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Obama's Second Term

Cuba is Still Communist, Says Raul Castro

December 20th 2014

Cuban president Raul Castro thanked President Obama for “a new chapter” in U.S.-Cuban relations on Saturday, but said the resumption of diplomatic relations would not mean abandoning communist governance.

“Every country has the inalienable right to choose its own political systems,” Castro said, according to the New York Times. “No one should believe that improving relations with the United States means Cuba renouncing its ideas.”

Castro said the island nation would begin undertaking gradual economic reforms to allow a system of “prosperous and sustainable communism” to take hold.

He also said that the rapprochement between the two countries was just beginning, saying of the sweeping changes to U.S. trade and travel policies that “the only way to advance is with mutual respect.” Read more ..


Broken Government

Obama Rewards Cuba for 'Brutal Behavior'

December 17th 2014

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Sen. Robert Menendez (N.J.), the top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, is slamming President Obama over his trade to release an American held in Cuba. 

"President Obama's actions have vindicated the brutal behavior of the Cuban government," Menendez, known for his tough stance on Cuba, said in a statement. "There is no equivalence between an international aid worker and convicted spies who were found guilty of conspiracy to commit espionage against our nation."

American aid worker Alan Gross, who was held in Cuba for five years for trying to set up Internet for a small Jewish community, was released on Wednesday in exchange for the release of three Cuban agents convicted of spying in the U.S. Read more ..


Broken Borders

Senate Rebukes Cruz's Claims of Unconstitutional Immigration Order

December 14th 2014

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A vast majority of the Senate disagreed with Sen. Ted Cruz’s (R-Texas) assertion that President Obama’s executive order on immigration is unconstitutional.

Cruz raised a constitutional point of order against the $1.1 trillion “cromnibus” — which funds most of the government through September, preventing a government shutdown.

“If you believe President Obama’s executive order was unconstitutional vote yes,” Cruz said ahead of the vote on Saturday. “If you think the president’s executive order is constitutional vote no.”
Only 22 senators voted with Cruz and 74 voted against his point of order.

“The junior senator from Texas is wrong, wrong, wrong,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said. Reid said the vote had everything to do with the funding bill and nothing to do with immigration.

Cruz and Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) agreed to allow a vote on the cromnibus late Saturday night after objecting the day before. Both have taken issue with President Obama’s executive order on immigration. They’ve called it an “illegal amnesty” program.

GOP House members refused to fund the Department of Homeland Security beyond February as protest to Obama’s executive order, but Lee and Cruz said it didn’t go far enough. Read more ..


Obama's Second Term

7-Eleven Touts Obamacare to Customers

December 12th 2014

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ObamaCare ads will now appear on 7-Eleven receipts at more than 7,000 stores nationwide as government health officials expand their outreach in the second year of healthcare sign-ups.

Information about ObamaCare sign-ups will appear on the bottom of receipts for anyone using an mobile payment company called PayNearMe, which allows bank-less customers to pay in stores like 7-Eleven and Family Dollar.

Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell announced the new partnership with the tech start-up PayNearMe on Thursday at a store in Washington, D.C.

"Putting these reminders at the bottom of PayNearMe receipts will help get health coverage information into the hands of traditionally hard-to-reach consumers,” HHS wrote in a statement.

The partnership will help HHS “reach financially underserved and other cash-preferring consumers,” the statement reads.

Sarah Ferris writes for The Hill, from where this article is adapted. Read more ..


Israel and Palestine

Netanyahu Raps Palestinians and 'Hair-Raising' Incitement

December 8th 2014

Israel’s Prime Minister Netanyahu on Sunday said the Palestinian leadership is not ready to confront extremism in the way that is necessary for a peace deal with Israel to be secured, and criticized Palestinian incitement against Jews and Israel as making “your hair stand on end.”

His comments were made in a pre-recorded video played at the annual Saban Forum hosted by the Brookings Institution in Washington DC.

“Unfortunately, the Palestinian leadership is simply not prepared, and I hope this changes, but it’s not yet prepared to truly confront violence and fanaticism within Palestinian society, within their own ranks,” Netanyahu said. Read more ..


Obama's Second Four Years

Obama Nominates Ashton Carter as Future Defense Chief

December 5th 2014

In a White House photo opportunity on December 5, President Barack Obama nominated former deputy Pentagon chief Ashton Carter to become the next secretary of defense. Carter, a physicist and high-tech weapons expert, served as deputy defense secretary from 2011 to 2013. Prior to that, he was the Pentagon's top weapons buyer for two years.

Calling him by his nickname "Ash," President Obama said Carter brings "a unique blend of strategic perspective and technical know how."

Ashton, according to VOA News, has bipartisan support in Washington, and if confirmed by the Senate, will replace Chuck Hagel, who resigned under pressure last month after just two years on the job. Read more ..


The 2016 Vote

The Four Republicans Who Worry Candidate Hillary Clinton

December 4th 2014

Hillary Clinton allies are focusing on four potential Republican challengers for the White House: Jeb Bush, Rand Paul, Chris Christie and Scott Walker.

Clinton World believes Paul has run the best “pre-campaign” of the group. And the fact that the Republican senator from Kentucky has worked to attract Republicans and Democrats to his cause has made him someone to watch.

Yet, time and again, Bush is the top name to roll off everyone’s tongue.

The former Florida governor would bring enormous resources and a solid networking structure to the 2016 campaign, as well as a level of sophistication that Clinton allies think is lacking in the other candidates.
The scion of the Bush family could raise millions of dollars in a flash and would have the support of Karl Rove’s super-PAC Crossroads GPS, which could raise hundreds of millions of dollars for him. Assuming he gets out of a tough GOP primary, he could also make inroads with Hispanic voters, who have defected in droves from Republican candidates in the last two elections. Read more ..


Obama's Second Term

Hagel's Forced Exit Signals White House Power Shift

December 2nd 2014

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The forced resignation of Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is exposing deep tensions between the Pentagon and President Obama’s national security staff. While administration aides characterized Hagel’s departure as a mutual decision, insiders say it was the culmination of a larger power struggle that has intensified in Obama’s second term.

“[There’s a] difficult relationship between the National Security Council (NSC) and the Pentagon,” said one national security expert and former military officer who requested anonymity to speak freely. “It’s been true for a little while now.”

Defense experts say there has long been distrust between the West Wing and the Pentagon, dating back to decisions about the “surge” in Afghanistan in 2009 and the Iraq troop drawdown in 2011. The moment that really brought home the divide, experts said, was the president’s last-minute decision in September 2013 to refrain from missile strikes against Syrian President Bashar Assad. Read more ..


Race and Racism

Ferguson Police Officer who Shot Michael Brown Resigns

November 29th 2014

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The police officer who fatally shot teenager Michael Brown has resigned from the Ferguson Police Department.

Darren Wilson, who has been on administrative leave since the August shooting, announced his resignation effective immediately on Saturday, one of his attorneys told the Associated Press. His resignation comes nearly a week after a grand jury decided against charging Wilson in the killing of the unarmed African-American teenager, sparking national protests across the country.

More protests were held in Chicago, New York, San Francisco and Oakland. In Chicago, around 200 people held a protest near the city’s tourist-heavy Magnificent Mile shopping area. Read more ..


Obama's Second Term

Obama Takes on Pro-Immigration Hecklers

November 26th 2014

President Obama shot back at hecklers Tuesday who interrupted his speech in Chicago, insisting they "get the facts."

Back in his hometown, Obama pitched his sweeping executive actions on immigraton to a pre-dominantly Polish-American crowd.

Midway through his remarks, three protesters rose up and began criticizing his deportation policy.
"You have been deporting families," a heckler yelled. The president urged the demonstrator to stop shouting before he fired back.

"What you're not paying attention to is the fact that I just took an action to change the law, so that's point No. 1," Obama said, his words echoing to 1,000 attendees. "Point No. 2, the way the change in the law works is that we're reprioritizing how we enforce our immigration laws generally." Read more ..


Race and Racism

A Second Night of Violence Roils Ferguson MO

November 26th 2014

The center of protests shifted somewhat away from Ferguson, Mo., on Tuesday night and Wednesday morning to marches in cities across the country.

A day after the grand jury decided not to charge officer Darren Wilson in the fatal shooting of black teenager Michael Brown, Gov. Jay Nixon (D) announced a significant increase in the National Guard presence.

Some of the 2,200 National Guard members, up from around 700 on Monday night when there was looting and arson, helped secure businesses. Police closed off one street that had been at the center of the unrest.

Authorities in Ferguson used pepper spray and tear gas as protesters set a police cruiser ablaze and smashed windows at City Hall, but the town saw far less destruction than the previous night. Read more ..


Obama's Second Term

Ferguson Missouri in Flames Following Announcement in Michael Brown case

November 25th 2014

Robert McCulloch, the St. Louis County prosecutor, announced Monday night that the jury had found no probable cause exists to file a cause of indictment against Wilson.

The jury had considered five charges against Wilson, ranging up to first-degree murder.
McCulloch said that the grand jury met for 25 sessions over the course of three months, and that their heir deliberations took two days.

It was not clear whether McCulloch or his office asked for an indictment at any point during the proceedings. Brown's family released a statement expressing its profound disappointment in the decision, but asked for demonstrators to keep their protests peaceful.

"While we understand that many others share our pain, we ask that you channel your frustration in ways that will make a positive change," the family's statement said. "We need to work together to fix the system that allowed this to happen. Join with us in our campaign to ensure that every police officer working the streets in this country wears a body camera. We respectfully ask that you please keep your protests peaceful." Read more ..


Technology and Privacy

Upstart Uber and its 'God View' Ignites Privacy Fight

November 24th 2014

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Ride-sharing giant Uber’s ability to monitor users’ movement without their knowledge is exposing what some critics call a gaping hole in the nation’s privacy laws.

Unlike some other types of data, regulators cannot limit what companies are able to do with information about customers' location, which could show where people live, sleep and travel.

As more and more smartphone applications track people’s movements, privacy advocates say that’s creating a recipe for disaster.
“Right now we protect health data, we protect financial data, we protect kids’ data, but location isn’t protected,” said Alvaro Bedoya, the executive director of Georgetown University’s Center on Privacy and Technology.

“As long as a company is not deceiving you about how they’re using the data, they can pretty much do whatever they want with it,” he added. Read more ..


Oil Addiction

How Landrieu's Desperate Keystone gambit Died in the Senate

November 21st 2014

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Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) told reporters on Monday night that she had the 60 votes she needed to approve the Keystone XL pipeline. But secretly, she knew she was one short. Behind the scenes, Landrieu furiously lobbied Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.), hoping he’d become her 60th vote. She also targeted Sen. Angus King, the independent from Vermont, and the Democratic senators due to retire at the end of the year, Sens. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) and Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.), according to lawmakers familiar with the negotiations. She hoped a member of the Senate Democratic leadership, most likely Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), would cross the party’s base and cast a yes vote that could save her Senate career.

It was a big gamble. Getting enough votes to advance Keystone would give her a victory to talk about in the run-up to her Dec. 6 runoff election against Rep. Bill Cassidy (R-La.). Read more ..


The Oil Addiction

Proud Mary Landrieu Keeps on Rolling to Defeat over Keystone XL

November 19th 2014

Legislation to approve construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline failed in the Senate on Tuesday, delivering what could be a fatal blow to Sen. Mary Landrieu’s (D-La.) reelection campaign. The measure was defeated 59-41, falling a single vote short of the supermajority necessary for passage. All of the “no” votes came from Democrats, and they included all of the Senate Democratic leadership.

That raised immediate questions about why Democrats had decided to grant Landrieu her wish for a vote on the Keystone legislation in the first place, because its defeat by one vote will likely be used by Rep. Bill Cassidy (La.), her GOP opponent, in television advertisements in the weeks-long campaign ahead of their Dec. 6 runoff.

Landrieu expressed disappointment after the vote but didn’t point her finger at leadership for the defeat. “There is no blame, only joy in the fight. Where I come from we just never talk about quitting,” she said. Read more ..


Israel and Palestine

Heroic Israeli Druze Cop Succumbs to Wounds Inflicted by Terrorists

November 19th 2014

Druze Israeli Police officer Zidan Sayif, 27, died of his wounds late Tuesday, hours after a terror attack at a Jerusalem synagogue.

Family and friends at his bedside said they were proud he was the first on the scene to end the terrorist slaughter, Israel’s NRG News reported earlier in the day.

Two Palestinian terrorists entered the Kehilat Bnei Torah synagogue on Shimon Agassi St. in the city’s religious Har Nof neighborhood at about 07:00 a.m., opened fire with a weapon and struck worshipers with a meat cleaver and knives.

Zidan and another police officer were able to shoot and kill the assailants shortly after the attack on the religious complex, located at the western edge of the capital.

His family – a clan from the western Galilee village of Yanuh-Jatt said they are filled with pride for their heroic relative who helped stop the carnage which killed four rabbis, and wounded eight other worshipers. Read more ..


Obama's Second Term

Congressional Democrats Get Cold Feet over Obama's Immigration Action

November 18th 2014

President Obama has a tough decision to make on the timing of an executive order to freeze deportations of illegal immigrants.

Senate Democrats want him to wait to give them time to pass an omnibus spending bill and other legislative priorities in the lame-duck session that is just now ramping up.

But delaying the action, even for a few weeks, could make Obama look weak and inflame immigration advocates who are already furious with him for holding back until after the midterm elections.

“You have growing anxiety amongst the immigrant community that’s losing faith that the president is going to do as he said he would do,” said Brent Wilkes, national executive director of the League of United Latin American Citizens. “I really think he’ll lose support from the Latino community if he continues to wait.” Read more ..


Israel and Palestine

Palestinians Selling Land to Jews Receive Bloodcurdling Death Threats

November 15th 2014

Sultan Abu Al-'Einein, an adviser to Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas, says that Palestinians who sell land to Jews should be hung from electric poles. Image: MEMRI Screenshot

A prominent official of the Palestinian Fatah movement who is also an adviser to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has issued a bloodcurdling threat to “Palestinians who sell land to Jews” – and it’s far from being the first time that this same official has engaged in violent, incendiary rhetoric. Read more ..


Obama's Second Term

Don't Back Down on Immigration, say Democrats to Obama

November 13th 2014

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Wary that President Obama might back away from vows to ease deportations unilaterally, House Democrats on Wednesday sought to hold the president’s feet to the fire.

On the first day of Congress’s return to Washington after the midterm elections, the lawmakers pressed Obama to act swiftly and decisively to reduce deportations, even in the face of Republican warnings that sidestepping Congress could undermine immigration reform legislation and sink the confirmation of Obama’s pick for attorney general.

The Democrats aren’t mincing words.

"We’re begging the president — there’s urgency to this — you said you were going to do it. Go big!” Rep. Juan Vargas (D-Calif.) said Wednesday during a press briefing outside the Capitol.
Citing Tuesday’s observance of Veterans Day, Vargas urged Obama to help military families in particular — “families that have been divided because you haven’t acted yet,” he charged. Read more ..


Obama's Second Term

Obama is 'Looking Forward' to his Executive Order on Immigration

November 11th 2014

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Immigrant minors held in federal government facility

President Obama is “looking forward” to taking executive action on immigration, White House press secretary Josh Earnest said in an interview published Tuesday.

“The president is disappointed that this legislative solution won’t be achieved, but the president is looking forward to taking executive action on his own, to solve as many of these problems as he can,” Earnest told Fusion.

The president’s vow to act unilaterally has emerged as a major sticking point between the White House and congressional Republicans, who say last week’s election results show voters do not want the president to act without Congress. Read more ..


Obama's Second Term

GOP Ponders Impeachment over Possible Obama Immigration Amnesty

November 10th 2014

Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas) said in a video posted Monday that impeaching President Obama "would be a consideration" if he moves forward with executive action on immigration.

"Impeachment is indicting in the House and that’s a possibility," Barton said on Newsmax TV. "But you still have to convict in the Senate and that takes a two-thirds vote. But impeachment would be a consideration, yes sir.”
Republicans and Obama are clashing over the president's planned executive actions on immigration. Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) has in the past dismissed talk of impeachment as a Democratic "scam" fueled by Democrats to boost fundraising. Read more ..


Ukraine on Edge

Tensions Spike in Eastern Europe as Russian Troops and Armor Enter Ukraine

November 10th 2014

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More heavily armed convoys have been spotted in Donetsk, the area in eastern Ukraine which saw heavy fighting over the November 8-9 weekend. Columns of unmarked vehicles, troops, and heavy weaponry such as howitzers, anti-aircraft guns and mobile radar were spotted, sparking concern in Kyiv, Brussels, Washington, and from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko condemned the Russian incursion in statements made on November 7.

Ukrainian Security Service (SBU) director Valentyn Nalyvaychenko has said that Ukraine's former counterintelligence chief, Volodymyr Bik, was arrested on suspicion of having helped "a foreign country to prepare saboteur activities in Ukraine." Bik had served during the government of ousted Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych. Read more ..


Ukraine on Edge

Secretary Kerry Talks while Putin Takes Action in Ukraine

November 8th 2014

John Kerry

Pentagon spokesman Rear Admiral John Kirby said on November 7 that DoD has "no independent operational reporting" to confirm that Russia sent an armored column into eastern Ukraine on November 6. He said, however, that there is "a continued presence " of Russian battalion tactical groups "right across the border" in Russia that is "doing nothing to decrease the tension in the region." Speaking for Ukraine, Andriy Lysenko said that a Russian column armed with 32 Russian tanks, 16 howitzer artillery pieces, and 30 trucks of ammunition and soldiers, crossed into eastern Ukraine’s Luhansk region on November 6. He added that yet another column of trucks and mobile radar stations crossed into Ukraine at a nearby border point.

"Supplies of military equipment and enemy fighters from the Russian Federation are continuing," Lysenko told a briefing in Kiev. He said five Ukrainian soldiers had been killed in the past 24 hours even though Kiev has denied that it is launching a new military offensive. Read more ..


Obama's Second Term

Public Health Advocates Seek Action from Lame Duck Obama

November 7th 2014

Pro-regulation advocates are pushing President Obama to spend his next two years in office passing rules to protect public health, preserve the environment and keep workers and consumers safe.

The Center for Progressive Reform issued a report Friday detailing 13 regulatory actions coming from the Food and Drug Administration, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Labor and the Department of Transportation, that it’d like to see on the books by mid-2016.

“All are now years overdue, particularly considering the very serious health, safety and environmental effects they address,” CPR said in its report. “Each day, people get ill and too many die because earlier administrations dragged their feet on these problems.” Read more ..


The 2014 Vote

Outgoing Majority Leader Reid Looks to His Future in the Senate

November 7th 2014

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Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) hopes to confirm 50 of President Obama’s nominees and move an omnibus spending bill in a last hurrah before Democrats give up power in the Senate.

The nominees are part of a packed lame-duck schedule that Reid is furiously planning, and that will be a topic at Friday’s White House lunch meeting between Obama and congressional leaders.

Reid also wants to move a package of expiring tax provisions, the annual Defense Department authorization bill and an extension of a tax moratorium on Internet purchases in the weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

That will be a challenge not only because of the tight schedule, but because of expected clashes between Democrats over what should be prioritized before Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) takes over the Senate’s agenda in January. Read more ..


Obama's Second Term

Obama Unapologetic for Losses in Senate

November 6th 2014

An unrepentant President Obama said he had one major concession to the Republican Party that stormed to big majorities in the Senate and House in Tuesday’s midterm elections: He plans to listen more.

Well, at least with the issues they agree on.

Pressed repeatedly during a post-election press conference Wednesday on his role in Democrats’ disastrous election performance, Obama said he didn’t want “to try to read the tea leaves.”

He said the economy remains strong, while pointing out that two-thirds of voters didn’t participate in the midterms — suggesting Republicans lack a mandate. Read more ..


Ukraine on Edge

Russia Confirms Separatist Elections in Eastern Ukraine with Troops and Tanks

November 3rd 2014

While Russian-led separatists in eastern Ukraine held elections on November 2, the Ukrainian government announced that "intensive" troop movements crossing over from Russia have cast doubt over a possible truce. Russia had backed the controversial balloting despite criticism from the West. The vote in the so-called Donetsk People's Republic and Lugansk People's Republic was condemned by authorities in Kiev and the West. The election was intended to provide a veneer of legitimacy to the pro-Russian authorities already in control of the two main rebel-held cities. The truce that was agreed by authorities in Kiev and the rebels appears seriously in doubt.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko denounced the ballot in eastern Ukraine as a "farce that is being conducted under the threat of tanks and guns," while warning Russia not to recognize the result of the ballot. Read more ..


Israel and Palestine

Rocket Fired from Gaza Lands in Israel while Egypt Creates a Buffer Zone

November 2nd 2014

Israeli early warning detection systems picked up a rocket launch from Gaza on Friday night. Originally the rocket was believed to have fallen short on the Gaza side of the border, though it is now understood the rocket made it over the border into Israel.

It is unknown which terror organization fired the missile.

In response to the missile fire, Israel shut down the Keren Shalom and Erez border crossings, and they will remain closed until further notice.

Egypt has also been hard at work dealing with the threat posed by Gaza, and has uncovered and destroyed hundreds of smuggling tunnels in the Sinai in recent weeks. The Egyptian army claims to have uncovered over 1,600 smuggling tunnels since Mohammed Morsi was deposed by the army on July 3, 2013. Read more ..


Obama's Second Term

Democrats Seek Help from the Clintons to Save Congressional Majority

November 1st 2014

Democrats are turning to Bill and Hillary Clinton — and not President Obama — to save their majority in the Senate.

The Clintons have crisscrossed the country in recent weeks for Democratic candidates, and will each appear in key states this weekend where races could decide which party controls the upper chamber.

While Obama has been mostly sidelined — he’ll appear at a Michigan rally on Saturday where Democrats believe a Senate seat is safely in hand — the Clintons are traveling to red states where the president is not welcome.
On Saturday, Hillary Clinton will appear alongside Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.). She’ll then travel to Kentucky to appear alongside Senate candidate Allison Lundergan Grimes, who is running against Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY.) Read more ..


The Caliphate

Islamic State Militants Seize Stronghold of Rebels Backed by U.S. and Saudi Arabia

November 1st 2014

The terrorist forces affiliated to Al-Qaida seized the last stronghold of rebels back by Saudi Arabia and Western powers in Idlib – a province in northwestern Syria. This came on November 1 after days of intense fighting. With backing from similarly-minded Islamist groups, the Al-Nusra Front is seeking to exterminate the Syria Revolutionaries’ Front led by a Jamal Maarouf. The latter has been key to armed opposition to Syria’s dictator Bashr al-Assad and has received significant support from the United States and other Western countries. Islamist groups have accused him of corruption, as well as collaboration with the West.

Al-Nusra is the official affiliate of Al-Qaida in the war that has pitted various forces against the Assad regime. Once one of the strongest of the groupings opposed to Assad, it is now overshadowed by the Islamic State which now controls large extents of northern and eastern Syria. Read more ..


The 2014 Vote

Voters Disgruntled with Obama Economy

November 1st 2014

Vote Buttons

Voters are deeply frustrated with the economy as they head to the polls Tuesday for a midterm election Republicans hope will yield them control of the Senate.

While the unemployment rate is dropping, the economy is expanding and gas prices are below $3 per gallon, polls show that most voters feel the recovery has passed them by.

“We find that most people say they’re falling behind or at best staying even,” said Alec Tyson, a senior researcher at the Pew Research Center. “Even as the overall employment picture may be improving, people aren’t feeling it in their own wages and day-to-day lives.”

The persistent dissatisfaction in year six of President Obama’s term is an ominous sign for Democrats, and could foreshadow major losses for the party on Election Day.

While Obama has increasingly tried to trumpet positive news about the economy, polling shows the message hasn’t resonated with voters. That’s party because wages aren’t outpacing inflation, according to Josh Bivens, research and policy director at the Economic Policy Institute. Read more ..


Financing the Flames

U.S. Judge Shields Palestinian Terrorists from Scrutiny

October 29th 2014

Palestinian Liberation Organization with Arafat

Three investigative journalists have filed legal papers to intervene and unseal documents in a U.S. District Court case involving the Palestine Liberation Organization. The Washington Free Beacon broke the story reported by its senior writer Adam Kredo.

Journalists Sharyl Attkisson, Steve Emerson, and Edwin Black, according to court filings, have filed a motion "to publicly disclose secret documents that are believed to provide new details about payments made to terrorists by the Palestinian government," Kredo's article reports. 

The article states, "Lawyers have been fighting for months to force a U.S. District Court in New York to unseal scores of documents and testimony that allegedly detail how the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) has been paying salaries to convicted terrorists. The sealed documents were submitted to the court as part of a 2004 lawsuit brought by terrorism victims seeking damages from the PLO as a result of their attacks on Israel."

The case is Sokolow v. PLO. A memorandum at law states, "This is a motion by three world renowned investigative journalists to intervene in this action bearing on issues of critical public interest for the limited purpose of vindicating the
public’s presumptive legal right of access to records that have been filed under seal or heavily redacted.
The intervenors respectfully submit that, under well-established law, much of it established by this Court
there is no legal basis for maintaining a cloak of secrecy over the contents of public filings in this litigation to which the press and public are presumptively entitled access." Read more ..


Obama's Second Term

Democrats Express Concern over Obama's Treatment of Immigrant Mothers and Children in Detention

October 29th 2014

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House Democrats are expressing new concerns about how the Obama administration is handling immigrant mothers and children who were among the thousands detained at the southern border this past summer.

In a letter to President Obama, 32 House Democrats decried the government’s construction of new centers to handle the surge of immigrants, and questioned whether people were being held unnecessarily.

"At the current rates, within one year this Administration will have increased capacity to detain immigrant women and children by more than 4,000 percent,” Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), who was behind Tuesday's letter, said in a statement.

“As the law requires, there needs to be a better assessment in place to appropriately screen and assess these women and children, many of whom are fleeing violence, torture or persecution in Central America,” she said. Read more ..


Israel on Edge

Jerusalem Police Bring In One Thousand More Police and Border Guards As Reinforcement Against Riots

October 26th 2014

Palestinian Rock Attackers

Since the murder of 3 month old infant Chaya Zissel Braun by a Hamas terrorist driving into a train station crowd Wednesday evening, Palestinians across East Jerusalem have been rioting in various locations. Silwan, A-tur, Beit Hanina, Shuafat, and the Arab Quarter of the Old City have seen near-continuous rioting. Masked teens and young adults have been throwing rocks, fireworks, and Molotov Cocktails at police, passing cars, buildings, and people. The use of fireworks as a weapon is a recent phenomenon; since they are explosive and easy to obtain, they are becoming a staple of rioters' arsenal in targeting civilians and police. 

Tombstones and monuments in the Har HaZeitim (Mount of Olives) cemetery were defaced and destroyed. The light rail and some buses were attacked, causing damage but no injuries. Read more ..


America on Edge

Ebola and ISIS Contagion Dominates Sunday Political Talk Shows

October 26th 2014

Growing concerns over the spread of Ebola and the imminent threat posed by ISIS will be the focus of the Sunday morning political talk shows.

Hoping to reassure the public about efforts to contain the deadly virus in the U.S., Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, will again make the rounds Sunday morning.

Meanwhile, Rick Sacra, the American doctor who has been cured of Ebola, will also hit the airwaves. Sacra contracted the deadly virus while working in Liberia before being flown back to the U.S. for treatment.
In a recent interview with MSNBC, Sacra says, "I would go back to Liberia. You know, it's my second home. I've lived there for 15 years of my life." Read more ..


Obama's Second Term

U.S.-Israeli Relations are in 'Crisis' Mode

October 25th 2014

"There is a crisis with the Americans and it needs to be addressed as a crisis," said Israeli Finance Minister Yair Lapid on October 25. His remarks followed reports that Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon was prevented from meeting with senior Obama administration officials during his current US visit. "We mustn't pretend there isn't a crisis," Lapid told a crowd in Tel Aviv. "Our relations with the US are vital and everything that can be done must be done to end this crisis."

According to Ynet, the Obama administration refused Ya'alon's request to meet with top officials, including Vice President Joe Biden, Secretary of State John Kerry, and National Security Advisor Susan Rice. Reports have contended that White House officials tried to prevent Ya'alon from meeting with the Samantha Power, the US Ambassador to the United Nations. However, Ya'alon did finally meet with Powers and discussed US objections to the construction of Jewish settlements. Read more ..


The Edge of Terror

Canada on Lock-Down Following Terrorist Attack in Ottawa

October 23rd 2014

Canada's premier said his country will never be intimidated by terrorists, after a gunman killed a soldier in Ottawa and then stormed Parliament before he was shot dead. In a televised address on the evening of October 22, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said the attack committed that day in Ottawa, along with another incident this week in Quebec that led to a soldier's death, are grim reminders that Canada is not immune to terrorism.

The prime minister spoke hours after dozens of gunshots rang out in Canada's parliament buildings in Ottawa when a gunman shot and killed a soldier guarding the nearby Canadian National War Memorial. The fallen soldier has been identified as Army Corporal Nathan Cirillo. The diseased was armed with a ceremonial weapon, which was not loaded, as he guarded the memorial to the fallen Canadians of the First World War. Read more ..


The Caliphate

Kurds Retain Tenuous Control of Key Border Town in Fight with ISIS Forces

October 22nd 2014

The U.S. Defense Department said that while the situation in the Syrian border town of Kobani remains tenuous, Kurdish forces fighting Islamic State militants remain in control of most of the city. Coalition airstrikes are also supporting Kurdish forces defending the Mosul Dam complex in Iraq, as well as Iraqi security forces trying to push back IS fighters in Anbar province.

U.S. Central Command said seven airstrikes were carried out Monday and Tuesday, with four targeting IS fighting positions, a building and an IS unit near Kobani in northern Syria. Three in Iraq destroyed an IS fighting position south of the Baiji oil refinery, an IS fighting position south of the Mosul Dam and suppressed an IS attack north of Fallujah.

Pentagon spokesman Rear Admiral John Kirby acknowledged the situation in Kobani remains fragile as Kurdish defenders continue to battle IS fighters: Read more ..


The 2014 Vote

'Clinton Democrats' Falling Flat with Mid-Term Voters

October 20th 2014

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Self-proclaimed Clinton Democrats are struggling this election cycle, and not even their powerful namesakes may be enough to save them.

Both Bill and Hillary Clinton have tried to turn on their charms to help centrist Democrats in Kentucky and Arkansas. But as candidates in both states are slipping, help from the party’s preeminent power couple is falling short.

In Kentucky, Alison Lundergan Grimes has clung tightly to the Clintons as she tries to unseat Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R).

The former president has already campaigned with the Democratic hopeful twice and will head to the Bluegrass State again next week. The former secretary of State held a rally with Grimes on Wednesday, as Grimes kept emphasizing she was a "Clinton Democrat through and through” after flatly refusing to say whether she voted for President Obama. Read more ..


The 2014 Vote

Senate Republican Leader Pays Volunteers for 'Enthusiastic Atmosphere'

October 20th 2014

The Kentucky Republican Party is offering volunteers all-expenses-paid trips to join Sen. Mitch McConnell's (R-Ky.) campaign bus tour and "contribute to an enthusiastic atmosphere" at his events.

In an email sent earlier this month and obtained by The Hill, Taylor Bumgardner, a Kentucky Republican Party regional political director, offers volunteers the opportunity to join McConnell on his tour, which launched Monday. Meals, lodging and transportation are included in the trip.

"Senator McConnell is seeking volunteers to join him on a 3-day campaign bus tour around the state on October 20-22 to show our support for Kentucky coal. You would join local supporters in contributing to an enthusiastic atmosphere at each of his events," she wrote. Read more ..



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