Category: Government

July 17th, 2017 by Staff Writer

Residents in California, Pennsylvania, a small borough of the Pittsburgh Metropolitan Area, have said they are outraged after the federal government moved 40 Romanian ‘gypsies’ into the town of 7,000 as part of the government’s Alternative to Detention program.

On Thursday, more than 150 residents attended a community meeting about the immigrants, who residents say have failed to assimilate to American customs and norms. The residents cited trash in yards, disruptions in town markets, children and men defecating in public streets, and immigrants cutting off the heads of chickens in public areas, according to a report by WTAE-TV. None of the immigrants, who are undocumented, have been charged with any other serious criminal offenses.

“We’re a very diverse town, we’re very open, but they aren’t assimilating to our laws,” said Pam Duricic, a resident of California, according to a report by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “We are understanding that these are immigrants. But this is not the same scenario as our grandparents. They didn’t come here to raise havoc.”

The Romanian immigrants ended up in California borough as part of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Alternative to Detention program, which allows immigrants to live in U.S. communities instead of being detained while they await a final decision about their immigration status.

The Romanian immigrants have said they came to America to escape persecution. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports they belong to a group called Roma, minorities in Romania that are distinct from most of the Romanian population. The 40 Romanian immigrants have self-described themselves as “gypsies.”

It’s unclear why they ended up in California borough, rather than in some other neighboring town or in nearby Pittsburgh, but the Post-Gazette reports one of the Romanians said at the town meeting they came to California borough because of its affordability and friendly reputation.

At the town meeting, town officials and the police chief told residents they had received no warning from the federal government about the immigrants’ arrival.

About 600 residents have signed a petition demanding the gypsies change their living habits.

According to the American Civil Liberties Union, the Alternatives to Immigration Detention program was implemented in part to save taxpayer money. About $2 billion is spent every year for immigration detention. The ACLU also claims the AID program is “more humane” because the immigrants involved in the program would otherwise be detained only to ensure that they show up for their hearings, not because they’ve committed crimes.

Posted in Government, Immigration, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Pennsylvania, Pittsburgh

July 15th, 2017 by Staff Writer

A bill signed into law by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott will now allow adult Texans to carry around long-bladed weapons, according to KPRC-TV.

Abbott signed House Bill 1935 in June, allowing Texans to carry around swords, spears, bowie knives, or anything you may have seen in “Game of Thrones.”

Currently, the law prohibits state residents from carrying around anything larger than 5.5 inches. The law will go into effect on Sept. 1, allowing anyone 18 years of age or older to carry their weapon of choice around with them.

Despite the change, carrying weapons longer than 5.5 inches will still be prohibited in certain places. Schools, prisons, hospitals, amusement parks, churches, sporting events, and bars will remain sword-free by law.

“House Bill 1935 provides a common sense solution by prohibiting any knife with a blade over 5 1/2 inches in certain location restricted areas,” Republican Rep. John Frullo, author of the bill, told CNN.

The legislation was stalled in May after a stabbing at the University of Texas campus in Austin left one dead and three injured. Frullo postponed debate for the bill until the following week, but stood by his bill, according to Spectrum News.

“It’s not making criminals out of people who have no intention of creating some type of criminal act,” Frullo said.

The bill was supported by knife rights activist group, Knife Rights, who celebrated the bill’s signing on their site.

“Now in 2017, we have removed all of the ‘illegal knives’ in Texas law, finally allowing Texans the right to carry a Bowie knife. But we are not yet finished. We will be back in two years to see about striking those last remaining minor knife restrictions in Texas,” wrote Knife Rights.

“We won’t stop until Texas is a free as everyone thinks Texas is,” the group added.

Posted in Government, Greg Abbott, knives, Swords, Texas, texas law, weapons

July 10th, 2017 by Staff Writer

When Tony, 68, and Somnuek Thangsongcharoen, 72, moved to Texas from Thailand, they never imagined the small mom-and-pop wedding dress store they started in 1983 would end like this.

After more than 30 years in business, Mii’s Bridal and Tuxedo, located in Garland, Texas, was shut down by the IRS, which alleged the Thangsongcharoens owed unpaid taxes totaling $31,400 for the 2005, 2008 and 2010 tax years, according to a Saturday report by the Dallas Morning News.

The Thangsongcharoens claim they didn’t owe the IRS any money and they haven’t been convicted of a crime, but that didn’t stop 20 armed IRS agents from shutting the business down in March 2015 and immediately seizing 1,600 designer gowns. The IRS demanded the Thangsongcharoens pay them $10,000 to stop the sale of the dresses, and when the couple refused to pay, the IRS agents, within two hours, sold the gowns and numerous other items in the store at an auction.

The Thangsongcharoens’ allege in a lawsuit filed in March 2017 in a federal district court in Dallas the dresses were worth $615,000. The IRS sold the entire store’s contents, including the gowns, for roughly $17,000, with the dresses’ value listed at $6,000 (which amounts to $3.75 per gown).

Ordinarily, the IRS is required to wait 10 days before selling seized goods, but in this case, the agents evoked a legal provision allowing the IRS to sell goods immediately because they could soon “perish” or become significantly less valuable before the 10-day window closes, reported the Dallas Morning News. Common sense suggests the dresses didn’t meet those criteria.

In the Thangsongcharoens’ $1.8 million lawsuit, they also accused the IRS agents of seizing items they shouldn’t have taken, including a hat belonging to a war veteran that was given to the Thangsongcharoens so they could make minor alterations. The couple also said the IRS agents brought children with them to watch the seizure. The kids allegedly sat on crates while eating pizza as the Thangsongcharoens’ business was dismantled piece by piece.

The IRS’ seizure and sale of the property “wiped out” virtually everything the Thangsongcharoens’ had, leaving them “destitute,” according to the elderly couple’s lawsuit.

“[E]verything that they had built since immigrating to the United States and beginning their business in 1983 wiped out before their eyes,” the lawsuit claims.

The Dallas Morning News reported the IRS says the Thangsongcharoens attempted to evade federal requirements by making multiple cash deposits under the $10,000 reporting limit, but the couple was never formally charged with breaking the law.

Critics of the IRS have said agents have acted carelessly in how they’ve handled these and other similar situations, often relying on obscure provisions of federal law to unjustly destroy the lives of people who haven’t been found guilty by a court.

In April, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration issued a report that revealed from 2012 to 2014, the IRS seized more than $17 million from people because they engaged in “suspicious” bank depositing patterns.

According to the report, “It appears that the pattern of transactions in many of these cases was compelling and may indicate tax avoidance, which is discussed further below. However, tax violations associated with the structuring of banking transactions were established by [the Criminal Investigations unit] in only 21 of the 252 [8.3 percent] legal sources cases. In the remaining 231 legal source cases, there was no evidence that the property owner structured funds to hide income from illegal activity (other than structuring) or to underreport income on their tax return. Current law does not require that the funds have an illegal source.”

In 2015, the Institute for Justice, an organization that has actively fought against lenient IRS seizure policies, published a study showing from 2005 to 2012, the IRS took from people more than $43 million in 600 cases in which the people whose assets had been taken had not been suspected of any criminal activity except for having made deposits slightly below the $10,000 threshold.

In October 2014, the IRS announced it would no longer “pursue the seizure and forfeiture of funds related to legal source structuring,” but as the Thangsongcharoens’ case shows, it remains a strong factor in other seizure cases.

Posted in Government, IRS, Taxes

July 8th, 2017 by Staff Writer

Appearing on MSNBC, Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA.) blasted President Trump on Friday night after his meeting at the G20 summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“We’re getting played by our president and certainly we’re getting played by Putin,” Waters said during the interview. “I don’t like the idea that our president again would go into a room without any note-takers, without any staff, without others who should be in the room who really understand foreign policy … and come out of it saying how honored he is to meet with [Putin] and how, in fact, they’re going to start working together.”

She continued, “This is all about lifting those sanctions.”

The president met with Putin on Friday for a meeting that was scheduled to last 30 minutes, but according to reports, went more than an hour and a half over schedule.

Besides Trump, those in the room included U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Putin, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and translators.

At the meeting’s conclusion, both U.S. and Russian officials shared stories of what went on behind the closed doors.

Tillerson claimed that Trump continually pressed Putin about alleged Russian interference in the 2016 election, though Putin vehemently denied any involvement whatsoever.

Lavrov, however, claimed that once Putin told Trump that there was no Russian interference, Trump simply “accepted” Putin’s denial and moved on.

“U.S. President Trump said that he heard firm assertions from Russian President Putin that it is not true and that Russian authorities have not meddled in the elections. [Trump] said that he accepts these assertions,” Lavrov said. “That’s it.”

See the Waters’ in the video below.

Maxine Waters to @MSNBC: “I think we’re getting played. We’re getting played by our president and certainly we’re getting played by Putin.” pic.twitter.com/arpufgfTNu

— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) July 8, 2017

Posted in 2017 G20, Congresswoman Maxine Waters, Government, Maxine Waters, President Donald Trump, Rep. Maxine Waters, Videos, Vladimir Putin

July 7th, 2017 by Staff Writer

Rep. Steve Scalise’s (R-La) condition has deteriorated once more after the Republican congressman underwent a surgery on Thursday to fight a serious infection as a result of the June GOP congressional baseball shooting which left him critically injured.

A statement from MedStar Health broke the news and revealed that Scalise had been readmitted to the ICU at MedStar Hospital Center on Wednesday:

“Congressman Steve Scalise has been readmitted to the Intensive Care Unit at MedStar Washington Hospital Center due to new concerns for infection. His condition is listed as serious. We will provide another update tomorrow, July 6.”

Scalise’s procedure was “tolerated well,” MedStar updated on Thursday night, and added, “Congressman Steve Scalise underwent surgery for the management of infection … He remains in serious condition. We will provide updates as appropriate.”

Scalise was initially moved out of the Intensive Care Unit on Jun. 23.

The Louisiana Republican has been undergoing treatment at a Washington, D.C., hospital since Jun. 14, when a gunman opened fire on a GOP practice for the congressional baseball game.

Story developing …

Who is Representative Steve Scalise? Steve Scalise is the Republican representative for Louisianas 1st District Scalise has served as the House Majority Whip since August 1st 2014 Scalise serves on the Committee on Energy & Commerce  In 2011, Scalise co-sponsored the Stop Online Piracy Act to combat online copyright infringement In 2013, Scalise sponsored the FCC Consolidate Reporting Act

Posted in attacks, baseball shooting, congressional shooting, Congressman Steve Scalise, Government, Steve Scalise

July 5th, 2017 by Staff Writer

PARIS, FRANCE (FEBRUARY 6, 1778) — Following U.S. diplomats Benjamin Franklin, Silas Deane and Arthur Lee’s meeting with King Louis XVI in December 1776, King Louis XVI announced today that France would officially join the United States’ war effort against Great Britain.

The French formally acknowledged the United States and their decision to ally with them against the British, and signed what they called The Treaty of Amity and Commerce, which recognized the States as an independent nation. The treaty also encouraged further trade between France and the States.

The Treaty of Amity and Commerce was directly followed by the The Treaty of Alliance, which formed a military alliance against Great Britain with the stipulations that the States would not accept peace with Great Britain that did not include their independence, and that the French would be allowed to conquer the British West Indies.

Before France’s entry into the war, the European nation — for over a year — has been rumored to be providing U.S. soldiers with armaments and supplies.

After many months of deliberation, King Louis XVI — initially a skeptic of the colonies’ fledgling republic — made the decision to ally with U.S forces. Sources close to the king say that his blatant hostility toward the British won out over his skepticism of the military viability of the Continental Army.

The French was also reportedly concerned that the French Navy was insufficient and thusly unprepared to enter a war against the British. As a result, sources say that King Louis XVI was reluctant to put the French economy in further debt.

However, the Battles of Saratoga, fought in 1777, were a turning point in convincing King Louis XVI to join the war effort against Great Britain.

After British Gen. John Burgoyne launched an attack against Gen. Horatio Gates and his American forces in the first battle of Saratoga in September 1777, King Louis was convinced of the States’ ability to stand on its own two feet after British forces were defeated and surrendered in October 1777.

Leading up to the King’s official announcement that the French would back the States’ efforts, French foreign minister Charles Gravier had decided that French forces should enter the war after the city of Philadelphia fell to British control in September 1777.

Gravier’s decision was as a result of fear that the States would not win the war against the British  without French intervention.

 

Posted in Benjamin Franklin, France, Government, Great Britain, King Louis XVI, Revolutionary War, United States

June 27th, 2017 by Staff Writer

President Trump accused former President Barack Obama on Monday for failure to take action against Russia for its alleged interference in the 2016 election all because Obama purportedly expected then-presidential candidate Hillary Clinton to win the election.

Trump noted that Obama didn’t choke — he simply “colluded or obstructed.”

“The reason that President Obama did NOTHING about Russia after being notified by the CIA of meddling is that he expected Clinton would win…..and did not want to ‘rock the boat,’ ” Trump tweeted from his personal account early Monday morning. “He didn’t ‘choke,’ he colluded or obstructed, and it did the Dems and Crooked Hillary no good.”

He continued his tirade against Obama and added, “The real story is that President Obama did NOTHING after being informed in August about Russian meddling. With 4 months looking at Russia … under a magnifying glass, they have zero ‘tapes’ of T people colluding. There is no collusion & no obstruction.”

“I should be given apology!” he added.

The president’s condemnations of Obama cropped up once again after Democrats ramped up their accusations that then-candidate Trump’s campaign colluded with Russia during the 2016 presidential election. As a result, the Justice Department, Senate and House Intelligence Committees as well as the FBI are exploring possible links between Trump’s transition team and Russian officials.

During an interview last week on “Fox & Friends Weekend,” Trump blasted Obama over Russia’s alleged interference in the election, and said that the president knew it and “did nothing about it.”

“Well I just heard today for the first time that Obama knew about Russia a long time before the election, and he did nothing about it,” Trump said. “But nobody wants to talk about that.”

He added, “The CIA gave him information on Russia a long time before they even — before the election. And I hardly see it. It’s an amazing thing.”

May.30 -- Bloomberg Intelligence's Eric Balchunas and Bloomberg's Julie Hyman look at the appearance of ties to Russia for investors of Russia ETFs. They speak on

Posted in 2016 presidential election, collusion, Government, President Barack Obama, President Donald Trump, Russia investigation, Twitter

June 11th, 2017 by Staff Writer

Ronald Reagan once quipped the nine most terrifying words in the English language are: I’m from the government, and I’m here to help. The ducks that call the Capitol Reflecting Pool in Washington, D.C., home learned recently that joke is all too real.

In May, the Architect of the Capitol, the government office responsible for maintaining the grounds on Capitol Hill, installed “duck ramps” at the Capitol Reflecting Pool to help ducklings in and out of the water.

Capitol Reflecting Pool has been a popular attraction—for ducks +humans! NEW: 2 ramps to safely assist ducks in/out: https://t.co/IRHGHmwQ5T pic.twitter.com/bPFWQsMXAW

— U.S. Capitol (@uscapitol) May 15, 2017

The “cute” attraction proved to be popular with both the ducks and humans — well, most of them. U.S. Rep. Mark Walker (R-N.C.) took to Twitter to complain about the ramps, calling them “government waste.”

Walker was criticized and mocked by some for his cranky, anti-duck disposition, but it turns out Walker’s instincts were 100 percent correct and arguably heroic (for the ducks, that is).

National Public Radio reported on Friday about 80 ducks have been killed since May 20 at the nearby Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool because of a water-borne parasite that resides in snails living in pool. Because ducklings are especially susceptible to the parasite, the duck ramps could actually prove to be murderous deathtraps should the same problem occur at the Capitol Reflecting Pool. The U.S. Geological Survey’s National Wildlife Health Center says the parasites can’t be killed by chemicals used to treat the pools, which means the Lincoln Reflecting Pool will now have to be drained and cleaned to stop the duckpocolypse before it spreads.

These duck ramps are not only a waste of taxpayer money; they pose a risk to America’s waddling little national treasures! Just another reason why you can’t trust the government to do anything right.

Editor’s Note: This story has been edited to reflect that the ducks killed by the parasites were found dead in the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool, not the Capitol Reflecting Pool.

Posted in Animals, Federal Government, Government

June 8th, 2017 by Staff Writer

Jeffrey Toobin, CNN legal analyst and staff writer for The New Yorker, was fired up over former FBI James Comey’s prepared remarks on Wednesday, calling President Donald Trump’s purported maneuvers an “obstruction of justice.”

During his appearance on CNN, Toobin blasted Trump and said, “There is a criminal investigation going on of one of the President’s top associates, his former national security adviser, one of the most — handful of most important people in the government. He gets fired. He’s under criminal investigation and the President brings in the FBI director and says, ‘Please stop your investigation.’ If that isn’t obstruction of justice, I don’t know what is.”

In his remarks, Comey claimed that Trump prompted him to drop a federal investigation into Michael Flynn, Trump’s former national security adviser, who was dismissed over his failure to disclose Russian communications.

Comey’s statement outright made allegations that the president had high hopes that the former FBI Director would drop the investigation of Flynn.

“[Trump] then said, ‘I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go. He is a good guy. I hope you can let this go,’” Comey wrote in his prepared remarks. “I replied only that ‘he is a good guy.’ … I did not say I would ‘let this go.’”

Comey’s statement also added that Trump put pressure on him to “lift the cloud” of the Russian investigation, which was initiated to look into possible election interference by the Russians. Comey claimed that Trump said to him, “I need loyalty. I expect loyalty.”

Comey’s testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee is set to begin at 10 a.m. ET on Thursday.

See Toobin’s remarks in the video below.

“If [this] isn’t obstruction of justice, I don’t know what is”: Jeffrey Toobin reacts to Comey’s prepared testimony https://t.co/fCg15m1Sdn pic.twitter.com/qDicj7Ceeh

— CNN (@CNN) June 7, 2017

Posted in CNN, Government, James Comey, Jeffrey Toobin, Michael Flynn, President Donald Trump, Russian investigation

May 30th, 2017 by Staff Writer

GOP representative Matt Rinaldi claims he was assaulted on the floor of the Texas House of Representatives on Monday after he told two Democratic reps that he’d called Immigration and Customs Enforcement on immigrant demonstrators who’d gathered to protest Texas’s latest anti-sanctuary city bill.

Texas SB 4 holds local law enforcement to the possibility of serving jail time if they refuse to cooperate with federal immigration authorities when dealing with immigration and criminal issues.

The law, set to go into effect Sept. 1, will also allow local law enforcement to question those detained about their immigration status.

The Texas Observer reported that Rinaldi told two Democratic representatives that he had called ICE on the protestors — some of whom held signs that read “I am illegal and here to stay — and said “F**k them, I called ICE.” He also reportedly referred to the demonstrators as a “disgrace.”

Rinaldi told The Texas Tribune that he was pushed and shoved by two Democratic representatives after he’d revealed that he called ICE, calling their actions “basically just bullying.”

It was later reported that Rinaldi was overheard threatening to shoot one of the Democratic reps.

Representative Justin Rodriguez told the Tribune that “there was a subsequent exchange between my brother Poncho and Representative Rinaldi and there was a threat made from Rinaldi to put a bullet in one of my colleague’s head [sic]. That kind of threatening language he needs to be called out and held accountable for.”

Rinaldi later released a statement on the fracas, which read:

Today, Representative Poncho Nevarez threatened my life on the House floor after I called ICE on several immigrants who held signs in the gallery which read ‘I am illegal and here to stay.’ Several Democrats encouraged the protestors to disobey law enforcement. When I told the Democrats I called ICE, Representative Ramon Romero physically assaulted me, and other Democrats were held back by colleagues. During that time Poncho told me he would ‘get me on the way to my car.’ He later approached me and reiterated that ‘I had to leave at some point, and he would get me.’ I made it clear that if he attempted to, in his words, ‘get me,’ I would shoot him in self defense [sic]. I am currently under DPS protection. Several of my colleagues heard the threats made and witnessed Ramon assaulting me.

Nevarez later responded to Rinaldi’s allegations on Twitter and said, “He’s a liar and hateful man. Got no use for him. God bless him.”

Representative Ramon Romero told the Observer that he’d “never seen anything like this on the House floor.”

See a video of the scuffle below.

VIDEO: Lawmakers in Texas House scuffle during #SINEDIE on Monday.
BACKGROUND: https://t.co/q77vMguaXh pic.twitter.com/zlAGEaL0pB

— KVUE News (@KVUE) May 29, 2017

Posted in fight, Government, ICE, Immigration, Politics, protestors, U.S. House of Representatives

May 6th, 2017 by Staff Writer

On Thursday, the Texas Senate voted to pass a bill that would eliminate the need for safety inspections for civilian vehicles. The bill will now go to the Texas House for consideration.

Senate Bill 1588 was introduced by Sen. Don Huffines (R-Dallas) in March, and passed through the Texas Senate with bipartisan support in a 27 to 4 vote.

“You’ve got 34 states, basically, that don’t have it,” Huffines told The Dallas Morning News in April. “The federal government quit requiring it in the 1970s. That’s kind of unusual when the federal government quits doing something that the state of Texas continues to do, but we have.

“Big states don’t require it. California doesn’t require it. Florida, Oklahoma, New Jersey, too. So here we are — one of the last states that have to deal with that,” he added.

Sen. Eddie Lucio Jr. (D-Brownsville) was one of the four senators who opposed the bill, and argued that its passage will make Texans less safe.

“If this bill is passed, I am going to have trouble sleeping. I mean that,” he asked during the bill’s debate. “Why are you willing to place yourself and Texans in danger by passing this bill?”

Huffines wrote in a March op-ed for the Texas Tribune that studies show these vehicle inspections do nothing to improve safety.

“One such example is Nebraska, which repealed its passenger safety inspection mandate in conjunction with a study of the impact it had on defect-related crashes before and after the repeal,” Huffines wrote. “To the surprise of many, the number of defect-related crashes actually fell by nearly 16 percent in the absence of an inspection mandate.”

These findings in Nebraska were shown in a 2008 report from the Program Evaluation Division of the North Carolina General Assembly in a three-year average that the number of crashes due to a vehicle defect was 1,759 before the program was repealed in 1982. After its repeal, the three-year average for crashes caused by vehicle defects dropped to 1,486.

This same 2008 report from North Carolina also noted that its state DMV crash statistics say that only 1 percent of the car accidents in 2005 were caused from vehicle defects.

These unnecessary inspections are costing Texas taxpayers millions,  Huffines said.

“This tax costs Texans an annual $267 million in fees alone,” he said in his op-ed. “What’s arguably worse is the tax on our time — the program forces more than 50,000 trips to the inspection station every single day, resulting in more than 9 million wasted hours every year. That adds up to $203 million in lost wages, based on average salary data. After you count the costs of gas, lost wages, and the inspection fees, the program costs the average household at least $40 a year.”

According to the Texas Tribune, Huffines said he is confident that this legislation, and the bill’s companion legislation in the House, HB3995 introduced by state Rep. Ron Simmons (R-Muenster), will pass the House with the same bipartisan support it saw in the Senate.

If passed in the House, the new law will take effect on March 1, 2018.

Posted in Don Huffines, Government, registration, safety, safety inspections, Texas, vehicles

April 19th, 2017 by Staff Writer

According to AP, the Office of Veterans Affairs announced on Tuesday is now allowing veterans with minor injuries and illnesses to seek aid at CVS minute clinics in an effort to cut down on wait times.

This program is only a test-run limited to the Phoenix, Arizona, area. VA Secretary David Shulkin hopes to expand this program nationwide in order to reduce wait times for veterans seeking care. CVS is the largest pharmacy retailer in the United States, and plans to help assist the VA with veteran care by sharing medical records electronically, and providing patient summaries for the VA should the patient need additional services.

“We believe in the MinuteClinic model of care and are excited to offer our health care services as one potential solution for the Phoenix VA Health Care System and its patients,” said Tobias Barker, chief medical officer of CVS MinuteClinic.

While including the private sector into the VA’s care model, it could have its drawbacks, at least in terms of organization.

Veterans would not be bound by current restrictions under the VA’s Choice program, which limits outside care to those who have been waiting more than 30 days for an appointment or have to drive more than 40 miles to a facility. Instead, Phoenix VA nurses staffing the medical center’s help line will be able to refer veterans to MinuteClinics for government-paid care when “clinically appropriate.”

Shulkin has made clear he’d like a broader collaboration of “integrated care” nationwide between the VA and private sector in which veterans have wider access to private doctors. But, he wants the VA to handle all scheduling and “customer service” — something that veterans groups generally support but government auditors caution could prove unwieldy and expensive.

The VA is notorious for its wait times, and unwillingness to fix it. A report in 2015 discovered that over 300,000 veterans may have died before their requests for care had been processed. In 2016, then VA Secretary Robert Donald said that the VA shouldn’t be judged by their wait times, as Disney doesn’t concern itself with theirs. Disney responded by correcting Donald’s assertion, saying they take their wait times very seriously.

Posted in CVS, Government, Veterans, Veterans Affairs

April 15th, 2017 by Staff Writer

A lot of misinformation has been circulated about the cost of the “mother of all bombs” that was dropped on a series of ISIS network tunnels in Afghanistan, but the true number is a lot less than many think.

Back in 2011, the LA Times wrote an article that detailed the cost of the bombs sitting somewhere in the range of $314 million.

This number was picked up by many in the media after teh Afghanistan MOAB was dropped, and soon the number was spread around social media.

The bomb dropped today in the middle of nowhere, Afghanistan, cost $314,000,000. https://t.co/mV6sJoMIFJ (credit @thenib) pic.twitter.com/aj0Om5RhAV

— Edward Snowden (@Snowden) April 13, 2017

Not 1 person in gov’t,can tell me this country doesn’t have enough money to fund social programs or water. We just dropped 314 million.

— Tika Sumpter (@iamtikasumpter) April 13, 2017

The “mother of all bombs” dropped today in Afghanistan cost the US taxpayer $314 million. And yet America can’t afford meals on wheels.

— James Melville (@JamesMelville) April 13, 2017

The figure LA Times presented, however, was not at all accurate, but soon the site Deagle.com came out with the figure $16 million. As the Daily Caller writes, this number was then picked up from various media outlets.

Many news organizations, including TIME and CNBC, also cited Deagel.com, a site with extensive lists of weapons assets owned by multiple countries, which claims the MOAB costs $16 million per unit, the same amount as the reported cost of the MOP.

It was Business Insider, however, that got to the bottom of the actual cost of the MOAB bomb. Going to the US Air Force itself, who made the bomb in-house, and not through a third party like Boeing or Lockheed.

The actual cost is $170,000.

The $170,000 figure makes sense considering a general-purpose 1,000-pound MK-83 costs about $12,000. The MOAB simply features more high explosives and larger fins to direct the GPS-guided munition.

So there you have it. The cost of the largest non-nuclear bomb in the United States’ possession actually costs under $1 million to make.

Posted in Afghanistan, Government, MOAB

April 6th, 2017 by Staff Writer

According to a report by watchdog group The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA), the IRS has been taking millions of dollars from businesses who committed no crimes, using asset forfeiture as the method by which to take the money legally without charges.

The investigation began in 2014 after several lawsuits had been filed by libertarian-leaning law firm, Institute for Justice, over the IRS seizing the life savings of various businesses for violating anti-“structuring” rules.

According to Reason, the rules were there to stop money launderers from evading federal banking regulations by making deposits under $10,000. The IRS took the actions of small deposits by small businesses owners as wrongdoing, despite no further evidence that the anti-“structuring” rule was being violated.

The end result was some $17 million dollars seized from the bank accounts of business owners who in 90 percent of cases, committed no crime. What’s more, the report released by TIGTA found that investigators violated internal policies such as not notifying those being interviewed of their rights, and improperly bargaining to resolve civil cases by using threats.

The inspector general found money seized and forfeited by the IRS was legally obtained in 91 percent of a sample of 278 structuring investigations it reviewed occurring between fiscal years 2012 and 2014. Altogether, those funds totalled $17.1 million and involved 231 cases.

“That is just a shocking, shocking statistic,” says Robert Johnson, an attorney at the Institute for Justice. “It shows the cases we’ve been bringing are not isolated incidents by any stretch of the imagination. This is the bread and butter of what the IRS has been doing for years.”

The inspector general also found that, in 54 cases, property owners gave reasonable explanations for why their deposits did not exceed $10,000, but in most of those cases there was no evidence that IRS investigated their explanations.

In addition, the inspector general found evidence “that in at least 37 cases the Government bargained nonprosecution in order to resolve the civil forfeiture.” In other words, the IRS leveraged its civil forfeiture cases by threatening to file criminal charges.

While the outrage was enough to get the IRS to change their policies in 2014, the extent of the damage done before the overreach was discovered by the media was not released until now.

House Ways and Means Committee chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX) said that the TIGTA report “reaffirms our Committee’s findings that the IRS has repeatedly and knowingly abused its authority to wrongly target and seize money from hardworking Americans.”

“We commend TIGTA for issuing this report and building off of our work to bring IRS’s abusive practices to light,” he added. “These investigations are a critical part of holding the IRS accountable to the American people, as well as delivering justice to the innocent victims of the IRS.”

In a statement, the IRS sent notifications to approximately 1,800 business owners who may have been a victim of the structuring cases, but unless challenged, the IRS will be keeping the money it seized.

Posted in asset forfeiture, Government, IRS, Small Business

March 31st, 2017 by Staff Writer

With the United States Senate poised to vote next week, Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) announced Thursday that she will support Judge Neil Gorsuch’s nomination to the Supreme Court.

“After doing my due diligence by meeting with Judge Gorsuch and reviewing his record and testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, I’ve decided to vote in favor of his confirmation. He has a record as a balanced, meticulous, and well respected jurist who understands the rule of law,” Heitkamp said in a statement, according to CNN. “He has unique and critical experience with tribal sovereignty, Indian law, and public lands issues in the west, and has received the endorsement of numerous tribes and major Native American organizations.”

 

BREAKING: SenHeitkamp 2nd Dem Senator to say she’s a yes on J.Gorsuch for #SCOTUS, calls him “balanced, meticulous, and well respected”

— Shannon Bream (@ShannonBream) March 30, 2017

She criticized the Republicans for playing politics with Judge Merrick Garland’s nomination, but said she would not engage in the same game.

“This vote does not diminish how disturbed I am by what Republicans did to Judge Garland. Senate Republicans played politics at its worst,” Heitkamp said. “But I was taught that two wrongs don’t make a right.”

Heitkamp’s announcement came minutes after Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) announced he would also vote in favor of nominating Gorsuch.

Calling Gorsuch an honest and thoughtful man, Manchin said, “After considering his record, watching his testimony in front of the Judiciary Committee and meeting with him twice, I will vote to confirm him to be the ninth justice on the Supreme Court.”

 

I will vote to confirm Judge Neil Gorsuch to be the ninth justice on the Supreme Court. pic.twitter.com/MpVbaqf0LB

— Senator Joe Manchin (@Sen_JoeManchin) March 30, 2017

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has promised Gorsuch’s confirmation on April 7.

Posted in Government, Heidi Heitkamp, Joe Manchin, Judge Neil Gorsuch, Senate, Supreme Court

March 30th, 2017 by Staff Writer

On Wednesday, in a 228-194 vote, the Republican controlled House passed a bill that would prohibit the Environmental Protection Agency from crafting regulation based off of scientific data that has not been seen by the public.

The Honest and Open New EPA Science Treatment Act, or HONEST Act, will force the EPA to use data that is publicly available when crafting regulations, potentially leaving out medical findings that are kept hidden from the public to protect patient privacy. Provisions have been set aside within the bill to redact personal information, however.

“This legislation ensures that sound science is the basis for EPA decisions and regulatory actions,” said Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas), chairman of the Science Committee, and author of the bill.

“The days of ‘trust-me’ science are over. In our modern information age, federal regulations should be based only on data that is available for every American to see and that can be subjected to independent review,” he continued. “That’s called the scientific method.”

Smith discussed how during the previous administration, the EPA would craft and enforce regulation that would be based off of data that hidden from the general public. The Texas congressman says that he too cares about the environment, but transparency is needed in order for the science being used to impose regulation to be legitimate.

“We all care about the environment,” he said. “But if policies are not based on legitimate science, regulations will result in economic hardship with little or no environmental benefit. In other words, the regulations would be all pain and no gain.”

Democrats, however, are claiming that Smith’s bill will essentially cripple the EPA, and endanger everyone. In a memo from Democratic Staff of the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, they argued that it “would prevent EPA from functioning effectively and using the most relevant scientific data,” and that end result would be that the “EPA’s work grinds to a halt and the health of Americans and the environment are put at risk,”

The EPA may be taking even more hits in the future, as President Donald Trump’s budget plan for 2018 has the government organization taking a 30 percent reduction in funding.

Posted in Environment, EPA, Government, Republican

March 20th, 2017 by Staff Writer

A congressional investigation into whether or not President Donald Trump’s campaign colluded with Russian officials has so far yielded “no evidence,” according to the House Intelligence Committee chairman.

Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) explained Sunday on “Fox News Sunday” that based on all of the evidence his committee has so far investigated, he cannot conclude that there was any collusion whatsoever between Trump’s campaign and the Russians.

When asked by host Chris Wallace if there is any evidence to suggest collusion, Nunes replied, “I’ll give you a very simple answer: ‘No.’”

“Up to speed on everything I have up to this morning — no evidence of collusion,” he explained.

Nunes also said in the interview that he believes it’s “pretty clear” that there are elements in the government that are intentionally leaking information to “undercut” Trump.

“There’s even been stories written about it in numerous newspapers talking about how they said they left breadcrumbs around to hurt the Trump administration,” Nunes said.

“Clearly to leak Michael Flynn’s name talking to the Russian ambassador,” he added. “That was clearly designed to hurt Gen. Flynn and the president’s national security adviser.”

However, he clarified to say that he doesn’t necessarily believe the leaks are from people currently within the government, but rather they’re coming from disgruntled former government employees, such as people from former President Barack Obama’s administration.

“I think it was largely people maybe who were there, had classified information, who are now no longer there and decided to leak it,” Nunes explained.

Posted in Devin Nunes, Donald Trump, Fox News, Government, Russia, watch

March 18th, 2017 by Staff Writer

On Tuesday, Senate Republicans introduced a bill that would protect the rights of gun owners traveling over state lines from falling into the complicated laws that differ in each state.

Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Congressman Morgan Griffith (R-VA) introduced S.618 , which would amend the Firearm Owners Protection Act of 1986 to clarify key provisions in the law. According to a statement released on Hatch’s website, the bill will prevent anyone with a gun, ammunition, or magazines from falling outside of the law simply by passing through.

“This bill safeguards our Second Amendment rights by strengthening federal protections for responsible gun owners travelling across state lines,” Hatch said.  “By amending the Firearms Owners’ Protection Act of 1986, this commonsense proposal puts an end to the harassment of upstanding citizens who happen to stay overnight, fuel up, or stop for an emergency during their travels in another state.”

“I believe it is important to defend the Second Amendment right of law-abiding gun owners,” said Griffith. “Current federal law or the Second Amendment of the Constitution should neither be misinterpreted nor ignored to prevent law-abiding, responsible gun owners from traveling throughout the country with firearms so long as they are in compliance with federal law while in transit.”

The bill already has the support of multiple Republican senators such as James Lankford (R-OK), Steve Daines (R-MT), Ted Cruz (R-TX), John Cornyn (R-TX), and Mike Rounds (R-SD). The bill also being supported by the National Rifle Association.

“This legislation will restore the intent of Congress to protect law-abiding Americans who exercise their fundamental Second Amendment rights when they travel,” said Chris W. Cox, executive director of the National Rifle Association’s Institute for Legislative Action.

Senator Hatch and Representative Griffith’s bill addresses a critical gap in all Americans’ abilities to exercise  their Second Amendment rights and participate in hunting and shooting sports across state lines,” said Lawrence Keane, senior vice president of the National Shooting Sports Foundation, who also supports the bill.

This bill should give rest to those whose professions include constant travel such as truck drivers, and should also put at ease any gun owner has about being harassed by police in states they do not live in.

Guns.com lists two such instances where gun owners have had to face problems due to simply being a gun owner in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Gun owners often find themselves in a Catch-22 while traveling with their firearms. In one case, a man relocating from Texas to Maine stopped for a nap in a New Jersey parking lot and woke up to an arrest after authorities in the Garden State searched his vehicle and found his gun collection. Another incident saw a man traveling from Florida to New Jersey who was detained in Maryland for nearly an hour even though he had no firearm in the vehicle when police there pinged his driver’s license and found that he had a concealed carry permit.

 

 

Posted in 2nd Amendment, firearms guns, Government, NRA, Orrin Hatch, Republicans, travel

March 15th, 2017 by Staff Writer

More bad news for those who believe socialism is the way to go, as more information has surfaced about Venezuela’s ever crumbling finances and infrastructure.

According to information recently garnered by the nonprofit Transparency International, Venezuela’s government owns, or has a majority ownership in 511 businesses within the country. Sadly for Venezuela, 70 percent of these companies are bleeding money, and potentially contributing to Venezuela’s continued financial downfall.

“We started this study because nobody really knows how many companies the state is running,” said Mercedes De Freitas, director of the Venezuelan branch of Transparency International. “The state has invaded every sector imaginable.”

The amount of money lost by the companies isn’t something to scoff at either, with 2016 seeing a total of $129 billion gone from the failing businesses.

What’s more, Venezuela’s ownership of companies far outreaches that of other states that are typically larger than them, as reported by the Miami Herald.

The sheer number of companies under state control seems to put Venezuela in a class of its own, the group said. Brazil, which has about six times the population of Venezuela, has 130 state-run companies, and Argentina, a third larger than Venezuela, has 52.

Venezuela’s ownership expands out to things such as toilet paper, medicine, cellphones, milk, which is also the things Venezuela is tragically lacking. Venezuela’s citizens have been relegated to literal and figurative bread lines in order to get the food and supplies they need for everyday living. Women have even been sterilizing themselves to avoid bringing another mouth to feed into the world. Many have lost dangerous amounts of weight due to the shortages.

 

Posted in Government, Socialism, Venezuela

March 11th, 2017 by Staff Writer

CNN’s Erin Burnett characterized the Trump administration’s preoccupation with leaks as a “deep paranoia” while interviewing Former CIA Director James Woolsey Friday about recent developments with the White House.

“The Trump administration has developed a deep paranoia for what they call the ‘deep state,’” Burnett began. “Career employees in the government that they say are out to get them or against their agenda, and are working in the shadows against them. Perhaps that’s part of the reason they’re coming out so suddenly and firing these attorneys, we don’t know. But this does seem to be a part of it, doesn’t it?”

“It’s really kinda hard to say, exactly,” Woolsey responded, “why this is all kind of clumsy and messy. It’s not that hard to do, and you do it from administration to administration.”

“Sometimes there’s disagreements about who oughta have more responsibility,” he explained. “Back when I was DCI in the early nineties, we thought the FBI was trying to get too much authority over counterintelligence that we ought to have, and they thought that we had too much authority over counterintelligence. Sometimes there’s normal pushes and tugs between different parts of the bureaucracy but it doesn’t have to be like this, like what we’re seeing.”

The Trump administration might disagree with Burnett’s description of their “deep paranoia,” about the “deep state,” given that leaks to the media led directly to the resignation of Mike Flynn as the national security advisor to President Trump. Flynn later registered as a “foreign agent” doing work that might have benefitted the government of Turkey, to the apparent surprise of Vice President Mike Pence.

Other leaks have plagued the administration at every step, prompting some to speculate about the existence of the “deep state,” or an organized group of Obama hold-overs and other government employees ideologically hostile to Trump and his agenda.

“It doesn’t have to be like…this” – Fmr. #CIA Dir. James Woolsey on rift b/t #Trump admin. and the “deep state” https://t.co/f4TX0q0gMI

— OutFrontCNN (@OutFrontCNN) March 11, 2017

Conservative commentator Charles Krauthammer derisively described the attacks from the “deep state” as the “revenge of the losers” on Fox News.

Posted in CNN, Donald Trump, Government, Government Leaks, Mainstream Media, Media Bias, NSA Leaks, Politics, President Donald Trump, Trump

March 10th, 2017 by Staff Writer

Famed cosmologist Stephen Hawking, who is famous for his brilliant advances in the field of theoretical physics, says that mankind may perish under the hand of artificial intelligence unless a world government is formed to protect us.

The world-renowned physicist, who has spoken out about the dangers of artificial intelligence in the past, believes we need to establish a way of identifying threats quickly, before they have a chance to escalate.

“Since civilisation began, aggression has been useful inasmuch as it has definite survival advantages,” he told The Times.

“It is hard-wired into our genes by Darwinian evolution. Now, however, technology has advanced at such a pace that this aggression may destroy us all by nuclear or biological war. We need to control this inherited instinct by our logic and reason.”

Hawking opined that “some form of world government” would be needed to head off such a possibility. But, he admitted that organizing such a government has its own drawbacks, including the chance that it might turn into a dictatorship.

But that might become a tyranny. All this may sound a bit doom-laden but I am an optimist. I think the human race will rise to meet these challenges.

Hawking said previously that super-smart robots might not destroy the human race because of nefarious reasons, but because we program them poorly from our own incompetence.

“The real risk with AI isn’t malice but competence,” he said. “A super intelligent AI will be extremely good at accomplishing its goals, and if those goals aren’t aligned with ours, we’re in trouble.”

He drew an analogy to how we treat ants, with the super-smart robots standing in for us, and the ants standing in for humanity.

You’re probably not an evil ant-hater who steps on ants out of malice, but if you’re in charge of a hydroelectric green energy project and there’s an anthill in the region to be flooded, too bad for the ants. Let’s not place humanity in the position of those ants.

In other words, future robots may not intend to destroy humanity, but may do it by accident, or because of poor design by their human creators.

Hawking is credited for advancing human knowledge in cosmology, but libertarians might reject his advice in politics given their reticence to instituting a one-world government.

Posted in Global Economy, Government, Politics, Technology

March 2nd, 2017 by Staff Writer

Prager U, the conservative/libertarian educational video makers have once again hit it out of the ballpark with a new video discussing the rights of Americans to own firearms.

Despite Supreme Court decisions such as DC v Heller confirming the right to gun ownership, specifically those used lawfully and en masse by the public, some activists groups and courts continue their quest to restrict, or even eliminate gun ownership by the people.

Recently, the 4th Circuit Court ruled that the nebulous category of “assault weapons” were not legal for ownership by American citizens, completely flying in the face of rulings like Heller. 

But if anyone was confused as to whether or not gun ownership is a basic right of every American, this video by Prager U should put any question of that to rest.

Hosted by Professor of Law at UCLA Eugene Volokh certain arguments are tackled that typically come up during debates on gun ownership, such as the “well regulated militia” argument. Carefully highlighting various wording – especially of the us of the phrase “the people” – Volokh plainly reveals how the Founding Fathers had every intention for the people to be armed, militia or no.

Volokh also tackles the argument of states being able to decide whether or not gun ownership is legal by reviewing historic context of the word “state,” and pointing out that the Founders intended the entire country to enjoy the right of firearm ownership.

Watch the video below, and share it!

Posted in 2nd Amendment, Firearms, Government, Guns

March 2nd, 2017 by Staff Writer

Sen Rand Paul (R-Ky.) expressed his disapproval for the idea that the United States needs to engage any further in the habit of nation building during a foreign relations committee hearing on Tuesday.

Discussing the future of America’s “stabilization” efforts in Iraq with Senior Fellow of the Center for American Progress Hardin Lang, Paul questioned our need to continue spending money in Iraq any longer. Lang was discussing ideas for short term projects, but Paul was wondering if Lang had a different definition of “short term” than he did.

Having been there ten years, so we’ve given quite a bit aid. It’s hard to argue that a little bit of short term assistance is not on top of a trillion dollars worth of nation building, both military and non-military,” said Paul. “We’ve spent a lot of money over there.”

“They’re not a destitute country,” added Paul. “They have oil, and by golly they aught to rebuild their own country. We can be of some help stabilizing things, but it isn’t our responsibility to rebuild everybody’s country.”

Paul pointed out that the U.S. itself is in $20 trillion worth of debt, and that it’s about time to stop bridge building everywhere but in our own country.

“Look, I’ve got a bridge that’s 50 years old in my state I’d like to replace,” said Paul. “We’ve built and bombed so many bridges around the world we don’t have any money left for ourselves.”

America’s financial investments in other nations dwarfs spending on its own shores in many situations. In fact, NextCity.org pointed out in 2013 just how much money flows to other countries from the U.S. vs a city like Detroit. The difference range from $20 million more, to billions.

If much of this money used to improve nations overseas were used here, the differences would likely be astronomical.

Posted in foreign aid, Government, Iraq, Rand Paul

February 21st, 2017 by Staff Writer

The South American country of Venezuela, infamously known for its wide reaching socialist policies that have left the country devastated, has reached a point where its citizens are losing almost 20 pounds due to their lack of food.

A 2016 study from La Encuesta Condiciones de Vida (Encovi) – in English, The 2016 Living Conditions Survey — conducted a survey of 6,500 families found that a little over 32 percent of Venezuelan households eat only once or twice everyday. 93.3 percent said their income does not support their costs for food, and thus they have resorted to cheaper foods such as vegetables. Namely potatoes.

Due to this, almost 75 percent of the Venezuelan population has lost an average of 19 pounds.

Additionally, ten percent of the nation’s children have stopped attending classes due to lack of food, and helping their household acquire food by holding their parent’s place in food lines.

Due to the socialist policies enacted by President Nicolás Maduro, Venezuela has seen a catastrophic lack of everything from medicine and food, to basic products such as toilet paper. Any charitable help sent to the country, such as medicine, is snatched up by the government. Due to the lack of things such as baby formula and diapers, women have taken to sterilizing themselves so as not to bring in another mouth to feed.

According to Fox News, bags have been found at Venezuelan dumps that sport the remains of animals such as cats, dogs, donkeys, and flamingos that people have killed and eaten in order to keep from starving.

 

Posted in Government, Socialism, Venezuela

February 18th, 2017 by Staff Writer

During a meeting of the Senate Armed Services Subcommittee on Personnel, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) surprisingly advocated for less government interference, and on behalf of our military veterans no less.

The conversation started when Warren asked Sgt. Major of the Army Daniel Dailey about veterans who learn to drive trucks in the most hazardous of environments.

“The Army trains thousands of soldiers every year to drive trucks in the most difficult conditions: In combat. With hazardous cargo. At night. In sandstorms. You name it. If it’s tough, you train people to do it,” began Warren. “So you would say those folks are pretty good truck drivers?”

“I would say in my opinion they’re the best in the world, ma’am,” replied Dailey.

“Best truck drivers in the world. That sounds like an expert opinion on that,” continued Warren. “So with those kinds of skills, when they transition from the Army, it is reasonable to assume they could sign on with any long-haul trucking company and hit the interstate the next day, right?”

Dailey responded that while they are more than qualified in terms of skills, veterans typically are not immediately qualified for civilian positions they would excel at due to governmental red tape.

“It’s a complicated matter,” answered Dailey. “First and foremost, one, we have to credential them, those young men and women. Two, we have to work the requirements of each and every one of the 54 states and territories that license those trucks.”

“So we have a state and national licensing problem here, and we can’t take the world’s best truck drivers and just automatically move them into civilian truck driving jobs,” said Warren.

Warren also questioned Master Chief Petty Officer Steven S. Giordano of the Navy, and Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force James A. Cody along a similar vein, wondering if the same could said for those veterans who are highly trained air traffic controllers. Troops that direct aircraft worth millions of dollars, filled with military men and women in sometimes hazardous conditions. The same in the Navy, where soldiers are taught how to use high tech equipment in high stress positions. However, many still run into licensing problems.

This is a problem that Warren wants to fix, and she sums it up on her public Facebook page nicely.

If you can drive a military truck in combat, with hazardous cargo, at night, through a sandstorm, then you can drive a commercial truck on an interstate. If you can dock or anchor a 10,000 ton warship under extreme stress, you can do the same thing for a small commercial ship. We spend hundreds of millions to train our service members to do highly skilled jobs, and they are the best at what they do. But too many still struggle to transition into civilian jobs because they don’t have the right certifications and licenses – even when they’re being hired to do the exact same thing under much less taxing conditions.

We’ve made progress on this issue over the last few years, and I don’t want to lower civilian standards – but I don’t believe for one second that these individuals aren’t ready to do the equivalent civilian jobs the day they leave the military. They shouldn’t end up buried in paperwork or dump their money into a shady for-profit college to do it. Let’s fix this problem.

You can watch the exchange for yourself below:

Posted in Elizabeth Warren, Government, Jobs, Military, Veterans

February 10th, 2017 by Staff Writer

As the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has just struck down Trump’s executive order on the travel ban, Republicans are simultaneously moving to pass a bill that will split the court up.

According to Fox News, Arizona Senators Jeff Flake and John McCain have introduced legislation that will take six states out of the court, and create a whole new 12th Circuit. According to Flake, the court is overburdened, bloated, and slow.

“It represents 20 percent of the population — and 40 percent of the land mass is in that jurisdiction. It’s just too big,” Flake told Fox News on Wednesday. “We have a bedrock principle of swift justice and if you live in Arizona or anywhere in the 9th Circuit, you just don’t have it.”

Conservatives have never been a fan of the court, which is alleged to have a notorious left wing bias due to 18 of the court’s 25 judges being appointed by Democrats. It has earned the nickname “the nutty 9th” by those on the right due to this, and the fact that many of its rulings have been overturned by the Supreme Court.

The 9th Circuit was created in 1891 when the area was very sparse with only four percent of the population. Today, it contains 20 percent. This is why Flake believes it’s time to split the court up, and lessen its power.

Under Flake’s bill, the new circuit would cover Nevada, Washington, Idaho, Montana, Arizona and Alaska, leaving the 9th with three Pacific states as well as the Northern Mariana Islands and Guam.

 

The problem, as Flake mentions, is that the judges of the 9th Circuit will not want to give up their jurisdiction.

Watch the latest video at video.foxnews.com

Posted in 9 Circuit Court, Government, Jeff Flake, John McCain

February 8th, 2017 by Staff Writer

With President Donald Trump coming down hard on sanctuary cities, and California as a whole, the New York assembly is attempting a show of resistance by passing a bill that would make New York a “sanctuary state” in the same vein as California. New York Democrats, such as Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, have said the bill was a “moral obligation.”

Labeling it the “New York State Liberty Act,” the bill seeks to hamper the efforts of state and local law officers from enforcing immigration laws, as well as collecting immigration information from people reporting accidents, according to Politico.

“It is our job to respond to his call to build border walls with a wall of our own, one that protects diversity and acceptance that have always been at the core of our state,” Assemblyman Francisco Moya, a Democrat from Queens, said a press conference announcing the measure. “Not only is it a moral imperative to shelter every race or religion from bigotry, it is our obligation to protect the function of our local law enforcement and agencies.”

Republicans, such as Assemblyman Dean Murray, stand against the bill wholeheartedly.

“We pass laws for a reason — we pass laws to protect the public. Now we’re asking our local law enforcement to just completely ignore some of those laws,” he said. “That’s a problem. This is a matter of law. We need to allow law enforcement to work together to enforce all laws.”

The bill passed with a 77-58, however it considered more a statement than an actual attempt at legislation, as it is not expected to survive the Republican led senate.

“We know it is never going to pass the other house, but it looks good in the paper,” Graf said. “But we’ve seen the actions of this new president, and I don’t think he’s bluffing when it comes to taking away federal money from the states. So if we’re playing with a third of our revenues, we could face a lot of problems here.”

If the bill did in any way pass the senate, the state of New York would be under threat from Trump who has said he would defund the entire state of California for doing the same.

Posted in Government, Immigration, New York, sanctuary cities

February 5th, 2017 by Staff Writer

The Department of Justice formally filed an appeal late Saturday asking that a federal judge’s ruling on President Donald Trump’s recent executive order on immigration and refugees be set aside.

BREAKING: Justice Department appeals judge’s ruling that temporarily blocks President Donald Trump’s order on refugees.

— AP Politics (@AP_Politics) February 5, 2017

The federal government’s request for an emergency stay was filed Saturday night with the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. The filing asks the court to lift an order from a day earlier from a federal district court judge in Washington state.

That justice, Seattle-based Judge James Robart, temporarily halted the implementation of Trump’s recent executive order effective the minute his ruling was made official on Friday.

Trump’s executive order temporarily halted the U.S. refugee resettlement program for 120 days while indefinitely suspending the Syrian refugee resettlement program. In addition, the executive order blocked travelers from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the U.S. for 90 days.

Robart’s ruling came in response to a lawsuit that argued Trump’s executive order targeted Muslims and violated the constitutional rights of refugees.

In response to Robart’s ruling, the Department of Homeland Security announced Saturday they were suspending any implementation of Trump’s travel ban as the Justice Department prepared its legal challenge.

Trump later lashed out at Robart on Twitter Saturday, labeling the George W. Bush-appointed justice a “so-called judge.”

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

Posted in Donald Trump, Government, Justice Department

February 4th, 2017 by Staff Writer

It’s been one week since President Donald Trump issued what has surely become the most controversial action of his presidency thus far: his executive action temporarily banning travel to the U.S. by people in seven countries in the Middle East.

The order bars people from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen from traveling to the U.S. for 90 days, raising serious questions from some on the Left as to whether the action is even constitutional. Already, more than a half-dozen lawsuits have been filed in opposition to the order, including challenges by the ACLU and the Council on American-Islamic Relations, CNN reported.

But the question of whether any of these legal challenges can hold any water in a federal courtroom remains to be seen.

“What we have here is a situation where it’s very clear the president has been given authority when the standard [of] the national interest would be adversely affected,” William Stock, president of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, told TheBlaze during an interview Friday.

“We’ve allocated to the president the ability on short notice to suspend visas if it’s an emergency,” Stock added, referring to the Alien and Sedition Acts of 1798, which grants the president the authority to suspend visas from immigrants of certain countries when the U.S. is at war with those countries.

“On the other hand,” Stock added, “we have a First Amendment principle, which says that Congress and the president cannot favor one religion over another. Those two constitutional principles are colliding with each other at the moment.”

Stock said the question now becomes which of these two constitutional principles will be given more importance.

The statutory provision Trump cited as the legal basis for his order (8 U.S. Code § 1182) requires the president to give a reason for suspending visas. Such reasons can include anything from individuals having spreadable diseases to them posing a risk to the American public’s safety.

Similar actions have been taken by previous presidents. The Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, signed into law by President Chester Arthur, banned Chinese laborers from immigrating to the U.S. amid concerns of unemployment, particularly on the West Coast. Then, in 1924, President Calvin Coolidge signed the Johnson-Reed Act, which limited the number of immigrants coming to the U.S. while completely barring Asian immigrants.

Trump’s order is similar in that it bars immigrants from certain countries for the stated reason of national security. But according to Stock, the effort becomes complicated in part because of which nations are not included. The order does not include any of the four countries from which the 9/11 hijackers originated: Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates or Lebanon.

Further, Stock said the courts will likely consider the recent statements made by members of Trump’s inner circle. He pointed to one comment, specifically, by former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who said on Fox News last weekend that Trump asked him for advice on what Trump first announced in December 2015 as a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States.”

“I’ll tell you the whole history of it: When he first announced it, he said ‘Muslim ban,’” Giuliani said, the Hill reported.

“He called me up, he said, ‘Put a commission together, show me the right way to do it legally,” Giuliani added.

Stock said comments like these are sure to be taken into account.

“There’s a lot of law behind how a court will look behind the language of a particular statute…to say, ‘well, wait a second, what’s really going on here,’” Stock said. “When you have a president who comes out and says, ‘I’m going to throw this in the face of the courts,’ that ‘I get to do whatever I want,’ that’s a recipe for having the courts take a serious second look at the constitutional principle that the president is trying to use.”

But Hans van Spakovsky, an immigration law expert at the conservative Heritage Foundation, told TheBlaze during an interview Friday that Stock is just “blowing smoke.” Van Spakovsky said Congress has given the president of the United States “very broad discretion” when it comes to immigration.

Van Spakovsky pointed to the statute Trump cited in his executive order, which states, in part:

Whenever the President finds that the entry of any aliens or of any class of aliens into the United States would be detrimental to the interests of the United States, he may by proclamation, and for such period as he shall deem necessary, suspend the entry of all aliens or any class of aliens as immigrants or nonimmigrants, or impose on the entry of aliens any restrictions he may deem to be appropriate.

“There’s no constitutional issue here. There’s not even a federal statutory issue,” Van Spakovsky said. “There’s just no way anybody could question that because they’ve got 100 percent authority over immigration. And they [Congress] gave to the president, they delegated the ability to suspend the entry of any alien into the country and that executive order falls fully within that statute.”

As for the order not including majority Muslim countries such as the UAE, Van Spakovsky pointed out the governments in those countries are able to work with the U.S. to thoroughly vet immigrants applying for American visas. That’s not the case with the countries included in Trump’s order.

“This doesn’t go after all the countries in the world from where terrorists have sprung. It goes after the seven worst countries in the Middle East, all of which are failed or failing countries,” Van Spakovsky explained.

At this point, it’s unclear as to how far up in the court system the several challenges to Trump’s executive order might go. But even if one or all of them find their way to the U.S. Supreme Court, Van Spakovsky seemed confident that Trump’s order would withstand the justices’ scrutiny.

“I think the Supreme Court would easily uphold the legality and constitutionality of this executive order,” he said, adding that the only way liberal justices on the nation’s highest court wouldn’t side with the conservative justices “is if they totally ignore the Constitution and the law.”

“Hopefully, that wouldn’t happen,” Van Spakovsky said.

Posted in Donald Trump, Government, Immigration

February 2nd, 2017 by Staff Writer

According to CNBC, a group consisting of U.S. military veterans has taken it upon themselves to stand in the way of the completion of the Dakota access pipeline.

“We are committed to the people of Standing Rock, we are committed to nonviolence, and we will do everything within our power to ensure that the environment and human life are respected. That pipeline will not get completed. Not on our watch,” said Anthony Diggs, a spokesman for Veterans Stand.

“Veterans Stand” is a GoFundMe that was started to help fund the veteran’s group protesting the pipeline, and as of this writing it has raised just over $56,000 of it’s $500,000 goal after five days.

These veterans are going to stand in the way, despite the Army Corps of Engineers being involved.

The secretary of the Army instructed the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to grant Energy Transfer Partners the easement it needs to complete the final stretch of its $3.7 billion pipeline, Sen. John Hoeven and Rep. Kevin Cramer, both of North Dakota, said Tuesday.

Just last week, President Donald Trump signed an executive order that to put the Dakota Access Pipeline’s completion on the fast track. This has naturally upset the protestors that have made standing in the way of the completion of the pipeline something of a full time job. In fact, the protestors have become such a problem that even the Sioux tribe on standing rock has had to take measures to get the protestors to go home.

 

Posted in Army, Dakota Access Pipeline, Government, Veterans

February 1st, 2017 by Staff Writer

After much anticipation, President Donald Trump has officially announced his administrations pick to fill the vacant seat left by the late Justice Anton Scalia on the Supreme Court.

His name is Neil Gorsuch, a Circuit Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit. Short of putting in Scalia’s ghost in the vacant seat, conservatives will find that Gorsuch is more than worthy of taking his place. According to sources, Gorsuch is a textualist and originalist in the same vein as his predecessor.

In fact, as Ramesh Ponnuru at National Review points out in an excellent expose, Gorsuch himself wrote a tribute to Scalia where he endorsed Scalia’s style on the bench.

“Judges should instead strive (if humanly and so imperfectly) to apply the law as it is, focusing backward, not forward, and looking to text, structure, and history to decide what a reasonable reader at the time of the events in question would have understood the law to be — not to decide cases based on their own moral convictions or the policy consequences they believe might serve society best. As Justice Scalia put it, “if you’re going to be a good and faithful judge, you have to resign yourself to the fact that you’re not always going to like the conclusions you reach. If you like them all the time, you’re probably doing something wrong.”

According to Politico, his stances on religious liberties are very solid as well.

Other rulings give conservatives confidence that Gorsuch is a strong supporter of religious freedom rights. Last September, he joined a dissent arguing that requirements for contraception coverage in Obamacare ran roughshod over the rights of religious non-profits.

Gorsuch also wrote a 2000 law journal article and a 2006 book arguing strongly against assisted-suicide laws. The practice of allowing the terminally ill to end their lives is now legal in six states and is on the verge of being legalized in Washington, D.C.

All in all, Trump could not have picked a more suitable nominee to take Scalia’s place.

In fact, Scalia may have wanted it this way…

Justice Scalia and Judge Gorsuch

photo obtained by @Arianedevogue pic.twitter.com/Tw1ydGczhq

— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) January 31, 2017

Posted in Donald Trump, Government, Neil Gorsuch, SCOTUS, Supreme Court

February 1st, 2017 by Staff Writer

After much anticipation, President Donald Trump has officially announced his administrations pick to fill the vacant seat left by the late Justice Anton Scalia on the Supreme Court.

His name is Neil Gorsuch, a Circuit Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit. Short of putting in Scalia’s ghost in the vacant seat, conservatives will find that Gorsuch is more than worthy of taking his place. According to sources, Gorsuch is a textualist and originalist in the same vein as his predecessor.

In fact, as Ramesh Ponnuru at National Review points out in an excellent expose, Gorsuch himself wrote a tribute to Scalia where he endorsed Scalia’s style on the bench.

“Judges should instead strive (if humanly and so imperfectly) to apply the law as it is, focusing backward, not forward, and looking to text, structure, and history to decide what a reasonable reader at the time of the events in question would have understood the law to be — not to decide cases based on their own moral convictions or the policy consequences they believe might serve society best. As Justice Scalia put it, “if you’re going to be a good and faithful judge, you have to resign yourself to the fact that you’re not always going to like the conclusions you reach. If you like them all the time, you’re probably doing something wrong.”

According to Politico, his stances on religious liberties are very solid as well.

Other rulings give conservatives confidence that Gorsuch is a strong supporter of religious freedom rights. Last September, he joined a dissent arguing that requirements for contraception coverage in Obamacare ran roughshod over the rights of religious non-profits.

Gorsuch also wrote a 2000 law journal article and a 2006 book arguing strongly against assisted-suicide laws. The practice of allowing the terminally ill to end their lives is now legal in six states and is on the verge of being legalized in Washington, D.C.

All in all, Trump could not have picked a more suitable nominee to take Scalia’s place.

In fact, Scalia may have wanted it this way…

Justice Scalia and Judge Gorsuch

photo obtained by @Arianedevogue pic.twitter.com/Tw1ydGczhq

— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) January 31, 2017

Posted in Donald Trump, Government, Neil Gorsuch, SCOTUS, Supreme Court

January 30th, 2017 by Staff Writer

According to Politico, President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin talked about cooperating on a shared vision of destroying the Islamic State in Syria, and a common desire to repair U.S./Russia relations during a 50-minute phone conversation on Saturday.

The White House, in a readout of the conversation, called the chat “positive,” and indicated a hopefulness that the two countries could move swiftly with regard to defeating terrorism and other “issues of mutual concern.”

The Kremlin went further in its assessment, even suggesting a belief that Trump might be open to lifting sanctions, something GOP leaders have warned him to avoid. From Politico:

“The sides stressed the importance of rebuilding mutually beneficial trade and economic ties between the two countries’ business communities, which could give an additional impetus to progressive and sustainable development of bilateral relations,” the Kremlin’s office said in a statement.

“During the conversation, both sides expressed their readiness to make active joint efforts to stabilize and develop Russia-US cooperation on a constructive, equitable and mutually beneficial basis.”

White House chief of staff Reince Priebus, press secretary Sean Spicer, National Security Advisor Gen. Michael Flynn and senior advisor Steve Bannon were all present during the call. Trump also had conversations with leaders of Japan, Germany, France and Australia over the weekend.

Posted in Donald Trump, Government, Russia, Vladimir Putin

January 29th, 2017 by Staff Writer

Saturday afternoon, President Donald Trump again took pen in hand and signed three more executive orders, one of them mandating U.S. military leadership draft and present a plan to defeat the Islamic State in the next 30 days.

Pres. Trump signs executive action directing military advisers to craft plans to defeat ISIS: “I think it’s going to be very successful.” pic.twitter.com/2YVhgu9WMw

— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) January 28, 2017

The Hillreports a senior administration official said the other two orders signed Saturday were related to 5-year lobbying ban for administration officials, including a lifetime ban on administration officials lobbying for a foreign country; and a plan to reorganize the National Security Council.

“OK, that’s big stuff,” Trump said to the cameras and media present in the Oval Office during the signing. “Have a good weekend.”

The actual text of the orders has not yet been made available.

Posted in Donald Trump, Executive Orders, Government, Islamic State, Military, Pentagon

January 29th, 2017 by Staff Writer

President Donald Trump had a 50 minute phone call with Russian President Vladimir Putin Saturday amid reports that Republican leadership had warned him not to go soft on Russian sanctions.

According to the British daily newspaper The Telegraph, the call was intended to be “the first test of an embryonic reset of Russo-US relations that has previously been largely confined to mutually flattering public comments and a shared disdain for Mr Trump’s predecessor, Barack Obama.”

White House press secretary Sean Spicer chronicled the call to Putin, and the several other world leaders Trump reportedly spent the afternoon connecting with via telephone, with a tweet Saturday afternoon.

After speaking with Chancellor Merkel for 45 minutes @POTUS is now onto his 3rd of 5 head of government calls, speaking w Russian Pres Putin pic.twitter.com/RPAWIgcO2C

— Sean Spicer (@PressSec) January 28, 2017

Trump’s relationship with Russian has been characterized as fawning and sycophantic by some, while others say it’s his responsibility as U.S. president to strengthen the relationship between the two nations. As the Telegraph notes, the history of conflict between Washington and Moscow is long and fraught with tension:

[G]rievances include Russia’s annexation of Crimea and military intervention in eastern Ukraine and Syria, the sanctions the US imposed in response, and the exchange of accusations of hacking following apparent Russian attempts to swing the US election in Mr Trump’s favour.

The differences reflect longer-running quarrels about Nato expansion, US missile defence plans, and human rights that together have contributed to the worst collapse in trust between Moscow and Washington since the end of the Cold War.

Some members of Trump’s own party warned him ahead of his call with Putin not to abandon sanctions recently imposed on Russia by former President Barack Obama in retaliation for alleged meddling in the 2016 election.

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), the chairman of the Armed Services Committee, and Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio), a member of the Foreign Relations Committee, warned Friday they were dedicated to turning the punishments against Moscow into law, and asked Trump to carefully consider easing any sanctions.

“I hope President Trump will put an end to this speculation and reject such a reckless course,” McCain said in a statement. “If he does not, I will work with my colleagues to codify sanctions against Russia into law.”

Posted in Barack Obama, Donald Trump, Government, John McCain, Russia, Sanctions, Vladimir Putin

January 26th, 2017 by Staff Writer

Responding to a desire by many Republicans to have a plan in place to replace Obamacare immediately after its repeal, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul revealed his vision for what that might look like with The Obamacare Replacement Act (S. 222).

Paul discussed the details of his plan Sunday on CNN’s  “State of the Union” and noted his intention to “legalize the sale of individual insurance” within the framework of the plan.

“One of the key reforms that we will do is, we’re going to legalize the sale of inexpensive insurance,” he said. “That means getting rid of the Obamacare mandates on what you can buy. We are going to help people save through health savings accounts, as well as a tax credit.”

According to CNN, the bargaining power allowed to the state and federal exchanges under Obamacare would be replaced under Paul’s plan with a provision allowing “individuals and associations like small businesses to create their own markets.”

“There’s no reason why (a business owner) with four employees shouldn’t be able to join with hundreds and hundreds of other businesses that are small to become a large entity to get leverage to bring your prices down,” Paul told CNN’s Jake Tapper.

The Hill notes that Paul’s plan also offers a tax credit of up to $5,000 per person to use toward the establishment of a Health Savings Account, and would do away with Obamacare’s mandate requiring health insurance coverage. Paul also seeks to abolish the the minimum standards required for insurance coverage, something Republicans agree would allow for cheaper, though less comprehensive, plans.

The replacement of Obamacare has become something of a mystery, with Democrats arguing that the GOP is behind the curve in finding something suitable to fill the void. Republicans have floated the idea they may try to “repeal and delay,” which is to say they may repeal and then spend succeeding months drafting new legislation, drawing criticism from Democrats. The repeal of Obamacare, however, is a much simpler prospect.

Much of that can be handled during the reconciliation process, whereby Republicans in the Senate using a 51 vote majority can sidestep the filibuster on parts of the legislation that relate to the budget, such as any that are expenditures or are implemented as taxes. But some provisions — such as the expanded Medicaid program many states accepted as part of Obamacare — would have to be addressed through new legislation or through executive orders that role back enforcement of those provisions.

Paul did not have an immediate answer for what might happen to those provisions of Obamacare that fall outside of the budgetary rubric, such as Medicaid expansion.

“That’s the big question,” Paul told CNN. “And I don’t think that’s going to be in the replacement aspect.”

Posted in Government, Obamacare, Obamacare repeal, Rand Paul, Repeal and Replace

January 23rd, 2017 by Staff Writer

In a reception honoring law enforcement and first responders Sunday, President Donald Trump welcomed FBI Director James Comey, shook his hand and said, “he’s become more famous than me” to laughter from the officers and agents gathered in the Oval Office.

Pres. Trump shakes James Comey’s hand, says “he’s become more famous than me” at law enforcement reception on Sunday https://t.co/HyU8mBt008 pic.twitter.com/EyehtoMUnC

— CBS News (@CBSNews) January 22, 2017

Comey, the highest law enforcement officer in the U.S., was blamed by many Democrats for Hillary Clinton’s problems during her 2016 campaign after he made public changes in the investigation of her private email server a few days before the election. Comey would ultimately go back on his pre-election statements and stand by an earlier decision that the bureau would not pursue charges against Clinton.

Comey is currently under investigation by the Justice Department for how he handled the former secretary of state’s case.

At the reception, Trump thanked law enforcement for their handling of the inauguration. Watch a clip of the exchange here.

Posted in Donald Trump, FBI, Government, Hillary Clinton, James Comey, Oval Office

January 22nd, 2017 by Staff Writer

Fox News reported Saturday that Ret. Marine Gen. James Mattis spent his first day as new Secretary of Defense by visiting the Pentagon after being confirmed on Friday following the inaguration.

NEWS ALERT: Defense Secretary Mattis starts first day on the job. pic.twitter.com/WckvVIkn3I

— Fox News (@FoxNews) January 21, 2017

Immediately upon confirmation, Mattis penned a memo to the troops under his command telling them, “It’s good to be back” and hinting at a closer relationship between the intelligence community, the Defense Department and the department of State.

Mattis had to be confirmed using a special waiver due to federal law that mandates a Secretary of Defense — and all military officers — must be out of uniform for seven years before taking a position in the cabinet to ensure “civilian” control of the military.

Posted in Defense Department, Government, Intelligence Community, James Mattis, Pentagon, Secretary of Defense

January 18th, 2017 by Staff Writer

As TheBlaze reported earlier today, President Barack Obama commuted Chelsea Manning’s 35 year sentence, who will now be released in May instead of in the year 2045. Manning was in serving jail time for leaking classified documents to the group Wikileaks.

Among those who expressed their displeasure with Obama’s decision to release Manning is Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan, who took to Twitter to voice his disapproval in a short statement, calling Obama’s decision “outrageous.”

“This is just outrageous,” wrote Ryan. “Chelsea Manning’s treachery put American lives at risk and exposed some of our nation’s most sensitive secrets. President Obama now leaves in place a dangerous precedent that those who compromise our national security won’t be held accountable for their crimes.”

Chelsea Manning’s treachery put American lives at risk and exposed some of our nation’s most sensitive secrets.

My full statement ↓ pic.twitter.com/PcQrgK2SI3

— Paul Ryan (@SpeakerRyan) January 17, 2017

Ryan is not the only Republican to weigh in. Veterans such as Tom Cotton also expressed their anger over the decision.

“When I was leading soldiers in Afghanistan, Private Manning was undermining us by leaking hundreds of thousands of classified documents to WikiLeaks,” wrote Cotton in a statement. “I don’t understand why the president would feel special compassion for someone who endangered the lives of our troops, diplomats, intelligence officers, and allies. We ought not treat a traitor like a martyr.”

The Hill reports that this is not the only commutation he’s given to a federal prisoner during his two terms in office, having pardoned 1,385 inmates. This is more than the number accumulated under 12 presidents combined.

Posted in Barack Obama, Chelsea Manning, Government, Paul Ryan, Tom Cotton, WikiLeaks

January 16th, 2017 by Staff Writer

FBI Director James Comey has apparently drawn the ire of Democrat leaders in the House of Representatives after a classified briefing held Friday, with at least one Democrat legislator declaring him unfit to head the FBI.

The briefing was reportedly on whether or not Comey will direct the FBI to conduct an investigation into the alleged ties between President-elect Donald Trump and the assumed Russian hackers many Democrats believe helped undermine Hillary Clinton’s campaign.

While former Democratic National Committee chair Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) was frustrated enough with Comey to shout at him, “You let us down,” according to one attendee of the meeting, Vice President-elect Mike Pence refused Sunday to answer whether Trump still had confidence in the embattled agency head.

“You’ll have to ask him about that,” Pence said on “Fox News Sunday.”

Comey played a pivotal role in the 2016 election after he first indicated that Clinton may have mishandled classified information by setting up a home-brew server. He changed that position in July 2016 and said the bureau would not be recommending charges against Clinton and two of her aides. Then, following a late-hour discovery of yet more potentially classified emails on the laptop of Anthony Weiner, estranged husband of Clinton aide Huma Abedin, Comey indicated he may investigate and file charges after all. Finally, he retracted that position and recommended — again — no charges be filed. The last stance came just 36 hours before polls opened on Election Day.

At Friday’s briefing, Democrats were reportedly frustrated by Comey’s insistence that he would not be investigating Trump and his supposed relationship with Russia, but had come close to investigating Clinton and her server, and was vocal about his intent before changing his position.

Legislators seeking to hold Russia accountable were also disappointed earlier this week, when Comey refused during a public hearing to comment on investigating connections between the president-elect and Russia. Sen. Angus King (I-Maine) noted that Comey had publicly commented on investigations related to Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton. On Friday, the Guardian reported, Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) suggested that the FBI had adopted a double standard.

Vermont Senator and former presidential candidate Bernie Sanders (I) told ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos Sunday, “I think it would not be a bad thing for the American people if [Comey] did step down.” Last week, the Department of Justice inspector general announced a broad investigation into the FBI’s behavior related to Clinton’s emails leading up the election.

Posted in Democrats, Donald Trump, FBI, Government, James Comey, Mike Pence

Show Buttons
Hide Buttons