The federal government released 7,173 more illegal immigrant juveniles into the United States from July 7 to July 31st, according to updated data from the Office of Refugee Resettlement.
During those three weeks, Alabama received 108 more illegal immigrants; California,, 759; Florida 628; Georgia, 258; Louisiana, 204; North Carolina, 373; New Jersey, 237; New York, 897; Texas, 1,000.
Since October of last year, there have been at least 60,000 illegal immigrant juveniles who have been apprehended at the border, and federal officials expect nearly 150,000 more will be detained in the next fiscal year. According to Pew Research, nearly 90% of the illegal immigrant juveniles who have been detained in the last two years have been teenagers. The number of illegal immigrants who have been detained drastically spiked after President Barack Obama enacted his temporary amnesty program for illegal immigrants two years ago.
Here are the updated numbers, according to the Office of Refugee Resettlement.
Alabama – 515
Alaska – 5
Arizona – 203
Arkansas – 209
California – 3,909
Colorado – 263
Connecticut – 394
Delaware – 141
District of Columbia – 238
Florida – 3,809
Georgia – 1,412
Hawaii – 8
Idaho – 13
Illinois – 377
Indiana – 309
Iowa – 159
Kansas – 207
Louisiana – 1,275
Maine – 12
Maryland – 2,804
Massachusetts – 989
Michigan – 124
Minnesota – 202
Mississippi – 202
Missouri – 146
Montana – 1
Nebraska – 232
Nevada – 163
New Hampshire – 24
New Jersey – 1877
New Mexico – 28
New York – 4,244
North Carolina – 1,429
North Dakota – 4
Ohio – 405
Oklahoma – 241
Oregon – 73
Pennsylvania – 456
Puerto Rico – 1
Rhode Island – 148
South Carolina – 434
South Dakota – 27
Tennessee – 909
Texas – 5,280
Utah – 85
Vermont – 3
Virginia – 2,856
Virgin Islands – 4
Washington – 265
West Virginia – 12
Wisconsin – 60
Wyoming – 7
Total – 37,477
U.S. District Court Judge Emmet Sullivan Thursday ordered the Internal Revenue Service to come up with new answers after IRS employees contradicted sworn testimony about damage to Lois Lerner’s hard drive.
Sullivan ruled that “the IRS is hereby ORDERED to file a sworn Declaration, by an official with the authority to speak under oath for the Agency, by no later than August 22, 2014″ on four issues: the IRS’ attempted recovery of Lerner’s lost emails after her computer allegedly crashed, bar codes that could have been on the hard drive, IRS policies on hard drive destruction, and information about an outside vendor who worked on IRS hard drives.
Recent documents from nonprofit group Judicial Watch’s Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against the IRS, which Sullivan is presiding over, showed that IRS technology officials contradicted sworn testimony about damage to Lerner’s hard drive.
Aaron Signor, an IRS technician that looked at Lerner’s hard drive in June 2011, said in IRS court filings that he saw no damage to the drive before sending it off to another IRS technician, leading some in the media to suggest that the lost emails scandal is basically over. But Signor’s statement, issued in response to the Judicial Watch lawsuit, does not jibe with sworn congressional testimony.
The Daily Caller reported that Lerner’s hard drive was “scratched” and then “shredded,” according to a court filing the IRS made to the House Committee on Ways and Means.
The IRS technology official who served as the source of the “scratched” and “shredded” revelation is believed to have looked at the hard drive after Signor.
Sullivan’s order seems to have been motivated by the obvious contradiction. Judicial Watch said that Sullivan made the order because the IRS’ new court filing featuring Signor’s statement was a “joke.”
“In an extraordinary step, U. S. District Court Judge Emmett Sullivan has launched an independent inquiry into the issue of the missing emails associated with former IRS official Lois Lerner,” Judicial Watch said in a statement. “Previously, Judge Sullivan ordered the IRS to produce sworn declarations about the IRS email issue by August 11. Today’s order confirms Judicial Watch’s read of this week’s IRS’ filings that treated as a joke Judge Sullivan’s order.”
Congressional investigators are demanding answers from Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Marilyn Tavenner after she reportedly instructed a subordinate to “delete” an Obamacare-related email conversation involving key White House officials.
In a August 15 letter to Tavenner, leaders of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce bring to light an October 5, 2013, email discussion involving White House representatives. The email was then forwarded to the CMS communications director with the following message: “Please delete this email-but please see if we can work on call script.”
According to veteran journalist Sharyl Attiksson, this revelation is “significant” for a number of reasons:
First, the email to be deleted included an exchange between key White House officials and CMS officials. Second, the email was dated October 5, 2013, five days into the disastrous launch of HealthCare.gov. Third, federal law requires federal officials to retain copies of –not delete– email exchanges. And fourth, the document to be deleted is covered under Congressional subpoena as well as longstanding Freedom of Information requests made by members of the media (including me).
Members of Congress are now requesting answers from Tavenner, including why she instructed a subordinate, CMS Director of Communications Julie Bataille, to delete the email exchange rather than telling her to retain it as she claimed was the official policy.
As Attkisson notes, those copied on the email exchange included Jeanne Lambrew, director of the White House Office of Health Reform, White House Chief Technology Officer Todd Park, White House health care advisor Christopher Jennings, as well as other HHS and CMS officials.
In the 2013 email exchange, Tavenner reportedly explained how CMS staff were dealing with the high volume of Obamacare applications as Healthcare.gov failed. She noted officials were accepting PDF files that “look and act like a paper application” while also trying to accept some information online. Eventually, another official asked for more details on the process.
The Department of Health and Human Services recently informed Congress that they would not be able to produce some of Tavenner’s emails requested under a subpoena as they were deleted. Lawmakers, who are investigating the “processes and procedures” that led to the disastrous rollout of Healthcare.gov, were told “most but not all” of the emails would likely be provided.
Tavenner blamed the email loss on the “extremely high volume of emails” that she receives on a daily basis.
The Friday letter from lawmakers asks Tavenner if any other emails were purposefully deleted and how CMS intends on attempting to recover them. Lawmakers also requested an explanation regarding several redactions made in some documents already provided to Congress.
“[N]ow we know that when HealthCare.gov was crashing, those in charge were hitting the delete button behind the scenes,” Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.), chairman of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, said in a statement.
Despite the “delete” request, CMS spokesman Aaron Albright told FoxNews.com that the email exchange was saved anyway.
Ukraine said on Friday it had destroyed part of a Russian military convoy that entered onto its territory in an incursion that has sent cross-border tensions rocketing.
NATO accused Russia of active involvement in the “destabilisation” of eastern Ukraine, where pro-Kremlin separatists have been fighting against Kiev for four months.
The two countries have also been wrangling for days over a Russian convoy that Moscow says is carrying humanitarian aid for besieged rebel-held cities but which Kiev suspects could be a “Trojan horse” to provide military help to the insurgents.
Fears that the border clash could spill into all-out war between Kiev and Moscow sent major share markets tumbling across Europe and the United States.
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko told British Prime Minister David Cameron that government artillery had destroyed a “considerable part” of a small military convoy that entered the country, the presidency said in a statement.
The European Union demanded that Russia “put an immediate stop to any form of border hostilities, in particular to the flow of arms, military advisers and armed personnel into the conflict region, and to withdraw its forces from the border.”
French President Francois Hollande called on Russia to respect Ukraine’s territorial integrity and for both sides to try to de-escalate the “very high tensions,” while Britain summoned Moscow’s ambassador to “clarify” the situation and a Cameron spokesman said Russia needs to show “a willingness to find a peaceful solution to the conflict”.
Moscow’s defence ministry dismissed the alleged convoy as a “phantom”, its latest denial of Western accusations that it is funnelling weapons to the pro-Russia separatists who launched an insurgency against Kiev in April.
“Such statements, based on fantasies… should not be a subject of serious discussion for leaders of any country,” spokesman Igor Konashenkov told Russian news agencies.
But NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen backed reports of the “Russian incursion” after British media said it had seen the convoy of some 20 vehicles cross the border.
“It just confirms the fact that we see a continued flow of weapons and fighters from Russia into the eastern Ukraine,” he said.
“It is a clear demonstration of continued Russian involvement in the destabilisation of eastern Ukraine.”
As the fallout snowballed, Ukraine’s foreign minister announced he will meet his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov in Berlin on Sunday for talks alongside the top diplomats from France and Germany.
“Be it a square table or a round one, we need to talk,” minister Pavlo Klimkin wrote on Twitter.
- ‘Attempts to derail aid’ -
Russia’s foreign ministry ominously accused Ukraine of “attempts to derail the supply of humanitarian aid” as doubts swirled over what will happen next to almost 300 Russian trucks parked up some 30 kilometres (20 miles) from Ukraine’s border.
Moscow accused Kiev of stepping up military operations with the “obvious goal” of blocking the agreed route.
It had appeared earlier that the two countries might reach a deal to allow the convoy into Ukraine to help people in the east who are without water, food or power.
But the International Committee of the Red Cross said they were still ironing out details over the shipment.
“People are struggling to cope with limited access to basic services such as water and electricity, so speed is of the essence,” said Laurent Corbaz, ICRC head of operations for Europe and Central Asia.
The head of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic, Alexander Zakharchenko, said Friday that the inhabitants were in “a very bad humanitarian situation” and desperately needing Russian aid.
“We just need it like air,” he said, accusing Kiev of deliberately stalling its arrival.
Ukraine fears the convoy could be used as a pretext to invade, as a pro-Moscow rebellion shows signs of unravelling after four months of fighting that has left more than 2,000 people dead including children and sent around 285,000 fleeing their homes.
Moscow has insisted the white-tarpaulin trucks are hauling aid and officials tried to prove that by showing off the contents of 10 lorries with baby formula, rations and bottled water to journalists.
“We’ve shown you everything. You see that we have nothing to hide – these trucks are carrying nothing but humanitarian aid,” said Sergei Karavaytsev, from Russia’s emergency situations ministry.
- Kiev pushes on offensive -
Meanwhile Ukraine said it was forging on with an offensive that has sent rebel forces reeling, retaking three small towns overnight.
Top rebel military chief Igor Strelkov and another key commander announced Thursday they were quitting after Ukraine’s military said it had completely surrounded Lugansk, cutting all links to the border with Russia.
An AFP journalist in the main rebel-held city of Donetsk in the industrial heartland of eastern Ukraine heard sporadic shelling from a suburb and saw rebels driving howitzer cannons into the city centre.
The death toll continues to climb, with mortar fire in Donetsk killing 11 civilians over the past 24 hours, local authorities said. Five soldiers were also killed in fighting over the same period.
As the Russian aid sat at the border, Ukrainian officials said their own aid convoys – some 75 lorries with 800 tonnes of supplies – had arrived at a government-held town about 100 kilometres north of Lugansk.
A single television station has been granted a significant exception to the Federal Communications Commission’s upcoming broadcast spectrum overhaul – a station whose operators made joint campaign contributions to a key lawmaker with oversight authority over the FCC.
House Energy & Commerce Committee Ranking Democrat Henry Waxman – who oversees the FCC – received more than $12,000 in campaign contributions from three television executives in danger of losing broadcast rights after their company missed a crucial agency deadline. The company was subsequently granted the sole exception to the FCC’s rule.
“The timing of the campaign donations is very suspicious,” a source at the FCC familiar with the spectrum deliberations told The Daily Caller. “It appears that you can buy special favors from the FCC worth millions of dollars by giving money to Democrats. Would the result have been the same if the company’s executives were Republican donors? I doubt it.”
In May the FCC finalized plans to hold a spectrum incentive auction, the goal of which is to free up and transition broadcast television ultra-high frequency spectrum space over to the growing mobile broadband services market.
Starting sometime in mid-2015, TV broadcasters will have the opportunity to sell spectrum back to the commission, which will then re-sell it to wireless carriers. Broadcasters choosing not to sell will be repacked (or moved to different spectrum) in order to stay in business.
The central question facing broadcasters is who will be eligible for auction participation, and who will be eligible for repacking in the event they fail to sell their spectrum.
That decision will be left up to the commission based on three FCC broadcast power and classification distinctions – “Class A” and “Full-Power Stations,” which will be eligible for auction participation or repacking, and “Low-Power Stations,” which will be ineligible for auction participation.
Full-Power Stations cover large broadcast ranges and must meet certain public interest requirements. Low-Power Stations cover smaller, more-localized areas and are exempt from those requirements. Class A Stations are former Low-Power Stations that received full-power status by filing an application with the commission, and meeting the public interest protocols.
Class A and Full-Power Stations will either receive millions of dollars by selling their spectrum to the FCC or stay in the television business via new, repacked spectrum, whereas Low-Power Stations are not guaranteed spectrum after the auction – meaning if there’s no room left, they’ll be forced off the air.
That makes the distinction between Class A and Low-Power Stations worth, literally, millions of dollars more for the former.
The commission released its adopted incentive auction rules in June, which established a simple rule: All Low-Power Stations that failed to file applications to become Class A Stations by February 22, 2012 (the date the law authorizing the incentive auction was enacted) would be ineligible to participate in the auction, or be protected through repacking.
All except one – a local station based in Los Angeles, which received a special exception to the rule.
“We will, however, exercise our discretion to protect one station in this category – KHTV-CD, Los Angeles, California, licensed to Venture,” the rules state. “Venture made repeated efforts over the course of a decade to convert to Class A status.”
According to FCC filings, Venture was denied Class A designation several times over predicted spectrum “interference” or “international objection,” and failed to file a Class A license application along with a construction permit for a new facility in 2009. Venture then had to wait to get a Low-Power license before applying for Class A again. The Low-Power license was granted on February 22, 2012, after which Venture applied for and received its Class A license on July 11, 2012 – well after the incentive auction deadline.
Federal Election Commission filings show that on September 30, 2012 Venture Technologies Group co-founder and Chairman Lawrence Rogow, co-founder and General Counsel Garry Spire and CEO Paul Koplin each gave $2,500 (or a combined $7,500) to Waxman’s re-election campaign
The House Energy & Commerce Committee oversees the FCC, and the commission’s Wireless Telecommunications Bureau Chief Roger Sherman – one of the most important advisors to Chairman Tom Wheeler on the incentive auction, according to an FCC source – was formerly Minority Chief Counsel in Waxman’s office, including during Waxman’s tenure as Energy & Commerce chair.
Spire gave Waxman another $2,500 six days before, and a little over a year later on November 8, 2013, Rogow and Koplin gave Waxman another $2,600 each, making for a total of $12,700 personally from top Venture execs to Waxman months before the FCC’s adopted incentive auction rules, which gave their company the only exception.
The exception granted to Venture will either allow the company to make millions of dollars by participating in the incentive auction (as spectrum in Los Angeles is especially valuable), or allow its station to stay in business after the incentive auction, when it likely would have been forced off the air otherwise.
The Daily Caller reached out to Waxman Communications Director Karen Lightfoot twice via email and telephone on June 20 seeking comment on the timing of the donations, the exception, and the status of any possible relationship with Venture. She did not respond.
TheDC then attempted to contact Waxman Assistant Press Secretary Elizabeth Letter via email and telephone on July 2, and again received no response.
Congressman Waxman’s office did not return multiple telephone requests for comment.
Last week, Republicans on the House Energy and Commerce Committee launched an investigation into a different FCC rule exception for a company owned by a major Obama donor.
“The Energy and Commerce Committee is committed to conducting vigorous oversight to ensure that Commission processes are fair, open, and transparent, and that they serve the public interest,” Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton, Oregon Rep. Greg Walden and Pennsylvania Rep. Tim Murphy wrote in a letter to FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler.
In an earlier July statement, Upton and Walden said the agency’s “process is clearly broken, and something smells rotten on the eighth floor” – a reference to the offices of the chairman and commissioners at FCC headquarters in Washington.
Republicans opened the probe to find out whether Grain Management LLC, headed by Democratic campaign donor David Grain, was given ethically questionable favor in the form of a wavier to airwave auction rules that grant Grain benefits originally intended exclusively for smaller businesses.
Half of America’s public school employees aren’t classroom teachers, according to a new study. Instead, they’re non-teaching personnel such as instructional aides, bus drivers, cafeteria workers, secretaries, and librarians.
It hasn’t always been this way.
The study from the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, a nonprofit think tank specializing in education policy, found that the number of non-teaching staff grew by 130 percent from 1970 to 2010. Their salaries and benefits account for one-quarter of current education spending.
To show where each state is on the spectrum between least and most non-teaching personnel per 1,000 students, Fordham created this map:
So why are non-teachers on the rise? The Fordham Institute left that up to school district and state education officials to explain.
By using national, state, and local data, though, “The Hidden Half: School Employees Who Don’t Teach” attempts to draw attention to what some education experts consider an alarming trend.
By a wide margin, Nevada and South Carolina public schools had the fewest non-teaching workers per 1,000 students, at 26 and 28 respectively, the study found. Virginia, Vermont, and Wyoming had the most at 104, as the chart below shows.
States should consider cutting costs in areas that are long overdue for reform and pursue systemic reform to improve student achievement. Specifically, states should refrain from continuing to increase the number of non-teaching staff in public schools.
Michael Petrilli, president of the Fordham Institute, told The Daily Signal that the results of the study should encourage policymakers to “raise tough questions about whether these trends are helping or hurting children.”
Among the most significant findings of “The Hidden Half’,” the authors say in a release on the study:
Since 1950, school staffing has increased nearly 500 percent, and non-teaching personnel played a major part in that growth. Passage of several pieces of federal legislation – Section 504, the Education for All Handicapped Children Act, and Title IX (Equal Opportunity in Education Act) – likely were instrumental in changing the makeup of schools.
America spends far more on non-teaching staff (as a percentage of education spending) than do most of the nation’s economic peers in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. The U.S. spends more than double what Korea, Mexico, Finland, Portugal, Ireland, Luxembourg, Austria, and Spain do. Only Denmark spends more.
States vary in staffing their schools, but much of the variation is because of differences within their borders. States with a large proportion of the population living in cities tend to have fewer workers per student. (See chart below.)
The category of teacher aides has been the largest gainer over the past 40 years. From 1970 to 2010, aides went from nearly non-existent to the largest group of workers other than teachers.
School districts vary greatly in number of employees, but the differences likely stem from staffing decisions made by leaders. Although factors such as location (rural, suburban, urban) and number of students in special education matter, they don’t explain most of the variation across school districts.
The revelation that Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services administrator Marilynn Tavenner did not retain her e-mails means that more than 20 witness in the Obama administration to lose or delete e-mails without notifying Congress, according to the top House investigator.
“The Obama administration has lost or destroyed e-mails for more than 20 witnesses, and in each case, the loss wasn’t disclosed to the National Archives or Congress for months or years, in violation of federal law,” House Oversight and Government Reform Committee chairman Darrell Issa (R., Calif.) said of Tavenner’s lost e-mails.
“It defies logic that so many senior Administration officials were found to have ignored federal recordkeeping requirements only after Congress asked to see their e-mails,” he continued. “Just this week, my staff followed up with HHS, who has failed to comply with a subpoena from ten months ago. Even at that point, the administration did not inform us that there was a problem with Ms. Tavenner’s e-mail history. Yet again, we discover that this administration will not be forthright with the American people unless cornered.”
From February of 2010 to November of 2013 – one month after the launch of the HealthCare.gov website, as the Daily Caller’s Patrick Howley noted – Tavenner didn’t maintain copies of her e-mails as required.
“During her entire tenure at CMS, Ms. Tavenner’s CMS e-mail address, which is accessible to both colleagues and the public, has been subject to write-in campaigns involving thousands of e-mails from the public,” CMS wrote to the National Archives and Records Administration, per Howley.
“Therefore, she receives an extremely high volume of e-mails that she manages daily. To keep an orderly e-mail box and to stay within the agency’s e-mail system capacity limits, the administrator generally copied or forwarded e-mails to immediate staff for retention and retrieval, and did not maintain her own copies,” CMS said.
Issa subpoenaed the missing e-mails ten months ago. “The evidence is mounting that the website did not go through proper testing, including critical security testing, and that the Administration ignored repeated warnings from contractors about ongoing problems,” he said at the time. “The American people deserve to know why the administration spent significant taxpayer money on a product that is entirely dysfunctional and puts their personal information at risk.”
Video surfaced on Thursday showing Michael Mulgrew, president of New York’s United Federation of Teachers, as he unloaded a hateful rant against critics of the Common Core Standards Initiative.
“If someone takes something from me, I’m going to grab it right back out of their cold, twisted, sick hands and say it is mine!” Mulgrew bellowed clownishly. “You do not take what is mine!”
The union boss also challenged opponents of Common Core and union control over education to a fist fight.
“I’m going to punch you in the face and push you in the dirt because this is the teachers’!” Mulgrew threatened.
The teachers union bigwig made the speech at a convention in Los Angeles last month, according to the New York Daily News.
Ed Notes Online, a blog that follows education news, posted the screed yesterday.
Mulgrew’s bizarro, menacing outburst was part of an intense debate on a mundane resolution calling on the 1.4 million-member American Federation of Teachers to continue its support the implementation of Common Core.
“I’ve heard the stories about how Eli Broad, Bill Gates, Joel Klein and a flying saucer full of Martians designed these things to brainwash us all,” Mulgrew also raged in scorn of the growing grassroots tide of opposition to Common Core.
Attendees at the convention said the hulking, bald and very angry union boss’s intimidating diatribe was frightening.
“It was scary,” a member of the audience who wished to remain anonymous told the Daily News. “People were saying that he shouldn’t be around children.”
Across the country, bureaucrats in 45 states, Washington, D.C., and four U.S. territories had originally decided to implement Common Core with virtually no democratic input.
Since then, a handful of states have either neutered or – in the case of Oklahoma – banned Common Core entirely. Legislatures in several more states are mulling bills that would limit the controversial national standards.
In an interview with the New Yorker’s David Remnick in January, President Obama dismissed ISIS as the “jayvee”:
The analogy we use around here sometimes, and I think is accurate, is if a jayvee team puts on Lakers uniforms that doesn’t make them Kobe Bryant.
Yesterday, with much of Iraq now in the jayvee’s hands, Obama finally recognized it as enough of a threat to warrant the authorization of U.S. military action. Sort of:
To stop the advance on Irbil, I directed our military to take targeted strikes against ISIL terrorist convoys should they move towards the city.
What is magic about Irbil? For one thing, many American diplomats and other U.S. nationals are there. In fact, the State Department relocated staffers from the embassy in Baghdad to the consulate in Irbil on the theory that the Kurds could keep the jayvee out. And then Obama ignored warnings from the Kurds that, without U.S. military supplies, they could not defend their territory.
To this conditional authorization of force, Obama added another conditional one. He authorized airstrikes “if necessary” to help Iraqi forces break the siege of Mount Sinjar.
Here, one assumes, Obama is being disingenuous. How else besides through U.S. military action might the jayvees’ siege of Mount Sinjar be broken. Diplomacy?
Speaking of diplomacy, Obama’s reliance on it is what permitted the situation in Iraq to deteriorate to its current state. Months ago, it became clear that the jayvee was on the march and would not be halted without substantial U.S. assistance.
But Obama conditioned such assistance on the overhaul of Iraq’s government and sought that overhaul through diplomacy. Naturally, Prime Minister Maliki liked his government just fine so, naturally, no overhaul occurred. And then the jayvee continued its bloody march.
Ironically, Obama ended up liking Maliki’s government well enough when it came time to decide whether to grant the Kurds’ request for weapons and ammunition. Obama turned them down on the theory that he didn’t want to bypass the central government – unreformed though it was. And then the jayvee overran the Kurdish border.
Assuming Obama deems his conditions for using force satisfied – and, objectively, they surely will be – the questions become how much force is needed and will Obama authorize that much force.
As to the first question, Fox News’ military expert, Ret. Lt. Gen. Tom McInerney said last night that “pin prick” strikes won’t be enough. He called for round-the-clock sorties.
Other military experts, including active service commanders in Iraq, say that air power won’t be enough. Apparently, the jayvee, having seized all sorts of U.S. military equipment and grown significantly in number off of its successes, has become Kobe Bryant after all. As Army Lt. Gen. Mick Bednarek, U.S. chief of the Office of Security and Cooperation-Iraq, put it: “[ISIS] is an army, and it takes an army to defeat an army.”
Gen. Bednarek was talking about “neutralizing” ISIS, though. Obama, presumably recognizing what doing so would entail, described his objectives much more narrowly as protecting Ibril and ending the siege of Mount Sinjar. These objectives can, perhaps, be accomplished without an army, and conceivably even with pin point strikes.
But if this is all Obama accomplishes, he will have accomplished little. And pretty soon, the jayvee’s blitz will produce another crisis that will grab the attention of even our criminally inattentive president.
“Christianity in Mosul is dead, and a Christian holocaust is in our midst,” said Mark Arabo, a Californian businessman and Chaldean-American leader. In an interview with CNN’s Jonathan Mann, he called what’s happening in Iraq a “Christian genocide” and said “children are being beheaded, mothers are being raped and killed, and fathers are being hung.”
“Right now, three thousand Christians are in Iraq fleeing to neighboring cities,” he told Mann. Arabo is calling on the international community to follow France’s lead and offer the Christians of Iraq asylum.
“You’re startling me with the severity of what you’re describing,” the CNN host said. “You said they are – beheading children?”
“They are systematically beheading children,” Arabo repeated slowly. “And mothers and fathers. The world hasn’t seen an evil like this for generations.”
“There’s actually a park in Mosul where they actually beheaded children and put their heads on a stick… this is crimes against humanity. They are doing the most horrendous, the most heart-breaking crimes that you can think of.”
Mann asked about the ISIS letter sent to Christians in Mosul, demanding that they either convert to Islam, pay a fine or be put to “death by the sword.”
“It’s very clear they are killing people, but are Christians managing to escape by paying a fine?” he asked.
Arabo reports that after Christians pay the fine, the fighters take the Christian wives and children “and make them their wives – so it’s really convert, or die.”
This is a tweet that reportedly shows Yazidi children who escaped the fighters by fleeing to the mountains, but have died from lack of food and water there:
100 Retweets 13 favorites
A quick scan of Youtube shows the truth of what Arabo is saying – there are gruesome videos of heads on spikes, and many of live beheadings (one poor Christian is forced to say the Shahada ‘there is no God but Allah and Muhammad is his Prophet’ and then beheaded anyway.)
Warning: don’t google these things unless you have a strong stomach.
“They are absolutely killing every Christian they see,” Arabo said of ISIS. “This is absolutely a genocide in every sense of the word. They want everyone to convert, and they want sharia law to be the law of the land.”
Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama said Thursday the United States cannot use its military to solve humanitarian problems and that preventing a potential genocide in Iraq isn’t a good enough reason to keep U.S. forces there.
“Well, look, if that’s the criteria by which we are making decisions on the deployment of U.S. forces, then by that argument you would have 300,000 troops in the Congo right now – where millions have been slaughtered as a consequence of ethnic strife – which we haven’t done,” Obama said in an interview with The Associated Press.
“We would be deploying unilaterally and occupying the Sudan, which we haven’t done. Those of us who care about Darfur don’t think it would be a good idea,” he said.
Obama, a first-term senator from Illinois, said it’s likely there would be increased bloodshed if U.S. forces left Iraq.
“Nobody is proposing we leave precipitously. There are still going to be U.S. forces in the region that could intercede, with an international force, on an emergency basis,” Obama said between stops on the first of two days scheduled on the New Hampshire campaign trail. “There’s no doubt there are risks of increased bloodshed in Iraq without a continuing U.S. presence there.”
The greater risk is staying in Iraq, Obama said.
“It is my assessment that those risks are even greater if we continue to occupy Iraq and serve as a magnet for not only terrorist activity but also irresponsible behavior by Iraqi factions,” he said.
The senator has been a fierce critic of the war in Iraq, speaking out against it even before he was elected to his post in 2004. He was among the senators who tried unsuccessfully earlier this week to force President Bush’s hand and begin to limit the role of U.S. forces there.
“We have not lost a military battle in Iraq. So when people say if we leave, we will lose, they’re asking the wrong question,” he said. “We cannot achieve a stable Iraq with a military. We could be fighting there for the next decade.”
Obama said the answer to Iraq – and other civil conflicts – lies in diplomacy.
“When you have civil conflict like this, military efforts and protective forces can play an important role, especially if they’re under an international mandate as opposed to simply a U.S. mandate. But you can’t solve the underlying problem at the end of a barrel of a gun,” he said. “There’s got to be a deliberate and constant diplomatic effort to get the various factions to recognize that they are better off arriving at a peaceful resolution of their conflicts.”
GOP: ‘Obama can’t seem to make up his mind’
The Republican National Committee accused Obama of changing his position on the war.
“Barack Obama can’t seem to make up his mind,” said Amber Wilkerson, an RNC spokeswoman. “First he says that a quick withdrawal from Iraq would be ’a slap in the face’ to the troops, and then he votes to cut funding for our soldiers who are still in harm’s way. Americans are looking for principled leadership – not a rookie politician who is pandering to the left wing of his party in an attempt to win an election.”
Obama, who has expressed reservations about capital punishment but does not oppose it, said he would support the death penalty for Osama bin Laden, the mastermind of the Sept. 11 attacks.
“The first thing I’d support is his capture, which is something this administration has proved incapable of achieving,” Obama said. “I would then, as president, order a trial that observed international standards of due process. At that point, do I think that somebody who killed 3,000 Americans qualifies as someone who has perpetrated heinous crimes, and would qualify for the death penalty. Then yes.”
Sex education for kindergartners?
In response to criticism from Republican Mitt Romney, Obama said the former Massachusetts governor was only trying to “score cheap political points” when he told a Colorado audience that Obama wanted sex education for kindergartners.
Video: Sex education for kindergarteners? “All I said was that I support the same laws that exist in Massachusetts and New Hampshire, in which local communities and parents can make decisions to provide children with the information they need to deal with sexual predators,” Obama said.
Romney on Wednesday targeted Obama for supporting a bill during his term in the Illinois state Senate that would have, among other things, provided age-appropriate sex education for all students.
“How much sex education is age appropriate for a 5-year-old? In my mind, zero is the right number,” Romney said.
Obama said Romney was wrong to take the shot and incorrect on its basis.
“We have to deal with a coarsening of the culture and the over-sexualization of our young people. Look, I’ve got two daughters, 9 and 6 years old,” Obama told the AP. “Of course, part of the coarsening of that culture is when politicians try to demagogue issues to score cheap political points.”
“What we shouldn’t do is to try to play a political football with these issues and express them in ways that are honest and truthful,” Obama said. “Certainly, what we shouldn’t do is engage in hypocrisy.”
Romney himself once indicated support for similar programs that Obama supports.
In 2002, Romney told Planned Parenthood in a questionnaire that he also supported age-appropriate sex education. He checked yes to a question that asked: “Do you support the teaching of responsible, age-appropriate, factually accurate health and sexuality education, including information about both abstinence and contraception, in public schools?”
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.
“Over the past week, NORAD has visually identified Russian aircraft operating in and around the U.S. air defense identification zones,” said Maj. Beth Smith, spokeswoman for U.S. Northern Command and the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD).
Smith called the Russian flights “a spike in activity” but sought to play down the threat, stating the flights were assessed as routine training missions and exercises.
The bomber flights took place mainly along the Alaskan air defense identification zone that covers the Aleutian Islands and the continental part of the state, and one incursion involved entry into Canada’s air defense zone, Smith said.
The Russian strategic aircraft included a mix of Tu-95 Bear H heavy bombers and Tu-142 Bear F maritime reconnaissance aircraft, she said, adding that one IL-20 intelligence collection aircraft was detected during the flight incursions over the past week to 10 days.
The bomber flights are the latest case of nuclear saber rattling by the Russians.
However, other defense officials said the large number of aerial incursions is very unusual and harkens back to the Cold War, when Soviet bombers frequently sought to trigger air defenses along the periphery of U.S. territory as preparation for a nuclear conflict.
Moscow, under strongman President Vladimir Putin, is engaged in a major buildup of its strategic nuclear forces. The modernization includes new missiles of several ranges, new strategic missile submarines, and new long-range bombers.
As for its long-range aviation flights near U.S. coasts, Russia has been sharply increasing the activities, especially in the Pacific Northwest near Alaska, Canada, and the West Coast.
The Washington Free Beacon first reported that two Bear bombers flew within 50 miles of the California coast on June 9 – the closest the Russians have flown their nuclear-capable bombers since the days of the Cold War. A U.S. F-15 intercepted the bombers.
A defense official disagreed with the spokeswoman on the increased bomber forays. Russian strategic nuclear forces appear to be “trying to test our air defense reactions, or our command and control systems,” said an official familiar with reports of the incursions.
“These are not just training missions,” the official added.
Northern Command and NORAD in the past frequently sought to dismiss the Russian bomber incursions as non-threatening as part of the Obama administration’s conciliatory “reset” policy of seeking closer ties with Moscow.
The Pentagon and other commands, however, have toughened rhetoric toward Russia and its activities after the Russian military annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea in June.
Relations between Washington and Moscow have soured. The State Department last month accused Moscow of violating the 1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces treaty by developing a new cruise missile.
Moscow dismissed the charges as untrue.
Adm. Cecil Haney, commander of the U.S. Strategic Command, expressed concerns about the increase in Russian strategic nuclear activities during a speech in Washington June 18.
Haney said Russian nuclear activities coincided with recent tensions over Ukraine and included the test launch of six air-launched cruise missiles in a show of force.
A Russian Defense Ministry statement on the cruise missile test launches said a Tu-95 bomber “is capable of destroying the critical stationary assets of an enemy with cruise missiles, in daytime and nighttime, in any weather and in any part of the globe.”
Moscow also conducted several large-scale nuclear war games in May, Haney said.
“Additionally, we have seen significant Russian strategic aircraft deployments in the vicinity of places like Japan, Korea, and even our West Coast,” Haney said at a defense industry breakfast.
“Russia continues to modernize its strategic capabilities across all legs of its triad, and open source [reporting] has recently cited the sea trials of its latest [missile submarine], testing of its newest air-launched cruise missile and modernization of its intercontinental ballistic force to include its mobile capability in that area,” he said.
Russia’s recent Cold War-level aerial encounters over the Pacific near Alaska followed an earlier U.S.-Russian aerial duel in Europe.
U.S. officials confirmed that an RC-135 Rivet Joint electronic intelligence gathering aircraft was forced into violating Swedish airspace by a Russian fighter jet July 18. The U.S. jet was seeking to evade the Russian interceptor jet at the time.
That encounter took place a day after Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17 was shot down by a missile over eastern Ukraine.
Teenage criminals and gang members from Central America have been using “a loophole” to stay in the country, border agent Chris Cabrera revealed. Under current policy, unaccompanied minors are allowed to stay in the country if they have family in the United States and say they have none in their home country, regardless of their background.
“Even if he is a confirmed gang member, a confirmed criminal, even by self-admission, we for some reason don’t send them back to their home country – we release them into our country,” Cabrera said.
Minors usually end up staying in the U.S. “nine times out of ten,” he added.
As a result, Cabrera said “morale is at an all-time low right now” because agents are “not allowed to do the job that they were hired to do.”
Cabrera was reacting to a recent video of a Border Patrol agent lamenting that citizenship now seems to be irrelevant consideration at U.S. border crossings.
Equatorial Guinea president Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo and his wife Constancia Mangue De Obiang, pictured arriving for a dinner hosted by President Barack Obama for the U.S. Africa Leaders Summit
Pictured outside the White House waving and grinning with his wife President Obiang of Equatorial Guinea is Africa’s longest serving dictator after seizing power from his uncle and mentor (who used to hang regime critics from the capital’s street lights) in 1979.
Since then he has won the yearly elections with 99% of the vote. Taking the lead from his uncle, he has since had shot or jailed virtually all political opponents and ruled the country with an iron fist. Despite running one of sub-Saharas biggest oil-producing countries and amassing a personal wealth in excess of an estimated $600million, he’s far from generous with his riches.
The average income of his citizens is $2 a day, few live beyond 53 and 20 per cent of children die before they reach five years of age. Last year the country ranked 163 out of 177 on Transparency International. There is no freedom of the press, the country’s one television station is government-run and clean water is scarce. In 2011, the United States’ Department of Justice made moves to seize more than $70 million in assets from President Obiang’s son, Teodorin Nguema Obiang Mangue.
Justice Department lawyers alleged Nguema, on top of his official government salary of $100,000, used his position to amass more than $100 million through corruption and money laundering, including a $30 million dollar mansion in Malibu, California, a $38.5 million Gulfstream jet and one of the world’s finest Michael Jackson memorabilia collections including the red and black ‘Thriller jacket’ and Jackson’s crystal-studded ‘Bad Tour’ glove worth more than $2m. He was also the focus of a corruption investigation in France who seized his 101-room Paris mansion, a collection of cars and other luxury assets. He has repeatedly denied the allegations.
President Blaise Compaore (With First Lady Chantal Compaore) of Burkina Faso seized power in a bloody coup
Burkina Faso’s Blaise Compaore is another African leader who seized power by bloody coup. The Burkina Faso president’s 1987 uprising left his predecessor Thomas Sankara dead – who himself had taken power four years earlier alongside Compaore. In 2011 he watched as protests gave way to calls for his resignation over claims of police brutality and government corruption. However, his presidential guard eventually squashed a mutiny, then made concessions to appease the remaining protesters – but questions remain over corruption among the ruling elite.
Cameroon president Paul Biya (with his wife Chantal Vigouroux) pictured at the President Obama’s summit yesterday
Paul Biya has the dubious honour of ranking nineteenth on author David Wallechinsky’s 2006 list of the world’s 20 worst living dictators. The Cameroon’s grip on his country’s presidency has remained tight since he came to power in 1983 and there have been widespread allegations of fraud and voting consistencies in every election cycle. In fact, Mr Wallechinsky claims in the Huffington Post Biya is credited with the innovative election fraud tactic of paying for a set of international observers to certify his elections as legitimate.
Angolan president Jose Eduardo dos Santos (in Japan) Human rights groups claim his government has murdered many
Human rights groups claim Angolan president Jose Eduardo do Santos has murdered many and exploited the country’s resources to his own gain. After Mariah Carey was paid $1million for performing for him last year, Human .Rights Foundation president Thor Halvorssen said: ‘It is the sad spectacle of an international artist purchased by a ruthless police state to entertain and whitewash the father-daughter kleptocracy that has amassed billions in ill-gotten wealth while the majority of Angola lives on less than $2 a day’
President of Gambia Yahya Jammeh (with his wife, First Lady Zineb Jammeh) attended the dinner at the White House
arack Obama shakes hands with Gambia’s Yahya AJJ Jammeh as the presidents pose for an official photo
Gambian president Yahya Jammeh took power in a military coup in 1994. Although the coup itself was bloodless, in the 20 years since he has been accused of countless breaches of human rights. In 2008, he threatened to ‘cut off the head’ of any homosexuals in the country. The following year, it was reported up to 1,000 Gambians had been abducted by the government on charges of witchcraft – they were taken to prisons and forced to drink poison.
Watch Video Here:
Good morning, everyone. Michelle and I were honored to host you and your wonderful spouses at dinner last night. I hope people didn’t stay out too late. The evening was a chance to celebrate the bonds between our peoples. And this morning, we continue our work, and it’s my privilege to welcome you to this first-ever U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit.
So we come together this week because, even as the continent faces significant challenges, as I said last night, I believe a new Africa is emerging.
To my fellow leaders, I want to thank you and your teams for helping us to shape our agenda today. Our work can build on the valuable contributions already made this week by civil society groups, the private sector, young Africans, and – at our first session of this summit – our faith communities, which do so much to sustain the U.S.-Africa relationship. Different though they may be, our faith traditions remind us of the inherent dignity of every human being and that our work as nations must be rooted in empathy and compassion for each other, as brothers and as sisters.
Today is an opportunity to focus on three broad areas where we can make progress together.
Number one, we have the opportunity to expand trade that creates jobs. The new trade deals and investments I announced yesterday are an important step. And today we can focus on what we can do, as governments, to accelerate that investment – economic and regulatory reforms, regional integration, and development so that growth is broad-based, especially among women, who must be empowered for economies to truly flourish.
Second, we have the opportunity to strengthen the governance upon which economic growth and free societies depend. Today we can focus on the ingredients of progress: rule of law, open government, accountable and transparent institutions, strong civil societies, and respect for the universal human rights of all people.
And finally, we have the opportunity to deepen our security cooperation against common threats. As I said, African security forces and African peacekeepers are in the lead across the continent. As your partner, the United States is proud to support these efforts. And today, we can focus on how we can continue to strengthen Africa’s capacity to meet transitional threats – transnational threats, and in so doing make all of our nations more secure.
Watch Video Here:
Rwanda president Paul Kagame’s rule over his country has been notable for its restrictions on the press – (seen here at the White House on Tuesday with his daughter, Ange Ingabire Kagame)
Rwanda’s president Paul Kagame with Barack Obama at the White House on Tuesday
When he came to power in 2000, Rwanda’s president Paul Kagawe inherited a nation still raw from the brutal genocide of 1994 which claimed up to one million lives. But during his heavy-handed time in power, the country’s ranks for press freedom have plummeted and a suspicious number of public and political opponents have been harassed or have died in increasingly suspicious circumstances.
Nigerian president Goodluck Jonathan casting a vote in his country’s 2011 elections
Barack and Michelle Obama have an official portrait taken with Nigeria’s president, Goodluck Jonathan
Goodluck Jonathan, president of Nigeria, signed harsh anti-gay laws this year. They criminalise gay relationships, being involved in gay societies and organizations and gay marriages. Violation of this law can result in up to 14 years in prison, with dozens of homosexuals already jailed. Jonathan also sparked major controversy over his decision in 2012 to end fuel subsidies. He is also accused of pardoning corrupt politicians.
Kenyan president Uhuru Kenyatta is embroiled in major controversy over electoral violence. He has pleaded innocent to murder and other charges for an alleged role in organizing violence that left more than 1,000 people dead after Kenya’s 2007 elections. The case is before an international criminal court, and Obama pointedly skipped visiting Kenya when he toured Africa with his family last summer.
Guinea president Alpha Conde came to power in December 2010 and while known for his brainpower and charm – has also been criticised for being impetuous and authoritarian.This assessment comes not just from his political opponents, but from his allies, too, according to the BBC. Opposition figures accused him of rigging the vote in the December 2011 parliamentary elections. However, after agreeing to delay the vote until 2013, Conde’s Rally of the Guinean People won, with the Supreme Court stamping its approval on proceedings.
Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta with Barack and Michelle Obama
And look who else was there…
Former U.S. President George W. Bush pictured joking with one of the spouses of the African leaders at a symposium organised by Michelle Obama
Smile! President Barack Obama and African leaders pose during the family photo session at the U.S. Africa Leaders Summit, on Wednesday, Auhust 6, 2014, at the State Department in Washington
Good job: US President Barack Obama ((L)) appauds with African leaders during a group photo at the US-Africa Leaders Summit at the US State Department in Washington DC
Finger wagging: President Barack Obama, front row third from left, points his finger upwards as he arrives for the official family photo at the US African Leaders Summit at the State Department in Washington