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September 22, 2014

Top-level turnover makes it harder for DHS to stay on top of evolving threats

An exodus of top-level officials from the Department of Homeland Security is undercutting the agency’s ability to stay ahead of a range of emerging threats, including potential terrorist strikes and cyber attacks, according to interviews with current and former officials.

Over the past four years, employees have left DHS at a rate nearly twice as fast as in the federal government overall, and the trend is accelerating, according to a review of a federal database.

The departures are a result of what employees widely describe as a dysfunctional work environment, abysmal morale, and the lure of private security companies paying top dollar that have proliferated in Washington since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

The department’s terrorism intelligence arm, for example, has cycled through six directors during the Obama administration, decimating morale and contributing to months-long delays in releasing intelligence reports, according to interviews and government reports. More

September 21, 2014

Rand Paul blisters Obama and Clinton, calls for GOP diversity

Fewer than 50 days before an election that may give Republicans control of the Senate as well as the House, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) on Saturday skipped past those contests entirely to focus on one in which he may play a more central role — the 2016 presidential race.

Paul, the featured speaker at the California Republican convention, made no mention of the party’s national advantages this year. He blasted President Obama and potential Democratic nominee Hillary Rodham Clinton as insufficient present or future commanders-in-chief. He insisted that the GOP must dramatically expand its reach in order to win presidential contests — a strategy that coincides with his pre-presidential efforts.

He accused Obama of confounding the Constitution when he expanded Obamacare, moved against overseas targets without specific congressional authorization, and announced plans — since delayed — to use executive action to change the nation’s immigration laws. More

September 18, 2014

IRS CHIEF: 'Hard Drive Crashes Continue As We Speak'

Internal Revenue Service (IRS) commissioner John Koskinen testified Wednesday that the IRS did not save any of the information on Lois Lerner’s destroyed Blackberry and that there is no outside system to store agency emails.

“Hard drive crashes continue as we speak,” Koskinen admitted at a House Oversight and Government Reform subcommittee hearing when asked if any computers had recently crashed under his watch.

Koskinen admitted that destroying records would be an act “not consistent with the law,” but maintained that there’s no evidence that the IRS intentionally destroyed records. More

Democrats turn on Debbie Wasserman Schultz

Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz is in a behind-the-scenes struggle with the White House, congressional Democrats and Washington insiders who have lost confidence in her as both a unifying leader and reliable party spokesperson at a time when they need her most.

Long-simmering doubts about her have reached a peak after two recent public flubs: criticizing the White House’s handling of the border crisis and comparing the tea party to wife beaters.

The perception of critics is that Wasserman Schultz spends more energy tending to her own political ambitions than helping Democrats win. This includes using meetings with DNC donors to solicit contributions for her own PAC and campaign committee, traveling to uncompetitive districts to court House colleagues for her potential leadership bid and having DNC-paid staff focus on her personal political agenda. More

September 17, 2014

‘Incredibly serious’: Cover-up claims in spotlight ahead of Benghazi hearing

Allegations that Hillary Clinton allies may have tried to shield the former secretary of State in the wake of the Benghazi terror attack are coming to the forefront ahead of the first public hearing of the special congressional committee probing the attack and its aftermath.

Speaking with Fox News, Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., chairman of the select committee, on Tuesday made clear he eventually plans to call former acting CIA director Mike Morell to testify – alleging the former boss “intentionally scrubbed” the so-called talking points that were the basis for the administration’s flawed public narrative about the attack.

Gowdy made clear he would question Morell on why he allegedly removed information damaging to Clinton’s State Department. (Morell now works for Clinton’s former spokesman, Philippe Reines.)

Gowdy also responded to new and separate allegations from a former State Department official that Clinton confidants hid politically damaging files from the supposedly independent board probing the attack. Gowdy called the allegations “incredibly serious,” but stressed that they are only allegations at this stage. More

September 16, 2014

The War on Poverty Has Been a Colossal Flop

Today, the U.S. Census Bureau will release its annual report on poverty. This report is noteworthy because this year marks the 50th anniversary of President Lyndon Johnson’s launch of the War on Poverty. Liberals claim that the War on Poverty has failed because we didn’t spend enough money. Their answer is just to spend more. But the facts show otherwise.

Since its beginning, U.S. taxpayers have spent $22 trillion on Johnson’s War on Poverty (in constant 2012 dollars). Adjusting for inflation, that’s three times more than was spent on all military wars since the American Revolution.

One third of the U.S. population received aid from at least one welfare program at an average cost of $9,000 per recipient in 2013.

The federal government currently runs more than 80 means-tested welfare programs. These programs provide cash, food, housing and medical care to low-income Americans. Federal and state spending on these programs last year was $943 billion. (These figures do not include Social Security, Medicare, or Unemployment Insurance.) More

September 15, 2014

Ex-official claims Clinton allies scrubbed Benghazi documents in secret session

A former State Department official has told lawmakers that Hillary Clinton allies privately removed politically damaging documents before turning over files to the supposedly independent board investigating the Benghazi terror attack.

The account from Raymond Maxwell, former head of the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs (NEA), was first published in The Daily Signal. Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, confirmed to FoxNews.com on Monday that Maxwell told him and other lawmakers the same story when they privately interviewed him last year about the attacks and their aftermath.

Chaffetz said that Maxwell claimed Clinton's chief of staff and deputy chief of staff were overseeing the document operation, which allegedly took place on a weekend in a basement office of the State Department.

"What they were looking for is anything that made them look bad. That's the way it was described to us," Chaffetz said. More

September 13, 2014

Nancy Pelosi: Civilization ‘In Jeopardy’ If GOP Takes Senate

On the one hand, California U.S. Rep. Nancy Pelosi claims that Democrats are not “fear-mongers;” on the other hand, she believes civilization is doomed if Republicans take control of the Senate from Democrats in November.

The former speaker of the House made those dramatic, incongruous statements on “Real Time with Bill Maher,” which aired live from Washington, D.C. Friday.

Maher asked Pelosi about recent polling which shows that the GOP is likely to take over the upper chamber and asked, given gridlock in Washingon, why it matters that Democrats keep control.

“It would be very important for the Democrats to retain control of the Senate,” Pelosi told Maher. “Civilization as we know it today would be in jeopardy if the Republicans win the Senate.”

Democrats currently hold 53 seats in the Senate. Republicans have 45. Two independents caucus with Democrats. More

September 12, 2014

DEBUNKED: 5 QUOTES FROM OBAMA’S ISIS SPEECH

On the eve of the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, President Obama gave a primetime speech about the growing ISIS terrorist threat and his plan to address it. The speech, predictably, left Americans scratching their heads at several points, unsure what kind of alternate reality our President is living in.

1. “ISIL is not ‘Islamic.’ No religion condones the killing of innocents.” Since this day, 13 years ago, America began fighting a war against radical Islam. Radical Islam does not represent all of Islam, but it is Islamic. Denying that fact impairs our ability to understand our enemy, and making pronouncements such as this does not engender more positive feelings towards America by Muslims worldwide. Immediately after taking office President Obama gave a now famous speech in Cairo, which the White House deemed a “new beginning.” The year before taking office, Pew conducted its annual survey to gauge worldwide impressions of America abroad. In 2008, favorable ratings for America for those living in Egypt, Pakistan, Jordan, and Turkey were 22 percent, 19 percent, 19 percent and 12 percent respectively. In the most recent poll, the citizens of those same countries viewed America favorably 10 percent, 14 percent, 12 percent and 19 percent respectively. More

September 11, 2014

TED CRUZ: HATRED, BIGOTRY, OPPOSITION TO ISRAEL LED TO ME LEAVING EVENT

Cruz, the keynote speaker at the new "In Defense Of Christians" organization's dinner in Washington DC, had offered the crowd--a number of whom were Christians from the Middle East, including Palestinian Christians--public support for Israel. After doing so, some members of the crowd booed at Cruz, and they persisted until he left the stage, noting their hatred and saying he can't stand with them if they don't stand with Israel.

"Tonight, in Washington, should have been a night of unity as we came together for the inaugural event for a group that calls itself 'In Defense of Christians.' Instead, it unfortunately deteriorated into a shameful display of bigotry and hatred," Cruz said in a statement provided to Breitbart News. "When I spoke in strong support of Israel and the Jewish people, who are being persecuted and murdered by the same vicious terrorists who are also slaughtering Christians, many Christians in the audience applauded. But, sadly, a vocal and angry minority of attendees at the conference tried to shout down my expression of solidarity with Israel." More

September 10, 2014

Armed Patriots: private citizens out to secure the U.S. border

BROWNSVILLE Texas – With binoculars in hand, an assault rifle slung over his chest and a Glock pistol on his hip, a man named Will scans the banks of the Rio Grande looking for anyone trying to cross from Mexico into Texas.

Will is a member of the Patriots, a group of heavily armed private citizens who use displays of force to intimidate people attempting to cross the border illegally. Since early summer the Patriots have patrolled an area near Brownsville, Texas.

“If you spot them and shine your light on them, that lets them know that you’re there,” said the 25-year-old construction worker from Indiana who flew to Texas for a stint with the Patriots. “Nine times out of 10, they’re not going to come over.

The Patriots Information Hotline, a networking call center, estimates that 22 groups of “armed patriots” have sprung up along the border from Texas to California this year. More

Feds Force Public Schools To Enroll Illegal Immigrant Children With No Medical Screening

Washington DC - Since October 2013, 50,303 “unaccompanied children” from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras have crossed America’s porous Southern border to claim green cards via the immigration courts.

The Obama administration has sent none of these children home. Instead, federal officials have chosen to set aside normal immigration practices and to allow this wave of young illegal immigrants to apply for green cards via asylum applications and to disperse across the country.

With school now in session, these kids have enrolled in public schools nationwide.

In the event that any of these thousands of Central American children are carrying communicable diseases, experts claim, any subsequent health crisis will likely first manifest itself within a public school environment. More

Exclusive golf clubs would not let Obama play over Labor Day weekend

New York – Some of New York’s most exclusive golf clubs would not let President Barack Obama play over Labor Day weekend, according to a report.

The Trump National Golf Club, Winged Foot and Willow Ridge rejected requests to let Obama tee off, which may have required the clubs to close their doors to regular members, WNBC reported.

White House staffers allegedly gave just a day or two of notice to golf courses in the area where the president was scheduled to stay on Friday evening after attending fundraising events in New York and Rhode Island.

Labor Day weekend is one of the busiest times for golf courses, and courses may not have wanted to inconvenience members, who pay as much as $100,000 a year, it was reported. More

September 9, 2014

Watchdog complains of Justice Dept. interference in probes

The Justice Department's inspector general said Tuesday that his staff is routinely blocked from getting access to documents it needs for audits and reviews of the department and its law enforcement agencies.

The interference causes delays in investigations and has several times required the intervention of Attorney General Eric Holder to ensure that the records are ultimately turned over, Michael Horowitz, the inspector general, told members of Congress.

Horowitz's appearance before the House Judiciary Committee came one month after nearly 50 inspectors general from a broad spectrum of federal agencies complained in a letter to Congress about similar obstruction from the departments they monitor. More

Breitbart News says IRS targeted company for audit

The company that runs the conservative Breitbart.com news site says the IRS has selected the network for an audit, in a move company executives suggest is politically motivated.

Breitbart News Network, a California-based company which runs several conservative websites, says the IRS recently audited its 2012 financial information.

"The Obama administration's timing on this is exquisite, but try as they might through various methods to silence us, we will only get more emboldened,” Stephen K. Bannon, executive chairman of Breitbart News Network, said in a written statement.

The audit comes as the agency faces sustained complaints that it targeted conservative groups for extra scrutiny as they sought nonprofit status, before the agency ended the practice last year. More

Dem congressman skipped VA hearing, attended fundraiser on same day

Rep. Bruce Braley, D-Iowa, skipped a key Veterans’ Affairs (VA) Committee hearing in 2012 on the same day he had a fundraiser, again raising questions about his commitment to veterans’ issues, Republicans say.

The GOP had already pounced on Braley for missing a hearing held by the full House VA Committee on Sept. 20, 2012, where lawmakers discussed long wait times for veterans’ mental health care, the backlog of disability claims, and the stewardship of VA funding. He also attended three fundraisers that day.

Government records show that Braley, this year’s Democratic Senate candidate in Iowa, also missed a VA hearing on Feb. 15, 2012. Then VA Secretary Eric Shinseki discussed the department’s 2013 budget request at the meeting. More

September 8, 2014

School employee on snack rules: ‘You cannot buy a Tic Tac in a Nebraska school, I checked’

OMAHA, Neb. – School nutrition experts in Nebraska are struggling to comply with new federal snack regulations championed by First Lady Michelle Obama.

“I think we've gone too far, too fast,” Diane Zipay, director of nutritional services for the Westside School District told KIETV.com. “And I don’t think it’s a real-world environment. We might have changed the school but we haven’t changed the child or our world.”

The federal snack rules take effect this year for school districts across the country that participate in the federal free and reduced lunch program. They restrict snack foods sold at schools to those with at least 50 percent whole grain, with low sugar, fat and sodium content. Each snack must also come in under 200 calories, according to the news site. More

September 6, 2014

IRS says it has lost emails from 5 other employees involved in probes

The IRS said Friday that it has lost emails from five other employees involved in congressional probes into the agency's targeting of conservative groups, leading one top Republican to declare "this pattern must stop."

The announcement comes after the agency said in June that it could not locate an untold number of emails to and from Lois Lerner, who headed the IRS division that processes applications for tax-exempt status. The revelation set off a new round of investigations and congressional hearings.

On Friday, the IRS issued a report to Congress saying the agency also lost emails from five other employees related to the probe, including two agents who worked in a Cincinnati office processing applications for tax-exempt status.

House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, whose committee has been investigating the scandal, said the disclosure is yet another example of the Obama administration changing its story on the scandal. More

September 5, 2014

RECORD 92,269,000 AMERICANS NOT WORKING

A record 92,269,000 Americans 16 and older did not participate in the labor force in August, as the labor force participation rate matched a 36-year low of 62.8 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The labor force participation rate has been as low as 62.8 percent in six of the last twelve months, but prior to last October had not fallen that low since 1978.

BLS employment statistics are based on the civilian noninstitutional population, which consists of all people 16 or older who were not in the military or an institution such as a prison, mental hospital or nursing home. More

Big labor spending big bucks on co-ordinated fast food protests

MINNEAPOLIS – They’re back, and they’re expensive.

Protests outside fast food restaurants flared up in cities around the country Thursday, organized by groups with plenty of ties to prominent labor unions. The front groups organizing the protests — with names like Citizens Action of New York and Fast Food Workers United — use a mix of Occupy Wall Street populism and Big Labor tactics to draw attention to their cause.

But the real goal seems to be drawing more members into the union, rather than generating better working conditions for America’s legions of burger-flippers.

The Service Employees International Union, or SEIU, is one of the biggest backers of the effort to raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour and to unionize fast food workers. The union is heavily invested in the effort, having spent more than $38 million, directly and indirectly, in 2013 alone. More

GOP lawmaker accuses DOJ of hiding former employee linked to IRS scandal

WASHINGTON – A top House Republican is demanding the Department of Justice hand over contact information on a former employee accused of having a conflict of interest in the IRS targeting scandal investigation.

In a Sept. 3 letter, Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, once again asked Attorney General Eric Holder for information on Andrew Strelka’s whereabouts.

“Despite notifying [Oversight and Government Reform] Committee staff that the [Justice] Department no longer employs Mr. Strelka, the department has refused to assist the committee in speaking to Mr. Strelka directly,” Jordan wrote. “The department’s efforts to prevent the committee from learning Mr. Strelka’s whereabouts suggest the department has cause for keeping him from speaking with the committee.”

Jordan says he wants Strelka’s contact information so the Oversight Committee can conduct a transcribed interview. The letter gives Holder a Friday deadline for the information. More

September 4, 2014

‘Frustration and confusion’ among US troops over mixed message on ISIS

America's GI "boots on the ground" in Iraq are so frustrated with the White House message about their mission against the Islamic State -- which Vice President Biden vowed Wednesday to chase "to the gates of Hell" -- that they're wondering how they'll accomplish the goal "when we can't even leave the front gate of our base."

Biden on Wednesday delivered what was probably the toughest statement to date from the administration, declaring, after another U.S. journalist was beheaded by the Islamic State, "we will follow them to the gates of Hell until they are brought to justice."

But his tough talk was at odds with a message delivered earlier in the day by President Obama, who said that while his administration's goal is to "destroy" ISIS -- it also is to "shrink" it to a "manageable problem." More

September 3, 2014

Justice Department to investigate Ferguson Police Department

The Department of Justice is reportedly launching a civil rights investigation into the Ferguson Police Department after an unarmed black teen was fatally shot by one of the department’s officers.

The Washington Post reported Wednesday that the investigation by Attorney General Eric Holder may be announced as early as Thursday, and will be led by the department’s civil rights division.

The probe will be separate and broader than a previously announced DOJ probe into the police shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown, according to the Post. The shooting touched off weeks of sometime violent protests in the Missouri town, which is a suburb of St. Louis. More