Personal Liberty Digest™ P.M. Edition 8-11-2014: Intelligence Official Fires Back At Obama; pentagon Official Says Airstrikes Won’t Stop ISIS; Obama Pretends he Didn’t Abandon Iraq; U.S. Arms Kurdish Fighters; Osama Crosses U.S./Mexico Border; Ron Paul Warns Against Sanctions On Russia

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

Intelligence Official Fires Back At Obama: Iraq Catastrophe Not A Product Of ‘Intelligence Failure’

A day after President Barack Obama indicated that the Iraqi advance of the Islamic State, also known as ISIS, had proceeded more rapidly than U.S. intelligence had predicted, an intelligence official told The Wall Street Journal that’s nonsense. Read More… 

Pentagon Official: Airstrikes Aren’t Enough To Eliminate ISIS Threat

President Barack Obama’s strategy of using airstrikes against the Islamic State (ISIS) terrorists attempting to take control of Iraq isn’t likely to weaken the overall capabilities of the sophisticated terror group, a top Pentagon official said Monday. Read More… 

U.S. To Give Long-Range Weapons To Kurdish Fighters

The Barack Obama Administration and U.S. allies are preparing to rush antitank weapons and other arms to Kurdish fighters in northern Iraq who are battling Islamic militants near Irbil, officials said. Read More… 

Obama Then: I Ended The War In Iraq! Obama Now: Why Does Everybody Think That Was My Decision?

Back during his 2012 Presidential campaign, President Obama was positively giddy to repeat the refrain that he’d ended the war in Iraq. But now, as Iraq falls to pieces and its people brutalized by terrorists whose sights are set on the U.S., he can’t understand why anybody thinks the post-withdrawal fallout has anything to do with his decisions. Video… 

Watch: Filmmaker Crosses U.S. Southern Border As Osama bin Laden

Filmmaker James O’Keefe of project Veritas recently made a point about the lack of security along the U.S. border with Mexico by donning an Osama bin Laden costume and crossing the Rio Grande into the U.S. unmolested. Video… 

Ron Paul Warns That U.S. Sanctions On Russia Could Sink The Dollar

The U.S. government’s decision to apply more sanctions on Russia is a grave mistake and will only escalate an already tense situation, ultimately harming the U.S. economy itself. While the effect of sanctions on the dollar may not be appreciated in the short term, in the long run these sanctions are just another step toward the dollar’s eventual demise as the world’s reserve currency. Straight Talk… 

Obama Then: I Ended The War In Iraq! Obama Now: Why Does Everybody Think That Was My Decision?

Back during his 2012 Presidential campaign, President Obama was positively giddy to repeat the refrain that he’d ended the war in Iraq. But now, as Iraq falls to pieces and its people brutalized by terrorists whose sights are set on the U.S., he can’t understand why anybody thinks the post-withdrawal fallout has anything to do with his decisions.

“What I just find interesting is the degree to which this issue keeps on coming up as if this was my decision,” Obama said Saturday when asked by a reporter about the wisdom, in hindsight, of a full U.S. withdrawal in 2011.

“Under the previous Administration, we had turned over the country to a sovereign, democratically elected Iraqi government. In order for us to maintain troops in Iraq, we needed the invitation of the Iraqi government and we needed assurances that our personnel would be immune from prosecution if, for example, they were protecting themselves and ended up getting in a firefight with Iraqis, that they wouldn’t be hauled before an Iraqi judicial system.”

H/T: The Washington Free Beacon

Watch: Filmmaker Crosses U.S. Southern Border As Osama bin Laden

Filmmaker James O’Keefe of project Veritas recently made a point about the lack of security along the U.S. border with Mexico by donning an Osama bin Laden costume and crossing the Rio Grande into the U.S. unmolested.

“I’m at the Rio Grande river. I’m about to cross into the United States just likes thousands of illegal immigrants do every single year,” O’Keefe said in the video.

After making his way into Mexico and back to the U.S., the filmmaker noted the obvious lack of border security in Hudspeth County, Texas, where he crossed.

“I don’t see a single federal officer anywhere,” he says after easily crossing. “No walls, no guns, no people. Totally peaceful, quiet and serene. I’m in the United States. And let me tell you something, if the president or if [Nevada Sen. Harry] Reid or anyone else tries to tell you that our borders are secure, they are lying to you. Because that was just about the easiest thing I ever did. It may be difficult to get from South America to that point, but crossing that river? No problem.”

O’Keefe also claims that he was able to make the 6 mile walk from the crossing to Interstate 10, albeit he didn’t appear to have tried to do so in the bin Laden garb.

Personal Liberty Digest™ P.M. Edition 8-8-2014: Iraq Plaques Obama; Hispanic Voters In Cali Aren’t Worried About Immigration Reform; Obama Is Way Late; Friday Funnies

Brush Up on the day’s headlines with Personal Liberty’s P.M. Edition.

Iraq’s Turmoil Continues To Plague Obama: ‘You Can’t Wish Problems Away’

President Barack Obama proudly embraces a foreign policy that, after a decade of war, includes a resistance to military action in hotspots around the globe. That reluctance was no more apparent than in Iraq, where thousands of American died in a war that became increasingly unpopular. But this week, the President who campaigned on ending the war in Iraq waded back into that troubled country with airstrikes. Read More…

Hispanic Voters Upend Democrats’ Midterm Immigration Reform Focus In Univision Poll

Maybe the Democrats’ idea of immigration “reform” is appealing, on some level, to California’s heavy population of Hispanic voters; maybe it isn’t. But one thing appears clear after viewing the results of a poll released by the Spanish-language TV network Univision: It’s nowhere near the top of their list of hot issues going into the 2014 midterm elections. Read More…

WaPo Analyzes Obama’s Tardiness

The Washington Post on Friday offered a breakdown of President Barack Obama’s problem with punctuality. According to the analysis, the President is running more than a day and a half behind. Read More…

A Roundup Of This Week’s Political Cartoons

Congress is on vacation and President Barack Obama will be soon. But the turmoil throughout the world certainly isn’t breaking for summer fun. It’s no big deal, though– it’s hard to imagine that Obama and U.S. lawmakers can do less while they’re absent from Washington than they manage to accomplish while there. Here are some top political cartoonists’ illustrations of our tumultuous Summer 2014. Friday Funnies…

Hispanic Voters Upend Democrats’ Midterm Immigration Reform Focus In Univision Poll

Maybe the Democrats’ idea of immigration “reform” is appealing, on some level, to California’s heavy population of Hispanic voters; maybe it isn’t. But one thing appears clear after viewing the results of a poll released by the Spanish-language TV network Univision: It’s nowhere near the top of their list of hot issues going into the 2014 midterm elections.

Apparently under the impression that they, as citizens and voters, are Americans first and foremost, California’s sampling of Hispanic voters put a slew of broader National issues ahead of immigration as decisive factors that will sway their votes this year.

Where among the list of hot issues did immigration rank?

Well, education was named by 21 percent of the California Hispanic voters who were surveyed, garnering more top-priority attention than any other issue. That was followed by jobs (16 percent); government spending (15 percent); Social Security (13 percent); growing personal wealth (ten percent) and health care (nine percent).

Immigration came in as the top priority for eight percent of California’s Hispanic voters – taking seventh place in that long list.

In addition, the survey asked the State’s Hispanic voters to identify what their “major concern or complaint” about the Republican Party. Only ten percent responded by calling out Republican opposition to immigration reform, and only five percent said their biggest gripe with Republicans is that they favor white people over minorities.

H/T: Breitbart

WaPo Analyzes Obama’s Tardiness

The Washington Post on Friday offered a breakdown of President Barack Obama’s problem with punctuality. According to the analysis, the President is running more than a day and a half behind.

From the piece:

We decided to try to figure out just how late Obama actually is. The way we did that was pretty simple: Every time the president gives prepared public remarks, they are posted on the White House Web site. And, importantly, they’re time-stamped. When he spoke at the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit earlier Wednesday, he started at 10:17 a.m. But those remarks were supposed to begin at 10 a.m., according to his public schedule. Ergo, Obama was 17 minutes late. We pulled every time-stamped speech in 2014 and compared it to the schedule. Not everything on his schedule had time-stamped remarks, and vice versa, so we only included those events for which we had both pieces of data.

What we found: Obama has been a cumulative 2,121 minutes late to events in 2014. That’s 35 hours, 21 minutes — or almost a day and a half — that his audiences have been waiting for him to speak. That’s for a lot of events, though. On average, he is 11 minutes late to scheduled speaking appointments.

What’d be more interesting is an analysis of how far behind the President is in dealing with the most important issues facing the Nation as the world burns and illegal immigrants continue to flood into the U.S.

We’d wager that it’s a lot more than a couple of days.

A Roundup Of This Week’s Political Cartoons

Congress is on vacation and President Barack Obama will be soon. But the turmoil throughout the world certainly isn’t breaking for summer fun. It’s no big deal, though– it’s hard to imagine that Obama and U.S. lawmakers can do less while they’re absent from Washington than they manage to accomplish while there. Here are some top political cartoonists’ illustrations of tumultuous Summer 2014.

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golf


Jeff Koterba cartoon for August 7, 2014 "Clinton Hillary Obama campaign"


vamoney


ebolabam


guns


imp

Personal Liberty Digest™ P.M. Edition 8-7-2014: Border Crime Expected To Spread; Judge Rules In IRS Favor On Lerner Emails; Dartmouth Denies Self-Defense To Stalking Victim; Café Adds Minimum Wage Hike Charge; U.S. Action Possible In Iraq

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

Lawlessness At The Border Taking Inevitable Toll On U.S. Crime

Immigration-related lawlessness along the U.S.’s southern border has caused crime rates in the region to rise. The trend is expected to continue— and some observers believe a nationwide immigration-related crime wave will result. Read More… 

IRS Won’t Have To Allow An Independent Expert Hunt Down Lost Lerner Emails In True The Vote Lawsuit

A conservative group suing the IRS for political discrimination was dealt a crucial defeat today when a Federal judge ruled that the tax agency would not have to allow an outside expert to follow a forensic trail back to Lois Lerner’s “lost” emails. Read More… 

Dartmouth Student With A Stalker Problem Can’t Carry A Gun, According To School Officials

Taylor Woolrich, a student at Dartmouth College, knows she’s being stalked. When she was living in San Diego, as a high school student, a man in his 60s began showing a sinister interest in her while she worked at a local café, and since then, no amount of legal cajoling has gotten him off her back – even though she moved across the country. Read More…

Cafe Faces Heat For Adding ‘Minimum Wage Fee’ To Tab

A small cafe in Minnesota has thrown itself into a big battle over that State’s minimum wage increases, inundating the cafe with dozens of phone calls and online comments this week after it tacked on a 35-cent fee to meal tabs. Read More…

U.S. Weighing Response To Potential ‘Humanitarian Catastrophe’ In Iraq

U.S. officials are “closely monitoring” a potential “humanitarian catastrophe” in northern Iraq but will not be sending combat troops back to the country, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said Thursday. Read More… 

Stories We’re Watching: Thursday News Links 8-7-2014

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

  • Jihadists seized Iraq’s largest Christian town and surrounding areas Thursday, sending tens of thousands of panicked residents fleeing in what is being called a humanitarian disaster, officials and witnesses said. The onslaught saw the Sunni extremist Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) extend its writ over northern Iraq and move within striking distance of autonomous Kurdistan, in one of the most dramatic developments of the two month-old conflict. Source: Agence France-Presse…
  • A majority of people in the United States say immigrants living in the U.S. illegally threaten their way of life and even the economy, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll released Thursday. Seventy percent said they believe these illegal immigrants threaten U.S. customs and beliefs. Eighty-six percent of Republicans hold that belief. Source: The Hill…
  • The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) quietly changed regulations to allow more undocumented immigrants to keep their taxpayer status through a program that is rife with fraud and abuse, and to delay deactivation of immigrant taxpayer status until 2016. The IRS now prevents peoples’ Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) from automatically expiring after five years as previously mandated. Now immigrants can keep their ITIN so long as they pay taxes at least once in a five-year period. Source: The Daily Caller…
  • Congressional Democrats have talked about the impeachment of President Obama 20 times more than Republicans have on the House and Senate floors. Since the start of the 113th Congress last year, Democrats have used the word “impeach” or “impeachment” regarding Obama 86 times, according to a review of the Congressional Record by The Hill. Source: The Hill…
  • President Barack Obama drew a diplomatic line at the first ever U.S-Africa summit at the White House this week by not inviting Zimbabwe’s brutal dictator Robert Mugabe. But the guest list still included several other African leaders with only slightly better human rights records. The red carpet was rolled out for Equatorial Guinea’s Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, who shot or jailed virtually all his political opponents, Gambia’s Yahya Jammeh, who threatened to ‘cut off the head’ of any homosexuals in the country and for Cameroon’s Paul Biya, who has the dubious honor of ranking 19th on author David Wallechinsky’s 2006 list of the world’s 20 worst living dictators. Source: The Daily Mail…
  • Having survived a primary challenge from a neoconservative crony capitalist supporter of the Export-Import Bank, Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.) had no intention of making nice with an opponent who had branded him “al-Qaida’s best friend” in Congress. In his victory speech, Amash called on Ellis to apologize and said “I ran for office to stop people like you.” Source: Reason…
  • A Homeland Security employee has been arrested in connection with a sting that alleges he used a Craigslist ad in an effort to get a mother and an underage daughter to have sex with him. George Hristovski, 54, of Elverta, was booked into Sacramento County Jail on Monday after his arrest by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. His LinkedIn posting identifies him as an inspector for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Source: The Sacramento Bee…

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 8-6-2014: Obama Drops Executive Fiat Hints; Feds Want To Teach Native Americans To Combat Climate Change; Americans: It’s Bad; U.S. General Killed By Afghan Soldier; Mother Of Marine In Mexico Asks For Prayers; Hillary Leads Christie In NJ Poll

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

Obama Rhetoric Suggests Executive Actions On Immigration, Taxes Are Coming

ABC reporter Jon Karl asked Obama whether he believes Congressional inaction gives him the “green light to push the limits of executive power, even a duty to do so.” Obama’s Response… 

BLM To Re-educate Native Americans On How To Live With Nature; Mitigate Climate Change

Native Americans, infamous for their indifference to nature and despoliation of the land, are about to get learned on how they can change the way they interact with the environment and save their corner of the planet from climate change – all thanks to the missionary outreach of the U.S. Bureau of Land Management. Read More… 

…In A Handbasket: New Poll Finds Americans Have Grave Opinion About The Future Of This Country

More than three quarters of Americans now believe their kids won’t inherit a better life than the lives they themselves enjoy, according to a far-ranging poll released Wednesday that finds aught but bleakness among most Americans’ attitudes on an array of economic and cultural topics. The Numbers… 

U.S. Major General Killed In ‘Green-On-Blue’ Shooting In Afghanistan

An American major general was fatally gunned down by an Afghan soldier Tuesday at a Kabul military academy, becoming the highest-ranking combat death overseas for the U.S. military since the Vietnam War. Read More… 

Mother Of Marine Jailed In Mexico Asks For Letters, Prayers For Son

In a sometimes tearful news conference Tuesday, the mother of a Marine reservist jailed in Mexico on weapons charges said that public support will help her son endure the months ahead. Read More… 

Poll: Hillary Clinton Leads New Jersey’s Christie On His Turf

Potential Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton leads New Jersey Republican Governor Chris Christie, a potential White House contender, in his home State, according to a Quinnipiac poll released Wednesday. Read More… 

Personal Liberty Digest™ P.M. Edition 8-5-2014: NC Sheriff Urges Residents To Get Guns; Strange Alliances Form To Battle NSA; Foreign Relations Council Says Ebola ‘Out Of Control’; WaPo, Your Bias Is Showing

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

Sheriff In North Carolina Understands Law Enforcement Isn’t The First Line Of Defense

Harnett County, N.C. Sheriff Larry Rollins gets it. He wants his deputies to respond to calls as fast as they can, but he knows that it takes a while to drive from point A to point B, no matter how urgent a call sounds. Read More… 

Documentary By Acclaimed Filmmaker Explains How Unlikely Alliances Formed To Battle NSA

On June 27, The Electronic Frontier Foundation, Greenpeace and the Tenth Amendment Center joined forces to fly a 135-foot-long airship bearing a downturned arrow and the words “Illegal Spying Below” over the National Security Agency’s $1.2-billion data center in Bluffdale, Utah. Watch… 

Foreign Relations Council Says Ebola Outbreak Is ‘Out Of Control’

The deadly Ebola epidemic engulfing three West African countries is “out of control,” health experts at the Council on Foreign Relations said Tuesday. Read More… 

Media Bias: WaPo Spares Democrats In ‘Corrected’ Headline That Initially Scolded Republicans By Name

An online article at The Washington Post’s website today briefly featured a headline that outed Senators Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) by name for supposedly operating the most expensive Senate office budgets on Capitol Hill. Read More… 

Media Bias: WaPo Spares Democrats In ‘Corrected’ Headline That Initially Scolded Republicans By Name

An online article at The Washington Post’s website today briefly featured a headline that outed Senators Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) by name for supposedly operating the most expensive Senate office budgets on Capitol Hill.

But that information was wrong: Cruz and Rubio aren’t the “most expensive” Senators when it comes to office budget – Democrats Baraba Boxer and Dianne Feinstein, both from California, are.

According to The Daily Caller, the Post’s original GOP-bashing headline read “Cruz, Rubio among the most expensive Senate offices.” But within an hour of that story going public, the Post corrected the story and changed its headline.

This time around, though, it didn’t just swap the GOP Senators’ names out and plug Boxer’s and Feinstein’s names in. Instead, it made no mention of the Senators – or their party affiliation.

“Here are the states whose senators are costing you the most money,” the updated headline now reads.

The story still leads with a photo of Ted Cruz.

 

Documentary By Acclaimed Filmmaker Explains How Unlikely Alliances Formed To Battle NSA

On June 27, The Electronic Frontier Foundation, Greenpeace and the Tenth Amendment Center joined forces to fly a 135-foot-long airship bearing a downturned arrow and the words “Illegal Spying Below” over the National Security Agency’s $1.2-billion data center in Bluffdale, Utah.

The action was an attempt to draw attention to government spying and StandAgainstSpying.org, a group trying to stop it. According to organizers, the airship protest was a success.

“More than 30 articles were written about the airship, and those articles were collectively shared more than 51,000 times over social media within 72 hours,” EFF reported.

Documentarian Brian Knappenberger (The Internet’s Own Boy), explained that the large data center jutting out of the small Utah community made it a perfect target for the protest.

“While it is only one of several data centers, for many people the Bluffdale facility has become a symbol out-of-control, unconstitutional, dragnet surveillance, as well as a threat to the environment,” he said. “I thought it was important to document this audacious attempt to raise awareness of this secretive facility and pressure Congress to rein in the NSA.”

The effort, according to organizers, should serve to illustrate how Americans, no matter their political differences, should join forces to protect their privacy.

“This video shows how a common threat to the freedom of association drew our three organizations together, despite very different missions,” EFF Activism Director Rainey Reitman said. “Now it’s time for Congress to build a diverse coalition to pass meaningful reform. We launched an airship, they need to land a bill on the president’s desk.”

Personal Liberty Digest™ P.M. Edition 8-4-2014: What’s Behind Pelosi’s House Floor Flip Out?; Futility At The Border; The FBI’s New ‘Grading’ System; McDaniel Challenges Mississippi Primary Results; The Folly Of State-Subsidized Industries; Should Obama Leave Ukraine Alone?

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

Why So Sensitive?: Pelosi Rages At ‘Insignificant’ Republican On House Floor

“There are some people in Congress that think they are royalty … What happened there is a prime example of why we need term limits,” Representative Tom Marino (R-Pa.) told Fox News on Monday as he discussed House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s (D-Calif.) reaction when he laid blame for the immigration crisis at Democrats’ feet on the House floor. What’s Her Deal?.. 

Futility On The Border: Checkpoint Exchange Between Trucker, Patrol Agent Neatly Sums Up Obama’s Backward Immigration Policy

Big rig hauler Travis Pope posted a video, shot in late July, of a brief exchange between himself and a U.S. Border Patrol agent as the trucker passed through a Border Patrol checkpoint in Texas. Then he put it on YouTube. Video…

Mississippi Tea Party Hopeful McDaniel Challenges Senate Primary Results

Mississippi’s bizarre Republican Senate race just keeps going, as Tea Party challenger Chris McDaniel on Monday formally challenged the runoff election he lost more than a month ago. Read More… 

FBI Wants To ‘Grade’ News Stories That Mention The FBI

The FBI is preparing to use an outside contractor to begin assessing the tone of independent media reports about the agency on a scale that rates news stories as positive, neutral or negative. Read More… 

When State-Subsidized Industries Attack

Recently, a corn ethanol plant in Nebraska that switched to using cheaper sugar to produce biofuel was sued by local corn farmers. The dispute allows a glimpse into the clashing worlds of subsidized agriculture, and highlights what happens when people make market-oriented decisions within the tangled framework of the state-directed economy. Read More…

Straight Talk: Why Won’t Obama Just Leave Ukraine Alone?

Why is “winning” Ukraine so important to Washington? Why are they risking a major war with Russia to deny people in Ukraine the right to self-determination? Let’s just leave Ukraine alone! Ron Paul’s Take… 

FBI Wants To ‘Grade’ News Stories That Mention The FBI

The FBI is preparing to use an outside contractor to begin assessing the tone of independent media reports about the agency on a scale that rates news stories as positive, neutral or negative.

The bureau’s public affairs office is advertising its need for a contractor to perform the work, but, according to The Washington Times, no one at the FBI is elaborating on why it’s needed, or how it’s useful.

All we really know is that the FBI is screening contractors who wish to bid on the project by putting them through an exercise in which they “‘use their judgment’ in scoring news coverage as part of a new ‘daily news briefing’ service the agency is seeking as part of a contract that could last up to five years.”

“You would certainly worry this could affect access,” Northwestern University journalism professor Dan Kennedy told the Times. “It might affect the way they’re going to approach your questions, whether they’re going to be extra careful not to make news if you’re on the ‘bad list.’”

That certainly bears similarity with the preferred approach of the current Presidential Administration – at least toward the handful of reporters who ask meaningful questions.

H/T: The Washington Times

Futility On The Border: Checkpoint Exchange Between Trucker, Patrol Agent Neatly Sums Up Obama’s Backward Immigration Policy

Big rig hauler Travis Pope posted a video, shot in late July, of a brief exchange between himself and a U.S. Border Patrol agent as the trucker passed through a Border Patrol checkpoint in Texas. Then he put it on YouTube.

Their conversation is brief, but it nicely encapsulates much of what’s wrong with the Obama Administration’s attitude toward border enforcement and toward the handing of illegal aliens.

The Border Patrol’s hands are tied, and no one knows it better than the agents. For an agent to voice even a casual opinion, such as this one does, raises the question of whether he’ll be disciplined or fired in the Federal government’s reprisal culture. Many Americans who pass through these checkpoints now view them more as a bureaucratic joke than as a nuisance or as an infringement on liberty. The checkpoint exercise has become a perfunctory dance between people in an ant-like chain and the demoralized, just-doing-their-jobs (most of them) agents – bottlenecks which most illegals ignore by eschewing roads, borders and checkpoints.

Lately, it’s not even been necessary to eschew the agents.

 

Personal Liberty Digest P.M. Edition 8-1-2014: Obama Pouts On Border Bill; Pelosi Asks The Media To Evangelize For Democrats; More People Than Ever Hate Obamacare; Clinton (William Jefferson) Says He Could Have Killed Bin Laden; Friday Funnies

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

Obama Blasts ‘Extreme’ Congressional GOP For Inaction On Border Before Summer Recess

President Barack Obama blasted House Republicans for focusing on “extreme” and “partisan message bills,” rather than solving problems, highlighting how little lawmakers have accomplished before leaving town for a summer recess. Read More…

Irony Alert: Pelosi Asks The Press To Shill For Democrats

Asked today why Congressional Democrats haven’t been able to effectively persuade people that evil Republican obstructionists are what’s wrong with America, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) admonished the news media to “be messengers” for her party’s position throughout the midterm election campaign season. Watch…

Sharp Jump In Public’s Low Opinion Of Obamacare

The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation’s monthly tracking poll for July is out today, and – in spite of Kaiser’s efforts in helping to introduce and explain Obamacare to the public in a positive light since the October 2013 rollout – the Obamacare numbers aren’t good. Read More…

Bill Clinton On Sept. 10, 2001: ‘I Could Have Killed’ Osama Bin Laden

Former President Bill Clinton told an audience in Australia that he could have had terrorist leader Osama bin Laden killed, but chose not to, because it would have meant significant collateral damage to innocent women and children in Afghanistan. Read More…

A Roundup Of This Week’s Political Cartoons

Yikes, it’s bad. The border bottleneck has turned into a floodgate, Obama’s approval ratings keep tanking, the President’s own team is fundraising off of impeachment, and Congress won’t even get a symbolic victory out of an immigration bill before its members go home to face their constituents. And that’s just what’s going on here in the U.S., at a time when the rest of the world seems to be on fire. If you want Obama impeached, though, be careful what you wish for…you know who’s waiting in the wings. Friday Funnies…

A Roundup Of This Week’s Political Cartoons

Yikes, it’s bad. The border bottleneck has turned into a floodgate, Obama’s approval ratings keep tanking, the President’s own team is fundraising off of impeachment, and Congress won’t even get a symbolic victory out of an immigration bill before its members go home to face their constituents. And that’s just what’s going on here in the U.S., at a time when the rest of the world seems to be on fire. If you want Obama impeached, though, be careful what you wish for…you know who’s waiting in the wings.

MM
Gary Varvel, Indianapolis Star
BIDEN
John Darkow, Columbia Daily Tribune
HB
Tim Campbell, Current Publishing
BOcar
Gary Varvel, Indianapolis Star
BOdesk
Larry Wright

 

BOfootball
Bruce Plante, The Tulsa World

Stories We’re Watching: Friday News Links 8-1-2014

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

  • Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said even if House Republicans get the votes necessary to pass its emergency border spending bill, there isn’t enough support in the Senate for the “wrong-headed” measure. Source: The Hill…
  • Law enforcement officers from several Texas counties have banded together to form a “Border Brotherhood” who volunteer without pay to help enforce U.S. border laws in counties where there are too few deputies to regulate the ongoing flow of illegal immigrants crossing over from Mexico. Source: CBS Houston…
  • Government’s assault on religious liberty has hit a new low as the IRS settles with atheists by promising to monitor sermons for mentions of the right to life and traditional marriage. Source: Investor’s Business Daily…
  • For one Federal Communications Commission worker, his porn habit at work was easy to explain: Things were slow, he told investigators, so he perused it “out of boredom” — for up to eight hours each week. Lack of work has emerged time and again in federal investigations, and it’s not just porn, nor is it confined to the FCC. Across government, employees caught wasting time at work say they simply didn’t have enough work to do, according to investigation records obtained under the Freedom of Information Act. Source: The Washington Times…
  • Are tax dollars being channeled through the Environmental Protection Agency to Democratic activists working in the nonprofit sector? A comprehensive new report released Wednesday by the Republican staff of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee makes clear that the answer to that question is yes. The report is entitled “The chain of environmental command.” Source: Washington Examiner…
  • A German Army brigadier general who recently served with NATO forces in Afghanistan is assuming duties as the chief of staff of U. S. Army Europe, the first time a non-American officer has held that position. Source: Army Times…
  • An independent panel appointed by the Pentagon and Congress said Thursday that President Obama’s strategy for sizing the armed services is too weak for today’s global threats. The National Defense Panel called on the president to dump a major section of his 2014 Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR) and write a broader strategy that requires the military to fight on multiple fronts at once. Source: The Washington Times…
  • A new poll conducted by the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation finds that Obamacare is more unpopular than ever. Just 37% of Americans say they support the Affordable Care Act (ACA), President Barack Obama’s signature legislative achievement. Source: Breitbart…
  • The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) hauled in $4.8 million in the past week, as it warned of Republican efforts to impeach President Obama. DCCC Chairman Steve Israel (D-N.Y.) tweeted out the news Friday morning, saying that more than 240,000 people had given to the committee in the past week. The $4.8 million in weekly fundraising is a new record for the committee. Source: The Hill…

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 7-31-2014: DHS Report Finds Diseases Travelling With Illegal Immigrants; Border Bill Stalled; Investigation Confirms CIA Snooped In Senate Computers; Retired Intelligence Officials Want Answers From Obama On Russia; Asking Illegal Immigrant Supporters To House Illegals

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

DHS Report: Immigration Officials Being Exposed To Diseases

A Department of Homeland Security report reveals that government employees working with illegal immigrants flooding across the U.S.’s southern border are being exposed to communicable diseases such as “respiratory illnesses, chicken pox, tuberculosis, and scabies.” Read More… 

Border Crisis Bill Derails In House Amid Cruz-Inspired Disarray

House Speaker John Boehner was always expected to have trouble passing emergency funds for the crisis at the Southwestern border — but Republican Senator Ted Cruz made his job impossible. Read More… 

CIA Improperly Accessed Senate Computers, Agency Finds

CIA employees improperly accessed computers used by the Senate Intelligence Committee to compile a report on the agency’s now defunct detention and interrogation program, an internal CIA investigation has determined. Read More…

Retired Intelligence Officials Ask Obama To Ponder The Past Before Alienating Russia For Good

A group of nine retired U.S. intelligence officials with 260 years’ worth of professional experience between them co-authored a lengthy, cautionary memorandum to President Barack Obama which they also released to the public today. Read More… 

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Retired Intelligence Officials Ask Obama To Ponder The Past Before Alienating Russia For Good

A group of nine retired U.S. intelligence officials with 260 years’ worth of professional experience between them co-authored a lengthy, cautionary memorandum to President Barack Obama which they also released to the public today.

Together, the former government employees – who spent their careers with the NSA, CIA, FBI, and in various military and foreign service endeavors – comprise the Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS). Their memo implores the President to take a lesson from the distant past before plying the mainstream media to advance a “blame Russia” message for the recent downing of a Malaysian airliner.

VIPS questions why Obama would happily spoon-feed the media incomplete intelligence about the recent tragedy, while sitting back and tacitly approving an evidence-free public-opinion trial of Russia’s role, before demonstrating that his Administration is, in fact, acting on good intelligence.

Here’s the memorandum – titled “Veteran U.S. Intelligence Analysts to Obama: Provide Evidence or Stop Lying About Malaysia Plane Crash” – as it appeared today on the website of the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity:

MEMORANDUM FOR: The President

FROM: Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS)

SUBJECT: Intelligence on Shoot-Down of Malaysian Plane

Executive Summary

U.S.–Russian intensions are building in a precarious way over Ukraine, and we are far from certain that your advisers fully appreciate the danger of escalation. The New York Times and other media outlets are treating sensitive issues in dispute as flat-fact, taking their cue from U.S. government sources.

Twelve days after the shoot-down of Malaysian Airlines Flight 17, your administration still has issued no coordinated intelligence assessment summarizing what evidence exists to determine who was responsible – much less to convincingly support repeated claims that the plane was downed by a Russian-supplied missile in the hands of Ukrainian separatists.

Your administration has not provided any satellite imagery showing that the separatists had such weaponry, and there are several other “dogs that have not barked.” Washington’s credibility, and your own, will continue to erode, should you be unwilling – or unable – to present more tangible evidence behind administration claims. In what follows, we put this in the perspective of former intelligence professionals with a cumulative total of 260 years in various parts of U.S. intelligence:

We, the undersigned former intelligence officers want to share with you our concern about the evidence adduced so far to blame Russia for the July 17 downing of Malaysian Airlines Flight 17. We are retired from government service and none of us is on the payroll of CNN, Fox News, or any other outlet. We intend this memorandum to provide a fresh, different perspective.

As veteran intelligence analysts accustomed to waiting, except in emergency circumstances, for conclusive information before rushing to judgment, we believe that the charges against Russia should be rooted in solid, far more convincing evidence. And that goes in spades with respect to inflammatory incidents like the shoot-down of an airliner. We are also troubled by the amateurish manner in which fuzzy and flimsy evidence has been served up – some of it via “social media.”

As intelligence professionals we are embarrassed by the unprofessional use of partial intelligence information. As Americans, we find ourselves hoping that, if you indeed have more conclusive evidence, you will find a way to make it public without further delay. In charging Russia with being directly or indirectly responsible, Secretary of State John Kerry has been particularly definitive. Not so the evidence. His statements seem premature and bear earmarks of an attempt to “poison the jury pool.”

Painting Russia Black

We see an eerie resemblance to an earlier exercise in U.S. “public diplomacy” from which valuable lessons can be learned by those more interested in the truth than in exploiting tragic incidents for propaganda advantage. We refer to the behavior of the Reagan administration in the immediate aftermath of the shoot-down of Korean Airlines Flight 007 over Siberia on August 30, 1983. We sketch out below a short summary of that tragic affair, since we suspect you have not been adequately briefed on it. The parallels will be obvious to you.

An advantage of our long tenure as intelligence officers is that we remember what we have witnessed first hand; seldom do we forget key events in which we played an analyst or other role. To put it another way, most of us “know exactly where we were” when a Soviet fighter aircraft shot down Korean Airlines passenger flight 007 over Siberia on August 30, 1983, over 30 years ago. At the time, we were intelligence officers on “active duty.” You were 21; many of those around you today were still younger.

Thus, it seems possible that you may be learning how the KAL007 affair went down, so to speak, for the first time; that you may now become more aware of the serious implications for U.S.-Russian relations regarding how the downing of Flight 17 goes down; and that you will come to see merit in preventing ties with Moscow from falling into a state of complete disrepair. In our view, the strategic danger here dwarfs all other considerations.

Hours after the tragic shoot-down on Aug. 30, 1983, the Reagan administration used its very accomplished propaganda machine to twist the available intelligence on Soviet culpability for the killing of all 269 people aboard KAL007. The airliner was shot down after it strayed hundreds of miles off course and penetrated Russia’s airspace over sensitive military facilities in Kamchatka and Sakhalin Island. The Soviet pilot tried to signal the plane to land, but the KAL pilots did not respond to the repeated warnings. Amid confusion about the plane’s identity – a U.S. spy plane had been in the vicinity hours earlier – Soviet ground control ordered the pilot to fire.

The Soviets soon realized they had made a horrendous mistake. U.S. intelligence also knew from sensitive intercepts that the tragedy had resulted from a blunder, not from a willful act of murder (much as on July 3, 1988, the USS Vincennes shot down an Iranian civilian airliner over the Persian Gulf, killing 290 people, an act which President Ronald Reagan dismissively explained as an “understandable accident”).

To make the very blackest case against Moscow for shooting down the KAL airliner, the Reagan administration suppressed exculpatory evidence from U.S. electronic intercepts. Washington’s mantra became “Moscow’s deliberate downing of a civilian passenger plane.” Newsweek ran a cover emblazoned with the headline “Murder in the Sky.” (Apparently, not much has changed;Time’s cover this week features “Cold War II” and “Putin’s dangerous game.” The cover story by Simon Shuster, “In Russia, Crime Without Punishment,” would merit an A-plus in William Randolph Hearst’s course “Yellow Journalism 101.”)

When KAL007 was shot down, Alvin A. Snyder, director of the U.S. Information Agency’s television and film division, was enlisted in a concerted effort to “heap as much abuse on the Soviet Union as possible,” as Snyder writes in his 1995 book, “Warriors of Disinformation.”

He and his colleagues also earned an A-plus for bringing the “mainstream media” along. For example, ABC’s Ted Koppel noted with patriotic pride, “This has been one of those occasions when there is very little difference between what is churned out by the U.S. government propaganda organs and by the commercial broadcasting networks.”

“Fixing” the Intelligence Around the Policy

“The perception we wanted to convey was that the Soviet Union had cold-bloodedly carried out a barbaric act,” wrote Snyder, adding that the Reagan administration went so far as to present a doctored transcript of the intercepts to the United Nations Security Council on September 6, 1983.

Only a decade later, when Snyder saw the complete transcripts — including the portions that the Reagan administration had hidden — would he fully realize how many of the central elements of the U.S. presentation were false.

The intercepts showed that the Soviet fighter pilot believed he was pursuing a U.S. spy aircraft and that he was having trouble in the dark identifying the plane. Per instructions from ground control, the pilot had circled the KAL airliner and tilted his wings to order the aircraft to land. The pilot said he fired warning shots, as well. This information “was not on the tape we were provided,” Snyder wrote.

It became abundantly clear to Snyder that, in smearing the Soviets, the Reagan administration had presented false accusations to the United Nations, as well as to the people of the United States and the world. In his book, Snyder acknowledged his own role in the deception, but drew a cynical conclusion. He wrote, “The moral of the story is that all governments, including our own, lie when it suits their purposes. The key is to lie first.”

The tortured attempts by your administration and stenographers in the media to blame Russia for the downing of Flight 17, together with John Kerry’s unenviable record for credibility, lead us to the reluctant conclusion that the syndrome Snyder describes may also be at work in your own administration; that is, that an ethos of “getting your own lie out first” has replaced “ye shall know the truth.” At a minimum, we believe Secretary Kerry displayed unseemly haste in his determination to be first out of the starting gate.

Both Sides Cannot Be Telling the Truth

We have always taken pride in not shooting from the hip, but rather in doing intelligence analysis that is evidence-based. The evidence released to date does not bear close scrutiny; it does not permit a judgment as to which side is lying about the shoot-down of Flight 17. Our entire professional experience would incline us to suspect the Russians – almost instinctively. Our more recent experience, particularly observing Secretary Kerry injudiciousness in latching onto one spurious report after another as “evidence,” has gone a long way toward balancing our earlier predispositions.

It seems that whenever Kerry does cite supposed “evidence” that can be checked – like the forged anti-Semitic fliers distributed in eastern Ukraine or the photos of alleged Russian special forces soldiers who allegedly slipped into Ukraine – the “proof” goes “poof” as Kerry once said in a different context. Still, these misrepresentations seem small peccadillos compared with bigger whoppers like the claim Kerry made on Aug. 30, 2013, no fewer than 35 times, that “we know” the government of Bashar al-Assad was responsible for the chemical incidents near Damascus nine days before.

On September 3, 2013 – following your decision to call off the attack on Syria in order to await Congressional authorization – Kerry was still pushing for an attack in testimony before a thoroughly sympathetic Senate Foreign Affairs Committee. On the following day Kerry drew highly unusual personal criticism from President Putin, who said: “He is lying, and he knows he is lying. It is sad.”

Equally serious, during the first week of September 2013, as you and President Vladimir Putin were putting the final touches to the deal whereby Syrian chemical weapons would be given up for destruction, John Kerry said something that puzzles us to this day. On September 9, 2013, Kerry was in London, still promoting a U.S. attack on Syria for having crossed the “Red Line” you had set against Syria’s using chemical weapons.

At a formal press conference, Kerry abruptly dismissed the possibility that Bashar al-Assad would ever give up his chemical weapons, saying, “He isn’t about to do that; it can’t be done.” Just a few hours later, the Russians and Syrians announced Syria’s agreement to do precisely what Kerry had ruled out as impossible. You sent him back to Geneva to sign the agreement, and it was formally concluded on September 14.

Regarding the Malaysia Airlines shoot-down of July 17, we believe Kerry has typically rushed to judgment and that his incredible record for credibility poses a huge disadvantage in the diplomatic and propaganda maneuvering vis-a-vis Russia. We suggest you call a halt to this misbegotten “public diplomacy” offensive. If, however, you decide to press on anyway, we suggest you try to find a less tarnished statesman or woman.

A Choice Between Two

If the intelligence on the shoot-down is as weak as it appears judging from the fuzzy scraps that have been released, we strongly suggest you call off the propaganda war and await the findings of those charged with investigating the shoot-down. If, on the other hand, your administration has more concrete, probative intelligence, we strongly suggest that you consider approving it for release, even if there may be some risk of damage to “sources and methods.” Too often this consideration is used to prevent information from entering the public domain where, as in this case, it belongs.

There have been critical junctures in the past in which presidents have recognized the need to waive secrecy in order to show what one might call “a decent respect for the opinions of mankind” or even to justify military action.

As senior CIA veteran Milton Bearden has put it, there are occasions when more damage is done to U.S. national security by “protecting” sources and methods than by revealing them. For instance, Bearden noted that Ronald Reagan exposed a sensitive intelligence source in showing a skeptical world the reason for the U.S. attack on Libya in retaliation for the April 5, 1986 bombing at the La Belle Disco in West Berlin. That bombing killed two U.S. servicemen and a Turkish woman, and injured over 200 people, including 79 U.S. servicemen.

Intercepted messages between Tripoli and agents in Europe made it clear that Libya was behind the attack. Here’s an excerpt: “At 1:30 in the morning one of the acts was carried out with success, without leaving a trace behind.”

Ten days after the bombing the U.S. retaliated, sending over 60 Air Force fighters to strike the Libyan capital of Tripoli and the city of Benghazi. The operation was widely seen as an attempt to kill Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, who survived, but his adopted 15-month-old daughter was killed in the bombing, along with at least 15 other civilians.

Three decades ago, there was more shame attached to the killing of children. As world abhorrence grew after the U.S. bombing strikes, the Reagan administration produced the intercepted, decoded message sent by the Libyan Peoples Bureau in East Berlin acknowledging the “success” of the attack on the disco, and adding the ironically inaccurate boast “without leaving a trace behind.”

The Reagan administration made the decision to give up a highly sensitive intelligence source, its ability to intercept and decipher Libyan communications. But once the rest of the world absorbed this evidence, international grumbling subsided and many considered the retaliation against Tripoli justified.

If You’ve Got the Goods…

If the U.S. has more convincing evidence than what has so far been adduced concerning responsibility for shooting down Flight 17, we believe it would be best to find a way to make that intelligence public – even at the risk of compromising “sources and methods.” Moreover, we suggest you instruct your subordinates not to cheapen U.S. credibility by releasing key information via social media like Twitter and Facebook.

The reputation of the messenger for credibility is also key in this area of “public diplomacy.” As is by now clear to you, in our view Secretary Kerry is more liability than asset in this regard. Similarly, with regard to Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, his March 12, 2013 Congressional testimony under oath to what he later admitted were “clearly erroneous” things regarding NSA collection should disqualify him. Clapper should be kept at far remove from the Flight 17 affair.

What is needed, if you’ve got the goods, is an Interagency Intelligence Assessment – the genre used in the past to lay out the intelligence. We are hearing indirectly from some of our former colleagues that what Secretary Kerry is peddling does not square with the real intelligence. Such was the case late last August, when Kerry created a unique vehicle he called a “Government (not Intelligence) Assessment” blaming, with no verifiable evidence, Bashar al-Assad for the chemical attacks near Damascus, as honest intelligence analysts refused to go along and, instead, held their noses.

We believe you need to seek out honest intelligence analysts now and hear them out. Then, you may be persuaded to take steps to curb the risk that relations with Russia might escalate from “Cold War II” into an armed confrontation. In all candor, we see little reason to believe that Secretary Kerry and your other advisers appreciate the enormity of that danger.

In our most recent (May 4) memorandum to you, Mr. President, we cautioned that if the U.S. wished “to stop a bloody civil war between east and west Ukraine and avert Russian military intervention in eastern Ukraine, you may be able to do so before the violence hurtles completely out of control.” On July 17, you joined the top leaders of Germany, France, and Russia in calling for a ceasefire. Most informed observers believe you have it in your power to get Ukrainian leaders to agree. The longer Kiev continues its offensive against separatists in eastern Ukraine, the more such U.S. statements appear hypocritical.

We reiterate our recommendations of May 4, that you remove the seeds of this confrontation by publicly disavowing any wish to incorporate Ukraine into NATO and that you make it clear that you are prepared to meet personally with Russian President Putin without delay to discuss ways to defuse the crisis and recognize the legitimate interests of the various parties. The suggestion of an early summit got extraordinary resonance in controlled and independent Russian media. Not so in “mainstream” media in the U.S. Nor did we hear back from you.

The courtesy of a reply is requested.

Prepared by VIPS Steering Group

William Binney, former Technical Director, World Geopolitical & Military Analysis, NSA; co-founder, SIGINT Automation Research Center (ret.)

Larry Johnson, CIA & State Department (ret.)

Edward Loomis, NSA, Cryptologic Computer Scientist (ret.)

David MacMichael, National Intelligence Council (ret.)

Ray McGovern, former US Army infantry/intelligence officer & CIA analyst (ret.)

Elizabeth Murray, Deputy National Intelligence Officer for Middle East (ret.)

Coleen Rowley, Division Counsel & Special Agent, FBI (ret.)

Peter Van Buren, U.S. Department of State, Foreign Service Officer (ret.)

Ann Wright, Col., US Army (ret); Foreign Service Officer (ret.)