The obsession by the Obama-Kerry administration with imposing a cease-fire on the warring parties in the Hamas-Israel war will go down in history as one of the most strategic mistakes in military history.
Here is a fact the administration deliberately and maliciously ignored: In the history of modern warfare, no terrorist group has ever honored a cease-fire. Hamas has broken every cease-fire it ever said it would honor. Every single one.
Even the Israel-Hamas 2012 cease fire, brokered by then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, was simply agreed to by Hamas to give it an opportunity to restock its military arsenal, pressure Israel to lift its restrictions on the import of cement and steel into Gaza – material that Clinton said would be used to build hospitals and schools, but in fact was used to build a network of underground tunnels into Israel and build a subterranean network of underground bunkers, weapons storage facilities and launching pads.
Hamas simply used the cease-fire to rebuild its military infrastructure and as predicted by Israeli military intelligence, would simply break the cease-fire when it felt ready to take on the Israelis once again.
And on Friday, Hamas did the exact same thing. It agreed, through its main financial backer Qatar (which is the world’s largest financial sponsor of terrorist groups including Hamas, Hizbollah, Al Qaeda and Al Nusra in Syria) and which the U.S. inexplicably anointed as its interlocutor to Hamas, that it would honor a 72-hour cease-fire initiated by the Obama-Kerry administration.
On Thursday night, Kerry proudly announced the cease-fire. But read the main sentence of his press conference.
“Then, as soon as the cease-fire is underway tomorrow morning – I talked to the Egyptian foreign minister tonight – Egypt will issue invitations to the parties to come to Cairo immediately in order to engage in serious and focused negotiations with Egypt to address the underlying causes of this conflict.”
“Underlying causes?” What in God’s name is Kerry talking about? That would be the equivalent of announcing a cease-fire with Al Qaeda after it killed 3000 Americans on 9-11 on the grounds that it needed to “address the underlying causes” of Al Qaeda’s war against the United States and the West.
Here is a little secret for Mr. Kerry: The underlying causes of the current Israeli-Hamas war, initiated by Hamas with its launching of tens of thousands of missiles into Israel and its use of underground tunnels from Gaza to carry out murderous attacks against Israel civilians, is that Hamas, like Al Qaeda, is a nihilistic radical Islamic organization dedicated to the destruction of the Jewish state and the establishment of an Islamic caliphate.
The term “underlying causes” directly implies there are legitimate rational grievances by Hamas. Yes, the same “underlying causes” that motivated Adolph Hitler to carry out a worldwide war of conquest, including the Holocaust of six million Jews. Hamas is the embodiment of pure evil. And its motivation is the same as that of Al Qaeda and ISIS.
On Fox News, the former U.S. Ambassador to Bahrain, Adam Ereli, summed up the conflict in words that accurately described the “underlying causes” behind the war between Israel and Hamas:
“…[W]hat we’re seeing happen between Israel and Gaza is not a localized conflict, but is much, is part of a much bigger regional war. And that war has Iran, Hezbollah and the Muslim Brotherhood on one side and it has the forces of what I would call reason and moderation on the other side – being Israel, Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and the countries of the Gulf. And United States has an interest in ensuring that the forces of reason and moderation prevail.”
Mr. Ereli was right on point. But somehow this administration lost sight of its real strategic interests and instead embraced an agenda that has resulted in extensive damage to our national interests, which in turn has resulted in increasing the strategic threat to American national security.
This administration believes that Al Qaeda is bad but the Muslim Brotherhood, which is the parent of Hamas and Islamic Jihad as well as that of Al Qaeda, is a rational organization with “legitimate grievances” that can be negotiated with on the same basis that the U.S.can negotiate with Canada or Germany. That is why this administration has embraced the Muslim Brotherhood, starting with the first speech Mr. Obama gave in Cairo in February 2009, where the first two rows of “dignitaries” were 20 leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt hand-selected by the Obama administration.
Moreover, the Obama administration, according to an investigation carried out by my organization, the Investigative Project on Terrorism, lifted all visa restrictions on Muslim Brotherhood officials in their applications to visit the United States. In a report our organization will be releasing next week, more than 25 senior Muslim Brotherhood officials who had publicly called for jihad against the United States or the West, or had openly expressed their support for Hamas and Hezbollah, visited the United States in the past three years and met with senior U.S. officials. One of them, who served as vice president of a Muslim Brotherhood group that had called for the killing of Americans, actually met with President Obama in the White House.
So the “underlying causes” of the current war of annihilation carried out by Hamas against Israel is very simple: It believes that Israel needs to be destroyed paralleling the same agenda of Al Qaeda that believed the United States should be destroyed. We are talking about an organization that won’t be satisfied in the short term until every Jew in Israel is dead and in the long term until Western civilization is destroyed replaced by a worldwide Islamic caliphate.
Hamas on Friday succeeded in kidnapping an Israeli officer, after launching a suicide bombing against Israeli soldiers in a well-planned operation 90 minutes after the cease-fire had gone into effect.Immediately following the suicide bombing that killed several Israeli soldiers (still unreported), a group of up to 10 Hamas terrorists immediately descended upon the scene of the bombing where chaos reigned supreme, and kidnapped the Israeli officer in charge of the company stationed in Gaza.
Then Musa Abu Marzuk, a leader of Hamas in Cairo, who was invited to participate in the talks with the U.S. and UN officials on the cease fire, had the audacity to announce the kidnapping took place BEFORE the cease-fire went into effect. This was a manifestly demonstrable lie, as Israel would never have agreed to a cease-fire if it knew one of its soldiers had been kidnapped.
The Obama-Kerry administration’s obsession with imposing a cease-fire on Israel on the grounds that too many civilians were being killed in collateral damage (caused by the fact that Hamas used the Gaza population as human shields to protect its launching of missiles ensconced in hospitals, mosques, kindergartens and civilian apartment buildings) somehow convinced itself that Hamas was an organization with “legitimate” political grievances. Yes, the same type of radical Islamic group whose agenda parallels exactlythat of the same radical Islamic groups that has killed thousands of Americans and Europeans and whose wars of aggression has resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Muslims and Christians in Syria and Iraq.
At this point the administration, if it truly wants to limit the damage to our own national security and reverse the strategic threat to the survival of Israel, needs to be honest with itself and acknowledge its historic mistake in its approach to the Muslim Brotherhood and its stepchild, Hamas. The Muslim Brotherhood is the godfather of all Sunni terrorist groups, from Al Qaeda to Hamas, a fact these groups openly admit.
This is a classic war of good versus evil. The only difference between the Muslim Brotherhood and its terrorist offspring is the deception perpetrated by the Muslim Brotherhood in portraying itself as opposed to violence and committed to political pluralism. Nothing could be further from the truth. All one needs to do is read the covenant of the Muslim Brotherhood in which it states its commitment to carry out jihad to dominate the world, read the contemporary incendiary statements of Muslim Brotherhood officials issued in Arabic and not in English, and observe the Muslim Brotherhood hatred and persecution of of Christians, secular women, non-believing Muslims, infidels and gays.
This administration’s current policy towards the Muslim Brotherhood extends from the legitimacy it has conferred on the Muslim Brotherhood organization overseas and its chief patron, Qatar, to the embrace of Muslim Brotherhood front groups in the United States. This administration has gone so far as to ban the mention of the term “radical Islam” and to claim that the word jihad means only peaceful struggle and not violent commitment to impose Islam, which is the genuine historic and religious definition of jihad.
Reversing these policies would not only help protect the long term strategic interests of the United States but would also protect and help in the growth of the community of genuine Muslim moderates who in the end are the only key to reversing the growing threat of radical Islam in the world today.
Eric Holder does not shy away from being called an activist – in fact, the U.S. Attorney General considers the label an honor.
“If you want to call me an activist attorney general, I will proudly accept that label,” Holder told journalist Juan Williams in an interview published at The Hill.
“Any attorney general who is not an activist is not doing his or her job,” he continued, adding that “the responsibility of the attorney general is to change things [and] bring us closer to the ideals expressed in our founding documents.”
Asked later about his response to critics who claim that the Justice Department houses an activist civil rights division and an activist chief, Holder said “I agree with you 1000 percent and [I am] proud of it.”
Holder also said he is troubled by the affirmative action stance of Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts, who opposes the policy in maintaining that “the way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race.”
“There are still [racial] issues we as a society are working our way through,” Holder said. “And the lack of desire to do that, I think, undermines the ability that I think is inherent in the American people to make progress. But it also does not prepare us for demographic changes, the likes of which this country has never seen.”
Holder’s activism on racial issues is nothing new.
In a profile at Politico last month, he was described as President Obama’s “heat shield.” Sources close to Holder said he is able “to talk about things the president can’t talk about as easily.”
His stance on race was on display early on in the Obama administration when Holder infamously claimed that the U.S. is a “nation of cowards” when it comes to racial issues. Those comments and Holder’s hesitation in investigating two Philadelphia New Black Panther Party members accused of voter intimidation outside of a precinct in Philadelphia in 2008 won him the ire of conservatives.
The interview did highlight some of Holder’s bi-partisan initiatives, including the year-old “Smart on Crime” program which focuses on reducing the prison population and prison costs. Republican senators such as Rand Paul, Ted Cruz and John Cornyn are backing the project, which has made headway in the Senate Judiciary Committee.
It’s not just the Tea Party that the IRS is giving extra scrutiny to, it’s also checking into church sermons. According to Investor’s Business Daily, the IRS agreed to an atheist group’s demands “to monitor sermons and homilies for proscribed speech that the foundation believes includes things like condemnation of gay marriage and criticism of ObamaCare for its contraceptive mandate.”
The division in charge of enforcing this review of religious speech, the Tax Exempt and Government Entities Division, was once headed by IRS scandal figure Lois Lerner. So far the Big Three (ABC, CBS, NBC) networks have yet to run with this stunning story on any of their evening or morning news programs.
On July 31, Investor’s Business Daily (IBD) opened their editorial headlined “IRS Strikes Deal With Atheists To Monitor Churches,” this way:
First Amendment: Government’s assault on religious liberty has hit a new low as the IRS settles with atheists by promising to monitor sermons for mentions of the right to life and traditional marriage.
A lawsuit filed by the Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) asserted that the Internal Revenue Service ignored complaints about churches’ violating their tax-exempt status by routinely promoting political issues, legislation and candidates from the pulpit.
The FFRF has temporarily withdrawn its suit in return for the IRS’s agreement to monitor sermons and homilies for proscribed speech that the foundation believes includes things like condemnation of gay marriage and criticism of ObamaCare for its contraceptive mandate.
The irony of this agreement is that it’s being enforced by the same Tax Exempt and Government Entities Division of the IRS that was once headed by Lois “Fifth Amendment” Lerner and that openly targeted Tea Party and other conservative groups.
Among the questions that the IRS asked of those targeted groups was the content of their prayers.
Those who objected to the monitoring of what is said and done in mosques for signs of terrorist activity have no problem with this one, though monitoring what’s said in houses of worship is a clear violation of the First Amendment. Can you say “chilling effect”?
Congress can make no laws prohibiting the free exercise of religion. So it’s not clear where the IRS gets off doing just that by spying on religious leaders lest they comment on issues and activities by government that are contrary to or impose on their religious consciences. Our country was founded by people fleeing this kind of government-monitored and mandated theology last practiced in the Soviet Union.
Actor James Woods is no shrinking violet when it comes to politics.
Although he has only 144,000 followers on Twitter (compared to 53 million for Justin Bieber), Woods regales his tweepsters with wonderful links to heady topics – and a few choice opinions.
Like Saturday, when he posted this tweet: “Pelosi may actually be mentally ill. Her behavior is becoming unhinged. This is no laughing matter.” He linked to this Fox News story.
A heated debate late Friday over security at the southern U.S. border led to a rancorous confrontation on the House floor between House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Rep. Tom Marino, R-Pa.
The dustup began when Marino accused Democrats of neglecting the immigration issue when they controlled the White House and Congress in 2009 and 2010, when Pelosi was House speaker, saying that the party is now exploiting the issue for political gains.
‘Under the leadership of the former speaker… in 2009 and 2010, they had the House, the Senate and the White House, and they knew this problem existed,’ Marino said. ‘They didn’t have the strength to go after it back then. But now are trying to make a political issue out of it now.’
Soon after he made the remarks, Pelosi, in full view of House cameras, walked across the chamber to the GOP side of the aisle – a rarity in the House – to challenge Marino.
It was not clear what Pelosi said, but Marino responded immediately.
‘It’s true, madam leader, I did the research on it,’ Marino said. ‘You might want to try it. You might want to try it, madam leader. Do the research on it. Do the research. I did it. That’s one thing that you don’t do.’
A pair of documentary filmmakers have reportedly been working on a project detailing the struggle illegals face in coming to the U.S., as well as the impact this constant flow of intruders is having on American citizens.
In researching the new documentary, Luke and Jo Anne Livingston say they have spoken to numerous illegals to gain a firsthand perspective of the ongoing border crisis. Jo Anne recently shared some of the disturbing insights resulting from these conversations with her Facebook community.
She said the couple, along with numerous other conservative advocates and anti-amnesty legislators, have spent time at the source of the influx along the Texas-Mexico border.
“Luke spent 8 days on the border,” she wrote. “We talked to a doctor about the diseases coming in unchecked by by any medical personnel.”
Livingston asserted that she actually read proposed legislation that would strip judges from issuing any penalties to illegals who refuse to show up for immigration hearings.
“The judge can only set another hearing and another hearing and another hearing,” she wrote, “into infinity.”
Perhaps the most outrageous claim in her post alleges that pro-amnesty Democrats are exploiting illegals to perpetuate widespread voter fraud.
Livingston wrote that, prior to the 2012 presidential election, “the illegals were handed voter registrations and told they would be sent to states with NO ID check for voting.”
Upon receipt of the document, she insists aliens were told that, if they “did not show up and vote the democratic [sic] ticket, they would be arrested and deported.”
This astoundingly bold move, she concluded, was used time and again to stack the electoral deck against Republicans in the election.
At Chapman School in Nebraska, resourceful students hawk pizza and cookie dough to raise money for school supplies, field trips and an eighth-grade excursion to Washington. They peddle chocolate bars to help fund the yearbook.
But the sales won’t be so sweet starting this fall. Campus bake sales – a mainstay of school fundraisers – are going on a diet. A federal law that aims to curb childhood obesity means that, in dozens of states, bake sales must adhere to nutrition requirements that could replace cupcakes and brownies with fruit cups and granola bars.
Jeff Ellsworth, principal of the kindergarten through eighth-grade school in Chapman, Neb., isn’t quite sure how to break the news to the kids. “The chocolate bars are a big seller,” said Mr. Ellsworth.
The restrictions that took effect in July stem from the 2010 Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act championed by first lady Michelle Obama and her “Let’s Move!” campaign. The law overhauled nutrition standards affecting more than 30 million children. Among the changes: fatty french fries were out, while baked sweet potato fries were deemed to be fine.
The law also required the U.S. Department of Agriculture to set standards for all food and beverages sold during the school day, which includes vending machines, snack carts and daytime fundraisers. It allowed for “infrequent” fundraisers, and states were allowed to decide how many bake sales they would have that didn’t meet nutrition standards.
Without state-approved exemptions, any treats sold would have to meet calorie, sodium, fat and other requirements. The law permits states to fine schools that don’t comply.
Forget about buttery, salty popcorn, for instance. Kernels sold on site during the day must contain no more than 230 milligrams of sodium per serving until 2016, when it drops even lower. No more than 35% of calories in an item can come from total fat.
A graphic put out by the USDA shows where some snacks stand.
Six chocolate sandwich cookies at 286 calories would be out, but a 4-ounce fruit cup with 100% juice at 68 calories would make the cut. Also out: a large doughnut at 242 calories and a 1.6 oz. chocolate bar with 235 calories.
Homemade fare is more challenging to measure, schools say.
Each state can mandate the number of daytime fundraisers held each year that buck the nutrition requirements. But so far, 32 states have opted to stay strictly in the healthy zone, according to a draft report from the School Nutrition Association, which said the final number could change before the school year begins.
That means students in those states, which range from Alabama to California to Texas, can’t sell fatty or sugary fare that doesn’t meet the federal requirements.
“For some districts, this will be a huge change,” said Julia Bauscher, president of the School Nutrition Association and director of school and community nutrition services at Jefferson County Public School in Louisville, Ky. “There’s a lot of fear among school food directors that we will have to be the food police.”
The Obama administration said it has provided states flexibility with the rules, which cover schools that participate in the federal school meals programs. “We defer to the states to make decisions that made sense to them,” said Sam Kass, executive director of Let’s Move!
Tennessee will allow schools to sell food items that tip the federal scales for 30 days each year.
“Schools have relied on these types of sales as revenue streams for sports, cheering clubs, marching bands,” said David Sevier, deputy executive director of the Tennessee Board of Education. “We get the obesity issue, but we don’t want to jerk this out from under the kids.”
In advance of the law, some schools had already banned students from a near-sacred activity: setting up tables to sell boxes of Girl Scout cookies during the day. There are also those that have replaced food-centric fundraisers with calorie-free events such as wrapping-paper sales, pie-throwing events and bowl-a-thons. Others have prohibited homemade fare in favor of processed items where the nutritional information is calculated and displayed.
At least 12 states have also already adopted limits on bake-sale foods on their own—providing a taste of what’s to come for hundreds of schools nationwide.
“We used to have a carnival with a cake walk, now we do a book walk,” said Adam Drummond, principal of Lincoln Elementary School in Huntington, Ind. “The students get to pick a book.”
Child obesity has more than quadrupled in adolescents in the past 30 years, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Of children 6-11, in 2012, 18% were obese. That is up from 7% in 1980, according to the CDC.
Texas has had nutrition requirements since at least 2010 that cover fundraisers, but had allowed campuses to have three events a year during the school day where students could sell candy or other restricted items. This year, it didn’t adopt such exemptions.
“Some don’t follow the spirit and set up bake sales right after the bell rings,” said Christine Jovanovic, of Austin, who is a member of the parent-teacher association at Canyon Vista Middle School and Westwood High School.
The result of the new requirements may be more processed-food products.
“We use prepackaged food because it has to have nutritional requirements posted,” said Keli Gill, president-elect of the Arkansas PTA, where the state has had nutrition standards for bake sales for a few years. “Items like apples are perishable and don’t last as long, so we don’t want to waste money and have it go bad on us.”
Schools are also grappling with how to monitor food sales so as not to end up in the penalty box.
Davis High School in Kaysville, Utah, was fined more than $15,000 during the 2012-2013 school year for selling certain snacks and carbonated beverages near the lunch area while meals were served, which isn’t allowed under federal requirements. The Utah Department of Education conducted on-site visits and found the infractions. The fine was reduced to $1,297, according to Christopher Williams, a district spokesman.
Said Tennessee’s Mr. Sevier: “It’s not like we’re going to have a brigade of black helicopters coming in to check.”
Two thousand rules and regulations passed by the Obama administration are illegal, according to an article in the Washington Post.
Most federal rules and regulations must be reported to Congress and more than 2,000 of Obama administration rules have not been reported. Since 2012, he has simply implemented the regulations without Congress and without telling Congress.
The author of the WaPo article, a staunch left-wing Democrat, Juliet Eilperin, who is pictured below, wrote this: “The situation illustrates the obscure, byzantine process used to create federal regulations – and how easily it can go awry.”
Ms. Eilperin refers to it as “technically illegal” but it is “actually illegal.”
Obama is completely lawless and Congress has yet to be heard from on this issue.
Texas Governor Rick Perry said a record number of illegal immigrants from Syria, Pakistan and Afghanistan have been apprehended at the U.S.-Mexico border.
On Sunday’s State of the Union on CNN, Perry said the “historic record highs” of individuals from “countries that have substantial terrorist ties” threaten America’s national security.
Later on the program, Rep. Mike McCaul (R-TX), the House Homeland Security Committee Chair, said Iranian terrorists have had plans to sneak across the border. He also said that others who want to do harm are seeking to exploit America’s porous border.
Perry also said that since 2008, 203,000 illegal immigrants have been put in Texas’ jails, and those illegal immigrants “have been responsible for 3,000 homicides and almost 8,000 sexual assaults.”
“I wish the President would respect that desire of Texans and the citizens of this country to secure the border,” Perry said. “That’s the real issue here—and one that all too often gets deflected by the conversation about unaccompanied minor children.”
More about this at The Other McCain
Two weeks ago, Professor Donald Douglas of American Power covered a Communist anti-police rally in Anaheim. Today, Donald took his camera to the streets of downtown Los Angeles, where the same crew — the Stalinist splinter sect known as A.N.S.W.E.R. — helped organize an anti-Israel march and rally that was full of vile and hateful sentiments expressed by vile and hateful people.
Excellent work by Douglas here, it takes a tenacious pursuit of the truth to go into a lion’s den. Too bad the mainstream media ignores these truths about the Left. One of those truths is the Left is about hatred. They are not about tolerance, inclusion, sensitivity, or equality. They are about crushing anyone, or any nation that stands against their perverse obsession with Marxism, and Collectivism. They are an odd cocktail of Jihadists, Communists, Statists, Totalitarians, useful idiots, the completely clueless, bigots, enraged activists, and the perpetually aggrieved.
Judicial Watch announced today that on July 18, 2014, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia ruled that the Obama Department of Justice (DOJ) must turn over to the organization a “Vaughn index” of all requested Operation Fast and Furious materials from the June 2012 Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request and subsequent September 2012 FOIA lawsuit (Judicial Watch v. Department of Justice (No. 1:12-cv-01510)). Judicial Watch sought all of the documents the Obama White House was withholding from the House of Representatives under executive privilege claims.
The ruling by U.S. District Court Judge John D. Bates lifted a lengthy 16-month delay of this open records lawsuit. This order forces the Obama DOJ, for the first time and by October 1, 2014, to provide a detailed listing of all documents that it has withheld from Congress and the American people for years about the deadly Fast and Furious gun running scandal. The ruling can be found here.
The DOJ opposed the Judicial Watch action, claiming it would interfere with the department’s continuing litigation with the House Oversight Committee concerning these Fast and Furious documents subpoenaed in October 2011. In September 2012, Obama asserted executive privilege over the documents. In the July 2014 opinion overruling the Obama Justice Department’s request for an almost indefinite hold on Judicial Watch’s legal right obtains this information under the Freedom of Information Act Bates said:
In the [February 15, 2013] order granting the stay, this court explicitly noted that the DOJ ‘does not seek, and the court will not award, an indefinite stay pending ultimate resolution of the House Committee litigation,’ and that ‘the benefits of delaying this case might well [become] too attenuated to justify any further delay”…
Because many of the issues to be resolved in this case do not overlap with the House committee, and because resolving those issues will not risk upsetting the delicate balance of powers in subpoena disputes between the political branches, the Court will require DOJ to produce a Vaughn index here.
In fact, the court suggested that disclosing information to Judicial Watch might actually resolve the legal dispute now before Judge Amy Berman Jackson between the Obama administration and Congress:
True, nothing in the subpoena enforcement context of House Committee would require DOJ to produce a particularized description of the withheld documents… But this is a FOIA case, and since 1973, when Vaughn was decided, courts in this circuit have required agencies to justify their FOIA withholdings on a particularized basis. And doing so here will not prematurely expose or resolve the executive privilege issues ahead of Judge Jackson and the political branches; it will merely permit the parties and this Court to cull from the dispute any documents as to which a valid, non-executive privilege reason for withholding exists, thereby narrowing or perhaps even resolving the case. To the extent DOJ argues that the mere production of the Vaughn index – not involving the release of any documents in dispute – would alter the historical balance of powers between the branches, any unbalancing would result from FOIA itself, a law passed by Congress and signed into law by the President, and which this Court cannot ignore forever.
Judge Bates also noted no court has ever “expressly recognized” President Obama’s executive privilege claims that his administration is using to keep these documents secret from Congress and the American people.
The DOJ claims, in addition to other Exemption 5 rationales, at least two distinct forms of executive privilege to justify withholding documents: a “deliberative process” privilege of constitutional dimensions and a “congressional response work-product” privilege. See: Mem.in Supp. of Def.’s Mot. for Summ. J., House Committee, No. 12-1332 [ECF No. 63] (“House Committee Def.’s Mot.”) at 21-27, 27-30. It appears that neither form has been expressly recognized by any court Id (citing Senate Select Comm. on Pres. Campaign Activities v. Nixon, 498 F.2d 725 (D.C. Cir. 1974)).
A Vaughn index must: (1) identify each document withheld; (2) state the statutory exemption claimed; and (3) explain how disclosure would damage the interests protected by the claimed exemption.” In ordering the DOJ to provide Judicial Watch the Vaughn index, the Court ruled, “In this circuit, when an agency is withholding documents under exemption claims, courts require that the agency provide a Vaughn index so that the FOIA requester – at a distinct informational disadvantage – may test the agency’s claims.”
Fast and Furious was a DOJ/Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) “gun-running” operation in which the Obama administration reportedly allowed guns to go to Mexican drug cartels in hopes that they would end up at crime scenes, thereby advancing gun-control policies. Fast and Furious weapons have been implicated in the murder of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry and hundreds of other innocents in Mexico.
On June 20, 2012, President Obama asserted executive privilege over Fast and Furious documents the House Oversight Committee had subpoenaed eight months earlier. Judicial Watch filed its FOIA request two days later. When the DOJ denied that request, Judicial Watch filed a FOIA lawsuit on September 12, 2012. On February 15, 2013, Judge Bates stayed the case, in part to allow ongoing settlement discussions between the DOJ and the House Committee to continue. Judge Bates’ order lifted the stay after a lengthy July 18 hearing. Generally speaking, the documents at issue are about how and if the Obama administration misled Congress about the Fast and Furious matter.
“Once again, Judicial Watch has beat Congress to the punch in getting key information about another Obama scandal – this time, the Fast and Furious outrage,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “A federal court has ordered the Obama administration to produce information that could, for the first time, provide specific details who in the administration is responsible for Fast and Furious lies to Congress and the American people. This is a battle that put Eric Holder in contempt of Congress, saw Nixonian assertions of executive privilege by Barack Obama, and a hapless Congress in face of all this lawlessness. Finally, we may get some accountability for Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry and the countless others murdered as a result of the insanely reckless Obama administration program.”
The Judicial Watch lawsuit for Oversight Committee documents is one of several FOIA lawsuits Judicial Watch has filed in its effort to obtain information concerning the Fast and Furious scandal:
* On October 11, 2011, Judicial Watch sued the DOJ and the ATF to obtain all Fast and Furious records submitted to the House Committee on Oversight.
* On June 6, 2012, Judicial Watch sued the ATF seeking access to records detailing communications between ATF officials and Kevin O’Reilly, former Obama White House Director of North American Affairs at the U.S. National Security Council.
* On September 5, 2013, Judicial Watch sued the DOJ seeking access to all records of communications between DOJ and the Oversight Committee relating to settlement discussions in the Committee’s 2012 contempt of Congress lawsuit against Holder. The contempt citation stemmed from Holder’s refusal to turn over documents to Congress related to the Fast and Furious gunrunning scandal.
* On May 28, 2014, Judicial Watch sued the DOJ on behalf of ATF Special Agent John Dodson, who blew the whistle on Operation Fast and Furious and was then subjected to an alleged smear campaign designed to destroy his reputation.
Judicial Watch announced today the release of more than 200 conflict-of-interest reviews by State Department ethics advisers of proposed Bill Clinton speaking and consulting engagements during Hillary Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state. The documents were obtained as result of a federal court order in a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit filed against the State Department on May 28, 2013 (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of State (No. 1:13-cv-00772)). The lawsuit is ongoing.
June 2011 documents show that the State Department approved a consulting arrangement with a company, Teneo Strategy, led by controversial Clinton Foundation adviser Doug Band. The Clintons ended the deal after only eight months, as criticism mounted over Teneo’s ties to the failed investment firm, MF Global.
Mr. Clinton’s office proposed 215 speeches around the globe. And 215 times, the State Department stated that it had “no objection.”
Mr. Clinton’s speeches included appearances in China, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, United Arab Emirates, Central America, Europe, Turkey, Thailand, Taiwan, India and the Cayman Islands. Sponsors of the speeches included some of the world’s largest financial institutions – Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, Deutsche Bank, American Express and others – as well as major players in technology, energy, health care and media. Other speech sponsors included a car dealership, casino groups, hotel operators, retailers, real estate brokers, a Panamanian air cargo company and a sushi restaurant.
“These documents are a bombshell and show how the Clintons turned the State Department into a racket to line their own pockets,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “How the Obama State Department waived hundreds of ethical conflicts that allowed the Clintons and their businesses to accept money from foreign entities and corporations seeking influence boggles the mind. That former President Clinton trotted the globe collecting huge speaking fees while his wife presided over U.S. foreign policy is an outrage. No wonder it took a court order to get these documents. One can’t imagine what foreign policy issues were mishandled as top State Department officials spent so much time facilitating the Clinton money machine.”
Under established protocols of the State Department, and supplemented by a December 2008 Memorandum of Understanding between the Clinton Foundation and Obama Presidential Transition Team, a designated ethics official from the State Department’s legal office was assigned to review any “potential or actual conflict of interest” for Mrs. Clinton while she served as secretary of state. Copies of all decisions were sent to a top adviser to Secretary Clinton, Cheryl Mills, who served as counselor and chief of staff at the Department of State.
The Washington Examiner published a report today on the documents by Judicial Watch Chief Investigative Reporter Micah Morrison and Examiner Senior Watchdog Reporter Luke Rosiak. Morrison and Rosiak note that Mr. Clinton “earned $48 million while his wife presided over U.S. foreign policy, raising questions about whether the Clintons fulfilled ethics agreements related to the Clinton Foundation during Mrs. Clinton’s tenure as Secretary of State.”
According to the State Department documents:
* Mr. Clinton spoke before a UBS Wealth Management audience in Chicago in April, 2012. The State Department document notes that attendees would be “approximately 300-400 ultra-high net worth clients, prospective clients, and UBS Financial Advisers.”
* Mr. Clinton spoke to an event hosted by Wells Fargo in San Francisco in October, 2011. The State Department document notes that the event is “being held for Wells Fargo Private Bank and Wells Fargo Family Wealth Group clients, which are clients that have at least $5 million and $50 million in assets respectively.”
* At a “mutually agreeable date” in April 2010, Mr. Clinton was due to speak at Mohegan Sun Casino in Connecticut. “This would be a private speech of up to 350 friends and patrons on Mohegan Sun,” the State Department document noted. “The event will not be open to the public. The event will not be publicly advertised.”
* For a speech in Moscow in June 2010 sponsored by the investment bank Renaissance Capital, Mr. Clinton would address the theme of “Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States: Going Global.” The document notes that “Renaissance Capital is an investment bank focused on the emerging markets of Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, and sub-Saharan Africa.”
* At the Ritz Carlton in Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands, Mr. Clinton spoke at a March 2011 ticketed event targeting “the business community in Grand Cayman.”
The potential for conflicts of interest between Hillary Clinton’s role as Secretary of State and Bill Clinton’s international ventures grew increasingly controversial in late 2008 when the former president released a list of donors to his library and foundation in what he termed “a deal between” Obama “and Hillary.” According to an AP wire story, “Saudi Arabia gave $10 million to $25 million to the foundation. Other government donors include Norway, Kuwait, Qatar, Brunei, Oman…” CNN at the time warned that Clinton’s “complicated global business interests could present future conflicts of interest that result in unneeded headaches for the incoming commander-in-chief.”
The controversy deepened further when it was revealed that among those vetting Mrs. Clinton for the job of Secretary of State was Bill Clinton’s former deputy White House counsel Cheryl Mills, a longtime Clinton family confidant, who, the Washington Post wrote in 1999 “endeared herself to the Clintons with her never-back-down, share-nothing, don’t-give-an-inch approach…” After clearing Mrs. Clinton for the DOS job, Mills was named the incoming Secretary’s Chief of Staff. Ms. Mills was a featured speaker at Bill Clinton’s 2012 Clinton Global Initiative annual meeting.
In an April 28, 2008, ruling relating to Ms. Mills conduct as a White House official in responding to concerns about lost White House email records, Judge Royce C. Lamberth called Cheryl Mills’ participation in the matter “loathsome.” He further stated Mills was responsible for “the most critical error made in this entire fiasco… Mills’ actions were totally inadequate to address the problem.” Ms. Mills is currently on the Board of Directors of BlackRock, a leading investment firm. BlackRock is run by Larry Fink who reportedly wanted to be Treasury Secretary for Barack Obama and now, according to another report, is “angling for the job” in a Hillary Clinton administration.
Click HERE to purchase Mr. Shapiro’s new book ‘The People Vs. Barack Obama: The Criminal Case Against The Obama Administration‘.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) says the United States must look to Qatar, an ally of the terrorist group Hamas, for advice in resolving the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.
“And we have to confer with the Qataris, who have told me over and over again that Hamas is a humanitarian organization,” she told CNN’s “State of the Union” with Candy Crowley.
As CNSNews.com reported last week, Qatar is a strong supporter and funder of Hamas. Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal operates from Qatar, and has so far rejected ceasefire proposals put forward by Egypt and promoted by Secretary of State John Kerry.
The U.S government designated Hamas as a “foreign terrorist organization” in 1997. Its founding charter calls for Jews to be killed and says all Muslims are duty-bound to join a jihad to destroy Israel.
In an interview aired on CBS’s “Face the Nation” Sunday, Hamas leader Meshaal said Hamas does not fight the Jews just because they are Jews. “We fight the occupiers,” he said. Asked if he wants to recognize Israel as a Jewish state, Meshaal said “No.”
“War is a deadly thing,” Pelosi said on Sunday, speaking about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
“And I have many Palestinians who live in my district, and I am hearing them regularly about how their families are affected who live in the region. It’s a terrible thing. But let me just say that any missile that comes from someplace has a return address. And if Israel is responding to that address, then that’s a shame that the Palestinians are… rumored to be using children and families as shields for their missiles.”
Pelosi said the first thing to do is to “avoid conflict” that “Hamas initiated.”
“[T]his has to be something where we try to have the two-state solution, that we have to support… (Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud) Abbas and his role as a leader there. We have to support Iron Dome to protect the Israelis from the missiles. We have to support the Palestinians and what they need. And we have to confer with the Qataris, who have told me over and over again that Hamas is a humanitarian organization, maybe they could use their influence to -“
Crowley interrupted her to ask: “The U.S. thinks they’re a terrorist organization though, correct? Do you?”
Pelosi responded: “Mmm hmm.”
Crowley said: “Yeah.”
And Pelosi said: “And we’ve had that discussion.”
‘Obama’s leadership has been strong'; Putin ‘is insecure’
In that same interview with CNN, Pelosi defended President Barack Obama’s “strong” leadership, dismissing a suggestion that Russian President Vladimir Putin considers him to be weak.
Compared with Cold War days, “It’s a much more complicated situation now, and the president’s leadership has been strong,” Pelosi told Crowley, pointing to Obama’s support for Israel’s Iron Dome missile shield; his request for humanitarian assistance for the Palestinian people; and his sanctions on Russia.
“Putin is going to do what Putin is going to do,” she said. “Some of what we see comes from insecurity. Putin, for all of his – is insecure about Russia’s role in the world now.”
Pelosi noted that the Obama administration was early in saying that the rockets used to shoot down a Malaysian airliner over Ukraine “had a provenance in Russia.”
“So nobody is missing in action in all of this.”
“And as far as Putin is concerned, he’s a KGB guy who happens to be the president of Russia and he’s going to do what he’s going to do no matter who else is in charge any other place in the world. So, I would not judge his actions or his motivations by anything other than he is rooted in the KGB, insecure about Russia’s diminished role in the world.”
The IRS has stuck by its story that tax-exempt applications by conservatives got slow-rolled because of bureaucratic bungling not because the groups opposed President Obama’s policies. Now the slow drip of email evidence to congressional investigators is casting further doubt on that tale.
In 2009 the Pennsylvania group Z Street applied for tax-exempt status for its mission of educating people about Israel-related issues. In 2010 an IRS agent told Z Street that its application was delayed because the tax agency’s Washington, D.C. office was giving special scrutiny to groups whose missions might conflict with Administration policies. The IRS’s “Be On the Lookout” list that November also included red flags for groups referring to “disputed territories.”
Z Street sued in August 2010 for viewpoint discrimination and its case is headed for discovery in federal court. Now emails uncovered by the House Ways and Means Committee show that the IRS and State Department were conferring in 2009 about pro-Israel groups like Z Street and considering arguments to deny their tax-exempt applications.
In an April 16, 2009 email, Treasury attache to the U.S. consulate in Jerusalem Katherine Bauer sent IRS and Treasury colleagues a 1997 JTA News article sent to her by State Department foreign service officer Breeann McCusker. The subject was whether 501(c) groups buying land in Israel’s disputed territories were engaged in “possible violations of U.S. tax laws.” The article chronicles the controversy and whether “ideological activity” can “legally be financed with the help of U.S. [tax] dollars.”
“Thought you might find the below article of interest – looks like we’ve been down this road before,” Ms. Bauer wrote. “Although I believe you’ve said you can’t speak to on-going investigations, I thought it was worth flagging the 1997 investigation mentioned below for you if it can be of any use internally when looking for precedence [sic] for the current cases.” A Treasury spokesman declined comment on Ms. Bauer’s behalf.
The “current cases” would have been applications like Z Street’s in which Israel-related activity was apparently being scrutinized for its ideological and policy content. The government says Z Street got special scrutiny because it was focused in a region with a higher risk of terrorism, which is hard to believe and in any case doesn’t explain all of the IRS’s behavior.
It doesn’t cover, for instance, why one questionnaire we’ve seen from the IRS to another Jewish group applying for tax-exempt status asked, “Does your organization support the existence of the land of Israel?” and “Describe your organization’s religious belief system toward the land of Israel.” No matter the answers, they should not affect the processing of an application for 501(c) status. The State-IRS emails reveal a political motivation for IRS scrutiny that gives Z Street powerful evidence for its suit charging IRS bias.
On Monday the IRS filed an appeal of the judge’s decision denying its motion to dismiss Z Street’s case. The government says the action stops all discovery while the appeal is pending, a process that could take months or even years. By filing the appeal on the last possible day, the Justice Department is running out the clock on discovery during the remainder of the Administration.
This is a whole lot of effort to prevent discovery in a case that is not even seeking damages. Ways and Means uncovered the email exchange between State and the IRS only after Treasury was forced to turn over documents it had previously withheld. What else did it lose in the ether?
A police chief in Wisconsin pleaded no contest Friday to a charge that he signed a local tea party leader up on gay dating, pornography and federal health care websites.
Prosecutors charged Town of Campbell Police Chief Tim Kelemen earlier this month with one misdemeanor count of unlawful use of a computerized communication system. The La Crosse Tribune reported Kelemen entered the plea in a deal that calls for the charge to be dismissed in two years if he doesn’t commit any new crimes, continues counseling and completes 40 hours of community service.
The charge stems from a feud between Kelemen and tea party leader Greg Luce. It began last fall when the tea party began holding protests on an interstate overpass in Campbell. Concerned the protests were distracting drivers, Kelemen persuaded the town board to ban signs on the bridge.
Kelemen told investigators Luce urged tea party supporters across the U.S. to bombard his department with harassing phone calls and threats in retaliation for the ordinance.
Kelemen told investigators he tried to get back at Luce this winter by using his name, address, phone number and email address to create accounts for Luce on homosexual dating, pornography and federal health care websites. He told investigators he didn’t think what he was doing was a big deal.
La Crosse police turned the case over to Monroe County authorities.
Luce told Monroe County Circuit Judge David Rice on Friday that Kelemen is getting away with a “slap on the wrist.” He said he thinks Kelemen has suffered a psychological breakdown and shouldn’t be allowed to carry a gun or wear a badge again.
Kelemen didn’t address the court.
Luce has filed a lawsuit in federal court alleging the sign ordinance violates his free speech rights and demanding damages from Kelemen for stealing his identity. The town board has placed Kelemen on paid leave.
H/T Weasel Zippers