Obama Rhetoric Suggests Executive Actions On Immigration, Taxes Are Coming

President Barack Obama defended his use of executive actions during a press conference that closed the African Leaders Summit on Wednesday.

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.”

“When you were running for President you said, quote, ‘The biggest problems that we’re facing right now have to do with George Bush trying to bring more and more power into the executive branch and not go through Congress at all. And that’s what I intend to reverse when I’m president of the United States of America.’” Karl reminded the President.

The reporter continued, “Does it bother you more to be accused of being an imperial president pushing those limits, or to be accused of being a do-nothing president who couldn’t get anything done because he faced a dysfunctional congress?”

Obama eschewed the suggestion that he felt he had the “green light” to act, before laying out broad executive actions he could take.

“I think that I never have a green light. I’m bound by the Constitution,” Obama replied. “I’m bound by separation of powers. There’s some things we can’t do.”

The President went on to vow to “scour our authorities” and act “wherever I have the legal authority to make progress.”

“We’re going to make sure that every time we take one of these steps that we are working within the confines of my executive power,” he said. “But I promise you the American people don’t want me just standing around twiddling my thumbs and waiting for Congress to get something done.”

It’s worth noting that there is ample polling data to the contrary. In fact, a recent Rasmussen poll found that a clear majority of Americans (63 percent) disagree with Obama’s penchant for executive orders and say that Congress must approve legislative changes.

Possible executive actions include measures to prevent tax inversions— U.S. companies moving headquarters out of the Nation to avoid taxes— and changes to U.S. immigration laws.

“We don’t want to see this trend grow,” Obama said of tax inversions.

The President suggested that Administration is examining policy measures to “at least discourage some of the folks who may be trying to take advantage of the loophole.”

“It’s not fair. It’s not right. The lost revenue to Treasury means it has to be made up somewhere,” he said.

On immigration, the President hinted at a couple of possible Administrative measures.

“We have a broken system, it’s under-resourced and we’ve got to make decisions in how we allocate personnel and resources,” Obama said.

Obama suggested that executive actions could be used to direct immigration officials to focus deportation efforts only on illegal immigrants guilty of serious crimes not related to their citizenship status.

“We’re going to have to prioritize — that’s well within our authorities and prosecutorial discretion,” Obama said. “My preference would be an actual comprehensive immigration law.”

The President is also expected to expand his deferred action program that allows young immigrants to apply for temporary legal status and work permits.

New Surveillance Leak Prompts Feds To Help Friendly Reporter Steal Scoop

The Federal government has declared that there is a new leaker exposing surveillance secrets after The Intercept revealed Tuesday that almost half of the 680,000 people on the government’s terrorist watchlist have no known ties to terror.

The analysis of the government’s Terrorist Screening Database by The Interceptco-founded by Glenn Greenwald, who published Edward Snowden’s National Security Agency leaks — is based on newly obtained classified government documents.

From the piece:

The classified documents were prepared by the National Counterterrorism Center, the lead agency for tracking individuals with suspected links to international terrorism. Stamped “SECRET” and “NOFORN” (indicating they are not to be shared with foreign governments), they offer the most complete numerical picture of the watchlisting system to date. Among the revelations:

• The second-highest concentration of people designated as “known or suspected terrorists” by the government is in Dearborn, Mich.–a city of 96,000 that has the largest percentage of Arab-American residents in the country.

• The government adds names to its databases, or adds information on existing subjects, at a rate of 900 records each day.

• The CIA uses a previously unknown program, code-named Hydra, to secretly access databases maintained by foreign countries and extract data to add to the watchlists.

A U.S. counterterrorism official familiar with watchlisting data told The Intercept that as of November 2013, there were approximately 700,000 people in the Terrorist Screening Database, or TSDB, but declined to provide the current numbers. Last month, the Associated Press, citing federal court filings by government lawyers, reported that there have been 1.5 million names added to the watchlist over the past five years. The government official told The Intercept that was a misinterpretation of the data. “The list has grown somewhat since that time, but is nowhere near the 1.5 million figure cited in recent news reports,” he said. He added that the statistics cited by the Associated Press do not just include nominations of individuals, but also bits of intelligence or biographical information obtained on watchlisted persons.

Read the full report at The Intercept.

After learning that the new media outlet had obtained the secret documents, government officials reportedly fed the scoop to an Associated Press reporter, presumably in an effort to pre-empt The Intercept’s story with a friendlier version.

Huffington Post’s Ryan Grim explains:

After the AP story ran, The Intercept requested a conference call with the National Counterterrorism Center. A source with knowledge of the call said that the government agency admitted having fed the story to the AP, but didn’t think the reporter would publish before The Intercept did. “That was our bad,” the official said.

Asked by The Intercept editor John Cook if it was the government’s policy to feed one outlet’s scoop to a friendlier outlet, a silence ensued, followed by the explanation: “We had invested some quality time with Eileen,” referring to AP reporter Eileen Sullivan, who the official added had been out to visit the NCTC.

“After seeing you had the docs, and the fact we had been working with Eileen, we did feel compelled to give her a heads up,” the official said, according to the source. “We thought she would publish after you.”

According to the source, Cook told the official that in the future the agency would have only 30 minutes to respond to questions before publication.

“They also were saying, with most news organizations we’d have a real back-and-forth and we’d have an opportunity to discuss what should be redacted, but with you guys, you’ve made it clear you’re not going to have those kinds of conversations with us,” the source said.

What a shining example of the government’s mainstream media propaganda machine in action.

Alabama Lawmaker: Democrats Are Waging ‘War On Whites’

During an appearance Monday on Laura Ingraham’s radio show, Alabama Republican Congressman Mo Brooks said that Democrats’ rolling accusations of GOP racism are part of a leftist plan to exploit political correctness to wage a “war on whites” in America.

Brooks was addressing comments made Sunday by National Journal editorial director Ron Fournier, who suggested that Republican immigration positions are disenfranchising Hispanic voters.

Fournier argued during an appearance on “Fox News Sunday” that the GOP ought to change its tune on immigration, or risk losing potential minority voters in the November midterms.

“This party, your party, cannot be the party of the future beyond November if you’re seen as the party of white people,” he said.

Brooks charged that perceptions of racism in GOP immigration policy are fueled by Democratic efforts to deflect attention from real problems facing the Nation.

“This is a part of the war on whites that’s being launched by the Democratic Party. And the way in which they’re launching this war is by claiming that whites hate everybody else,” he told Ingraham. “It’s a part of the strategy that Barack Obama implemented in 2008, continued in 2012, where he divides us all on race, on sex, greed, envy, class warfare, all those kinds of things. Well that’s not true.”

The Alabama Congressman also cited recent polls, which he contends show unease over current immigration policies that spans demographics.

“It doesn’t make any difference if you’re a white American, a black American, a Hispanic-American, an Asian-American or if you’re a woman or a man. Every single demographic group is hurt by falling wages and lost jobs,” Brooks said.

“Democrats, they have to demagogue on this and try and turn it into a racial issue, which is an emotional issue, rather than a thoughtful issue,” he added. “If it becomes a thoughtful issue, then we win–  and we win big. And they lose– and they lose big. ”

Ingraham distanced herself from Brooks’ statements, calling his “war on whites” comments “a little out there.”

“That phraseology might not be the best choice,” she said.

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.

On Friday, Pelosi stormed across the House floor wagging her finger at the GOP lawmaker and calling him “insignificant” after he questioned why Democrats are so keen on forcing an immigration overhaul now when the Party ignored the Nation’s immigration issues when they controlled Congress and the White House.

“You know something that I find quite interesting about the other side?” Marino had said on the House floor. “Under the leadership of the former speaker [Pelosi], and under the leadership of the former leader, when in 2009 and 2010, they had the House, the Senate and the White House, and they knew this problem existed … they didn’t have the strength to go after [immigration] back then.”

Pelosi then began making her way toward the lawmaker and exclaiming that his remarks were untrue, prompting Marino to address her directly.

“It’s true, madam leader, I did the research on it,” Marino said. “You might want to try it. You might want to try it, madam leader. Do the research on it. Do the research. I did it. That’s one thing that you don’t do.”

As the rhetorical standoff calmed, Marino urged lawmakers to act on GOP immigration legislation because, “Apparently I hit the right nerve.”

As the Republican left the floor, Pelosi could be seen briskly walking toward him waving her finger.

On Monday, Marino hinted to Fox that Pelosi’s actions were an attempt to “belittle” and intimidate him. The lawmaker said it didn’t work.

“I’m a former prosecutor … and I’ve been threatened by drug dealers and organized crime and murderers, and this was a walk in the park,” he told cable news outlet. “I’m not going to put up with this. I don’t talk to people like this.”

He added: “I’m having one of the wealthiest people in Congress say that I’m inconsequential and I’m not important.”

According to The Hill, a Pelosi handler said that the Congresswoman simply “wanted to remind the Congressman that House Democrats had the courage to pass the DREAM Act – and have the courage to stand up for what the American people want: bipartisan, comprehensive immigration reform.”

The GOP border bill was passed in the House on a 223 to 189 vote.

But the question of why Democrats remain so sensitive to the subject of their own immigration inaction when they in charge was revived when Fox News reporter Ed Henry asked White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest during a Monday press briefing.

“Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid, they were running the House and Senate,” Henry said. “They failed to act for two years. Why didn’t [Obama] do anything then?”

“At the time, you recall back in 2009, there were many things on the President’s plate,” Earnest deflected.

Henry countered incredulously, “As there are now — Israel, Gaza, Syria, the economy — he has a lot going on now, right?”

Earnest insisted that the problems that existed in 2009, the “financial system and our economy hemorrhaging jobs” was the focal point of Congress and the White House.

Federal Court: Alabama Abortion Restrictions unConstitutional

Dealing the second blow to anti-abortion activists in less than a week, a Federal judge has ruled that an Alabama law that would have shut three of the State’s five abortion clinics is unConstitutional.

The law, a version of which has been passed in multiple states across the country in recent years, requires doctors performing abortions to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals. A similar Mississippi law was blocked last week by a Federal appeals court in one of the most conservative districts in the country.

“The court is convinced that, if this requirement would not, in the face of all the evidence in the record, constitute an impermissible undue burden, then almost no regulation, short of those imposing an outright prohibition on abortion, would,” wrote U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson, in his 172-page opinion, released Monday.

The ruling, by a vote of 2-1, leaves similar laws vulnerable to challenges, but it also raises the possibility that this issue will advance to a higher court. Before the Mississippi law was blocked last week, a similar Texas law was allowed to stand by a different panel of judges, and the Supreme Court often steps in when different courts offer contrasting decisions on the same issue.

Alabama’s attorney general announced soon after the ruling that the State will appeal.

The Alabama lawsuit was filed by Planned Parenthood Southeast and Reproductive Health Services, which argued that none of the doctors who provide abortions in Montgomery, Birmingham or Mobile would be able to obtain admitting privileges, and that closing the clinics would make it onerous for women to travel to have abortions.

Thompson agreed, writing that the admitting privileges requirement “would have the effect of imposing a substantial obstacle for women who would seek abortions in Alabama. The law would therefore impose an undue burden on their constitutional right to have an abortion.”

The Alabama law, which was enacted in 2011, had not been enforced while the lawsuit was pending. Similar laws were enacted in Oklahoma and Kansas the same year; an Idaho law passed in 2011 was permanently blocked by a federal district court. Arizona’s admitting privilege law, enacted in 2012, has been permanently blocked by a Federal appeals court.

But similar laws still stand in Arkansas, Indiana, Kansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Texas. It will go into effect in Louisiana on Sept. 1.

Many of the legislators who have sponsored or supported admitting privileges laws have been clear: They would completely ban abortion, if they could.

“Even though I continue to be disappointed that the U.S. Supreme Court has allowed abortion to remain the law of the land, we can take these measures to protect the health of women,” said Alabama state Senator Scott Beason, who sponsored the law.

The Alabama lawmakers have passed other abortion restrictions: banning abortion if a fetal heartbeat can be heard and lengthening the period of time a woman must wait before she gets an abortion to 48 hours, from 24.

Abortion rights activists cheered the ruling Monday as a pushback against the laws that have been passed across the country in recent years.

“As the judge noted today, the justifications offered for this law are weak at best,” said Louise Melling, deputy legal director of the ACLU. “Politicians, not doctors, crafted this law for the sole purpose of shutting down women’s health care centers and preventing women from getting safe, legal abortions.”

-Alana Semuels


©2014 Los Angeles Times

Visit the Los Angeles Times at www.latimes.com

Distributed by MCT Information Services

Sunday News Show Roundup

As President Barack Obama’s U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit gets underway this week, on Sunday’s political talk shows Dr. Tom Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control, discussed the ongoing Ebola outbreak in West Africa and whether Americans should be concerned. Meanwhile, Texas Governor Rick Perry talked tough on immigration.

Ebola Outbreak

The African Ebola outbreak killed 826 people by the end of last month after spreading from Guinea to Liberia and Sierra Leone.

Frieden appeared on four separate programs to ease concerns over the possibility of an Ebola outbreak in the U.S.

“We know it’s possible that someone will come in. If they go to a hospital and that hospital doesn’t recognize it’s Ebola there could be additional cases or their family members could have cases. That’s all possible, but I don’t think it’s in the cards that we would have an outbreak in this country,” Frieden said on CBS’ “Face the Nation.”

“The way it spreads in Africa is really two things. First, in hospitals where there isn’t really infection control and second in burial practices where people are touching the bodies of people who have died from Ebola. So it’s not going to spread widely in the U.S. Could we have another people here, could we have a case or two, not impossible … but we know how to stop it here.”

Fears of Ebola spreading in the U.S. grew last week with the announcement that American aid workers Dr. Kent Brantly and Nancy Writebol who contracted the disease would be taken to Atlanta for treatment. Brantly arrived on Saturday.

“I can understand why people are scared of Ebola,” Frieden said on Fox News Sunday. “It’s deadly, it’s a gruesome death … but I hope and I’m confident that our fears are not going to overwhelm our compassion. We care for our own. We bring people home if they need to come home.”

Immigration Crisis

On CNN’s “State of the Union”, Perry discussed the immigration crisis along the Nation’s southern border and the steps being taken in his State to address the problem.

“What I’m prepared to do is not just the National Guard, but our Department of Public Safety, our Texas Ranger Recon Teams, the Parks and Wildlife wardens that we have deployed there,” Perry said. “And then I will suggest to you there will be other individuals who come to assist in securing that border … I think that’s what the American people want. They’d like to see a president who leads this country and says, you know what, we do have a problem on our southern border. We’re going to deal with it.”

CNN’s Candy Crowley then suggested that Perry’s tough border stance was related to a possible 2016 Presidential bid.

“I’m the Governor of the state of Texas,” Perry replied. “My citizens’ safety is what is foremost here. And it hasn’t got anything to do with anything other than those numbers of individuals who are coming across the border. And when you think about the idea that some of them are from countries that have substantial terrorist ties, whether it’s Pakistan or Afghanistan or Syria, we are at historic record highs with individuals being apprehended from those countries.”

“We say it’s time to secure the border,” Perry continued. “Hasn’t got anything to do with anything, other than the American citizens expect Washington to respect the Constitution and secure the border, one of the things that’s actually enumerated in the Constitution. We’d like for them to do their duty.”

Defense Panel: Obama Making U.S. Too Weak

The National Defense Panel appointed to conduct independent reviews of the Nation’s military readiness warned last week that President Barack Obama is making the U.S. Armed Forces too weak to respond to growing global threats.

A new report out from the panel said that defense budget cuts and the Obama Administration’s assertions that the U.S. should have a smaller military in the President’s 2014 Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR) leave the U.S. with a military that is “inadequate given the future strategic and operational environment.”

According to the defense experts, the U.S. is in need of upgrades and expansions to meet global challenges that cause the Nation to have to respond to multiple threats at once.

From the report:

The Air Force now fields the smallest and oldest force of combat aircraft in its history yet needs a global surveillance and strike force able to rapidly deploy to theaters of operation to deter, defeat, or punish multiple aggressors simultaneously. As a result of the budget constraints imposed by the 2011 Budget Control Act, the Air Force’s Bomber, Fighter and Surveillance forces are programmed to drawdown to approximately 50% of the current inventory by 2019. In the panel’s opinion, the programmed reduction in the Air Force’s decisive enabling capabilities will put this nation’s national security strategy at much higher risk and therefore recommends increasing the number of manned and unmanned aircraft capable of conducting both ISR and long range strike in contested airspace.

We are convinced the 2014 QDR’s contemplated reduction in Army end strength goes too far. We believe the Army and the Marine Corps should not be reduced below their pre-9/11 end-strengths – 490,000 active-duty soldiers in the Army and 182,000 active Marines–bearing in mind that capability cannot always substitute for capacity.

According to the panel, the White House’s current plan for the military is focused too heavily on providing justification for defense spending cuts and not enough on keeping the U.S. in a strong position to respond to global threats.

In order for the military to be powerful enough to protect the Nation, the defense experts argue, the U.S.’s fighting force must be able to operate equally in multiple theaters.

“We find the logic of the two-war construct to be as powerful as ever and note that the force sizing construct in the 2014 QDR strives to stay within the two-war tradition while using different language. But given the worsening threat environment, we believe a more expansive force sizing construct — one that is different from the two-war construct but no less strong — is appropriate.”

Border Crisis Continues As Congressional Recess Looms

After Congressional drama over the immigration legislation on Thursday, Texas Governor Rick Perry said that legislators should put off their five-week summer recess and remain in Washington until the “job is completed” in handling the border crisis.

“While Texas has taken what steps it can to mitigate the damage caused by a porous border, Congress and the President have a duty to address our border security issues without further delay. Congress should not go into recess until the job is completed,” he said in a statement.

On Thursday afternoon House Republicans cancelled voting on a $656 million bill to address the problem. Later, as GOP leaders huddled, incoming House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California announced that “additional votes are possible” on the measure.

The problem many conservatives had with the legislation is that it provides funding without guaranteeing that political factors behind the immigration flood are addressed.

Senator Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) voiced opposition to versions of immigration legislation being considered in both chambers of Congress, arguing on the Senate floor that any legislation should include a provision preventing the President from taking executive action on immigration. Such a provision, he added, would never make it through the Senate.

“It’s not the kind of crisis where we have to rush out and pass a bill tonight,” Sessions said. “We can’t just throw money at this problem which is what this legislation does.”

“We must prevent the President’s massive amnesty from going forward,” Sessions also said. “That is why have said that Congress, as an institution, must not support any border package that does not expressly prohibit the President’s executive amnesty and block funds for its implementation. How can we not take this position?”

Barring substantial Congressional action on immigration legislation, it is likely that President Barack Obama will jump at the chance to act while lawmakers are out of town.

On Twitter, White House senior adviser Dan Pfeiffer cited the House’s decision to cancel the immigration vote as proof that Obama must act unilaterally.

After a closed-door meeting House Republicans relayed that they would, as Perry suggested,  stay in Washington until a vote occurred rather than adjourning on Thursday afternoon as planned.

Stay tuned…

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.”

According to the DHS report, government workers tasked with maintaining sanitary conditions at immigration processing and detention centers are having a tough time due to the sheer numbers of illegal immigrants making their way into the country and lack of funds.

The report also notes that disease is being spread among the immigrants and government employees due to “UAC [unaccompanied alien children] and family unit illnesses and unfamiliarity with bathroom facilities” resulting in staff exposer to human waste.

Via the report:

DHS employees reported exposure to communicable diseases and becoming sick on duty. For example, during a recent site visit to the Del Rio USBP Station and Del Rio Port of Entry, CBP personnel reported contracting scabies, lice, and chicken pox. Two CBP Officers reported that their children were diagnosed with chicken pox within days of the CBP Officers’ contact with a UAC who had chicken pox. In addition, USBP personnel at the Clint Station and Santa Teresa Station reported that they were potentially exposed to tuberculosis.

Amid global concerns of a deadly outbreak of Ebola virus in Africa and the threat of the virus spreading to other parts of the world through global travel, some people, including Georgia Representative Phil Gingrey, have questioned whether the immigration influx could increase the possibility of a similar outbreak in the U.S.

“Reports of illegal immigrants carrying deadly diseases such as swine flu, dengue fever, Ebola virus and tuberculosis are particularly concerning,” Gingrey wrote in a letter to the Centers for Disease Control earlier in the month.

“Many of the children who are coming across the border also lack basic vaccinations such as those to prevent chicken pox or measles,” he continued. “This makes Americans who are not vaccinated — and especially young children and the elderly — particularly susceptible.”

The CDC said it would look into the lawmaker’s concerns but has also noted that U.S. isolation and infection control measures would make an outbreak—however it was sparked—unlikely in the Nation.

Rand Paul Offers Legislation To Keep Government From Stealing Innocent Citizens’ Property

Civil forfeiture laws, which allow the government to seize assets like cars, homes, property, cash and just about anything else merely suspected by law enforcement of being used for criminal activities, are an affront to Americans’ Constitutional property rights. Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) recently unveiled a plan to reform them.

Paul’s legislative proposal, dubbed the FAIR (or the Fifth Amendment Integrity Restoration) Act, would take on a legal system that not only allows, but incentivizes, confiscation of private property from individuals who haven’t been charged or convicted of breaking any laws.

“The federal government has made it far too easy for government agencies to take and profit from the property of those who have not been convicted of a crime. The FAIR Act will ensure that government agencies no longer profit from taking the property of U.S. citizens without due process, while maintaining the ability of courts to order the surrender of proceeds of crime,” Paul said.

While convicting a person of a crime requires law enforcement to provide evidence that the individual is guilty “beyond a reasonable doubt,” the government has to prove only that property was likely to have been used in a crime in order to steal it from its rightful owner. Meanwhile, unlike in criminal proceedings, the property owners are considered guilty until proven innocent.

Getting property back from the government can mean a long, costly — and often unsuccessful — legal battle. And even though confiscating a car, property or cash from a person who the government has not linked directly to a crime does nothing to make the public safer, you can bet that law enforcement agencies will fight hard to hang on to what they have confiscated.

That’s because current civil forfeiture laws provide direct cash incentives to agencies in some States by allowing them to sell what they confiscate and reap the financial rewards. In States with better property protections for residents, law enforcement can get some help stealing stuff from innocent people by reaching out to Uncle Sam’s Justice Department.

Via The Institute for Justice:

Federal law provides a loophole called “equitable sharing” to law enforcement in states with good civil forfeiture laws. This program allows state law enforcement to turn seized assets over to the federal government, which forfeits the property under federal  law. In turn, the feds give up to 80 percent of the forfeited property back to the state agency for its own use, even if state law would have required those proceeds to go into a general fund.

Paul’s civil forfeiture reform would de-incentivize confiscation of innocent Americans’ belongings by making it tougher for the government to make a case against an individual’s property. Furthermore, it would remove the Federal assist in most cases by requiring all State agencies to defer to State laws regarding confiscated property.

Another provision in Paul’s legislation would provide that the profits from all property that is legitimately confiscated by the Federal government by way of civil forfeiture be placed in the U.S. Treasury’s General Fund, not the Attorney General’s Asset Forfeiture Fund. The funding redirect is important because it creates a situation where there is no direct financial incentive for law enforcement to take property — consequently, making it more likely that property is taken only when legitimate public safety concerns exist.

The FAIR Act is the latest in a series of attempts the Kentucky Senator is making to reform the U.S. judicial system by challenging aspects of the Nation’s failed War on Drugs (which largely abetted the rise in civil forfeiture cases) and sentencing guidelines that make rehabilitation more difficult than it should be for some low-level offenders.

Video: Shotgun Silencers Are Pretty Cool, But Johnny Dronehunter Makes Them Cooler

Can you imagine a future where a flock of privacy-invading drones is liable to swarm you to make sure that you are following government commands at any moment? Utah-based SilencerCo. did— then they imagined a character who, without hesitation, would take back his rights.

The action takes place in a new advertisement for a product called the Salvo 12, which SilencerCo. says is “the first and only commercially-viable shotgun suppressor on earth.”

A description accompanying the Johnny Dronehunter ad reads as follows:

In the not-too-distant future, privacy is a thing of the past. Undeniable rights degrade like the paper they were written upon, and Big Brother has a constant eye on you and your family.

It will take a determined man and an unequaled weapon to make a stand. And explosions. Yeah, lots of explosions.

If trouble was what they were after, they found it.

Well done.

H/T: Motherboard

Lois Lerner Dislikes Conservative ‘A**holes’ More Than Foreign Terrorists

Former IRS official Lois Lerner’s hatred of conservative “assholes” was made crystal clear in an email exchange discussed by lawmakers on Wednesday.

In an email conversation with an unnamed person, Lerner insinuated that conservatives are a bigger threat to the Nation than “alien TeRorists[sic].”

Lerner, who was reportedly on vacation in England when the exchange took place, wrote of how she’s overheard foreigners deriding U.S. fiscal policies.

“Well, you should hear the whacko wing of the GOP. The US is through; too many foreigners sucking the teat; time to hunker down, buy ammo and food, and prepare for the end,” Lerner’s lefty conversion partner said in the email chain. “The right wing radio shows are scary to listen to.”

“Great,” Lerner replied. “Maybe we are through if there are that many a–holes.”

She went on, “So we don’t need to worry about alien teRrorists [sic]. It’s our own crazies that will take us down.”

GOP lawmakers say that the emails prove yet again that Lerner, who had already been pegged as a dedicated liberal, used her position in a political capacity.

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.) said during the hearing that the email chain should force Attorney General Eric Holder to take seriously and investigate charges that Lerner encouraged improper scrutiny of Tea Party groups.

Holder isn’t likely to cooperate as Democrats continue to assert that the GOP investigation has yielded no evidence against Lerner. And, for now, the GOP isn’t likely to get any new information out of Lerner.

After all, while every asshole is entitled to an opinion in the U.S., some are better off pleading the 5th.

GOP IRS Report: Political Speech Provides Social Welfare

Representative Darrell Issa’s House Oversight and Government Reform Committee discussed its report on the Internal Revenue Service targeting scandal, “Making Sure Targeting Never Happens: Getting Politics Out of the IRS and Other Solutions” on Wednesday.

According to the report, the Oversight Committee “has reviewed approximately 800,000 pages of documents produced by the IRS, the Treasury Department, the Justice Department, the Federal Election Commission, the IRS Oversight Board, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, and other custodians.” Based on the findings from the research, Oversight members have come up with a 15-point plan to reform the IRS.

The most important reforms, as summarized by Issa in a press release accompanying the report’s Tuesday release, include:

*Replacing the IRS Commissioner with a multi-member, bipartisan commission

*Removing the IRS as a regulator of political speech for social-welfare groups

*Allowing taxpayers, and not the IRS, to control access to their confidential taxpayer information

*Creating a private right of action for victims of willful and injurious leaks by IRS officials of confidential taxpayer information

*Establishing transparent and objective criteria for scrutiny of applicants

*Establishing clear and transparent rules for information-collecting purposes

*Prohibiting political and policy communications between the IRS and Executive Office of the President

*Removing the IRS from implementation of the Affordable Care Act

Currently, nonprofit status is supposed to be reserved for entities which allocate less than half of resources to “political activities.” The left has already heavily criticized the Issa plan, charging that lawmakers should instead focus primarily on defining what the IRS should consider “political speech,” thereby strengthening agency guidelines for denying nonprofit status.

But in the months since the IRS scandal hit headlines more than a year ago the agency has already attempted and failed to narrow down the definition. Center for Competitive Politics President explained why during Oversight testimony Wednesday.

He said in a prepared statement: “The Internal Revenue Service is primarily a tax collection agency. It knows little about nonprofit advocacy and even less about First Amendment protections for free speech. This incompetence was on clear display when the IRS proposed regulations last November attempting to define political activity, which generated over 150,000 public comments. Organizations and citizens across the political spectrum were nearly unanimous in criticizing the proposal for seeking to regulate too much activity.

“In fairness to the career staff at the IRS, this is extremely difficult work. The tax laws are complicated, but the relationship of campaign finance laws and the First Amendment is even more complex and raises very difficult constitutional issues,” he continued. “This difficulty is one reason why the IRS should not be involved in this type of political regulation.”

Instead of making the political speech definition narrower, supporters of more comprehensive IRS reform support broader protections for nonprofits’ 1st Amendment activities. The reason for this view, as Issa’s report puts it, is that “activities that promote free political speech and free political assembly benefit the general welfare” because they are American rights.

Thanks To War On Terror, Islamic Extremists Have Everything They Need To Kill Americans

A top military official who heads the Defense Intelligence Agency told journalists at the Aspen Security Forum last week that the United States is no safer than it was before the World Trade Center attacks that set the Nation’s perpetual war machine into motion. In fact, the Nation is likely far less safe than it was in 2001.

“We have a whole gang of new actors out there that are far more extreme than al-Qaida,” Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn said, according to the Christian Science Monitor.

Of course, Flynn’s remarks certainly don’t come as a surprise to anyone paying attention to the current state of global affairs.

Hawks intent on keeping U.S. military action alive in the Mideast have commonly argued that the U.S. must fight them (whoever they are) over there (wherever that is) to prevent bloodshed in the homeland. Other times, those hawks have warned Americans of depraved despots in possession of dangerous weapons.

As a result, many Americans gladly and patriotically supported U.S. invasions in the Mideast — most importantly those to pursue extremists in the deserts of Afghanistan and its neighboring countries and to cripple Saddam Hussein’s regime and bring Democracy to Iraq. In the past 13 years, the United States has spent trillions of dollars and lost thousands of American soldiers as the world’s leading self-appointed crusader against terror, an enemy with no concrete face or nation, and purveyor of democracy, a form of government best served self-earned.

So how have we done?

In October 2001, U.S. forces invaded Afghanistan in pursuit of Osama bin Laden, whose terror group was a primary suspect in the Trade Center attacks (bin Laden initially denied, but was later reported to have claimed responsibility for the atrocity). The war was sold to an emotional American public as a straightforward operation to cut off al-Qaida’s head and install a government that would, unlike the Taliban that seized control in 1996, prevent extremists from ever again using Afghanistan as a terror staging ground.

The Taliban were eventually replaced by a farcical sham of a democratic government in Afghanistan. And elections, rife with predictable corruption, have taken place in the country from time to time. After repeated U.S. troop surges and withdrawals over the course of several years, the U.S. military eventually settled into a routine of training Afghan forces (who routinely turn to be infiltrated by extremists intent on killing U.S. soldiers) to defend themselves without American support.

If you squint really hard, it almost looks like the U.S. achieved its goal in Afghanistan. With eyes wide open, however, one would be able to see all the way back to the 1970s — when the U.S. first attempted Afghan regime change — and realize that history is on repeat.

The New York Times reported last week:

The Taliban have found success beyond their traditional strongholds in the rural south and are now dominating territory near crucial highways and cities that surround Kabul, the capital, in strategic provinces like Kapisa and Nangarhar.

Their advance has gone unreported because most American forces have left the field and officials in Kabul have largely refused to talk about it.

So extremists are taking over larger swaths of land than they had previously influenced in Afghanistan. That’s not so bad. At least we won Iraq, right?

In March 2003, President George W. Bush ordered an invasion of Iraq to eliminate the country’s weapons of mass destruction.

“They’re in the area around Tikrit and Baghdad and east, west, south and north somewhat,” Bush said at the time.

They weren’t. Actually, we never found them.

The U.S. invasion did manage to take Saddam and his Baath Party out of power and install a new, more democratic government. Unfortunately, good ole apple pie democracy evidently was not enough to calm the tensions of nearly 1,500 years of tribal conflict between Sunni and Shiite Islam in the region.

Under the Baath Party’s rule, Iraq was led by its Sunni minority, as it had been since the Ottoman Empire. That, of course, wasn’t pleasant for many members of the majority Shiite population. So when Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, a Shiite at the helm of a largely Shiite government, took control in Iraq after Saddam’s ouster, things got predictably nasty for the Nation’s Sunnis.

The Islamic State terror group (aka ISIS/ISIL), mostly consisting of violent extremists intent on turning the whole Arab world into a jihad training camp, has profoundly benefited from the tribal tensions that were inflamed by the U.S. invasion. And with the help of wealthy Sunni donors the group is quickly taking control of much of Iraq.

“The speed that [ISIS] came into this northern city of Iraq, into Mosul, and they were able to, you know, kind of [cut through Iraqi security force defenses] like a hot knife through butter through really about four [Iraqi Army] divisions,” Flynn said of the current situation, “I would say that, yeah, that caught us — that level of speed that they were able to do that — caught us by surprise.”

With Iraq’s democratic government likely a stone’s throw (pun intended) from collapsing and Afghanistan having never really managed to have a legitimate governing structure following the U.S. invasions, the situation in the Mideast looks about as bad as it possibly could. But thanks to the United States’ decision to aid rebels overthrow relatively stable — though sometimes despicable — regimes in places like Libya and Syria, the situation is actually much more volatile that the Pentagon would like to admit.

Syria’s civil war has given the Islamic State group an opportunity to take over large portions of the country for the borderless Islamic state it is bent on creating. Libya, meanwhile, is in a state of chaos and largely under the control of al-Qaida militants.

The United States’ war on terror has expanded al-Qaida’s reign and created the opportunity for more extreme extremists under the Islamic State group flag to gain a firm foothold throughout the Mideast. How is that possible?

Flynn contends that it’s because it’s hard to attack an idea with a military.

“I, you know, have been going against these guys for a long time. The core is the core belief that these individuals have — and it’s not on the run,” he said. “That ideology is actually, sadly, it feels like it’s exponentially growing.”

Meanwhile, the United States’ southern border is too poorly defended to stop illegal immigrants, most of them people with no ill-intent toward the Nation and no fanatical religious drive to murder, from making it into the country. When you consider how a highly organized and opportunistic group of jihadists like those who make up the Islamic State group might exploit the border weaknesses, it becomes pretty obvious where those trillions of taxpayer dollars would have been better spent.

*This article has been edited to provide additional information about Osama bin Laden’s involvement in 9/11.

Border Patrol Finally Detains Some Minors At Border

U.S. Border Patrol officials recently detained and allegedly pulled a weapon on a busload of minors at the Nation’s border. Unfortunately, the bus wasn’t full of illegal aliens from the south sneaking into the country but a group of Iowa Boy Scouts en route to Alaska via the northern U.S. border with Canada.

According to Boy Scout Troop 111 Leader Jim Fox, the incident occurred when one of the scouts photographed a border official as the youngsters made their way across the border. The Federal employee promptly freaked out and claimed that it is a Federal offense to photograph a Federal agent, the scout leader said.

For the record, it certainly is not.

“The agent immediately confiscated his camera, informed him he would be arrested, fined possibly $10,000 and 10 years in prison,” Fox said.

Fox told local reporters that he didn’t want the situation to escalate and that he and the scouts complied with the official’s demands without protest.

As a search of the scouts’ van ensued, a border agent allegedly became spooked by the actions of one of the uniformed scouts and pulled his weapon.

“He heard a snap of the holster, turns around, and here’s this agent, both hands on a loaded pistol, pointing at the young man’s head,” Fox told Des Moines-based KCCI.

Luckily, the scouts made it through the ordeal without being maimed or killed by the Federal agents after four hours of delay and interrogations, including, Fox said, queries about “excessive amounts of lighters, matches and knives.”

U.S. Customs and Border Protection has denied that anything out of the ordinary happened to the scouts.

“CBP takes any allegations of wrongdoing very seriously,” CPB said in a statement. “CBP’s review of this group’s inspection, including video footage review indicates that our officer did not un-holster or handle his weapon as stated in the allegation. The review revealed nothing out of the ordinary. We have reached out to the Boy Scout troop for additional information in reference to the allegation. The video footage has been referred to CBP Internal Affairs for further review.”

The agency has, however, denied media requests to release video footage of the incident.

Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) also weighed in on the incident, calling it outrageous. The lawmaker said that his office is working to get to learn more about what happened and plans to discuss the matter with Homeland Security officials.

Americans Want Illegals Deported, Give Obama Negative Approval On Issue

President Barack Obama could find himself in trouble if he attempts to make unilateral changes to the Nation’s immigration policy, as new polling data shows that a hefty majority of Americans disagree with the Administration on the issue.

According to the numbers out in an Economist/YouGov.com survey, 81 percent of Americans believe that the unaccompanied children flowing across the southern border are a matter of serious concern to the Nation.

Fifty-seven percent of those polled said that they believe the current immigration crisis has resulted from U.S. policies that perpetuate the belief that the Nation’s government “is or will be granting amnesty to undocumented illegal immigrant children.” Just 29 percent attributed the immigration surge to increased South and Central American violence.

Only 11 percent support allowing the illegal immigrants to remain in the country, and fewer (10 percent) believe that the U.S. should drop them off in Mexico. Thirty-five percent said that government should work to return the young immigrants to their home countries if conditions are safe, compared to 32 percent who said the immigrants must be returned regardless of conditions.

“Those who would let the children stay in the United States until it is certain they have a safe place to return to are more likely to be younger, to be Democrats, and to be Hispanic,” YouGov reported. “Women are evenly divided about what should be done, while men, by a ten point margin, favor deportation.”

The serious immigration problem is also taking a toll on Obama’s approval rating.

“The approval rating of the president on immigration, like his approval ratings on many other issues, is negative. A majority disapproves, and only a third approve. But the evaluation of the president is even worse among those who would deport the child migrants as soon as possible: only 16 percent in that group approve of how Barack Obama is handling immigration. Those who want the children to stay until they can be returned safely approve of the president’s performance,” said the poll analysis.

Sunday News Show Roundup

“To put it mildly, the world is a mess,” former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright said as the ongoing conflicts in Ukraine and the Middle East took center stage on Sunday’s political talk shows.

Albright’s comment was directed specifically at the conflict between Russia and Ukraine during her appearance on CBS’s “Face the Nation.” The former diplomat said that Russian President Vladimir Putin is living “in his own world.”

“He has made up an awful lot of lies in terms of who is responsible for the fact that the Soviet Union disintegrated,” she said.

Albright, who served as Secretary of State under President Bill Clinton, also said that the Ukrainian crisis, along with those unfolding in the Middle East, are less important to Americans than past foreign problems.

“I think the thing that has changed is we don’t want to be the world’s policemen, the American people don’t,” she said. “What has to happen is we need to really work harder on partnerships.”

The former official went on to criticize other governments for not getting more involved in fixing the international problems.

“The president has been pushing Europeans, and the Europeans have to step up,” Albright said. “I am appalled, frankly, at the slowness of the Europeans in understanding what is going on in Europe itself, and being not only supportive of Ukraine but making clear that the kind of behavior Putin is engaged in is illegal and that we have a responsibility together.”

Meanwhile, Israeli President Benjamin Netanyahu joined the U.S. Sunday political talk shows to defend his country’s decision to continue shelling Gaza. According to Netanyahu, the Israeli actions are part of an effort to neutralize a terror threat from Hamas.

“Hamas doesn’t even accept its own ceasefire. It’s continued to fire at us as we speak. Israel has accepted five ceasefires since this conflict began. Five. We accepted them and we implemented them,” Netanyahu said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

“Now Hamas has floated that it wants a ceasefire beginning at 2 o’clock and they’ve attacked us after that, so they’re violating even their own ceasefire.”

On Sunday, Hamas announced that it accept a 24 hour humanitarian ceasefire “as a preparation for the end of Ramadan and in response to the U.N. mediation.” Netanyahu suggested that his country would reject the ceasefire.

“Hamas is simply continuing all its operations and Israel will not let this terror operation decide when it’s convenient for them and not convenient for them to attack our people. When it’s convenient for them to restock and reload and when it’s not convenient for them,” he said.

The White House Is Starting To Take Obama Impeachment Threats Seriously

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

“The President acting on immigration reform will certainly up the likelihood that [Republicans] would contemplate impeachment at some point,” Pfeiffer told attendees of a breakfast forum hosted by The Christian Science Monitor.

Obama’s longtime advisor also told the audience that the days of the Administration laughing off impeachment talks have ended, with the President’s dismal polling numbers and a lawsuit against Obama promised by House Speaker John Boehner.

Polling data out this week from CNN/ORC reveals that 33 percent of Americans support the idea of impeaching the President and 41 percent said that the House GOP should move forward with a lawsuit against Obama.

But, according to The Monitor, Boehner denied that his suit was designed to set the wheels of impeachment in motion.

“This is a fundraising exercise for Democrats,” Boehner spokesman Michael Steel told the outlet. “It is telling, and sad, that a senior White House official is focused on political games, rather than helping these kids and securing the border.”

Other establishment Republicans like Senator John McCain (Ariz.) have also denied that impeaching the President is a viable plan.

“Well, I don’t agree and I remember going through an impeachment of William Jefferson Clinton,” McCain said earlier this month when former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin called for impeachment. “There are not the votes here in the United States Senate to impeach the president of the United States and I think that we should focus our attention on winning elections. We win this election and we regain control of the United States Senate we can be far more effective than an effort to impeach the president, which has no chance of succeeding.”

Other Republicans, however, have said that the President’s actions in dealing the Nation’s immigration problem could open the door to impeachment proceedings.

“He either enforces the laws on the books—as he was hired and elected to do—or he leaves. Congress no option. This is not our choice, this is the President’s choice and I would advise him to uphold the law on the books,” Representative Ted Yoho (R-FL) said in a recent statement.

Senate NSA Bill Could Come As Early As Next Week

A Senate compromise on how the government should dial down its out-of-control surveillance could be revealed as early as next Tuesday, according to Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy.

Leahy (D-Vt.) says that the bill, which is “within inches” of completion, would place “clear cut guidelines” on what the Nation’s intelligence gatherers “can and cannot do” while also offering measures to ensure that “the American people know that their privacy is going to be protected.”

Leahy sponsored the Senate version of the House USA Freedom Act, which was passed by lawmakers in the lower chamber earlier this year. The Senator, however, has vowed that his version will include stronger reforms than the bill passed in the House, which was disavowed by many supporters after lawmakers watered it down.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation told supporters in May:

Since the introduction of the USA FREEDOM Act, a bill that has over 140 cosponsors, Congress has been clear about its intent: ending the mass collection of Americans’ calling records. Many members of Congress, the President’s own review group on NSA activities, and the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board all agree that the use of Section 215 to collect Americans’ calling records must stop. Earlier today, 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. The Electronic Frontier Foundation cannot support a bill that doesn’t achieve the goal of ending mass spying. We urge Congress to support uncompromising NSA reform and we look forward to working on the Senate’s bipartisan version of the USA FREEDOM Act.

As Leahy races against the clock to provide the legislation before Congress takes its summer recess, privacy advocates are a bit more upbeat about the Senate version of the privacy bill.

FEC Commissioner Warns Of Government Mission Against Conservative Media

This week, Federal Elections Commission Chairman Lee Goodman called out Democratic colleagues for making attempts to regulate book publishing by conservatives. The FEC attempts are only the latest in a series of government maneuvers to tamp down on conservative media.

The criticism came after Democrats on the FEC attempted to deny Representative Paul Ryan’s leadership PAC, Prosperity Action, the ability to buy copies of the book written by the Republican lawmaker from Wisconsin — The Way Forward: Renewing the American Idea — to give away to supporters.

Washington Examiner explains:

In the case of the Ryan book, publisher Grand Central Publishing sought the broad media exemption from regulation, but Democrats rejected that and pushed for a different, commercial, exemption that imposes rules over the publisher’s politics and book pricing. Republicans went along and the commission approved that 6-0.

The commission also ruled that while Ryan can have his campaign and PAC buy books to give out, the promotion on his websites has to be limited to two sentences. There were concerns raised by Weintraub that Ryan was trying to profit off sales of the book promoted on his websites. Republicans carried that to victory in a 4-2 vote.

Goodman said the mixed decision for Ryan was another missed chance by the FEC to publicly show support for press freedom.

“By failing to affirm this publisher’s constitutional right, statutory right, to disseminate a political book free from FEC conditions and regulations, we have effectively asserted regulatory jurisdiction over a book publisher,” Goodman said.

“That failure reveals a festering legal uncertainty and chill for the free press rights of books and book publishers to publish and disseminate political books free from government regulation,” he added.

The FEC constraints imposed on Ryan are only the latest evidence of what Goodman believes is an attempt by Democrats to silence conservative voices in publishing and media.

In May, Goodman warned of Democrats’ efforts to change FEC media exemption laws that allow all forms of media to pick political favorites without worrying about complying with election regulations. The FEC chairman said that the attempts have resulted directly from the growing popularity of conservative online media.

“I think that there are impulses in the government every day to second guess and look into the editorial decisions of conservative publishers,” he said at the time.

“The right has begun to break the left’s media monopoly, particularly through new media outlets like the Internet, and I sense that some on the left are starting to rethink the breadth of the media exemption and internet communications,” he added.

The FEC efforts to regulate media aren’t the only areas of concern for conservative publishers.

Despite the Federal Communications Commission’s 2011 announcement that the Fairness Doctrine would no longer be on the books, liberals continue to propose renditions of the obsolete law that would quiet conservative media.

And over in Congress, attempts to stifle political speech are bipartisan. Legislative proposals to define “journalist” in a media shield law that lawmakers began work on last year attempted to narrow the definition to leave out anyone not working for a traditional media outlet.

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

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

“For those of us who are concerned that this administration is trying to take away our guns, this regulation could actually do that,” Senator Lamar Alexander (R) said Wednesday.

“If this regulation is approved, when you decide to sell a gun, a guitar or anything else across state lines that contains African elephant ivory, the government would actually take them away — even if you inherited them or bought them at a time when the sale of ivory was not illegal,” he added.

Gun owners along with musicians, whose antique instruments sometimes contain ivory, have argued against the rule which bars the trade of materials containing African elephant ivory. In addition to criminalizing the trade of legitimate antiques, musicians have complained that the law makes it more difficult for them to tour outside of the U.S. with antique instruments.

“Although ivory is no longer used in the manufacture of new musical instruments, many older musical instruments, such as guitars and bows, feature very small amounts of ivory and are still in use by artists today,” wrote Todd Dupler, director of government relations at The Recording Academy, recently wrote in a blog post.

“These instruments, some of which are historically significant antiques, were legally crafted and legally acquired, but under the new rules artists could still be prohibited from traveling internationally with them,” he added.

Alexander has proposed legislation that would reverse the Administration’s ivory trade ban for goods made before the 1976 ban on ivory was put into place. Under the Lawful Ivory Protection Act the production of new goods containing ivory would remain illegal.

“I support stopping poachers, and I support stopping the trade of illegal ivory,” Alexander said. “What I don’t support is treating … musicians, antique shops, and firearms sellers like illegal ivory smugglers. … This legislation will stop the administration from taking away our legal guns, guitars, and other items that contain legal ivory if we try to sell them across state lines.”

GOP Offers Immigration Proposals, Democrats Want Money Without Policy Change

Republican lawmakers are working to produce an alternative to President Barack Obama’s proposal to spend $3.7 billion in taxpayer money to deal with the illegal immigration crisis along the U.S.’s southern border. A GOP plan discussed Wednesday would provide less than half of the President’s requested funding (offset by budget cuts), increase border security and change U.S. immigration laws.

A key provision of the Republican plan would require changes to the 2008 anti-trafficking law that requires government officials to give special treatment to illegal immigrant children from Central America.

“We need to close the loophole in the current law that incentivizes trafficking and send a clear message to smuggling organizations while still maintaining all due process and legal protections for immigrants,” Representative Henry Cuellar (D-Texas) said in a statement.

House GOP lawmakers have introduced the proposals in hopes of passing border legislation before Congress leaves for a five-week recess set to begin July 31.

In addition to changing the trafficking law, the Republican plan would set aside $1.5 in spending to beef up immigration-related law enforcement and judicial resources. The GOP plan also provides a plan for National Guard deployment to strengthen security along the border.

The Republicans argue that their proposal, unlike Obama’s, includes a plan to deal with the crisis to coincide with increased government spending.

“What the President’s asking for is a blank check,” House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said after discussions with fellow Republicans. “Without trying to fix the problem, I don’t know how we’re in the position to give the President any more money.”

GOP lawmakers have expressed confidence that the bill will gain approval in the House.

Senate Democrats have offered up a competing plan that would provide $2.7 billion in increased border spending. Lawmakers on the left have also criticized the GOP plan, saying that they will block any immigration legislation that includes provisions to change the 6-year-old human trafficking law to make it easier to deport young illegal immigrants.

“The Democrats have children to protect and the Republicans have a crisis to exploit,” Representative Luis Guitérrez (D-Ill.) said of the GOP plan.

“Almost every Democrat I talk to says we should hold the line on the laws passed to protect children from sex-trafficking and smugglers. The Republicans seem to be divided between the ones who don’t think the money is necessary, the ones who want to weaken laws protecting children and the ones who want to deport all of the dreamers and other undocumented immigrants before we do anything else.”

Senate Democrats, along with the White House, are expected to heavily pressure House Republicans to provide more funding saddled with fewer stipulations ahead of the Congressional recess. But conservatives like Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) are urging members of the GOP in the lower chamber to stand their ground.

Americans Feel Increasingly Divided, Fault Obama And Congressional GOP

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

Data out from Rasmussen reveals that 67 percent of likely U.S. voters feel that the Nation is more divided than it was just four years ago. That’s compared to a paltry 7 percent who feel the country is more unified and 21 percent who don’t think much has changed since 2010.

Among likely voters who feel a sense of division, blame is spread almost equally, if by predictably partisan lines, between President Obama (35 percent, 71 percent of Republicans) and Congressional Republicans (34 percent, 67 percent of Democrats).

According to the data, the sense of division has encouraged Americans to pay more attention to political current events.

“Forty-six percent (46%) say given the state of politics in America today, they are following political news more closely than they have in the past,” Rasmussen reports. “Fifteen percent (15%) are following political news less these days, while 39% say their level of attention to that kind of news is about the same. Republicans are following political news much more closely now than Democrats and unaffiliated voters are.”

Keeping up with the latest political news is also driving more Americans to seek change at the polls, perhaps in an effort to offset damage done by their low-information countrymen— 83 percent of those polled believe other Americans are ignorant in matters of political importance.

“Fifty-seven percent (57%) of all voters say they are more likely to vote this year than they have been in past elections,” Rasmussen says. “Only four percent (4%) say they are less likely to do so, while 38% rate their intention to vote as about the same as in past years.”

According to the data, likely voter turnout among Republicans (65 percent) and independents (55 percent) are both higher than the turnout expected for Democratic voters (53 percent). That could for vulnerable Senate Democrats in the 2014 midterm elections.