Archive for the ‘Cronyism’ Category
On Friday, the California State Assembly outdid itself. You can always count on the leftist leaders of what is supposed to be the “people’s house” never lets a crisis go to waste.
With the passage of AB 1739 (Dickinson-D), SB 1168 (Pavley-D), and SB 1319 (Pavley-D), 100 years of history was reversed. The authors painted a grim picture of California’s groundwater future. Most of what they said is true. The only problem they didn’t bother to tell you two key truths:
1.It was these same so-called leaders who give up our seat—the property owner and the farmer’s place at the table—to the enviro-extremists. The fish now have more water rights than do the farmers and ranchers who by making a living off the land, feed this state and this country.
2.By wasting surface water and letting 800,000 acre-feet go out to sea instead of capturing and storing it for the bad years, California’s dysfunctional policies combined with uber-restrictive Federal endangered species protections have created over-dependency on groundwater.
These bills, which obliterate private property rights and local control, are being sold as a port in a storm, when the reality is that they are the recipe for the perfect storm. By granting the State Water Resources Control Board, the last vestige of control over all our water, the farmers and ranchers who were denied their allocation of water from the State Water Project, will be at the mercy of a merciless government. The tactics of the left never vary. They use a government created crisis such as the drought, which is the culmination of years of their own mismanagement and corruption, to consolidate power.
Senate Intelligence Committee Chair Dianne Feinstein said President Barack Obama was “too cautious” when he said the U.S. hasn’t developed a strategy to combat the terrorist group Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham.
“I think I’ve learned one thing about this president, and that is he’s very cautious. Maybe in this instance, too cautious,” Feinstein told NBC’s Andrea Mitchell during an exclusive interview that aired on NBC’s “Meet the Press” Sunday.
Feinstein, a democrat, said she agreed with Senate colleagues on the opposite side of the aisle, John McCain and Lindsey Graham, who “laid the basis for confrontation” in a New York Times op-ed published Friday. “In that same newspaper is one by our secretary of state, John Kerry, and in that he does in fact lay out a strategy,” Feinstein said.
“And so hopefully, those plans will coalesce into a strategy that can encourage that coalition from Arab nations,” Feinstein said.
ISIS “is a major varsity team, if you want to use those kinds of monikers,” Feinstein added, saying Obama mistakenly characterized the terrorist group as a “JV team” in January.
“This is a vicious, vicious movement, and it has to be confronted,” she said. “I mean, [ISIS] crossed the border into Iraq before we even knew it happened. So this is a group of people who are extraordinarily dangerous. And they’ll kill with abandon.”
For those of us who’ve been raising alarms about both the jihadist threat and the national-security vulnerability created by the Obama administration’s non-enforcement of the immigration laws, this is not a surprise — particularly less than two weeks before September 11. But it is nonetheless jarring to read. Judicial Watch has just put out this statement:
Islamic terrorist groups are operating in the Mexican border city of Ciudad Juarez and planning to attack the United States with car bombs or other vehicle born improvised explosive devices (VBIED). High-level federal law enforcement, intelligence and other sources have confirmed to Judicial Watch that a warning bulletin for an imminent terrorist attack on the border has been issued. Agents across a number of Homeland Security, Justice and Defense agencies have all been placed on alert and instructed to aggressively work all possible leads and sources concerning this imminent terrorist threat.
Specifically, Judicial Watch sources reveal that the militant group Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) is confirmed to now be operating in Juarez, a famously crime-infested narcotics hotbed situated across from El Paso, Texas. Violent crimes are so rampant in Juarez that the U.S. State Department has issued a number of travel warnings for anyone planning to go there. The last one was issued just a few days ago.
Intelligence officials have picked up radio talk and chatter indicating that the terrorist groups are going to “carry out an attack on the border,” according to one JW source. “It’s coming very soon,” according to this high-level source, who clearly identified the groups planning the plots as “ISIS and Al Qaeda.” An attack is so imminent that the commanding general at Ft. Bliss, the U.S. Army post in El Paso, is being briefed, another source confirms. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) did not respond to multiple inquiries from Judicial Watch, both telephonic and in writing, about this information.
The disturbing inside intelligence comes on the heels of news reports revealing that U.S. intelligence has picked up increased chatter among Islamist terror networks approaching the 13th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. While these terrorists reportedly plan their attack just outside the U.S., President Obama admits that “we don’t have a strategy yet” to combat ISIS. “I don’t want to put the cart before the horse,” the commander-in-chief said this week during a White House press briefing. “I think what I’ve seen in some of the news reports suggest that folks are getting a little further ahead of what we’re at than what we currently are.”
The administration has also covered up, or at the very least downplayed, a serious epidemic of crime along the Mexican border even as heavily armed drug cartels have taken over portions of the region. Judicial Watch has reported that the U.S. Border Patrol actually ordered officers to avoid the most crime-infested stretches because they’re “too dangerous” and patrolling them could result in an “international incident” of cross border shooting. In the meantime, who could forget the famous words of Obama’s first Homeland Security Secretary, Janet Napolitano; the southern border is “as secure as it has ever been.”
Give the man a golf clap…
Despite comments to the contrary by the White House spokesman, we are at war with ISIS and they are a real and sophisticated threat. The intentions of the Islamic State have been made crystal clear: kill the infidel and establish the caliphate by any means necessary. The escalations in just the last few weeks, specifically the beheadings, have awakened many to the dangers of the Islamic State, but is has also caught the President flat footed on the back nine.
ISIS isn’t Al Qaeda. ISIS has a different infrastructure and aims. The gains made in land and treasure set ISIS apart from Al Qaeda and should give everyone pause. In an article yesterday at Foreign Policy, two authors reported on a ISIS laptop found in Syria with instructions for making a chemical weapon on it and noted that ISIS may have access to the facilities to take this next step, which long eluded Al Qaeda.
Despite all of this, along with members of Congress, the intelligence community, and a few Generals, raising the alarm, this President and his Administration have no real strategy to address the threat of ISIS. Our aimless foreign policy, directed from the golf course by President Obama, has impacted the world. Just not in any positive fashion.
At the very least we should acknowledge that we are at war, clearly state who the enemy is, even if that enemy is an extremist ideology, and prepare the people of the nation to be on guard.
Right after this next round of golf, of course.
Pigford Redo – Eric Holder To Give Funds From DOJ’s $16 Billion Settlement With Bank Of America To Radical Leftist Groups…
The Department of Justice (DOJ) keeps giving radical leftist groups that support President Obama huge amounts of cash collected from big banks to settle discrimination and mortgage abuse lawsuits filed by the government.
Judicial Watch first reported the scheme two years ago when Countrywide Financial Corporation doled out $335 million to settle its discrimination lawsuit with the feds. The money was supposed to be distributed to more than 200,000 minority victims who supposedly were charged higher interest rates and fees than white borrowers based on their race not their credit. Instead, a chunk of the money went to Democrat-tied groups not connected to the lawsuit, including the scandal-plagued Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) and the open-borders National Council of La Raza (NCLR).
Now many of the same groups will get more money from a record $16.65 billion settlement with Bank of America. It’s a “historic resolution,” according to Attorney General Eric Holder, and the money will help make amends to borrowers and communities that were negatively affected by the bank’s conduct. Besides settling civil penalties at the state and federal level, the billions will bring relief to struggling homeowners and communities by, among other things, offering new loans and providing financing for affordable rental housing. Delinquent borrowers in Democrat strongholds like Chicago, Oakland and Detroit will also benefit from debt forgiveness.
Harry Reid is being shown the door — or rather, his name is coming off it.
Southern Utah University, the Senate majority leader’s alma mater, has received a deluge of requests to remove Reid’s name from a building on campus — and some hefty donation pledges to make it happen.
“We had people step up and pledge money towards removing his name. In five days I received pledges totaling $40,000 – in just five days,” Cedar City, Utah, Councilman Paul Cozzens told the Spectrum newspaper of St. George, Utah.
Members of the university community don’t think much of having the Nevada Democrat’s name on the Harry Reid Outdoor Engagement Center. The building is being renamed simply the “Outdoor Engagement Center.”
“This is a conservative base in Southern Utah and many people in southern Nevada also feel the same way,” Cozzens said. “These people in Nevada do not espouse to Reid’s political philosophies, and they told me they would not support the university or send any more of their children there, and this was coming from people who had already sent children to SUU, so long as Harry Reid’s name remained.”
Southern Utah University President Scott Wyatt said having Reid’s name on the building didn’t actually raise money as anticipated, and a proposed building bearing his name isn’t prompting donors to step up either. The Spectrum reported that citizens first met with Wyatt earlier this year asking for Reid’s name to come off. Later, members of the city council got involved.
And yet, his constituents continue to re-elect him…
Lois Lerner’s Blackberry was intentionally destroyed after Congress had begun its probe into IRS targeting of conservative groups, a senior IRS lawyer acknowledged in a sworn declaration.
Thomas Kane, Deputy Assistant Chief Counsel for the IRS, wrote in the declaration, part of a lawsuit filed by Judicial Watch against the IRS, that the Blackberry was “removed or wiped clean of any sensitive or proprietary information and removed as scrap for disposal in June 2012.”
That date – June 2012 – is significant because by that time, ex-IRS official Lerner had already been summoned before congressional staffers who interviewed her about reports of the IRS’ targeting of conservative groups.
“We had already talked to her. Our personal staff and Oversight Committee staff had sat down with Ms. Lerner and confronted her about information we were getting from conservative groups in the state of Ohio and around the country,” Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, told Fox News.
“If you intentionally destroy evidence, that is a crime. If you make a statement in court saying the evidence is not available and it is, that is also a crime,” said Jay Sekulow, Chief Counsel for the American Center for Law and Justice.
The Obama administration is working to forge a sweeping international climate change agreement to compel nations to cut their planet-warming fossil fuel emissions, but without ratification from Congress.
In preparation for this agreement, to be signed at a United Nations summit meeting in 2015 in Paris, the negotiators are meeting with diplomats from other countries to broker a deal to commit some of the world’s largest economies to enact laws to reduce their carbon pollution. But under the Constitution, a president may enter into a legally binding treaty only if it is approved by a two-thirds majority of the Senate.
To sidestep that requirement, President Obama’s climate negotiators are devising what they call a “politically binding” deal that would “name and shame” countries into cutting their emissions. The deal is likely to face strong objections from Republicans on Capitol Hill and from poor countries around the world, but negotiators say it may be the only realistic path.
“If you want a deal that includes all the major emitters, including the U.S., you cannot realistically pursue a legally binding treaty at this time,” said Paul Bledsoe, a top climate change official in the Clinton administration who works closely with the Obama White House on international climate change policy.
The Defense Department violated the law when it didn’t tell Congress before transferring five Taliban detainees from Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, to Qatar in return for the Taliban’s release of captured Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, the Government Accountability Office said in a legal decision made public Thursday.
Pentagon officials “did not notify the relevant congressional committees at least 30 days in advance of the transfer,” as required by law, GAO General Counsel Susan A. Poling said in a letter to nine Republican senators who had sought the analysis.
What’s more, Poling said, “because DOD used appropriated funds to carry out the transfer when no money was available for that purpose, DOD violated the Antideficiency Act,” which “prohibits federal agencies from incurring obligations exceeding an amount available in an appropriation.”
The GAO ruling provides legal backing for the position that the administration flouted the notification requirement — a view held by most Republicans and more than a few Democrats. The GAO does not address other issues that many lawmakers have raised about the merits of the exchange.
The requirement for a 30-day notice of transfers is part of the fiscal 2014 defense authorization law ( PL 113-66 ). Moreover, the fiscal 2014 Defense appropriations act ( PL 113-76 ) prohibits spending on any transfers that do not comply with the authorization law’s requirements.
Defense Department lawyers told the GAO that they believe the transfers were lawful regardless of the notification requirement, but Poling said the GAO did not accept that argument.
Pentagon officials also told the GAO that the notification requirement is unconstitutional. They argued that it “would have interfered with the Executive’s performance of two related functions that the Constitution assigns to the President: protecting the lives of Americans abroad and protecting U.S. service members.”
The GAO did not assess the validity of that claim.
The Charlestown-based Teamsters Local 25 — the crew that drives for most TV and movie productions made in Massachusetts — reportedly harassed and threatened the cast and crew of Bravo’s “Top Chef” while the show was filming in Milton earlier this summer, but a network source said the ugly incident won’t deter them from returning to Boston in the future.
“It was an isolated incident but we had a great experience overall shooting in Boston,” the source told the Track. “I don’t think it would prevent us from coming back. Boston is a great city with a lot to offer.”
According to Deadline.com, the Teamsters threw up a picket line while the hit TV cooking competition was filming at the Steel & Rye restaurant in Milton. The union types were miffed because Bravo was using production assistants to drive their cars and not the union. When “Top Chef” star Padma Lakshmi arrived on the set, picketers called her a “(expletive) whore,” our source confirmed, and threatened to “bash that pretty face in.”
The picketers lobbed sexist, racist and homophobic slurs at the rest of the cast and crew for most of the day, the website reported, and when production wrapped, the “Top Chef” crew found that tires were slashed on 14 of their cars. Milton police confirmed that the union members were “threatening, heckling and harassing” but said no arrests were made. The union protest was confined to just that one day during “Top Chef’s” two-month shoot.
Local 25 president Sean O’Brien was out of town and unavailable for comment yesterday, according to spokeswoman Melissa Hurley.
“As far as we’re concerned, nothing happened,” Hurley said. “This is typical of nonunion companies who often make excuses for why they won’t hire union labor.”