Archive for the ‘Government’ Category
“I find this confounding,” Gowdy said. “I find it vexing, that once the IG is involved, nobody else can do anything. That is not supported by the law.”
Koskinen said it’s his personal view that he should not interfere with the IG once it starts an investigation. “Our policy is… that if the IG starts an investigation, the agency will not themselves run a competing investigation to try to get there first,” he said.
Gowdy offered an alternative theory, that officials cite IG investigations as a barrier to helping when it suits them.
“You can certainly understand how a cynic might view it that way, right, because there’s nothing about an ongoing IG investigation that would keep you from doing your job,” he said. “Just like there’s nothing about an ongoing IG investigation that keeps the Department of Justice from a criminal investigation, or a committee of Congress from a congressional investigation.”
Koskinen said he believes it would be “very difficult” not to interfere with the IG’s examination. Gowdy replied by saying the IG cannot run criminal investigations, which means the IRS should be able to continue helping in some areas.
Koskinen said the IG can do criminal investigations. But Gowdy rejected that and said Koskinen’s comments are another example of him getting wrong information from his own department — for the last few weeks, the GOP has said various IRS officials have told Congress different stories about how the IRS responded to Congress’s investigation.
“So my advice is to be very careful who you take your advice from,” Gowdy said.
More than 200 people – many of them Muslims – gathered on Sunday in front of a Catholic church in Baghdad carrying “I am Iraqi, I am Christian” slogans to show solidarity after a radical Islamist group evacuated Christians from their homes in the northern city of Mosul.
“What gives us hope is a group of citizens – I do not want to say Muslims but they were Muslims – from Baghdad carrying slogans saying “I am Iraqi, I am Christian,” Father Maysar Bahnam of Mar Korkis Catholic Church told Al Arabiya News.
“They prayed in solidarity with us, saying that we are people from this land,” Bahnam said, emphasizing that the rally “is a hope for us as Iraqis and Christians, that there are good Iraqis. In fact, Iraqis are good people but sectarian issues which could have come from abroad affected us.”
Addressing both the Muslim congregates and the approximately 150 Christian worshipers after Sunday mass, Patriarch Louis Raphael Sako, head of the Chaldean Catholic Church, started his speech saying “I am Christian, Sunni, Shiite, Kurd, Mandean, Yazidi and I am Iraqi,” in reference to the country’s diversity.
“His words were very influential and had a big echo among the attendees,” Father Bahnam said.
An online video posted on the “I am Iraqi, I am Christian” campaign page on Facebook showed the Christian and Muslim participants holding their slogans up while singing the Iraqi national anthem to the accompaniment of the church’s pianist.
The event was organized late Saturday by civil rights activist and journalist Yousif al-Tamimi, after calls to show solidarity begun flooding social media and as a deadline expired on a decree imposed by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) militant group ordering Christians in Mosul to convert to Islam or leave.
Wednesday at a House Oversight and Government Reform subcommittee hearing on the Internal Revenue Service’s (IRS) Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) would not let IRS Commissioner John Koskinen off the hook over his failure to bring acceptable answers to Congress about the supposed loss of former IRS official Lois Lerner’s emails.
The South Carolina Republican warned the IRS commissioners, “Words have consequences,” as he hammered Koskinen for trying to claim he did not pursue what happened to the emails because he did not want to interfere with the Inspector General investigation saying “people site ongoing IG investigations when it suits them to not cooperate”
Gowdy concluded by saying he was “stunned” Koskinen had the nerve to bring up the plummeting morale of IRS employees, saying the employees might have better morale if they worked on their case loads instead of trying to illegally use the power of the IRS to overturn Supreme Court decisions they disagree with.
The vice president of the National Border Patrol Council says the current border crisis is “the dream of every terrorist in the world,” with illegal immigrants being able to board American jetliners without proper identification.
The union, which represents thousands of Border Patrol agents, has accused the Transportation Security Administration of letting illegals board American jetliners with only a “Notice to Appear” document — a claim the federal agency strongly denies.
“This is a document that could easily be forged,” union vice president Shawn Moran told Fox News. “It is simply a computer printout with a name on it.
“This is the dream of every terrorist in the world,” he said. “There is no way of knowing who is on board the jetliners.”
Conservative government watchdog Judicial Watch confirmed through an unnamed high-level source within the Department of Homeland Security that illegals were allowed to board planes in El Paso without identification, Fox News reported.
Jim Gilchrist — one of the founders of the Minutemen Project — said he’s reaching out across America to recruit at least 3,500 volunteers who will go to the border to patrol and cover the “porous areas” between San Diego and Brownsville, Texas.
The campaign is called “Operation Normandy,” and it’s set for May 1, 2015, Raw Story reported.
“If you are familiar with the Normandy invasion of France in 1944, then you have an idea how large and logistically complicated this event will be,” Mr. Gilchrist said, Raw Story reported. “However, there is one difference. We are not going to the border to invade anyone. We are going there to stop an invasion.”
Mr. Gilchrist insisted that the campaign should remain peaceful.
His No. 1 rule for participants, as posted on his Minuteman Project website: “Whatever you do, stay within the rule of law.”
He echoed that sentiment in an interview with KPHO-TV earlier this month, saying his main rule was: “You do not put a hand on anyone. You do not talk to anyone. You do not confront anyone. You report to Border Patrol.”
John Napier Tye is speaking out to warn Americans about illegal spying. The former State Department official, who served in the Obama administration from 2011 to 2014, declared Friday that ongoing NSA surveillance abuses are taking place under the auspices of Executive Order 12333, which came into being in 1981, before the era of digital communications, but is being used to collect them promiscuously. Nye alleges that the Obama administration has been violating the Constitution with scant oversight from Congress or the judiciary.
“The order as used today threatens our democracy,” he wrote in The Washington Post. “I am coming forward because I think Americans deserve an honest answer to the simple question: What kind of data is the NSA collecting on millions, or hundreds of millions, of Americans?”
Executive Order 12333 is old news to national-security insiders and the journalists who cover them, but is largely unknown to the American public, in part because officials have a perverse institutional incentive to obscure its role. But some insiders are troubled by such affronts to representative democracy. A tiny subset screw up the courage to inform their fellow citizens.
Tye is but the latest surveillance whistleblower, though he took pains to distinguish himself from Snowden and his approach to dissent. “Before I left the State Department, I filed a complaint with the department’s inspector general, arguing that the current system of collection and storage of communications by U.S. persons under Executive Order 12333 violates the Fourth Amendment, which prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures,” Tye explained. “I have also brought my complaint to the House and Senate intelligence committees and to the inspector general of the NSA.”
Researchers have created wheat that is resistant to a common disease, using advanced gene editing methods.
Advanced genome-editing techniques have been used to create a strain of wheat resistant to a destructive fungal pathogen—called powdery mildew—that is a major bane to the world’s top food source, according to scientists at one of China’s leading centers for agricultural research.
To stop the mildew, researchers at the Chinese Academy of Sciences deleted genes that encode proteins that repress defenses against the mildew. The work promises to someday make wheat more resistant to the disease, which is typically controlled through the heavy use of fungicides. It also represents an important achievement in using genome editing tools to engineer food crops without inserting foreign genes—a flashpoint for opposition to genetically modified crops.
The gene-deletion trick is particularly tough to do in wheat because the plant has a hexaploid genome—that is, it has three similar copies of most of its genes. That means multiple genes must be disabled or the trait will not be changed. Using gene-editing tools known as TALENs and CRISPR, the researchers were able to do that without changing anything else or adding genes from other organisms.
“We now caught all three copies, and only by knocking out all three copies can we get this [mildew]-resistant phenotype,” says Caixia Gao, who heads a gene-editing research group at the State Key Laboratory of Plant Cell and Chromosome Engineering at the Institute of Genetics and Developmental Biology in Beijing.
A Border Patrol report reveals that “unaccompanied minors” are only one-fourth of the current invasion from Central America across our Southwest border. The crossings by family units have increased almost five times faster. This contradicts White House and media efforts to elicit public sympathy by focusing public attention on children.
Total other-than-Mexican (OTM) apprehensions were 202,951 in the Southwest Border Sector (with three-fourths of those in the Rio Grande Valley) from Oct.1 through June 30. Of those, 57,525 were “unaccompanied alien children.” The other 145,426 persons were among 55,420 “family units” who also crossed the border, according to the report. The document can be viewed online here.
The Border Patrol report reveals far more explosive increase of illegal immigration by families than by minors. The increase among minors is 106 percent great than fiscal year 2013. But among family units the increase is an incredible 493 percent.
The White House keeps a tight lid on letting the Border Patrol release information, wrongfully claiming that privacy law blocks the release of statistics. So nobody has explained the skyrocketing border crossings by family units, nor explained why they haven’t been immediately flown back to Central America. Airline fare from our border to there is only $667 per person, far less than the costs being incurred to taxpayers.
But the revelation of the massive numbers of 55,420 families explains the TV accounts of “mothers and children” being driven to processing centers, then being dropped off at bus stations and airports from where they disperse to destinations all across America.
For the second time in less than a week, rockets have been found in a school in Gaza operated by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, the body said.
“Today, in the course of the regular inspection of its premises, UNRWA discovered rockets hidden in a vacant school in the Gaza Strip,” the organization said in a statement issued Tuesday. “As soon as the rockets were discovered, UNRWA staff were withdrawn from the premises, and so we are unable to confirm the precise number of rockets. The school is situated between two other UNRWA schools that currently each accommodate 1,500 internally displaced persons.”
As it did the last time around when missiles were found in a school it operates, UNRWA said it “strongly and unequivocally condemns the group or groups responsible for this flagrant violation of the inviolability of its premises under international law.”
UNRWA, the UN agency charged with overseeing humanitarian efforts in Gaza, said it immediately “informed the relevant parties and is pursuing all possible measures for the removal of the objects in order to preserve the safety and security of the school.” The organization again pledged to launch a “comprehensive investigation into the circumstances surrounding this incident.”Israeli officials reacted furiously to the discovery. “How many more schools will have to be abused by Hamas missile squads before the international community will intervene,” Foreign Ministry spokesperson Yigal Palmor told The Times of Israel. “How many times can it turn its head the other way and pretend that it just doesn’t see?”
House investigators said Tuesday that the computer hard drive of ex-agency official Lois Lerner — a key figure in the IRS targeting scandal — was only “scratched,” not irreparably damaged, as Americans have been led to believe.
GOP-led Ways and Means Committee investigators, in their quest to recover missing Lerner emails, learned her hard drive was damaged but recoverable by talking to IRS information-technology experts, after the government originally refused to make them available, according to the committee.
“It is unbelievable that we cannot get a simple, straight answer from the IRS about this hard drive,” said committee Chairman Dave Camp.
In addition, learning that the hard drive was only scratched also raises questions about why the IRS refused to use outside experts to recover the data.
“In fact, in-house professionals at the IRS recommended the agency seek outside assistance in recovering the data,” the committee said Tuesday in a release.
House investigators said they also are trying to determine whether the scratch was accidental or deliberate.
“If the IRS would just come clean and tell Congress and the American people what really happened, we could put an end to this,” Camp said. “Our investigators will not stop until we find the full truth.”