Obama Regime Released 68,000 Convicted Criminal Aliens In 2013

Report: Obama Administration Released 68,000 Convicted Criminal Aliens Last Year – Daily Caller

The Obama administration is threatening public safety by deliberately hampering immigration law and releasing aliens with criminal records, according to a new review of internal Immigration and Customs Enforcement data.

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A Center for Immigration study to be released Monday and obtained in advance by The Daily Caller, found that last year ICE reported nearly 722,000 encounters with illegal or criminal immigrants. But ICE officers filed immigration charges against less than 195,000 aliens.

“According to ICE personnel, the vast gap between the number of encounters reported and the number of aliens put on the path to removal exists because officers are not permitted to file charges against aliens who do not fall into the administration’s narrowly defined criteria for enforcement, regardless of the criminal charges or the circumstances in which the alien was identified,” the report, authored by CIS director of policy studies Jessica Vaughan, reads.

Since June 2011, when the first of the Obama administration’s “prosecutorial discretion” policies were put in place, the report adds, interior ICE arrests have declined by 40 percent.

“The Obama administration and anti-enforcement activist groups have tried to portray the number of departures as ‘record-breaking’ and indicative of robust immigration enforcement. They have tried to support this claim by showing that the number of departures credited to ICE is higher than ever before,” the report reads. “However, an independent analysis of ICE records obtained in a lawsuit showed that ICE was able to achieve these ‘record’ departures only because the agency was taking credit for removing a large number of individuals who were apprehended by the Border Patrol. Such cases made up the majority of ICE’s reported deportations in 2013, but they had never been counted that way in previous administrations.”

Indeed, as the review highlights, many aliens with criminal convictions have simply been released.

In 2013 some 68,000 criminal aliens were released – or 35 percent of all criminal aliens ICE reported encountering, according to the report. ICE field offices with the highest rates of criminal releases were San Antonio (79 percent), New York City (71 percent), Washington, D.C. area (64 percent), and Newark, N.J (60 percent).

“These figures suggest that despite claims of a focus on public safety, the administration’s prosecutorial discretion criteria are allowing factors such as family relationships, political considerations, or attention from advocacy groups to trump criminal convictions as a factor leading to deportation,” the report reads.

The data is sure to further frustrate critics of the Obama administration’s immigration policies that much more.

Including Alabama Republican Sen. Jeff Sessions who says the “[Department of Homeland Security] is a department in crisis” and is calling on DHS Sec. Jeh Johnson to “reject the President’s demands to weaken enforcement further and tell him that his duty, and his officers’ duty, is to enforce the law – not break it.”

“As Homeland Secretary, Mr. Johnson is tasked with ensuring the public safety and the rule of law. But Secretary Johnson is not meeting these duties,” Sessions said statement to TheDC. “American citizens have a legal and moral right to the protections our immigration laws afford – at the border, the interior and the workplace. The administration has stripped these protections and adopted a government policy that encourages new arrivals to enter illegally or overstay visas by advertising immunity from future enforcement.”

“Comments from top Administration officials, such as Attorney General Holder’s claim that amnesty is a civil right, or Vice President Biden’s claim that those here illegally are all U.S. citizens (apparently including someone whose visa expired yesterday), demonstrate the administration’s increasing belief in an open borders policy the American public has always rejected,” he added.

According to Vaughan, Congress should initiate an official look into the impact of the administration’s prosecutorial discretion policies.

“The Obama administration’s deliberate obstruction of immigration enforcement, in which tens of thousands of criminal aliens are released instead of removed, is threatening the well-being of American communities,” she said.

To Sessions, however, it is Republicans who must work to hold the administration accountable for its rejection of the law.

“The Administration’s lawless policies have not only impaired public safety but increased economic suffering for millions of vulnerable Americans by depriving them of their jobs and wages,” he said. “Unfortunately, Congressional Democrats continue to empower this lawlessness. Republicans must work to end it.”

Other key findings in the review include:

* In 2013, ICE charged only 195,000, or 25 percent, out of 722,000 potentially deportable aliens they encountered. Most of these aliens came to ICE’s attention after incarceration for a local arrest.

* ICE released 68,000 criminal aliens in 2013, or 35 percent of the criminal aliens encountered by officers. The vast majority of these releases occurred because of the Obama administration’s prosecutorial discretion policies, not because the aliens were not deportable.

* ICE targeted 28 percent fewer aliens for deportation from the interior in 2013 than in 2012, despite sustained high numbers of encounters in the Criminal Alien and Secure Communities programs.

* Every ICE field office but one reported a decline in interior enforcement activity.

* ICE reports that there are more than 870,000 aliens on its docket who have been ordered removed, but who remain in defiance of the law.

* Under current policies, an alien’s family relationships, political considerations, attention from advocacy groups, and other factors not related to public safety can trump even serious criminal convictions and result in the termination of a deportation case.

* Less than 2 percent of ICE’s caseload was in detention at the end of fiscal year 2013. About three-fourths of the aliens ICE detained in 2013 had criminal and/or immigration convictions so serious that the detention was required by statute.

Click HERE For Rest Of Story

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*VIDEO* Al Sharpton Brings Up Race 314 Times In 2013


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H/T The Washington Free Beacon

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Check Out Senator Lee’s Picture Of The 80,000+ Pages Of Obama Regime Regulations Issued In 2013

Pic: The 80,000+ Pages Of Regulations Issued By The Obama Regime In 2013 – Weasel Zippers

That tiny stack on top are the laws passed by Congress during the same time period.

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Via Senator Mike Lee:

Behold my display of the 2013 Federal Register. It contains over 80,000 pages of new rules, regulations, and notices all written and passed by unelected bureaucrats. The small stack of papers on top of the display are the laws passed by elected members of Congress and signed into law by the president.

Click HERE For Rest Of Story

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Judicial Watch Announces List Of Washington’s “Ten Most Wanted Corrupt Politicians” For 2013

Judicial Watch Announces List Of Washington’s “Ten Most Wanted Corrupt Politicians” For 2013 – Judicial Watch

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(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch today released its 2013 list of Washington’s “Ten Most Wanted Corrupt Politicians.” The list, in alphabetical order, includes:

* Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH)
* CIA Director John Brennanx
* Senator Saxby Chamblissx
* Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton
* Attorney General Eric Holder
* Former IRS Commissioner Steven T. Miller / Former IRS Official Lois Lerner
* Former DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano
* President Barack Obama
* Senator Harry Reid (D-NV)
* Health Secretary Kathleen Sebelius

Dishonorable Mentions for 2013 include:

* Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg
* Outgoing Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) / Incoming Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D)
* Former Rep. Rick Renzi (R-AZ)
* National Security Adviser Susan Rice

Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH):

House Speaker John Boehner has apparently become a master at what Government Accountability Institute President Peter Schweizer calls the “Tollbooth Strategy.” As Schweizer explains in his new book, Extortion: How Politicians Extract Your Money, Buy Votes, and Line Their Own Pockets: “You pay money at a tollbooth in order to use a road or bridge. The methodology in Washington is similar: if someone wants a bill passed, charge them money to allow the bill to move down the legislative highway.” According to Schweizer, Boehner apparently used the Tollbooth Strategy to collect more than $200,000 in political donations from executives just days before holding votes on bills critically important to their industries.

The first bill was the Wireless Tax Fairness Act. Strongly supported by big phone companies like AT&T and Verizon, it sailed through the House Judiciary Committee, and was expected to immediately come to the floor for a full House vote. Instead of scheduling the bill for a vote, however, Boehner allowed it to languish on the calendar for the next three months. What finally prompted Boehner to bring the bill to a vote? As Schweizer explains it: “The day before the vote, Boehner’s campaign collected the toll: thirty-three checks from wireless industry executives, totaling almost $40,000.”

According to Schweizer, two more bills on which Boehner employed the Tollbooth Strategy were the Access to Capital for Job Creators Act and the Small Company Capital Formation Act. Brokers and venture capitalists and investment firms strongly supported the proposed law. Explains Schweizer in Extortion: “The Speaker of the House took in $91,000 in the forty-eight hours of October 30 and 31 from investment banks and private equity firms, two days before the vote. During the same time period, he took in $46,500 from self-described ‘investors’ and another $32,450 from bank holding companies. With the tolls paid, the votes took place on the full House floor. Both passed easily.”

CIA Director John Brennan:

In mid-December 2013, Judicial Watch obtained and released the full transcript of a May 7, 2012, teleconference between then-White House top counterterror adviser (now CIA Director) John Brennan and various TV terrorism consultants in which Brennen revealed that the U.S. and its allies had “inside control over any plot” in its efforts to thwart a May 2012 terrorism bomb plot, thus blowing the cover on undercover agents within al Qaeda.

The Brennan revelation of “inside control” – an intelligence community euphemism for spies within an enemy operation – reportedly helped lead to the disclosure of a previously well-kept secret at the heart of a joint U.S.-British-Saudi undercover terrorism operation inside Yemen-based al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). According to a Reuters May 18, 2012, report:

The next day’s headlines were filled with news of a U.S. spy planted inside Yemen-based Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), who had acquired the latest, non-metallic model of the underwear bomb and handed it over to U.S. authorities.

At stake was an operation that could not have been more sensitive – the successful penetration by Western spies of AQAP, al Qaeda’s most creative and lethal affiliate. As a result of leaks, the undercover operation had to be shut down.

In the transcript obtained by Judicial Watch, Brennan led the teleconference where he addressed the top terror consultants for ABC, NBC, CNN, and CBS including Caitlin Hayden, Frances Townsend, Richard Clarke, Roger Cressey, and Juan Zarate. In an apparent attempt to soft-peddle the thwarted terrorist attack, Brennan twice exposed the covert operation; first at the outset of the call, then as the conference drew to a close:

BRENNAN: The device itself, as I think the FBI statement said quite clearly, never posed a threat to the American public or the public… Well, as we, well know, Al Qaeda has tried to carry out simultaneous types of attacks, and so we were confident that we had inside control over the – any plot that might have been associated with this device.

CLARKE: If it gets asked. There was no active threat because we had insider control…

BRENNAN: I would not disagree with the way you put that, at all.

It should also be noted that records obtained by Judicial Watch in May 2012, through a Freedom of Information lawsuit, indicate that Brennan helped orchestrate the administration’s attempt to influence the storyline of the movie “Zero Dark Thirty.” A transcript of a July 14, 2011, meeting between Defense Department officials, including Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence Michael Vickers, and filmmakers Kathryn Bigelow and Mark Boal reveals that Boal met directly with White House officials on at least two occasions regarding the film: “I took your guidance and spoke to the WH and had a good meeting with Brennan and McDonough and I plan to follow up with them; and they were forward leaning and interested in sharing their point of view; command and control; so that was great, thank you,” Boal said according to the transcript. During Brennan’s February 2013 CIA confirmation hearings, he confirmed he had met with Boal “on how White House officials viewed the opportunities and risks associated with a film about the raid that killed bin Laden.”

Brennan, of course, was not the only Obama administration official who attempted to curry favor with “Zero Dark Thirty” filmmakers. In early December Judicial Watch released more than 200 pages of documents from the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), including a previously unreleased CIA internal report, confirming that former CIA Director Leon Panetta revealed classified information at a June 24, 2011, bin Laden assault awards ceremony attended by filmmaker Mark Boal. Significantly, the entire transcript of the Panetta speech provided to Judicial Watch by the CIA was classified “Top Secret.” More than 90 lines are redacted for security reasons, further confirming that significant portions of the speech should not have been made in front of the filmmaker who lacked top security clearance.

Senator Saxby Chambliss (R-GA):

Sen. Saxby Chambliss makes the “Ten Worst” list for what he actually did in 2012, but which was finally exposed in 2013. Just as with House Speaker Boehner, Chambliss’s misdeeds were revealed in Peter Schweizer’s book Extortion: How Politicians Extract Your Money, Buy Votes, and Line Their Own Pockets. In fact, Chambliss is highlighted as one of the key abusers who used leadership PAC loopholes to convert campaign cash into lavish lifestyle upgrades for themselves and their family members.

As the New York Times reported:

The book details the extravagant expenses of Senator Saxby Chambliss, Republican of Georgia, for instance, whose leadership PAC spent $10,000 on golf at Pebble Beach, nearly $27,000 at Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse, and $107,752 at the exclusive Breakers resort in Palm Beach, Fla. The amount Mr. Chambliss spent at the Breakers in the 2012 election cycle, the book reports, is three times what the senator gave to the National Republican Senatorial Committee during the same period.

When Chambliss’s campaign was asked about the flagrantly lavish spending, they responded that all spending was reported according to the law. Though it may be legal, it is a clear abuse. And one has to wonder if the hardworking Georgians who sacrificed their scarce funds to support Chambliss’ re-election would be comfortable knowing their campaign contributions were used to support the “lifestyles of the rich and famous.”

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton:

On January 23, 2013, outgoing Secretary of State Hillary Clinton testified to congressional committees regarding the terrorist attacks on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, which led to the murder of U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other American citizens. At times evasive, at other times defensive and aggressive, Clinton delivered her version of events in the days before and after the murders in Benghazi. And, in the end, the Secretary of State pretended to take “responsibility,” but gave a predictable response regarding who is to blame: “…the level of responsibility for the failures… was set at the Assistant Secretary of State level and below,” Clinton said, referring to an investigation of the incident. In other words, this was not my fault.

At one point in her testimony, in what is, perhaps, the epitome of Obama-era contempt for accountability, Clinton yelled “What difference does it make?” in response to a reasonable question about why the attack transpired and why the administration told an obvious lie about an obscure Internet video as the cause of the attack.

If the mere mention of the contrived video scenario triggered Clinton’s emotional outburst, it is certainly understandable. Remember, it was Clinton herself who was instrumental in advancing the false narrative that the video sparked the attacks. For example, at a September 14, 2012, event honoring the victims, Clinton said, “We’ve seen the heavy assault on our post in Benghazi that took the lives of those brave men. We’ve seen the rage and violence directed at American embassies over an awful video that we had nothing to do with.” To this day, she has not set the record straight.

In addition to Hillary Clinton’s apparent cover-up of the role she played in the Benghazi tragedy and its aftermath, she left office in another ethical cloud about conflicts of interest in the activities of her longtime top aide Huma Abedin. Abedin left the State Department in February 2013, and in May 2013, Politico broke the story that, since June 2012, she had been working as a “special government employee” (SGE), a consultant position allowing her to represent outside clients while continuing as a top adviser at State. While working as an SGE, Abedin’s outside clients included Teneo, a strategic consulting firm co-founded by former Bill Clinton counselor Doug Band. According to Fox News, Abedin earned $355,000 as a consultant to Teneo, in addition to her $135,000 SGE compensation.

And compounding the corruption scenario were the potential for conflicts of interest between Hillary Clinton’s role as Secretary of State and Bill Clinton’s international ventures, which 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 Associated Press wire story, “Saudi Arabia gave $10 million to $25 million to the foundation. Other government donors include Norway, Kuwait, Qatar, Brunei, Oman…”

Attorney General Eric Holder:

Attorney General Holder has become a regular on the Ten Most Wanted Corrupt Politicians list.

In May 2013, Holder may well have committed perjury when he was involved in a back-and-forth with Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA) about whether the Department of Justice (DOJ) could prosecute reporters under the Espionage Act for publishing classified material. In response to Johnson’s interrogatories Holder made the following statement: “In regard to potential prosecution of the press for the disclosure of material – this is not something I’ve ever been involved in, heard of, or would think would be wise policy.”

Since Holder made that statement, NBC news reported that the attorney general had approved a search warrant for the email account and phone records of Fox News reporter James Rosen. As Hotair.com said at the time: “There is no other way to view this except as a lie. Even if Holder wasn’t under oath, that would constitute a felony punishable by up to five years in prison. It certainly should produce at least a resignation, and almost assuredly would require the appointment of a special prosecutor…”

Time and again in recent years, Judicial Watch has had to take legal action to prevent Holder’s DOJ from bludgeoning states over taking steps to prevent voter fraud. After a June Supreme Court ruling striking down a Voting Rights Act requirement requiring certain states and local jurisdictions to get permission from the DOJ or a federal judge before enacting voting law changes, Holder announced his intention to skirt the law. In a speech in September at a convention of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, Holder vowed that the DOJ would find ways to try to accomplish the goals of the section of the law that was struck down.

As a result, Judicial Watch went to court in North Carolina in early December to defend the State of North Carolina against a DOJ lawsuit to prevent enforcement of the state’s recently passed law HB 589, which simply requires that voters present a photo ID before casting their ballots. As PJ Media explains it:

Judicial Watch uncovered collusion between radical leftist groups and the administration to attack voter integrity laws around the nation. Indeed, the [Judicial Watch] brief notes:

On July 29, 2013, a group of political activists attended a meeting at the White House with Attorney General Holder, Labor Secretary (and former Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights) Tom Perez, and President Obama. Those attending included representatives from the ACLU, the NAACP, and the Rev. Al Sharpton. Mr. Sharpton told an interviewer for MSNBC that, based on what he heard at that meeting, he expected action regarding North Carolina ‘when this governor signs the bill.’

The DOJ is similarly assaulting Texas in federal court as part of this ideological effort to suppress efforts to protect election integrity.

More than a dozen states – including Kansas, Indiana, Tennessee and Wisconsin – have similar laws that require voters to show government-issued photo identification at the polls, and Obama’s attorney general has launched a campaign to challenge them all.

The Holder DOJ is clearly hostile to the idea of one person, one vote, one time.

Yet, even with all of that, Holder’s malfeasance doesn’t stop there. In August Judicial Watch released DOJ documents highlighting over $4.2 million in accrued travel expenses by Mr. Holder from March 2008 until August 2012; of which $697,525.20 were personal travel expenses. All, of course, at taxpayer expense. Add to this Holder’s continued stonewalling on the “Fast & Furious” gun-running scandal and it is all too obvious that Eric Holder’s corruption knows no limits.

Former IRS Commissioner Steven T. Miller / Former IRS Official Lois Lerner:

Steve Miller, then head of the IRS, resigned in May 2013, after admitting to the targeting of anti-Obama Tea Party groups during the 2012 presidential election, which he offhandedly tossed off as “horrible customer service.” Under Miller, the IRS purposely stonewalled the approval of nonprofit applications from “Tea Party” and other conservative groups that were seeking tax exempt status. According to a report by the agency’s inspector general released in May 2013, for more than 18 months beginning in early 2010: “The IRS used inappropriate criteria that identified for review Tea Party and other organizations applying for tax-exempt status based upon their names or policy positions instead of indications of potential political campaign intervention.”

As reported by CNN:

Among the criteria used by IRS officials to flag applications was a “Be On the Look Out” list, or a BOLO, which was discontinued in 2012 according to the report. The criteria on the BOLO included:

* Whether “Tea Party,” “Patriots” or “9/12 Project” was referenced in the case file.
* Whether the issues outlined in the application included government spending, government debt or taxes.
* Whether there was advocating or lobbying to “make America a better place to live.”
* Whether a statement in the case file criticized how the country is being run.
* Whether it advocated education about the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

Miller was eagerly aided in his suppression of conservative groups by former IRS Director of Exempt Organizations Lois Lerner. Subpoenaed to testify before Congress in May 2013, Lerner disdainfully refused to answer inquiries, demanding full immunity concerning her role in the targeting scandal. Eventually, the IRS acknowledged that while she was in charge, IRS agents improperly targeted Tea Party groups for extra scrutiny when they applied for tax-exempt status from 2010-2012. Lerner retired from the IRS on September 23 with full benefits, even after an internal investigation found she was guilty of “neglect of duties” and was going to call for her firing, according to news reports.

Subsequent to Lerner’s lavish retirement, Judicial Watch, in October 2013, obtained email exchanges between her and enforcement attorneys at the Federal Election Commission (FEC) indicating that under Lerner’s direction, the IRS provided detailed, confidential information concerning the tax exempt application status and returns of conservative groups to the FEC – in violation of federal law.

Not only did Miller and Lerner deliberately target conservative organizations for IRS harassment, they both lied about it in separate appearances before Congress. In July 2012, Miller was asked at a congressional hearing, “What kind of… action is taking place at this time that you are aware of” to address complaints that groups seeking nonprofit status were being harassed. Claiming that an overload of applications had caused the problem, Miller covered up the fact that he had learned two months earlier that conservative groups were being inappropriately singled out for extra scrutiny. In May 2013, Lerner told a congressional committee that she found out about the harassment when she read about it “in the press” in early 2012. But, according to the http://www.treasury.gov/tigta/auditreports/2013reports/201310053fr.html#timelinex, she was informed in June 2011 about the IRS’s BOLO criteria that included words such as “Tea Party” or “patriots.”

The true damage wrought by the Miller/Lerner witch-hunt may never be fully known. One can certainly speculate as to impact the Tea Party movement could have made had Miller and Lerner not cowed much of it into silence with their ruthless, reckless assault on Barack Obama’s political opponents. In short, the Obama IRS duo may have perfected the formula for stealing an election in plain sight.

Former DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano:

In August 2013 Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano stepped down from her post expressing both “pride and regret” – the regret stemming from her failure to help push through the so-called Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act. The truth is, however, that Napolitano actually played a major role in doing an end run around existing immigration law by helping President Obama implement his Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) directive in lieu of DREAM Act passage.

Documents obtained by Judicial Watch in June 2013 revealed that Napolitano’s Department of Homeland Security (DHS) U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) abandoned required background checks in 2012, adopting, instead, costly “lean and lite” procedures in effort to keep up with the flood of amnesty applications resulting from the DACA directive.

The documents also revealed that, contrary to Napolitano’s claim that DACA applied only to minors who came to this country illegally “http://www.nationaljournal.com/nationalsecurity/women-in-washington-janet-napolitano-on-cyberthreats-immigration-and-baseball-20120706x,” the directive actually created a new avenue of chain migration, whereby immediate relatives of DACA requesters could be approved for amnesty. As a result, according to an agency memo from District 15 Director David Douglas, “some of the districts closer to the U.S./Mexico border have been inundated.”

The Obama/Napolitano stealth amnesty policy received a setback in July 2013 when the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas left DACA hanging by a string as he dismissed a challenge strictly due to jurisdictional issues. While the court determined that it did not have authority to hear the case, Judge Reed O’Connor agreed that program is likely unconstitutional, saying, “[T]he Court finds that Plaintiffs are likely to succeed on the merits of their claim challenging the Directive and Morton Memorandum as contrary to the provisions of the Immigration and Nationality Act.”

In an earlier ruling handed down in April, Judge O’Connor stated clearly that, “DHS does not have discretion to refuse to initiate removal proceedings when the requirements of Section 1225(b)(2)(A) are satisfied.” That section requires the agents to place aliens who are not “clearly and beyond a doubt entitled to be admitted” to the United States into removal proceedings.

DHS malfeasance did not stop there. And, in fact, according to a court order filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas on December 13, DHS has actually enabled cartel trafficking of minors, delivering those minors to illegals living inside the United States and completing criminal transactions for illegal immigrants. The court document details a guilty plea from Mirtha Veronica Nava-Martinez for being paid to smuggle a 10-year-old El Salvadoran female into the United States. Nava-Martinez was hired by Patricia Elizabeth Salmeron Santos, the mother of the 10-year-old, who was living illegally in Virginia after being denied legal entry into the U.S. in 2001. According to U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen who wrote the court order: “The DHS officials were notified that Salmeron-Santos instigated this illegal conduct. Yet, instead of arresting Salmeron-Santos for instigating the conspiracy to violate our border security laws, the DHS delivers the child to her – thus successfully completing the mission of the criminal conspiracy. It did not arrest her. It did not prosecute her. It did not even initiate deportation proceedings for her. This DHS policy is a dangerous course of action.”

Napolitano’s legacy is one that has gutted, for political reasons, the very immigration laws she swore to uphold.

President Barack Obama:

President Barack Obama actually tops this “Top Ten Most Wanted Corrupt Politicians” list for 2013 as the driving force behind so many of the misdeeds. This is Obama’s seventh straight year on the list, dating back all the way to 2007 (in 2006, he earned a “Dishonorable Mention”). He is a master at catch-me-if-you-can, corrupt politics. This year, he has again acted as a one-man Congress, rewriting entire sections of federal law on his own. Not only is his administration secretive and dishonest; its callous disregard for the rule of law undermines our constitutional republic. Examples include:

* Perhaps Obama’s most outrageous actions over the past year were his continual lies about the ability of Americans to keep their own health insurance under Obamacare. According the Free Beacon, Obama misled the American people a total of 36 times between 2008 and 2013 with his promise, “If you like your health insurance, you can keep it.” And according to NBC News, Obama knew, even as he repeated his lie, that “more than 40 to 67 percent of those in the individual market would not be able to keep their plans, even if they liked them:”

None of this should come as a shock to the Obama administration. The law states that policies in effect as of March 23, 2010 will be “grandfathered,” meaning consumers can keep those policies even though they don’t meet requirements of the new health care law. But the Department of Health and Human Services then wrote regulations that narrowed that provision, by saying that if any part of a policy was significantly changed since that date – the deductible, co-pay, or benefits, for example – the policy would not be grandfathered.

Buried in Obamacare regulations from July 2010 is an estimate that because of normal turnover in the individual insurance market, “40 to 67 percent” of customers will not be able to keep their policy. And because many policies will have been changed since the key date, “the percentage of individual market policies losing grandfather status in a given year exceeds the 40 to 67 percent range.”

That means the administration knew that more than 40 to 67 percent of those in the individual market would not be able to keep their plans, even if they liked them.

* Throughout 2013, the Obama family continued to use the White House as its own personal travel bureau and the taxpayers as their personal expense account.

* Though Obama quickly disavowed any knowledge of the IRS assault on Tea Party and other conservative groups leading up to the 2012 presidential election, the fact is that it was the president himself who fingered the groups for what might be called “special handling.” Consider Obama’s own hostile and aggressive statements, made just as his IRS officials were gearing up their assault:

August 9, 2010: During his weekly radio address, Obama warned of “attack ads run by shadowy groups with harmless-sounding names.” The President said: We don’t know who’s behind these ads and we don’t know who’s paying for them… you don’t know if it’s a foreign controlled corporation… The only people who don’t want to disclose the truth are people with something to hide.”

September 20, 2010: Speaking in Philadelphia, Obama once again warned that “nobody knows” the identities of the individuals who support conservative groups.

September 22, 2010: Speaking in New York, Obama warned against groups opposing his policies “[posing] as non-for-profit social and welfare trade groups” and he claimed such groups were “guided by seasoned Republican political operatives” and potentially supported by some unidentified “foreign controlled entity.”

October 14, 2010: Obama attacked organizations with “benign sounding” names as “a problem for democracy.”

Little wonder that after their boss sounded the call to attack, Obama’s IRS appointees obeyed the command. And even less wonder that, caught red-handed, Obama first claimed total ignorance and, when the ploy failed, simply labeled it all a “phony scandal.”

* According to the Galen Institute, Obama has now unilaterally rewritten the Obamacare law as passed by Congress 14 times by executive fiat, with the majority of those changes coming in 2013. Those changes include such major overhauls as the congressional opt-out, eviscerating the individual mandate, and delaying the employer mandate. The latest Obama fix came on December 20, when he suddenly moved to allow hundreds of thousands of people who have lost their insurance due to Obamacare to sign up for bare-bone “catastrophic” plans. As National Review observed, “Of course, like every other exemption from Obamacare the latest fix is supposed to last only a year, raising the prospect that people will be kicked off their catastrophic coverage as soon as the 2014 election is safely in the political rear-view mirror.”

Senator Harry Reid (D-NV):

Last year, Harry Reid made the Judicial Watch Ten Worst list for his influence-peddling scandal involving ENN Energy Group, a Chinese “green energy” company for which Reid “applied his political muscle” – and which just happened to be a major client of the Nevada law firm in which Reid’s son, Rory, is a principal.

This year Reid makes the Ten Worst list again. His “friends” list is examined by Frontpage.com:

On Monday, Harry Reid’s close friend and donor, Harvey Whittemore was sentenced to two years in prison for funneling more than $130,000 in illegal campaign funds to Sen. Harry Reid’s re-election committee in 2007…

According to the Las Vegas Review Journal, Reid and Whittemore go way back; four of Reid’s sons were hired by the law firm in which Harvey Whittemore was a senior partner. Sen. Reid and Whittemore were involved in very big land deals, including federal legislation to help the development of Coyote Springs.

None of which is surprising, since Reid has long-since made funneling money to his family’s enterprises his stock-in-trade. According to Peter Schweizer, writing for Fox News, “Sen. Reid has sponsored at least $47 million in earmarks that directly benefitted organizations that one of his sons, Key Reid, [RW1] either lobbies for or is affiliated with.”

While not teaming up with family members to fleece taxpayers, Reid was teaming up with President Obama to use executive authority to skirt the law. Obama and Reid have long opposed a proposed nuclear waste dump in Yucca Mountain, Nevada, which has already cost U.S. taxpayers an astounding $15 billion, according to various federal audits. So, Obama simply instructed the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to decline to conduct the statutorily mandated Yucca Mountain licensing process, essentially destroying the project.

In mid-August, a federal appellate court ruled that Obama “is simply flouting the law.” According to the court, “It is no overstatement to say that our constitutional system of separation of powers would be significantly altered if we were to allow executive and independent agencies to disregard federal law in the manner asserted in this case by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.”

Topping off the year, on November 21, 2013, – a day which should live in congressional infamy – Reid gutted the long-standing filibuster rules of the U.S. Senate in order to grease the path for Barack Obama’s court appointees. The new Reid rule prevents the minority party from filibustering any nominations other than nods to the Supreme Court. And to effect the change, Reid first triggered the “nuclear option,” which allows a change to Senate rules by majority vote (and which he had adamantly opposed in 2005, calling it “illegal” and “unAmerican”). Minority Leader Mitch McConnell accused Reid of attempting “break the rules of the Senate… in order to change the rules of the Senate.” Not surprisingly, as the http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702303936904579179791038352758x editorialized, an ancillary benefit of the rule change is that it will get judges on the DC Court of Appeals who are more friendly to Reid’s agenda.

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius:

It’s a wonder Secretary Sebelius was still around to do damage in 2013 after last year’s fiasco for which she appeared on the Ten Most Wanted list. The Obama administration’s own lawyers determined Sebelius could be fired for violating federal law when reports surfaced that she had campaigned for Obama while acting in her official capacity as an executive branch official during the last presidential campaign. This made Kathleen Sebelius the first member ever of a president’s cabinet to be found guilty of violating the Hatch Act.

In 2013, rather than solicit votes, Sebelius solicited financial support for President Obama’s huge health care disaster. In May, Secretary Sebelius was caught hitting health care companies up for cash to fund Obamacare after Congress rejected all of the administration’s requests.

But, that was just for openers – because in October Sebelius redefined the term “incompetence” when she oversaw the disastrous launch of the Obamacare website. As Mercedes Schlapp wrote in US News:

She refused to listen to the IT experts who expressed serious concerns about the launch as early as March of 2013. Henry Chao, deputy chief information officer said in a meeting that he was “pretty nervous” about the exchanges being ready for October 1. Prior to the launch, one insurance executive also stated, “the extent of the problems was pretty enormous.”

Yet the American people are forced to settle for mediocrity from their leaders who play political games rather than deliver effective products.

Pressed by Congress to explain the disastrous, costly website rollout, Sebelius rolled her eyes, shrugged her shoulders and caustically replied, “Whatever” blithely dismissing the lies and the fraud that have become part and parcel of Obamacare. The fact is, were Sebelius in the private sector, she would probably be prosecuted for fraud.

Dishonorable Mentions

Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg:

In late December, documents obtained by Judicial Watch revealed that former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg apparently used his top mayoral staff to work on Mayors Against Illegal Guns (MAIG) – of which Bloomberg is a co-founder – at taxpayer expense. Included in the documents were emails revealing that Bloomberg aid John Feinblatt worked closely with MAIG executive Mark Glaze on the following:

* On December 14, 2013, Glaze and Feinblatt discussed MAIG lobbying efforts in the state of Colorado.
* On the day following the Sandy Hook tragedy, Glaze and Feinblatt conferred on how they could “keep the mayor ahead of congress, the white house, the press.”
* On December 17 and 18 and email exchange makes it clear that Feinblatt was involved in the day-to-day operations of MAIG, including media buys by the organization.
* On December 19, an email from Glaze to Feinblatt indicates that Feinblatt was directly involved in MAIG finances.

Outgoing Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) / Incoming Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D):

The citizens of Virginia got a dubious “twofer” in 2013, as both their outgoing and incoming governors were revealed as having been embroiled in apparently shady dealings, to put it mildly.

In April 2013, outgoing Governor McDonnell became the subject of an FBI probe because of his possible quid-pro-quo dealings with Jonnie R. Williams Sr., the chief executive of Star Scientific, a company that makes a tobacco-derived dietary supplement. Williams allegedly paid $15,000 to cover catering expenses at the June 2011 wedding of McDonnell’s daughter at the time the McDonnell family was actively promoting the supplement. And that’s just the beginning. According to The Washington Post report on the relationship, “Williams’s company donated $28,500 worth of flights to McDonnell’s successful 2009 campaign for governor and $80,000 worth of air travel to his political action committee after the election, the Post reported. Williams also allowed the governor’s family to borrow a Ferrari and stay at a western Virginia vacation home he owns in July 2011.”

In mid-December, federal prosecutors told McDonnell that he and his wife would be charged in connection with the scandal. Senior Justice Department officials delayed the decision, however, reportedly to wait until after McDonnell leaves office.

For his part, incoming Governor Terry McAuliffe is preparing for his inauguration with a Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) investigation hanging over his head. Perhaps Mother Jones magazine best explains the latest McAuliffe scandal:

When McAuliffe in 2009 created GreenTech, a now-troubled electric-car company, he turned to an old pal for assistance in courting foreign investors: Tony Rodham, who is best known as one of Hillary Clinton’s embarrassing brothers. A former repo man, prison guard, and private eye, Rodham by then had a long history of trying to cash in on his famous sister’s connections and generally causing problems for her…

But McAuliffe somehow thought Rodham was just the guy to help him with his electric-car venture. Rodham owns a company that solicits foreign investors for American projects (deals that allow these foreign investors secure US visas). GreenTech relied heavily on foreign investors.

According to The Washington Post: “In May, the SEC subpoenaed documents from GreenTech Automotive and bank records from a sister company, Gulf Coast Funds Management of McLean. The investigation is focused, at least in part, on alleged claims that the company ‘guarantees returns’ to the investors, according to government documents.”

Former Rep. Rick Renzi (R-AZ):

Former three-term Republican Congressman Rick Renzi first made the Judicial Watch Ten Worst list back in 2008, when was indicted by a federal grand jury for conspiracy, extortion, money laundering and wire fraud. At the time, we said, “He allegedly used his influence on a House Natural Resources Committee to orchestrate a land swap with the federal government that financially benefited himself and his associates. The 49-year-old lawmaker, who owns an insurance business, is also charged with embezzling more than $400,000 from insurance clients to fund his congressional campaign.” Well, now we can drop the “allegedly” – because in June, 2013, Renzi was convicted on 17 counts of extortion, racketeering and other federal charges. And in October, he was sentenced to three years in prison.

National Security Adviser Susan Rice:

Last year, Susan Rice shared Ten Worst dishonors with Hillary Clinton for their dual roles in the high-profile campaign to portray the deadly attack on the consulate in Benghazi, Libya, as solely related to a privately produced YouTube video that was offensive to Muslims. On the Sunday following the attack, Rice repeatedly stated on five different network TV news programs that the Benghazi assault had been a spontaneous reaction to an obscure online video mocking Mohammed, rather than a planned terrorist attack.

This year, Rice makes the Ten Worst list all on her own by joining with Barack Obama to add insult to injury by pulling an end-run around the United States Congress. Realizing that after her campaign of deception involving Benghazi, she could not be approved by the Senate for the job of Secretary of State she so clearly coveted, Rice accepted the position of National Security Advisor, which requires no Senate approval. Thus, her duplicity could be rewarded – without the American people having any say whatsoever in the matter.

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Top 10 Major Media Cover-Ups Of 2013

Top 10 Major Media Cover-Ups Of 2013 – WorldNetDaily

In an administration known for its dissembling, deciding which lies are its biggest is a challenge.

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But as health care takes center stage in the run-up to the 2014 mid-term elections, the many lies that were used, with the aid of a compliant media, to convince the nation that the passage of Obamacare presented nothing to worry about top WND’s annual list of the 10 most “spiked” or underreported stories of the last year.

At the end of each year, many news organizations typically present their retrospective replays of what they consider to have been the top news stories of the previous 12 months. WND’s editors, however, long have considered it more newsworthy to publicize the most underreported or unreported news events of the year – to shine a spotlight on those issues that the establishment media successfully “spiked.”

WND Editor and CEO Joseph Farah has sponsored “Operation Spike” every year since 1988, and since founding WND in May 1997, has continued the annual tradition.

Produced with the help of WND readers, here are the WND editors’ picks for the 10 most underreported or unreported stories of 2013:

1. THE LIES BY OBAMA, SEBELIUS, REID, PELOSI AND OTHERS CONCERNING OBAMACARE

Before President Obama’s so-called Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was rammed through Congress and signed by the president March 12, 2010, 85 percent of Americans had health-care coverage. Further, an ABC News/Kaiser Family Foundation/USA Today survey found that 88 percent of the insured rated their coverage as excellent or good and 89 percent were satisfied with the quality of care they received.

Those facts belie the insistence of Obama, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Democratic House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi that the health-insurance system was broken beyond repair and needed a complete overhaul orchestrated by the federal government, which, they contended, somehow could serve Americans better than the free enterprise system alone.

The Democrat leaders promised Americans that if they already had insurance, they had nothing to worry about.

They declared over and over again: “You can keep your doctor,” “You can keep your health-care insurance plan” and “The Affordable Care Act is about insuring more people and about affordable health care.”

Pelosi infamously said Congress needed to pass the bill “to see what’s in it.”

Americans certainly are finding out what’s in it as millions lose their insurance while only a fraction of the number needed to sustain the system have signed up.

By the end of November, only 137,204 people had “selected a marketplace plan.” By Sunday, the administration announced, 1.1 million had signed up, far short of the expectation of 3.3 million. But the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services won’t say how many people have actually enrolled. To become enrolled, the insurer must receive the first month’s premium payment.

Some who have signed up for coverage on the notoriously failed website are receiving email notices informing them they shouldn’t assume they are covered unless they “have seen the Confirmation Letter from the Disbursing Office.”

A poll in December found that 58 percent of uninsured haven’t even looked at exchanges yet. Also, 59 percent of those without coverage think getting insurance would “hurt them financially.”

Those who have signed up might have insurance beginning Jan. 1, but analysts are warning that the plans are likely to give them access to fewer doctors and hospitals. So much so, they warn, that the system could begin to resemble Medicaid, the health care program for low-income Americans.

A panel of doctors testified before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform that they are being dropped from patient provider networks because of Obamacare.

While much has been made about the Obamacare website’s inaccessibility, those who have been able to complete the process have become susceptible to ID theft because the site doesn’t fails to meet the standards of the Federal Information Security Management Act.

Sebelius has refused to answer forthrightly about whether and how often she met with President Obama about Obamacare and the website prior to the rollout. HHS, meanwhile, is obstructing a congressional investigation by instructing contractors working on the website not to release documents to the investigators.

Among the many other problems: Most insurers aren’t advertising the Obamacare taxes that are added to premiums. Individual tax filers earning more than $200,000 and families earning more than $250,000 will pay a 0.9 percent Medicare surtax in addition to the existing 1.45 percent Medicare payroll tax. An extra 3.8 percent Medicare tax also is assessed on unearned income, such as investment dividends, rental income and capital gains.

In a rare, candid moment at Obama’s pre-Christmas press conference, the president summarized not only his health-care fiasco, but his entire administration, writes WND founder and CEO Joseph Farah.

“Since I’m in charge,” Obama said, obviously, we screwed it up.”

2. THE PURGING OF TOP MILITARY LEADERS

An in-depth series of WND reports found that as many as 200 senior officers have been dismissed since Obama became president.

Several former high-ranking military officers have told WND they believe the firings, while often citing real offenses, are politically motivated.

Military analyst Elaine Donnelly of the Center for Military Readiness told WND that officers have gotten the Obama administration’s message of political correctness – “and most have been virtually silent ever since.”

Retired Army Maj. Gen. Paul E. Vallely said Obama is “intentionally weakening and gutting our military, Pentagon and reducing us as a superpower, and anyone in the ranks who disagrees or speaks out is being purged.”

Retired Army Maj. Gen. Patrick Brady, a recipient of the U.S. military’s highest decoration, the Medal of Honor, told WND he believed Obama had fired a number of generals to mask his “serial scandals, all prefaced by lies – Fast and Furious, Benghazi, NSA, IRS.”

Brady said Obama needs to apply the same standards to his political appointees as he does to the military.

“Just when you thought the leadership of this government could not get any worse, it does,” Brady said. “Never in history has an administration spawned another scandal to cover the current one.”

WND reported that three of the nine firings of generals and flag officers by Obama this year were linked to the controversy surrounding the Sept. 11, 2012, terrorist attack on the CIA special mission in Benghazi, Libya.

In one case, U.S. Army Gen. Carter Ham, who commanded U.S. African Command when the consulate was attacked and four Americans were killed, was highly critical of the decision by the State Department not to send in reinforcements.

Obama has insisted there were no reinforcements available that night.

But Ham contends reinforcements could have been sent in time, and he said he never was given a stand-down order. However, others contend that he was given the order but defied it. He ultimately was relieved of his command and retired.

Another flag officer involved in the Benghazi matter – which remains under congressional investigation – was Rear Adm. Charles Gaouette, commander of the Carrier Strike Group.

After he contended that aircraft could have been sent to Libya in time to help the Americans under fire, he was removed from his post for alleged profanity and making “racially insensitive comments.”

Army Major Gen. Ralph Baker was the commander of the Combined Joint Task Force Horn of Africa at Camp Lemonier in Djibouti, Africa. Baker contended that attack helicopters could have reached the consulate in time on the night of the attack.

Military personnel still on duty have told WND on condition of anonymity that the large number of senior military officials being relieved of duty under the Obama administration is part of the creation of a “compliant officer class.”

A veteran Army intelligence officials told WND that in creating a compliant officer class, the Obama administration has made it harder to find “senior officers with a pair of balls in there (the military) now that would say no to anything.

“Maybe at the rank of major or below, and possibly there are some in SOF (Special Operations Forces), but to make colonel and higher is all politics,” he said.

Brady added that Obama’s agenda is decimating the morale of the U.S. ranks to the point that members no longer feel prepared to fight or have the desire to win.

“There is no doubt (Obama) is intent on emasculating the military and will fire anyone who disagrees with him” over such issues as “homosexuals, women in foxholes, the Obama sequester,” Brady said.

In addition, colonels – who are lined up in rank to replace outgoing generals – are quietly taking their careers in other directions.

3. CONCENTRATION OF EXECUTIVE POWER TO BYPASS CONGRESS

At a House Judiciary subcommittee meeting in December, liberal Georgetown law professor Jonathan Turley warned America that the concentration of executive branch powers is approaching a crisis under Obama.

“The problem with what the president is doing is that he’s not simply posing a danger to the constitutional system,” Turley said. “He’s becoming the very danger the Constitution was designed to avoid.”

Turley, who has said he voted for Obama, explained that the Founders’ system of checks and balances is “now being put to the test as many members remain silent in the face of open executive encroachment by the executive branch.”

Nicholas Rosenkranz, a constitutional law professor at Georgetown also affiliated with the libertarian Cato Institute, pointed to Obama’s suspension of the “employer mandate” in Obamacare via presidential decree. He also cited Obama’s enactment of the DREAM Act, which repeatedly had failed to pass Congress.

A third example was the IRS discrimination against and punishment of conservative political opponents.

Rosenkranz argued the Constitution does not allow the president to suspend the laws altogether.

“He cannot favor unenacted bills over duly enacted laws. And he cannot discriminate on the basis of politics in his execution of the laws,” he said.

“The president has crossed all three of these lines.”

Michael Cannon, director of health policy studies at the Cato Institute, noting he supported Obama’s social policies regarding women, minorities and homosexuals, nevertheless was critical of the president’s numerous unilateral actions.

One was Obama’s effort to retool Obamacare, which he said was, in effect, making law.

WND columnist Diana West noted that establishment media either yawned at the hearing, or, in the case of Dana Milbank in the Washington Post, misreported it as a meeting of impeachment-obsessed Republicans.

Cannon stated dramatically that if the government does not respect the restraints that the Constitution places on it, there is a constitutional solution.

“Abraham Lincoln talked about our right to alter our government or our revolutionary right to overthrow it. That is certainly something that no one wants to contemplate,” he said. “If the people come to believe that the government is no longer constrained by the laws, then they will conclude that neither are they.”

Meanwhile, Obama’s hiring in December of former Clinton chief of staff John Podesta as a top adviser appeared to underscore Obama’s intent to increase executive powers.

Podesta, founder of the progressive Center for American Progress, specializes in the use of executive authority to bypass Congress.

The New York Times reported Podesta will help the White House on “matters related to the health care law, administration organization and executive actions,” with particular focus on so-called climate change issues, according to a person familiar with the plans.

In November 2010, Podesta co-authored a 48-page Center for American Progress paper titled “The Power of the President: Recommendations to Advance Progressive Change.”

“The U.S. Constitution and the laws of our nation grant the president significant authority to make and implement policy,” wrote Podesta in the paper’s introduction.

“These authorities can be used to ensure positive progress on many of the key issues facing the country through executive orders, rulemaking, agency management, convening and creating public-private partnerships, commanding the armed forces… diplomacy.”

Podesta stressed: “The ability of President Obama to accomplish important change through these powers should not be underestimated.”

In a conference call to reporters after the release of the paper on executive authority, Podesta recalled that after Democrats lost control of Congress in 1994, President Clinton utilized his executive privileges to enact progressive change without the help of Congress.

Podesta’s paper details how Obama can push executive change on a host of issues.

4. PERSECUTION OF CHRISTIANS AROUND THE WORLD

A survey in 2010 concluded that at least 75 percent of religious persecution reported over the previous two years worldwide targeted Christians.

In the 20th century, atheistic states such as the Soviet Union, China and North Korea were among the most common perpetrators. Today, as communist countries fall by the wayside or ease their restrictions on religious believers, the greatest threat to Christians is in Muslim-majority countries

On Christmas Day, Jihad bombers murdered 34 people as Christians left a church building in Baghdad while, worldwide, Muslims threatened and protested against Christmas celebrations.

Earlier this month, as WND reported, a Syrian city overrun by Muslim Brotherhood jihadists fighting the regime of Bashar al-Assad was the scene of the execution of three Christian men who refused to convert to Islam.

“There’s a Christian cleansing going on over the entire Middle East. Unless we really connect the entire picture together, the full cleansing situation cannot be understood,” Joseph Hakim, president of International Christian Union, told WND.

Hakim said that the U.S. government is wrong to call the Christian victims of the Middle East conflicts simply “casualties.”

“They would never say people killed in violence in Arizona or in New York are casualties of war,” he said, “so why do they say Christians are simply casualties of war?”

Iranian-born pastor Saeed Abedini, a former Muslim who converted to Christianity in 2000 and became an American citizen, has become a casualty of Iran’s Islamic Republic, led by Muslim clerics who follow Islam’s dictate that “apostates” – those who abandon Islam – must be punished, ultimately by death.

Abedini was sentenced in January to eight years in prison, reportedly on charges of undermining national security. His advocates say his arrest was due to his conversion and missionary efforts.

He planted about 100 house churches in 30 Iranian cities with more than 2,000 members. When Mahmoud Ahmedinejad came to power in 2005, Iranian authorities cracked down on the movement and the Abedinis moved back to the U.S. In July 2012, he was arrested on a missionary trip to Iran.

Along with the Middle East and Asia, Africa has been the scene of a bloody encroachment by Islam from the north.

In November, about 70 Christians were murdered in Nigeria in attacks by Boko Haram, a group designated as a terrorist organization by the U.S. government has labeled a “Foreign Terrorist Organization.” Boko Haram means “Western education is forbidden.”

Nigerian Christian Adamu Habila testified before a congressional committee that he was shot in the face and left for dead by Boko Haram because he refused to renounce Jesus Christ and become a Muslim.

Ahead of Christmas, as WND reported, establishment media filed misleading and, in some cases, outright false reports about the state of Christianity and life in Bethlehem.

Ignoring the influence of Muslim intimidation, media suggested Israeli policies are responsible for the city’s economic downturn and that the Jewish state’s security measures have prompted the massive flight of Christians from Bethlehem.

Christian leaders and residents told WND they face an atmosphere of regular hostility. They said Palestinian armed groups stir tension by holding militant demonstrations and marches in the streets. They spokes of instances in which Christian shopkeepers’ stores were ransacked and Christian homes attacked.

Many reports blamed the “wall” that protects Israel from terrorist attacks.

Simple demographic facts disprove the contention entirely. Israel built the barrier 11 years ago. But Bethlehem’s Christian population started to drastically decline in 1995, the very year Arafat’s Palestinian Authority took over the holy Christian city in line with the U.S.-backed Oslo Accords.

Meanwhile, in the U.S., the controversy over “Duck Dynasty” star Phil Robertson’s politically incorrect view of homosexuality has many American “waking up to the fact that homosexual rights are trumping religious rights,” said Liberty Counsel founder and chairman Mat Staver, who has battled “gay” marriage all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Robertson’s paraphrase of a passage in the biblical book of 1 Corinthians set off a firestorm in December that led to A&E’s decision to suspend him from the show. The backlash against Robertson’s statements escalated a couple of days later when a video was unearthed of a 2010 sermon in which he cited the Apostle Paul’s condemnation of homosexual behavior in the first chapter of Romans.

In September, a Christian who owned a bakery shop in Oregon was forced to shut down operations after refusing to make a cake for a same-sex wedding.

In a similar case, earlier this month, a judge ordered a Colorado cake baker to make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple’s wedding.

A Washington state florist in April was sued by both the American Civil Liberties Union and the state attorney general for refusing to provide service to a “gay” couple planning their wedding.

The Ohio Supreme Court in November ruled a school district justifiably dismissed a science teacher on grounds of insubordination who kept a Bible on his desk and taught his religious beliefs in class.

5. THE IRS TARGETING OF CONSERVATIVE NON-PROFITS

Matt Drudge, creator of the highly influential Drudge Report, summarized the establishment media’s response this year to the IRS targeting of conservative and Christian organizations.

“Journos ‘scared sh**less’ to mention IRS scandal,” Drudge wrote in a Twitter message Dec. 30.

While leading IRS officials called to testify before Congress pleaded the Fifth Amendment, some have confirmed the charges of conservative groups who say their requests for tax-exempt status were delayed, limiting the effectiveness of nearly 500 activist organizations as Barack Obama and his liberal agenda rolled to victory in 2012.

One group was told, for example, it had to reveal the content of members’ prayers or make promises about what they would or would not say.

Numerous lawsuits allege the Obama administration violated the First and Fifth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution and the Administrative Procedure Act along with various rules and regulations.

The American Center for Law and Justice filed a case against the government in May on behalf of dozens of conservative organizations that claim they had their applications delayed or denied because of their beliefs.

ACLJ contends the evidence shows there was a “politically motivated attack on conservative organizations by the IRS – a secret and illegal targeting campaign – aimed at the organizations because of their political beliefs.”

Jay Sekulow, ACLJ chief counsel, said “the intimidation campaign conducted by the IRS is much more politically motivated and coordinated than previously thought.”

The lawsuit is believed to be the largest of its kind against the IRS, representing 41 different organizations that claim biased treatment.

WND reported earlier this month that the IRS remains on the attack, proposing new regulations that would silence the president’s critics.

6. TRUE LEVEL OF DECEPTION AND UNTRUTHFULNESS IN OBAMA ADMINISTRATION

On the first full day of his presidency in 2008, Barack Obama declared: “Let me say it as simply as I can, transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency.”

Nearly five years later, polls find a majority of Americans don’t trust him.

One of his most recent untruths was uttered at his last press conference of the year.

Obama declared he and his party are attempting to pull off a “historic deficit reduction” campaign, claiming Democrats had reduced the deficit by 50 percent and that Republicans are trying to thwart their effort.

Noting the budget this year is an estimated $759 billion, that would mean the higher number was $1.5 trillion. But the highest deficit ever recorded in American history was $1.4 trillion under a Democrat-controlled Congress in 2009 that spent $800 billion in government “stimulus” money.

Previously, the largest deficit ever recorded in American history was $459 billion in 2008, which means that Obama nearly tripled the size of the deficit in his first year in office and now wants to take credit for bringing it down 50 percent.

He has presided over the five largest deficits in history.

Obama’s deceptions as a national figure began from his first appearance, at the 2004 Democratic National Convention, when he endeared many to his story of parents from two continents who “shared not only an improbable love” but “an abiding faith in the possibilities of this nation.” But evidence reported first by WND now shows his parents never lived together.

Pushing his health-care plan, Obama said his mother spent “the last months of her life in the hospital room arguing with insurance companies because they’re saying that this may be a pre-existing condition and they don’t have to pay her treatment, there’s something fundamentally wrong about that.” But CIGNA never denied Obama’s mother coverage for her disease.

At a candidate forum at Rick Warren’s Saddleback Church in 2008, Obama stated he believed that “marriage is the union between a man and a woman.” He said that “as a Christian, it’s also a sacred union. God’s in the mix.”

Despite evoking the unchanging Creator, he said in 2012 that he had “evolved” on the issue and now favored allowing homosexual couples to marry.

Obama stated regarding the ongoing “Fast and Furious” scandal that it was a “field-initiated program begun under the previous administration.”

But even ABC News headlined a story “President Obama falsely claims fast and furious program ‘begun under the previous administration.’”

He promised as a 2008 candidate that when his health plan was in Congress, the parties would not negotiate behind closed doors but would come together and have the proceeding broadcast on C-SPAN.”

“When the chips are down I have Israel’s back,” said at a press conference before signing away Israel’s security with the Iranian nuke deal.

In August 2012, Obama declared: “We have been very clear to the Assad regime” and “a red line for us is we start seeing a whole bunch of chemical weapons moving around or being utilized.” Two weeks later, Obama said, “First of all, I didn’t set a red line.”

In one of the many lies that likely helped him get reelected, Obama stated at the second debate with Mitt Romney in 2012: “The day after the attack, governor, I stood in the Rose Garden, and I told the American people and the world that we were going to find out exactly what happened, that this was an act of terror, and I also said we are going to hunt down those who committed this crime.”

Romney replied: “You said in the Rose Garden the day after the attack it was an act of terror? It was not a spontaneous demonstration, is that what you are saying?”

At that point, CNN’s Candy Crowley infamously came to the rescue after Obama said off camera, “Get the transcript.”

Waving a piece of paper, Crowley said to Romney: “He did in fact, sir, call, so let me call it an act of terror.”

“Can you say that a little louder, Candy,” said Obama.

“He did call it an act of terror,” lied Crowley.

As Jack Cashill wrote: “So saying, she consummated the most egregious act of real-time media malpractice in recent memory and likely saved Obama’s presidency. In the age of Obama, that is how the media rolled.”

In a CNN panel after the debate, Crowley admitted that Romney was “right in the main.”

“Right after that I did turn around and say, but you’re totally correct that they spent two weeks telling us this was about a tape and that that there was this riot outside the Benghazi consulate which there wasn’t,” Crowley said.

“He was right in the main, I just think he picked the wrong word,” she concluded.

Her instinct, she explained, forced her to correct Romney even though his “thrust” was correct.

7. COVER-UP OF THE BENGHAZI ATTACK AND FALSE TESTIMONY BY HILLARY CLINTON

The key to understanding the Sept. 11, 2012, Benghazi attack is rooted in WND’s exclusive reporting that the U.S. mission in Benghazi and nearby CIA annex was an intelligence and planning center for U.S. aid to the rebels in the Middle East, particularly those fighting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime.

Middle Eastern security officials speaking to WND said the aid included weapons shipments and was being coordinated with Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

Days after the Benghazi attack, WND broke the news that Ambassador Christopher Stevens played a central role in recruiting the jihadists.

There was no official acknowledgement of such activity until Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., stated in interview with Fox News in March that Stevens was in Benghazi to keep weapons caches from falling into the hands of terrorists.

There was no official acknowledgement of such activity until Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., stated in interview with Fox News in March that Stevens was in Benghazi to keep weapons caches from falling into the hands of terrorists.

WND also was first to report the U.S. was training Syrian rebels in Jordan.

Then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that she had no knowledge of the weapons transfers, but panel member Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., said he doubts she was telling the truth.

Paul cited a New York Times story stating Clinton “was the big cheerleader for arming Syria when there [were] two factions within the Obama administration arguing this.”

“She was the hardliner that wanted to get involved in the war in Syria, and yet in the hearing she says, oh, she never heard of this,” Paul said. “I find that hard to believe.”

Over the weekend, an extensive New York Times investigation into the Benghazi attack contradicted information from the U.S. government, Benghazi victims and numerous other previous news reports.

One of the main contentions of the Times piece is that “contrary to claims by some members of Congress,” the Benghazi attack “was fueled in large part by anger at an American-made video denigrating Islam.”

The Times article seeks to link the Benghazi attack to protests planned outside the U.S. Embassy in Cairo. However, the Cairo protest on Sept. 11 was announced days in advance as part of a movement to free the so-called “blind sheik,” Omar Abdel-Rahman, held in the U.S. over the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.

Another main contention of the Times article on Benghazi is there was “no evidence that Al Qaeda or other international terrorist groups had any role in the assault.”

However, the Times’ next statement in effect contradicts that claim. The Times said the attack “was led, instead, by fighters who had benefited directly from NATO’s extensive air power and logistics support during the uprising against Colonel Qaddafi.”

Scores of news media reports documented that the “fighters” included al-Qaida groups among their ranks. Many were widely quoted in news media reports as fighting under the al-Qaida banner.

The Times further claims Benghazi “was not infiltrated by Al Qaeda, but nonetheless contained grave local threats to American interests.”

The contention is contradicted by the U.S. government, as WND was first to report.

A Library of Congress report detailed that, one month before the attack, al-Qaida established a major base of operations in Libya in the aftermath of the U.S.-NATO campaign that deposed Muammar Gadhafi and his secular regime.

The report documented al-Qaida and affiliated organizations were establishing terrorist training camps and pushing Taliban-style Islamic law in Libya while the new, Western-backed Libyan government incorporated jihadists into its militias.

The document named Benghazi as a new central headquarters for al-Qaida activities.

CIA agents on the ground in Benghazi have testified to lawmakers they were loaded into vehicles and ready to aid the besieged U.S. special mission on Sept. 11, 2012, but were told by superiors to “wait,” a congressman privy to the testimony revealed.

Unreported is that the new accounts seemed to contradict claims made by the State Department’s Accountability Review Board, or ARB, which stated that the response team one mile away in the CIA annex was “not delayed by orders from superiors.”

8. THE “KNOCKOUT GAME” AND OTHER BLACK ATTACKS ON WHITES

Colin Flaherty has done more reporting than any other journalist on a nationwide trend of skyrocketing black-on-white crime, violence and abuse.

Finally, after scores of reports by WND about the problem, Fox News launched a full-frontal assault in November on the shocking phenomenon its own analysts said is intentionally suppressed by national news media.

At least three of the top-rated cable network’s prime-time broadcasts focused on the issue, with the common conclusion that it’s a racist crime trend of black individuals pummeling white victims.

“It’s savagery. It’s very difficult to watch those tapes,” former CBS News correspondent Bernard Goldberg told Bill O’Reilly on “The O’Reilly Factor.”

WND has featured the reports to counterbalance the virtual blackout by the rest of the media due to their concerns that reporting such incidents would be inflammatory or even racist. WND has considered it racist not to report racial abuse solely because of the skin color of the perpetrators or victims.

In the racially charged and sometimes deadly crime, one or more assailants, usually black, target a randomly selected white person and, for amusement, try to knock out the unsuspecting victim with a single punch.

Despite the documented violence caused by the Knockout Game, including six deaths nationwide since 2009, some on the left are downplaying the violence.

Numerous liberal commentators and news outlets have disparaged those who report factually on the Knockout Game. A Los Angeles Times columnist called the game a “faux trend.” A Slate writer claimed that those concerned about the Knockout Game have “concoct[ed] weird trends and games out of thin air.”

The New York Times believes there is a question as to whether the Knockout Game is “a spreading menace or a myth.”

However, Peter Vallone Jr., head of New York City’s Public Safety Committee with oversight over the police department, insists there’s no question.

“People who don’t believe that it exists in NYC right now remind me of people who used to say the Internet is just a fad,” he said.

9. THE RACIAL DIVISION CREATED BY THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION

Within hours of the February 2012 shooting of Trayvon Martin, the Obama administration helped shape the media narrative that turned American Latino George Zimmerman, who was acquitted by a jury in July, into a white man bent on killing innocent blacks out of racially inspired hatred.

Eric Holder’s Department of Justice was even caught aiding anti-Zimmerman activists with funds and personnel, which, along with the activism of the discredited Al Sharpton and others, helped force a trial after the evidence indicated Zimmerman was acting in self-defense.

Already known for accusing white Cambridge, Mass., police officers of “acting stupidly,” Obama jumped into the fray, declaring: “If I had a son, he’d look like Trayvon.”

Journalist and author Jack Cashill, who followed the Zimmerman case closely and wrote about it in his new book, “If I Had a Son: Race, Guns, and the Railroading of George Zimmerman,” said that the case provides ammunition for Holder’s racial agenda and boosts support for an agenda targeting the Democratic Party base.

“What’s he doing, and I don’t think it’s coincidental that he said it on an election day when Virginia was still in play, is to rally the base. Saying we’re going to protect and the other guys won’t,” Cashill told WND.

Cashill said Holder has had an unusually high focus on racial issues since be became attorney general and has not even tried to hide his agenda from the American public.

“It’s been about race since he took over – one of the first things he did was that he killed the suit, which had already been won, against the [New] Black Panthers in Philadelphia who were involved in voter intimidation. That’s the amazing thing about it is that he is so transparent and that he has gotten away with so much, and no one calls him on it,” Cashill stated.

He believes that a large portion of the conservative media has not been willing to go after Holder on the issue for fear of being labeled a racist.

“Even the respectable conservative media is afraid of tackling the racial issue for the fear of being called racists themselves; it’s the great neutralizer in this debate,” Cashill commented.

According to Cashill, the victims of the agenda are people like Zimmerman who serve as unwitting scapegoats for the efforts of Holder and the Department of Justice.

“Yet, poor George Zimmerman – how much of a scapegoat can you make out of one individual?” Cashill wondered.

Just last month, Holder declared that his department has not given up on its investigation into Zimmerman.

Meanwhile, Obama ally Oprah Winfrey recently stated that white opposition to Obama was rooted in racism and that older whites “just have to die” for racism to diminish.

Cashill notes that Zimmerman’s acquittal settled nothing, with death threats amplifying, Holder continuing to hound him despite full clearance by the FBI more than a year prior and the media crying “Injustice!”

10. ADVANCEMENT OF THE CLOWARD-PIVEN STRATEGY OF ORGANIZED CRISIS

Frances Fox Piven, co-architect of a strategy to overload the U.S. welfare system to precipitate a transformative economic crisis, was an early builder of the socialist-leaning New Party, which, according to reliable evidence, once had Barack Obama as a member.

Piven, together with her late husband, activist and fellow Columbia professor Richard Cloward, developed the Cloward-Piven strategy, which called for overloading the U.S. public welfare system.

The duo’s stated goal was to agitate a financial crisis that would collapse the U.S economy and replace it with a national system with “a guaranteed annual income and thus an end to poverty.”

Conservatives believe this is Obama’s playbook, while liberals dismiss it as right-wing paranoia.

But the agenda of the Cloward-Piven strategy and Obama’s relationship with the corrupt community organizing group ACORN seems to provide the best explanation for many of Obama’s actions.

It even explains why his promotion of a national health-care strategy seems to have been designed to fail, writes WND founder and CEO Joseph Farah in a column.

Farah said most Americans “still can’t conceive of the notion that a president of the United States would actually want to promote policies that could never work in the conventional understanding of the word ‘work.’”

However, he continued, “if your ultimate goal is greater and greater state control of the population and the economy, which Obama’s ultimate goal surely is, then it all begins to make sense.”

The strategy also can be seen in Obama’s foreign policy, Farah said.

He noted the Washington elite, including the Republican elite, favor internationalism.

What’s the goal of international interventionism? It is to promote a global one-world order – or New World Order, as George H.W. Bush candidly explained a long time ago,” Farah wrote.

But something has changed recently, he said, pointing out Obama faced serious opposition domestically to attacking Syria at the behest of the Saudis and changed directions.

He also did a 180-degree turn on Iran. Now he’s talking to Iran, proposing a cutback on sanctions that has come as a major shock to the Saudis, which are now turning to Russia and others.

Why is Obama apparently turning away from Saudi Arabia after bowing and scraping to its leaders since he entered office?

“It’s because Obama doesn’t have what we would call a coherent foreign policy at all,” Farah said. “It’s simply about fostering crises that only international authorities can resolve.”

Click HERE For Rest Of Story

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*VIDEO* 2013: A Year Of Inspiring Democrat Quotes


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Via The Washington Free Beacon

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*PICTURES* You Daley Gator Christmas Babes For 2013


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2013/2014 College Football Bowl Games Worth Watching

Las Vegas Bowl

Saturday – December 21st – 3:30 p.m. ET

Fresno State Bulldogs vs. USC Trojans

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Russell Athletic Bowl

Saturday – December 28th – 6:45 p.m. ET

Miami Hurricanes vs. Louisville Cardinals

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Chick-fil-A Bowl

Tuesday – December 31st – 8:00 p.m. ET

Duke Blue Devils vs. Texas A&M Aggies

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Capital One Bowl

Wednesday – January 1st – 1:00 p.m. ET

Wisconsin Badgers vs. South Carolina Gamecocks

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Rose Bowl

Wednesday – January 1st – 4:30 p.m. ET

Stanford Cardinal vs. Michigan State Spartans

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Fiesta Bowl

Wednesday – January 1st – 8:30 p.m. ET

UCF Knights vs. Baylor Bears

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Sugar Bowl

Thursday – January 2nd – 8:30 p.m. ET

Oklahoma Sooners vs. Alabama Crimson Tide

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Cotton Bowl

Friday – January 3rd – 7:30 p.m. ET

Oklahoma State Cowboys vs. Missouri Tigers

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Orange Bowl

Friday – January 3rd – 8:30 p.m. ET

Clemson Tigers vs. Ohio State Buckeyes

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BCS National Championship

Monday – January 6th – 8:30 p.m. ET

Florida State Seminoles vs. Auburn Tigers

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*VIDEOS* Gary Sinise And Ted Cruz Speak At The American Spectator’s Robert L. Bartley Gala (2013)


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*VIDEOS* 2013 Values Voter Summit: Featuring Ted Cruz, Allen West, Rand Paul, Mark Levin & Ben Carson

MIKE LEE

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TED CRUZ

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RAND PAUL

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TIM SCOTT

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MARK LEVIN

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BEN CARSON

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MICHELE BACHMANN

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ALLEN WEST

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JIM DEMINT

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STAR PARKER

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GLENN BECK

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RICK SANTORUM

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Illegal Alien Parents In LA County To Receive $650M In Welfare Benefits This Year

Undocumented LA County Parents On Pace To Receive $650M In Welfare Benefits – KNX

A projected $650 million in welfare benefits will be distributed to illegal alien parents in 2013, county officials said Monday.

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Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich announced the latest figures from the Department of Public Social Services, which showed more than $376 million in CalWORKs benefits and food stamps combined have been distributed through July to illegal alien parents for their native-born children.

Approximately $54 million in welfare payments are issued each month, consisting of nearly $20 million in CalWORKs and $34 million in food stamp issuances, according to the data.

An estimated 100,000 children of 60,000 undocumented parents receive aid in Los Angeles County, according to Antonovich, who said this year’s projections – up about $1 million from the nearly $53 million in total benefits issued in July 2012 – underscore the economic impact of the nation’s immigration debate.

“When you add the $550 million for public safety and nearly $500 million for healthcare, the total cost for illegal immigrants to county taxpayers exceeds $1.6 billion dollars a year,” Antonovich said in a statement. “These costs do not even include the hundreds of millions of dollars spent annually for education.”

Click HERE For Rest Of Story

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(PICTURES) 2 Million Bikers? Maybe Not, But That’s Still A LOT Of Bikers Right There…


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*VIDEOS* AFP: Defending The American Dream Summit 2013 – Featuring Ted Cruz, Greg Gutfeld And Bill Whittle


GOVERNOR BOBBY JINDAL

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SENATOR MARCO RUBIO

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GOVERNOR RICK SCOTT

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GOVERNOR RICK PERRY

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SENATOR TED CRUZ

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COMMENTATOR BILL WHITTLE

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SENATOR RON JOHNSON

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COMMENTATOR GREG GUTFELD

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*VIDEOS* Western Conservative Summit 2013: Featuring Bill Whittle, Allen West And Ted Cruz


BILL WHITTLE

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ALLEN WEST

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TED CRUZ

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Click HERE to visit the official website of the Western Conservative Summit 2013.

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*VIDEOS* 2013 FreedomWorks ‘Free The People’ Event


RAFAEL CRUZ (FATHER OF SENATOR TED CRUZ)

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MAYOR MIA LOVE

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SENATOR MIKE LEE

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C.L. BRYANT

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GLENN BECK

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*VIDEO* Senator Ted Cruz Speaks At 2013 National Right To Life Conference


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*VIDEOS* 2013 Faith & Freedom Coalition’s ‘Road To Majority’ Conference… Sans RINOs


EARL WALKER JACKSON SR.

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SARAH PALIN

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JOHN BOLTON

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ALLEN WEST

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MICHELE BACHMANN
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JOHN RATZENBERGER
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RAND PAUL
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PHILLIS SCHLAFLY
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HERMAN CAIN
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More IRS Scandal Stuff For Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Dems Vow: ‘Hell To Pay’ If IRS Allegations Ring True – Boston Herald

Outraged Bay State Democrats are blasting President Obama for exhibiting a Nixonian abuse of power after the stunning news that the Department of Justice secretly obtained Associated Press phone records and the IRS targeted conservative groups – new scandals emerging against the backdrop of heightened Benghazi criticism.

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“There’s no way in the world I’m going to defend that. Hell, I spent my youth vilifying the Nixon administration for doing the same thing. If they did that, there should be hell to pay,” U.S. Rep. Michael E. Capuano (D-Somerville) said about the IRS scandal. “Not only is it bad government and bad to society, it is horrendous politics. The worst thing you can do is give your opponent an easy hammer with which to hit you.”

“It doesn’t seem to be a couple rogue employees. This appeared to be a systemic issue,” said U.S. Rep. Stephen F. Lynch (D-South Boston), who wants to investigate the matter as a member of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. The committee already has scheduled a hearing on the issue for this week, Lynch said, adding, “No American should find themselves the target of the IRS or any other federal organization because of their political beliefs.”

Both U.S. Rep. Edward J. Markey (D-Malden) and the GOP’s Gabriel Gomez, rivals in the Senate special election, slammed the administration’s actions, as new reports emerged yesterday that the Department of Justice seized two months’ worth of phone records from Associated Press reporters and editors. Gomez called it “another troubling example of overzealous federal agencies restricting our First Amendment rights.”

Markey said in a statement: “The Justice Department has many questions it now must answer as to why this sweeping request for information was ever necessary. As we work to prevent terrorist attacks against our country, we must continue to respect our laws and uphold our constitutional rights, including freedom of the press.”

Obama yesterday called the IRS actions “outrageous” if true, saying those responsible must be held “fully accountable.”

“I’ve got no patience with it,” he added. “I will not tolerate it, and we will find out exactly what happened.”

The Treasury Department apologized Friday for “inappropriate” targeting of groups seeking tax-exempt status with “Tea Party” or “patriot” in their names, and others that stated their purpose was to question government spending or power. The IRS initially blamed low-level employees, but emails have since shown top officials knew as early as 2011.

“I’m old enough to remember Watergate, and I’m not saying this is another Watergate, but when the IRS is involved, it really hits home,” said U.S. Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.). The references to the Nixon administration recalled the massive abuse of power scandals such as the bugging of the Democratic National Committee headquarters at the Watergate complex in Washington, D.C. Nixon aides also directed so-called “plumbers” to plug leaks – operatives digging up dirt on people such as Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg.

Nixon’s aides maintained a so-called “enemies list,” with the intent of turning the IRS on them. A congressional investigation later found undue IRS audits were not carried out under Nixon.

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Related articles:

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Baucus, Now Investigating IRS, Urged IRS To Target Conservative Groups In 2010 – Daily Caller

Democratic Montana Senator Max Baucus is leading an investigation into why the Internal Revenue Service targeted conservative nonprofit groups for extra scrutiny despite the fact that Baucus once wrote a letter urging the IRS to do exactly that.

Baucus, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, will head the committee’s investigation into the IRS, which apologized Friday for targeting groups with the terms “Tea Party” and “Patriot” in their titles for extra scrutiny of their nonprofit status as early as 2011.

However, Baucus once wrote a letter requesting that the IRS engage in that very conduct.

Baucus wrote a letter to then-IRS commissioner Douglas Shulman dated September 28, 2010 urging the IRS to investigate nonprofit conservative groups during the Tea Party-dominated 2010 midterm elections.

“With hundreds of millions of dollars being spent in election contests by tax-exempt entities, it is time to take a fresh look at current practices and how they comport with the Internal Revenue Code’s rules for nonprofits,” Baucus wrote in the letter.

“I request that you and your agency survey major 501(c)(4), (c)(5) and (c)(6) organizations involved in political campaign activity to examine whether they are operated for the organization’s intended tax exempt purpose and to ensure that political campaign activity is not the organization’s primary activity,” Baucus wrote in the letter.

“The tax exemption given to non-profit organizations comes with a responsibility to serve the public interest and Congress has an obligation to exercise the vigorous oversight necessary to ensure they do,” Baucus said in a 2010 statement accompanying his letter.

Though Baucus identified 501 (c) (5) groups – or labor unions – as worthy of investigation, the only organizations cited in his request were conservative, pro-Republican groups.

Baucus specifically named Americans for Job Security, which is described as a “pro-Republican organization,” as a specific target for the IRS to investigate.

Crossroads GPS, co-founded by Karl Rove, and American Action Network, chaired by former Republican senator Norm Coleman, were also cited in press coverage related to Baucus’ letter as pro-Republican groups helping to elect GOP congressional candidates in 2010.

Those organizations appeared in a September 16, 2010 TIME article by writer Michael Crowley titled, “The New GOP Money Stampede.” Baucus cited that piece in his letter to the IRS.

Whatever the fallout might be from such a conflict of interest, Baucus won’t be around too much longer to deal with it.

He’s already announced his retirement from the Senate, and won’t run for re-election in 2014.

A Baucus spokesperson did not immediately return a request for comment.

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Flashback: Obama Wanted The Names Of Donors – Sweetness & Light

From the White House near the height of the mid-term campaign in 2010:

Remarks by the President at a DNC Finance Event in Austin, Texas

August 09, 2010

Four Seasons Hotel, Austin, Texas

THE PRESIDENT: …Right now all around this country there are groups with harmless-sounding names like Americans for Prosperity, who are running millions of dollars of ads against Democratic candidates all across the country. And they don’t have to say who exactly the Americans for Prosperity are. You don’t know if it’s a foreign-controlled corporation. You don’t know if it’s a big oil company, or a big bank. You don’t know if it’s a insurance company that wants to see some of the provisions in health reform repealed because it’s good for their bottom line, even if it’s not good for the American people.

A Supreme Court decision [Citizens United] allowed this to happen. And we tried to fix it, just by saying disclose what’s going on, and making sure that foreign companies can’t influence our elections. Seemed pretty straightforward. The other side said no.

This is the same blatant lie that Supreme Court Justice Alito shook his head about and said ‘no,’ during Obama’s State Of The Union address in January 2010. Citizens United does not allow foreigners to contribute to campaigns.

They don’t want you to know who the Americans for Prosperity are, because they’re thinking about the next election. But we’ve got to think about future generations. We’ve got to make sure that we’re fighting for reform. We’ve got to make sure that we don’t have a corporate takeover of our democracy…

This is nothing short of Obama’s ‘dog-whistle’ to his his supporters at the IRS. After all, Obama doesn’t need to give his bureaucrats a direct, written (and therefore traceable) order.

He merely has to express his displeasure with some group and his lackeys will know what they have to do. And we now know how much these ‘low level workers’ have done for his administration over the years. (Fast & Furious, Benghazi, the releasing of illegal alien criminals.)

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But now we fast forward to yesterday, where Obama expressed outrage that the IRS would be seeking the names of donors to conservative groups. In fact, Obama even denied knowing that the IRS was even interested in such things until he read about it in the papers back on Friday. A claim even his spokes-flack, Jay Carney, undercut.

From The Hill:

Carney: White House lawyers knew of IRS investigation in April

By Justin Sink | May 13, 2013

Press secretary Jay Carney acknowledged Monday that the White House was informed in April that the Treasury Department’s Inspector General was investigating the IRS’s Cincinnati field office, which is accused of targeting conservative political groups for extra scrutiny.

“My understanding is that the White House Counsel’s Office was alerted in the week of April 22 of this year, only about the fact that the IG was finishing a review about matters involving the office in Cincinnati,” Carney told reporters aboard Air Force One…

President Obama said earlier in the day that he first heard about the allegations that the IRS had specifically targeted Tea Party groups last week. “I first learned about it from the same news reports that I think most people learned about this. I think it was on Friday,” Obama told reporters at a joint press conference with British Prime Minister David Cameron.

While Carney insisted that nobody in the White House knew of the specific allegations of improper targeting, the news nevertheless drew fresh questions from Republican critics.

Why only Republican critics? Doesn’t the news media object to be lied to? (This is a rhetorical question.)

“Who else in the White House knew about the IRS scandal but didn’t tell the president?” tweeted Brendan Buck, a spokesman for Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio)…

In his press conference Monday, the president pledged to hold accountable those responsible. “I can tell you that if you’ve got the IRS operating in anything less than a neutral and non-partisan way, then that is outrageous, it is contrary to our traditions,” Obama said.

So is he going to hold himself accountable? (This is another rhetorical question.)

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IRS Intimidation Forced Founder To Shut Down Tea Party Group – Big Government

The IRS scandal is growing by leaps and bounds in a way that must be terrifying to an Administration already dealing with fallout from the uncovering of their Libya lies and the knowledge that the Department of Justice seized the phone records of 20 Associated Press reporters. Tuesday morning, ABC News revealed what might have been the political motivation behind the IRS’s decision to target Tea party groups – to ensure they weren’t as effective in 2012 as they were in 2010.

In the 2010 midterms, even the media that despises the Tea Party will admit that the nationwide grassroots movement was a major factor behind record GOP electoral gains. By the time the smoke cleared, Obama had lost the House and his filibuster-proof majority in the United States Senate.

Is it just a coincidence that it was only after these 2010 victories that the IRS decided to single out Tea Party groups for special scrutiny? And not just scrutiny, but the kind of scrutiny that bogged these groups down with paperwork and restricted their political activities.

The Narrative some in the media, like JournOlist founder Ezra Klein of The Washington Post, are desperate to spin is that this was a single Midwest IRS office concerned with political groups abusing a new tax exempt status. The isolation of Tea Parties was merely “discriminatory.”

Already this morning, though, Klein’s spin is falling apart. Chris Good of ABC News reports that Jennifer Stefano of Philadelphia was so intimidate by the IRS that she closed her Tea Party down:

“In the documents that were sent to me, if you did not tell the whole truth by not putting all your personal information out there by Facebook, by Twitter, of your personal relationship with candidates and parties… it could be considered perjury and perjury carried jail time,” Stefano, 39, told ABC News.

“That was frightening and that’s why I shut it down. I shut my group down.”

Tom Zawistowski, former president of the Ohio Liberty Coalition, told ABC News that, “The reason for this attack by the IRS on the tea party was to make sure we were not as effective in 2012 as we were in 2010, and that’s what they did[.]“

Zawistowski also believes that the ridiculous amount of information and documents requested by the IRS was “opposition research,” having nothing to do with whether or not a group would qualify as tax exempt.

The IRS asked another Ohio tea party organization, the Liberty Township Tea Party, about its political views and relationships with an individual and another group.

“Provide a list of all issues that are important to your organization. Indicate your position regarding each issue,” the IRS commanded in a letter with 35 questions, many including between three and six bullet-pointed subquestions.

ABC News adds:

In letters obtained by ABC News, the Internal Revenue Service asked detailed questions of local tea party groups from 2010 to 2012.

Other Tea Party groups interviewed complained of getting bogged down by the paperwork. One group claims that “500 pages of stuff” went “back and forth” between them and the IRS:

There was kind of a cloud over us… It did curtail the things we could do. We could not go outside the IRS rules. Tax-exempt status allows you to do certain things, and we did not go outside them.

These groups say they didn’t hear from the IRS until after their 2010 victories. Then, before they could recreate that success against Obama in 2012, all of a sudden they are intimidated, restricted from certain political activities, and bogged down in a bureaucratic nightmare – all at the hands of the IRS.

Sorry, Ezra Klein, that doesn’t sound “discriminatory” to me – that sounds like a political tactic. Moreover, if it was a political tactic, we already know that it was not one confined to a single office in the Midwest. Klein’s own Post reports Tuesday that

Internal Revenue Service officials in Washington and at least two other offices were involved with investigating conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status, making clear that the effort reached well beyond the branch in Cincinnati that was initially blamed, according to documents obtained by The Washington Post.

We now know that the IRS targeted Obama’s political enemies, and either by accident or design, made them less effective during his reelection campaign in 2012. W also now know that Administration officials are lying about what they knew about this scandal and when they knew it.

The only question that matters now is whether or not anyone in the Obama re-election campaign is in any way tied to this. And at this point, that is a perfectly reasonable question to ask.

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Andrea Mitchell: IRS, AP Scandals Among ‘Most Outrageous Excesses I’ve Seen’… But Bernstein Still Bats For Obama – Newsbusters

President Obama knows he’s in trouble when Andrea Mitchell – Andrea Mitchell! – proclaims the IRS and AP scandals to be among “the most outrageous excesses I’ve seen” in all her years in journalism [which pre-date Watergate]. The strength of Mitchell’s statement drew gasps from Scarborough and Brzezinski. Then Ron Fournier, former AP editor now with the National Journal, darkly described the White House being “consumed” if it turns out someone there or in the Obama campaign had been aware of the IRS targeting of conservative groups. It happened on Morning Joe today.

But hey, President Obama still has his hangers-on. Take good old Carl Bernstein. As we reported, on yesterday’s Morning Joe Bernstein blathered that he “can’t imagine” that President Obama coudl be involved in the IRS mess. And there was Bernstein again today. When Fournier spoke of consequences of White House or Obama campaign knowledge of the IRS targeting, Bernstein quickly burped out that “we have no evidence of that whatsoever.” Joe Scarborough had to remind the former Watergate reporter: “that’s why you have investigations. You know that.” View the video after the jump.

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…………………….Click on image above to watch video.

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Watch the clouds gather over the White House. And when among your few umbrellas are the likes of Carl Bernstein…

Note: The screencap brings Hollywood Squares to mind. PRESIDENT OBAMA: I’ll take the joker in the upper left-hand corner for the block!

ANDREA MITCHELL: Yes, they did have to look and see whether some of these groups were political rather than pro bono. But not in any kind of non-neutral way. The test had to be neutral. The fact they went after the Tea Party here as David said earlier feeds the Republican critics -

MIKA BRZEZINSKI: It really does.

MITCHELL: And this is one of the most outrageous excesses that I’ve seen in all my years in journalism.

BRZEZINSKI: Oh my gosh.

JOE SCARBOROUGH: Wow.

MITCHELL: We knew about the past national security probes, but I think this Associated Press investigation just rises to that standard, as well. The press is not popular, we are not popular. But this is, I think, an outrageous invasion of constitutional rights.

SCARBOROUGH: Andrea, it’s remarkable. As long as you’ve been a reporter at the top of your game, to say that a scandal that broke on Friday is one of the most outrageous excesses, the IRS scandal, and then for us to talk about what happened yesterday that most reporters agree with Ron and you, it rises to that level as well. To have two of these falling in two successive business days is going to require a dramatic reset inside the White House, is it not?

MITCHELL: And I don’t see why they don’t get that yet.

RON FOURNIER: The IRS thing, to me, I think that’s the one that has the most chance to be a game changer. If we find out in these hearings that somebody in the White House, especially in the political shop, or somebody in the campaign knew about this political targeting of conservative groups, I think that could be something that could consume the White House for the rest of his second term.

SCARBOROUGH: I agree. That is the key.

FOURNIER: I’m not pleased to say that.

CARL BERNSTEIN: We have no evidence of that whatsoever.

SCARBOROUGH: How could we, Carl? Of course we don’t have any evidence of that, but that’s why you have investigations. You know that. I know that.

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Related video:

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*VIDEOS* 2013 NRA Leadership Forum: Featuring Ted Cruz, Sarah Palin & Rick Perry



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SARAH PALIN

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WAYNE LAPIERRE

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JOHN BOLTON

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TED CRUZ

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RICK PERRY

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CHRIS COX

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ASA HUTCHINSON

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BOBBY JINDAL

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JEANINE PIRRO

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RICK SANTORUM

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DAN ROONEY

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Related video:

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GLENN BECK – NRA STAND AND FIGHT RALLY

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The Pittsburgh Steelers’ 2013 Draft Class Evaluations (Videos)


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Jarvis Jones

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Dan Snyder:

With the 17th pick in the NFL draft, the Pittsburgh Steelers select a guy who just two months ago was considered the best prospect in the entire draft, and they fill a need at the same time.

Jarvis Jones fell mostly due to injury and poor workouts, but there’s no questioning that he’s the most polished pass-rusher in the field.

Role:

Jones obviously comes in and fills an immediate need with the departure of James Harrison to the Cincinnati Bengals. But Jones could have helped this team even if Harrison had stuck around.

Once the most dominant pass-rushing team in the league, Pittsburgh’s defense fell all the way to 17th and 15th in sacks over the past two years. Both Harrison and LaMarr Woodley have been slowed by injuries, and it’s shown on the field.

As of now, Jones should go into camp competing for the starting role left by Harrison. He’ll have to beat out incumbent Jason Worilds, a former second-round pick who has just 10 sacks in 40 career games, five of which came in 2012.

Scheme Fit:

Pittsburgh probably couldn’t have found a guy in the first round of this draft that was a better fit schematically for Dick LeBeau’s 3-4 defense.

LeBeau’s original 3-4 scheme was built around getting to the quarterback with heat from the edge. They employed guys like Greg Lloyd and Kevin Greene for the original package and worked their way up to Jason Gildon, Joey Porter, James Harrison and LaMarr Woodley.

But that pass rush has fallen off in recent years, and Jones is the guy to help bring it back.

Jones ran a similar 3-4 defense under coordinator Todd Grantham at the University of Georgia. That was a defense that led to Jones becoming a two-time first-team All-American for the Bulldogs and one of the most feared pass-rushers in the country.

The transition period for Jones shouldn’t be too long given his familiarity with the scheme, and that could be great news for Pittsburgh.

Early Projections:

In all reality, it’s pretty hard to predict how any Steelers rookie will ever perform. Typically, they don’t come in as starters but end up working their way into some sort of role and contributing early.

That should be the case with Jones, who will have to compete with three-year veteran Worilds.

The best comparison we can make for the amount of time Jones will see for Pittsburgh in 2013 is going back to 2007 and looking at what Woodley did.

Woodley, a second-round pick, was in a very similar situation with Porter leaving and incumbent Clark Haggans penciled in for the starting role. Although Haggins did end up starting all 16 games for the Steelers, Woodley’s role increased as the season carried on, especially in pass-rushing situations.

That’s the type of season Jones could very well have in 2013.

Jones is most likely a better player than Worilds and is probably more adept at getting to the quarterback, but the Steelers have always had a tendency to hold off on starting rookies unless they’re the only thing they’ve got. Mike Tomlin also tends to lean toward veteran guys when filling out his depth chart.

Grade:

I gave the Steelers an A for their pick of Jones in my Grades/Analysis piece, and I’m sticking to that.

The Steelers certainly have some holes to fill on offense, such as receiver, running back and (possibly) tight end, but they couldn’t pass on a talent like Jones, especially given his fit with this defense.

As the board shaped up, it began to look more and more unlikely that Jones would fall to the Steelers. But a small run on defensive tackles and cornerbacks pushed the Georgia linebacker into Pittsburgh’s laps. Realistically, the only other option the Steelers had was tight end Tyler Eifert.

Maybe best of all is the fact that Jones’ intangibles are off the charts. This is a guy who was the captain of a vaunted defense for the Bulldogs and, as Mel Kiper put it during ESPN’s draft coverage, “On a scale of 1 to 10, his character is a 15.”

Pittsburgh, without question, made the best pick they could have in the first round this year. The only reason it’s not an A+ would be because of the injury concern, given his condition of spinal stenosis.

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Le’Veon Bell

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Dan Snyder:

In the second round of the 2013 NFL Draft, the Steelers improve on what was one of the league’s worst running games in 2012 and one of the worst in their history. They select former Michigan State running back Le’Veon Bell.

Bell may be a bit of a reach for the Steelers at No. 48, but it just goes to show you how highly they thought of him, taking him over guys like Alabama’s Eddie Lacy and Wisconsin’s Montee Ball.

Role:

In today’s more pass-happy NFL, it can become a little complicated to truly gauge a running backs role with a given team. But when I watch Bell play at Michigan State, it’s pretty clear what the Steelers have in store for the former Spartan.

He’s going to be their feature back.

It may not come this year, but Pittsburgh has to think that Bell is the future back for this football team, taking him relatively early in the draft. Bell also had to catch the Steelers eye because of his ability to catch the ball out of the backfield.

With Jonathan Dwyer and Isaac Redman already in place and the recent signing of LaRod Stephens-Howling, Pittsburgh will have a very crowded backfield to start the 2013 season. It’s certainly going to be interesting to see how they use all of these guys.

Scheme Fit:

If there’s a back in this draft that embodies what the Steelers love in their running backs, it’s Le’Veon Bell. At 6’2″, 230 pounds, Bell runs with immense power and has one of the most powerful stiff arms you’ll ever see.

But for a 230-pound man, Bell has quick feet and has been known to hurdle some defenders. He makes very strong cuts and gets downhill quickly. Bell doesn’t dance at the line of scrimmage, which is a nice change for the Steelers.

Bell is more of a complete back than most people will give him credit for and should eventually become the lead ball-carrier in Pittsburgh. Given the big, mauling offensive line the Steelers have in place up front, I’d say Bell is a good fit in the Burgh.

Early Projections:

As was the case with Jarvis Jones last night, it’s very rare to see a Steelers rookie completely take over a starting role in their inaugural season. The last player to do so was Maurkice Pouncey.

Pittsburgh also has the luxury of having a deep backfield with Dwyer, Redman and the newly-acquired Stephens-Howling already in place. That’s not good news for people who want to see Bell start right away.

But, the Steelers don’t generally take guys early in drafts who won’t contribute in some way in their rookie season. Bell won’t be a returner and his special teams contributions will most likely be very limited. So what will Bell’s role be in 2013?

One spot he could very easily come into camp occupying is as the third-down back. Bell comes in as probably the teams’ best pass protector and receiver out of the backfield. Goal-line touches are another immediate opportunity for Bell in Pittsburgh. He had 33 touchdowns in three seasons with Michigan State.

As the season goes on, expect Bell to touch the ball more and more while Dwyer and Redman do battle for the rest of the carries. Realistically, Bell could carve out a respectable 600 yards and be in double-figures in touchdowns. Wouldn’t shock me if he was the team’s leading rusher by the end of 2013.

Grade:

Initially, I gave the Steelers a C+ in the Grades/Analysis piece for the selection of Le’Veon Bell at No. 48 overall, but admittedly, that may have been a little premature. Bell was certainly a bit of a reach for the Steelers in the second round and they probably could have traded back and still got their guy.

But Bell is the type of back that fits what the Steelers like to do in their running game. He’s got great size and power with quick, choppy feet and some pretty good athleticism to add. He can be an immediate impact player in the backfield in what becomes a relatively deep platoon for Pittsburgh.

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Markus Wheaton

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Dan Snyder:

Mike Wallace is no easy man to replace. The fastest man in football left the Steel City for a big contract in Miami, leaving the Steelers with a void at wide receiver.

With the 79th overall pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, Pittsburgh made an attempt to rectify that situation by adding Oregon State’s all-time leader in receptions, Markus Wheaton.

Role

Wheaton is a very good fit for what the Steelers want to do offensively under Todd Haley. His game is very similar to that of current Pittsburgh receivers Antonio Brown and Emmanuel Sanders. He’ll catch the ball across the middle and can make guys miss in space.

But Wheaton can add some of the deep speed back to the Steelers’ offense.

Wheaton routinely dabbled in track and field while at Oregon State and those teams don’t take guys who can’t run. His deep speed won’t compete with that of Wallace, but it’s probably better than anything the Steelers currently have on the roster.

There’s going to be serious contention for slot receiver roles this season in Pittsburgh as Brown, Sanders and Wheaton all fit that role. It’ll be interesting to see how the Steelers decide to divvy up that role.

Scheme Fit

Schematically, Markus Wheaton makes a lot of sense for the Steelers.

Under Todd Haley, Pittsburgh has really converted their offense to that of the short, quick passing attack and letting the receivers make people miss in space. Brown and Sanders have exceeded at these roles.

At Oregon State, Wheaton did just the same thing. Although he’s got the ability to beat defenders down the field, Wheaton is at his best beating defenders in open space with underneath, crossing routes.

Ben Roethlisberger is going to love this guy. Wheaton can beat the defenders with his elite quickness and is sure-handed. He’s a good fit in Pittsburgh.

Early Projections

Losing Wallace didn’t deplete the Steelers receiving corps as much as most people think. Pittsburgh still has Plaxico Burress and Jerricho Cotchery who, although aren’t the receivers they were four years ago, are still effective.

Wheaton, to me, is more of a pick for 2014.

Pittsburgh paid to keep Emmanuel Sanders in the city for one more year, but it’s going to take a big contract to keep him here in the future. Wheaton is a very nice replacement for Sanders and could steal some snaps from him in 2013.

I wouldn’t expect a whole lot of Wheaton in 2013. He still has to come in and learn the offense, get a report going with Roethlisberger and gain the trust of his coaches. He’s a good character guy so I don’t expect this to be an issue, but there’s still going to be a learning curve.

Wheaton could go anywhere from 300-500 yards receiving this season. That’s not half bad when you think about it.

Grades

In the Grades/Analysis piece, I gave the Steelers a B+ for taking Wheaton at No. 79 and I think that’s pretty fair.

Pittsburgh certainly got good value for a guy like Wheaton who could have easily been a second round pick. He’s a good fit for the offensive system and is a faster clone of Antonio Brown.

The only issue I have with this pick is that it’s more of the same at receiver. A guy with more size may have been nice, but still a very good pick by the Steelers.

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Shamarko Thomas

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Dan Snyder:

The Steelers were interested in this year’s safety class as high as the first round.

They filled a major need by trading a third rounder next year to get back into the fourth and grab Syracuse safety Shamarko Thomas.

Role

Behind starters Ryan Clark and Troy Polamalu, the Steelers had absolutely no depth on their roster at safety. Things got even worse as Polamalu missed nine games with a calf strain, forcing Ryan Mundy into the lineup.

This offseason, Mundy left for a deal with the Giants, and fellow backup Will Allen also flew the coop, leaving the Steelers very vulnerable.

Shamarko Thomas makes a lot of sense for the Steelers because of the way he plays the game. He’s a bit undersized, but is a force around the line of scrimmage. This guy looks like a missile when he’s on the field.

Thomas won’t open camp as a starter, but he’s got to be ready to play. Polamalu and Clark both play a style of football that’s conducive to injuries and could force Thomas into the lineup.

Scheme Fit

Dick LeBeau is going to love Shamarko Thomas.

Thomas plays the game at a high rate of speed and can flat out blow people up. He’s versatile enough to play up in the box or drop deep into coverage. That’s something the Steelers can play with.

Right now, Thomas is in a great position to learn the game from Polamalu, who plays a similar style, and execute on the field when he’s call on. He’ll have to get better in coverage, but he can immediately fit as a pass-rusher from deep.

Early Projections

With Polamalu and Clark firmly cemented in place as the starters, Thomas will start the season as a backup. But given the injury history of those two players, he could end up seeing some significant time as a rookie.

Immediately, Thomas is going to be an impact player on special teams. Think about a guy like Thomas sprinting down the field in kick and punt coverage. Scary stuff, huh?

But I’d be shocked if Thomas didn’t end up becoming a significant contributor on the defense by the end of the season. Given the injury history of the Steelers’ two starting safeties, Thomas will end up on the field this season.

Grades

In the Grades/Analysis piece, I gave the Steelers an A for the Thomas pick because I thought they both filled a big need and they get great value.

The Steelers had to dump a third rounder in the 2014 draft, so it goes to show you how highly the team thinks of Thomas. He’s great depth for the time being and could eventually become a regular in Pittsburgh’s lineup.

Dick LeBeau will find a way to use this guy.

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Landry Jones

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Dan Snyder:

One of the major problems the Pittsburgh Steelers faced in 2012 was the short-term loss of quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. Backups Byron Leftwich and Charlie Batch struggled to keep the Steelers afloat, which was a direct cause of the team missing the playoffs.

Pittsburgh made an attempt to get some better talent behind Roethlisberger by acquiring Oklahoma quarterback Landry Jones in the fourth round.

Role

Landry Jones’ role seems pretty well-defined at this point. He’s going to be a backup and compete with Bruce Gradkowski for the second string job.

But there’s a little more to it than that.

Jones should be coming into Pittsburgh with a chip on his shoulder. He was once considered one of the most promising young quarterbacks in college football, before suffering two straight seasons of inconsistent play. He’ll need to prove his critics wrong.

The former Sooner comes to Pittsburgh in a great position to learn from Roethlisberger and hone is craft in an offense that isn’t one of the most complicated in the league. Jones needs to gain back his confidence and he can do that in a low pressure situation with the Steelers.

Scheme Fit

Like Roethlisberger, Jones is a tall and thick pocket passer. But unlike Big Ben, Jones really struggles under duress in the pocket.

In terms of the scheme Pittsburgh employs under Todd Haley, quarterbacks have to be accurate and get the ball out quickly. Those are two things Jones does well. Jones gets the ball out of his hands quickly and can throw to any part of the field.

He’s going to have to learn how to deal with pressure, but with the quick passing game, it’s less of an issue in Pittsburgh than it would be elsewhere.

Early Projections

Like Shamarko Thomas, Jones won’t come into the season as the Steelers starting quarterback. But if he wins the second string job, he could end up seeing time on the field.

With the injury history that Roethlisberger has and an offensive line that has a lot of moving parts, Jones is in a position where he may have to play immediately and fill in for at least a few games. That means he’s got to be ready to play.

Honestly, I wouldn’t be shocked if Jones ended up starting two to three games for the Steelers in 2013. He’ll have to beat out Bruce Gradkowski for the backup job, however.

Grades

The Steelers apparently had Jones pretty high on their board because they wasted little time snagging him in the fourth. But with the talent that was still on the board (Jesse Williams), Pittsburgh certainly could have gone in a different direction.

I gave the Steelers a B- in my Grades/Analysis piece because I’m a little higher than most on Jones and I think he can develop into a good quarterback. But there were certainly other players on the board who made more sense.

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Terry Hawthorne

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Dan Snyder:

The Pittsburgh Steelers have continued the trend of replacing exactly what they lost in free agency by taking former Illinois cornerback Terry Hawthorne. Pittsburgh lost corner Keenan Lewis to the Saints this offseason, so adding more depth makes sense.

Role

For the 2013 season, Hawthorne will most likely find his primary role to be a contributor on special teams for the Steelers.

As for his main priority of playing cornerback, there’s probably not a great chance he makes a significant impact this season. But he should be able to compete with Curtis Brown and Josh Victorian for some reserve roles.

His biggest concern, however, may be staying healthy long enough to make the team.

Hawthorne was injured in his sophomore and senior campaigns in Illinois but showed flashes of promise in 2011 when he was an All-Big Ten Honorable Mention performer.

Scheme Fit

Hawthorne is just the kind of cornerback the Steelers like to draft. He’s pretty tall for a defensive back and plays bigger than his frame.

He has good ability to cover bigger receivers in the NFL and needs to get better in his backpedal. But he has experience in zone coverage schemes and started all four years with the Illini.

Most importantly, Hawthorne is one of the best tackling corners in this year’s NFL draft, and we all know that if you want to play for the Steelers, you better be able to tackle. He’s a good fit for Dick LeBeau’s defense.

Early Projections

I wouldn’t expect a whole lot out of Hawthorne in his rookie campaign given the fact that he’ll be buried on the depth chart. Cornerback wasn’t an immediate need for the Steelers, and Hawthorne will probably compete for no higher than the No. 4 job.

His biggest impact will most likely be made on special teams in 2013, and for a willing tackler like Hawthorne, he can make some plays.

Grades

I’d give the Steelers a C+ for taking Hawthorne in the fifth round simply because I think there were more pressing needs still on the board.

But, in the fifth round, Pittsburgh has the luxury of taking a guy they can develop, and Hawthorne has some serious skill. If he can get over the injury issues, this could end up being a very good pick for the Steelers.

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Justin Brown

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Dan Snyder:

Even thought the Steelers took receiver Markus Wheaton in the third round of the 2013 NFL Draft, they didn’t feel they had enough at the position.

As a result Pittsburgh selected sizable receiver Justin Brown from Oklahoma.

Role

Brown is in a position where he won’t have to play immediately for the Steelers but he could be in the teams’ future plans. Brown is 6’3″ and with Plaxico Burress set to become a free agent after the 2013 season, the Steelers need a size guy.

Brown started his career at Penn State before transferring to Oklahoma following the NCAA sanctions against the Nittany Lions. Brown never accumulated 1,000 yards in a given season but did compile over 1,900 career yards and eight touchdowns.

Scheme Fit

Schematically, the Steelers actually have very little use for a big wide receiver. But Ben Roethlisberger has been begging for a big target for years and they can utilize some size near the goal line.

Burress currently occupies the position of “tall receiver” on the Steelers and given how raw Brown really is, he’s probably not in any position to make an impact for Pittsburgh in 2013.

Early Projection

I’d be stunned if Brown made any sort of real impact on the Steelers offense in 2013. In fact, I’d be a little shocked if Brown ended up on the Steelers active roster for the season.

That’s not to say the Steelers made a poor pick in the sixth round.

Brown has good potential, it just needs to be honed. He could become an impact player in a few years for the Steelers, but his most likely destination is the practice squad in 2013.

Grades

I gave the Steelers a B- for taking Brown in the sixth round because I like the potential of the pick. He’s not ready to make an impact immediately for Pittsburgh but with good coaching, he could become an effective receiver in a few years.

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Vince Williams

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Dan Snyder:

One thing’s for sure, the Pittsburgh Steelers certainly lacked depth at inside linebacker in 2012. They added Sean Spence during the 2012 NFL Draft, but a devastating knee injury ended his season before it even started.

So with their compensatory pick in the sixth round, Pittsburgh added former Florida State linebacker Vince Williams into the fold.

Role

Williams actually enters a great opportunity with the Steelers. He’s not going to immediately contend for a starting role, but he could be in line for a backup spot.

Williams is the type of inside linebacker the Steelers have looked for recently. He’s a bit undersizedat only 6′ and around 230 pounds, but he can attack the line of scrimmage as well as anybody. Expect Williams’ name to come up in camp this year.

Scheme Fit

Williams is the type of linebacker the Steelers like to have behind Larry Foote. In fact, he and Foote are relatively the same size.

Dick LeBeau likes to use guys like Williams who can attack the line of scrimmage and are good against the run. One may think that would work better with a bigger player, but that isn’t how the Steelers have drafted.

Early Projection

As I said above, Williams is in a good position to compete for a backup role with the Steelers this season. That could lead to decent playing time for a young player.

At the very least, Williams should be a contributor on special teams. He’s fast and strong enough to make an impact on some coverage units that have been less than average this season.

Grades

I’m not really sold on this pick because I would have like to see the Steelers take someone with a little more size inside. Williams comes off as a bit too small to cover ground inside for the Steelers, but he’s fully capable of adding some bulk.

I give the Steelers a C- for the pick.

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Nick Williams

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Dan Snyder:

The Steelers certainly needed to find depth across the defensive line and they do just that with the selection of Samford defensive tackle Nick Williams.

Role

Williams can come in and compete immediately for a backup role because Pittsburgh has struggled with their depth on the defensive front for years. Brett Keisel is solid and Ziggy Hood has shown flashes, but Cameron Heyward hasn’t impressed and beyond that there’s not much.

Williams has good size and build. He plays the downhill and is long and sleek. Williams can be more than just a run defender as he accumulated seven sacks last season at Samford.

Scheme Fit

Williams is an interesting guy for the Steelers.

At 6’4″, 309, he certainly has the size Pittsburgh looks for in a five-technique defensive end. But unlike the ends the Steelers currently have on the roster, Williams is more of a pass rusher than run defender.

That brings an interesting fold into the Steelers defensive plans.

Regardless, Williams has the size to play defensive end in the Steelers scheme and is at the least good depth for the team in the meantime.

Early Projection

Honestly, Williams could jump right into the Steelers rotation if they feel he’s ready. That’s a big if, however.

Williams has only been playing football for five years and is still pretty raw. But he makes plays solely on instinct. He won’t be able to do what he did at Samford in the NFL, but he can still make some things happen.

Williams certainly could battle his way into the rotation. He’d have to beat out Al Woods which isn’t saying a whole lot.

Grade

Pittsburgh gets potential in the seventh round of the draft which isn’t a bad thing. They’ll have to unleash that potential and let Williams grown into a football player. I gave the grade a B because there are still good players on the board.

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