World Order”
Under a blazing sun, Vice President Joe Biden challenged graduating Air Force Academy cadets on Wednesday to help create a “new world order for the 21st century.” 

May 26: Fox News: IRS Bars Employers Dumping Employees into Healthcare Exchanges [video]:
A big ruling quietly made by the IRS essentially bans employers from dropping their own health insurance coverage and pushing workers on to the ObamaCare exchanges.  Firms that do this face fines. Many small businesses saw pushing employees onto the exchanges and paying each worker a tax-exempt lump sum to help pay for their cost as a way to avoid a major expense of fashioning their own health insurance plan and to help keep their companies viable.  But the IRS is saying wait a minute… we don’t want to lose out on the revenue when firms do this!

May 26: The Hill: Will the House GOP Pass a bill to replace ObamaCare before the August Recess?
House conservatives will press their leaders this week to move on an ObamaCare replacement bill before the August recess.  But it's unclear if there are enough votes to pass it.  Phil Roe (R-TN), a doctor, said the GOP has two months to move an alternative to the House floor before lawmakers head back to their districts for the month-long recess. House GOP members agree on about 80 percent of what should be in a repeal-and-replace bill, Roe said, adding there has been some disagreement on tax provisions.  The Roe measure would fully repeal ObamaCare and replace it with an expansion of health savings accounts, medical liability reform and the elimination of restrictions on purchasing insurance across state lines.  Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) has vowed to pass a replacement bill in 2014.

May 26: USA Today: Long Appeals Leave Older Veterans without Benefits for Years:
Cases involving the appeal of veterans benefits rulings take almost 19 months to resolve and if the cases are appealed by the veteran it can be over two years before they are settled, Department of Veterans Affairs records show.

May 26th Column on Political Correctness, Anger, and Making Right ChoicesMay 26: Galveston Daily News: Like water starting to boil, a bubble pops up here or there until the whole pot (society) boils over.  It's noticed in an underlying anger in society and increased impolite behavior.  We see it on our highways as cars weave in and out, crossing all lanes for a few yards advantage, people allowing doors to slam in front of others including the elderly, and in harsh comments on the Internet to name a few symptoms of this societal anger.   We also see it in political campaigns where candidates personally attack each other rather than discuss the issues. To some of us this is a sign that these candidates are more interested in being elected to office than they are in serving those who are electing them!

To restore sanity we can refuse to participate in this public insanity.  We can make our own choices and control our own behavior.  We can choose to be polite and considerate of others.  We can choose to be better people, obey traffic laws, not use foul language (especially around children) and not allow others to provoke us to anger. We can choose to speak in love and to say what we mean and mean what we say.  Like antibodies fighting an infection, our strength, mixed with kindness to others, will be contagious.

May 26: The Hill: Justice to Count Fed’s Guns
The Justice Department is updating a report on how many guns the federal government has.  It will be the first time Justice has addressed the topic in six years, and it comes as conservative and libertarian complaints about an excessively gun-happy government have intensified.  The issue was central to the recent controversy generated by a stand-off between rancher Cliven Bundy and agents from the BLM in Nevada. Six years ago, the Justice Department found that 73 government agencies employed about 120,000 armed agents with four out of five belonging to branches of the Department of Justice.  Not only is the FBI armed, so too are members of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), U.S. Postal Service (USPS), Railroad Retirement Board, Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), according to the report. [See Related Story]

May 26: FT.Com: U.S. Foreign Policy – Trouble Abroad
Republicans have sought to cast their Democratic opponents as weak in the face of foreign challenges. Yet fresh from his risky but successful military operation to extinguish Osama Bin Laden,  Obama side-stepped the usual assault during his re-election campaign. His challenger Mitt Romney hardly brought up foreign policy.  Eighteen months later, the political ground is shifting rapidly beneath Obama’s feet as the president finds himself under attack over what critics charge is a record of indecisive leadership.  From Saudi Arabia to Japan, officials have been wondering whether the US would still come to their defense.

May 26: The Daily Caller: Surprise! Obama Outs Kabul CIA Chief During visit to Afghanistan
An unidentified Obama administration official exposed the name of the highest-ranking CIA officer in Kabul on Saturday by accidentally placing it on a list of names provided to a bunch of media outlets.  The list candidly described the head of the clandestine service in Kabul as “chief of station.” The CIA specifically uses the title to refer to the top spy stationed in every country around the world.

May 25: Fox News: Heavily Favored Poroshenko wins Ukrainian Elections,  Exit polls show
Billionaire candy-maker Petro Poroshenko on Sunday won Ukraine's presidential election, according to exit polls.  The poll, by three respected Ukrainian survey agencies, shows Poroshenko took 55.9 percent of the vote, which would make him the outright winner and canceled an expected June 15 runoff vote.  Sen. Ayotte, (R-NH), who was in Ukraine monitoring the vote, told “Fox News Sunday” that the 48-year-old Poroshenko is considered somebody who can work with the East and West and that he wants more U.S. military support.

May 25: Rollcall: Rodger Shooting Prompts Feinstein to Blame the NRA for ‘Stranglehold’ on Guns:
Elliot Rodger’s shooting spree had Sen. Dianne Feinstein lamenting the “stranglehold” the NRA has over gun laws.  Feinstein questioned why Elliot Rodger was able to legally obtain and keep his guns. “When anyone, no matter their mental health or history, can so easily obtain any gun they want and as many as they want—we must recognize there is a problem.”  In blaming the NRA Feinstein left out of the equation that her own state of California, where this happened, has some of the most restrictive gun laws on the books which begs the question “Do restrictive gun laws really work?”

May 25: The Daily Caller: Never Wanting to Waste a Tragedy, Dem Senator Urges Stricter Gun Laws:
Democratic Connecticut Senator Richard Blumenthal harnessed Friday’s tragic mass shooting and stabbing in Santa Barbara, California, to push for tighter laws on guns, with the lawmaker warning that “Congress will be complicit if we fail to act.” 

May 25: The New York TimesHospitals Look to ObamaCare to cut Charity
Hospital systems around the country have started scaling back financial assistance for lower-and middle-income people without health insurance, hoping to push them into signing up for coverage through the new online marketplaces created under ObamaCare.  The trend is troubling to advocates for the uninsured, who say raising fees will inevitably cause some to skip care rather than buy insurance that they consider unaffordable. Though the number of hospitals tightening access to free or discounted care appears limited so far, many say they are considering doing so, and experts predict that stricter policies will become increasingly common.

May 25: Fox News: Why is Team Obama Unable to Bring Jailed Marine Home from Mexico?
This weekend we celebrate Memorial Day in honor of our American servicemen and women who have sacrificed their lives defending us both at home and abroad. Many of our troops enlist in the military upon adulthood and have served in wars before their classmates have even graduated from college. These men and women are true American heroes and we must protect them just as well as they protect us. Unfortunately, despite President Obama’s Memorial Day proclamation that we shall “never forget” the sacrifices of our soldiers, he and Secretary of State John Kerry have forgotten about a living American hero in dire need rescue: U.S. Marine Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi.  Tahmooressi, only 25-years-old, is currently jailed in Tijuana, Mexico, after he accidentally drove across the border with three legally owned guns. 

May 25: Fox News: GOP and Whistle Blower Join in calling for a privatization of VA Healthcare:
Calls to move veterans’ health care into the hands of private hospitals, amid allegations of widespread problems in Veterans Affairs facilities, gained momentum this weekend with House Speaker John Boehner and a Department of Veterans Affairs whistle-blower backing such a plan.  “It’s absolutely a good idea,” Dr. Margaret Moxness, who exposed long waits at a VA facility in West Virginia, told “Fox News Sunday.” “This should have happened years ago.” Derek Bennett, of the advocacy group Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, also supports the idea.

May 24: The New York Times: China’s Leader, Seeking to Build Its Muscle, wants Overhaul of its Military
Driven by ambitions to make China a great power, President Xi Jinping is staking his political authority on a huge task: overhauling the Chinese military, which is still largely organized as it was when a million peasant soldiers mustered under Mao Zedong.  Mr. Xi wants a military that can project power across the Pacific and face regional rivals like Japan in defense of Chinese interests. To get it, he means to strengthen China’s naval and air forces, which have been subordinate to the People’s Liberation Army’s land forces, and to get the military branches to work in close coordination, the way advanced Western militaries do.

May 24: The Hill: Meanwhile the Pentagon is to close 21 facilities in Europe
The Pentagon announced Friday it was closing down 21 military facilities in Europe, a move the Department said would save $60 million annually.  The closures were part of a previously-announced effort, but the decision was somewhat unexpected in light of U.S. attempts to reassure European allies in the wake of Russia's annexation of Crimea. 

May 24: The Hill: The VA Turns to Private Hospitals for Help
The Department of Veterans Affairs says it will let more veterans obtain health care at private hospitals, VA Secretary Eric Shinseki announced Saturday.  Shinseki, who faces calls to resign amid reports of lengthy waiting lists and preventable deaths in the VA’s healthcare system, said the agency is "increasing the care we acquire in the community through non-VA care," according to the Associated Press.

May 23: The Los Angeles Times: 28 Bodies of Veterans Left in Morgue for Over a Year Will Get a proper Burial:
The bodies of 28 veterans at the L.A. County Morgue were finally moved Friday for burial to the Riverside National Cemetery.  A local TV news station pressed the L.A. County Coroner’s Office Thursday to find out why the bodies had not yet received a proper burial after a source indicated there may have been as many as 60 veterans at the morgue for the past year and a half.  The morgue says the bodies were unclaimed and they don’t know how long the veterans were there. The law states veterans are supposed to receive a proper burial.

May 23: The Washington Times: Now Obama is blaming the Founding Fathers for gridlock in Congress, Look Out America!
President Obama is taking a swipe at the Founding Fathers, blaming his inability to move his agenda on the “disadvantage” of having each state represented equally in the Senate.  At a Democratic fundraiser in Chicago Thursday night, Mr. Obama told a small group of wealthy supporters that there are several hurdles to keeping Democrats in control of the Senate and recapturing the House. One of those problems, he said, is the apportionment of two Senate seats to each state regardless of population.  “Obviously, the nature of the Senate means that California has the same number of seats as Wyoming. That puts us at a disadvantage,” Mr. Obama said. 

He went on to blame “demographics” for the inability of the Democratic Party to gain more power in the House, saying Democrats “tend to congregate a little more densely” in cities such as New York and Chicago. He said this gives Republicans disproportional clout in Congress. 

May  22: The Daily Caller: N.C. Restaurant owner is robbed at gunpoint!
Apparently the gunman didn't read the No Guns Allowed sign!

A barbecue restaurant in Durham, NC, was robbed at gunpoint on Sunday night, despite having posted a sign on the door banning weapons, including concealed firearms.  According to ABC News, three men wearing hoodies and carrying pistols entered The Pit from the back, assaulted two of the employees and made others lie on the floor. The assaulted employees, though, are doing well.

May 22: The Washington Examiner: Pelosi Blames Bush for the VA Scandal
House Minority Leader Pelosi (D-CA), repeatedly put the blame for the VA scandal on former President George W. Bush, while arguing that her party has worked hard for veterans in recent years.  [Not mentioned is the work the former President has done with wounded warriors in the five years since he left office and his close ties to U.S. military forces during his terms in the White House.] 

May 22: WND News: Obama in 2008:  The VA will be a leader in health care reform!
It’s one of those promises the president would probably like to forget.  In vowing to make the Veterans Administration the model of national health-care reform back in 2008, the outlook for scandal-plagued Obamacare suddenly seems even worse.  It has been discovered that during his transition into the White House in 2008-09, President Obama proposed in his  “Obama-Biden” plan to “make the VA a leader of national health care reform so that veterans get the best care possible.”  However, instead of fixing the VA, the administration has had to defend its role in the death of veterans by neglect.

May 22: The Hill: Embattled Shinseki becomes lightning rod in battle for Senate:
Embattled Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki is becoming a lightning rod in the battle for the Senate. Democrats are trying to distance themselves from the VA chief and scandal, while Republicans are trying to tie Democratic candidates to the controversy. The debate centers around mismanagement and outright deception at numerous Veterans Administration hospital facilities around the country and fact that the Administration knew about the problems five year ago when the President took office. Republicans are now raising the question: If the Administration can’t fix the VA healthcare system, how can they be expected to fix ObamaCare which if VA healthcare in spades?

May 22: Politico: Obama’s early VA response: Executive Inaction:
President Barack Obama wants to talk about flexing his administrative and executive power to do more. Instead, he got stuck talking about a clear administrative and executive failure that, at least so far, he hasn’t done much about. And this one’s not a contained, bureaucratic flub. The problems at the Veterans Affairs Department have engulfed an entire Cabinet department and may have left hundreds of thousands of veterans waiting for care, and 40 of them dead. The latest stumbles have been a fresh reminder of the story line the White House has been trying to recover from since the fall, when the Obamacare website flopped, the key poll numbers about the president’s competence collapsed so deeply that they’re still far from recovering, and Democrats went into an apocalyptic panic about the midterms.

GOP leaders and officials have spent the last week talking about the backlogs and misconduct and how Obama is still an unprepared executive who needs to be stripped of power in the midterms. Once again, the GOP says, he’s presenting himself as an angry bystander, confronted with high-profile management failures on his watch that he says he learned about from news reports.

May 22: The Daily Caller: Democrat-led Colorado backs Lawsuit calling Obamacare unconstitutional
Colorado has become the 20th state to support a federal lawsuit filed last week by a Texas doctor to overturn the Affordable Care Act.  It’s only the third state with a Democratic governor to do so.  Colorado Attorney General John Suthers signed onto an amicus brief last week, showing support for the effort to overturn the law based on the U.S. Constitution’s Origination Clause, which says that all bills that raise revenue must begin in the House of Representatives.  Obamacare, the suit contends, began in the Senate.

The ACA started in the House as a non-tax bill that had nothing to do with healthcare. When it got to the Senate they struck all the language of the bill and inserted over two thousand pages of legislation -- that has subsequently been ruled a tax by the courts -- and that was not germaine to the initial legislation sending it back to the House. The Constitution requires all revenue measures to be inititiated in the House. The final decision as to whether this process was constitutional is likely to be decided by the U.S. Supreme Court.

May 22: Fox News: IRS backs off proposal critics warn would “silence” conservative groups:
The IRS has agreed to overhaul a controversial proposal that Republican lawmakers warned would revive the agency's "harassment and intimidation" of conservative groups, after receiving a record number of comments on the proposed regulation.  The new rules have been in the works ever since the IRS came under fire for its targeting of Tea Party and other conservative groups. In the wake of that scandal, the agency said it wanted to clarify for everybody how tax-exempt groups can engage in political activity -- by reining in the political work those groups do. 

May 22: The Daily Caller: Tensions Rise in House Leadership Over Immigration
The immigration fight has moved inside the House of Representatives since the Senate’s comprehensive reform bill passed last summer, and it’s beginning to intensify in the dichotomy between the supporters of its two chief leaders, Speaker John Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor.  According to one source “Eric Cantor is the number one guy standing between the American people and immigration reform.” Reformers allege that future speakership ambitions and a tea party primary challenge on June 10 have pushed the Virginia Republican to stiffen, drag it out or not address immigration at all to appease tea party House members and voters. Those same factors have reportedly driven a wedge between the already divided top two tiers of the lower chamber’s leadership.

May 21: The Blaze: $1 Million Bounty to be offered for “smoking gun” in IRS Targeting Scandal
A nonprofit group hopes to award a $1 million bounty to anyone who can provide “smoking gun” evidence to implicate IRS leadership or members of the Obama administration who purposefully targeted conservative and tea party-affiliated groups, The Blaze has learned.  Gregg Phillips, the managing director for The Voters Trust -- a political nonprofit 501 (c)(4) which was established to identify and mobilize Americans -- told The Blaze on Wednesday “that this is the people’s bounty to seek the truth.”

May 20: The Daily Mail:  Prince Charles Likins Putin to Hitler (Video)
Prince Charles has sensationally likened Vladimir Putin to Adolf Hitler.  In a withering verdict on the actions of the Russian president in Ukraine, he told a woman who lost relatives in the Nazi Holocaust: ‘And now Putin is doing just about the same as Hitler.’   The prince’s extraordinary  intervention is certain to cause international controversy.   It is likely to be seen as a criticism of the West for failing to confront Mr Putin over his seizure of Crimea.  The annexation was the first by a major power in Europe since 1945. Observers have compared the crisis in Ukraine with Hitler’s takeovers of Czechoslovakia and Poland.

May 20: The Hill: White House Picking Up the Pace on Independent Executive Actions:
The White House will be “picking up the pace on executive actions,” as Congress focuses its efforts on the newly formed select committee investigating Benghazi, senior Obama adviser Dan Pfeiffer declared Tuesday.  The White House has dismissed the select committee investigating the terrorist attacks in Benghazi, Libya, announced earlier this month by Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) while Republicans have argued that the special panel was necessary after the release of a previously undisclosed email from White House deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes showing involvement in drafting then-U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice's infamous talking points.

The veteran White House aide did not detail exactly how the president would exert his executive authorities in the coming days, but EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy hinted Monday that one might be the president's new carbon emissions limits on coal-fired power plants. The White House has said that announcement would come in early June.

May 20: CNS News: Those on Disability Hits New Record – Larger than the population of Greece
The total number of disability beneficiaries in the United States rose in April, setting a new all-time record, according to newly released data from the Social Security Administration.  The number of Americans receiving disability benefits continues to exceed the populations of Greece, Tunisia and Portugal, and is approaching the population of Cuba.

May 20: The Hill: House Leader Doesn’t Rule Out House Vote on Immigration
Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) on Tuesday held out the possibility that Congress could vote on a proposal to give green cards to young illegal immigrants who serve honorably in the U.S. military.  Boehner is coming under pressure to allow a vote on the Defense authorization bill from a bipartisan group of lawmakers.  But the Speaker is saying the Defense bill is the wrong spot for the vote, calling it "inappropriate," but he didn't rule out a vote on stand-alone bill.  “There have been discussions about that, but no decisions,” he said.

May 19: Breitbart News: Republicans, Local Sheriff Warn Border Wilderness Zone Will Create Vast Drug Corridor
A pending proposal from President Obama to create a vast new wilderness area on the U.S.-Mexico border is drawing criticism from Republican lawmakers and local law enforcement officials who say it would significantly impede border security.   The Obama administration is set to designate a 600,000 acre national monument in south-central New Mexico to be managed and controlled by the BLM, the same agency that intimidated a rancher in Nevada.  The designated land will be called the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument, and environmentalists have long-sought the designation.

One Year Ago we started writing for the Galveston Daily NewsMay 19: The Daily News: Our Anniversary Column: Looking Back and Peeking Forward:
We believe in freedom and are determined to do what we can to preserve it. We believe in Divine intervention and are grateful for it. We have observed our nation drifting away from absolutes and are concerned about it. We see an increasing number of people willing to live on government assistance rather than applying themselves, improving their lot, and contributing to society and it saddens us. We observe a pattern in politicians who try to deceive and lie to us and it makes us disheartened and distrustful. But in all of this there is the seed of hope. Light always overcomes darkness and truth always trumps falsehood. It has been said “You can fool some of the people all the time and all the people some of the time but you cannot fool all the people all of the time.” As we start our second year, we hope these columns will shed new light and open the eyes of those who have heretofore not seen; and that they will stand beside us in our quest for freedom.

May 18: Yahoo News [Reuters]: Hard for NATO to defend Baltic States from Russia, Report says:
NATO would struggle to defend the Baltic states from any Russian aggression "with conventional means", Germany's Spiegel magazine reported on Sunday, citing sources close to the organization and a draft of a NATO planning document.  Eastern European states are nervous about Russia after it annexed Ukraine's Crimea region and massed 40,000 troops on Ukraine's borders.  The United States has sent 600 soldiers to the three Baltic countries - Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania - and Poland to take part in exercises to bolster NATO's presence in eastern Europe.

May 18: WND News: The Scramble to Defend the Release of Criminal Illegals:
Houston immigration attorney Raed Gonzalez claims the controversy surrounding the Obama administration’s release of tens of thousands of criminal illegal aliens is just a “publicity stunt” generated by the authors of a book documenting the case for impeaching Obama.    Recently reported information about the Obama administration’s release in 2013 of 36,007 criminal illegal aliens does not come from Klein and Elliott’s book, which was published last August. That story originated with internal memos from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, or ICE, as cited in a report by the Center for Immigration Studies.  Given the source of the information the suggestion that  it’s a “publicity stunt” doesn’t seem to hold water. [See initial story]

May 17: Deseret News: The Deficit of Trust between American and the Government:
Is it time to Defund paramilitary groups within the U.S. Government?

Many today speak of a deficit of trust between Americans and the Federal Government and perhaps with good reason.  The simple reality is that Americans will not trust Washington until Washington trusts America. After all who can trust a government that believes it’s OK to lie to you, spy on you, target you and then arm its agencies against you?  Americans were disturbed by recent events between Bureau of Land Management (BLM) agents and a renegade rancher in Nevada. “Why on earth does the BLM have a sniper team! Why are their agents trained in special tactics? After all, these are regulatory agencies, not military units!” And the BLM is not alone. Almost every regulatory agency now has a special law enforcement division with the capability to bully or intimidate the American people. A partial list of these units includes the IRS, EPA, National Park Service, Department of Education and Food and Drug Administration.

Why does the Department of Education need to have a special law enforcement division some of which may be armed like SWAT units?  Is it possible or probable that they could use heavy-handed tactics like the BLM did  in Nevada?  Federal agents must be capable of protecting themselves. But what we have observed goes far beyond providing necessary protection. It is a demonstration of the federal government’s distrust of the American people, excessive concentration of power and an ability to intimidate in ways that just a few years ago we never could have imagined.  [Read a related column ]

May 17: The Washington Examiner: Another Day, Another Scandal as Veterans Affairs Official resigns:
Obama’s spokesman maintained to reporters that there was "just a suggestion" of a scandal at the VA -- and then, minutes later, a VA official who testified before Congress about employees cooking the books resigned.  "You're saying there's a suggestion that something terrible happened in Phoenix, and that's under investigation; all we know is it’s a suggestion," White House press secretary Jay Carney told ABC's Jonathan Karl while defending VA Secretary Eric Shinseki during Friday's press briefing. "We should just accept allegations as true without investigating them?"

And then, news broke that one of Shinseki's top aides had resigned. “Today, I accepted the resignation of Dr. Robert Petzel, Under Secretary for Health in the Department of Veterans Affairs," Shinseki said in a statement.  The VA announced in September that Petzel would retire in 2014. And the White House announced May 1 that it intended to nominate Jeffrey Murawsky, director of the VA's Illinois-based Great Lakes Health Care System, as his replacement.  But Murawsky has problems of his own, coming from another of the VA hospitals that is  under investigation itself. 

May 16: The Wall Street Journal: Obama Grapples with Growing Dissent From Democrats on Capitol Hill
President Obama is encountering an increasingly resistant Democratic caucus on Capitol Hill, as lawmakers in his party break with him on a series of issues in the run-up to the November elections.  On issues such as judicial nominees, the Keystone XL pipeline, taxes and trade, the fraying party unity is a sign that individual Democrats have reached a point where their own re-election needs take precedence over Mr. Obama's goals. [It always amazes me that politicians believe constituents will forget what elected officials have done in the years prior to the election and it amazes me even more when that is what actually happens!]  It is a common election-year posture for lawmakers from the same party as the sitting president, especially one whose popularity has waned, as Mr. Obama's has. But Democrats' recent moves to demonstrate their independence are forcing Mr. Obama to compromise on an agenda already largely opposed by Republicans. And it comes at a point in his presidency when time is running short to accomplish his goals.

In the past week, Democrats have diverged from the White House over its insistence that the cost of extending certain tax breaks due to expire should be offset with tax increases and other measures, so as not to add to the deficit.  Majority Leader Harry Reid, expressed opposition to one of Mr. Obama's judicial nominees. Mr. Reid and more than 40 Democratic senators also signed a letter to the administration voicing concern about its preliminary decision to exempt South Korea from a trade-policing mechanism.  "This is part of the Catch-22 about second terms: Members want to get re-elected, and the president wants to have his agenda. Those don't always sync," said Chris Kofinis, a Democratic strategist and former chief of staff to Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WVA).

May 14: Breitbart.com: ICE Ordered to stay silent on release of 36,000 criminal illegal immigrants
Breitbart Texas recently reported on the release of 36.000 illegal immigrants, including 200 murders, by U.S. immigration officials in 2013. In reaching out to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) offices around the country to learn more about this policy they would not comment. They additionally refused to answer general questions regarding detention and release policies.  "We were given specific instructions not to comment on that report," said Greg Palmore, a Texas-based ICE spokesman, during a phone interview.  Rather than comment, they all provided the same press release that was apparently drawn up by a press secretary in Washington, D.C. 

May 14: The Daily Caller: New Emails show Democrat Senator Pressured IRS to Target Conservative Groups:
The IRS’ Washington, D.C. headquarters targeted conservative groups in part due to pressure from Democratic Sen. Carl Levin, according to emails obtained by the watchdog group Judicial Watch and reviewed by The Daily Caller.  Levin, chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs’ permanent subcommittee on investigations, wrote a March 30, 2012 letter to then-IRS commissioner Douglas Shulman discussing the “urgency” of the issue of possible political activity by nonprofit applicants. Levin asked if the IRS was sending out additional information requests to applicant groups and citing an IRS rejection letter to a conservative group as an example of how the IRS should be conducting its business.  A top IRS official replied that the agency could send out “individualized questions and requests.”

May 14: The Telegraph: Russia to ban the US from using the Space Station over Ukraine
In retaliation for imposing sanctions, Russia will also bar its rocket engines from launching US military satellites.  Russia is to deny the US future use of the International Space Station beyond 2020 and will also bar its rocket engines from launching US military satellites as it hits back at American sanctions imposed over Ukraine crisis.

Russia’s deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin announced a series of punitive measures on Tuesday against the US in response to sanctions imposed after Russia annexed Crimea.   The two countries have long cooperated closely on space exploration despite their clashes in foreign policy.   The Space Station is manned by both American and Russian crew, but the only way to reach it is by using Russia’s Soyuz spacecraft.   The US is keen to keep the $100 billion (£600) ISS flying until at least 2024, four years beyond its original target.

May 14: The Hill: GOP seeks to kill ObamaCare Device Tax in the Senate
Senate GOP leaders on Tuesday called for a vote to kill ObamaCare’s tax on medical devices, as part of a broader package to revive tax breaks that expired at the end of last year.  But the tax package is popular with members of both parties, and it’s unclear if Republicans have the leverage to win a vote on the medical device tax.   Republicans stopped short of saying they would oppose the tax package without the medical device vote.   “Most of our members voted to get on the bill.

May 14: The New Yorker: Jill Abramson was fired from the New York Times after asking for equal pay:
At the annual City University Journalism School dinner, on Monday, Dean Baquet, the managing editor of the New York Times, was seated with Arthur Sulzberger, Jr., the paper’s publisher. Jill Abramson, the paper’s executive editor, was not at their table. Then, at 2:36 P.M. on Wednesday, an announcement from the Times hit saying Baquet would replace Abramson, less than three years after she was appointed the first woman in the top job.  Journalists scrambled to find out what had happened. Sulzberger had fired Abramson, and he did not try to hide that.

As with any such upheaval, there’s a history behind it. Several weeks ago Abramson discovered that her pay and her pension benefits as both executive editor and, before that, as managing editor were considerably less than the pay and pension benefits of Bill Keller, the male editor whom she replaced in both jobs. “She confronted the top brass” the New Yorker reports.  To women at an institution that was once sued by its female employees for discriminatory practices, the question brings up ugly memories. Whether Abramson was right or wrong, both sides were left unhappy.

May 14: The Daily Mail: Clipper Crisis: Sterling vows to take his fight for the LA Clippers to the Supreme Court saying “You can’t force somebody to sell property in America”
LA Clippers owner Donald Sterling insists that the NBA has no legal right to force him to sell his beloved basketball team and fine him $2.5m – and he’s willing to take the fight to the Supreme Court.  Sterling’s resolute stance is revealed for the first time in recordings obtained by MailOnline in which he lays bare his true feelings towards basketball’s governing body.  What’s more, the 81-year-old says he won't pay a $2.5million fine imposed upon him by the NBA. The game's governing body also placed a life ban on Sterling from ever attending an NBA basketball game.  The measures came in the wake of the now infamous recording between Sterling and his young girlfriend V. Stiviano.

Experts believe the Clippers – a successful sports franchise Sterling acquired in 1981 for $12.5 million - could now be worth an estimated $1billion.  But the former lawyer believes he could get close to $3 billion if it ever went on the market.  Sterling said: ‘You can’t force somebody to sell property in America. Well I’m a lawyer that’s my opinion.  ‘I’m not gonna let anybody take over my team.’  Sterling insists he will fight the NBA’s 'cruel and unusual' punishment and a campaign to oust him as owner through the courts – even if it takes 20 years of litigation.

May 13: Fox News: Planned Parenthood Counselor withheld info on rape, police records reveal:
A Planned Parenthood counselor in Arizona intentionally miscoded a sexual assault as a consensual encounter to avoid the “hassle” of reporting it to authorities, months before other victims came forward to stop an alleged 18-year-old serial sex predator, a police report reveals.  Tyler Kost, of San Tan Valley, Ariz., has been charged with sexually assaulting 11 girls from the ages of 12 to 17 between October 2009 and April 2014, although authorities believe he has assaulted at least 18 students from Poston Butte High School. The mother of one 15-year-old victim, who became pregnant as a result of the alleged assault, told a Planned Parenthood Arizona staffer about the attack in December, a Pinal County Sheriff’s Office report shows.  “The counselor intentionally miscoded the assault as a consensual encounter,” the report states. “The counselor told them that they did not want the hassle of having to report the assault to law enforcement as they were a mandatory reporter.”

May 13: The Hill: Senate Democrats Pound Obama Judge Pick
Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday suggested President Obama’s nominee for a federal court in Georgia is in trouble.  The Democrats said they have deep concerns with Georgia Court of Appeals Judge Michael Boggs's voting record as a former state legislator, particularly on abortion, gay rights and civil liberties.  One by one, the Democrats hammered Boggs over whether that history foreshadows how he’d rule as a federal judge, with several lawmakers suggesting they might oppose Obama's pick when the time comes to vote.

May 13:  Fox News: Congressman Conyers fails to qualify for the primary ballot, officials say!
Longtime Congressman John Conyers of Michigan doesn't have enough signatures to appear on the Aug. 5 primary ballot, an elections official announced Tuesday.  Conyers' nominating petitions were insufficient, Wayne County Clerk Kathy Garrett said in a statement.  It follows her report last week finding Conyers more than 400 signatures short of 1,000 needed. Garrett said Tuesday that he had 592 valid signatures after challenges.  The 84-year-old Detroit Democrat was at risk because officials believe several people who signed his petitions do not appear to have been registered voters or had registered too late.

Conyers has three days to appeal Garrett's ruling to the Michigan Secretary of State.  "It is a very unfortunate circumstance that an issue with a circulator of a petition would disqualify the signature of valid registered voter," Garrett said in a statement. "However, I am bound by the current laws and statutes of the state of Michigan that set forth very specific and narrow instructions regarding candidate petitions."

May 12: The Washington Times: Feds release hundreds of immigrant murders, drunk drivers, sex-crime convicts:
Immigration officials knowingly released dozens of murderers and thousands of drunken drivers back into the U.S. in 2013, according to Obama Administration statistics that could undercut the president’s argument that he is trying to focus on the most serious criminals in his immigration enforcement.  Among the 36,000 immigrants whom U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement released from custody last year there were 116 with convictions for homicide, 43 for negligent manslaughter, 14 for voluntary manslaughter and one with a conviction classified by ICE as “homicide-willful kill-public official-gun.”  The immigrants were in deportation proceedings, meaning ICE was trying to remove them from the country and could have held them in detention but released them anyway, according to the Center for Immigration Studies, which published the numbers Monday

Why Don't Americans Trust Government?May 12: The Daily News: Why Do Americans Distrust Government?
Our parents used to tell us that if you don’t tell the truth it will come back to bite you. Polls are showing that many across a wide political spectrum feel this administration cannot be trusted and that they abuse their power and authority [IRS targeting; If you like your doctor you can keep your doctor; BLM intimidation of a Nevada rancher; Susan Rice and the President on Benghazi; and picking and choosing what laws to enforce are just a few examples]. Perhaps they don’t think they will get caught or maybe they just plain don’t care. They seem willing to do whatever will gain them a political victory. In any event, it is evident that the lack of good character in the current Administration is fueling a continued distrust of the government by many Americans. You have to earn a good reputation; and overcoming a pattern of trustworthiness is a difficult thing to do. We can do better.   The antidote?  Read last week’s column on the forty candles.

May 11: Fox News: Gowdy vows to keep politics out of the House Benghazi probe:
Republican Rep. Trey Gowdy, the newly appointed Benghazi Select Committee chairman, vowed Sunday to keep politics and political fundraising out of his group’s fact-finding mission.  “The facts are neither Republican nor Democrat,” the South Carolina lawmaker told “Fox News Sunday.” Gowdy, a former prosecutor, also dismissed the notion that he wants Democrats to boycott joining the committee. “How does it benefit me when from Day One if they’re excluded?” he asked. “I want this to transcend politics.”

May 11: Fox News: New Jersey Mayor Fights Feds Over Prayer During Citizenship Ceremony
A New Jersey town canceled its ceremony celebrating new U.S. citizens after federal immigration officials would not allow the event to begin with a prayer.  According to the Star-Ledger, Carteret Mayor Daniel Reiman had assured U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services officials that the prayer leading Saturday’s ceremony would be nondenominational.   “They refused to budge on that,” Reiman said, the paper reported.  The battle came just days after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that local government meetings can include sectarian prayers.

Reiman, who was elected to office in 2002, said the court’s decision is proof that he should be able to open any event with a prayer. He issued a statement Friday saying it is borough policy to open all borough events with a prayer and a moment of silence.  The citizenship agency said the ruling does not mean federal agencies are required to include prayers in ceremonies.

May 11: The Daily Caller: RNC Calls for Conservative Media to Moderate Presidential Debates:
Sean Spicer, communications director for the Republican National Committee (RNC), said his group is pushing back against the liberal media’s domination of Republican presidential primary debates, urging a new group of conservative journalists — including those at The Daily Caller — to moderate these forums and ask questions “focused on the issues that matter to conservatives and grassroots activists.”

“Some of the folks in the media try to prepare this as, ‘Oh, you guys don’t want to face tough questions,’” he continued. “This has nothing to tough questions. Anyone who has … read Breitbart or The Daily Caller, knows that conservative media is a heckuva lot tougher than mainstream media.  They’re focused on the issues that matter to conservatives and grassroots activists, as opposed to the left-wing liberals out there,” Spicer continued. “And so one of the things that we recognize is that they have a voice in this process. And we need to get people from Newsmax, people from The Daily Caller, people from The Washington Examiner, people from Breitbart . . . legitimate conservative journalists need to have a voice in questioning the Republican candidates for the nomination.”

May 10: Fox News: Democrats Propose Internet Voting in the 2016 Primary – How Will It Impact Election Integrity?
Democrats are thinking about using Internet balloting in 2016 to expand their voter base and select a president -- prompting Republicans to consider such a strategy to keep from losing ground. Iowa Democrats proposed the idea and several others during a recent Democratic National Committee meeting, saying Internet balloting could expand access to their unique caucus process to overseas military personnel, absentee voters and others. 

The idea of online voting is nothing new, but Iowa Democrats considering the idea, with the DNC’s support, has reignited debate on the issue.  “I think it’s a very bad idea,” says the Heritage Foundation’s Hans von Spakovsky, who thinks computer-based voting will never happen, or at least not in the “foreseeable future.”  Von Spakovsky, manager of the conservative think tank’s Election Law Reform Initiative, made his case Friday in large part by citing examples of online voting gone wrong including a 2010 test run in the District of Columbia.  The city’s Board of Elections and Ethics suspended its new Internet-based voting system just days into the test run, after observers reportedly heard the University of Michigan fight song when trying to cast a vote.  It was the work of a Michigan professor who was assisting in the project and who challenged his students to hack into the system.

May 10: Politico: Hillary Clinton’s Week!
She is not an announced candidate yet but, like in a campaign, Hillary’s week was up and down! One day, she was weighing in on gun control, Obamacare and social inequality. The next she was taking heat over Benghazi and facing questions about whether as Secretary of State she went too easy on the group behind the kidnap of Nigerian girls.  Then there was Monica Lewinsky, reviving the scandals of 1998.  It was arguably the roughest week Clinton has had since she left the State Department early last year, highlighting the tensions between the past and the future that will inevitably come to a head if she runs.

May 8: Washington, DC: Trey Gowdy, Chair of the Special Committee on Benghazi demands answers!
Congressman Trey Gowdy (R-SC) at a news conference in Washington, DC said the following to the national press: "...you were suppose to provide oversight. That's why you you have special liberties and that's why you have special protections. I am not surprised the President of the United States called this a 'phony' scandal. I'm not surprised that Secretary Clinton asked 'What difference does this make?' I'm not even surprised that Jay Carney said Benghazi happened a long time ago. I'm just surprised at how many people bought it!

May 8:  Yahoo News: White House on Lockdown for Second Time in Three Days:
For the second time in three days, the White House is on lockdown because of a security breach.  The Secret Service says two people threw something over the fence surrounding the White House complex — one person from the south side and one from the north.  The two people were being detained and questioned Thursday afternoon. Secret Service officers were ordering people in the West Wing to stay inside.  The incident follows an hour-long lockdown Tuesday after a vehicle followed a motorcade bringing President Barack Obama's daughters home through the gates. The driver was charged with unlawful entry, a misdemeanor.

May 7: The Hill: Senate Republicans want in on Benghazi Special Committee Inquiry:
Senate Republicans want to broaden the new Benghazi special committee to include members of the upper chamber.  Their call for a bipartisan, bicameral panel similar to the 9/11 Commission puts pressure on Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-N), who is resisting the idea.  Republican lawmakers on Tuesday spoke out after House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) outlined her conditions for establishing a select committee in the lower chamber to probe Benghazi. She said Democrats would participate only if the panel were “equally divided” between Democrats and Republicans.

May 7: The Hill: House Votes 231-187 to Hold Lerner in Contempt of Congress
The House voted Wednesday to hold former IRS official Lois Lerner in contempt of Congress for refusing to testify about the agency’s improper scrutiny of Tea Party groups.  The 231 to 187 vote, which included six Democrats, marked the latest escalation in the nearly yearlong IRS controversy, which broke last May when Lerner acknowledged and apologized for the agency’s singling out of Tea Party groups seeking tax-exempt status.  The Democrats who voted in favor of the move included Reps. Ron Barber (AZ), John Barrow (GA), Collin Peterson (MN), Mike McIntyre (NC) and Nick Rahall (WVA) and Patrick Murphy (FL) all of whom are facing tough reelections.   All Republicans voted "yes."

May 7: The Hill: House passes resolution calling for IRS Special Counsel:
The House on Wednesday passed a resolution calling on Attorney General Eric Holder to appoint a special counsel for the Internal Revenue Service investigation.  The resolution, passed 250-168, came minutes after the House voted to hold former IRS official Lois Lerner in contempt of Congress. Twenty-six Democrats voted in favor of it.  House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) said that appointing a special counsel was necessary to ensure a fair investigation of the agency's scrutiny of conservative nonprofits applying for tax-exempt status. 

May 7: The Daily Caller:
Democrat Lawmaker: Obama Planning Broader, Bolder Action on Immigration if Republicans Don’t Act

Illinois Democratic congressman Luis Gutierrez warned that “unless Republicans act” on comprehensive immigration reform, President Obama will take “broader, bolder action” to curb the deportation of illegal immigrants without changing the law through Congress.

May 7: The New York Times: Putin Claims Russian Pull Back from Ukraine Border – US Sees No Evidence of Same:
In an apparent attempt to halt the escalating violence in southeastern Ukraine, President Vladimir V. Putin said on Wednesday that Russia was pulling troops back from the border, and he urged Ukrainian separatists to call off a referendum on sovereignty they had hoped to hold on Sunday.  Mr. Putin said that Russia wanted to give diplomacy a chance. NATO officials said that they saw no immediate sign that Russian forces had pulled back

May 7: The Washington Free Beacon:
Economy Not Keeping Up – 58 Million Working Age People Have Left the Workforce
Despite adding more than 8 million people to the working-age population since 2007, total employment has declined by half a million, according to an analysis by the Senate Budget Committee.  The bottom line is that fewer people have jobs now then when Obama took office.  “This statistic highlights an alarming trend that has embodied the president’s economic policies: more and more people are leaving the workforce entirely,” according to the analysis, which was released by Ranking Member of the Senate Budget Committee Jeff Sessions (R-AL). “There are 58 million working-age people who are not working, and the labor force participation rate stands at 62.8 percent, the lowest level in 36 years.”

May 7: The Washington Examiner: FEC Chair warns that conservative media (including Internet) may face regulation:
Last week the Chairman of the Federal Election Commission (FEC) warned some on the commission would like to regulate Internet content -- especially those that are conservative-leaning -- stating that because of the Internet, major radio and television outlets are losing their grip on the news market.  Government officials, reacting to the growing voice of conservative news outlets, especially on the internet, are angling to curtail the media's exemption from federal election laws governing political organizations, a potentially chilling intervention that the chairman of  FEC is vowing to fight.

“I think that there are impulses in the government every day to second guess and look into the editorial decisions of conservative publishers,” warned Federal Election Commission Chairman Lee E. Goodman in an interview.  “The right has begun to break the left’s media monopoly, particularly through new media outlets like the internet, and I sense that some on the left are starting to rethink the breadth of the media exemption and internet communications,” he added.

May 7: The Daily Caller: Cruz Releases Definitive List of 76 “Lawless” Obama Actions:
“Of all the troubling aspects of the Obama presidency, none is more dangerous than the President’s persistent pattern of lawlessness, his willingness to disregard the written law and instead enforce his own policies via executive fiat,” Cruz stated in the report’s introductory remarks.  President Obama has openly defied [rule of law] by repeatedly suspending, delaying, and waiving portions of the laws that he is charged to enforce. When President Obama disagreed with federal immigration laws, he instructed the Justice Department to cease enforcing the laws. He did the same thing with federal welfare law, drug laws, and the federal Defense of Marriage Act,” Cruz wrote. “In the more than two centuries of our nation’s history, there is simply no precedent for the White House wantonly ignoring federal law and asking others to do the same.”

May 6: Vanity Fair:  Monica Lewinsky Writes About Her Affair with President Clinton [and the supposed War on Women?]
Monica Lewinsky writes in Vanity Fair for the first time about her affair with President Clinton: “It’s time to burn the beret and bury the blue dress.” She also says: “I, myself, deeply regret what happened between me and President Clinton. Let me say it again: I. Myself. Deeply. Regret. What. Happened.”    After 10 years of virtual silence Lewinsky, 40, says it is time to stop “tiptoeing around my past—and other people’s futures. I am determined to have a different ending to my story. I’ve decided, finally, to stick my head above the parapet so that I can take back my narrative and give a purpose to my past. (What this will cost me, I will soon find out.)”

Maintaining that her affair with Clinton was one between two consenting adults, Lewinsky writes that it was the public humiliation she suffered in the wake of the scandal that permanently altered the direction of her life: “Sure, my boss took advantage of me, but I will always remain firm on this point: it was a consensual relationship. Any ‘abuse’ came in the aftermath, when I was made a scapegoat in order to protect his powerful position. . . . The Clinton administration, the special prosecutor’s minions, the political operatives on both sides of the aisle, and the media were able to brand me. And that brand stuck, in part because it was imbued with power.”

The story of 40 Candles and the Power of PrayerMay 5: The Daily News: Forty Candles and the Power of Prayer:
Last Thursday was the National Day of Prayer.   Praying assumes that the person doing so believes there is a God who answers prayer -- otherwise why spend the time?  In this week's column we take you back to Leipzig East German, the year was 1982. This story (read the column) bears witness to the fact that all things are possible with God.

We contend that God has not changed.  He is still able to change the hearts of men, but He will not force anyone.  We’d also say that the power of prayer has not changed.  It is when His people pray, trusting that He will answer, that things start to happen.  But prayer by itself is not enough, praying and living according to His will is part of the equation. So never allow yourself to lose hope -- for God and prayer are the antidote.  Whenever things around you seem hopeless, remember the story of the 40 candles!

May 5: The Daily Caller: South Carolina Congressman Gowdy to Lead Benghazi Panel:
South Carolina Rep. Trey Gowdy has been officially tapped by the House Republican leadership to serve as chairman of the new Benghazi select committee hearings, Speaker of the House John Boehner announced Monday.  Gowdy, a former district attorney and federal prosecutor, was elected to Congress as a Republican in 2010 and has been an active voice on the Benghazi attacks of 2012.  “His background as a federal prosecutor and his zeal for the truth make him the ideal person to lead this panel,” Boehner said of Gowdy. “I know he shares my commitment to get to the bottom of this tragedy and will not tolerate any stonewalling from the Obama administration.”

May 5: The Daily Caller: Liberals  Beg Pelosi to Not appoint Democrats to Benghazi Committee:
Speaker of the House John Boehner has ordered the establishment of a new special committee to investigate the 2012 attacks on Americans in Benghazi — but some liberals don’t want any Democrats to take part in the hearings.  “Member of Congress told me she will urge Nancy Pelosi to appoint NO Democrats to Special Benghazi Committee,” liberal talk radio host Bill Press wrote on Twitter on Monday. “She’s right!” 

May 5: The National Journal:
Texas is Permanently Shutting Abortion Clinics and the Supreme Court Can’t Do Anything About It
When Texas Gov. Rick Perry signed a sweeping anti-abortion law in 2013, he did so knowing the measure faced an uncertain future. Indeed, the law is already winding its way through the legal system, and if its opponents have their way, Texas's reproductive legal code will land in the hands of the Supreme Court.  But such a decision is likely a year or years away, and back in the Lone Star State, the final judicial score won't much matter. 

The law has already had tremendous success in closing abortion clinics and restricting abortion access in Texas. And those successes appear all but certain to stick—with or without the Supreme Court's approval of the law that created them.  There were more than 40 clinics that provided abortions in Texas in 2011. There are now 20 still open, and after the law's last steps of implementation are taken in September, all but six are expected to close. Most of the closed clinics will never reopen, their operators say.

May 5: The Telegraph: China plans for North Korea regime collapse leaked
China has drawn up detailed contingency plans for the collapse of the North Korean government, suggesting that Beijing has little faith in the longevity of Kim Jong-un’s regime. Documents drawn up by planners from China’s People’s Liberation Army that were leaked to Japanese media include proposals for detaining key North Korean leaders and the creation of refugee camps on the Chinese side of the frontier in the event of an outbreak of civil unrest in the secretive state.   The report calls for stepping up monitoring of China’s 879-mile border with North Korea.

May 5: Yahoo News: Russian planes active near California and Guam:
The commander of U.S. air forces in the Pacific is reporting a significant increase in activities by Russian planes and ships in the region.  Gen. Herbert Carlisle linked that to the situation in the Ukraine. He said Russia was demonstrating its capabilities and gathering intelligence on U.S. military exercises.  Carlisle said there had been long-range Russian air patrols to the coast of California and a circumnavigation of the U.S. Pacific territory of Guam. He said a U.S. F-15 fighter jet intercepted a Russian strategic bomber that had flown to Guam.  He also reported a sharp increase in Russian air patrols around Japanese islands and Korea.  Carlisle said there was a lot more Russian ship activity too.

May 5: Breitbart.com:  Florida Teacher Bans Bible Reading on Student’s Free time.
Officials at Broward County Public Schools banned fifth grader from reading the Bible during “free reading” time, according to lawyers from the Liberty Institute who are threatening to sue the school for violating the student’s First Amendment rights. Banning religious books like the Bible violates Giovanni’s civil rights to religious free speech and free exercise,” said Hiram Sasser, Liberty Institute Director of Litigation.

The school’s actions exemplify the hostility to religion that the U.S. Supreme Court has condemned.  We expect Broward County Public School officials to resolve this unfortunate incident quickly and amicably,” says Liberty Institute Senior Counsel Jeremy Dys. “Absent such an apology and assurance that students in Broward County Public Schools may read religious books like the Bible during free reading times, our client is prepared to take legal action.”

May 5: Politico: Massachusetts ditches RomneyCare Health Exchange
RomneyCare’s pioneering health insurance exchange is headed for the scrap heap.  Bay State officials are taking steps this week to junk central parts of their dysfunctional health insurance exchange — the model for President Barack Obama’s health care law — and merge with the federal enrollment site HealthCare.gov.  The decision is part of an expensive plan that would occur alongside a parallel, last-ditch attempt to still build a working state system.  The state on Monday announced the hiring of a Virginia-based contractor that helped construct the Kentucky and Colorado exchanges. The company would rush to build a viable state exchange in time for the next enrollment season, which begins Nov. 15.

May 4: Las Vegas Review-Journal:
Own a small business? Brace for ObamaCare Pain! 90,000 in Nevada could lose heath care benefits:

Local business owners might be hoping the Affordable Care Act’s insurance mandates cover sticker shock.  The law’s employer coverage mandate doesn’t take effect until 2015, but early plan renewals are starting to roll in. And for some businesses, the premium jumps are positively painful.  Local insurance brokers are reporting spikes ranging from 35 percent to 120 percent on policies that renew from July to December. The increases are especially acute among employers with workforces made up of younger, healthier men. That’s because Obamacare prohibits offering lower rates to healthier groups. It also narrows the allowed premium gap between older and younger enrollees.

May 4: The Daily Caller:  House Oversight Chair demands heads roll for IRS Abuse
Recently disclosed emails point to Lois Lerner as being at the center of IRS targeting. Calling it “disturbing” that Congress is not the source of these investigative revelations, House Ways and Means Subcommittee Chair Charles Boustany, (R-LA), supports the House vote soon on holding Lerner in contempt of Congress.  Boustany explained that Lerner is where all the facts are leading on this IRS matter right now and she holds the key to future progress in this investigation.  The Chairman said  “We don’t want any civil servant in this government in a position where they think they have freedom to abuse the rights of American people. Period. We need to put the fear of God in them and if they try to do that, then there will be consequences.”

May 4: Fox News: Bundy Ranch is not all of the problem
It's the most powerful agency you've never heard of -- at least, until recently.  The Bureau of Land Management, the nation's biggest landlord, found itself in the spotlight after a high-profile brawl with Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy and another dispute with state officials over the Texas-Oklahoma borderlands.   But the seemingly obscure agency, which is in charge of millions of acres of public land, is no stranger to controversy. History shows the power struggle over property rights and land use is one that's been fought -- fiercely -- ever since the bureau was created.  In the nearly seven decades of its existence, the BLM has struggled to find its footing and exert its power, pitted against a vocal states' rights movement – of which Governor Perry (R-TX) is one of today’s champions. 

Currently BLM controls 247.3 million acres – about one-eighth of the USA landmass.  In response to the heavy handed treatment in the “Bundy Affair” House lawmakers passed a bill that would prevent BLM from purchasing new lands. In addition, more than 50 lawmakers from nine Western states came together to protest federal land expansion. The state leaders discussed ways to combine their joint goals of taking control of oil-, timber- and mineral-rich lands away from the federal government. 

"It's so much bigger than Bundy. There are issues ... all across the West where the federal government is exerting control over things it was never supposed to control," Utah state Rep. Ken Ivory told Fox News. "The federal government was supposed to be a trustee. They do own the land. They do hold title to the land in trust ... but they have a duty to dispose of the land with all states east of Colorado."   Ivory says he wants the federal government to keep a promise it made in the 1894 Enabling Act that made Utah a state. He argues that public lands, except for congressionally designated national parks and wilderness areas, should be transferred back to the states.  So far, state lawmakers in Idaho, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, Wyoming, Oregon and Washington are looking for ways to transfer land management back to the states. 

May 3: Fox News: Did X-White House Aide’s Benghazi Comments Conflict with Former CIA Director’s Testimony:
Ex-White House official Tommy Vietor’s recent comments to Fox News may conflict with statements former CIA acting director Michael Morell told Congress about the deadly Benghazi attacks that killed four Americans.  During an interview on “Special Report“ Thursday, Vietor admitted to having input into editing the talking points memo, which was used by U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice to claim that the Sept. 11, 2012 attack was the result of a protest over an anti-Islamic video.  Vietor’s version of events seems to differ from the one Morell told lawmakers during a House hearing in January 2013.

May 2: Fox News: Boehner announces special committee to investigate Benghazi; Kerry subpoenaed to appear:
House Republicans moved on two fronts Friday to dig for answers on Benghazi, with Speaker John Boehner announcing a special committee to investigate and a key panel subpoenaing Secretary of State John Kerry to testify.  In a significant shift, Boehner announced that the House will vote on establishing a select committee to investigate, on the heels of newly released emails that raised additional questions about the White House's response.  Top Republicans claimed those emails should have been released to Congress months ago, and Boehner signaled those concerns prompted him to rethink the need for a select committee. "Americans learned this week that the Obama Administration is so intent on obstructing the truth about Benghazi that it is even willing to defy subpoenas issued by the standing committees of the People's House.

May 2: Fox News: Where was Obama? Question resurfaces of President’s whereabouts during Benghazi Attack
Republican senators on Friday put pressure on President Obama to confirm his whereabouts during the night of the Benghazi attack, after an ex-White House spokesman revived the debate by telling Fox News he was not in the Situation Room.   The detail about the president's location the night of the attack is just one of many revelations that have, in a matter of days, kicked up the controversy to a level not seen since last year. On Friday afternoon, three GOP senators wrote a letter to Obama asking about his whereabouts and spokesman Tommy Vietor's comments to Fox News. 

May 2: The Daily Caller: Conservative Candidate Thrown out of Editorial Meeting after calling rude reporter to task!
Oregon Republican Senatorial candidate Mark Callahan was thrown out of a meeting with reporters from local alternative newspaper Willamette Week after chastising a reporter for being disrespectful of another candidate.  Callahan took on reporter Nigel Jaquiss asking “Why are you not respecting her (fellow candidate Joe Rae Perkins) by writing ‘blah blah blah blah blah’ on your notepad?”  The moderator attempted to move on asking Callahan to answer the next question “respectfully” to which Callahan shot back “You have to give respect in order to get respect.  Right now on that side of the table, you’re not giving very much respect to the five of us and our time here.”

“Where are you on the Easter Bunny?” Jaquiss sneered — clearly unembarrassed by Callahan’s earlier accusation.  “Are these really the questions that I was called here to answer?” an infuriated Callahan replied. “I called you out for putting ‘blah blah blah’ on your notepad and now you’re asking me questions like this? Really? Really? Are we talking about this now? How about you ask a very serious and respectful question instead of asking a little childish question?” As things moved from bad to worse, Callahan was asked to leave the meeting. So much for serious journalism!

May 1: CBS News: Many ObamaCare Enrollees Have Not Paid their Premiums
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said as much herself: "You are not fully enrolled [in Obamacare] until you pay your premium." Yet data collected by the Republican-led House Energy and Commerce Committee shows that as of April 15, just 67 percent of enrollees in the federally-run Obamacare marketplace had paid their first month's premiums.

May 1: The Truth Revolt: Carney on ObamaCare Enrollments: “We Don’t have Hard Numbers, but we dispute their numbers:
In today's press briefing, Jay Carney was asked about the number of Obamacare premium payments that have been made. In other words, the total number of people actually, factually covered, not including window shoppers and unpaid accounts. "We dispute their numbers. We don't have hard, concrete numbers, but we dispute them," Carney responded. At issue is how many of the 8 million enrollees that are touted by the Obama Administration are actually covered.  The recent report indicates that those who are actually covered [enrolled with a premium paid] is closer to 5.6 million, far below the 7 million target set by the Administration.

May 1: The Washington Post: Why Don't Americans trust their government and especially the IRS?
Some people lament that Americans are distrusting their government, Columnist George Will writes.  Enter the Dehko Family. They moved to Michigan from Iraq in 1970.  As many immigrants do, they bought a business – in this case Schott’s Supermarket in Fraiser, MI.  One day the IRS walked into their store and announced they had emptied the store’s bank account of more than $35,000.  Why?  Because they thought, or said they thought, the Dehko’s were laundering money.

They had observed a pattern of behavior that aroused their suspicions. The Dehko’s had been making cash deposits in the bank across the street from their store in amounts slightly less than $10,000.  Banks are required to report deposits of $10,000 or more and so when deposits just under that amount were being made in cash, they assumed there was money laundering going on!  About 35% of Schott’s Supermarket business is conducted in cash.  Although there was no violation found the money in their account was emptied by the IRS.  This is not considered an isolated case.  So is there any reason that some people don’t trust their Government, George Will asks.

May 1: The Daily Caller: Regulation Alert:
Feds may be empowered to enter dealerships and inspect cars for fuel efficiency standards:

President Barack Obama’s $302 billion transportation bill gives federal regulators the power to enter the premises of car dealerships to determine if their vehicles are in compliance with federal fuel-economy mandates.  The Department of Transportation (DOT) could see its vehicle inspection authority expanded if Congress passes Obama’s Grow America Act.   Currently, DOT officials are only allowed to inspect records and information from companies that must comply with federal fuel economy standards.  But Obama’s bill would allow federal bureaucrats to enter the premises of car dealerships to physically inspect to see if vehicles are in compliance with federal fuel economy standards.

May 1: WND.Com: James Dobson Takes on Obama in National Day of Prayer:
James Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family, a harsh critic of President Obama and an opponent in court, on Thursday described him as the “abortion president” during an address at the National Day of Prayer.  Dobson, whose organization recently won a court fight against Obama over a mandate in Obamacare that would have required his ministry to pay for abortion pills, has not been shy about challenging the president on his abortion agenda.  Planned Parenthood has touted that Obama is more supportive of abortion than any other chief executive in U.S. History.

Apr. 30: Fox News: Failure of Administration Foreign Policy and National Security?
Russia to US: Use trampolines to get your astronauts into space!

A Russian official angered over new sanctions that the United States imposed on Russia over the Ukraine crisis is suggesting that American astronauts get to the International Space Station by using trampolines instead of rockets.  "The United States introduced sanctions against our space industry... We warned them, we will reply to statements with statements, to actions with actions," Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin, who heads Russia's defense industry, said on Twitter, according to Reuters. 

American astronauts depend on Russian rockets to get to the ISS. The statements by the Russians raise questions about the U.S. efforts to formulate its foreign and national security policies based upon help from foreign partners, including those who are not friends.  It may lead some to ask “Is this what JFK envisioned when the space program was initiated?”

Apr. 30:  Fox News: White House on Defense over new Benghazi emails, claims controversial ‘prep calls’ not about the attack:
The White House found itself on defense Wednesday following the release of emails tying a top aide to former U.N. ambassador Susan Rice's controversial Sunday show statements after the Benghazi terror attack.   During those interviews, Rice erroneously blamed the attack on protests over an anti-Islam film. New emails indicate a White House adviser helped prep her for those appearances and pushed the "video" explanation -- and now, the White House is facing credibility questions after having downplayed their role in Rice's "talking points." 

During a heated briefing with reporters Wednesday afternoon, Press Secretary Jay Carney repeatedly tried to claim that the so-called "prep call" with Rice -- as it was described in one email -- was not about Benghazi. He was then asked if that was the case then why was the email turned over as part of the lawsuit related to Benghazi. Carney then tried to deflect the question by saying that was an issue with how the Department of State handles FOIA requests.

Apr. 30: The Washington Times: Utah Lawmaker moves to disarm BLM and IRS:
Congressman Stewart (UT) concerned about the armed agents that surrounded Nevada rancher Bundy’s property, is mulling a measure to cut funding for any “paramilitary units” that work for BLM, IRS, and other federal regulatory agencies.  “There are lots of people who are really concerned when the BLM shows up with its own SWAT team,” he said, the Salt Lake Tribune reported. “They’re regulatory agencies. They’re not paramilitary units, and I think that concerns a lot of us.

His mulled amendment to an appropriations bill comes in context of recent BLM actions against Bundy: The federal agents armed themselves and surrounded his property, tasered his son, closed down road access to the ranch and even shot a couple of his prize bulls. The reasons?  Bundy hadn’t paid his grazing fees to the federal government, but rather fought the matter in court.  Militia from all over the nation came to the ranch to support Bundy in his standoff with BLM — and for that, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid labeled them “domestic terrorists,” various media reported.  BLM finally backed off and left — but not before a shocked nation expressed outrage at the government’s armed stance against a man who, at the root, was guilty of not paying a bill.

Apr. 30 Fox News: “Obamanomics” Under Fire as Economy slows to 0.1 percent growth rate:
The U.S. economy slowed to an anemic pace in the first quarter of the year, according to new Commerce Department estimates, renewing Republican claims that Obama administration policies are slamming the brakes on the recovery.   The department estimated that growth slowed to a barely discernible 0.1 percent annual rate between January and March. That was the weakest pace since the end of 2012 and was down from a 2.6 percent rate in the previous quarter.   "This report is more than a low number; it is a reflection of the real economic despair that persists in the sixth year of the Obama presidency," said Brendan Buck, spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner.

Apr. 30: The Hill: $10.10 Minimum Wage Set to Die in the Democrat-controlled Senate today:
Despite an intense push by President Obama and Democratic leaders on Capitol Hill, Senate Republicans haven’t budged and will reject the measure that would increase the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour. The procedural roll call to advance the bill is expected to fail on a party-line vote, short of the 60 votes needed.  The legislation is coming up for a vote after weeks of delay, but a multipronged pressure campaign against Republicans has failed to fracture the GOP — in sharp contrast to prior election years.

Apr. 29: The Washington Post: Benghazi scandal tied to the White House and
Apr. 29: USA Today: Senator says Emails show how Benghazi story took shape
Republicans say e-mails released Tuesday on the attack in Benghazi, Libya, include "the smoking gun" that shows a White House official urged that the assault on the U.S. consulate be blamed on a protest that never happened.  The e-mails include one in which White House official Ben Rhodes lists "goals" for then-U.N. ambassador Susan Rice to use to explain the attack. [See the April 30th Fox News story above]

Apr. 29: The Daily Caller: Sources say Sebelius is refusing to testify before Senate Appropriations on HHS funding bill:
Outgoing Health and Human Services [HHS] Sec. Kathleen Sebelius is refusing to testify before the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Health and Human Services  a Senate aide told The Daily Caller Tuesday.  Sebelius had originally been set to testify before the subcommittee about the department’s 2015 $70 billion budget request on April 2.  According to another aide, however, several weeks after confirming the hearing date, she requested a date switch with the National Institutes of Health budget hearing on May 7. The committee accommodated her request. 

Apr. 29: Breitbart News: California Targeting Recently Release Convicts to help boost Obamacare signups:
California Obamacare Director Peter Lee said he plans to provide increase enrollment “during the next open enrollment period by targeting low-income and minority communities as well as prisoners who have recently been released from incarceration.  As Breitbart News reported earlier this month, several cash-strapped states are looking to dump health care costs onto the federal government by signing up prisoners for Obamacare. 

Apr. 28: Stars and Stripes (USA Today): Report: Pentagon to destroy $1 Billion in ammunition
The Pentagon plans to destroy more than $1 billion worth of ammunition although some of those bullets and missiles could still be used by troops, according to the Pentagon and congressional sources.  It's impossible to know what portion of the arsenal slated for destruction — valued at $1.2 billion by the Pentagon — remains viable because the Defense Department's inventory systems can't share data effectively, according to a Government Accountability Office report obtained by USA TODAY.  The result: potential waste of unknown value.

Apr. 28: The Daily Caller: Recession over? Retirement age climbs from 60 to 62:
The age of retirement has shot up by two years since 2012, according to a new survey by Gallup.  Since 2012, after President Barack Obama declared the government-fostered recession had ended, the average age of actual retirement has climbed from 60 to 62, according to the April 28 Gallup report. 

Apr. 28: CNS News: Men Who Work Full-Time Earn Less than forty years ago:
The real median income of American men who work full-time, year-round peaked forty years ago in 1973, according to data published by the U.S. Census Bureau. 

Apr. 28: UT-San Deigo.Com: Obamacare deals blow to one-doctor medicine
Despite the predictions of fortune tellers in politics and think tanks, we won’t know for years whether ObamaCare will ultimately leave people sicker or healthier, richer or poorer.  Yet already the law, coming on top of previous legislation, is speeding the demise of an American small-business institution; the one-doctor medical practice.  Their problems began in the late 1990s. Government cost controls steadily eroded revenues while simultaneously boosting costs, by stacking on requirements for paperwork and accounting.  Some doctors adapted by figuring out ways to see more patients. Others just accepted falling incomes. Now federal health care policy has delivered a major blow to productivity.

Apr. 28: Fox News: Lerner’s Lawyer asks permission to address the House
The lawyer for a former Internal Revenue Service official at the heart of the agency's tea party controversy asked Monday to address the House ahead of a vote to hold his client in contempt of Congress.   He probably won't get the chance.   Lois Lerner directed the IRS division that processes applications for tax-exempt status. This month, the House Oversight Committee voted to hold Lerner in contempt of Congress for refusing to answer questions at a pair of hearings about IRS agents improperly singling out TEA party applications for extra scrutiny. 

Apr. 28: The Free Beacon: Cruz Calls on Kerry to Resign After “Apartheid” Remark about Israel
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) demanded on the Senate floor Monday that Secretary of State John Kerry resign from his post following highly controversial remarks about the state of Israel.  Kerry came under fire from lawmakers and a variety of pro-Israel organizations after he told world leaders in a closed door meeting that Israel risks becoming “an apartheid state” if it fails to reach peace with the Palestinians.

There are Alternatives to the XL Pipeline but regardless, Canadian Oil will be flowing south!Apr. 28: The Daily News:
Stonewalling XL Pipeline Won't Keep Canadian Oil from Texas:
What the Obama Administration and its environmental allies fail to recognize is the power of the free enterprise system.  When one approach is struck down or delayed by the government an alternative will be sought.    Back in March it was revealed that Canadian oil producers are looking at alternatives that don’t require the President’s approval.  Enter Canada and its railroads! The three of us want the permit for the XL pipeline approved but even if the Administration continues to stonewall it, rest assured it looks like Canadian crude will still be heading to Texas and if it requires our railroads to beef up their infrastructure, that could be a good thing too!

Apr. 26: Fox News: Have they lost their mind? #Hashtag Diplomacy with Russia?
The Obama administration using Twitter to show public support for Ukraine and to negotiate with Russia after the annexation of Crimea is sparking another round of accusations about the president being soft on foreign policy.  Supporters of the administration using Twitter argue that social media is a fast, non-filtered way to connect with Ukrainians and others around the world, particularly amid the country's months of political unrest.  Meanwhile former Arkansas Governor Huckabee mockingly said on Saturday, “The thought that somebody would come at him with 160 characters is absolutely terrifying to Vladimir Putin!” 

Apr. 26: The Washington Post: Why Immigration Reform is not the answer for Republicans!
How can the GOP start winning larger shares of non-white voters? Reforming the immigration system might not be the answer.  Why not? Because reforming the nation's immigration laws could very well create a whole bunch of  new Democrats, including in some key swing states. Simply rejecting immigration reforms aimed at a path to citizenship carry big political risks as well, including the possibility of reducing Republicans' already-weak standing with the Hispanic voters (and future voters).

Apr. 25: Roll Call: Immigration Overhaul is not Dead Yet!
A bipartisan overhaul of immigration, considered dead in the water just a few weeks ago, is not only alive, according to the House Republican leading efforts to broker a deal — it’s gaining steam.  Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, (R-FL) told CQ Roll Call that “I think we finally have the policy right. I think we have figured out a way to secure, to have border and interior security, holding the administration accountable for the enforcement … forcing the administration to enforce the law whether they want to or not. And I think we figured out a way to deal with the folks that are here in a way that is fair — fair, by the way, to those in the legal system … who are doing everything legally, and also deals with the folks that are here in a way that is fair and reasonable. And adheres, strictly adheres, to the rule of law.”

Apr. 25: Fox News: House Sets vote on holding Lois Lerner in Contempt of Congress:
The House of Representatives will vote in May on whether to hold former IRS official Lois Lerner in contempt for her role in the IRS targeting of conservative groups, according to a memo released Friday. The memo from House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) said the contempt vote would proceed unless Lerner agrees to testify before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee about the targeting scandal. “Thorough investigations by the Oversight and Government Reform Committee as well as the Ways and Means Committee have revealed findings that indicate that Ms. Lerner played a central role in the illegal targeting of conservative groups by the IRS,” the memo reads.

Apr. 25: Yahoo News (Reuters): Holder Holding on until at least the midterm elections:
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder plans to stay on through November's mid-term elections and has no timeline for an exit after that, a Justice Department official told Reuters on Friday.  There has been speculation over when Holder, 63, might step down from the post he has held since shortly after President Barack Obama took office in 2009. Should Republicans win control of both chambers of Congress in the November elections, it may be difficult for a potential replacement for Holder to be confirmed.  

Apr. 25: The Washington Free Beacon: Pentagon: Russian Spy Ships Operating off the East Coast Near U.S. Naval Bases:
A Russian intelligence-gathering ship has been operating off the U.S. East Coast and near the Gulf of Mexico for the past month, the Pentagon said Thursday.  “We are aware that the Russian ships Viktor Leonov and Nikolay Chiker are currently operating in waters that are beyond U.S. territorial seas but near Cuba,” said Lt. Col. Tom Crosson, a Pentagon spokesman.  Pentagon officials suspect the ships were part of a spying operation since March against the U.S. nuclear missile submarine base at Kings Bay, Ga. and other U.S. military facilities.

Apr. 25: The Blaze: Head of the NRA slams Bloomberg: Our Freedoms are not for sale!
National Rifle Association Executive Vice President and CEO Wayne LaPierre will debut a short video with a message for former NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg and his new $50 million gun-control push during the NRA-ILA leadership forum on Friday at the 2014 NRA convention.  That message? “Bloomberg is one guy with millions. We’re millions with our 25 bucks. Let’s see who crushes who.”

Apr. 24: USA Today: Firearms applications surge and swamp registration system:
A record surge in recent firearms production and transactions have swamped the federal government's automated registration system for select weapons, including machine guns.  In a notice earlier this month to the firearms industry, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives said it was temporarily suspending parts of its computerized system to shore up capacity in part to process the required registration and transfer of National Firearms Act covered weapons, which also include silencers, short-barreled shotguns, short-barreled rifles and some explosive devices.

Apr. 24: The New York Times: Obama Suffers Foreign Affairs Setbacks in Japan and the Mideast
President Obama encountered setbacks to two of his most cherished foreign-policy projects on Thursday, as he failed to achieve a trade deal that undergirds his strategic pivot to Asia and the Middle East peace process suffered a potentially irreparable breakdown. 

Apr. 23: The Hill: Manchin to IRS: Take back bonuses from tax delinquent federal workers:
Sen. Joe Manchin, the centrist Democrat from West Virginia, is demanding that Internal Revenue Service Commissioner John Koskinen rescind bonuses to IRS employees who have failed to pay their taxes. Manchin told Koskinen in a sternly worded letter "How can we expect the American people — many of whom are struggling to make ends meet — to trust their government when they learn that the very agency charged with collecting their tax dollars is rewarding employees who haven't paid theirs?"

Apr. 23: Rasmussenreports.com:
New High: 61% Favor Building the Keystone XL Pipeline:
Support for building the Keystone XL pipeline is now at its highest level ever. The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 61% of Likely U.S. Voters now at least somewhat favor building the major oil pipeline from Canada to Texas, while just 27% are opposed. This includes 37% who Strongly Favor the project and 10% who Strongly Oppose it. Thirteen percent (13%) are undecided.

Apr. 23: Fox News: Maryland Natural Gas Project Draws Environmental Objections:
A liquefied natural gas facility in southern Maryland is generating intense criticism from environmental groups, in a fight that echoes the protracted battle over the proposed Keystone XL pipeline. Energy company Dominion Resources is hoping to invest up to $3.8 billion to upgrade the Cove Point LNG facility as an export terminal. If successful, it could become the East Coast's chief LNG export facility, sending billions of cubic feet of natural gas to Japan, India, and elsewhere.  

Apr. 23: LifesiteNews.com: Aborted Canadian Babies used in Oregon to produce electricity:
The British Columbia Health Ministry has admitted that the remains of babies destroyed by abortion in B.C. facilities are ending up in a waste-to-power facility in the United States, providing electricity for residents of Oregon.  The province’s Health Ministry said in an email to the B.C. Catholic that “biomedical waste” shipped to the U.S. to be incinerated includes “human tissue, such as surgically removed cancerous tissue, amputated limbs, and fetal tissue.”  “The ministry understands that some is transferred to Oregon. There it is incinerated in a waste-to-energy plant,” the email stated.

Kristan Mitchell, executive director of the Oregon Refuse and Recycling Association, told the B.C. Catholic that the “biomedical waste” likely ends up at the Covanta Marion waste-to-energy facility in Oregon since it is the only facility that uses waste to power the grid. The facility confirmed that it still receives and incinerates B.C. medical waste. The power facility, located in Brookes just off the I-5, burns waste in two massive boilers at a temperature of about 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit. The heat transfers into water tubes, which creates steam to drive turbines. The turbines generate electricity.  A 2007 article about the Marion waste-to-energy facility that appeared in the Willamette Live — ironically titled “Burn, Baby, Burn” — stated that at the time the incinerator burned about 800 tons (1,764,000 pounds) of medical waste per year.

Apr. 23: The Daily Caller: Report: Nevada ObamaCare Exchange Considering Dumping All Customers:
Nevada’s Obamacare exchange and its lead contractor Xerox allegedly discussed dumping sign-ups from its queue and starting over while dealing with serious website glitches, according to documents released Wednesday.  Matthew Callister, an attorney who has filed a class-action lawsuit against the exchange, released anonymous emails allegedly from a Nevada Health Link employee. 

Apr. 23: The Daily Caller: General Electric to Investors: ObamaCare is hurting our medical business:
General Electric is telling its investors that Obamacare is to blame for recent losses in the company’s health care division, The Daily Caller has learned. The company’s health care unit, which produces medical and biopharmaceutical technologies and which grew in 2013, showed losses in revenues, segment profits, margins and orders in the first quarter of 2014.  The Daily Caller has reported extensively on Obamacare’s damage to the medical device and technology industry. By February, the health-care law had already cost 33,000 jobs in the industry and 132,000 more were expected, according to a report from an industry trade group.

Apr. 22: The Daily Caller: ObamaCare Exchange in Colorado asks for fee on all insurance policies:
Colorado’s latest effort to ensure its state-run health care exchange is self-sufficient involves a $13 million fee collected from all Coloradans with health insurance, regardless of whether they bought their policies through Obamacare.  The fee would pay for half of the annual operating costs of Connect for Health Colorado, the state Obamacare exchange, according to Health News Colorado. 

Apr. 22: The Wall Street Journal: Supreme Court Upholds Michigan Affirmative Action Ban:
The Supreme Court on Tuesday upheld Michigan’s decision to end affirmative action at its public universities in a 6-2 ruling, but the justices were divided in their reasoning, suggesting continued uncertainty over the broader issue of racial preferences.  The ruling leaves in place a 2006 Michigan ballot initiative where voters ended race-based admissions at state schools, and means racial preferences won't soon return to the University of Michigan—or any other public university in states that have chosen to end the practice.  The court's ruling didn't alter the ability of universities in states without bans to consider race as one factor among others in admissions. Instead, the court chipped away at affirmative action by giving its blessing to one path for foes to challenge admissions policies: ballot initiatives. Opponents have also gone to courts and state legislatures to end affirmative-action practices in a decadeslong battle over university policies.

Apr. 22: Breitbart.com: Conservative House Members Search for Alternative to Eric Cantor in House Leadership:
Eric Cantor has never been closer to wielding the Speaker’s gavel but he may want to keep an eye over his right shoulder!  As speculation heats up about whether Speaker John Boehner will return in 2015, Cantor is in the midst of a kind of shadow job interview with House conservatives, and it isn't going all that well.  Cantor recently enraged many Republicans by sneaking a Medicare bill through the House by voice vote. Days later, a provision in the bill that expanded Obamacare coverage became public, prompting high-profile scrutiny from the Drudge Report. Making matters worse, Boehner had been out of town for the vote, putting blame for the incident squarely on Cantor's shoulders. 

The Virginia Republican also drew flack  for attending a tropical summit organized by a group working to undermine the Tea Party. For America President Brent Bozell described the move in a phone interview as providing “aid and comfort to an organization devoted to destroying the Tea Party.  It is betrayal. It’s also monumentally stupid,” Bozell said. 

There's also Cantor's work on immigration: he's drafting a variation of the “DREAM Act” to grant amnesty to illegal immigrants who came to the U.S. as minors and pushing a more limited proposal by Rep. Jeff Denham (R-CA) for DREAMers who enlist in the military in the meantime. 

Apr. 22: The FoundryWhat’s Actually Good for the Environment May Surprise You!
Good news for Earth Day: We can boost energy production and economic growth without harming the environment!  Thanks to years of empty promises from the Left, politicians in Congress and the White House have installed all sorts of harmful policies that block energy production, jobs, and economic growth. But those policies have shown themselves to be counterproductive—they don’t deliver the promised benefits and they hurt Americans.

  • An oil pipeline is environmentally safe. The Keystone XL pipeline, which President Obama just delayed again, has received an environmental green multiple times—from this administration.  State Department impact reports have concluded “that the pipeline, a Canada-based project to deliver up to 830,000 barrels of oil per day to Gulf Coast refineries, would pose no significant environmental risk and would not contribute substantially to carbon dioxide emissions,” says Nicolas Loris, Heritage’s Herbert and Joyce Morgan Fellow.  Loris also notes that the project “has bipartisan support, the backing of several unions, and approval from former energy and interior secretaries.”

  • Biofuels are not better for the environment. Here’s another case where central planners promised they knew what was best for us—and it’s not working out. In fact, it’s costing us. A new study out this week concluded that biofuels aren’t the “clean” alternative to gasoline that advocates promised. In fact, producing biofuels can release more greenhouse gases than using gasoline. It’s been known for years that biofuels aren’t as environmentally friendly as we were first told. Heritage’s Loris wrote last year that “After accounting for land-use conversion, the use of fertilizers, insecticides, and pesticides, as well as the fossil fuels used for production and distribution, biofuel production is quite carbon-intensive.”

Apr. 22: Breitbart.com: Attorney General Greg Abbott to BLM:”Come and Take It!”
Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott questions the authority of BLM to take 90,000 acres of privately owned land on the Texas-Oklahoma border.  “I am about ready to go to the Red River and rais a ‘Come and take it’ flag to tell the feds to stay out of Texas” Abbott said.   He also sent a strongly-worded letter to the BLM Director (who happens to be related to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid) asking for answers to a series of questions related to the potential land grab.

Apr. 21: Breitbart.com: BLM Eyeing 90,000 Acres of Texas Land on Border with Oklahoma
After the recent Bureau of Land Management episode in Nevada, Texans are becoming concerned about BLM’s focus on 90,000 acres along a 116 mile stretch of the Texas/Oklahoma  boundary.  BLM is reviewing the possible Federal takeover and ownership of privately-held lands which have been deeded property for generations of Texas landowners.

Apr. 21: National Review: Democrat Congressman on ObamaCare: The Worst is Yet to Come – It’s “going to hit the fan!”
Massachusetts representative Stephen Lynch isn’t just worried about the negative impact Obamacare will have on his party’s performance this fall — he also thinks its worst effects on our health-care system are still to come. Lynch, who voted against the Affordable Care Act in 2010, warned that the situation is “going to hit the fan” when the law’s delayed provisions go into effect down the road. 

The World's Internet Needs to Remain "Free!"Apr. 21: The Daily News: The World's Internet Needs to stay "Free!"
If the Administration follows through on its proposal to withdraw from its contractual oversight relationship with ICANN it will be committing yet another of the blunders for which is has become renowned.  The Internet was birthed in our country where freedom reined.  But the Administration continues to follow multinational models inviting to the table those who oppose freedom. In this instance, by continuing this contractual oversight of an international resource our government would be protecting the free flow of ideas and information that is at the core of the Internet.  Maintaining this international leadership would be continuing the fight for freedom.  Unfortunately, this Administration does not seem interested in being the beacon on a hill, a world leader in the never ending fight for freedom.

Apr. 21: The Washington Times: IRS Revokes conservative group’s tax-exempt status over anti-Clinton statements
The IRS revoked the tax-exempt status of a conservative charity for making statements critical of Hillary Rodham Clinton and John Kerry, according to a USA Today report. The Patrick Henry Center for Individual Liberty, based in Manassas, Va., “has shown a pattern of deliberate and consistent intervention in political campaigns” and made “repeated statements supporting or opposing various candidates by expressing its opinion of the respective candidate’s character and qualifications,” according to a written determination released Friday by the IRS.

Apr. 20: The Daily Caller: Cummings may face ethics probe over illegal investigation:
Congressman Elijah Cummings, the ranking Democrat on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, could be facing an ethics investigation. Celia Mitchell, the attorney representing True the Vote believes that "Cummings’s actions were outside of his jurisdiction and that it is a gross abuse of power to investigate private citizens."

On behalf of True the Vote, she filed a complaint against Rep. Cummings on February 6 with the Office of Congressional Ethics asking them to investigate whether Rep. Cummings or any member of his staff had played any role in getting any of the agencies that went after Catherine Engelbrecht to investigate her or her family after she became involved with True the Vote. Two IRS audits about the business, her personal tax returns, two visits from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, a surprise visit from OSHA, seven visits from the FBI do not appear to be "coincidences," Mitchell contended stating that "...we think this was in violation of the House rules.”

Apr. 19: BreitBart.com: Clinton Administration Feared the Internet’s Ability to Democraticize News
Three years before Matt Drudge changed the world and how news would be consumed, President Bill Clinton's White House feared that the Internet was allowing average citizens, especially conservatives, to bypass legacy gatekeepers and access information that had previously been denied to them by the mainstream press.    A 1995 memo from the Clinton White House says the "Internet has become one of the major and most dynamic modes of communication" and "can link people, groups and organizations together instantly.  Moreover, it allows an extraordinary amount of unregulated data and information to be located in one area and available to all. The right wing has seized upon the Internet as a means of communicating its ideas to people. Moreover, evidence exists that Republican staffers surf the Internet, interacting with extremists in order to exchange ideas and information.”  The memo also states that conservative think tanks serve as a training ground for future leaders and says conservative institutions "are to today's media age of political organizations what the Democratic big city party machines were to the New Deal era of political organization" 

Apr. 18: The Washington Post: U.S. to send ground forces to Poland, beefing up a U.S. Presence
Poland and the United States will announce next week the deployment of U.S. ground forces to Poland as part of an expansion of NATO presence in Central and Eastern Europe in response to events in Ukraine. That was the word from Poland’s defense minister, Tomasz Siemoniak, who visited The Post Friday after meeting with Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel at the Pentagon on Thursday. 

Apr. 17: Infowars.com: Harry Reid Calls Bundy Supporters “Domestic Terrorists”
Senator Harry Reid has escalated the war of words over the Cliven Bundy dispute and standoff on Saturday, sensationally labeling the Nevada cattle rancher’s supporters “domestic terrorists” during an event in Las Vegas today.   The Bundy supporters were able to force the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) agents to back down and release some 380 head of cattle that BLM had seized.

Reid claimed that Bundy viewed the United States as a “foreign government,” while accusing his supporters of goading violence, saying “There were hundreds, hundreds of people from around the country that came there.  They had sniper rifles on the freeway. They had weapons, automatic weapons. They had children lined up. They wanted to make sure they got hurt first"  Despite Reid’s characterization the only violence metered out during the dispute was when BLM agents tasered and assaulted the demonstrators.   Reid was also obviously angry that as a result of the news coverage it was disclosed that he was apparently involved in a solar farm project just a few miles away from the Bundy Ranch which required confiscation of the Brundy’s cattle in order to clear the way for a lucrative solar deal with a Chinese company. 

Apr. 17: The Wall Street Journal: House Leadership Says There will be an Immigration Bill this year – Speaker “Hell Bent” on getting this done!
Speaker Boehner (R-OH) and other senior House Republicans are telling donors and industry groups that they aim to pass immigration legislation this year, despite the reluctance of many Republicans to tackle the divisive issue before the November elections. Many lawmakers and activists have assumed the issue was off the table in an election year. But Mr. Boehner said at a Las Vegas fundraiser last month he was "hell-bent on getting this done this year," according to two people in the room.  A spokesman for Mr. Boehner didn't dispute the account but said no action is possible until President Obama proves himself a trustworthy partner to Republicans.

Apr. 17: Fox News: Poll Says Voters think Obama is Covering Up on Benghazi; Want Hill to Continue Investigation
Most voters think the White House is trying to cover-up what happened in Benghazi and want Congress to continue to investigate the administration’s handling of the attack on the U.S. consulate there that killed four Americans.  That’s according to a Fox News poll released Thursday.  Sixty percent of voters want lawmakers to keep investigating what happened in Benghazi.

Apr. 17: USA Today:  Leaflets Tell Jews to Register in East Ukraine
World leaders and Jewish groups condemned a leaflet handed out in the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk in which Jews were told to "register" with the pro-Russian militants who have taken over a government office in an attempt to make Ukraine part of Russia, according to Ukrainian and Israeli media.  Jews emerging from a synagogue say they were handed leaflets that ordered the city's Jews to provide a list of property they own and pay a registration fee "or else have their citizenship revoked, face deportation and see their assets confiscated," reported Ynet News, Israel's largest news website, and Ukraine's Donbass news agency.

Apr. 17: The Washington Free Beacon: Russia Blocks U.S. from Treaty-Approved Over-flight
According to U.S. officials the Russian government this week canceled a planned U.S. surveillance flight over Russian territory in a bid to limit spying on massed troops facing off against Ukraine and Eastern Europe.  The over-flight mission was scheduled for April 14 to April 16 under the 1992 Open Skies Treaty, but Russia’s government notified the State Department 72 hours before the scheduled flight that it would not be permitted.  The cancelation is unusual because the sole reason for putting off such treaty-approve surveillance is flight safety, such as bad weather.  Until this week, the United States and other European allies who are a party to the 34-nation treaty were conducting weekly over-flights above Russia during the past month.

Apr. 17: The National Journal:  How the U.S. is Vulnerable to Terrorism in Space
Space terrorism is a growing threat to U.S. national security, according to a new report.  And an attack on a U.S. satellite—or damage to one from another country's debris—could have astronomical effects on national security, says the report from the Council on Foreign Relations.  The U.S. is more reliant on space than any other nation to carry out critical national security functions, such as precision attacks on suspected terrorists and image analysis of nuclear-weapons programs, according to the report.  But countries like China, North Korea, and Iran are developing their military space capabilities, increasing the risk of a dangerous situation for the U.S, says the report.

Apr. 17: Fox News: GOP Steps Up Demand for Documents on  White House Role in botched ObamaCare role out
Republican Rep. Darrell Issa is ratcheting up pressure on President Obama's top aides to turn over more documents revealing the extent of the White House's direct involvement in the botched rollout of the health insurance exchanges, according to a letter to White House Counsel Kathryn Ruemmler obtained exclusively by Fox News. In the letter transmitted to Ruemmler at the White House Thursday morning, Issa asserts "senior White House officials -- as well as the President -- appear to have been far more personally involved in decision-making related to HealthCare.gov than the White House previously represented. Documents obtained by the Committee show the significant involvement of senior White House officials in the rollout of HealthCare.gov."

Apr. 17: Fox News: Poll Shows 49% think the White House had IRS Target Conservative Groups:
Nearly half of American voters think the IRS targeted conservative groups at the request of the White House, and most want Congress to keep investigating the matter.  The latest Fox News poll also finds 69 percent don’t feel President Obama has followed through on his vow to “find out exactly what happened on this.”  By a 49-41 percent margin, voters believe the Obama administration “intentionally had the IRS target conservative political groups.” That includes 26 percent of Democrats, 52 percent of independents and 71 percent of Republicans.

Apr. 16: Fox News: Uncovered IRS emails show Lerner talked with Justice about pursuing “political” groups
Newly uncovered emails show Lois Lerner, the key figure in the IRS scandal, was talking with the Justice Department about going after groups seeking tax-exempt status, just days before she publicly acknowledged the agency was targeting Tea Party and other organizations.   The emails, obtained by Judicial Watch are another indication the targeting may have stretched deeper into the Obama administration. Lerner, the director of the agency’s Exempt Organizations division before retiring last year, initially said the targeting was limited to agents working in the IRS’ Cincinnati field office.

Apr. 15: The Daily Caller: Gohmert on Holder: “Partisan and extremely petty”
Congressman Louie Gohmert (R-TX) said that his recent heated exchange with Attorney General Eric Holder exposed Holder as a “partisan and extremely petty” individual and undermined Holder’s ability to  defend the Obama administration on the IRS scandal in coming weeks.  “I know what it’s like to be in the heat of a very nasty conversation. I perhaps have been in those kinds of conversations more than our attorney general. And that’s why his comments were so childish and lame,” Gohmert told The Daily Caller in a conference call Tuesday night.

“They need Eric Holder as attorney general to look completely above the fray, completely objective, for when they need him to go out and say there’s not a smidgeon of corruption in the IRS." Gohmert said. [In last week's hearing Holder] "...exposed who he is and tried to come after who I am. He is not looking objective. He has shown himself to be quite partisan and extremely petty. They need him to appear credible when he isn’t.”

Apr. 15: The Washington Examiner: Ron Paul Group to Defy the IRS:
Ron Paul’s nonprofit Campaign for Liberty will fight the IRS’s demand that it reveal its donor list to the agency, despite having already been fined for refusing to do so.  "There is no legitimate reason for the IRS to know who donates to Campaign for Liberty," Megan Stiles, the communications director at Campaign for Liberty, told the Washington Examiner in an email on Tuesday.

Apr. 15: Fox News: IRS to revise regulations limiting activities of Tax-exempt groups after outcry:
The Internal Revenue Service plans to rewrite proposed regulations limiting the political activities of the same type of tax-exempt groups the agency was accused of targeting after backlash from GOP lawmakers and politically active nonprofit groups.  IRS Commissioner Koskinen told USA Today on Monday that the agency will likely "re-propose a redefined rule and ask for more public comment." He expects the process will take "until the end of the year and beyond" to complete.

Apr. 15: Fox News: Ben Carson: White House wanted me to apologize for “Offending” Obama
Conservative Dr. Ben Carson is claiming the White House was offended by his now-famous keynote address at the 2013 National Prayer Breakfast and asked at the time for an apology call to President Obama -- which he didn’t make.  Carson, who became a conservative sensation after the address, was highly critical of the direction of the country though he never blamed the president, who was sitting just a few feet away.  “He did not appear to be hostile or angry but within a matter of minutes after the conclusion of the program, I received a call from some of the prayer breakfast organizers saying that the White House was upset and requesting that I call the president and apologize for offending him. I said that I did not think that he was offended.” 

Apr. 15: The Associated Press: Ukraine Bares Teeth Against Eastern Uprising
In the first Ukrainian military action against a pro-Russian uprising in the east, government forces repelled an attack Tuesday by about 30 gunmen at an airport, beginning what the president called an "anti-terrorist operation" to try to restore authority over the restive region.  The central government has so far been unable to rein in the insurgents, who it says are being stirred up by paid operatives from Russia and have seized numerous government facilities in at least nine eastern cities to press their demands for broader autonomy and closer ties with Russia. Complicating the political landscape, many local security forces have switched to their side.

Apr. 15: The Washington Examiner: Some Tax Deductions you never knew existed:
It's tax day! And if you waited until today to file, these  weird deductions might be helpful. Or you might not want to deal with them and just get your taxes done as fast as possible. Whatever floats your boat.  But if you are a penny pincher and want to give the government as little of your hard-earned cash as possible, there are a number of deductions you might not be aware of (Read the story for the details)

Apr. 15: Fox News: How much will ObamaCare cost you in taxes?
On this April 15, filers and accountants alike are finding a new array of taxes resulting from the president’s health care legislation. These include at least 20 ObamaCare-related tax increases totaling  $409 billion over the next ten years, according to the Joint Committee on Taxation. 

Americans Must Never Surrender Freedom: Balancing between terrorism and freedomApr. 14: The Daily News: Americans Must Never Surrender Freedom! There has been much talk in the news of late about the NSA collection of telephone metadata.  One such report said this is not the same as listening to a person’s phone calls or reading text messages/email but instead it allows the intelligence community to see what numbers are being called by specifically identified numbers, doing so under a court-ordered warrant.  If this is the case we do not object to such activities.

We believe terrorist should be treated as enemy combatants and not as common criminals.  Some say, "don't terrorists have the same rights we have?"  NO! This is an important point; citizens have rights, but foreign terrorist don’t under our Constitution and they are governed under military jurisdiction.

Apr. 13: The Washington Times: Hillary Clinton all but erased from tragic story of the attack in Banghazi:
A huge wave of public testimony, reports and documents on what happened in Benghazi now floods Washington, and little of it focuses on the role of Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton before, on, or after Sept. 11, 2012.  Over the past 18 months, there have been at least seven public congressional hearings and three fact-finding reports on the terrorist attack. If not invisible, Mrs. Clinton is certainly portrayed as being only in the background during Benghazi, unaware of key events. “Benghazi happened on her watch, so she will always have a connection to the attack,” P.J. Crowley, who was Mrs. Clinton’s top spokesman at State in her first year said. “There have been some efforts to make it about her, which I suspect will continue despite the lack of evidence.”

Apr. 13: Fox News: Sebelius says timeline for ObamaCare rollout “flat out wrong”
Outgoing Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius says the timeline for the ObamaCare rollout was "flat-out wrong" and that the federal exchange could have used “more time and testing” before going online.  Sebelius, who led the agency through the problem-plagued rollout, made her comments in an interview that aired Sunday on “NBC’s “Meet the Press,” the first interview since she announced her resignation Thursday.

Apr. 13: The Washington Times: Bundy Bungle could leave dirt on Harry Reid’s Reputation:
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said little as federal agents seized and then released cattle last week from the Bundy ranch in Reid’s home state of Nevada, but there is little doubt that the highly charged episode was threatening to become a political headache for him.  The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is headed by former longtime Reid aide Neil Kornze, who was confirmed by the Senate as BLM director on Tuesday, just as federal authorities descended on the cattle ranch outside Mesquite, Nev.

When civilian militia and supporters started to arrive to protest the government’s actions Kornze issued a statement that BLM would return the cattle and withdraw its agents from the ranch because of safety concerns after clashes between law enforcement and the Bundy family’s growing legion of supporters. Speculation spiked in recent days over Reid’s connection to the BLM episode, in which federal contractors seized about 400 head of cattle from 68-year-old rancher over his refusal to pay an estimated $1 million in grazing fees over 20 years. “It was likely pressure from upstairs, rather than weapons from the field, that changed his mind on the matter,” the liberal group Americans Against the Tea Party said in an online post. “Fact is, Harry Reid probably didn’t want his name attached to the biggest civilian massacre in U.S. history right before election season.”

 

Men on horseback pause for the National Anthem while gathering to support the Bundy family in its challenge against the Bureau of Land ManagementApr. 12: InfoWars.com: Feds Back Down in Cattle Stand Off:
[Photo: Kholten Gleave, right, of Utah, pauses for the National Anthem outside of Bunkerville , NV while gathering with other supporters of the Bundy family to challenge the Bureau of Land Management on Saturday. Jason Bean/Las Vegas Review-Journal/AP]


In an epic standoff that Infowars reporter David Knight described as being like “something out of a movie,” supporters of Nevada cattle rancher Cliven Bundy advanced on a position held by BLM agents despite threats that they would be shot at, eventually forcing BLM feds to release 100 cattle that had been stolen from Bundy as part of a land grab dispute that threatened to escalate into a Waco-style confrontation.
Despite the fact that Bureau of Land Management officials agreed to cease their operation to seize Bundy’s cattle after a massive public backlash, Bundy demanded that Sheriff Douglas Gillespie disarm BLM officials and return his stolen cows.  When this didn’t happen, hundreds of Bundy supporters, including cowboys on horseback, descended on a nearby cattle pen outside of Mesquite where the seized cows were being held.  In a tense standoff, armed BLM feds, backed up by at least one SWAT team, threatened to shoot at Bundy supporters if they marched any closer to a line of vehicles.

Despite threats such as “one more step and you’re dead,” the protesters continued their slow march towards BLM agents as bullhorns blared.  Refusing to back down, the protesters marched straight past the armed men and towards the cattle pen.  After around 30 minutes, Bundy supporters saw the cattle being released about a mile away in the distance.  It cannot be overstated how much of a gargantuan victory this represents for the American people in their battle against big government tyranny.  “The people have the power when they unite,” Ammon Bundy told the Las Vegas Review Journal “The war has just begun.”

Apr. 12: The Daily Caller: GOP Members press DHS on Agency’s release of illegal alien criminals
Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee are pushing the Department of Homeland Security for more information about the thousands of criminal aliens that the agency has captured and released back into the United States. The members’ request come on the heels of a report, based on internal data from ICE, that found they charged only 25 percent of the potentially 722,000 deportable aliens they encountered.  The report further revealed that ICE released 68,000 convicted criminals during 2013.   The Congressional Research Service reports that some of those who were released subsequently committed 59 murders, 21 attempted murders and 542 sex crimes

Apr. 12: The Daily Caller: Racism?  It’s all about the Midterm Elections?
There’s something sinister on the airwaves. It’s sloppy, and it’s cynical, but sinister all the same, and it’s race-hate spewing from the absolute top of the Democratic Party. On Wednesday, Attorney General Holder told an audience that his being held in Contempt of Congress was unprecedented, hinting that it was done, in part, because of his race.  The same day Minority Leader Pelosi stoked the race-hating fires by saying the conservative opposition to amnesty “has a scent of Japanese internment” (not taking into account that Japanese internment took place under a Democrat Administration).

“Because the Democrats have made clear that they know they won’t have a lot of  success whipping up midterm excitement with six years of failed economics, one year of failed Obamacare, or Senate-floor ramblings about Charles Koch. So, in a bid to their base, the game plan is identity politics,” the Daily Caller reports.  “And just as in the past, it’s a campaign message that will be used to attack Republicans for anything and everything.

Apr. 12: The Hill: Democrats Just Don’t Understand Market Economics and Target Medicare Advantage Insurance Companies
A new Democrat bill would prevent Medicare Advantage (MA) plans from dropping providers in the middle of the year.   The measure is forthcoming from Representative DeLauro (D-CT) and responds to UnitedHealth's move to drop thousands of doctors from its MA policies at the end of last year.  But DeLauro just doesn’t understand that market economics.  When ObamaCare imposes cuts in the reimbursement rates health insurance companies need to respond by making cuts in order to remain profitable (e.g., they are not non-profit companies). 

Apr. 11: The Daily CallerObamaCare Taxes add Billions to rising premiums and an average increase of $354 per policyholder in 2014:
On top of rising premiums, Obamacare taxes are adding hundreds of dollars per year onto customers’ costs, according to new study from the American Action Forum.  Those who braved the health-care law’s exchanges will have to pay an extra $354 on average in 2014, reports the D.C.-based think tank, just due to seven taxes included in Obamacare. The vast majority of the country covered by employer-sponsored health insurance will be forced to pay a somewhat lower tab of $196 to cover the taxes. Those with self-funded employer-sponsored insurance are exempt from several of the largest culprits and will have the lowest added cost at $94 in 2014, which will drop to $59 by 2016.

Apr. 11: The Daily Caller: Federal Judge: Holder Gave Unprecedented Instruction for which he had no authority:
A federal judge criticized Attorney General Eric Holder for directing prosecutors to pursue shorter prison sentences for drug crimes before new guidelines for sentencing had been approved.  The U.S. Sentencing Commission approved the reduced sentences for federal drug trafficking offenses on Thursday. Holder endorsed the move last month, and the Justice Department instructed prosecutors not to object if defendants sought the newly-proposed guidelines during sentencing. 

Apr. 10: PCWorld.com: End of ICANN contract puts Internet freedom at risk, critics say:
The freedom and openness of the Internet are at stake after the U.S. government announced plans to end its contractual oversight of ICANN, some critics said Thursday. The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) announced last month that it will end its contract with the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers to operate key domain-name functions could embolden other nations to attempt to seize control, some Republican members of the U.S. House of Representatives Judiciary Committee said.

Apr. 10: The New York Times: Sebelius Steps Down After Five Troubled Years with ObamaCare:
Kathleen Sebelius, the Health and Human Services Secretary, is resigning, ending a stormy five-year tenure marred by the disastrous rollout of President Obama’s signature legislative achievement, ObamaCare.  Mr. Obama accepted Ms. Sebelius’s resignation this week, and on Friday morning, he will nominate Sylvia Mathews Burwell, the director of the Office of Management and Budget, to replace her, officials said.  The departure comes as the Obama administration tries to move beyond its early stumbles in carrying out the law, convince a still-skeptical public of its lasting benefits, and help Democratic incumbents, who face blistering attack ads after supporting the legislation, survive the midterm elections this fall.

Apr. 10: Fox News: House panel votes to hold ex-IRS “targeting“ Official in Contempt of Congress:
A House committee voted Thursday to hold Lois Lerner in contempt of Congress, as Republicans escalated their bid to "get to the bottom" of the former IRS official's role in the political targeting scandal.  The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee voted 21-12 to hold Lerner in contempt. The party-line vote followed hours of heated debate on the committee.   The contempt measure heads next to the House floor.  "This is not an action I take lightly," House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA), said before the vote. But he said lawmakers "need Ms. Lerner's testimony to complete our oversight work and bring truth to the American people." 

Apr. 10: Fox News: Emails Show Ranking House Committee Member Asked the IRS for Information on True the Vote:
Emails released by the House Oversight Committee show Democratic staff requested information from the IRS' tax-exempt division on True The Vote, a conservative group that monitors polling places for voter fraud. Apparently Cummings – the Ranking Democrat  -- requested information from True the Vote in October 2012 on its volunteer activities and training.  Five days later, the IRS sent True the Vote a letter requesting the group provide the agency with copies of its volunteer registration forms and additional information on its volunteer activities.   Cummings' staff requested more information from the IRS about True the Vote in January 2013.  Three days later, Lois Lerner wrote to her deputy Holly Paz: "Did we find anything?" and  "check tomorrow please." 

Continuing, from the Washington Free Beacon (April 9th): In a February 2014 Oversight Committee hearing, Cummings denied allegations by True The Vote attorney Cleta Mitchell who had said “We want to get to the bottom of how these coincidences happened, and we’re going to try to figure out whether any—if there was any staff of this committee that might have been involved in putting True the Vote on the radar screen of some of these Federal agencies. We don’t know that, but we—we’re going to do everything we can do to try to get to the bottom of how did this all happen.”

Meanwhile Oversight Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA) and five subcommittee chairmen sent a letter to Cummings Thursday demanding an explanation for his staff’s activities.

Apr. 10: Fox News: The Lois Leaner Files: The Case for Contempt of Congress:
The House Ways and Means Committee released a letter Wednesday detailing what it believes to be criminal misconduct by Lois Lerner, the former IRS official at the center of the ongoing IRS Tea Party targeting scandal. For those who want to understand how partisan bureaucrats can manipulate a powerful federal agency, the letter is a must-read.

Apr. 9: CBS News Las Vegas: Nevada Governor Calls Federal Cattle Roundup “Intimidation”
Nevada’s governor is criticizing a federal cattle roundup of 277 privately owned cows on land a local rancher's family has had it cattle graze on for over 140 years; calling it “intimidation.” The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) claims Bundy -- the rancher -- has been tresspassing on government land. BLM and National Park Service officials didn’t immediately respond Wednesday to Gov. Brian Sandoval’s call for them to “reconsider its approach.”   Sandoval says he’s most offended that federal officials have tried to corral people protesting the roundup into a “First Amendment area.”

Apr.9: The Times of Israel: Kerry focuses blame on Israel for collapse of talks
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said Tuesday that both Israelis and Palestinians were responsible for the current crisis in peace talks, but appeared to allocate the lion’s share of the blame to Jerusalem.  “Both sides wound out in a position of unhelpful moves,” Kerry said at a hearing of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, delineating what he said led to the current impasse.  “The prisoners were not released by Israel on the day they were supposed to be released and then another day passed and another day, and then 700 units were approved in Jerusalem and then poof — that was sort of the moment,” Kerry said.

Apr. 8: Fox News: Contempt vote set for Lerner, House Report lays out allegations
The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee formally laid out its allegations against Lois Lerner, the former IRS official at the center of the Tea Party targeting scandal, in a report Tuesday -- ahead of a scheduled committee vote on whether to hold her in contempt of Congress.   The committee plans to vote Thursday on holding her in contempt for failing to testify twice before the panel. On Wednesday, a separate committee will consider referring her case to the Justice Department for possible criminal prosecution.   The moves come after lawmakers tried repeatedly to press Lerner for answers about the tax collecting agency and its targeting practices against conservative groups.  “Lois Lerner’s testimony is critical to the committee’s investigation,” the oversight report states. “Without her testimony, the full extent of the IRS’s targeting of Tea Party applications cannot be known, and the committee will be unable to fully complete its work.”

Apr. 8: Fox News: Krauthammer on IRS Scandal: “The administration wants to stonewall”
Syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer said Tuesday on “Special Report with Bret Baier” that despite measures in the House to hold former IRS official Lois Lerner in contempt of Congress for her refusal to testify, the investigation into the IRS targeting of Tea Party and other conservative groups is likely going nowhere.  “Nothing will come of the contempt vote. Nothing will come of the DOJ investigation, because the administration has no interest in investigating,” Krauthammer said. 

Apr. 8: Fox News: Surprise!  Most won’t be able to buy health insurance until the end of the year:
There is yet another ObamaCare surprise waiting for consumers: from now until the next open enrollment at the end of this year, most people will simply not be able to buy any health insurance at all, even outside the exchanges.  "It's all closed down. You cannot buy a policy that is a qualified policy for the purpose of the ACA (the Affordable Care Act) until next year on January 1," says John Divito, president of Flexbenefit which has 2,500 brokers.  John Goodman of the National Center for Policy Analysis in Dallas adds, "People are not going to be able to buy individual and family policies, and that's part of ObamaCare. And what makes it so surprising is the whole point of ObamaCare was to encourage people to get insurance, and now the market has been completely closed down for the next seven months."

Apr. 7: The New Republic: House GOP Leadership “Expands” ObamaCare?
When the House Leadership snuck through the “Doc Fix” a week or so ago it got Conservatives upset that they had tried, and succeeded with a parliamentary end run.  But along with this “fix”  the GOP Leadership also eliminated a provision of the Affordable Care Act that capped deductibles for small-group health plans at $2,000 for individuals and $4,000 for families. 

Apr. 7: The Daily News: One Nation Under God:
Go to the column "One Nation Under God" penned by the "Three Musketeers" We find interesting that our great leaders found their faith from different views.  Franklin describes his own definition of religion one way, Washington another. But history speaks loudly of a common thread from our leaders of the past that seems to combined these elements; those who ask must be duly authorized by the governed, honestly seek His help through prayer, and be honestly seeking to find and act upon His will.  We strongly agree. 

In 1954 the words “under God” were added to the pledge of allegiance, making it clear that this is where the roots of our nation came from.  And by the way, it’s not “one nation, under God” its “one nation under God” one complete phrase and not an afterthought! In buildings all around our nation we see inscribed “in God we trust.”  We even carry this on our currency.  Our prayer is that this would be true; that it would not be just a slogan we find carved in stone but that it would be carved in the hearts and minds of the people of our nation, for only as we return to trusting Him will our nation continue under His protection.

Apr. 5: Roll Call: No pathway to legal status for undocumented immigrants who serve in U.S. Military
House Armed Services Committee Chairman Howard “Buck” McKeon said Friday afternoon there will be no pathway to legal status for undocumented immigrants who serve in the military attached to this year’s defense spending bill.  The decision poured cold water on a behind-the-scenes bipartisan effort, headed up by another Rep. Jeff Denham (R-CA) to include such a provision in the fiscal 2015 National Defense Authorization Act. After it was reported Wednesday that the ENLIST Act might be added to the NDAA a controversy erupted, with conservatives — led by committee member Mo Brooks (R-AL) who threatened to derail the NDAA if the leadership allowed inclusion of the provision. “It may stop the passage of the NDAA by bringing in an extracurricular issue that is wholly unrelated to national defense and national security,” Brooks told reporters on Friday prior to McKeon’s announcement.

Apr. 5: Yahoo News: Japan orders military to intercept any North Korean missiles deemed a threat:
Japan will strike any North Korean ballistic missile that threatens to hit Japan in the coming weeks after Pyongyang recently fired medium-range missiles, a government source said on Saturday.  A destroyer was dispatched to the Sea of Japan and will fire if North Korea launches a missile that Tokyo deems in danger of striking or falling on Japanese territory, the source said. Tensions have been building between North Korea and its neighbors since Pyongyang - in an apparent show of defiance - fired two Rodong missiles on March 26, just as the leaders of Japan, South Korea and the United States were sitting down to discuss containing the North Korean nuclear threat.

Apr. 5: Fox News: Congressional Retirements:  Part of the cause?  Gridlock and Dysfunction:
An exodus this year on Capitol Hill is creating a void in Congress, with some of its most experienced and skillful lawmakers suggesting the partisan gridlock is finally taking a toll.  The announcement this week by GOP Rep. Dave Camp, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, marked the eighth committee chairmen to retire this year from Congress -- four in the House and four in the Senate. In total, 23 House members are retiring this year.

The 12-term congressman’s decision not to seek re-election came just several days after Rep. Mike Rogers, another Michigan Republican and House committee chairman, said he also would leave in January.  Though Camp said he didn’t want to make the “mistake” of staying too long, as he had seen other congressional members do, he left with essentially no support for his plan to revise the country’s complicated tax code.

Apr. 4: The Foundry: Mozilla’s New CEO Resigns After Pro-Homosexual-Agenda Folks Mount Campaign Against Him
The chief executive of Mozilla resigned yesterday amid protests over his $1,000 donation in support of California’s Proposition 8, which defined marriage as the union of a man and a woman.   Brendan Eich’s 2008 donation was first revealed two years ago while he was serving in a senior role at Mozilla. But it was after his appointment as CEO last month that half of Mozilla’s board quit and company employees publicly voiced their disapproval. Others launched a public campaign seeking his ouster. In the wake of yesterday’s news, Andrew Sullivan, a leading advocate for redefining marriage, said the episode “should disgust anyone interested in a tolerant and diverse society.”

Ryan T. Anderson, the William E. Simon Fellow in Religion and a Free Society, warned that “bullies” were poisoning democratic discourse by attacking anyone who doesn’t share their view.   Hans von Spakovsky, manager of the Election Law Reform Initiative and senior legal fellow, said the episode was an example of how the disclosure of political contributions served as a means to intimidate and harass an individual for his personal views.

Apr. 4: The Washington Examiner:  Holder didn’t take over 100 personal trips on the taxpayers dime it was only 27. Some contend this is 27 too many!
Attorney General Eric Holder disputed a Government Accountability Office report on his use of Justice Department airplanes for personal trips, saying it overstated the number of trips he took and failed to recognize that some trips were job-related.  Holder said DOJ looked at it and figured out from the time period that the GAO was looking at, we took not hundreds, but 27 personal and four combined [trips].

Apr. 4: The Washington Free Beacon: Senior CIA Manager jumps off building, committing suicide, in Northern Virginia:
A senior CIA official has died in an apparent suicide this week from injuries sustained after jumping off a building in northern Virginia, close to Tysons Corner,  CIA officials confirmed today. 

Apr. 3: Reason.Com:
Recent Poll: 75% of Americans believe politicians are corrupt, 70% use political power to hurt enemies
Americans don’t paint a pretty picture of their public servants in latest national Reason-Rupe poll.   Americans responded  that 75 percent of all politicians are “corrupted” by campaign donations and lobbyists  and said  70 percent use their political power to help their friends and hurt their enemies.  No wonder just 17 percent approve of the job Congress is doing.  Or that President Obama’s approval rating is just 43 percent, with 51 percent disapproving.

Apr. 3: Breitbart News: Border Patrol Chief: Obama’s Deportation Leniency Leading to Influx of Illegal Immigrant Children
The new head of Customs and Border Protection said on Wednesday that the Obama administration's leniency on deportations and deferred action programs have contributed to the increase in the number of illegal immigrant children crossing the country's southern border. Gil Kerlikowske told the House Appropriations Homeland Security Subcommittee that the agency's "facilities are not designed to hold these large numbers, nor are our ports of entry." Therefore, border patrol agents should not spend their time babysitting foreign children from south of the border. According to reports, the number of "immigrant children entering the United States has spiked from about 6,000 in fiscal 2011 to roughly 34,000 in fiscal 2013," and officials estimate that around 60,000 more "will have entered by the end of fiscal 2014."

Apr. 3: CNS News: Net Loss from ObamaCare in Maryland: 73K lose coverage | 60K sign up
The head of the Maryland Health Insurance Exchange testified Thursday before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee that only 60,000 people have signed up for Obamacare through the state’s exchange - 13,000 less than the number of individuals reported to lose their insurance due to Obamacare. 

Apr. 2: The FoundryKrauthammer Blasts the ObamaCare “Phony” 7.1 Million enrollment number
The 7.1 Billion dollar figure is “meaningless,” Krauthammer said on “Special Report” on  Fox News, “because … we don’t know how many of them have paid, so it’s an  enrollment number that’s not [actual] enrollment.” 

Apr. 2: The National Journal: 15-20% of “Enrollees” Aren’t Paying ObamaCare Premiums, Insurers Say
Blue Cross/Blue Shield says 15 to 20 percent of its new customers aren't paying their first premium—which means they're not actually covered.  Roughly 80 to 85 percent of people who selected a Blues plan through the exchanges went on to pay their first month's premium, a BCBSA spokeswoman said Wednesday.  The new statistics, particularly from such a large carrier, help define how many people are actually getting covered under ObamaCare.  If the nationwide payment rate, across all carriers, remains at 80 to 85 percent, the 7.1 million sign-ups Obama announced Tuesday would translate into somewhere between 5.7 and 6 million people who are actually covered, while 6 million health insurance plans were cancelled due to ObamaCare.

Apr. 2: Fox News: Did Michigan just trigger a “Constitutional Convention?”
Momentum is building behind what would be an unprecedented effort to amend the U.S. Constitution, through a little-known provision that gives states rather than Congress the power to initiate changes.   At issue is what's known as a "constitutional convention," a scenario tucked into Article V of the U.S. Constitution. At its core, Article V provides two ways for amendments to be proposed. The first – which has been used for all 27 amendment to date – requires two-thirds of both the House and Senate to approve a resolution, before sending it to the states for ratification. The Founding Fathers, though, devised an alternative way which says if two-thirds of state legislatures demand a meeting, Congress “shall call a convention for proposing amendments.”

The idea has gained popularity among constitutional scholars in recent years -- but got a big boost last week when Michigan lawmakers endorsed it. Michigan matters, because by some counts it was the 34th state to do so. That makes two-thirds.  In the wake of the vote, Duncan Hunter (R-CA) pressed House Speaker John Boehner on Tuesday to determine whether the states just crossed the threshold for this kind of convention. Hunter wrote.  “With the recent decision by Michigan lawmakers, it is important that the House – and those of us who support a balanced budget amendment -- determine whether the necessary number of states have acted and the appropriate role of Congress should this be the case."

But a Constitutional Convention could also open the entire document to changes that could further erode the protections found in the constitution, unlike amendments that come from a two-thirds vote of the House and Senate and that relate to specific measures like having a balanced budget amendment. 

Apr. 2: The Daily Beast: CIA Strikes Back on Benghazi
The CIA’s deputy director during the Benghazi attack responded to allegations Wednesday that he lied to Congress.   In a rare open hearing, Michael Morell, the deputy CIA director during the assault in Benghazi on Wednesday, fired back at reports he cherry picked intelligence for government-wide talking points in the aftermath of the attacks.  Morell has come under fire for allegedly lying to Congress and editing the Benghazi talking points, despite multiple streams of intelligence that were to the contrary to their substance.  Morell’s account differed from the testimony of the CIA’s station chief during the Benghazi attack who told lawmakers his assessment for the entire week of the attack was that the Benghazi incident was a terrorist attack and not a mob that had gotten out of control – the same conclusion the Senate Intelligence Committee came to.  One U.S. intelligence official who has worked on the intelligence on Benghazi told The Daily Beast this week that there nearly all of the human sources for the CIA in Benghazi also confirmed it was a terrorist attack along with considerable amounts of signal intercepts picked up by the NSA that evening.

Apr. 2: The Daily Caller: Government Report show the EPA tested deadly pollutants on unsuspecting humans in order to push their agenda:
The Environmental Protection Agency has been conducting dangerous experiments on humans over the past few years in order to justify more onerous clean air regulations.  According to a newly released IG report, the EPA conducted tests on people with health issues and the elderly, exposing them to high levels of potentially lethal pollutants, without disclosing the risks of cancer and death.   These experiments exposed people, including those with asthma and heart problems, to dangerously high levels of toxic pollutants, including diesel fumes, reads the report.  The EPA also exposed people with health issues to levels of pollutants up to 50 times greater than the agency says is safe for humans.

Apr. 2: The National Journal: Republicans Fear Obama will turn over control of the Internet to Russia and China:
An Obama administration plan to give up oversight of certain technical Internet functions could open the door to a takeover by authoritarian regimes, Republican lawmakers claimed Wednesday.  If Russia or China gain new influence over the management of the Internet, they could begin censoring content or blocking websites, the Republicans warned.  "Make no mistake: Threats to the openness and freedom of the Internet are real," said Republican Rep. Greg Walden, the chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Communications and Technology Subcommittee, which held a hearing on the issue Wednesday. "Leaders such as Vladimir Putin have explicitly announced their desire to gain control of the Internet."

Apr. 2:  Breitbart NewsHouse Republican Leadership may try an amnesty end-run:Some House Republicans are quietly working to insert immigration legislation into the text of the DOD authorization bill that would allow so-called “DREAMers” to obtain permanent legal residency by joining the military.  Jeff Denham (R-CA) is leading the push to add the text of his “ENLIST Act” into the National Defense Authorization Act, which could come to the House floor as early as next month.  The effort, which has not previously been reported, is fairly advanced, and House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte – who killed the proposal as an amendment to last year's NDAA in a dramatic floor struggle – is weighing whether to approve the maneuver, which would circumvent his committee on one of its key matters of jurisdiction.  Meanwhile, top immigration hawks ripped the proposal as ill-conceived and a clear effort to build momentum for a comprehensive immigration bill.

Apr. 1: The LA Times: High deportation figures are misleading:
Immigration activists have sharply criticized President Obama for a rising volume of deportations, labeling him the "deporter in chief" and staging large protests that have harmed his standing with some Latinos, a key group of voters for Democrats. But the portrait of a steadily increasing number of deportations rests on statistics that conceal almost as much as they disclose. A closer examination shows that immigrants living illegally in most of the continental U.S. are less likely to be deported today than before Obama came to office, according to immigration data. Expulsions of people who are settled and working in the United States have fallen steadily since his first year in office, and are down more than 40% since 2009.


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