TSA Spent $900M On Behavior Detection Officers Who Detected 0 Terrorists

TSA Spent $900 Million On Behavior Detection Officers Who Detected 0 Terrorists – CNS

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) spent approximately $900 million over the last 5 years for behavior detection officers to identify high-risk passengers but, so far, according to the General Accountability Office (GAO), only 0.59% of the passengers flagged were arrested and among those not one was charged with terrorism – zero.

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In 2003, the TSA started testing its Screening of Passengers by Observation Technique (SPOT) program, which was then fully deployed in 2007. About 3,000 behavior detection officers (BDO) “had been deployed to 176 of the more than 450 TSA-regulated airports in the United States” by fiscal year 2012 (Oct. 1, 2011 – Sept. 30, 2012), according to the GAO.

Those BDO officers are trained to “identify passenger behaviors indicative of stress, fear, or deception and refer passengers” and their baggage for additional screening, reported the GAO in its Nov. 8, 2013 report, Aviation Security: TSA Should Limit Future Funding for Behavior Detection Activities.

Since 2007, the TSA has spent approximately $900 million on the SPOT program, said the GAO.

During the SPOT screening, the TSA’s behavior detection officers are supposed to look for and identify “high-risk passengers based on behavioral indicators that indicate mal-intent,” said the GAO. The BDOs can refer the passengers to a law enforcement officer (LEO) for further investigation. From there, if warranted, a passenger (or passengers) can be arrested.

In a statement for the Subcommittee on Transportation Security, Stephen M. Lord, the director of homeland security and justice issues at the GAO, said that in fiscal years 2011 and 2012, for the 49 airports the GAO analyzed, there were 61,000 SPOT referrals, meaning that many passengers apparently displayed “behavioral indicators that indicate mal-intent.”

From that number, 8,700 (13.6%) were referred to a LEO. And from those LEO referrals, 365 (4%) “resulted in an arrest,” said the GAO.

That 4% of 61,000 SPOT referrals is 0.59%. In other words, for the SPOT referrals, 99.41% were not arrested. For the 0.59%, none were arrested for “terrorism.”

For that 0.59% arrested, the GAO stated the following in a footnote: “The SPOT database identifies six reasons for arrest, including (1) fraudulent documents, (2) illegal alien, (3) other, (4) outstanding warrants, (5) suspected drugs, and (6) undeclared currency.”

CNSNews.com asked Director Lord if it were accurate to report that of those 365 persons arrested, not one was arrested for “terrorism”? Lord answered by e-mail: “This is accurate for the arrests but please see footnote 98 and 99 on page 45 of the full report (GAO-14-159) as TSA believes that some of these referrals to law enforcement might be related to terrorism but has no supporting documentation or system to track the basis for these referrals.”

Footnote 98 says: “TSA was unable to provide documentation to support the number of referrals that were forwarded to law enforcement for further investigation for potential ties to terrorism.”

In his statement, Director Lord said, as explained in the November 2013 report, “TSA cannot demonstrate the effectiveness of its behavior detection activities, and available evidence does not support whether behavioral indicators can be used to identify threats to aviation security.”

The report concluded by recommending that “TSA limit future funding for its behavior detection activities,” but “DHS did not concur with our recommendation.”

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Obama Regime Closing Embassy At Vatican; Claims It’s Unsafe

Obama Administration To Close Embassy At Vatican; Says It’s Unsafe – Gateway Pundit

The Obama administration is going to close the US Embassy at The Holy See and move the offices over to the US Italian Embassy.

The administration says the Vatican office is unsafe.

Of course, this hasn’t stopped them before. The administration received several warnings that the Benghazi consulate was unsafe.

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But they kept that consulate open – until it was destroyed by Al-Qaeda-linked terrorists.

But for some reason, the Obama administration wants to close the embassy doors at The Vatican.

Catholic Vote reported:

The Obama administration has decided that the free-standing American embassy to the Holy See will soon be closed, and the offices for the Ambassador to the Vatican will be moved inside of our Italian Embassy.

As a part of the security reviews that followed the attacks on our embassy in Benghazi last year, State Department officials are now claiming that the current U.S. Embassy to the Holy See is no longer safe.

If their assessement is correct, then why not bolster security or simply move the Embassy to a new location instead of shutting it down? Are all ‘unsafe’ embassies being shut down too?

Moving our Ambassador to the Vatican inside of our Italian Embassy sends a clear message: the diplomatic post doesn’t matter much to the United States.

This afternoon I spoke with former Vatican Ambassador James Nicholson. He wanted me to tell CV readers:

“It’s another manifestation of the antipathy of this administration both to Catholics and to the Vatican – and to Christians in the Middle East. This is a key post for intermediation in so many sovereignties but particularly in the Middle East. This is anything but a good time to diminish the stature of this post. To diminish the stature of this post is to diminish its influence.

“The State Department has for a long time wanted to do this. It came up when I was an ambassador. I explained the folly of this and it went away. But now they seem determined to do this. The perception is [with this action] that the United States is showing a lack of appreciation for the relevance of its diplomatic partner in the Vatican.”

Diplomatic relations between the United States and the Holy See suffered for generations because of rampant anti-Catholicism in our country. It took until 1984, twenty-four years after the election of a Catholic president, for President Ronald Reagan to officially create the first United States Ambassador to the Holy See.

President Reagan would quickly see the importance of the Holy See in international affairs. Reagan and Blessed Pope John Paul II formed a partnership that would lead to the downfall of Communism in Eastern Europe.

It is not immediately clear how many other embassies will close their doors due to safety concerns.

The NC Online has more.

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Obamacare Disaster Update: More Than 160 Million Americans Could Lose Their Health Insurance In 2014

More Than 160M Could Lose Insurance In 2014 – Sweetness & Light

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From Fox News:

Almost 80 million with employer health care plans could have coverage canceled, experts predict

By Jim Angle | November 25, 2013

Almost 80 million people with employer health plans could find their coverage canceled because they are not compliant with ObamaCare, several experts predicted. Their losses would be in addition to the millions who found their individual coverage cancelled for the same reason.

Stan Veuger of the American Enterprise Institute said that in addition to the individual cancellations, “at least half the people on employer plans would by 2014 start losing plans as well.” There are approximately 157 million employer health care policy holders.

Avik Roy of the Manhattan Institute added, “the administration estimated that approximately 78 million Americans with employer sponsored insurance would lose their existing coverage due to the Affordable Care Act.”

Once again, it has to be pointed out that most insurance policies cover more than one person. So these 80 million cancelled policies could mean that more than 160 million people will lose their insurance coverage. And 160 million people is a lot of votes. (Obama beat Romney by less than 5 million votes.)

Last week, an analysis by the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank, showed the administration anticipates half to two-thirds of small businesses would have policies canceled or be compelled to send workers onto the ObamaCare exchanges. They predicted up to 100 million small and large business policies could be canceled next year.

According to projections the administration itself issued back in July 2010, it was clear officials knew the impact of ObamaCare three years ago. In fact, according to the Federal Register, its mid-range estimate was that by the end of 2014, 76 percent of small group plans would be cancelled, along with 55 percent of large employer plans.

The reason behind the losses is that current plans don’t meet the requirements of ObamaCare, which dictate that each plan must cover a list of essential benefits, whether people want them or not…

And it’s better that people have no insurance at all, than plans that don’t provide ‘free’ breast pumps.

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Top US Hospital Laying Off Staff Due To Obamacare – Daily Caller

The Cleveland Clinic, which is ranked among the top four U.S. hospitals, is making layoffs and cutting its budget more than $100 million as a direct result of the Affordable Care Act, the Daily Caller has learned.

“The cuts for 2014, about half of those are related to the Affordable Care Act… We anticipate a reduction in workforce,” Cleveland Clinic executive director of communications Eileen Sheil said in an interview with TheDC.

The Cleveland Clinic is reducing its 2014 budget by $330 million.

“We offered early retirement to 3,000 employees,” Sheil said, but noted that the early retirement option recently offered to staff was “voluntary” for eligible employees.

“The $330 million cut is not all layoffs,” Sheil said, noting that the Clinic is also cutting operating-room expenses and paying less to vendors.

“We’re taking money out of vendors, renegotiating contracts, looking at where we can reduce duplications, improve supply chain efficiencies… how we can scale back and use less. How we can take costs out of our operating rooms,” Sheil said.

“We were able to take 23 percent out of common operations procedure by doing things more efficiently,” Shiel said.

The Cleveland Clinic is a Top 4 U.S. hospital for 2013-2014, according to U.S. News and World Report rankings. In 2008, Clinic surgeons performed the nation’s first near-total face transplant.

TheDC has extensively reported on Obamacare’s effect on hospitals, including hefty fines and other penalties facing nonprofit hospitals like the one that treated the final Boston Marathon bombing victim.

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Republicans Got It Right About Obamacare: 5 Predictions That Turned Out To Be True – John Hawkins

Republicans Got It Right About Obamacare: 5 Predictions That Turned Out To Be True

Republicans were right about Obamacare and Democrats were wrong. Before Obamacare was passed, when Democrats were telling the public that it would make health care cheaper, better, and would cure cancer right after it makes your bed in the morning and cuts your grass, Republicans were pointing out the very flaws that the American people are bitterly complaining about today. This is why we’re not going to help the Democrats “fix” Obamacare. The fact of the matter is that we’ve been right every step of the way so far and what we’re telling people is that the worst is yet to come. The only real way to “fix” this law is to repeal it. The people telling you that are the ones who pointed out all of these problems that the Democrats lied about and missed like…

1) The cost of insurance will go up: “There is nothing in the House or Senate bills that will enable Americans to have the kind of cost control that the President is promising. No matter how you look at this, health care costs both for individuals and for the country as a whole are going to increase.” – Senior Fellow for Health Policy Studies at Heritage, Robert Moffit in 2009

2) People will lose their jobs or be cut back to part-time because of Obamacare: “Additional taxes on employers and new government mandates that dictate acceptable insurance will place new and crushing burdens on employers. These are burdens that will ultimately fall squarely on the backs of workers in the form of reduced wages, fewer hours or lost employment. CBO agrees that ‘[e]mployees largely bear the cost of… play-or-pay fees in the form of lower wages.’ According to the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), the nation’s largest small business association, an employer mandate of this magnitude will disproportionately impact small businesses, triggering up to 1.6 million lost jobs. Two-thirds of those jobs would be shed by small businesses.” – House Majority Leader John Boehner in 2009

3) More Americans will lose their health insurance because of Obamacare than will be covered by the law: “This new regulation appears to ignore the impact it will have in the real world. It’ll drive up costs and reduce the number of people who will have insurance.” – Republican Senator Mike Enzi, 2010

4) “If you like your doctor, you keep your doctor” was a lie: “Remember when the president said, ‘If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor’? Not true. In Texas alone a record number of doctors are leaving the Medicare system because of the cuts in reimbursements forced on them by Obamacare.” – Former governor and vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin in 2010

5)”If you like your plan, you can keep it” was a lie: “The District of Columbia is an island surrounded by reality. Only in the District of Columbia could you get away with telling the people if you like what you have you can keep it, and then pass regulations six months later that do just the opposite and figure that people are going to ignore it. But common sense is eventually going to prevail in this town and common sense is going to have to prevail on this piece of legislation as well.” – Republican Senator Chuck Grassley in 2010

These are just five examples of what most conservatives thought would happen with Obamacare and we were spot on. In fact, conservatives predicted every problem with Obamacare other than the utter and complete failure of the website, which if anything shows that we may have given Obama too much credit. What should really scare you is that the same people who got so much right about the bill so far are predicting tens of millions of Americans will lose their plans when the employer mandate comes online and there will be death panels, doctor shortages, a dramatic decline in the quality of care, and massive cost increases that will dwarf anything we’ve seen so far, even though tens of millions of Americans still will remain uninsured under the law.

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Over 600 Hardware And Software Defects In ObamaCare Exchange; ‘The Longest List Anybody Had Ever Seen’ – Fox Nation

On a sultry day in late August, a dozen staff members of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services gathered at the agency’s Baltimore headquarters with managers from the major contractors building HealthCare.gov to review numerous problems with President’s Obama’s online health insurance initiative. The mood was grim.

The prime contractor, CGI Federal, had long before concluded that the administration was blindly enamored of an unrealistic goal: creating a cutting-edge website that would use the latest technologies to dazzle consumers with its many features. Knowing how long it would take to complete and test the software, the company’s officials and other vendors believed that it was impossible to open a fully functioning exchange on Oct. 1…

An initial assessment identified more than 600 hardware and software defects – “the longest list anybody had ever seen,” one person involved with the project said.

Read more at nytimes.com

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27 Democratic Senators Who Promised You Could Keep Your Health Coverage – Byron York

President Obama has taken a lot of heat for promising that if Americans liked the health coverage that they had before Obamacare, they would be able to keep it under the new law. But the president wasn’t the only Democrat in Washington who made that false promise. Many, many other Democratic officeholders said the same thing.

In fact, the keep-your-coverage pledge was key to some Democrats’ decision to support the Affordable Care Act. For example, when the bill was being debated, New Hampshire Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen said, “[A] requirement that I have for supporting a bill is that if you have health coverage that you like you should be able to keep that.” For many Democrats, the keep-your-coverage pledge was not a throwaway line; it was a fundamental part of their case for Obamacare.

How many Democrats made the promise? There’s no comprehensive list of all of them, but Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s office has compiled a list of 27 Democratic senators who pledged that Americans could keep their coverage under Obamacare. The list includes the entire Democratic leadership in the Senate as well as Democrats facing tough re-election races in 2014, like Mary Landrieu, Mark Begich, and Kay Hagan. Here is that list, compiled by McConnell’s office:

SEN. HARRY REID (D-Nev.): “In fact, one of our core principles is that if you like the health care you have, you can keep it.” (Sen. Reid, Congressional Record, S.8642, 8/3/09)

SEN. RICHARD DURBIN: “We believe – and we stand by this – if you like your current health insurance plan, you will be able to keep it, plain and simple, straightforward.” (Sen. Durbin, Congressional Record, S.6401, 6/10/09)

SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY): “If you like your insurance, you keep it.” (U.S. Senate, Finance Committee, Bill Mark-Up, 9/29/09)

SEN. PATTY MURRAY (D-Wash.): “Again, if you like what you have, you will be able to keep it. Let me say this again: If you like what you have, when our legislation is passed and signed by the President, you will be able to keep it.” (Sen. Murray, Congressional Record, S.6400, 6/10/09)

SEN. MAX BAUCUS (D-Mont.): “That is why one of the central promises of health care reform has been and is: If you like what you have, you can keep it. That is critically important. If a person has a plan, and he or she likes it, he or she can keep it.” (Sen. Baucus, Congressional Record, S.7676, 9/29/10)

SEN. TOM HARKIN (D-Iowa): “One of the things we put in the health care bill when we designed it was the protection for consumers to keep the plan they have if they like it; thus, the term ‘grandfathered plans.’ If you have a plan you like – existing policies – you can keep them. …we said, if you like a plan, you get to keep it, and you can grandfather it in.” (Sen. Harkin, Congressional Record, S.7675-6, 9/29/10)

THEN-REP. TAMMY BALDWIN (D-Wis.): “Under the bill, if you like the insurance you have now, you may keep it and it will improve.” (Rep. Baldwin, Press Release, 3/18/10)

SEN. MARK BEGICH (D-Alaska): “If you got a doctor now, you got a medical professional you want, you get to keep that. If you have an insurance program or a health care policy you want of ideas, make sure you keep it. That you can keep who you want.” (Sen. Begich, Townhall Event, 7/27/09)

SEN. MICHAEL BENNET (D-Colo.): “We should begin with a basic principle: if you have coverage and you like it, you can keep it. If you have your doctor, and you like him or her, you should be able to keep them as well. We will not take that choice away from you.” (Sen. Bennet, Press Release, 6/11/09)

SEN. BARBARA BOXER (D-Calif.): “So we want people to be able to keep the health care they have. And the answer to that is choice of plans. And in the exchange, we’re going to have lots of different plans, and people will be able to keep the health care coverage they need and they want.” (Sen. Boxer, Press Release, 2/8/11)

SEN. SHERROD BROWN (D-Ohio): “Our bill says if you have health insurance and you like it, you can keep it…”(Sen. Brown, Congressional Record, S.12612, 12/7/09)

SEN. BEN CARDIN (D-Md.): “For the people of Maryland, this bill will provide a rational way in which they can maintain their existing coverage…” (Sen. Cardin, Congressional Record, S.13798, 12/23/09)

SEN. BOB CASEY (D-Pa.): “I also believe this legislation and the bill we are going to send to President Obama this fall will also have secure choices. If you like what you have, you like the plan you have, you can keep it. It is not going to change.” (Sen. Casey, Congressional Record, S.8070, 7/24/09)

SEN. KAY HAGAN (D-N.C.): ‘People who have insurance they’re happy with can keep it’ “We need to support the private insurance industry so that people who have insurance they’re happy with can keep it while also providing a backstop option for people without access to affordable coverage.” (“Republicans Vent As Other Compromise Plans Get Aired,” National Journal’s Congress Daily, 6/18/09)

SEN. MARY LANDRIEU (D-La.): “If you like the insurance that you have, you’ll be able to keep it.” (MSNBC’s Hardball, 12/16/09)

SEN. PAT LEAHY (D-Vt.): “[I]f you like the insurance you now have, keep the insurance you have.” (CNN’s “Newsroom,” 10/22/09)

SEN. BOB MENENDEZ (D-N.J.): “If you like what you have, you get to keep it” “Menendez is a member of the Senate Finance Committee, which is expected to release a bill later this week. He stressed that consumers who are satisfied with their plans won’t have to change. ‘If you like what you have, you get to keep it,’ he said.” (“Health Care Plan Would Help N.J., Menendez Says,” The Record, 6/19/09)

SEN. JEFF MERKLEY (D-Oreg.): “[E]nsuring that those who like their insurance get to keep it” “The HELP Committee bill sets forward a historic plan that will, for the first time in American history, give every American access to affordable health coverage, reduce costs, and increase choice, while ensuring that those who like their insurance get to keep it.” (Sen. Merkley, Press Release, 7/15/09)

SEN. BARBARA MIKULSKI (D-Md.): “It means that if you like the insurance you have now, you can keep it.” (Sen. Mikulski, Press Release, 12/24/09)

SEN. JAY ROCKEFELLER (D-W.Va.): “I want people to know, the President’s promise that if you like the coverage you have today you can keep it is a pledge we intend to keep.” (U.S. Senate, Finance Committee, Hearing, 9/23/09)

SEN. JACK REED (D-R.I.): “If you like the insurance you have, you can choose to keep it.” (Sen. Reed, Town Hall Event, 6/25/09)

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-Vt.): “‘If you have coverage you like, you can keep it,’ says Sen. Sanders.” (“Sick And Wrong,” Rolling Stone, 4/5/10)

SEN. JEANNE SHAHEEN (D-N.H.): ‘if you have health coverage that you like, you get to keep it’ “My understanding… is that… if you have health coverage that you like you can keep it. As I said, you may have missed my remarks at the beginning of the call, but one of the things I that I said as a requirement that I have for supporting a bill is that if you have health coverage that you like you should be able to keep that. …under every scenario that I’ve seen, if you have health coverage that you like, you get to keep it.” (Sen. Shaheen, “Health Care Questions From Across New Hampshire,” Accessed 11/13/13)

SEN. DEBBIE STABENOW (D-Mich.): “As someone who has a large number of large employers in my state, one of the things I appreciate about the chairman’s mark is – is the grandfathering provisions, the fact that the people in my state, 60 percent of whom have insurance, are going to be able to keep it. And Mr. Chairman, I appreciate that. That’s a strong commitment. It’s clear in the bill… I appreciate the strong commitment on your part and the president to make sure that if you have your insurance you can keep it. That’s the bottom line for me.” (U.S. Senate, Finance Committee, Bill Mark-Up, 9/24/09)

SEN. JON TESTER (D-Mont.): “‘If you like your coverage, you’ll be able to keep it,’ Tester said, adding that if Medicare changes, it will only become stronger”. (“Tester In Baker To Discuss Health Care,” The Fallon County Times, 11/20/09)

SEN. TOM UDALL (D-N.Mex.): “Some worried reform would alter their current coverage. It won’t. If you like your current plan, you can keep it.” (“What I Learned: About Health Care Reform This Summer, By Your Lawmakers In Congress,” Albuquerque Journal, 9/8/09)

SEN. SHELDON WHITEHOUSE (D-R.I.): “…it honors President Obama’s programs and the promise of all of the Presidential candidates that if you like the plan you have, you get to keep it. You are not forced out of anything.”(Sen. Whitehouse, Congressional Record, S.8668, 8/3/09)

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Catastrophe Update: NM Health Exchange Cancels Obamacare Seminar After Only 7 People RSVP

New Mexico Health Exchange Forced To Cancel Obamacare Seminar After Only 7 People RSVP – Weasel Zippers

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And a whopping 10 people attended another seminar they held last week.

FARMINGTON – Officials from the New Mexico Health Insurance Exchange have reached out to communities throughout the state to explain the exchange and new insurance plans, periodically holding seminars in San Juan County.

But many of those seminars have been sparsely attended. A free health insurance exchange seminar and dinner scheduled last week in Bloomfield was cancelled due to a lack of response.

“We advertised for three weeks before, put it on our reader board and hand-delivered invitations to various doctor’s offices and small businesses,” said Bloomfield Chamber of Commerce President Janet Mackey. “We only had seven people RSVP, and since we were also going to be providing dinner, we thought with so few people it would be a waste of resources.”

Only 10 people attended a separate seminar in Wednesday at the Courtyard by Marriott in Farmington.

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Thanks Barack… U.S.-Iran Nuke Deal Preserves Iran’s Nuclear Program, Frees Up Billions In Future Terrorist Funding

US-Iran Nuke Deal Preserves Iran’s Nuclear Program – Daily Caller

President Barack Obama agreed to loosen crippling economic sanctions on Iran’s theocracy and to release up to $7 billion in Iranian funds, in exchange for a promise from Iran’s theocratic leaders to not expand its nuclear bomb program.

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In a late night speech, Obama suggested that the deal – signed in Geneva, Switzerland – would be ended or expanded after six months, depending on Iran’s decisions.

But critics, including Israel’s prime minister, say any loosening of the sanctions will likely spur a flood of international dealmaking with Iran, and increase lobbing pressure in numerous countries for an end to the sanctions long before Iran’s nuclear bomb program is dismantled.

The deal effectively creates a U.S. and European diplomatic shield around Iran’s nuclear sites, which are likely targets for an Israeli attack.

Israel’s government is responsible for defending its small nation and population of seven million from Iran’s government, which has repeatedly promised to wipe the country off the map.

GOP senators criticized the deal for not dismantling Iran’s program to build nuclear weapons. “Amazing what WH will do to distract attention from O-care,” said a 10:15 pm tweet from Texas Sen. John Cornyn.

“The Geneva Agreement is a defeat for the United States and the West,” said a statement from the Emergency Committee for Israel. “It fails to uphold even the minimum demand of repeated U.N. Security Council resolutions that Iran must stop enriching uranium… Iran will continue its march to nuclear weapons, with perhaps a brief pause in some parts of the program… Congress should make clear that it does not support this deal… [and] Congress should make clear the United States will support Israel if Israel decides she must act to prevent a regime dedicated to her destruction from acquiring the means to do so.”

Iran’s government lauded the deal as international recognition for its expensive program to build a nuclear energy sector to complement its massive oil resources.

“It is important that we all of us see the opportunity to end an unnecessary crisis and open new horizons based on respect, based on the rights of the Iranian people and removing any doubts about the exclusively peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear program,” said Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.

“This is a process of attempting to restore confidence,” said Zarif, whose superiors repeatedly promised to wipe Israel off the map, have funded numerous killings of U.S. soldiers in Iraq, funded Hezbollah attacks on Israel and are providing Syria’s government with cash, weapons and soldiers for its civil war.

During the talks, Obama endorsed Iran’s nuclear industry, which the theocrats say is needed to produce electricity for a nation that also could also generate electricity fro its huge oil and natural gas resources.

Obama also acknowledged that Iran’s government has lied and cheated on previous deals.

“We approach these negotiations with a basic understanding: Iran, like any nation, should be able to access peaceful nuclear energy,” he said. “But because of its record of violating its obligations, Iran must accept strict limitations on its nuclear program that make it impossible to develop a nuclear weapon.”

Iran is also a threat to its neighbors, including Bahrain and Saudi Arabia. The Saudi government has repeatedly hinted that it will build a nuclear force if Iran creates a nuclear weapon.

In a late night speech, Obama declared the international deal would open up a path for peace.

“We have pursued intensive diplomacy – bilaterally with the Iranians, and together with our P5+1 partners: the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Russia, and China, as well as the European Union,” he said.

“Today, that diplomacy opened up a new path toward a world that is more secure – a future in which we can verify that Iran’s nuclear program is peaceful, and that it cannot build a nuclear weapon,” he said.

The terms of the deal “cut off Iran’s most likely paths to a bomb,” he insisted. “Meanwhile, this first step will create time and space over the next six months for more negotiations to fully address our comprehensive concerns about the Iranian program.”

The deal blocks Iran from building many new centrifuges that are used to separate especially less radioactive isotopes of uranium from the more radioactive atoms that are used to fuel first-generation nuclear bombs, dubbed A-bombs.

If Iran actually complies with the deal, it would also prevent the Iranians from starting up a highly radioactive plutonium reactor at Arak. That plutonium reactor can make the highly radioactive fuel for second-generation nuclear bombs, dubbed H-bombs.

But the deal would not stop Iran from nearly completing the plutonium reactor during the next six month stage of negotiations.

Once the Arak reactor is turned on, any missile strike would release large amount of poisonous radioactivity into the atmosphere. The worldwide opposition to any radiation release would likely deter Israel or the United States from striking the reactor once the Iranians start it up.

“While today’s announcement is just a first step, it achieves a great deal,” Obama said his his late-night speech.

“We have halted the progress of the Iranian nuclear program, and key parts of the program will be rolled back,” he said. “Iran has committed to halting certain levels of enrichment, and neutralizing part of its stockpile. Iran cannot use its next-generation centrifuges – which are used for enriching uranium. Iran cannot install or start up new centrifuges, and its production of centrifuges will be limited.”

“Iran will halt work at its plutonium reactor… New inspections will provide extensive access to Iran’s nuclear facilities, and allow the international community to verify whether Iran is keeping its commitments,” he added.

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Another Obama Train Wreck On The Way: The Mortgage Market

Obama’s Next Mess: The Mortgage Market – Barrons

Woo-wooo! The Obama administration’s next train wreck after Obamacare is coming ’round the bend.

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The administration and its Democratic allies in Congress are zealously trying to protect consumers from the crazy home-lending excesses that caused the Great Recession. Inadvertently, they are assuring that fewer Americans will qualify for home mortgages. This promises to speed-shrink the housing market, which constitutes an estimated 15% of the nation’s gross domestic product, versus 18.6% prior to the Great Recession. This, in turn, will ensure that the recovery remains anemic into the foreseeable future, with an average of about 190,000 or fewer jobs created each month – far short of the 300,000 required to make up for recession-related losses.

Crucial parts already are flying off the train. Banks are exiting from the mortgage business in large numbers, primarily because of the high operating costs and heightened litigation risks imposed by the Dodd-Frank financial-reform law.

This exodus reduces supply. Obtaining a home loan used to be a breeze for most people – even for those unprepared to weather a housing bust. Now the process is as agonizing as root-canal surgery, even for borrowers with the highest credit scores. Banks, in some instances, can be sued by a mortgage-loan customer if it turns out the customer has bad credit; so those banks remaining in the mortgage business view every loan applicant as a potential Bernie Madoff.

Access Mortgage Research & Consulting of Columbia, Md., points out in its most recent newsletter that pending home sales fell sharply over the summer from a three-year high and that economists who responded to a Zillow survey predict that annual home-price gains in the U.S. will slow to 4% in 2014 and dip even lower in the following four years versus an estimated rise of 7% this year. Freddie Mac’s economists see price growth of 5% to 6% in 2014. The U.S. Census Bureau says home ownership for the under-35 set was 36.8% in the third quarter, versus 42% in 2007’s third quarter.

The roll call of banks shrinking their mortgage footprints is stunning in length and breadth. Ally Bank, part of Ally Financial (ticker: GKM) left the market this month. In February, JPMorgan Chase (JPM) announced that it would fire 13,000 to 15,000 mortgage-banking employees through 2014. Bank of America (BAC) cut 2,100 mortgage workers in September. Citigroup (C) plans to lay off about 2,200 in 2014.

SunTrust Banks (STI) has said that it won’t make loans to mortgage brokers as of Dec. 31. EverBank Financial (EVER) and Cortland Bancorp (CLDB) have left the same markets. Wells Fargo (WFC), the No. 1 U.S. mortgage lender, ended joint ventures with mortgage brokerages this year, mainly because Dodd-Frank frowns on such relationships.

Increased capital demands from international banking regulators and new regulations from the U.S. comptroller of the currency and state banking regulators are causing banks with mortgage-servicing arms to sell them. The purchasers are unregulated nonbank competitors, which consequently are growing at explosive rates. Nationstar Mortgage Holdings (NSM), Ocwen Financial (OCN), and Walter Investment Management (WAC) all have undergone significant, potentially worrying, growth spurts.

Dave Stevens, the CEO of the Mortgage Bankers Association, says that the business risks of mortgage banking now outweigh the probable rewards because of heavy-handed new banking laws and regulations. Congress’s failure to resolve the future of mortgage giants Fannie Mae (FNMA) and Freddie Mac (FMCC) also is adding to banks’ exit from the business. The two mortgage-security issuers are operating under government conservatorship and enjoy a host of advantages and subsidies. They control two-thirds of the secondary mortgage market. (Ginnie Mae, which buys lower-quality FHA loans, has a 23% share.)

Firms that buy mortgages and issue high-quality private-label securities on both large conforming (no bigger than $625,500 in the contiguous U.S.) and jumbo nonconforming loans all but disappeared after the financial crisis, ceding a large chunk of the higher-end market to Fannie and Freddie. There’s no incentive for private money to make a comeback because Fannie and Freddie have become so dominant in the high end. And there’s no incentive for the government to return the companies to private ownership because it gets all their dividends and profits. Thus, they’ve become cash cows for it in an era of tight revenues.

But today’s profits might be fleeting. Stevens says it’s an elaborate Ponzi scheme: 75% of their “originations” are really refinancings, and at least 23% are underwater loans, exempt from costly Dodd-Frank rules. Another reason for the pair’s profits is because the Fed is buying 80% of this paper. Buyers for underwater mortgage securities might become scarcer when the Fed checks out. Woo-wooo!

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The Fundamental Dishonesty Of Obama And Obamacare (Tom Blumer)

The Fundamental Dishonesty Of Obama And Obamacare – Tom Blumer

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It’s hard to overstate how disconcerting the news about our government has been since Obamacare debuted on October 1st.

The HealthCare.gov rollout for consumers, utterly disastrous and demoralizing as it has been, is in the grand scheme a far-down-the-list annoyance. Its most beneficial result has been to teach Americans with their eyes even remotely open that our government has devolved to the point where it can’t carry out even the simplest of tasks.

Over a long weekend followed by some supplemental tweaking, the three guys who built the working Affordable Care Act policy search web site known as TheHealthSherpa.com for free accomplished what Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius’s assembled contractors and bureaucrats couldn’t get done with a 42-month head start and hundreds of millions of dollars.

Meanwhile, Team Sebelius’s work has been extraordinarily shoddy. Four IT experts told a congressional hearing this week that the currently not secure web site won’t be secure by the government’s self-imposed but increasingly squishy November 30 deadline. You would think in these circumstances that no one with a brain would suggest that users visit HealthCare.gov and attempt to enroll. You would be wrong. On Wednesday, Sebelius said that she “feels like it’s safe.” She “knows” it is not. A private firm executive allowing this travesty to continue for 50 days would be in jail, and his or her company would be shut down permanently.

Behind the curtain, things are far worse. With about 25 business days left before the provision of medical services is set to begin, what remains undone is downright terrifying.

We’re told that the problem with HealthCare.gov sending bad enrollment information to insurers, first reported five weeks ago but surely discovered just days after the site’s launch, is only “two-thirds” fixed.

That’s the “good” news.

On Tuesday, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services deputy chief information officer Henry Chao told a House hearing that “the back-office systems, the accounting systems, the payment systems, they still need to be built.” Chao had plenty of chances to correct himself, and didn’t. It’s reasonable to believe, especially based on this administration’s track record, that Chao really said that work on these systems hasn’t even started.

As awful as all of this is, what’s infinitely worse is that the administration still clings to the notion that its core guarantee – that “if you like your health care plan (and doctor, and provider), you can keep your health care plan (and doctor, and provider)” – remains true for 95 percent of Americans. It’s not.

Given one more chance to come clean with the American people on November 14th, Obama instead chose to perpetuate that myth:

With respect to the pledge I made that if you like your plan, you can keep it, I think- and I’ve said in interviews – that there is no doubt that the way I put that forward unequivocally ended up not being accurate. It was not because of my intention not to deliver on that commitment and that promise. We put a grandfather clause into the law, but it was insufficient.

Keep in mind that the individual market accounts for 5 percent of the population. So when I said you can keep your health care, I’m looking at folks who’ve got employer-based health care…

Obama’s “5 percent” lowball estimate of the individual market is really eight percent. But it’s his statement about employer-based health care which officially and irretrievably takes his and his administration’s fundamental dishonesty to a new level.

Obama acted as if the projections of employer plan cancellations published in the Federal Register in June 2010 don’t exist. They do, and their midpoint estimate is that 51 percent of employer plans will not be grandfathered (i.e., they will have been cancelled) by the time the deferred employer mandate kicks in on January 1, 2015 (the low and high estimates are 39 percent to 69 percent, respectively).

At that point, employers will be forced to assess whether they can afford to replace them with Obamacare-approved plans containing the statist scheme’s minimum coverage standards and their accompanying massive cost increases. A far from insignificant number of them will choose not to replace their plans, and will end employee healthcare coverage entirely in the name of survival.

The Obama administration had over three years to do something about what the president claimed was an “insufficient” grandfathering clause, and did nothing. That’s because, despite his contention, they actually wanted to make grandfathering difficult. They have clearly been quite successful in achieving their goal. In a recent survey by the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans, only 27 percent of respondents reported that their plans still had grandfathered status.

It further turns out that last month, during the course of arguing its case supporting the Affordable Care Act’s religious freedom-violating contraception mandate, Department of Justice lawyers gave the June 2010 Federal Register grandfathering estimates legal credibility by filing a brief which specifically referred to them.

Obama’s November 14 statement was a transparent attempt to worm out of all of this by changing what he originally said. His promise wasn’t that “you can keep your health care”; it was that you can keep your health care plan.” That’s not going to happen, for at the very least a significant plurality if not a majority of employees – and if you can’t keep your plan, there certainly isn’t any guarantee that you will be able to keep your doctor or other medical provider under its Obamacare replacement.

This is what happens when you put breathtaking incompetence together with patented progressive “whatever it takes” dishonesty. You get the Mother of All Failed Government Program Rollouts, the Mother of All Domestic Deceptions, and the Mother of All Presidential Failures, all in one petulant, defiant, punk package.

Blogger extraordinaire Patterico, reacting to separate allegations unrelated to Obamacare that the Census Bureau fabricated household surveys which ended up “cooking” the controversial September 2012 pre-election jobs report at the Bureau of Labor Statistics to the administration’s favor, summed up where we are perfectly with this bunch: “They’re “not just lying about politics now. They’re lying about data. They’re lying about everything. All the time. Constantly.”

I don’t see how anyone can possibly disagree.

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Obamacare Corruption Update: Subcontractor Working On Healthcare.gov Under FBI Investigation

Subcontractor Working On Obamacare Site Under FBI Investigation – Daily Caller

One of the subcontractors working on the Obamacare website is currently under investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

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Client Network Services Incorporated (CNSI) became a sub-contractor on the Obamacare website in 2012, working hand in hand with QSSI, according to its website. QSSI was one of several contractors hauled before Congress to address the sites troubled rollout in October.

According to Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) “war room” notes released in October, CNSI was responsible for assisting with electronic data interchange (EDI) – defined as a system to transfer data between computer systems without human interaction.

Among the plethora of problems with the website rollout, insurance companies have complained that data received on their computers has often been inaccurate, suggesting a problem with the EDI.

CNSI is currently under investigation by the FBI, which has alleged that then-Louisiana Health and Hospitals Secretary Bruce Greenstein, a former CNSI employee, exerted undue influence in steering the Medicaid contract to Louisiana.

According to a story in the New Orleans Times Picayne, the FBI also acccused CNSI of witness tampering in another case.

“According to the FBI report in this Court’s possession, one of CNSI’s owners, in front of the other three owners, said if the employee ‘ever disclosed the misconduct at the company they would have him killed.’”

In 2011, the State of South Dakota accused CNSI of overbilling for a state Medicaid website, according to a story by the Aberdeen News:

The South Dakota Department of Social Services has paid $49.7 million so far for a new Medicaid processing system that at this point remains inoperable.

The original contract was for $62.7 million, but the new system is now expected to cost far in excess of $80 million to complete and will take two to three more years to get running, according to court documents filed as part of a lawsuit between the contractor and the department.

The company that eventually won the contract, Client Network Services Inc. of Maryland, submitted a proposal in 2007, later participated in another final-and-best offer round, and was awarded the contract in June 2008.

The cost of the Obamacare website – which has reportedly run “north of $600 million” – has also become a scandalous issue.

In Michigan, The Southeast Michigan Health Care Exchange – which set up a state Obamacare exchange – pursued a suit initially valued at $7 million for breach of contract involving services provided by CNSI for IT services with that website.

In 2006, CNSI was the subject of a lengthy expose in the IT trade journal, CIO Magazine, which detailed allegations that CNSI produced a low ball bid in order to win a contract, only to have the final cost balloon exponentially.

In August 2013, Fox News ran a story detailing how CNSI was involved in a scheme to subvert the normal contractual process in Illinois in another IT contract involving the States of Michigan and Illinois:

A company from Gaithersburg, Maryland, Client Network Services Incorporated or CNSI, already has a contract in Michigan to perform similar services.

By forming an alliance with Michigan, Illinois was able to bypass a drawn-out, expensive bidding process because the state procurement code says HFS doesn’t need one if there is an intergovernmental agreement.

According to the war room notes, CNSI was in constant communications with staffers at HHS on the Obamacare website.

“CNSI is working on items to be able to provide to us management reports. It probably won’t be a daily email update; it will likely be a portal log-in to view the information, which would be cumulative and provide trending analysis.”

CNSI, QSSI, HHS and CMS did not return TheDC’s requests for comment.

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Obama Regime Has Flooded America With Islamic Terrorists Disguised As Iraqi Refugees

ABC News Uncovers Obama Admin Has Flooded America With Islamic Terrorists Disguised As Iraqi Refugees – Before It’s News

On August 8, 2013 NTEB News warned you of the plan by the Obama Administration to sneak into the country scores of highly-trained Muslim terrorists disguised as refugees from war-torn Iraq and Syria. Today, ABC News confirms that this has happened exactly as we warned you it would.

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ABC News: Several dozen suspected terrorist bombmakers, including some believed to have targeted American troops, may have mistakenly been allowed to move to the United States as war refugees, according to FBI agents investigating the remnants of roadside bombs recovered from Iraq and Afghanistan.

The discovery in 2009 of two al Qaeda-Iraq terrorists living as refugees in Bowling Green, Kentucky – who later admitted in court that they’d attacked U.S. soldiers in Iraq – prompted the bureau to assign hundreds of specialists to an around-the-clock effort aimed at checking its archive of 100,000 improvised explosive devices collected in the war zones, known as IEDs, for other suspected terrorists’ fingerprints.

Click here to read the story on ABC News.com

“We are currently supporting dozens of current counter-terrorism investigations like that,” FBI Agent Gregory Carl, director of the Terrorist Explosive Device Analytical Center (TEDAC), said in an ABC News interview to be broadcast tonight on ABC News’ “World News with Diane Sawyer” and “Nightline”.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if there were many more than that,” said House Committee on Homeland Security Chairman Michael McCaul. “And these are trained terrorists in the art of bombmaking that are inside the United States; and quite frankly, from a homeland security perspective, that really concerns me.”

As a result of the Kentucky case, the State Department stopped processing Iraq refugees for six months in 2011, federal officials told ABC News – even for many who had heroically helped U.S. forces as interpreters and intelligence assets. One Iraqi who had aided American troops was assassinated before his refugee application could be processed, because of the immigration delays, two U.S. officials said. In 2011, fewer than 10,000 Iraqis were resettled as refugees in the U.S., half the number from the year before, State Department statistics show.

Suspect in Kentucky Discovered to Have Insurgent Past

An intelligence tip initially led the FBI to Waad Ramadan Alwan, 32, in 2009. The Iraqi had claimed to be a refugee who faced persecution back home – a story that shattered when the FBI found his fingerprints on a cordless phone base that U.S. soldiers dug up in a gravel pile south of Bayji, Iraq on Sept. 1, 2005. The phone base had been wired to unexploded bombs buried in a nearby road.

An ABC News investigation of the flawed U.S. refugee screening system, which was overhauled two years ago, showed that Alwan was mistakenly allowed into the U.S. and resettled in the leafy southern town of Bowling Green, Kentucky, a city of 60,000 which is home to Western Kentucky University and near the Army’s Fort Knox and Fort Campbell. Alwan and another Iraqi refugee, Mohanad Shareef Hammadi, 26, were resettled in Bowling Green even though both had been detained during the war by Iraqi authorities, according to federal prosecutors.

Most of the more than 70,000 Iraqi war refugees in the U.S. are law-abiding immigrants eager to start a new life in America, state and federal officials say.

But the FBI discovered that Alwan had been arrested in Kirkuk, Iraq, in 2006 and confessed on video made of his interrogation then that he was an insurgent, according to the U.S. military and FBI, which obtained the tape a year into their Kentucky probe. In 2007, Alwan went through a border crossing to Syria and his fingerprints were entered into a biometric database maintained by U.S. military intelligence in Iraq, a Directorate of National Intelligence official said. Another U.S. official insisted that fingerprints of Iraqis were routinely collected and that Alwan’s fingerprint file was not associated with the insurgency.

“How do they get into our community?”

In 2009 Alwan applied as a refugee and was allowed to move to Bowling Green, where he quit a job he briefly held and moved into public housing on Gordon Ave., across the street from a school bus stop, and collected public assistance payouts, federal officials told ABC News.

“How do you have somebody that we now know was a known actor in terrorism overseas, how does that person get into the United States? How do they get into our community?” wondered Bowling Green Police Chief Doug Hawkins, whose department assisted the FBI.

Department of Homeland Security spokesperson Peter Boogaard said in a statement that the U.S. government “continually improves and expands its procedures for vetting immigrants, refugees and visa applicants, and today [the] vetting process considers a far broader range of information than it did in past years.”

“Our procedures continue to check applicants’ names and fingerprints against records of individuals known to be security threats, including the terrorist watchlist, or of law enforcement concern… These checks are vital to advancing the U.S. government’s twin goal of protecting the world’s most vulnerable persons while ensuring U.S. national security and public safety,” the statement said.

Last year, a Department of Homeland Security senior intelligence official testified in a House hearing that Alwan and Hammadi’s names and fingerprints were checked by the FBI, DHS and the Defense Department during the vetting process in 2009 and “came in clean.”

After the FBI received the intelligence tip later that year, a sting operation in Kentucky was mounted to bait Alwan with a scheme hatched by an undercover operative recruited by the FBI, who offered Alwan the opportunity to ship heavy arms to al Qaeda in Iraq. The FBI wanted to know if Alwan was part of a local terror cell – a fear that grew when he tapped a relative also living in Bowling Green, Hammadi, to help out.

The FBI secretly taped Alwan bragging to the informant that he’d built a dozen or more bombs in Iraq and used a sniper rifle to kill American soldiers in the Bayji area north of Baghdad.

“He said that he had them ‘for lunch and dinner,’” recalled FBI Louisville Supervisory Special Agent Tim Beam, “meaning that he had killed them.”

Alwan even sketched out IED designs, which the FBI provided to ABC News, that U.S. bomb experts had quickly determined clearly demonstrated his expertise.

‘Needle in a Haystack’ Fingerprint Match Found on Iraq Bomb Parts, White House Briefed

The case drew attention at the highest levels of government, FBI officials told ABC News, when TEDAC forensic investigators tasked with finding IEDs from Bayji dating back to 2005 pulled 170 case boxes and, incredibly, found several of Alwan’s fingerprints on a Senao-brand remote cordless base station. A U.S. military Significant Action report on Sept. 1, 2005 said the remote-controlled trigger had been attached to “three homemade-explosive artillery rounds concealed by gravel with protruding wires.”

“There were two fingerprints, developed on the top of the base station,” Katie Suchma, an FBI supervisory physical scientist at TEDAC who helped locate the evidence, told ABC News at the center’s IED examination lab. “The whole team was ecstatic because it was like finding a needle in a haystack.”

“This was the type of bomb he’s talking about when he drew those pictures,” added FBI electronics expert Stephen Mallow.

Word was sent back to the FBI in Louisville.

“It was a surreal moment, it was a real game changer, so to speak, for the case,” FBI agent Beam told ABC News. “Now you have solidified proof that he was involved in actual attacks against U.S. soldiers.”

Worse, prosecutors later revealed at Hammadi’s sentencing hearing that he and Alwan had been caught on an FBI surveillance tape talking about using a bomb to assassinate an Army captain they’d known in Bayji, who was now back home – and to possibly attack other homeland targets.

“Many things should take place and it should be huge,” Hammadi told Alwan in an FBI-recorded conversation, which a prosecutor read at Hammadi’s sentencing last year.

Then-FBI Director Robert Mueller briefed President Obama in early 2011 as agents and Louisville federal prosecutors weighed whether to arrest Alwan and Hammadi or continue arranging phony arms shipments to Iraq that the pair could assist with, consisting of machine guns, explosives and even Stinger missiles the FBI had secretly rendered inoperable and which never left the U.S.

But agents soon determined there were no other co-conspirators. An FBI SWAT team collared the terrorists in a truck south of Bowling Green in late May 2011, only weeks after al Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden was killed in Pakistan and Obama had visited nearby Fort Campbell to thank the SEALs and Army Nightstalker pilots for their successful mission. The Kentucky al Qaeda case drew little attention as the nation celebrated Bin Laden’s death.

Suspects Linked to Attack That Killed 4 US Soldiers

Pennsylvania National Guard soldiers who had served in Bayji in 2005 saw news reports about the two arrests, and Army Staff Sgt. Joshua Hedetniemi called the FBI to alert them to an Aug. 9, 2005, IED attack that killed four of their troopers in a humvee patrolling south of the town. The U.S. attorney’s office in Louisville eventually placed the surviving soldiers in its victim notification system for the case, even though it couldn’t be conclusively proven that Alwan and Hammadi had killed the Guardsmen.

The four Pennsylvania soldiers killed that day were Pfc. Nathaniel DeTample, 19, Spec. Gennaro Pellegrini, 31, Spec. Francis J. Straub Jr., 24, and Spec. John Kulick, 35.

“It was a somber moment for the platoon, we had a great deal of love and respect for those guys and it hit us pretty hard,” Hedetniemi said in an interview in the Guard’s armory near Philadelphia. “I think that these two individuals are innately evil to be able to act as a terrorist and attack and kill American soldiers, then have the balls to come over to the United States and try to do the same exact thing here in our homeland.”

Confronted with all the evidence against them, Alwan and Hammadi agreed to plead guilty to supporting terrorism and admitted their al Qaeda-Iraq past. Alwan cooperated and received 40 years, while Hammadi received a life term which he is appealing. A hearing for Hammadi’s appeal took place Tuesday in the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Ohio.

“We need to take this as a case study and draw the right lessons from it, and not just high-five over this,” said retired Army Lt. Gen. Michael Barbero, who headed the military’s Joint IED Defeat Organization until last May. “How did a person who we detained in Iraq – linked to an IED attack, we had his fingerprints in our government system – how did he walk into America in 2009?”

Barbero is credited with leveraging the Kentucky case to help the FBI get funding to create a new state of the art fingerprint lab focused solely on its IED repository in a huge warehouse outside Washington. The new FBI lab assists counterterrorism investigations of suspected bombmakers and IED emplacers and looks for latent prints on 100,000 IED remnants collected over the past decade by the military and stored in the vast TEDAC warehouse.

The only man in the Humvee to survive the 2005 IED bombing in Bayji, Daniel South, who is now an Army Black Hawk helicopter pilot in Texas, said he was stunned to learn al Qaeda-Iraq insurgents were living in Kentucky – but he’s glad they were finally brought to justice for attacking U.S. troops in Iraq.

“I kind of wish that we had smoked [Alwan] when it happened, but we didn’t have that opportunity so I guess this is second best,” South told ABC News.

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Vile, Leftist Hypocrisy Update: Senate Democrats Go Nuclear, Eliminate Filibusters On Obama Nominees

Reid, Democrats Trigger ‘Nuclear’ Option; Eliminate Most Filibusters On Nominees – Washington Post

The partisan battles that have paralyzed Washington in recent years took a historic turn on Thursday, when Senate Democrats eliminated filibusters for most presidential nominations, severely curtailing the political leverage of the Republican minority in the Senate and assuring an escalation of partisan warfare.

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The rule change means federal judge nominees and executive-office appointments can be confirmed by a simple majority of senators, rather than the 60-vote super majority that has been required for more than two centuries.

The change does not apply to Supreme Court nominations. But the vote, mostly along party lines, reverses nearly 225 years of precedent and dramatically alters the landscape for both Democratic and Republican presidents, especially if their own political party holds a majority of, but fewer than 60, Senate seats.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) accused Democrats of a power grab and suggested that they will regret their decision if Republicans regain control of the chamber.

“We’re not interested in having a gun put to our head any longer,” McConnell said. “Some of us have been around here long enough to know that the shoe is sometimes on the other foot.” McConnell then addressed Democrats directly, saying: “You may regret this a lot sooner than you think,” he said.

Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa), the ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, warned Democrats against the rule change on Wednesday, saying that if the GOP reclaimed the Senate majority, Republicans would further alter the rules to include Supreme Court nominees, so that Democrats could not filibuster a Republican pick for the nation’s highest court.

The vote to change the rule passed 52-48. Three Democrats – Sens. Carl Levin (D-Mich.), Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Mark Pryor (D-Ark.) – joined with 45 Republicans in opposing the measure. Levin is a longtime senator who remembers well the years when Democratic filibusters blocked nominees of Republican presidents; Manchin and Pryor come from Republican-leaning states.

Infuriated by what he sees as a pattern of obstruction and delay over President Obama’s nominees, Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) triggered the so-called “nuclear option” by proposing a motion to reconsider the nomination of Patricia Millet, one of the judicial nominees whom Republicans recently blocked by a filibuster, to serve on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.

The Senate voted 57-40, with three abstentions, to reconsider Millett’s nomination. Several procedural votes followed. The Senate Parliamentarian, speaking through Sen. Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.), the chamber’s president pro temp, then ruled that 60 votes are needed to cut off a filibuster and move to a final confirmation vote. Reid appealed that ruling, asking senators to decide whether it should stand.

Senators began voting about 12:15 p.m. The final vote was 52 in favor of changing the rule, 48 against.

The Democratic victory paves the way for the rapid confirmation of Millett and two other nominee to the D.C. appeals court. All have recently been stymied by GOP filibusters, amid Republican assertions that the critical appellate court simply did not need any more judges.

But the impact of the move is be more far-reaching. The means for executing this rules change – a simple-majority vote, rather than the long-standing two-thirds majority required to change the chamber’s standing rules – is more controversial than the actual move itself.

Many Senate majorities have thought about using this technical maneuver to get around centuries of parliamentary precedent, but none has done so in a unilateral move on a major change of rules or precedents. This simple-majority vote has been executed in the past to change relatively minor precedents involving how to handle amendments; for example, one such change short-circuited the number of filibusters that the minority party could deploy on nominations.

Reid has rattled his saber on the filibuster rules at least three other times in the past three years, yielding each time to a bipartisan compromise brokered by the chamber’s elder statesmen.

But no deal emerged by the time debate started Thursday morning. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), the main negotiator who brokered recent deals to avert such a showdown, as well as one in 2005, met with Reid on Wednesday, but neither side reported progress.

The main protagonists for the rules change have been junior Democrats elected in the last six or seven years, who have alleged that Republicans have used the arcane filibuster rules to create a procedural logjam that has left the Senate deadlocked. Upon arriving in 2009, Sen. Tom Udall (D-N.M.) said, he found that “the Senate was a graveyard for good ideas.”

As he recounted in a speech this week, Udall said, “I am sorry to say that little has changed. The digging continues.”

As envisioned earlier this week, Democrats would issue a new rule that would still allow for 60-vote-threshold filibusters on legislation and nominees to the Supreme Court.

Republicans, weary from the third rules fight this year, seemed to have adopted a resigned indifference to this latest threat, as opposed to the heated rhetoric in mid-July when the issue last flared up. Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa), the ranking Republican on the Judiciary Committee, mocked the idea that the Democrats would leave in place the filibuster rule for Supreme Court nominations, in the event that a GOP nominee wins the White House in 2016.

He made clear that if that occurred, and the GOP reclaimed the Senate majority, the Republicans would then alter the rules so that Democrats could not filibuster a Republican pick for the Supreme Court. “If [Reid] changes the rules for some judicial nominees, he is effectively changing them for all judicial nominees, including the Supreme Court,” Grassley said Wednesday.

Reid’s move is a reversal of his position in 2005, when he was minority leader and fought the GOP majority’s bid to change rules on a party-line vote. A bipartisan, rump caucus led by McCain defused that effort.

At the time, Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) was the No. 2 GOP leader and helped push the effort to eliminate filibusters on the George W. Bush White House’s judicial selections. Eight years later, McConnell, now the minority leader, has grown publicly furious over Reid’s threats to use the same maneuver.

Democrats contend that this GOP minority, with a handful of senators elected as tea party heroes, has overrun McConnell’s institutional inclinations and served as a procedural roadblock on most rudimentary things. According to the Congressional Research Service, from 1967 through 2012, majority leaders had to file motions to try to break a filibuster of a judicial nominee 67 times – and 31 of those, more than 46 percent – occurred in the last five years of an Obama White House and Democratic majority.

Republicans contend that their aggressive posture is merely a natural growth from a decades-long war over the federal judiciary, noting that what prompted the 2005 rules showdown were at least 10 filibusters of GOP judicial nominees. To date, only a handful of Obama’s judicial selections have gone to a vote and been filibustered by the minority.

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Related video:

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FLASHBACK – 2005


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Feds To Sell GM Shares By Year’s End… And Screw Taxpayers Out Of $10 Billion

The Government’s Getting Out Of GM, But It’ll Cost Taxpayers – ChicoER

The U.S. government Thursday said it plans to sell the last of its stake in General Motors by the end of the year, ending a financial crisis era bailout that ultimately couldn’t help save Detroit from bankruptcy.

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The Treasury Department still owns GM shares equal to less than 2 percent of the company, but said in a statement that it intends to sell them by the end of the year.

The government received 912 million shares in exchange for a $49.5 billion bailout during the financial crisis in 2008 and 2009. So far it has recovered $38.4 billion of the money, but selling the remaining shares at Wednesday’s $37.69 closing price gets the government $1.17 billion, leaving taxpayers short by roughly $10 billion.

GM shares would need to rise to $95.51 each, more than double Thursday’s price , for taxpayers to break even on the bailout.

The government says the bailout was needed five years ago to save the American auto industry and more than a million jobs. It never expected to get all of the money back.

“Had we not acted to support the automotive industry, the cost to the country would have been substantial – in terms of lost jobs, lost tax revenue, reduced economic production and other consequences,” Deputy Assistant Treasury Secretary Tim Bowler said in the statement.

Taxpayers’ initially got a 61 percent stake in GM in exchange for the bailout. Treasury gradually has sold off its stake since a November 2010 initial public offering.

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Retired General Issues National Call To Action To Force Obama’s Resignation

U.S. General: Let’s Make Obama Resign – WorldNetDaily

A retired Army general is calling for the “forced resignations” of President Obama, other administration officials and the leadership of Congress for the direction they’re taking the nation, his list of grievances including the systematic political purge of hundreds of senior military officers in the U.S. military.

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Retired Maj. Gen. Paul E. Vallely told WND he is calling for nationwide rallies and protests to demand the resignations and added that a peaceful “civil uprising is still not out of question.”

In his capacity as chairman of the organization Stand Up America, Vallely issued what he termed a “National Call to Action” to force the resignations of Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.

Vallely, formerly the deputy commanding general of Pacific Command, said the current crop of leaders must be forced to resign by the “demand resignation” process, which he explained requires massive grass-roots protests and social networking. As an example, he cited the public and media pressure that led to the resignation of President Richard Nixon.

Impeachment, Vallely said, is not a viable option because of “partisan politics.”

“Our federal government continues down the path of destroying America,” he said. “Americans must now stand up and put America back on the right track.”

In issuing his national call to action, Vallely said the federal government has not subsided in “sucking the oxygen” out of America.

“And we call to action all branches of government to do your constitutional duties and not be led astray in the cultural and moral decay of America. We have witnessed far too many lies,” he said, as well as “deception and the corruption of the republic.”

Vallely reminds Americans that the Declaration of Independence itself states that whenever “any Form of Government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem more likely to affect their Safety and Happiness.”

Vallely said the nation he long defended is self-destructing “before our very eyes,” because of “our inept and incompetent leadership in Washington.”

“The battle is on,” he added, “and we shall not retreat.”

Vallely, who has also served as a Fox News military analyst, claimed the Obama administration and leadership of Congress have been leading the nation down a road of “progressive socialism.”

The retired general said the U.S. faces a battle that is unknown to generations of Americans, and that the fate of the nation is “now in our hands” to enforce the Constitution and “severely limit the federal government and its out-of-control spending.”

He said conditions today are approaching those of the time of the inaugural address of President Abraham Lincoln, who said at the time that people have a “right to rise up and shake off the existing government and form a new one.”

“Shake off,” said Vallely, “means replacing government leaders.” He argued America today bears “many similarities to the fall of Rome.” America, he added, is not immune to collapse or even revolution, which he notes “has happened many times in history… External and internal threats could precipitate this as well as any financial collapse.”

Vallely added that “politics as usual will not be effective or sufficient enough to turn the country around.”

“We are in a war for America,” he told WND, adding that Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and Dr. Ben Carson, the noted brain surgeon and author of “America the Beautiful” and other bestselling books have made similar observations.

Americans have had enough, he said, and the Obama White House and identifiable members of Congress “must now depart from a progressive socialist and treasonous death march and bankrupting the country beyond expectations.”

“A civil uprising is still not out of the question as ‘pain’ grips the country more each day,” Vallely said, adding that there is time to change the country in a peaceful way.

“This means raising your voice now to your neighbors, family, co-workers and friends,” he said. “Be the captains of your souls. I pray for another George Washington to appear within the year and lead us.”

One of the issues that alarms Vallely is the high number of senior officers in the U.S. military who have been fired under the Obama administration, a toll estimated at one officer per week. Indeed, Vallely has been very outspoken to what he calls a “purge” of the U.S. military by the Obama administration – with a stunning nine generals and flag officers relieved of duty this year alone.

WND has been reporting on the surge of firings, suspensions and dismissals, for which Vallely has assigned a good portion of the blame to Obama’s close adviser, Valerie Jarrett. Rampant “political correctness” due to her influence, Vallely tells WND, is now permeating the military and negatively affecting everyone from top generals to the ranks of the enlisted.

According to Vallely, Obama is “intentionally weakening and gutting our military, Pentagon and reducing the U.S. as a superpower, and anyone in the ranks who disagrees or speaks out is being purged.”

Vallely equated the current treatment of U.S. senior military officers watching over what is said and done among mid-level officers and enlisted ranks to that of the “political commissars from the Communist era.”

He also told WND that the White House won’t investigate its own officials, but finds it easy to fire military commanders “who have given their lives for their country.”

“Obama will not purge a civilian or political appointee because they have bought into Obama’s ideology,” Vallely said. “The White House protects their own. That’s why they stalled on the investigation into Fast and Furious, Benghazi and Obamacare. He’s 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.”

He’s far from alone in his concerns about the military purge, as J.D. Gordon, a retired Navy commander and a former Pentagon spokesman in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, says the Obama administration is rushing to unload senior officers whom he believes have become “political pawns” dismissed for questionable reasons.

Retired Army Maj. Gen. Patrick Brady, a recipient of the U.S. military’s highest decoration, the Medal of Honor, similarly has told WND that 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.”

This was a reference to the recent firing of a number of generals to mask “Obama’s serial scandals, all prefaced by lies – Fast and Furious, Benghazi, NSA, IRS,” among others, said Brady, former president of the Congressional Medal of Honor Society.

Retired Army Lt. Gen. William G. “Jerry” Boykin, who was a founding member of Delta Force and later deputy undersecretary of defense for intelligence under President George W. Bush, tells WND it is worrying that four-star generals are being retired at the rate that has occurred under Obama.

“Over the past three years, it is unprecedented for the number of four-star generals to be relieved of duty, and not necessarily relieved for cause,” Boykin said. “I believe there is a purging of the military. The problem is worse than we have ever seen.”

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*VIDEO* Obamacare Then, Affordable Care Act Now


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Another Broken Promise: Obama Planning To Close ICBM Squadron

Despite Promises, Obama Planning To Close ICBM Squadron – Washington Free Beacon

The Obama administration has drafted a plan to shutter an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) squadron three years after it assured hesitant lawmakers that the New START U.S.-Russia arms reduction treaty would not lead to deep cuts in the ICBM force.

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A new timeline prepared by the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) and obtained by the Washington Free Beacon maps out a strategy to eliminate an ICBM squadron – and destroy its missile silos – by Dec. 5, 2017. An environmental assessment would begin next month.

The document says the reductions are necessary to “meet the New START Treaty compliance date by closing an ICBM squadron and eliminating the associated Launch Facilities.”

Several Democrats on the Senate ICBM coalition voted for New START, vowing that the treaty would maintain a strong ICBM force. Sens. Max Baucus (D.) and Jon Tester (D.), both from Montana, the home of many ICBMs, issued a press release in 2010 backing New START and saying that the missiles would “continue to play a key role in U.S. national security for decades to come.”

“There was some talk around this town about making deep reductions to the ICBM force,” Baucus said in the press release. “We made it clear to the president that was unacceptable, and fought hard to make sure the START Treaty recognized the critical role that ICBMs play in U.S. national security.”

Baucus and Tester did not respond to requests for comment.

According to the OSD timeline, the military would begin removing ICBM missiles from their silos next October, after the environmental assessment is complete. The silo elimination would begin in May 2016 and is estimated to take 19 months.

Analysts say they are particularly troubled by the proposed destruction of the missile silos, a likely permanent move that is not required by New START. They say the silos would be difficult to rebuild if the military needs to bolster its ICBM force in the future.

“If you destroy the silos, it would be much harder to rebuild them […] and very politically difficult,” said Michaela Dodge, a defense analyst at the Heritage Foundation.

Dodge said the New START requirements could be met simply by removing the ICBMs and maintaining the empty silos in reserve status.

The administration’s plan would also shrink the ICBM force below the mandated numbers. The Air Force previously said it planned to reduce its number of ICBMs from 450 to a baseline of 420 under New START.

Shutting down a squadron would eliminate 50 ICBMs, 66 percent more than the prior Air Force proposal.

Republican members of the Senate ICBM coalition said they were alarmed by the proposal.

“America’s nuclear deterrent helps keep Americans safe and our country free,” Sen. John Barrasso (R., Wyo.) told the Free Beacon. “As countries that are not our friends grow closer to modernizing their nuclear weapons programs, it would be irresponsible for us to weaken our own program.”

“If the president is serious about protecting Americans and our allies, he should immediately drop any plans for his Administration to further reduce our ICBMs,” he said.

Sen. Mike Enzi’s (R., Wyo.) office said he “opposes efforts that would impose arbitrary and unilateral reductions in our nuclear force. He believes this would only increase threats to our national security and have a very visible effect on our deterrence strategy. A strong ICBM force is a critical part of protecting our nation. That’s why he opposed the New START Treaty and other attempts to hamstring the role Wyoming plays in our nuclear deterrent.”

The ICBM coalition introduced an amendment on Friday that would block the administration from destroying emptied ICBM silos.

Defense experts say the proposed eliminations would be detrimental to U.S. national security.

“We see that Russia is modernizing and building up its nuclear weapons program; we don’t have that good of an understanding of how many weapons China has; we had recently a North Korea nuclear weapons test,” Dodge said. “So international trends are against us and we are sending the wrong signal by continuing reduction despite these international developments.”

John Noonan, spokesman for House Armed Services Committee Republicans, said there does not appear to be any strategic justification for the proposed reductions, adding that the United States has a responsibility to maintain a large and disperse ICBM force that will deter large-scale enemy attacks.

“Nuclear deterrence is about balance,” he said “This is something that would put the deterrence equation out of balance.”

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Thanks Barack… Disability Trust Fund Runs Record 5 Straight Years Of Deficits

Under Obama: Disability Trust Fund Runs Record 5 Straight Yrs Of Deficits – CNS

In the fourteen fiscal years that preceded President Barack Obama’s inauguration in 2009, the tax receipts coming into the federal government’s Disability Insurance Trust Fund exceeded the benefits paid out, and the trust fund ran a surplus.

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In each of the five fiscal years Obama has served as president, the trust fund has run a deficit as the number of people receiving disability benefits has surged. The Disability Insurance Trust Fund has never before run five straight years of deficits.

In fiscal 2013, which ended on Sept. 30, the Disability Insurance Trust Fund ran a record deficit of $31.494 billion, according to newly released data from the Social Security Administration. That followed deficits of $8.462 billion in fiscal 2009, $20,831 billion in fiscal 2010, $25.264 billion in fiscal 2011, and $29.701 billion in fiscal 2012.

From fiscal 1995 through fiscal 2008, the Disability Insurance Trust Fund ran surpluses, as receipts from the disability insurance taxes paid by people who were working exceeded the value of the benefits paid to those claiming disability.

Congress created the federal disability insurance program by adding an amendment to the Social Security Act in 1956. The government paid the first disability benefits in fiscal 1957.

That year, the Social Security and disability programs were funded by payroll taxes that equaled a combined 5.625 percent of a person’s earnings. If someone was employed by someone else, this included a 2.0 percent tax for Social Security that was withheld from a person’s paycheck, an 0.250 percent tax for disability that was also withheld from the paycheck, a 3.0 percent tax for Social Security that was paid by the employer, and an 0.375 percent tax for disability that was paid by the employer.

A self-employed person paid the full 5.625 percent directly from his or her earnings.

Over the years, the payroll taxes for Social Security and disability have more than doubled to 12.4 percent. Self-employed individuals pay the entire 12.4 percent directly. People employed by someone else see 5.3 percent withheld from their paycheck for Social Security and 0.9 percent withheld for disability. Employers pay the other 6.2 percent on the worker’s behalf.

In 1957, the Disability Insurance Trust Fund took in $709 million and paid out only $59 million in benefits – or 8.3 percent of total revenues. A surplus of approximately $649 million was deposited in to the Trust Fund.

In reality, that means the government took that “surplus” and used it to pay for other government expenses, giving the Trust Fund an IOU to pay the money back later.

In the 57 fiscal years that the federal disability program has operated, it has run deficits in only 11 years – with five of those years coming under Obama. Prior to the last five fiscal years, the longest run of deficits in the Disability Insurance Trust Fund was the four-year span from fiscal 1962 trough fiscal 1965, when John F. Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson were president.

The trust fund also ran three straight years of deficits from fiscal 1975 through fiscal 1977, when Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter were president.

When President Obama took office in January 2009 – which was the fourth month of fiscal 2009–there were 7,442,377 workers on disability, according to the Social Security Administration. As of October 2013, there was a record 8,936,932. That means the number of people on disability has increased by 1,494,555 while Obama has been in office – a jump of 20 percent.

In addition to the 8,936,932 workers collecting disability in October, there were also 157,676 spouses of disabled workers who collected additional benefits, and 1,871,127 children of disabled workers who collected benefits.

All told, 10,965,735 people collected federal disability benefits in October.

At the end of fiscal 2008, there was a net balance of $216.239 billion in the Disability Insurance Trust Fund – meaning the Treasury owed $216.239 billion in IOUs to the trust fund for surplus disability insurance tax receipts it had taken in previous years and used for other government expenses.

At the end of fiscal 2013, the net balance in the Disability Insurance Trust Fund had dropped to $100.486 – a decline of $115.753 billion.

That $115.753 billion, the cumulative five year deficit of the disability insurance program, equals the amount of money the Treasury had to borrow from other sources to pay disability benefits during that time.

From the last day of January 2009 through the last day of September 2013, the total debt of the federal government climbed from $10,632,005,246,736.97 to $16,738,183,526,697.32—an increase of $6,106,178,279,960.35.

That equaled approximately $53,091 in additional debt for each of the 115,013,000 households that the Census Bureau now estimates there are in the United States.

Since the last day of September, the federal government’s total debt has continued to increase, hitting $17,200,725,370,597.56 as of Tuesday—or approximately $149,555 per household.

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Nonprofit Obamacare Enrollment Group Caught On Video Conspiring To Engage In Political Activity

O’Keefe Video Captures Nonprofit Obamacare Enrollment Group Conspiring To Engage In Political Activity – Daily Caller

An official with the nonprofit Obamacare enrollment group Enroll America conspired to give people’s personal information to what he thought was a political action committee, according to James O’Keefe’s latest video, provided to The Daily Caller.

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Enroll America, which Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius admitted to fundraising for, is a “nonpartisan” 501(c)(3) nonprofit that critics accuse of working as an unofficial Obamacare navigator across the country.

Enroll America’s Texas state communications lead Christopher Tarango conspired to provide a list of potential Obamacare enrollees, obtained through the “commit cards” that the group hands out door to door to help them pick insurance plans, to an O’Keefe investigator posing as the representative of a political action committee.

Tarango also admitted that someone tried to export a list from the nonprofit pro-Obama advocacy group Organizing for Action [OFA] to a political campaign, but that the attempted leaker was caught.

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“I still don’t think we can get a list from Enroll America because of the 501(c)(3) status. How do you suppose we get around that?,” Tarango told the investigator from O’Keefe’s group Project Veritas, who tried to purchase the list from Tarango on November 8.

“Okay, I will talk to one person that I think might be open to having this conversation behind closed doors and I will get back to you on that,” Tarango said.

“The answer is this guy has access to this list. Is he willing to play ball? That’s another conversation…I don’t know if he’s willing to play ball. But I’m willing to have that conversation with him. Yes,” Tarango said.

“And the reason that I know this is because last year in North Texas, in your neck of the woods, someone did that. Someone exported a list, an OFA list so they could then give it to a political campaign, a local political campaign, and… they caught him doing this immediately. So I don’t know what mechanism is in place for folks to find out that this list was exported or whatever. But there are those safeguards in place,” Tarango said.

Tarango made clear that “the person [he] is referring to” is “like me in a leadership position, and so he could export the list if he wanted to.”

“I know him well enough to feel like if we had a few beers that this would not be the craziest conversation that he’s ever heard. Is he my boy? The answer is no but I think we can speak the same language,” Tarango said.

“So in the meanwhile what I’ll do is have that conversation with this individual. I will think a little bit further about the idea that I had with the progressive Project and just, you know, ask some questions out there and I’ll also talk to some of my other friends within the political infrastructure here in Texas and ask them… And have a conversation with them about how we can get proven immediately, uh, proven, proven voter contact lists,” Tarango said.

In an earlier happy hour conversation also captured by Project Veritas, Tarango discussed his partisan political activity.

I’m doing Enroll America right now but I’m also, I shouldn’t be saying this, but I’m also helping out with [House District 50 race]. So that’s as partisan as it gets,” Tarango said, noting that “we’re all Obama people” in the nonprofit groups Enroll America, Battleground Texas, and Organizing for Action.

Enroll America did not immediately return a request for comment.

Sebelius’ relationship with Enroll America is the subject of a pending government ethics audit.

Sebelius admitted in testimony before a House ethics panel in June that she personally asked the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and H&R Block to contribute to Enroll America. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation owns more than $1 billion across 13 million shares of stock in Johnson & Johnson, which is regulated by HHS.

The HHS inspector general even subpoenaed Johnson and Johnson in August for information about its promotional efforts for a pain medication.

Sebelius also admitted that she called the health insurers Kaiser Permanente, Ascension Health, and Johnson and Johnson – all of which are regulated by HHS – to discuss Enroll America, but without soliciting donations in those calls. Sebelius bestowed a 2012 award on Kaiser Permanente Colorado, vowing that Kaiser “will be serving as a role model for the rest of the country.”

The Government Accountability Office’s (GAO) open audit of Sebelius’ communications on behalf of Enroll America is still pending, though a GAO spokesman declined to provide details to The Daily Caller about the status of the audit.

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*VIDEO* 50 To 100 Million Health Insurance Policies To Be Cancelled By 2014 Elections


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House Intelligence Subcommittee Chairman: Benghazi Personnel Were Told ‘You’re On Your Own’ (Video)

Benghazi Staffers Told: ‘You Are On Your Own’ – WorldNetDaily

A congressman has revealed a new detail about the 2012 Benghazi attack, disclosing that staff members at the besieged U.S. special mission were told in a directive, “You are on your own.”

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In an interview with CNN yesterday, Rep. Lynn Westmoreland, R-Ga., chairman of the House Intelligence Subcommittee, charged the State Department, then run by Hillary Clinton, was culpable in the attack and ensuing cover-up.

While CNN.com focused on a different aspect of Westmoreland’s interview, running the headline “GOP Rep: Benghazi Not A ‘Complete Cover-Up,’” other statements made in the nine-minute sit-down may be more significant.

Westmoreland’s committee recently questioned CIA agents and contractors who were on the ground during the attack.

The lawmaker told CNN his committee learned a directive was issued Aug. 11 – one month before the attack – telling Benghazi staff they were on their own.

“And so we are looking into that directive to find out exactly who put that out,” he stated.

Asked whether he thought the government did its job to protect the facility, Westmoreland replied, “Absolutely not.”

He pointed specifically to the State Department.

“I think this will come back to the State Department,” he said.

Later in the interview, he again pointed to Clinton’s State Department for making what he said were claims contradicted by the intelligence community.

“You had the State Department trying to tell one story, and you had the security – the intelligence community – that may have been trying to sell another story,” he said.

Westmoreland said the Benghazi compound “itself is not set up for protection.”

He stated that when his committee interviewed the people who were on the ground, “they said they were really surprised that the lack of security at the mission facility.”

“They also testified that the people at the facility had been wanting help, requesting help, requesting additional security,” he said.

Westmoreland said “they just couldn’t believe that those guys were over there as unprepared and unequipped as they were.”

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30 To 40 Percent Of Healthcare.gov Not Yet Built, Including Payment Infrastructure (Video)

30 To 40 Percent Of Obamacare Tech Not Built – Daily Caller

One of Obamacare’s top IT officials admitted Tuesday that 30 to 40 percent of its infrastructure hasn’t even been built yet – including the payment systems that actually get money to the insurers.

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Henry Chao, the deputy chief information officer of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and one of the highest tech officers in charge of Obamacare’s implementation, revealed this during congressional testimony.

Republican Colorado Rep. Cory Gardner repeatedly asked Chao just how much work was left to do on the federal exchange. While Chao initially said 60 to 70 percent of HealthCare.gov remained undone, after Gardner’s dogged questioning, Chao concluded that 30 to 40 percent of the IT systems are yet to be built.

Chao maintained that as the remainder of the IT systems are completed, they will be tested “in the same exact manner we tested everything else,” potentially raising questions after widespread malfunctions.

One pretty important step remains incomplete.

“We still have to build the payment systems to make payments in January,” Chao told the House Energy and Commerce Committee. “There’s the back office systems, the accounting systems, the payment systems… They still need to be done.”

Avik Roy, a Manhattan Institute health policy expert, raised questions about what this means for Obamacare enrollment. Because insurance enrollments are typically not counted until the insurer has received a first premium payment, technically none of the almost 27,000 enrollees the Obama administration claimed can be fully enrolled until the payment systems are complete.

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Five Reasons The IRS Scandal Won’t Go Away (Jay Sekulow)

Five Reasons The IRS Scandal Won’t Go Away – Jay Sekulow

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Let’s be honest. It’s hard to concentrate on more than one scandal at a time, and the ObamaCare meltdown could be the most consequential government policy failure in modern American history.

But let’s not forget another scandal, one that could well be one of the most consequential acts of sheer governmental malice in modern history – the IRS’s systematic targeting of conservative groups, targeting that had a profound impact on the conservative grassroots during the 2012 election.

And that scandal is not going away. Here are five reasons why:

First, it’s still ongoing. At the ACLJ, we’ve filed a lawsuit against the IRS on behalf of 41 conservative groups in 22 states. While the IRS targeted all of these groups – delaying some of their tax-exempt applications three years or more – a number of them still haven’t received IRS approval. Even now. Even after the IRS apologized for its misconduct.

Apology not accepted.

Second, with every new revelation, it keeps getting worse. In May, we were told that IRS misconduct applied only low-level employees in one office in Ohio.

Now we know the wrongdoing goes to the highest levels of the IRS, it also crosses agency lines (into the Federal Election Commission) and involves far greater misconduct than initially disclosed. The IRS not only targeted groups for unlawful review, it also illegally disclosed donor information to friendly, liberal media, and has engaged in a pattern of retaliatory audits – and that’s the tip of the targeting iceberg.

Third, IRS scandals are now widespread. The targeting scandal has placed the IRS under unprecedented scrutiny, and – quite frankly – the IRS is showing that it’s not only partisan, it’s corrupt, incompetent, and mean-spirited.

Corrupt? The IRS wastes absurd amounts of taxpayer money on extravagant conferences and other perks for its employees.

Incompetent? According to an internal audit, in the past decade, the IRS has paid out as much as $132 billion in “bogus claims” under the Earned Income Tax Credit.

Mean-spirited? Did you know that for a two-year span the IRS audited almost 70 percent of adoptive families? The normal audit rate for middle-class families is closer to one percent.

Fourth, scandal goes straight to the top. Last month, I wrote a column called “Obama’s fingerprints all over IRS Tea Party scandal” that quickly went viral. In this piece I noted that President Obama’s involvement has been hiding in plain sight, as he publicly and repeatedly condemned citizens’ groups like the targeted Tea Party groups and raised the very questions the IRS later unconstitutionally investigated.

Fifth, the IRS targeting scandal is directly relevant to the mother of all policy disasters, ObamaCare. With the IRS set to function as ObamaCare’s enforcement arm, every story of corruption, incompetence, and malice casts doubt on the IRS’s ability faithfully and lawfully discharge its responsibilities within our health care system.

At this point, the IRS and ObamaCare scandals are now dependent and self-reinforcing. Scandal in one area undermines confidence in the other, and the Administration is now in the position of explaining to the American people not only why it can be entrusted with directly managing one-sixth of the American economy when they can’t even build a functioning website, but also why the government’s most corrupt agency should enforce ObamaCare mandates.

Some commentators have called the disastrous ObamaCare rollout President Obama’s “Hurricane Katrina moment” – the moment when perceived government incompetence bursts out on the national stage in a way that no American can ignore.

But in this case, the Administration’s “Katrina moment” is amplified by its Nixon characteristics – the malicious use of government against political enemies. And just as Americans cannot and will not ignore the Administration’s destructive incompetence in the health care arena, they will not ignore the Administration’s malicious actions against their conservative fellow citizens.

The IRS scandal is not going away. It’s too important – too consequential – to the health of our Republic. Instead, the national response to the scandal must be clear and unequivocal, sending a message to this (and future) presidential administrations:

The government belongs to the people, not the President, and it must never be turned against the people to serve the President’s (or any) political agenda.

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