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December 18, 2014

Transportation for Obama to Los Angeles and Paltrow fundraiser cost taxpayers $1,011,051.30

Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch announced today that on December 8, 2014, it obtained records from the U.S. Department of the Air Force revealing that the October fundraising trips by President Obama to Los Angeles and San Francisco, CA, cost taxpayers $1,176,120.90 in flight expenses alone.

On October 9, Obama attended a fundraiser party hosted by Hollywood actress Gwyneth Paltrow in Los Angeles. He also attended a closed-door “roundtable” fundraiser at the home of restaurateur Michael Chow. A second event shielded from the public was scheduled for October 11 in San Francisco.

The documents came from the Department of the Air Force in response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request filed on October 20, 2014. According to the newly released records obtained by Judicial Watch:

Transportation for Obama to Los Angeles, California on October 9, 2014, for the Paltrow fundraiser cost taxpayers $1,011,051.30

Transportation for Obama to San Francisco, California on October 10, 2014, for the secret fundraiser cost taxpayers an additional $165,069.60  More

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FBI points digital finger at North Korea for Sony hacking attack

WASHINGTON – The FBI is pointing a digital finger at North Korea for the recent hacking attack at Sony Pictures Entertainment, Fox News confirmed Thursday.

The North Korean link came shortly after Sony canceled plans for its Dec. 25 release of “The Interview,” a comedy about the fictional assassination of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. Getting Sony to pull the release of the movie had been one of the hackers’ public demands.

Officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the attack originated outside North Korea, but believe the individuals behind it were acting on orders from the North Korean government.

While the U.S. government is unlikely to issue formal charges against North Korea or its leadership, a formal announcement of North Korea’s involvement is likely to come Thursday.

The Sony hack attack is “deeply worrying” to the intelligence community because it is believed to be the first time destructive malware has targeted a U.S. firm, according to the Fox News source, who added that the cyber assault is seen as “retribution” for “The Interview.” More

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December 17, 2014

Michelle Obama: I Was Asked to Take Something Off a Shelf at Target

The Obamas talked with People magazine about dealing with their "own racist experiences," as the magazine described.

Michelle Obama told one story that recently took place, even as she was first lady of the United States.

"I tell this story – I mean, even as the first lady – during that wonderfully publicized trip I took to Target, not highly disguised, the only person who came up to me in the store was a woman who asked me to help her take something off a shelf. Because she didn't see me as the first lady, she saw me as someone who could help her. Those kinds of things happen in life. So it isn't anything new," Michelle Obama, who is 5'11", said.

She also said that her husband, Barack Obama, was asked to get coffee when he was wearing a tux. "He was wearing a tuxedo at a black-tie dinner, and somebody asked him to get coffee," she told People.

The president told his own experiences. "There's no black male my age, who's a professional, who hasn't come out of a restaurant and is waiting for their car and somebody didn't hand them their car keys," Obama told the magazine. More

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December 16, 2014

Senate approves Obama pick for surgeon general - activist focused on gun control

WASHINGTON – The Senate on Monday approved President Obama's nomination of Dr. Vivek Murthy to serve as U.S. surgeon general, despite opposition from Republicans and some Democrats over his support for gun control and past statements that gun violence is a public health issue.

Murthy, 37, a physician at Boston's Brigham and Women's Hospital and instructor at Harvard Medical School, won confirmation on a vote of 51-43. He's a co-founder of Doctors for America, a group that has pushed for affordable health care and supports Obama's health care law.

Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., said most of Murthy's career has been spent as an activist focused on gun control and other political issues, rather than on treating patients. "Americans don't want a surgeon general who might use this position of trust to promote his own personal campaign against the Second Amendment of the Constitution," Barrasso said. More

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December 14, 2014

Pelosi, Dems 'fully aware' of CIA interrogation techniques, says former agency official

WASHINGTON – The man who oversaw the controversial CIA interrogation program defended the use of the techniques used on militants -- including waterboarding -- and said members of Congress, including Sen. Nancy Pelosi, were “fully aware” of the methods used.

“She never objected to the techniques at all,” Jose Rodriguez, former director of the CIA’s National Clandestine Service, said on "Fox News Sunday." “All of these techniques were approved by the lawyers.”

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., a former member of the Senate Select Committee on intelligence, and Karl Rove, a former White House adviser to President George W. Bush and a Fox News contributor, were also on the program.

The two were often at odds over whether the techniques described in the report constituted torture, whether the methods were effective and if the CIA misled the White House and Congress. More

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December 13, 2014

Growing divide among Senate Republicans on spending bill?

WASHINGTON – Republican aren’t mincing words about some in their own party as the political divide grows and the deadline to pass a spending bill nears.

Heading into a rare Saturday session, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell told Fox News he was surprised that GOP Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas and Mike Lee of Utah went over his head Friday night and held up a vote on the $1.1 trillion spending bill.

A senior GOP source lashed out at Cruz and Lee, calling the move “hamfisted” and “amateurish.”

Sen. Majority Leader Harry Reid told reporters that he was surprised by Cruz and Lee.

On Friday night, the two Republican lawmakers demanded a vote on a proposal to cut funds from the bill that could be used to implement President Obama's new immigration policy, ending any chance the measure could clear the Senate and be sent to the White House with a minimum of fuss. More

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December 12, 2014

Boehner’s Spending Deals Have Increased Debt $3.8T in 3.8 Years

The federal debt has increased by $3.8 trillion in the 3.8 years that have passed since House Speaker John Boehner cut his first spending deal with Senate Democrats and President Obama.

That works out to $32,938.38 for every household in the United States—including those taking federal welfare benefits—and $42,783.20 for every full-time year-round private-sector worker in the United States.

In fact, the $42,783.20 that the federal government has borrowed per full-time year-round private-sector worker since Boehner cut his first federal spending deal exceeds the $41,916 that according to the Census Bureau was the median annual earnings of full-time year-round private-sector wage and salary workers in 2013. More

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December 11, 2014

Congress’ Big Spending Bill Covers Bullets, Cow Farts, and Chinese Chickens

Washington DC – Barring any last-minute glitches — admittedly, no small concern — the House of Representatives will vote sometime Thursday on an omnibus spending bill that takes the place of 11 out of the 12 appropriations bills that Congress, were it working under regular order, would have produced this year.

The 1,603-page bill, which was only made public late Tuesday, will fund the majority of the government through the end of this fiscal year in September.

Here are some provisions that may have escaped notice: More

Cheney defends CIA interrogation techniques, calls Senate report 'deeply flawed'

WASHINGTON – Former Vice President Dick Cheney slammed the recently released Senate report on CIA interrogation techniques Wednesday, calling it “full of crap,” and a “terrible piece of work” that was “deeply flawed.”

Cheney, speaking on Fox News' “Special Report with Bret Baier,” said some of the controversial techniques used on militants had been previously tested and the interrogations produced results.

Cheney acknowledged he had not read the entire 500-page report summary. He strongly defended the tactics, including waterboarding and rectal hydration.

“What are you prepared to do to get the truth against future attacks against the United States?” Cheney asked. More

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December 9, 2014

Senate panel releases scathing report on CIA interrogations amid security warnings - 6,000 Marines on high alert

A Democrat-led Senate panel released a scathing report Tuesday on CIA interrogation practices amid warnings from lawmakers that the findings could "endanger the lives of Americans" -- a concern the Obama administration apparently shared as it put more than 6,000 Marines on high alert.

The report, from the Senate intelligence committee, claimed the interrogation techniques used were "brutal and far worse" than the CIA represented to lawmakers. Further, the report claimed the tactics were not effective and the spy agency gave "inaccurate" information about it to Congress and the White House. The report called CIA management of the program "deeply flawed" -- though agency officials have staunchly defended the program and credited it with helping track down Usama bin Laden and other terror leaders.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., the head of the intelligence panel who ordered the release of the report, alleged on the Senate floor on Tuesday that the CIA techniques in some cases amounted to "torture." More

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Democrat Savages Gruber: ‘Absolutely Stupid,’ ‘Incredibly Disrespectful’

Democratic congressman Elijah Cummings tore into MIT professor and Obamacare architect Jonathan Gruber on Tuesday for his remarks on American voters and the passage of the Affordable Care Act.

The ranking Democrat on the House Oversight Committee made GOP chairman Darrell Issa’s opening statement sound tame by comparison.

“As far as I can tell, we are here today to beat up on Jonathan Gruber for stupid — I mean absolutely stupid — comments he made over the last few years,” he began, staring angrily at the hapless professor.

“Let me be clear, I am extremely frustrated with Dr. Gruber’s statements,” Cummings continued. “They were irresponsibly, incredibly disrespectful, and did not reflect reality. And they were indeed insulting.” More

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Top Republicans lash out ahead of release of CIA report

Top Republicans are warning that the "unconscionable" release, by order of Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein, of a report on CIA interrogation techniques used on Al Qaeda suspects in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks could "endanger the lives of Americans" all over the world.

The report on the techniques, which some officials credit with helping track down Usama bin Laden and other terror leaders, is expected to be released late Tuesday morning. The White House and President Obama are backing the decision to release the report, despite warnings from lawmakers and some inside the administration that it could lead to a backlash against Americans.

Sens. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., and Jim Risch, R-Idaho, in a statement late Monday, called the move a “partisan effort” by Democrats on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. They said the report is not “serious or constructive.” More

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December 8, 2014

Average Federal Spending Per Household Nearly $30,000

Did you know that the National Institutes of Health spent $374,000 to find out if a puppet show would convince preschoolers to eat more vegetables? Or, that the Department of Agriculture gave $50,000 to a business that packs and sells alpaca manure?

Whether you knew or not, your tax dollars paid for it–and much more. In 2014, federal spending per household was a staggering $28,826.

Here are some more key facts from “Federal Spending by the Numbers 2014,” a new Heritage report.

1. Even with the temporary drop in deficits and the Budget Control Act, federal spending and the national debt are projected to increase drastically. The current national debt tops $18 trillion, which is more than 100 percent of the national Gross Domestic Product. Without reforming federal spending, especially on Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, the rising debt threatens Americans with higher taxes and fewer economic opportunities through less growth. At some point, investors may even lose confidence in the federal government’s ability to service the debt. More

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December 6, 2014

DEMOCRATIC LOUISIANA SEN. MARY LANDRIEU DEFEATED

BATON ROUGE, La. - Republican Rep. Bill Cassidy has defeated Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu, denying her a fourth term and extending the GOP's domination of the 2014 midterm elections that put Republicans in charge of Capitol Hill for the final two years of President Barack Obama's tenure.

With Cassidy's victory, the GOP will hold 54 seats when the Senate convenes in January, nine more than they have now.

Republican victories in two Louisiana House districts Saturday - including the seat Cassidy now holds - ensure at least 246 seats, compared to 188 for Democrats, the largest GOP advantage since the Truman administration after World War II.

An Arizona recount leaves one race still outstanding.

In Louisiana, early returns showed Cassidy with a wide lead. More

December 5, 2014

Obama Mulling Sanctions on Israel

The Obama administration is refusing to discuss reports that emerged early Thursday claiming that the White House is considering imposing sanctions on Israel for continuing construction on Jewish homes in Jerusalem.

State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf dodged several questions on Thursday when confronted with reports that the administration had held secret internal meetings to discuss taking action against Israel for its ongoing building in East Jerusalem.

The classified meetings were reportedly held several weeks ago and included officials from both the State Department and White House, according to the Israeli daily Ha’aretz, which first reported on the meetings.

The possibility of sanctioning Israel for its ongoing construction sends a signal that the Obama administration is willing to go further in its denunciations of Israel then any previous White House.

At the same time, the White House is vigorously pushing Congress against passing new sanctions on Iran. More

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December 3, 2014

Feds balk at releasing docs showing IRS sharing tax returns with White House

Washington DC - Less than a week after ’fessing up that it found some 2,500 documents potentially showing that the IRS shared taxpayer returns with the White House, the Obama administration has reversed course and won’t release the trove to a group suing for access.

In an abrupt decision, the Treasury inspector general’s office said that the documents are covered by privacy and disclosure laws and can’t be provided to Cause of Action, despite a promise last week to hand over some 2,500.

“All of the 2,043 pages of documents we have determined to be responsive were collected by the Secretary of the Treasury with respect to the determination of possible liability under Title 26 of the United States Code. These pages consist of return information protected by 26 U.S.C. § 6103 and may not be disclosed absent an express statutory exception,” said the office in a letter dated Dec. 1. More

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Taxpayer dollars paid for eco group’s $25G Christmas party, and more

$25,000 for a Christmas party.

$11,000 for premium coffee services.

Millions more for questionable construction costs.

All this was billed to taxpayers by an obscure federally funded science group, according to a scathing new inspector general report.

The audit, conducted by the National Science Foundation inspector general and the Defense Contract Audit Agency, detailed spending by the Colorado-based National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON). The nonprofit, designed to operate a network of ecological observatories across the continent, is solely funded by the National Science Foundation.

The report found that spending at the group has gotten out of control. More    Strange News

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House approves bill to stop Nazi benefit payments

Suspected Nazi war criminals would be blocked from receiving Social Security benefits under a bill unanimously approved Tuesday by the House.

The measure would shut a loophole that allowed suspected Nazis to be paid millions of dollars in benefits. Under the bill, benefits would be terminated for Nazi suspects who have lost their American citizenship, a step called denaturalization. U.S. law currently mandates a higher threshold -- a final order of deportation -- before Social Security benefits can be stopped.

The legislation was introduced after an Associated Press investigation published in October revealed that Social Security benefits have been paid to dozens of former Nazis after they were forced out of the United States.

AP's investigation found that the Justice Department used a legal loophole to persuade Nazi suspects to leave the U.S. in exchange for Social Security benefits. If they agreed to go voluntarily, or simply fled the country before being deported, they could keep their benefits. The Justice Department denied using Social Security payments as a way to expel former Nazis. More

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CONGRESSIONAL BLACK CAUCUS BRINGS 'HANDS UP! DON'T SHOOT' TO THE HOUSE FLOOR

Speaking on the House floor, members of the Congressional Black Caucus used the “Hands up! Don’t Shoot” gesture popular with Ferguson protesters reacting to the shooting of Michael Brown.

“Hands up, don't shoot,” said Rep. Hakeem Jeffries. “It's a rallying cry of people all across America who are fed up with police violence.”

“It was a John Carlos moment,” pointed out Rep. Al Green (D-TX) “Because this has become the new symbol, a new statement, a statement wherein people around the country now are calling to the attention of those who do quite understand that this is a movement that will not dissipate. It will not evaporate.”

Rep. Yvette Clarke (D-N.Y.) criticized the “attacks” by the Ferguson police department. She says they demonstrated “an assumption that young women and men who are African-American are inherently suspicious, a false assumption with deadly consequences.” More    Strange News

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December 2, 2014

Lawmakers thwart Obama's plan to shut down Gitmo detainee facility

President Obama’s plan to close the federal prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba hit a major snag Monday as lawmakers finalizing the annual defense policy bill rejected steps to shut down the facility.

The final defense bill will not have a provision giving the president the power to transfer terror suspects to the U.S. if Congress signs off on the plan, said Sen. Carl Levin.

"Our language ... (on Guantanamo) ... will not be in," Levin said.

Levin backed the authority for Obama to transfer the suspects and enthusiastically heralded it in May as the “path to close Guantanamo.”

The House and Senate are expected to vote and overwhelmingly approve the sweeping policy bill in the coming days, sending it to Obama. More   Strange News

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November 30, 2014

Calls grow to sack GOP staffer who called Sasha and Malia Obama 'classless' and criticized their clothes at Thanksgiving turkey pardon

A GOP staffer who accused First Daughters Malia and Sasha Obama of being classless teenagers with no good role models is facing an online backlash - and demands that she lose her job.

Elizabeth Lauten, a once-prominent media director for the Republican National Committee, wrote a scathing Facebook post attacking the outfits the girls - 16 and 13 - appeared in for the President's annual Thanksgiving address.

The ill-tempered post, which criticized the girls for 'making faces' on national television and looking like they were after 'a spot at a bar', prompted a tide of online anger.

Lauten had apologized for her post, writing that 'judgmental feelings truly have no place in my heart', saying that 'hours of prayer' had shown the error of her ways.  Update: GOP aide resigns after online digs at Obama daughters

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How Obama blatantly disregards the law

President Obama likes to claim he’s been forced into rogue executive actions, laying the blame on an intransigent Congress. In fact, his lawlessness is coldly calculated, dating back to his days as a Chicago community organizer.

Consider what he wrote on page 276 of his 1995 memoir, “Dreams from My Father,” reflecting on his decision to study law: “I had things to learn in law school, things that would help me bring about real change. I would learn power’s currency in all its intricacy and detail, knowledge that I could now bring back to where it was needed…bring it back like Promethean fire.”

Obama fancies himself a modern-day Prometheus stealing laws from the oppressive Founding Fathers for the benefit of the oppressed.

“I just took an action to change the law!” he reminded Hispanic activists in Chicago last week, referring to his executive amnesty. More

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November 29, 2014

‘I,’ ‘Me,’ ‘My’—Obama Uses First Person Singular 91 Times in Speech on Immigration

President Barack Obama used the first person singular—including the pronouns “I” and “me” and the adjective “my”—91 times in a speech he delivered in Chicago Tuesday to explain his unilateral action on immigration.

But as often as Obama used “I,” “me” and “my” in Chicago this week, it was no match for the speech he delivered in Austin, Texas, on July 10, when he used the first person singular 199 times.

In that Texas speech, however, Obama had not focused specifically on immigration policy. In that speech, Obama had explained his intention to act unilaterally wherever he could. More

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