Former Pentagon Spokesman: Terrorists At Gitmo Receiving Better Care Than U.S. Veterans

On Friday, retired Navy Commander J.D. Gordon, who served as Pentagon spokesman in the Office of the Secretary of Defense between 2005 and 2009, penned a damning editorial about veterans’ hospitals in the U.S.

“Here’s another secret the White House doesn’t want you to know about the VA. Al Qaeda detainees get better medical treatment than our veterans,” the former official wrote for Fox.

Gordon’s assessment is based on the 30 visits he made to the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base while working for the Pentagon.

Here are some shocking comparisons Gordon provides in his piece:

Despite the fact that Al Qaeda terrorists carried out the Sept. 11 terror attacks, killing 3,000 people in America, the admitted co-conspirators and their roughly 150 fellow jihadists at Gitmo have approximately 100 doctors, nurses and health care personnel assigned to them.

Doctors and medical personnel are at their beck and call.  Got a cold, a fever, a toothache, a tumor, chest or back pain, mental health issues, PTSD?  No problem, come right on in. Military doctors are waiting to see you.

The VA and Gitmo eligible patient-to-health care provider ratios speak volumes.

While the Gitmo ratio is 1.5 to 1, for America’s 9 million veterans receiving VA health care and 267,930 VA employees, the ratio is 35 to 1.

The former top military official also notes that, while the President campaigned on closing Guantanamo Bay just as he had campaigned on reforming veterans’ care issues, the Administration tossed veterans aside once he entered the Oval Office.

“[T]heir focus was closing Guantanamo and improving the comfort of detainees. Even though they already lived under some of the best prison conditions ever seen,” Gordon writes.

Read the full piece here…

Friday Fun: A Roundup Of This Week’s Political Cartoons

Who doesn’t love Fridays? And who doesn’t especially love a Friday before a three-day weekend? Are visions of your plans for the long weekend dancing in your head? Maybe you’re planning a trip to the lake or the beach. Perhaps you have a cookout planned with family and friends. Or maybe you’re planning to take this opportunity to tackle a project on your honey-do list. That’s all well and good. But Personal Liberty would like to suggest you take a moment to remember why you don’t have to work on Monday. It’s more than just a day off.

cartoonE
Steve Sack, The Minneapolis Star Tribune
cartoonG
Bob Englehart, The Hartford Courant
cartoonA
David Fitzsimmons, The Arizona Star
cartoonB
John Darkow, Columbia Daily Tribune, Missouri
cartoonC
Bill Day, Cagle Cartoons
cartoonD
Rick McKee, The Augusta Chronicle
cartoonF
Milt Priggee, Skagit Valley Herald

Personal Liberty Digest™ P.M. Edition 5-22-2014: White House Benghazi Cover Up Began While Americans Were Still In Danger; NSA Reform Bill Sponsor Votes Against Watered Down Bill; Gun Free Sign Didn’t Stop Armed Robbery; Fiat CEO Doesn’t Want To Sell Electric Cars; Why Congress Sucks

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

Issa: Classified State Department Email Shows Obama Administration In Benghazi Damage Control Mode Before Attack Was Even Finished

On Wednesday, House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) revealed the existence of a classified State Department email that creates fresh questions about the Obama Administration’s handling of the Benghazi, Libyia terror attack, even as it was taking place. Read More… 

Co-Sponsor Justin Amash Slams House Approval Of Watered-Down NSA Reform Bill

It says a lot when a bill’s co-sponsor ends up voting against his own legislation once it’s made its way through the committee carwash process and come out sterile on the other side. That’s what Congressman Justin Amash (R-Mi.) did today, casting a “no” vote against the USA Freedom Act he helped co-sponsor, even though the bill passed the House on a 303-121 vote. Read More… 

‘Gun Free’ Restaurant Robbed By Bad Guys With Guns

The Pit Authentic Barbeque restaurant in Durham, North Carolina, has a specialized “No Weapons/No Concealed Firearms” sign prominently displayed at its entrance. The armed robbers who terrorized workers in the restaurant’s kitchen Sunday night didn’t seem to notice. The Sign… 

Fiat Chrysler CEO: Please Don’t Buy The Electric Car The Government Makes Us Produce

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles Chief Executive Sergio Marchionne told an audience at the Brookings Institution that he hopes people don’t buy electric models of the Fiat 500 because government mandates are killing the company’s bottom line. Read More… 

This National Journal Graphic Illustrates Everything You Need To Know About What Is Wrong With Congress

Based on the results of the latest round of primary elections, Americans aren’t exactly sending a message to members of Congress who are doing an unsatisfactory job. The Problem… 

This National Journal Graphic Illustrates Everything You Need To Know About What Is Wrong With Congress

Based on the results of the latest round of primary elections, Americans aren’t exactly sending a message to members of Congress who are doing an unsatisfactory job.

cdn-media.nationaljournal.com

Via National Journal:

Americans might be mad as hell at Congress—but they’re going to keep taking it.

Consider these two facts:

1: Congressional approval is at 11 percent, as measured by the latest Allstate/National Journal Heartland Monitor Poll.

2: Exactly zero incumbent candidates—for the Senate or House—have lost a primary race in this midterm cycle. In Tuesday’s congressional primaries, incumbents went 45 for 45, and establishment Republicans won easy victories against their tea-party rivals. Despite how much voters say they hate the current Congress, they still like them better than their primary challengers.

 

Thursday Morning News Roundup 5-22-2014

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

  • Two Democratic congressmen became the first members of their party to call for Veterans Affairs secretary Eric Shinseki’s resignation shortly after President Barack Obama’s meeting with the embattled department head. While speaking on the House floor about a bill he co-sponsored to make it easier to fire VA officials, Representative David Scott of Georgia offered a passionate plea to address the problem and called for Shinseki’s ouster. Source: National Review… 
  • President Obama trumpeted his designation of a national monument in southern New Mexico as the kind of unilateral action he promised in the 2014 State of the Union speech, adding that he intends to take more actions as Congress refuses to pass his preferred conservation laws. Source: Washington Examiner…
  • The construction of a massive new headquarters for the Department of Homeland Security, billed as critical for national security and the revitalization of Southeast Washington, is running more than $1.5 billion over budget, is 11 years behind schedule and may never be completed, according to planning documents and federal officials. Source: The Washington Post…
  • Liberal groups say Hillary Clinton is a blank slate when it comes to certain policies and are pressing her to side with them on the Keystone XL pipeline, deportations, financial regulation and other matters. The push for Mrs. Clinton to flesh out her views comes as she has stepped up her public appearances ahead of a likely campaign for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination. Source: The Wall Street Journal… 
  • The head of the FBI says he understands why people worry about the scope of the government’s powers, and in fact, he agrees with them. “I believe people should be suspicious of government power. I am,” Director James Comey told the Senate Judiciary Committee Wednesday. “I think this country was founded by people who were worried about government power so they divided it among three branches,” he added. Source: The Hill… 
  • The way Charles Plosser sees it, the Federal Reserve is sitting on a ticking time bomb that could severely damage the economy unless the central bank reacts quickly to defuse the looming threat. The Philadelphia Fed president, viewed as one of the bank’s leading hawks, is worried about some $2.5 trillion in “excess” reserves. That is, loanable funds available to individual or corporate borrowers through the nation’s banks. Source: Market Watch…
  • On May 21 Senator Ed Markey (D-Mass.) and Representative Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) introduced legislation designating $10 million a year to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) “to fund research on gun violence prevention and firearms safety.” President Obama already designated $10 million to the CDC for research on gun violence in 2014, but Congress will have to act on Markey’s bill to keep it going thereafter. Source: Breitbart…

Check back for updates, news and analysis throughout the day. Like us on Facebook. And follow our improved Twitter feed.

Personal Liberty Digest™ P.M. Edition 5-21-2014: Open Carry Activism Isn’t Helping 2nd Amendment Support; White House Bails Out Obamacare Insurers; CNN Says It May Not Cover Benghazi Probe; Democrats Grudgingly Agree To Participate In House Select Committee; Civil Liberties Groups Decry Gutted Freedom Act

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

Are Open Carry Advocates Helping To Kill The 2nd Amendment?

Open carry activists have been in the headlines since a group of gun-wielding 2nd Amendment supporters dined at a Chipotle in Dallas, allegedly making some customers and employees in the restaurant uncomfortable. Backfire?.. 

Obama Administration Secures Bailout For Obamacare Insurers

Insurance companies who’ve been repeatedly told – at least in public – that there’s no reason they should need government assistance to ensure the Obamacare era is a profitable one now have a taxpayer-funded bailout waiting for them if the Affordable Care Act’s provisions cause them to lose money. Read More… 

House Democrats Agree To Participate In GOP-Led Benghazi Probe

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Wednesday named a slate of Democrats to participate in the new select committee on Benghazi, despite reservations of many in her party about the mission of the GOP-led panel. Read More… 

Not Newsworthy: CNN Boss Warns Network May Not Cover Benghazi Select Committee

CNN won’t be guilted into covering the House Select Committee’s investigation into the Benghazi terror attack if its content directors believe the investigation isn’t newsworthy, network president Jeff Zucker told a reporter Tuesday at an awards event in New York. Read More… 

Civil Liberties Groups Blast House’s ‘Gutted’ USA Freedom Act

On Tuesday, House Leadership reached an agreement to amend the bipartisan USA FREEDOM Act in ways that severely weaken the bill, potentially allowing bulk surveillance of records to continue. Read More… 

Wednesday Morning News Links 5-21-2014

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

  • Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky decisively turned back the first well-financed Republican primary opponent he had faced since being elected in 1984, defeating a Tea Party-backed conservative who claimed the Senate minority leader had been too willing to compromise with Democrats. Read more at The New York Times… 

 

  • The Obama administration has quietly adjusted key provisions of its signature healthcare law to potentially make billions of additional taxpayer dollars available to the insurance industry if companies providing coverage through the Affordable Care Act lose money. Full story at the Los Angeles Times… 

 

  • The Pentagon is weighing allowing some immigrants brought illegally to the country as youths to serve in the military, a unilateral step by the Obama administration as immigration legislation remains stalled in the Republican-led House. More from the Associated Press… 

 

  • President Obama will address the growing Veterans Affairs scandal on Wednesday in public comments after a meeting with the head of the agency. Read more at The Hill… 

 

  • The Obama administration will spend over $1 billion on HealthCare.gov, the still-incomplete Obamacare website, by the end of the year, according to Obama nominee Sylvia Burwell’s testimony to Congress. The Daily Caller has the full story…

 

  • Secretary of State John Kerry did not shy away from pejorative language when addressing “climate change” in his commencement speech at Boston College on Monday. Kerry referred to those skeptical of the Obama administration’s climate claims as “members of the Flat Earth Society” who are “risking nothing less than the future of the entire planet” by resisting implementation of the administration’s policies. At the very least, Kerry argued, what have we got to lose by taking the steps he and the president are advocating? From The Weekly Standard… 

Check back for updates, news and analysis throughout the day. Like us on Facebook. And follow our improved Twitter feed.

Personal Liberty Digest™ P.M. Edition 5-20-2014: Nevada Scraps Obamacare Website; White House Will Release Redacted Drone Documents On Killing Americans; Lawmaker Decries ‘Nixonian’ Obama Administration; Reid, Pelosi Promote Anti-Koch Film; DOJ Division Nominated For Worst-Transparency Award

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

Nevada Trashes Its Failed Obamacare Website

Nevada became the latest State to abandon its State-managed Obamacare online marketplace Tuesday, ending its relationship with the company that had been hired to set up and manage the Nevada Health Link exchange and referring future customers to the Federal Obamacare website, healthcare.gov. Read More… 

White House Says It Will Release Redacted Drone Documents As Rand Paul Gets Ready To Contest Court Nominee

In an effort to help along Senate confirmation of David Barron to the 1st Circuit Court of Appeals, the Obama Administration says it will release a memo the nominee wrote which provided the Justice Department justification for using drone strikes against U.S. citizens. Read More… 

Reid, Pelosi Twist Words To Defend Use Of Capitol To Promote Partisan Koch-Bashing Film

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) will use the Capitol Visitor Center inside the U.S. Capitol building tonight to screen and discuss a film whose title is as politically weighted as its message: Koch Brothers Exposed: 2014 Edition. Read More… 

Lawmaker Decries Obama Administration’s ‘Nixonian’ Intimidation Of Public Employees

Representative Frank Wolfe (R-Va.) is concerned that the Obama Administration is involved in “Nixonian” efforts to pressure government employees following reports that the top official at the Drug Enforcement Agency enacted policy changes after a meeting with Attorney General Eric Holder. Read More… 

Justice Department’s National Security Division Nominated For Golden Padlock Award For Egregious Secrecy

The Department of Justice’s National Security Division deserves a trophy for trampling transparency. Read More… 

Reid, Pelosi Twist Words To Defend Use Of Capitol To Promote Partisan Koch-Bashing Film

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) will use the Capitol Visitor Center inside the U.S. Capitol building tonight to screen and discuss a film whose title is as politically weighted as its message: Koch Brothers Exposed: 2014 Edition.

In other words, two elected public servants are using the Capitol grounds tonight as a propaganda stump for the Democratic Party.

It’s against House and Senate rules governing the use of the Capitol to publicize or premiere a film in the Vistors Center. House Administration Committee chair Candice Miller (R-Mi.) wrote to Pelosi in a letter shared with media sources Tuesday, informing them that they were violating both the spirit and the letter of those rules, which are intended to prevent the seat of government from becoming a partisan hawker’s den.

“We cannot hold partisan political rallies or fundraisers on the grounds of the Capitol, or within its walls,” wrote Miller, who said the event “may cross the line into partisan politics.”

“Our work in this hallowed building must solely be in the interests of the American people and not in the interests of any political cause,” the letter continues.

Reid and Pelosi are justifying the event – and their participation in it – with obfuscations about why the film is being shown and what they hope to accomplish by showing it at the Capitol.

Reid called the film “a public statement” rather than a piece of partisan propaganda and said Miller’s accusation just demonstrates how brainwashed anyone who would criticize his Koch brothers bashing must be: “That shows how their [the brothers’] tentacles are in every part of the Republican congressional staff.”

Through a spokesman, Pelosi insinuated the rules apply everywhere in the Capitol except the room where the film is being shown.

“As Chairwoman Miller acknowledges in her letter, the room in question is not governed by the rules she cites,” said spokesman Drew Hammill. “Regardless, this film was created by a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, and this event is neither a fundraiser or a screening, but a press conference in which clips from the film will be shown.

“The fact that Chairwoman Miller wrote this letter demonstrates the reach of the Koch Brothers into our government and why there is a need for the public to be more fully informed of their activities, which is the goal of this film.”

Except it is a screening. And read Hammill’s last sentence again. Isn’t that the same logic that makes a bona fide witch float, but drowns an accused innocent?

Tuesday Morning News Roundup 5-20-2014

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

  • Former Sen. Jim Webb (D-Va.) on Monday suggested he’s open to running for President. In 2008, when Webb still served in Congress, he requested that then-candidate Barack Obama not consider him as a running mate. Source: The Hill…
  • President Obama on Wednesday will declare a national monument in southern New Mexico, delivering a win for environmentalists but angering ranchers and local law enforcement, who say the land restrictions will end up creating a safe haven for drug cartels to operate within the U.S. Source: The Washington Times… 
  • China summoned the U.S. ambassador after the United States accused five Chinese military officers of hacking into American companies to steal trade secrets, warning Washington it could take further action, the foreign ministry said on Tuesday. Source: Reuters… 
  • Service Employees International Union Local 500 has created a petition urging management at the liberal watchdog group Media Matters for America to “walk the walk” on progressive values and stop opposing the unionization of its staff. It is the latest salvo in Local 500’s nearly two-month-long effort to get MMFA to back collective bargaining. Source: Washington Examiner…
  • Australia’s conservative coalition is set to cut more than 90 percent of the funding related to global warming from their budget, from $5.75 billion this year to $500 million, over the next four years. Source: The Daily Caller…
  • The White House is refusing to confirm whether President Barack Obama followed up on his pledge to take a five percent pay cut due to sequestration last year. Source: The Washington Free Beacon… 
  • Haverford College’s 2104 commencement speaker, former Princeton president William Bowen, slammed the “immature” and “arrogant” protest that got the originally planned speaker, former Berkeley chancellor Robert Birgeneau, to withdraw — and Bowen got a standing ovation for it. Source: National Review… 

Check back for updates, news and analysis throughout the day. Like us on Facebook. And follow our improved Twitter feed.

Personal Liberty Digest™ P.M. Edition 5-19-2014: Obama Learns Of Another Of His Failures From The News; White House Puts The Squeeze On Gun Retailers With Banking Rules; Only Three Percent Of Americans Worry Over Race, Environment; Ron Paul Talks Tax Reform; Christie Decries U.S. Bickering

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

White House: Of Course Obama Knew Veteran Abuse… He Saw It On The News

Reports about long wait times and other problems at Veterans’ Affairs hospitals in the United States have revealed that there is a trend in how the Obama Administration’s propaganda arm handles scandals. The plan: say that the President is very angry and insist that he only learned the problems existed when they were reported to the general public in the media. Sound Familiar?.. 

Obama Administration Puts Money Squeeze On Gun Retailers

The Obama Administration is waging a semi-successful campaign to burden firearms dealers with regulations and veiled scrutiny tied to the consumer credit industry to such an extent that retailers are scrambling, in some cases, to find a bank willing to process customers’ card-based transactions or even handle their merchant accounts. Reputational Risk… 

Obama In Touch: Three Percent Of Americans Worried About Racism, The Environment And Other Presidential Obsessions

A staggering twelve percent combined (three percent apiece) named the wealth gap, immigration, the environment and race relations as the Nation’s most urgent priority. Read More… 

U.S. Bickering A ‘Bad Example,’ Christie Says

America is setting a “bad example” for the rest of the world through its partisan bickering and the “ambivalence” of its foreign policy, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie said at an event Sunday featuring prominent advocates for Israel that included one billionaire Republican donor. Read More… 

Ron Paul: Tax Reform is Useless Without Spending Reform

Recently, Republican leaders in Congress unveiled a “tax reform” plan that they claimed would provide the American people with a simpler, fairer, and more efficient tax system. While this plan does lower some tax rates and contains some other changes that may make next April a little less painful for Americans, there is little in it to excite supporters of liberty. Straight Talk… 

U.S. Bickering A ‘Bad Example,’ Christie Says

(MCT) NEW YORK — America is setting a “bad example” for the rest of the world through its partisan bickering and the “ambivalence” of its foreign policy, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie said at an event Sunday featuring prominent advocates for Israel that included one billionaire Republican donor.

Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, an author and former congressional candidate, organized the event in New York to support one of his charitable organizations and chose Christie as the keynote speaker. Christie used his 16-minute speech to focus on America’s place in the world and, as he has in recent events with a national focus, avoided talk about the George Washington Bridge scandal that has caused many to question his viability as a presidential candidate.

“No one understands any longer who America stands with or against,” said Christie, a two-term Republican governor. “Leadership at home and abroad is the indispensable part of a moral world.”

The audience at the Champions of Jewish Values International Awards Gala included Sheldon Adelson, the casino magnate who is expected to spend tens or hundreds of millions of dollars to aid his chosen GOP candidate in the 2016 presidential contest.

Christie’s speech Sunday night carried the same message he delivered before Adelson at the Republican Jewish Coalition convention in Las Vegas in March. Christie criticized President Barack Obama, although he didn’t mention the Democrat by name on Sunday, for failing to act decisively.

A lack of American leadership is creating a vacuum, Christie said, and the hole “is almost never filled by virtue. It is almost always filled by evil. And the rest of the world watches in desperation and hope that America will realize and act upon, once again, its indispensable place in the world.”

The crowd at the fashionable Cipriani restaurant on Sunday also included actor Sean Penn, Texas Gov. Rick Perry and Israel’s ambassador to the United States, Ron Dermer.

Boteach, of Englewood, N.J., who ran unsuccessfully as a Republican for Congress in 2012, said the event was partly aimed at opposing the partisanship pervading American politics.

“To see the country at each other’s throats every night on TV and in op-eds, it’s heart-wrenching,” he said in an interview last week. “I’m hoping this evening will promote the greatest value of all: respecting each other.”

The room was filled with pro-Israel activists, some of whom objected in March after Christie, speaking at the Las Vegas event, described the areas in Israel where Palestinians live as the “occupied territories.” It’s a phrase widely used by both Republicans and Democrats, but it grates some advocates. Christie met with Adelson later that day and reportedly apologized for using the phrase.

Boteach referred to that flub at the start of the dinner when he introduced Christie, Perry and other attendees.

“I will always overlook verbal gaffes,” he said. “I’m not interested in perfect people.”

Despite the non-partisan goal of the gala, political undertones remained, particularly in the relationship between Christie and Adelson. Support from the billionaire, who pumped nearly $100 million into the campaigns of Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney in 2012, could prove vital for any Republican’s run for president in 2016. Christie, Perry and Adelson sat near each other at the dinner’s head table on Sunday.

In his speech, Christie said national leaders should follow his example of “decisive” leadership in New Jersey.

“Your values, no matter where they come from, will be tested and people need to know that you will stand up and stand for the values you believe in,” he said.

He said the United States should have taken a stronger position on Syria, particularly after it crossed Obama’s “red line” by using chemical weapons in its ongoing civil war.

Tickets for the dinner went for $750 each and benefited This World: The Values Network, Boteach’s non-profit that describes its goals as “advancing universal Jewish values in the media and culture” and “affirming the Jewish people as a light unto the nations.”

Penn was given his award at the event for his role in helping Jacob Ostreicher, an American businessman and Orthodox Jew, escape from house arrest in Bolivia. Ostreicher was arrested and imprisoned in that country for 18 months after authorities accused him of money laundering, although he was never charged.

-Michael Linhorst

———

©2014 The Record (Hackensack, N.J.)

Visit The Record (Hackensack, N.J.) at www.NorthJersey.com

Distributed by MCT Information Services

Obama In Touch: Three Percent Of Americans Worried About Racism, The Environment And Other Presidential Obsessions

Don’t be shocked, but yet another poll finds that President Obama’s short list of Favorite (political) Things is pretty much jam-packed with issues most Americans don’t care about.

In Gallup’s latest iteration of its tracking poll observing the most important problem facing America today, a staggering twelve percent combined (three percent apiece) named the wealth gap, immigration, the environment and race relations as the Nation’s most urgent priority.

Compare that with the 20 percent who believe the lack of available jobs is our most pressing concern, or the 19 percent who cited general government impotence and corruption. Or the 17 percent who named the overall economy, or the 11 percent most concerned about health care (an Obama specialty):

gallup_may19

At least give Obama some credit – he’s managed to triple the effective reach of his race / immigration sermonizing since last month’s poll.

Monday Morning News Roundup 5-19-2014

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

  • Amid contrived outrage over Benghazi and the improving fortunes of its healthcare reform, the Obama Administration could be facing a genuine scandal about its treatment of military veterans that has the potential to attract broad political condemnation of its competence. Source: The Financial Times…
  • The Obama Administration received clear notice more than five years ago that VA medical facilities were reporting inaccurate waiting times and experiencing scheduling failures that threatened to deny veterans timely health care — problems that have turned into a growing scandal. Veterans Affairs officials warned the Obama-Biden transition team in the weeks after the 2008 Presidential election that the department shouldn’t trust the wait times that its facilities were reporting. Source: The Washington Times… 
  • It’s up to Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio). Republican and Democratic advocates see one final, long-shot chance to pass immigration reform this summer, and its fate rests with a Speaker stuck between his party’s resistance and his search for a career-defining legacy. Source: The Hill…
  • Swiss voters on Sunday rejected a proposal to introduce the world’s highest minimum wage, which would have guaranteed every worker in one of the world’s priciest nations at least $25 an hour. A proposal to introduce a minimum wage so high it could pass for mid-management pay elsewhere was rejected by 76.3 percent of Swiss voters. Source: Agence France-Presse…
  • New Jersey Governor Chris Christie said Sunday that the U.S. is no longer a model for the world, lamenting a lack of American moral leadership on the global stage in a speech before a group of Jewish philanthropists. Delivering an indictment of President Barack Obama’s foreign and domestic policy in a speech in New York City, the Republican 2016 hopeful said dysfunction in the Nation’s capital is harming American interests overseas. Source: Time… 
  • As people in Britain have seen their wages fall in real terms, The Sunday Times’ Rich List 2014, published May 18, reveals that Britain’s 1,000 richest men and women have surged to new heights with their wealth rising by 15.4% on last year’s total of £449billion. It means the wealth of the top 1,000 has doubled since the crash, rising from £258 billion in 2009. Philip Beresford, who has compiled the list since 1989, said: “I’ve never seen such a phenomenal rise in personal wealth as the growth in the fortunes of Britain’s 1,000 richest people over the past year.” Source: The Times of London…
  • Four prominent scholars on Friday questioned why the high-tech industry gets a free pass to perpetuate the myth that there is a shortage of American workers in jobs related to science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). Source: Breitbart… 
  • A group of 26 Italian women who claim to be having affairs with Catholic priests have written a joint letter to Pope Francis begging him to end the Catholic Church’s ban on priests having sex and getting married. Source: The Telegraph… 

Check back for updates, news and analysis throughout the day. Like us on Facebook. And follow our improved Twitter feed.

Personal Liberty Digest™ P.M. Edition 5-16-2014: Teen Beats Two-Term GOP Incumbent In West Virginia Primary; GOP Establishment Faces Tough Test In Tuesday Primaries; Dems Have A 2014 Youth Problem, But It Won’t Help The GOP; NSA Spying Revelations, One Year Later; Friday Funnies

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

Teen Beats Out Two-Term GOP Incumbent In West Virginia State Primary

West Virginia voters advanced 17 year-old high school senior Saira Blair to the November general election for a seat in the State House of Delegates this week, stalling the political career of her opponent, who was seeking his third term. Read More… 

Republican Establishment Faces Test In Tuesday’s Primaries

Mitch McConnell, the Senate’s most powerful Republican, will get his first big 2014 electoral test Tuesday as he faces a Tea Party challenger who’s trying to mobilize anti-incumbent sentiment. Read More… 

Dems Have A 2014 Youth Problem, But The GOP Isn’t Likely To Capitalize On It

New data out from Democratic pollster Paul Harsted show that Democrats banking on the kind of youth support which pulled President Barack Obama through two Presidential elections are going to have tough time engaging disenfranchised and apathetic young voters heading into the midterm elections. Read More…

One Year Later: Electronic Frontier Foundation Takes A look At The Edward Snowden Leaks And How Government Spying Affects Us All

June 5th marks the first anniversary of the beginning of the Edward Snowden revelations–a landmark event in global awareness of the worldwide spying machine. It has been a year where the world has learned that the NSA and its four closest allies in the Five Eyes partnership (United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand) have been spying on much of the world’s digital communications. What Have We Learned?.. 

Friday Fun: A Roundup Of This Week’s Political Cartoons

Lawmakers are calling for heads to roll in the wake of the most recent scandal to come to light under the Administration of President Barack Obama. Why is everybody so very angry? Because this time it’s personal. It’s safe to say that most Americans appreciate the sacrifices made by the men and women who serve and served in the armed forces. Friday Funnies… 

Rubio: Laws To Address Climate Change Won’t Work, Would Hurt The Economy

MIAMI — Marco Rubio denies being a climate change denier. But the Florida Senator isn’t a believer, either.

Call him a skeptic. For now.

“I think all science deserves skepticism,” Rubio said in an interview about what he does and doesn’t believe about global warming and what to do about it.

And right now, Rubio doesn’t want to take too much action.

In the wake of a new White House report on climate change that paints a bleak picture for his home county, his State, the Nation and the planet, Rubio harbors doubts about some of the findings. He’s especially opposed to suggested fixes designed to lessen the amount of carbon dioxide emitted in the United States.

Rubio says he thinks the laws won’t work — but will hurt the economy in a “devastating” way.

Rubio’s comments about the report, first made Sunday on ABC’s “This Week,” exposed him to criticism from scientists, editorial writers and Democrats, who say the potential Republican candidate for president is thinking more about a future GOP primary instead of the health of the planet or Miami. Some branded Rubio a climate change denier.

“ ‘Denial’ is a loaded term. That’s a term used to smear people, for example, who deny the Holocaust existed or denied other things of that nature,” Rubio said.

“I’ve never denied that there is a climate change,” Rubio said. “The question is: Is man-made activity causing the changes in the climate?”

Rubio, however, won’t answer that with a yes or no.

“I understand, politically, the issue easier to write as ‘he either supports it or he doesn’t. He either believes it or he doesn’t.’ But these are complex issues. Even the science on this has evolved over the past 20 years,” he said.

Over time, however, the vast majority of climate researchers from across the globe have increasingly found that the Earth has warmed over the past 100 years, the seas are rising, ice packs are melting. An analysis of peer-reviewed climate science research found that 97 percent of them found man-made climate change was significant.

But Rubio said his concern is rooted in what scientists have reported — global surface temperatures haven’t significantly increased in the past 15 years despite an increase in CO2, which traps greenhouse gases.

“I haven’t done the studies. I can tell you what scientists say,” he said.

“Scientists have concluded, in their opinion, that because we have produced more carbon into the atmosphere in the last 150 years, that’s the reason why, in their opinion, the Earth’s trendlines are warming,” he said. “What they can’t answer to me is: Well, why has that stopped over the last 16 years?”

But the warming overall hasn’t stopped and Rubio is “confused” about the wealth of data showing it, said Ben Kirtman, a University of Miami meteorology and oceanography professor and associate dean of research. He was a lead author of a U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report released last September.

Kirtman said surface temperatures haven’t warmed in about 15 years or so, but they will soon, and overall the trend for surface temperatures has gone upward — similar to a stock market chart that has fluctuations but shows long-term increases. Also, global warming is clear because, “when you look at the whole record and you look at the multiple lines of evidence — the upper atmosphere, the water vapor, the sea ice, the snow cover, the deep ocean, the surface, the marine boundary layer — everything is pointing to the same thing,” Kirtman said.

“He’s looking at one data set. He’s ignoring the others. And he’s ignoring the balance of evidence over the entire record,” Kirtman said. “So he’s basically accusing scientists of cherry-picking, but he has cherry-picked. He has cherry-picked a short period of time where global warming, because of natural variability, looks like it slowed down, but it hasn’t.”

But for Rubio, the argument still doesn’t make sense: If more carbon causes the planet to warm, and there’s more carbon in the air over the past 15 years, then even the surface temperatures should be rising as well.

Rubio said that, until questions like this are “settled,” he won’t back laws that raise the cost of fossil fuels. Doing so, he said, wouldn’t make much of a dent, especially with emerging nations like China and India producing more carbon than ever.

“In exchange for all this level of uncertainty that’s out there, they want me to support dramatic, unilateral American policies that, for a fact, would be devastating to the economy, but which they admit would do nothing to impact these extreme weather occurrences,” Rubio said.

-Marc Caputo

———

©2014 The Miami Herald

Visit The Miami Herald at www.miamiherald.com

Distributed by MCT Information Services

Republican Establishment Faces Test In Tuesday’s Primaries

WASHINGTON — Mitch McConnell, the Senate’s most powerful Republican, will get his first big 2014 electoral test Tuesday as he faces a Tea Party challenger who’s trying to mobilize anti-incumbent sentiment.

Kentucky’s Republican primary is the main attraction Tuesday, when six States will provide the biggest day of tests yet for the Republican establishment and the grass-roots Tea Party movement, which has roiled the party.

Two other States will be closely watched for clues about who’s winning the struggle. In Georgia, three incumbent Congressmen are vying with two Washington outsiders for the party’s Senate nomination. In Idaho, veteran Representative Mike Simpson is battling Tea Party favorite Bryan Smith.

Underscoring all of it is a strong anti-insider mood. And no one on the ballot Tuesday symbolizes insider Washington like McConnell, who’s seeking his sixth term in the Senate.

McConnell is being challenged in the primary by Louisville businessman Matt Bevin. Even if Bevin loses — and he’s far behind in a recent poll — a strong showing by the challenger would signal that McConnell is in for big trouble in the general election against likely Democratic nominee Alison Lundergan Grimes.

People are thinking that, “ ‘If we hate Washington, if we hate Congress, if we hate what’s going on and you’re one of the most … powerful people in Congress, we must hate you more (than) anybody else,’ ” said political analyst Charlie Cook.

Establishment candidates have rebounded this year so far. They’ve been ready for the Tea Party challenges. In many cases, insurgents have proved to be poor candidates or unable to mobilize the same passion that boosted the Tea Party when it became a political force in 2010.

Turnout in State after State is expected to be very low, meaning the nontraditional grass-roots voters the Tea Party attracts are more likely to stay home, said Matt Towery, the chief executive officer of Atlanta-based InsiderAdvantage, a political media and polling firm.

“We don’t expect the same degree of impassioned voting this year,” he said. People are somewhat better off economically, and voters have soured on the political system.

U.S. map shows the five states with Republican Senate primaries on May 20; tea party challengers will test the GOP establishment candidates. MCT 2014<p> With CAMPAIGN-PRIMARIES, McClatchy Washington Bureau by David Lightman

Here’s the outlook for Tuesday.

Kentucky

In 2010, Tea Party hero Rand Paul upset McConnell’s Senate candidate, Trey Grayson.

McConnell took notice. “I don’t think any other Republican candidate has prepared for this kind of primary better than him,” said Scott Jennings, a Louisville, Ky.-based Republican strategist who was a political adviser to President George W. Bush.

The Tea Party Patriots Citizens Fund, as well as other conservative groups, is behind Bevin. McConnell has been able to counter with a “strong conservative record,” said Brad Shattuck, a Lexington, Ky.-based consultant. McConnell’s lifetime American Conservative Union rating is 90.16 (out of 100), a solid conservative showing.

Some Bevin miscues have also helped, notably the challenger’s appearance at a pro-cockfighting rally. Bevin said he thought it was a rally for States’ rights.

A recent NBC News-Marist poll found McConnell ahead among likely Republican voters, 57 to 25 percent. Still, Tea Party backers have surprised the experts before, and even if he wins, McConnell’s totals will be scrutinized for clues to voter sentiment.

Georgia

Three candidates are thought to be in the running for two top spots in Georgia’s Republican Senate primary. If no one gets a majority of votes, the top two finishers will compete in a runoff July 22.

Polls find that top tier includes former Secretary of State Karen Handel, businessman David Perdue and Representative Jack Kingston — and not Representatives Phil Gingrey and Paul Broun. Broun was once seen as the darling of the Tea Party movement, but the Tea Party Express is behind Handel.

Turnout is key. Towery expects a disproportionate number of over-50 voters to show up, and they tend to be more analytical and less angry at the government than Tea Party loyalists are.

Handel is a wild card, since she’s used social media extensively to boost her candidacy, and Perdue has positioned himself as the outsider candidate. A Handel-Perdue runoff would be seen as evidence that voters wanted little to do with Washington incumbents.

Idaho

Simpson is another consummate Washington insider, the chairman of a powerful appropriations subcommittee and close to Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio).

The conservative Club for Growth Political Action Committee made Simpson an early target, endorsing Smith last July and branding Simpson’s record “atrocious.”

The club spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to boost Smith — and then last month it apparently stopped, according to The Idaho Statesman, a McClatchy newspaper.

“We’re in a constant state of assessing and reassessing our races, moving resources in and out — depends on the day or week,” said club spokesman Barney Keller.

Idaho Tea Party candidates are having a rough time, said Marty Peterson, a veteran Boise-based political activist who’s a member of The Idaho Statesman editorial board.

“They are saying, ‘We are the true Republicans,’ ” he said of the Tea Party, but people are well aware that Simpson has a strong conservative voting record. Simpson’s lifetime American Conservative Union record is 81.96, not in the league that Tea Party activists would like but well in the ballpark for a true conservative.

Other States

Oregon, Pennsylvania and Arkansas also will hold primaries Tuesday. Pennsylvania’s Governor’s race is being closely watched, since Republican incumbent Tom Corbett is vulnerable. Democrat Tom Wolf has a comfortable lead over Representative Allyson Schwartz in the battle for the party nomination to face him.

-David Lightman

———

©2014 McClatchy Washington Bureau

Visit the McClatchy Washington Bureau at www.mcclatchydc.com

Distributed by MCT Information Services

Friday Fun: A Roundup Of This Week’s Political Cartoons

Lawmakers are calling for heads to roll in the wake of the most recent scandal to come to light under the Administration of President Barack Obama. Why is everybody so very angry? Because this time it’s personal. It’s safe to say that most Americans appreciate the sacrifices made by the men and women who serve and served in the armed forces. We recognize what they did for us, and we want to honor them. One way we do that is by providing them with medical care via the Department of Veterans Affairs. Well, news broke last month that 40 of our heroes died while waiting for healthcare on a secret list. That is, plain and simply, unconscionable.

cartoonb0516
Nate Beeler, The Columbus Dispatch
cartoone0516
John Darkow, Columbia Daily Tribune, Missouri
cartoonc0516
Steve Sack, The Minneapolis Star Tribune
cartoond0516
Bob Englehart, The Hartford Courant
cartoonh0516
Rick McKee, The Augusta Chronicle
cartoonf0516
Bill Schorr, Cagle Cartoons
cartoong0516
Milt Priggee, www.miltpriggee.com
May 14, 2014
Adam Zyglis, The Buffalo News

 

Friday Morning News Roundup 5-16-2014

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

  • Republicans have grown increasingly frustrated by strict control of the Senate floor by Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) Using complex parliamentary maneuvers, Mr. Reid has blocked the chance to offer amendments on a bipartisan energy efficiency bill and now on tax cuts. Reid said Republicans want unlimited debate on amendments that have little to do with tax policy, such as withdrawing Obamacare subsidies from congressional staffers, and accused Republicans of blockading the Senate in order to reward the Koch brothers. Source: The Washington Times…
  • President Barack Obama endorsed more changes to the filibuster rules in the Senate in a speech Wednesday, remarks that will encourage senators who want to deploy the “nuclear option” again. At a fundraiser for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee in New York, Obama specifically said Democrats need to change “how a filibuster works,” without going into specifics on what, exactly, he has in mind. Source: Roll Call…
  • The Koch brothers are headed to the big screen — and Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid are coming along for the ride. The two congressional Democratic leaders will appear at a screening in the Capitol of “Koch Brothers Exposed: 2014 Edition” — a documentary that Senate Majority Leader Reid (D-Nev.) participated in. Both Reid and Minority Leader Pelosi (D-Calif.) will participate in a question and answer session as well. Source: POLITICO…
  • A Federal judge on Thursday upheld a D.C. law requiring that guns be registered every three years, that applicants submit photographs and fingerprints, and that pistol purchases be limited to one per month — a ruling that sparked outrage from activists who view it as further encroachment on 2nd Amendment rights. Source: The Washington Times…
  • President Obama isn’t following his own advice when it comes to lower interest rates. Obama encouraged homeowners last year to refinance their mortgages to lock in lower rates, saying the move would save them money and free up cash to help buy a new car or purchase their child a laptop computer. But the President once again declined to refinance the 5.625 percent he and his wife pay on their Chicago home, according to financial disclosure documents released by the White House on Thursday. Source: The Hill…
  • Research which heaped doubt on the rate of global warming was deliberately suppressed by scientists because it was “less than helpful” to their cause, it was claimed Thursday. In an echo of the infamous “Climategate” scandal at the University of East Anglia, one of the world’s top academic journals rejected the work of five experts after a reviewer privately denounced it as “harmful.” Source: The Times of London…
  • The head of the Federal Drug Enforcement Administration was called in to speak with Attorney General Eric Holder and told to get in line with the Obama Administration’s policy on lessening sentencing for drug offenders, according to a report from the Huffington Post. DEA chief Michele Leonhart has taken public stands in recent months against the Administration’s rhetoric on marijuana legalization as well as efforts by the White House and the Justice Department to ease punishments for those convicted of Federal drug crimes. Source: The Weekly Standard…
  • CNN has fired news editor Marie-Louise Gumuchian after finding that she was guilty of roughly 50 cases of plagiarism. Source: POLITICO…

Check back for updates, news and analysis throughout the day. Like us on Facebook. And follow our improved Twitter feed.

 

Personal Liberty Digest™ P.M. Edition 5-15-2014: What’s Going On With Operation American Spring?; Rand Paul Doubles Down On Drone Documents; Cruz Wants FCC Out Of Net Nuetrality Debate; Obama Is Going To Be Nation’s First Green President; Christie On 2016

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

Operation American Spring: A Constitutional Revival Or A Chance For Government To Abuse Conservatives Everywhere

Organizers claim that between 10 and 30 million concerned Americans from all walks of life will descend upon Washington D.C. tomorrow to kick off Operation American Spring, a demonstration aimed at setting in motion a course of events to restore Constitutional governance in the United States. Could It Backfire?.. 

Rand Paul Vows To Block Obama’s Judicial Nominee Until DOJ Comes Clean On Targeting Killings

On Wednesday, Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) blasted President Obama’s nomination of a controversial former member of the legal team that green-lit the drone killing of two radicalized Islamist U.S. Citizens in 2010, penning a lengthy column for Breitbart pledging to block the judicial appointing process in Congress until the nominee, Judge David Barron, had squared his position on the assassination of Americans without due process. Read More…

Ted Cruz Moves To End FCC Stifling Of Net Neutrality

Arguing that “a five-member panel at the FCC should not be dictating how Internet services will be provided to millions of Americans,” Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) on Wednesday announced his plan to introduce a new bill that would revoke the authority of the Federal Communications Commission to tinker with broadband speeds under an obscure provision in the Telecommunications Act of 1996. Read More… 

Obama Will Stop At Nothing To Become The Nation’s First Green President

After the Obama Administration failed to enact stricter gun control, reach economic agreements with Republicans, pass broad immigration reform or successfully roll out Obamacare last year, we told you to get ready for the President to use climate change as a last ditch effort to build a legacy. Following the release of an alarmist climate change report, the White House’s efforts to make Barack Obama the Nation’s first green President has kicked into high gear. Read More…

Christie Tells D.C. Audience He’s Still Thinking About Running For President

With that one word, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie told a friendly Washington, D.C., audience Wednesday that he is still thinking about running for President, even as dual crises continue to bedevil his administration. Yes… 

Christie Tells D.C. Audience He’s Still Thinking About Running For President

By Herb Jackson

The Record (Hackensack, N.J.)

(MCT)

WASHINGTON — “Yes.”

With that one word, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie told a friendly Washington, D.C., audience Wednesday that he is still thinking about running for President, even as dual crises continue to bedevil his administration.

And with another word he told the high-profile crowd when he’ll make a final decision. “Later.”

Indeed, a confident Christie asserted Wednesday that the George Washington Bridge scandal and an $807 million State budget shortfall will not damage his political future. The lane-closing scandal “will all be a footnote” by the time he makes his decision, he told the crowd during an appearance at the 2014 Fiscal Summit sponsored by the Peter G. Peterson Foundation.

And he blamed the budget gap on State economists, including those on his staff who helped to write the budget last year. With trademark self-assuredness, Christie said he would “do what I have to do” to fill that gap, though he declined to say what. That will have to wait for an announcement next week, he said.

For 30 minutes, Christie answered questions from Bob Schieffer of CBS News in an ornate ballroom two blocks from the White House. The event marked another step in the Governor’s attempt to recover from the massive political setback he suffered in January when The Record reported that a former aide sent an email declaring it was “time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee.”

Christie had previously mocked the suggestion that his staff was somehow involved in the closure of Fort Lee access lanes to the bridge last September. After the email’s revelation, he immediately fired the aide, Deputy Chief of Staff Bridget Anne Kelly, and apologized to Fort Lee for four days of gridlock.

A New York law firm hired by the administration investigated and cleared the Governor of any involvement, prompting complaints that the firm’s report was a whitewash written by lawyers with political connections to the Governor. Investigations continue by a special committee of the Legislature and a Federal grand jury overseen by the U.S. attorney in Newark, while the Securities and Exchange Commission has reportedly begun to look at other financial moves by the Port Authority that helped Christie fund road improvements.

When asked by Schieffer, Christie said the scandal would not have any impact on his ability to close the budget gap.

“As far as the impact on my political future, I think it will have none because I didn’t do anything,” Christie said.

“In the end, what the people of New Jersey know about me is I tell them the truth. I told them I had nothing to do with it. And now you’ve had all kinds of people look at this for nearly 4½ months now and there hasn’t been one suggestion that I knew anything about it,” he said.

Christie said he was not the first leader to fire an aide who did things without his knowledge.

“I don’t think that would hurt anybody’s career and it’s not going to hurt mine,” Christie said.

The Peterson foundation is a non-partisan group that focuses on raising public awareness about how reducing long-term debt is vital to economic growth. The group’s founder, Peter G. Peterson, introduced Christie as a “straight talker” who had worked with Democrats to address state pension obligations, and had charisma to spare.

Ironically, his appearance comes as the state continues to grapple with seemingly perennial budget woes as well as job growth that lags the nation overall and other States in the region. On Tuesday, Moody’s Investors Service became the third major Wall Street ratings agency to lower New Jersey’s credit rating, citing the state’s “recurring revenue shortfalls and ongoing reliance on non-recurring resources.”

Christie used statistics to show his actions in the best possible light, and did not hesitate to blame his predecessors, State courts and his own staff for the current problems.

On options for cutting the budget, for example, he said State courts had mandated that he spend $12 billion on education, but the state is legally free to reduce aid to all districts except a few dozen of the poorest, which courts have said must receive state aid.

He said former Governors going back to Christie Whitman, a fellow Republican, had not made contributions to the state pension system, failing to mention payments made by Democrat Jon Corzine, his predecessor.

Christie himself did not make a contribution the first year he was in office because of a budget shortfall left by Corzine. He also declined to say, in response to a direct question by Schieffer, if the current shortfall would lead him to reduce a payment of $1.6 billion that is scheduled to be made before June 30.

Asked what happened to cause the current shortfall, Christie pointed to faulty estimates by his own economists, which he said were in sync with projections by the non-partisan Office of Legislative Services.

He said that when he asked his chief economists “how you could be so wrong … they said they just missed it.” The federal tax increases on high-income earners approved on Jan. 1, 2013, led many wealthy people to take capital gains and bonuses in 2012 to avoid the higher tax rate, he said.

That produced a windfall in 2013 for the state budget, but the state guessed wrong how much of that would continue this year, Christie said.

“They just said they underestimated how much high-end taxpayers would have accelerated capital gains, bonuses, everything else,” Christie said. “That’s a cold comfort to me, Bob, because now I have to fix it with 45 days left in my fiscal year.”

The State’s chief economist, Charles Steindel, was not available for comment Wednesday, a spokesman for Christie said, but Steindel took responsibility for the error at a legislative hearing last week.

David Rosen, the revenue expert at the Office of Legislative Services, said he was within $75 million of Christie’s estimate of income-tax revenue for April of this year, but the governor’s estimates for other taxes were more optimistic than Rosen’s.

David Rousseau, a former State treasurer under Corzine who now works for a liberal Trenton think tank, said it was “disheartening” to hear Christie blame his staff.

“Ultimately it’s the Governor and the treasurer who make those decisions,” Rousseau said.

———

©2014 The Record (Hackensack, N.J.)

Visit The Record (Hackensack, N.J.) at www.NorthJersey.com

Distributed by MCT Information Services