Obama Regime Secretly Declaring Thousands Of U.S. Veterans Incompetent… Then Taking Away Their Guns

Outrage! Obama Administration Is Secretly Declaring Thousands Of US Veterans Incompetent… Then Taking Away Their Second Amendment Rights – Gateway Pundit

US veterans started receiving letters from the government last year informing them that they are disabled and not allowed to own, purchase or possess a firearm. If the veteran does decide to purchase a firearm he will by fined, imprisoned or both.

This comes on page 2 of the VA letter.


Here is the full copy of the letter-

Here is page 1 of the letter:


Here is page 2:


The majority of US veterans receive basically the same letter. Many of the veterans do not even know the VA declared them incompetent. The targeted veterans say the VA offers an appeals process but then does not share required information.

VA Benefits Administrators are the ones making these declarations against veterans robbing them of their due process rights and arbitrarily submitting their names to the FBI’s NICS database without cause and many times without a veteran’s knowledge.

This is an outrage!

Last April the United States Justice Foundation (USJF) filed a suit against the Obama Administration on behalf of these abused veterans.

Katharine Russ reported:

The United States Justice Foundation (USJF) has filed the first lawsuit of what promises to be a string of lawsuits in the US District Court for the Southern District of California against the US Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) and the Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA)…

…Current policies of the VA have caused more than 129,000 veterans to, arbitrarily, be deprived of their Second Amendment Rights to own firearms without due process simply because they were declared financially “incompetent.”

These arbitrary policies, in no way, consider whether a veteran represents a danger to themselves or to others.

It is, unequivocally, unsound and irrational thinking that sends our young men and women off to war and expects them to come home “whole.” Most veterans experience minor depression, minor PTSD, and even minor short-term memory loss when they return home but can still function- competently.

No court would find them incompetent and strip them of their second amendment rights for such minor diagnoses unless they were proven to be a detriment to society. In some these cases, the VA does not even offer reasons or evidence for such a Determination.

It is outrageous to think that over 100,000 US veterans are the victims of this sort of abuse.

US veterans deserve the same Constitutional rights as the rest of us.

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Incompetent Obama Regime Attempting To Recreate Sub-Prime Mortgage Crisis

Obama Administration Pushing Home Loans For People With Bad Credit – American Thinker

The definition of crazy is doing the same thing over and over while getting the same result. During the early 2000′s, the government – and Wall Street – urged banks and mortgage companies to lower their standards and give creative loans to people with bad or marginal credit. The result? An epic meltdown that we are still trying to recover from today.


In the last few years, Wall Street has once again begun to gamble recklessly in the mortgage security market. And now we find out that the administration is pushing home loans for those same marginal consumers.

Washington Post:

The Obama administration is engaged in a broad push to make more home loans available to people with weaker credit, an effort that officials say will help power the economic recovery but that skeptics say could open the door to the risky lending that caused the housing crash in the first place.

President Obama’s economic advisers and outside experts say the nation’s much-celebrated housing rebound is leaving too many people behind, including young people looking to buy their first homes and individuals with credit records weakened by the recession.

In response, administration officials say they are working to get banks to lend to a wider range of borrowers by taking advantage of taxpayer-backed programs – including those offered by the Federal Housing Administration – that insure home loans against default.

Housing officials are urging the Justice Department to provide assurances to banks, which have become increasingly cautious, that they will not face legal or financial recriminations if they make loans to riskier borrowers who meet government standards but later default.

Officials are also encouraging lenders to use more subjective judgment in determining whether to offer a loan and are seeking to make it easier for people who owe more than their properties are worth to refinance at today’s low interest rates, among other steps.

Obama pledged in his State of the Union address to do more to make sure more Americans can enjoy the benefits of the housing recovery, but critics say encouraging banks to lend as broadly as the administration hopes will sow the seeds of another housing disaster and endanger taxpayer dollars.

“If that were to come to pass, that would open the floodgates to highly excessive risk and would send us right back on the same path we were just trying to recover from,” said Ed Pinto, a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and former top executive at mortgage giant Fannie Mae.

Banks and mortgage companies are extremely leery of lending to these customers because the Dodd-Frank financial reform bill criminalized the process. If a consumer defaults on a loan, they can go to the new enforcement agency, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and lodge a complaint against the lender that they were had – they didn’t understand the terms of the loan. If found guilty, the offender can go to prison for a long time. This is a decided discouragement against giving loans to people who are likely to default.

So what’s the rush? if consumers have “weak” credit as a result of the recession, let them build it back up by living within their means and paying their bills on time. And why should the taxpayer be on the hook for someone who has demonstrated in the past that they are irresponsible?

There are still millions of unsold housing units out there with the prospect that many of them will never be inhabited again. Some neighborhoods in Florida and Nevada still look like ghost towns. This is hardly the time to be pushing marginal credit risks into taking tens of thousands of dollars in new debt.

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Related article:

Clinton, Obama And The Subprime Mortgage Crisis – Let Freedom Ring

September 27, 2012

Ironically, Barack Obama led the effort that caused the mess that needs cleaning up. Barack Obama was a pioneering contributor to the national subprime real estate bubble – the attack dog that terrorized banks to make mortgage loans that they did not want to make. According to research by TheDailyCaller, about half of the 186 African-American clients in President Obama’s landmark 1995 mortgage discrimination lawsuit against Citibank have since gone bankrupt or received foreclosure notices. As few as 19 of those 186 clients still own homes with clean credit ratings, following a decade in which Obama and other progressives pushed banks to provide “booby trap” adjustable rate mortgages to poor African Americans.

The origins of our current Great Recession began neither with the Obama Administration, nor the Bush Administration, but with the Clinton Administration. In June 1995 President Clinton introduced his National Homeownership Strategy, which included the expansion of Credit Default Swaps (CDSs). President Clinton, Vice President Gore and Secretary Cisneros announced the administration’s comprehensive new strategy for raising home-ownership in America to an all-time high. Representatives from ACORN were guests of honor at the ceremony. In his remarks, Clinton emphasized that: “Our homeownership strategy will not cost the taxpayers one extra cent. It will not require legislation.” Clinton meant that informal partnerships between Fannie and Freddie and groups like ACORN would make mortgages available to customers “who have historically been excluded from homeownership.”

When President Clinton introduced his National Homeownership Strategy in June 1995, no one realized it would create the path of doom that would have such a long-term devastating effect on the economy, particularly for millions of Americas who experienced foreclosure. The volume of foreclosures, and foreclosure trends, are telling and underappreciated economic indicators for the American economy. Foreclosures accelerated as the Housing Price Bubble began to form in 1997. Based on Realty Trac, Federal Reserve, Equifax sources, in the last year of the Clinton Administration foreclosures were already on the rise even though the economy was expanding (470,000 foreclosures in 2000). The legacy of the National Homeownership Strategy would be millions of foreclosures during the Bush and then Obama Administrations.

As the table below shows, foreclosures still have not peaked. During the first three years of the Obama Administration, there have been 11,221,609 foreclosures that are expected to continue its trend upward in 2012 (for a 4 year total of approximately 16 million).

Year Foreclosures Foreclosure Filings Home Repossessions
2011 3,920,418 3,580,000 1,147,000
2010 3,843,548 3,500,000 1,125,000
2009 3,457,643 2,920,000 945,000
2008 3,019,482 2,350,000 679,000
2007 2,203,295 1,260,000 489,000
2006 1,215,304 545,000 268,532
2005 801,563 530,000  
2004 640,000    
2003 660,000    
2002 700,000    
2001 540,000    
2000 470,000    


Barack Obama and the Citibank Lawsuit

It is important to note that the last four years of the Clinton term experienced a housing boom, driven primarily by subprime homeownership, which helped balance the budget, create millions of jobs in housing, and eliminated unnecessary entitlements. Unfortunately the nation is now paying for the ill-fated redistribution of wealth policies of Obama, Clinton, and other progressives. Their Subprime Social Engineering experiment lead to the real estate market collapse and Great Recession (2007-12) that we are mired in today, and will be for several more years.

Congress passed the Community Reinvestment Act in 1977. Congress repeatedly expanded the law, and in combination with Clinton’s regulators, effectively gave liberals in government the power to greatly harm a bank’s business if it did not increase minority mortgages. Citibank felt this pressure when it sought federal approval for a merger with Travelers Group in 1998. It only got approval from the Clinton administration after it promised to provide \$115 billion for subprime homeownership loans. Before striking its deal with the Clinton Administration, Citibank needed to get rid of the Chicago lawsuit by paying off Barack Obama and the other Chicago lawyers: the settlement provided \$950,000 for the lawyers, \$20,000 for each of the three named plaintiffs, and \$360,000 for the 183 other clients. (The \$1,965per client was not in cash, but coupons.) Although legal fees are customarily 33% of settlements, in this case, the team of Obama lawyers take was 66%.

Bush Administration

“I think that the responsibility that the Democrats had may rest more in resisting any efforts by Republicans in the Congress, or by me when I was President, to put some standards and tighten up a little on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.” – Former President Bill Clinton (D-AR), September 25, 2008

“Like a lot of my Democratic colleagues I was too slow to appreciate the recklessness of Fannie and Freddie. I defended their efforts to encourage affordable homeownership when in retrospect I should have heeded the concerns raised by their regulator in 2004. Frankly, I wish my Democratic colleagues would admit when it comes to Fannie and Freddie, we were wrong.” – Congressman Artur Davis (D-AL), September 30, 2008

Presidents Clinton and Obama, Senators Reid and Dodd, Congressman Barney Frank, and the liberal media all owe an apology to former President Bush for not heeding his warning about reforming Fannie and Freddie. After only a few months in office, in April 2001, the Bush Administration’s first budget (FY02 budget) declares that the size of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac is “a potential problem,” because “financial trouble of a large GSE could cause strong repercussions in financial markets, affecting Federally insured entities and economic activity.” The need for Freddie and Fannie reform was repeated at least 17 more times by Bush Administration officials.

When the Bush Administration came into office in January 2001, the subprime mortgage market was already a freight train that long ago left the station. Subprime mortgage activity grew an average 25% a year from 1994 to 2003, with the industry accounted for about \$330 billion, or 9%, of U.S. mortgages in 2003, up from \$35 billion a decade earlier. The Mortgage Bankers Association of America (MBAA) reported that subprime loans in the third quarter of 2002 had a delinquency rate 5 1/2 times higher than that for prime loans (14.28 versus 2.54 percent) and the rate at which foreclosures were begun for subprime loans was more than 10 times that for prime loans (2.08 versus 0.20 percent).

Our Future

Aided by Barack Obama and ACORN foot soldiers, the Clinton Administration actions of creating and pushing subprime mortgages has had a devastating effect on all American homeowners. Americans bought homes at inflated prices, which were further driven up by unscrupulous lenders and speculators. Collapse was inevitable. The resulting tremendous drain on wealth threatens the ability of families to send their children to college, and have any type of nest egg for retirement. This is just another example of Democratic politicians misguided social engineering interference in a market. Their interference not only did not work, but left us with a legacy of economic hardship and devastation.

And to think that President Clinton’s National Homeownership Strategy never would have happened if President Clinton did not win election in 1992, and reelection in 1996. Today we face an even more perilous economic future if we reelect President Obama, whose vampire socialism policies are only likely to continue to hurt all Americans, especially the poor and middle class.

Unfortunately, in a few short years, President Obama has done more harm than good. In particular, during the 2009 Christmas media lull, President Obama issued a series of Executive Orders that further distorted the real estate market:

Increased the amount – from $400 billion to unlimited – that the US federal government would commit to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in the event those agencies/companies could no longer service the mortgages it held/guaranteed.
Deregulated the total amount of mortgages that Fannie and Freddie can own or guarantee, enabling the GSEs to fully return to the lower-quality, higher-risk segments of the mortgage market. Fannie and Freddie currently finance roughly three-quarters of all new mortgages.
Empowered the Treasury Department to pressure the GSEs to hold more subprime/non-performing mortgages, instead of clearing the risk off their balance sheets. According to Edward Pinto, Fannie’s chief credit officer during the Reagan Administration, “They’ve (the Obama Adminstration) cleared the decks to use Fannie and Freddie as a vessel for whatever they want.”

Regarding Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac management, Kenneth Feinberg, an Obama Administration official, made statements supporting multi-million-dollar incentive-based compensation packages for senior executives, citing the unique stresses of the jobs. Sadly, these are the exact same type of compensation packages that were identified by regulators as prime enablers of the housing/financial crisis. (http://blogs.wsj.com/developments/2009/12/31/obamas-pay-czar-defends-fannie-freddie-compensation-deals)

Despite President Obama’s Executive Orders giving Fannie and Freddie access to unlimited funding, and the September 13, 2012 Federal Reserve announcement to buy $40 billion in mortgages a month (already were buying $25 billion), U.S. foreclosures will probably surpass a record 4 million in 2012 and continue to trend upward. As many Americans are instinctively aware, an Obama reelection and 4 more years of Obama Administration intervention will only further threaten our capitalist system. If you still have any doubts, ask any small, medium or large business person.


Subprime Economic Analysis The Affordable Mortgage Depression by Whitney Ross http://theaffordablemortgagedepression.com/2010/03/11/origin-of-the-housing-bubble-the-national-homeownership-strategy.aspx Housing Bubble, Financial Crisis – What Happened, Who is Responsible by T.J. Hancock http://tjhancock.wordpress.com/housing-bubble-financial-crisis-detailed-comprehensive-assessment The Nature and the Origin of the Subprime Mortgage Crisis by Thayer Watkins http://www.sjsu.edu/faculty/watkins/subprime.htm Foreclosure Rates US Census 1990-2010 http://www.census.gov/compendia/statab/2012/tables/12s1194.pdf Barack Obama Connection With landmark lawsuit, Barack Obama pushed banks to give subprime loans to Chicago’s African-Americans by Neil Munro September 3, 2012 http://dailycaller.com/2012/09/03/with-landmark-lawsuit-barack-obama-pushed-banks-to-give-subprime-loans-to-chicagos-african-americans/6 Subprime Bubble: Obama ‘Vampire Socialism’ Built It; Investment Business Daily Editorial 9/4/12 http://news.investors.com/ibd-editorials/090412-624522-obama-launched-subprime-crisis-with-lawsuit.htm?p=full

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BenghaziGate: Obama Regime Knew Libyan Terrorists Had US-Provided Weapons

BenghaziGate: Obama Admin Knew Libyan Terrorists Had US-Provided Weapons – Big Peace

In a story that’s been largely buried by the media for years upon years – and was doubly buried in the aftermath of the Benghazi terrorist attack on September 11 resulting in the death of four Americans – the New York Times is now reporting that US-approved arms that were supposed to go to Libya rebels went to Islamist terrorists. Even more importantly, the Obama administration knew about it before, during, and after the Benghazi attacks. The Times reports:

No evidence has emerged linking the weapons provided by the Qataris during the uprising against Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi to the attack that killed four Americans at the United States diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, in September.

But in the months before, the Obama administration clearly was worried about the consequences of its hidden hand in helping arm Libyan militants, concerns that have not previously been reported. The weapons and money from Qatar strengthened militant groups in Libya, allowing them to become a destabilizing force since the fall of the Qaddafi government…

The United States, which had only small numbers of C.I.A. officers on the ground in Libya during the tumult of the rebellion, provided little oversight of the arms shipments. Within weeks of endorsing Qatar’s plan to send weapons there in spring 2011, the White House began receiving reports that they were going to Islamic militant groups

This was clearly a risk in arming the rebels in the first place. As Breitbart News reported, Benghazi was controlled by terrorist group Ansar Al-Shariah. And terrorists like Sufyan Ben Qumu, who was originally rumored to be the planner of the Benghazi attack (sources later denied he was the planner), were armed and supplied by the United States in their war against Muammar Qadaffi.

If, in fact, US-funneled weapons were used in the Benghazi attack and the administration knew about it, that would explain their initial attempt to position the Benghazi attack as a spontaneous riot gone amiss. It’s one thing to hand guns to Libyan rebels who later go crazy about a YouTube video – that’s at least mildly justifiable. It’s radically unjustifiable to hand over weapons to terrorists, who then go on to plan attacks against the United States.

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*VIDEO* Rep. Allen West Calls Ambassador Rice ‘Asinine, Naive, Inept, Incompetent And Borderline Ignorant’

No Time For Netanyahu, But Obama To Attend Jay-Z, Beyonce Fundraiser

No Time For Netanyahu, But Obama To Attend Jay-Z, Beyonce Fundraiser – Big Hollywood

Yesterday was the 11th anniversary of the September 11 attacks, and on that day President Obama snubbed Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, but did agree to appear on David Letterman’s show.


Now we’re learning that yesterday, you know, on 9/11, MTV confirmed that although Obama can’t find time to meet with Netanyahu, he has found time to attend a fundraiser with Jay-Z and Beyonce:

Entertainment Weekly confirmed Tuesday (September 11) that Hov and wife Beyoncé will host a fundraiser for President Obama at the rapper’s 40/40 Club in Manhattan next Tuesday. The president will be in attendance at the 100-guest event, with ticket prices hitting $40,000 per guest. Reportedly, it will be Obama’s last fundraising event in New York City before the November 6 election.

Maybe if Netanyahu changed his name to The “Pimp with the Limp,” Obama might find some time for him.

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Related article:

Jerusalem Official Accuses White House Of Lying About Requested Netanyahu-Obama Meeting

Democrats Displayed Images Of Russian Ships During Tribute To U.S. Veterans At Convention

Russian Ships Displayed At DNC Tribute To Vets – Navy Times

On the last night of the Democratic National Convention, a retired Navy four-star took the stage to pay tribute to veterans. Behind him, on a giant screen, the image of four hulking warships reinforced his patriotic message.

But there was a big mistake in the stirring backdrop: those are Russian warships.

While retired Adm. John Nathman, a former commander of Fleet Forces Command, honored vets as America’s best, the ships from the Russian Federation Navy were arrayed like sentinels on the big screen above.

These were the very Soviet-era combatants that Nathman and Cold Warriors like him had once squared off against.

“The ships are definitely Russian,” said noted naval author Norman Polmar after reviewing hi-resolution photos from the event. “There’s no question of that in my mind.”

Naval experts concluded the background was a photo composite of Russian ships that were overflown by what appear to be U.S. trainer jets. It remains unclear how or why the Democratic Party used what’s believed to be images of the Russian Black Sea Fleet at their convention.

A spokesman for the Democratic National Convention Committee was not able to immediately comment Tuesday, saying he had to track down personnel to find out what had happened.

The veteran who spotted the error and notified Navy Times said he was immediately taken aback.

“I was kind of in shock,” said Rob Barker, 38, a former electronics warfare technician who left the Navy in 2006. Having learned to visually identify foreign ships by their radars, Barker recognized the closest ship as the Kara-class cruiser Kerch.

“An immediate apology [from the committee] would be very nice,” Barker said. “Maybe acknowledge the fact that yes, they screwed up.”

The background – featured in the carefully choreographed hour leading up to the president’s Sept. 6 speech accepting the Democratic Party’s nomination – showed four ships with radar designs not used in the U.S. fleet.

For example, the ship in the foreground, on the far right, has a square radar antenna at the top of its masthead. That is the MR-700 Podberezovik 3-D early warning radar, commonly identified as “Flat Screen” for its appearance, a three-dimensional early warning radar mounted on the Kerch, said Eric Wertheim, editor of “Combat Fleets of the World.”

Similarly, the third ship has a MR-310 “Head Net” air search radar, shaped like two off-set bananas, at its masthead and is mostly likely the guided missile destroyer Smetlivyy. The first two ships seem to be Krivak-class frigates, but it’s hard to discern from the silhouette, experts said.

But the fact they are Russian ships is not in doubt. In addition to the ship’s radar arrays and hulls, which are dissimilar from U.S. warships, the photo features one more give-away: a large white flag with a blue ‘X’ at the ships’ sterns.

Polmar, who authored “The Naval Institute Guide to the Soviet Navy,” recognized the blue ‘X’-mark: “The X is the Cross of St. Andrew’s, which is a Russian Navy symbol,” Polmar said. (An anchored U.S. warship, by contrast, flies the American flag on its stern.)

Based on this specific group of these ship types, one naval expert concluded that this was most likely a photo of the Black Sea Fleet.

“Ships are all Black Sea Fleet,” A. D. Baker III, a retired Office of Naval Intelligence analyst, told Navy Times after looking at the image. “These four ships, at the time the photo was taken, constituted the entire major surface combatant component of the Black Sea Fleet,” Baker said, noting the photo was likely to be six years old or older. (The Kerch is now on the list to be scrapped, Baker said.)

Barker, the former sailor who first spotted the errors, believes the seven aircraft streaking by are F-5 jets, a trainer used by the U.S. Navy. Asked to explain how he reached that conclusion, the former airplane spotter ticked off a list: “Twin engine, single rudder, with hard points on the wingtips, with that silhouette is going to make them F-5s.”

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Incompetent Iowa Professor Claims Jesus Was A Muslim (Video)

Iowa Professor Claims Jesus Was A Muslim – Gateway Pundit

Prof. Robert F. Shedinger, the head of the religion department at Luther College in Iowa, told ITCTV back in 2010 that Jesus was a Muslim.

(Mohammed was born six centuries after Christ!)


This crackpot is still pushing his nonsensical thesis that Jesus was a Muslim.

Campus Reform reported, via All American Blogger:

The head of the religion department at Luther College in Iowa recently argued that Jesus Christ, the central figure of Christianity, was in fact, a Muslim.

“‘Was Jesus a Muslim?” asks Prof. Robert F. Shedinger in the beginning of a book he published this year entitled Was Jesus a Muslim? ” I will answer with a very qualified yes.”

In a recent interview Shedinger also defended his controversial thesis explaining that a Muslim undergraduate student had sent him on academic odyssey that culminated with him asking himself “Was Jesus a Muslim?”

“Even as a Christian I have to answer yes to that,” said Shedinger, who is the head of the religion department at Luther College in Iowa.

Shedinger also argued that Islam is a better fit for Jesus since it is not a religion but a “social justice movement.”

“I had to rethink what Islam is… I came to the conclusion that it was a social justice movement and I think that’s who Jesus was in the first century so I conclude Jesus is more like a Muslim,” he said.

The vast majority of scholars, historians, Muslims, and Christians date the birth of Islam to 622 ADE when the Prophet Muhammad claimed to have received visions that were eventually compiled into the Koran. Jesus, on the other hand, is believed to have existed more than 600 years earlier, at around 0 BCE.

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*VIDEO* TSA Harasses Mentally Disabled Man As Possible Terrorist

Obama Unveils $3.73 Trillion Budget For 2012 That Includes $367 Billion In Tax Hikes

Obama Unveils $3.73 Trillion Budget For 2012 That Includes $367 Billion In Tax Hikes – Gateway Pundit

The Obama Administration proposed a $3.73 trillion budget today. The administration also said they expect the Obama deficit to grow to a record $1.65 trillion this year.

Barack Obama tripled the national deficit in one year. Last year it was at $1.29 Trillion dollars. This year it will be even higher.

And next year the deficit is also expected to be over $1 trillion dollars for the fourth straight year in a row.

President Obama is sending a $3.73 trillion budget to Congress today.
The AP reported:

President Barack Obama is sending Congress a $3.73 trillion spending blueprint that pledges $1.1 trillion in deficit savings over the next decade through spending cuts and tax increases.

Obama’s new budget projects that the deficit for the current year will surge to an all-time high of $1.65 trillion. That reflects a sizable tax-cut agreement reached with Republicans in December. For 2012, the administration sees the imbalance declining to $1.1 trillion, giving the country a record four straight years of $1 trillion-plus deficits.

Senior administration officials say Obama would achieve two-thirds of his projected savings through spending cuts that include a five-year freeze on many domestic programs. The other one-third of the savings would come from tax increases, including limits on tax deductions for high-income taxpayers.

Even before Obama’s new budget for 2012 was unveiled on Monday, Republicans were complaining that it did not go far enough. They branded Obama’s budget solutions as far too timid for a country facing an unprecedented flood of red ink that has pushed annual deficits to all-time highs above $1 trillion.

“We’re broke,” House Speaker John Boehner said Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” He was defending a Republican effort not only to squeeze more savings out of Obama’s 2012 budget but also to seek $61 billion in cuts for the current budget year.

The Obama Administration say they intend to get two-thirds of the $1.1 trillion in savings from spending cuts and one-third from tax revenues. That comes to $367 billion in tax hikes.

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…And It’s STRIKE TWO For Obama Intel Chief James Clapper!

Strike One!

Strike Two!

Swing batter, batter, batter… SWING!

What We Lost While Abdulmutallab Clammed Up – Stephen F. Hayes

The White House yesterday leaked the news that the Christmas Day bomber, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, had begun cooperating with FBI interrogators last week. The Washington press corps quickly declared victory for the Obama administration and suggested that the news vindicated the decision to read Abdulmutallab his Miranda rights just 10 hours after he was detained and after just 50 minutes of questioning.

It’s good news that Abdulmutallab is talking.

But he started talking five weeks after the attack. Intelligence is perishable. The U.S. government passed on an opportunity to interrogate him at a time when his al Qaeda sponsors in Yemen probably thought he was incapable of talking. And the the fact that he is cooperating now should not obscure the gross mishandling of the incident by the Obama administration.

For those capable of looking beyond the White House spin, the hearing yesterday raised more troubling questions than it answered.

*For days the Obama administration has tried to convince reporters that Abdulmutallab stopped talking before he was Mirandized. Accounts in both the Los Angeles Times and the Washington Post in recent days carried that claim. Three sources familiar with the interrogations told TWS that those claims were incorrect. And yesterday FBI Robert Mueller acknowledged that that Abdulmutallab stopped talking “after he was given” Miranda warnings.

*That’s important. One of the greatest concerns about the handling of Abdulmutallab is that FBI interrogators — in their initial 50 minute interview — questioned him without the benefit of the information the U.S. intelligence community had collected on him in the six months prior to his attack. Mueller confirmed this, saying, “we did not have much information at 3:30,” when Abdulmutallab was initially questioned. Mueller testified that they had gathered more information on Abdulmutallab to use in his second interrogation. But when the “clean team” met with Abdulmutallab some five hours later to read him his rights, he stopped talking. So despite the fact that the intelligence community had compiled a dossier on Abdulmutallab — which included information from his father and from intercepts — none of that information was used to question him for five weeks after he was detained.

*In testimony before the Senate Homeland Security Committee two weeks ago, Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair testified that the FBI interrogation of Abdulmutallab was a “mistake.” Blair and White House counterterrorism adviser John Brennan were said to be angry that Abdulmutallab had been Mirandized so quickly and that an opportunity to collect valuable intelligence had been lost. That changed abruptly on Tuesday. As Senator Kit Bond (R-MO) questioned FBI Director Mueller, Blair interrupted to offer his unsolicited opinion that “the balance struck was a good balance.” Blair is supposed to be the independent voice of the intelligence community — and many intelligence professional remain dismayed at the botched handling of Abdulmutallab on Christmas Day. Why did Blair, the nation’s top intelligence official, change his mind?

*Senator Russ Feingold (D-WI) asked Dennis Blair about a claim from top White House counterterrorism adviser, John Brennan, that he was “surprised” al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula could attack the United States. Feingold wanted to know if we should have been surprised by the attack. “We had some indication that they were planning attacks on the U.S. homeland,” he said. What were those indications? Why didn’t Brennan know about them?

These new questions and contradictions would have occasioned front-page, fact-checking treatment if they’d taken place under George W. Bush. But not now. Last week, the White House argued that the FBI had gotten everything they could out of Abdulmutallab in their 50-minutes of interrogation. Today, the same White House is boasting about the valuable intelligence they are getting from him. And the White House press corps reports it without skepticism.

There are reasons to be skeptical beyond the obvious, inherent contradictions in those claims. The Obama administration has mishandled the response to Abdulmutallab from the beginning, when the White House message machine tried to convince the country that “the system worked.”

Four top U.S. counterterrorism officials — including Mueller, Blair, Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano, and Director of the National Counterterrorism Center Michael Leiter — were not consulted about whether to handle Abdulmutallab as an enemy combatant or a criminal. Leiter went on vacation the day after the attack. John Brennan, the top White House counterterrorism adviser, told him he could go. Three days after the attack, despite copious evidence that Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) was involved, President Obama declared the attempted bombing the work of “an isolated extremist.” Janet Napolitano, Secretary of Homeland Security, said that she was surprised by AQAP’s “determination” to attack the U.S. homeland and shocked to learn that they would send an individual, not a group, to carry out the deed. DNI Blair told Congress that an elite interrogation team should have questioned Abdulmutallab — only to amend his remarks hours later to acknowledge that the new unit does not exist.

Let’s hope Abdulmutallab is talking with the candor the White House suggests. And the FBI deserves credit for using Abdulmutallab’s family to gain his cooperation. But serious problems remain.

The Obama administration’s law-enforcement first strategy has thoroughly confused those whose job it is to keep us safe. Intelligence officials — both at home and abroad — have told members of Congress that they do not have clarity on even the most basic procedures to follow upon capturing and detaining terrorists.

It’s not hard to see why. At the end of the hearing yesterday, Senator Bond asked DNI Blair whether the U.S. government would have to read Miranda rights to Osama bin Laden if he were captured. He paused. The scene was reminiscent of a hearing last fall, when Senator Lindsey Graham posed the same question to Attorney General Eric Holder. Holder’s response: “It depends.”

After thinking for a moment, Blair chuckled and said he would “very much hope” that the intelligence community would have an opportunity to “squeeze all the information” out of bin Laden. Bond, clearly taken aback by the non-answer, asked him again.

Blair’s response: No comment.

So in the space of six months, the nation’s top law enforcement official and the nation’s top intelligence official have refused to rule out reading Miranda rights to terrorists.

Are we at war?

Hallandale Beach Grandma Gets ‘The Bum’s Rush’: Spends 15 Days In Jail For Suspended License Mishap – Palm Beach Post

A 78-year-old Hallandale Beach grandmother ticketed for driving on a suspended driver’s license spent 15 days in jail before authorities announced her license wasn’t suspended and an outraged judge set her free.

County Court Judge Lee J. Seidman ordered Gabrielle Shaink Trudeau’s release in December at her arraignment.

“She’s handcuffed like Houdini, for the record. She’s got chains around her waist, and she’s got handcuffs in front around her hands as if she was some kind of a violent criminal,” said Seidman, according to a transcript. “I want her released. I think she’s suffered enough at our system’s mistakes.”

Safeguards built into Broward’s judicial system are designed to prevent what happened to Shaink Trudeau. But the prolonged jailing of an elderly woman with no previous criminal record over a traffic ticket has left red-faced authorities admitting they botched her case.

“We fell down and we fell down badly,” said Broward Public Defender Howard Finkelstein, better known to South Florida television viewers as WSVN-Ch. 7′s “Help me Howard.”

Foul-ups and inaction are what kept the frail and passive senior behind bars for the first time in her life. Those missteps were largely, but not entirely, the result of Finkelstein’s office — the very office whose job it is to look out for indigents like Trudeau.

Two assistant public defenders who staff Broward’s magistrate court neglected to represent Shaink Trudeau during her initial appearance in magistrate’s court the morning after her Nov. 18 arrest, Finkelstein said. And contrary to office procedure, no public defender went to meet with Shaink Trudeau at the Broward County Jail.

“It was almost like she was invisible. I deeply apologize to this woman,” said Finkelstein.

Shaink Trudeau was having a bad 2009 even before a police officer pulled her over in the 1000 block of West Hallandale Beach Boulevard on Sept. 7 for driving her 1995 green Mercury sedan too slowly.

Neighbors at the Lone Pine Mobile Country Club West said the former waitress lost about $20,000 — nearly all her money — to a Jamaican land sale scheme and that the trailer park was taking steps to evict her because she could no longer pay the rent. Shaink Trudeau confirmed that account in an interview late last week at the assisted living facility in Hollywood where she now resides.

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More Enron-Like Scandals By Obama Administration Officials Come To Light – The Examiner

Earlier, the Washington Post reported on how the Obama administration pressured Freddie Mac not to disclose to investors and the SEC the $30 billion in losses it was incurring as a result of Obama’s mortgage bailouts for undeserving (including high-income) borrowers.

Now, Bloomberg News reports that then-Federal Reserve Bank head (and now Treasury Secretary) “Timothy Geithner, told American International Group Inc. to withhold details from the public about the bailed-out insurer’s payments to banks during the depths of the financial crisis,” and to hide them from the SEC in its SEC filings. Such conduct is not too surprising coming from Geithner, a sanctimonious and hypocritical tax cheat. Geithner also used the government’s bailout of AIG to pay billions of dollars to the wealthy Wall Street investment firm of Goldman Sachs, money that it neither needed to stay afloat, nor was legally entitled to.

Earlier this year, Freddie Mac’s CFO killed himself amidst a sea of red ink, as the administration forced Freddie to run up losses on mortgage bailouts, even though economists and real estate experts have criticized those bailouts as harmful to the economy. Now, the Obama administration is making Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae deliberately run up losses on bailouts and buying up risky loans, even though the government took over Fannie and Freddie in 2008 in the name of ending their risky practices. It is rewarding their executives for carrying out such terrible policies by showering them with multimillion dollar pay.

The mortgage crisis was caused partly by the reckless government-sponsored mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and partly by the affordable-housing mandates imposed on them.

But Obama’s proposed financial rules overhaul does absolutely nothing about the risky practices of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, admits Obama’s Treasury Secretary, Timothy Geithner, even though he admits that “Fannie and Freddie were a core part of what went wrong in our system.”

Instead, it pressures banks to make even more risky loans. The House has approved Obama’s proposal to create a politically-correct entity called the Consumer Financial Protection Agency. “The agency would be in charge of enforcing the Community Reinvestment Act, a law that prods banks to make loans in low-income communities.” The Community Reinvestment Act was a key contributor to the financial crisis. But the administration’s proposal would direct the new agency to enforce the Community Reinvestment Act without regard for banks’ financial safety and soundness.