Personal Liberty Digest™ P.M. Edition 7-25-2014: White House Taking Impeachment Threats More Seriously; Congress Has No Right To Know What Administration Is Up To, Says Liberal; USDA Contractors Have Access To Sensitive Personal Data; U.S. Ambassador To Ukraine Rebukes Russia; Friday Funnies

Brush up on the day’s headlines with Personal Liberty’s P.M. Edition news links.

The White House Is Starting To Take Obama Impeachment Threats Seriously

The White House on Friday said that it is taking Republican threats to impeach President Barack Obama seriously. White House Senior Advisor Dan Pfeiffer said that the threat of Obama impeachment would increase if the President takes executive actions to keep illegal aliens in the country. Read More… 

Russia’s Actions In Ukraine ‘Gasoline On The Fire,’ US Diplomat Says

The U.S. ambassador to Ukraine had stern words for Russia on Friday, continuing a week in which Washington has toughened its rhetoric against Russian President Vladimir Putin over his nation’s alleged involvement in clashes in eastern Ukraine. Read More…

Audit Reveals Huge Security Gaps In USDA Data Network

An audit of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Universal Telecommunications Network released Thursday by the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) reveals that almost half of the independent contractors sourced through an agreement with AT&T to manage the USDA’s data network do not have security clearances. Read More…

DC Non-Lawmaker: Congress Doesn’t Have Right To Know What’s Going On At The White House

According to Washington DC non-voting Congressional representative Eleanor Holmes Norton, Congress shouldn’t scrutinize the White House because lawmakers don’t have a right to know what’s going on within the Administration. Video… 

A Roundup Of This Week’s Political Cartoons

Dueling appellate court rulings handed down this week left President Barack Obama’s signature legislation in limbo. Obamacare’s crashing and burning is just one of many fires that it would seem the President would be interested in putting out. But apparently, Obama is far more interested in putting on the golf course than he is in putting out fires. Funnies… 

DC Non-Lawmaker: Congress Doesn’t Have Right To Know What’s Going On At The White House

According to Washington DC non-voting Congressional representative Eleanor Holmes Norton, Congress shouldn’t scrutinize the White House because lawmakers don’t have a right to know what’s going on within the Administration.

“You don’t have a right to know everything in a separation-of-powers government, my friend. That is the difference between a parliamentary government and a separation-of-powers government,” Norton told House Oversight and Government Reform Committee members Friday.

The comment came in response to a GOP decision to ignore the Administration’s assertions that director of the White House Office of Political Strategy and Outreach David Simas shouldn’t have to testify before lawmakers who allege the office is being used for political purposes in violation of election laws.

Maybe this is why President Barack Obama is so keen on DC becoming the Nation’s 58th… er 51st… State.

A Roundup Of This Week’s Political Cartoons

Dueling appellate court rulings handed down this week left President Barack Obama’s signature legislation in limbo. Obamacare’s crashing and burning is just one of many fires that it would seem the President would be interested in putting out. But apparently, Obama is far more interested in putting on the golf course than he is in putting out fires.

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Paul Zanetti, Australia
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Bob Englehart, The Hartford Courant
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Eric Allie, Caglecartoons.com
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Nate Beeler, The Columbus Dispatch
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Pat Bagley, Salt Lake Tribune
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Rick McKee, The Augusta Chronicle
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John Darkow, Columbia Daily Tribune, Missouri
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Rick McKee, The Augusta Chronicle
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Steve Sack, The Minneapolis Star Tribune
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Wolverton, Cagle Cartoons
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Mike Keefe, Cagle Cartoons

Stories We’re Watching: Friday News Links 7-25-2014

  • President Barack Obama insisted for years that he had absolutely no legal authority — none whatsoever, zero, zilch — to slow deportations on a broad scale. Forget everything he’s said. Obama’s pledge to use his executive powers by the end of the summer marked both a dramatic reversal in rhetoric and a major strategic shift on immigration. Source: POLITICO…
  • High-ranking U.S. officials said Wednesday that not only are Sunni radicals with the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant “worse than al-Qaida,” but that the group has a message for the president: “We’re coming for you, Barack Obama.” Source: The Washington Times…
  • Top White House political adviser David Simas refused again Friday to honor a congressional subpoena. Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Darrell Issa plans to vote shortly in committee to reject the White House’s claim that Simas has absolute immunity from a subpoena from Congress. Source: Roll Call…
  • Earlier this week, a three-judge panel in the D.C. Circuit Court ruled that Obamacare’s subsidies for private health insurance were limited to state-run health exchanges. One of the law’s architects — at the same time that he was a paid consultant to states deciding whether or not to build their own exchanges — was espousing exactly this interpretation as far back in early 2012, and long before the Halbig suit — the one that was decided this week against the administration — was filed. Source: Reason…
  • First lady Michelle Obama on Thursday night urged Democrats to “dig deep” into their pockets and “write a big fat check” before the midterm elections, but minutes later complained of too much money in politics. Speaking at a party fundraiser in Chicago, Mrs. Obama blasted special interest groups that funnel money to Republicans. “So, yeah, there’s too much money in politics. There’s special interests that have too much influence. But they had all that money and all that influence back in 2008 and 2012 and we still won those elections,” she said. Source: The Washington Times…
  • A bulletin released in March 2014 by the FBI, Department of Homeland Security and the National Counterterrorism Center, obtained this week by Public Intelligence, contains details of a program entitled “Emergency Medical Treatment Presents Opportunity for Discovery of Violent Extremist Activities.” Source: Infowars…
  • Kremlin officials are suggesting that the United States has created fake evidence to implicate pro-Russian separatists in the shooting of Malaysia Airline Flight 17. Source: The Wire…
  • A doctor wounded by a patient in a deadly shooting Thursday afternoon at a suburban hospital campus in Darby, Pa. returned fire and wounded the patient, authorities said. Investigators believe the doctor had his own gun and acted in self-defense, Delaware County District Attorney Jack Whelan said. Source: CBS News…
  • Officers from the University of Arkansas Police Department are searching for clues they hope will lead them to the man who they believe committed a hate crime on campus over the weekend. Authorities said someone made racist comments through an open window to two people inside the Garland House. “This is considered a hate crime,” Capt. Gary Crain said. Source: 40/29 News Arkansas…

Personal Liberty Digest™ P.M. Edition 7-24-2014: Obama Fundraiser Ticket Prices Plummet; Ivory Ban Threatens Antique Guns; Gun Free Campus Robbed At Gunpoint; Healthcare Ruling Q&A; Loans From The Post Office

Brush up on the day’s headlines with Personal Liberty’s P.M. Edition news links.

Obama Dinner Fire Sale: Price Of Seats Slashed At President’s California Fundraisers

President Barack Obama’s fund-raising junket on the west coast has reportedly hit a wall, with per-plate prices for the Democratic fundraising dinners which he headlines tanking from a previous high of $32,400 to as little as $5,000. Read More… 

Lawmaker: Ivory Ban Could Lead To Confiscation Of Antique Guns, Instruments

A Tennessee Senator is worried that a new Obama Administration Fish and Wildlife Service mandate aimed at stopping the trade of ivory could lead to the confiscation of antique firearms and other goods. Read More… 

Robbers Use Gun On Gun-Free Campus To – What Else? – Rob Four Ohio Students

Over the weekend, three guys concealed their faces with hoodies and bandannas came into a common area for on-campus housing, pulled out a handgun, and robbed four unlucky (and obviously unarmed) students. Read More… 

Could Plan To Offer Financial Services Save Postal Service?

Lawmakers and government officials looking for a way to save the cash-strapped U.S. Postal Service are considering a proposal that would make check cashing, small loans, prepaid cards and other financial services available at your local post office. Read More… 

The Healthcare Law Rulings: A Q&A

Contrary rulings Tuesday on a key element of the Affordable Care Act by two separate Federal appeals courts raise a variety of questions. Answers… 

Stories We’re Watching: Thursday News Links 7-24-2014

Here is a collection of some of the stories making the Internet rounds today. Click the links for the full stories.

  • The chairman of the Federal Election Commission on Wednesday blasted Democratic colleagues opposed to his effort to protect conservative media after they imposed rules on the publisher of Congressman Paul Ryan’s (R-Wis.) new book, opening the door to future book regulations – or even a ban. Source: Washington Examiner…
  • John E. Walsh, Montana’s newly appointed Democratic Senator, who’s also the party’s candidate in this year’s midterm election, plagiarized at least one third of the final thesis that earned him a master’s degree at the United States Army War College, according to multiple news reports Wednesday. An examination of the 14-page paper, titled “The Case for Democracy as a Long Term National Strategy” and posted online by The New York Times, revealed that about a third of Mr. Walsh’s 2007 paper consisted of verbatim language and extremely similar passages to other sources, without any kind of attribution. Source: The Washington Times…
  • Some ICE officials think the Obama Administration has intentionally neglected to give them orders to support efforts to resolve the crisis on America’s southwestern border, says Ronald Colburn, former national deputy chief of the U.S. Border Patrol. As a result, the wave of unaccompanied children from Central America is unfolding while ICE officials cool their heels. Source: National Review…
  • Marcos and Crisly, Ana and Blanca, Fabiola and Maria Antonia. The youths were among 20 from Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala who were set to appear in Federal immigration court Tuesday for initial deportation hearings. But they weren’t there — 18 of the children whose cases were set to be heard didn’t show up Tuesday for court. It was an absentee rate that Federal Immigration Judge Michael Baird said was “highly unusual,” so high that he reset the hearings for Aug. 11 rather than possibly issuing a deportation order. Source: The Dallas Morning News…
  • An apology from a senior VA official earlier this month failed to prevent a spate of employment-related Federal lawsuits from former employees who claim they faced retaliation after lodging workplace complaints, a review of court records shows. The complaints include the case of a former staff psychologist in South Dakota who says she was punished for calling attention to building problems that were making people physically ill. In another case, a patient safety manager in Texas says he was suspended after raising concerns about a staffing shortage in his department, all while being the target of racial slurs. Source: The Washington Times…
  • Kentucky Senator Rand Paul’s resistance to military intervention abroad is likely to be viewed as his biggest break from Republican tradition if he seeks his party’s nomination in 2016. But Mr. Paul is also challenging his own party by increasingly embracing issues dear to the African-American voters who have overwhelmingly rejected the GOP for decades. Source: The Wall Street Journal…
  • Could a good strong dose of economic populism be the prescription for the lagging turnout ailment that plagues the Democratic party? Some of the Democrats’ most seasoned strategists believe so, and they’ve been vocal on the subject as the midterm election moves toward its final phase. “Populism decides who wins elections in America,” Michael Podhorzer, the political director of the AFL-CIO, told a group of reporters Wednesday. Source: The Los Angeles Times…
  • Here’s one big difference between a hotel and Airbnb, the hotel-alternative web service that allows you to rent your place to a guest. If someone rents a hotel room and refuses to leave, the desk calls security and has him thrown out. If someone rents out a place using Airbnb and the “guest” refuses to leave, there’s no desk, no security and sometimes not much recourse. That’s what Cory Tschogl is finding out. Source: The Washington Post…
  • Republican Maine Governor Paul LePage is taking another step toward pushing welfare recipients to find jobs. The Department of Health and Human Services announced on Wednesday that, starting October first, “able bodied” adults with no dependents who get SNAP benefits – often called food stamps – will have to work 20 hours per week or do volunteer work. There are an estimated 12,000 recipients in Maine who meet that standard. Source: WCSH-TV…
  • The al-Qaida-Inspired Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has ordered all girls and women between the ages of 11 and 46 in and around Iraq’s northern city of Mosul to undergo female genital mutilation, the United Nations said on Thursday. The “fatwa” would potentially affect 4 million women and girls, a U.N. official told reporters in Geneva by videolink from Arbil. “This is not the will of Iraqi people, or the women of Iraq in these vulnerable areas covered by the terrorists,” she said. Source: Al Arabiya…

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Personal Liberty Digest™ P.M. Edition 7-23-2014: Obama’s Expansion Of The Terror Watchlist; Lerner’s Emails May Still Exist, IRS Official Says; Americans Feeling Very Divided; Rand Paul’s Hybrid Political Persona; A Plan To Reform The Fed In Steps

Brush up on the day’s headlines with Personal Liberty’s P.M. Edition news links.

No Facts Or Evidence Needed For Obama To Deem You A Terrorist

An expansion of the Federal government’s terrorist watchlist system under the Obama Administration allows for American citizens and foreigners to be blacklisted as possible terrorists with “neither ‘concrete facts’ nor ‘irrefutable evidence.’” Read More… 

Another Day, Another IRS Revelation: Backups From The Lois Lerner Era Do Exist, Commissioner Admits

IRS Commissioner John Koskinen, in front of Congressional investigators for the third time in the last month, admitted today that the agency does possess backup drives that may contain the elusive data that allegedly went missing when former Exempt Organizations administrator Lois Lerner’s computer hard drive crashed. Read More… 

Americans Feel Increasingly Divided, Fault Obama And Congressional GOP

American voters strongly believe that the Nation is more divided than it was just four years ago, according to the results of a recent poll. The Numbers… 

Rand Paul Makes Appeal To Fiscally Conservative, Socially Liberal Voters: ‘A Plurality Of People Are No Longer Republican Or Democrat’

Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.), looking very much like a man testing liberals’ tolerance for a Republican presidential candidate with hybrid social and fiscal values, made the case for a more “live and let live” Republican platform last week in Silicon Valley, where he spoke at the tech-centric LincolnLabs Reboot Conference. Video… 

Mises Scholar Explains How To Start Reforming The Federal Reserve

Republicans are not in a position to legislate radical monetary reform. But this Mises scholar believes that conservative lawmakers could begin setting the wheels of reform in motion. Here’s How… 

Rand Paul Makes Appeal To Fiscally Conservative, Socially Liberal Voters: ‘A Plurality Of People Are No Longer Republican Or Democrat’

Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.), looking very much like a man testing liberals’ tolerance for a Republican presidential candidate with hybrid social and fiscal values, made the case for a more “live and let live” Republican platform last week in Silicon Valley, where he spoke at the tech-centric LincolnLabs Reboot Conference.

Illustrating his message by focusing on the shifting political values of a young, technically proficient Silicon Valley workforce, Paul told Reason TV he believes “a plurality” of Americans aren’t aligning with the competing platforms extended by the Nation’s two dominant political parties.

“I think they’re not completely comfortable in either party…and I truly believe the conclusion that a plurality of people are no longer Republican or Democrat,” he told Reason’s Nick Gillespie.

“If you ask people out here, ‘are you more fiscally conservative? – less taxes than the President [wants]; less regulation,’ they’ll say, ‘yeah, I’m more conservative than the President.’”

But, when the topic shifts to civil liberties and personal freedoms:

“’Are you more moderate or liberal on social issues than the Republicans?’ – ‘Yes.’ So they don’t fit neatly in either category, but I think they’re also primed for someone who will come to them with a message that is not entirely Republican and not entirely Democrat.”

No Facts Or Evidence Needed For Obama To Deem You A Terrorist

An expansion of the Federal government’s terrorist watchlist system under the Obama Administration allows for American citizens and foreigners to be blacklisted as possible terrorists with “neither ‘concrete facts’ nor ‘irrefutable evidence.’”

That’s according National Security Agency story-breaker Glenn Greenwald’s The Intercept, which released the governments “March 2013 Watchlisting Guidelines” to the public Wednesday.

The Intercept reports:

The new guidelines allow individuals to be designated as representatives of terror organizations without any evidence they are actually connected to such organizations, and it gives a single White House official the unilateral authority to place “entire categories” of people the government is tracking onto the no fly and selectee lists. It broadens the authority of government officials to “nominate” people to the watchlists based on what is vaguely described as “fragmentary information.” It also allows for dead people to be watchlisted.

The implications of labeling people as terrorists based on lacking information are great, ranging from causing individuals problems with law enforcement to making it virtually impossible to travel freely or find employment. And while getting put on the watchlist can result from something as simple as having an unfortunate encounter with law enforcement on government property, the secrecy surrounding Nation’s intelligence apparatus makes it very difficult to be removed.

Again from The Intercept:

The government has been widely criticized for making it impossible for people to know why they have been placed on a watchlist, and for making it nearly impossible to get off. The guidelines bluntly state that “the general policy of the U.S. Government is to neither confirm nor deny an individual’s watchlist status.” But the courts have taken exception to the official silence and footdragging: In June, a federal judge described the government’s secretive removal process as unconstitutional and “wholly ineffective.”

The difficulty of getting off the list is highlighted by a passage in the guidelines stating that an individual can be kept on the watchlist, or even placed onto the watchlist, despite being acquitted of a terrorism-related crime. The rulebook justifies this by noting that conviction in U.S. courts requires evidence beyond a reasonable doubt, whereas watchlisting requires only a reasonable suspicion. Once suspicion is raised, even a jury’s verdict cannot erase it.

Read the full report here.

Stories We’re Watching: Wednesday News Links 7-23-2014

Here is a collection of some of the stories making the Internet rounds today. Click the links for the full stories.

  • Ex-IRS official Lois Lerner’s computer hard drive was “scratched” and the data on it was still recoverable. But the IRS did not try to recover the data from Lerner’s hard drive, despite recommendations from in-house IRS IT experts to outsource the recovery project. The hard drive was then “shredded,” according to a court filing the IRS made to House Ways and Means Committee investigators. Source: The Daily Caller…
  • The Obama Administration is fighting to keep secret hundreds of pages of emails detailing White House involvement in the 2010 firing and attempted rehiring of Agriculture Department employee Shirley Sherrod after the late conservative blogger Andrew Breitbart published a blog post and video clips suggesting Sherrod was a racist. Source: POLITICO…
  • The White House Correspondents’ Association is filing a formal complaint against the White House for excluding press from a celebration of the the 45th anniversary of the moon landing held at the White House Tuesday. Source: The Daily Caller…
  • Former Dollar General CEO David Perdue won the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate in Georgia on Tuesday, defeating Rep. Jack Kingston in a close race that went down to the wire. The outcome is a blow to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which made a sizable investment on behalf of Kingston. Source: The Washington Post…
  • By leaving strategic areas along the southern U.S. border unprotected, and by using children as the face of the illegal immigrant surge to elicit public sympathy, the Federal government is engaging in a sophisticated military tactic known as “asymmetrical warfare” against the American people, a former U.S. Border Patrol agent is warning. Source: Infowars…
  • Texas Republican Lt. Governor David Dewhurst reported that the vast majority of illegal immigrants coming over the southern border are not unaccompanied minors in an appearance on Tuesday’s broadcast of MSNBC’s “The Daily Rundown.” Source: Breitbart…
  • Voters strongly believe the United States is a more divided nation these days, and they think both sides are to blame. Most are also ready to do something about it at the ballot box in November. Sixty-seven percent (67%) of Likely U.S. Voters say America is a more divided nation than it was four years ago. Source: Rasmussen…
  • A DNAinfo New York review of decisions by the city’s Taxi and Limousine Tribunal judges shows that in the past year and a half, hundreds of people going about their daily routines had their cars seized because inspectors suspected they were unlicensed cabbies. Source: DNAinfo…

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