Tag Archive: Obama administration


Image Source  :  Sodahead.com

Interesting  how Americans standing their ground  and  fighting  back  against  an  out of  control government  and  their jackboot  thuggery are violating the  law. 

Yet  the Politicians with their L.E. thugs who lie, steal , cheat  and abuse the American People  everyday  are  law  abiding ?

Perhaps it is time  to  teach these self aggrandized  public servants what  Americans are  capable  of  and  just  who they  truly  work for!!

You are  right about one thing Mr. Reid, this is  definitely  not  Over……..

 

~Desert Rose~

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The New American

War on the West: Why More Bundy Standoffs Are Coming

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The federal government’s over-the-top police action against the Bundy family ranch is an ominous portent of more to come, as rogue agencies and their corporate/NGO partners attempt to “cleanse” the West of ranchers, farmers, miners, loggers, and other determined property owners.

On Saturday, April 12, the federal bureaucrats backed down. Faced with hundreds of men and women on horseback and on foot who were armed with firearms and video cameras — as well as local television broadcast stations and independent media streaming live video and radio feeds across America — the Obama administration called off the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) operation to confiscate hundreds of cattle belonging to Cliven Bundy, the current patriarch of a respected pioneer family that has been ranching in Nevada’s Clark County since the 1800s.

Supporters from all across the United States had converged on the Bunkerville, Nevada, area in support of Bundy, who is the

“last rancher standing” in Clark County, due to a decades-long campaign by federal agencies and allied enviro-activists to drive all ranchers off of the range. After a tense standoff, orders came down from above for the surrounded and outnumbered federal agents to “stand down” and turn loose the Bundy cattle that had been corralled.

 

On Saturday, before the resolution of the standoff, The New American talked to Richard Mack, the former sheriff of Graham County, Arizona, and founder of the Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association (CSPOA), as he headed from a meeting of public officials to a press conference at the Bundy Ranch. He was very grave and worried at the time that the situation could spin out of control, and that federal agents might open fire on citizens. He also expressed his exasperation at Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval and Clark County Sheriff Douglass Gillespie. “If Governor Sandoval and Sheriff Gillespie were doing the jobs they were elected to do, they would have stopped this from getting to a dangerous point,” Sheriff Mack said. “There are lots of things they could have done to defuse this situation, including telling the Feds to ‘stand down,’ and to assert their own jurisdiction and force the federal authorities to obey the law, including the Constitution and the laws of the state of Nevada,” he noted. “I have a very bad feeling about this,” he continued, adding that he hoped the tensions would be deescalated and a peaceful outcome negotiated.

Fortunately, most likely due to the national attention that the Bundy situation was receiving, federal officials backed off, the demonstrators and supporters remained peaceful, and a violent confrontation was averted. However, that does not end the affair. Members of the Bundy family and supporters, such as Sheriff Mack, expressed concerns that the evacuation of the federal police force might be a feint, and that there may be plans for them to return the following day, or as soon as the supporters and television crews had departed.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, whose personal financial stake in the Bundy eviction has been called into question, let it be known that he wants to see the matter pursued.

“Well, it’s not over,” Reid told NBC’s Nevada affiliate KRNV on Monday, April 14. “We can’t have an American people that violate the law and then just walk away from it. So it’s not over.”

Senator Reid, Nevada’s senior senator, is very incensed when the American people, i.e., ordinary citizens, “violate the law” — as he puts it — but he says nothing about the more serious violations of the laws and the Constitution by public officials, such as himself or the BLM officials.

This is the same federal BLM that Chief Judge Robert C. Jones of the Federal District Court of Nevada last year ruled had been engaged in a decades-long criminal “conspiracy” against the Wayne Hage family, fellow ranchers and friends of the Bundys. Among other things, Judge Jones accused the federal bureaucrats of racketeering under the federal RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corruption Organizations) statute, and accused them as well of extortion, mail fraud, and fraud, in an effort “to kill the business of Mr. Hage.” In fact, the government’s actions were so malicious, said the judge, as to “shock the conscience of the Court.” Judge Jones granted an injunction against the agencies and referred area BLM and Forest Service managers to the Justice Department for prosecution.

Has Attorney General Eric Holder prosecuted any federal officials for criminal activity and violation of the Hage family’s constitutionally protected rights? No. Has Sen. Harry Reid denounced this lawlessness and criminal activity by government officials and call upon President Obama and Attorney General Holder to protect the citizens of his state from the depredations of federal officials under their command? No.

Huge Federal Footprint: And a Boot on Every Neck

With attitudes such as those expressed above by Sen. Harry Reid, it is almost a certainty that the recently defused Bundy Ranch standoff will be replayed again — and in the not-too-distant future. And the outcome could be much less amicable for all concerned.

And this is but one of many incidents that can be expected, because the Bundy family are not the only victims in the federal crosshairs. The BLM, U.S. Forest Service (USFS), National Park Service (NPS), U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS), U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), and other federal agencies own and/or control hundreds of millions of acres of the 12 western states. The federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is not as large a landlord as some of these bigger agencies, but it exercises enormous regulatory clout over both private and public lands, air, and water. And while the EPA’s draconian, arbitrary, and costly regulations affect the entire country, they fall especially hard on the states in the West, where the federal impact is already massive due to the outsized footprint of the federal agencies.

federal landAs the accompanying map graphically demonstrates, there is a striking difference between the federal government’s claim to physical real estate in the states of East and the Midwest versus those of the West. In Maine, for instance, federal agencies occupy only 1.1 percent of the state’s land area; in New York it’s a mere 0.8 percent. The federal government claims only 1.8 percent of Indiana, 1.6 percent of Alabama, and 1.7 percent of Ohio. But in the Western states, the federal footprint covers from nearly one-third to over four-fifths of the area of the states.

 

Read More Here

 

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Ron Paul: Feds May Come Back With Way More Force ‘Like Waco’

Watch Video Here

by Fox News Insider // Apr 14 2014 // 5:32pm

Former Texas Rep. Ron Paul was on “Your World” this afternoon to discuss the battle between a Nevada rancher and the federal government.

The federal government says Cliven Bundy owes $1 million in grazing fees, and authorities seized many of his cattle. Bundy then declared a “range war” on the government, prompting a standoff between Bundy’s supporters and the government. The government has since pulled back.

Paul said the government could come back with more force because it doesn’t give up power easily, citing the 1993 siege of the Branch Davidians’ compound in Waco, Texas. He said this issue poses the question of who should own the land.

Paul said Bundy has virtual ownership of the land because his family has been using it for so long.

“I think land should be in the states, and I think the states should sell it to the people,” he said. “You need the government out of it.”

Hear more of Paul’s thoughts in the video above.


Read more on the Nevada ranch standoff:

Feds Pull Back in Nevada Ranch Standoff

Nevada Rancher Renews Fight Against Big Gov: ‘We’re Standing Up for the Constitution’

 

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Sheriff Mack travels with other CSPOA members to stand with Nevada rancher against the BLM 

 
Many of you have called or emailed regarding the storm brewing between Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy and the BLM.  We all know how we feel about the all-too-frequent bullying of individual citizens by various Feds with their usurped, unconstitutional powers.  It’s an epidemic that must be stopped.Well, we want you to know we ARE doing something about it, and thankfully this time we’re not alone.  Sheriff Mack is leaving early Saturday morning for an emergency trip to Bunkerville, Nevada, along with other members of the CSPOA posse (hopefully that’s some of you!) to stand vigil and find a peaceful resolution to this conflict (i.e., the feds going home).AND this late-breaking news as per Lyle Rapacki today:

State Senate President Andy Biggs and House of Reps Speaker Dave Livingston have both agreed that Arizona should be involved in supporting CSPOA and Oath Keepers in going to Bunkerville, NV to support the movement for freedom there with the Cliven Bundy family. State Senators Al Melvin, Chester Crandall, and Kelly Ward along with State Reps Brenda Barton, Bob Thorpe, Kelly Townsend and Warren Peterson are all planning to be at the Bundy ranch by Sunday morning. Furthermore, they all plan to attend the Press Conference Monday afternoon with the CSPOA and Oath Keepers along with the Bundys and other sheriffs and public officials from across the country.

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We hope you understand how HUGE this is, that state senators and reps are supporting the CSPOA and the Oath Keepers!  We are not alone!

 

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A Delegation of state legislators, lead by Washington State Representative Matt Shea, along with a  delegation of current serving Sheriffs, lead by Sheriff Richard Mack of the Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association, and military and police members of Oath Keepers, are converging on the site of a stand-off between federal law enforcement and Nevada Rancher Cliven Bundy, to prevent bloodshed and to stand in defense of hardworking rural Americans who are under assault by a runaway federal government.

LAS VEGAS, NV, April 10, 2014

The Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association (CSPOA.org), led by retired Arizona Sheriff Richard Mack, and the Oath Keepers organization (oathkeepers.org) are assisting Washington State Representative Matt Shea in organizing a delegation of current serving Western state legislators and Sheriffs to travel to the site of a tense stand-off between Bunkerville, Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).  The delegation is traveling to Nevada to support a coalition of current serving Nevada legislators being organized by Nevada State Assemblywoman Michele Fiore, of Las Vegas, to stand vigil at the Bundy ranch to prevent Federal Government provocation of violence resulting in another Ruby Ridge or Waco type incident.  They also hope that their example of oath-sworn public servants defending the rights of the people will prompt Clark County, Nevada Sheriff Douglas Gillespie and Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval to honor their oaths of office by taking real action to defend the rights of the Bundy family, the rights of all Nevadans, and the sovereignty of the State of Nevada.

Yesterday, April 9, 2014, Nevada State Assemblywoman Michele Fiore served the first watch in this vigil shortly after Cliven Bundy’s son, Ammon Bundy, was tazered by BLM “Rangers” during a heated confrontation.  [The video of that confrontation can be seen with the full article on the Oath Keepers web site, www.oathkeepers.org]:

The courage and resolve displayed by Ammon Bundy and his relatives is inspiring, and may well go down in history as a watershed moment – a turning of the tide.  But the above video also amply demonstrates the heavy-handed behavior of the BLM that risks escalating an already volatile situation into open bloodshed, that, once begun, may spiral out of anyone’s control.

It is necessary that current serving public servants step in-between the protesters and the BLM, to protect the rights of the people and to prevent violence against them by the militarized federal law enforcement that are massing near the ranch to continue the forced confiscation (theft) of  Bundy’s cattle, while they also restrict all access to huge tracts of public land, and attempt to restrict the free speech of protesters with their absurd “First Amendment Area” (which the protesters are ignoring, to their honor).

The Oath Keepers organization, comprised of 40,000 current serving and former military, police, and first responders, is also calling on its members and all other patriotic Americans to join the vigil at the Bundy ranch under the leadership of the current serving legislators and sheriffs.  The goal is to have at least one current serving state legislator and at least one sheriff on the ground at all times until this is over.  And they will be backed by a large number of military and police veterans, as well as dedicated patriotic Americans from all walks of life, to interpose and defend the rights of the protesters and to keep an eye on the actions of the BLM and any other federal law enforcement present, to prevent a recurrence of the horrid abuses seen at Ruby Ridge and Waco, and to hopefully pressure the Clark County Sheriff and the Nevada Governor to step up and do their constitutional duty.

Regardless, please tell everyone you know to be praying for a peaceful resolution to this situation and for the safety of the brave patriots headed there and on the ground there right now.

Please read the entire press release  
on the Oath Keepers web site, oathkeepers.org 

 

Read More Here

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File:Obama Chesh 2.jpg

Barack Obama

Author  :  Elizabeth Cromwell

A/SA – 3.0 Unported

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Obama Issues Threats To Russia And NATO — Paul Craig Roberts

Obama Issues Threats To Russia And NATO

Paul Craig Roberts

The Obama regime has issued simultaneous threats to the enemy it is making out of Russia and to its European NATO allies on which Washington is relying to support sanctions on Russia. This cannot end well.

As even Americans living in a controlled media environment are aware, Europeans, South Americans, and Chinese are infuriated that the National Stasi Agency is spying on their communications. NSA’s affront to legality, the US Constitution, and international diplomatic norms is unprecedented. Yet, the spying continues, while Congress sits sucking its thumb and betraying its oath to defend the Constitution of the United States.

In Washington mumbo-jumbo from the executive branch about “national security” suffices to negate statutory law and Constitutional requirements. Western Europe, seeing that the White House, Congress and the Federal Courts are impotent and unable to rein-in the Stasi Police State, has decided to create a European communication system that excludes US companies in order to protect the privacy of European citizens and government communications from the Washington Stasi.

The Obama regime, desperate that no individual and no country escape its spy net, denounced Western Europe’s intention to protect the privacy of its communications as “a violation of trade laws.”

Obama’s US Trade Representative, who has been negotiating secret “trade agreements” in Europe and Asia that give US corporations immunity to the laws of all countries that sign the agreements, has threatened WTO penalties if Europe’s communications network excludes the US companies that serve as spies for NSA. Washington in all its arrogance has told its most necessary allies that if you don’t let us spy on you, we will use WTO to penalize you.

So there you have it. The rest of the world now has the best possible reason to exit the WTO and to avoid the Trans-Pacific and Trans-Atlantic “trade agreements.” The agreements are not about trade. The purpose of these “trade agreements” is to establish the hegemony of Washington and US corporations over other countries.

In an arrogant demonstration of Washington’s power over Europe, the US Trade Representative warned Washington’s NATO allies: “US Trade Representative will be carefully monitoring the development of any such proposals” to create a separate European communication network. http://rt.com/news/us-europe-nsa-snowden-549/

Washington is relying on the Chancellor of Germany, the President of France, and the Prime Minister of the UK to place service to Washington above their countries’ communications privacy.

It has dawned on the Russian government that being a part of the American dollar system means that Russia is open to being looted by Western banks and corporations or by individuals financed by them, that the ruble is vulnerable to being driven down by speculators in the foreign exchange market and by capital outflows, and that dependence on the American international payments system exposes Russia to arbitrary sanctions imposed by the “exceptional and indispensable country.”

 

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Healthcare cuts canceled after Dem complaints

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The Obama administration announced Monday that planned cuts to Medicare Advantage would not go through as anticipated amid election-year opposition from congressional Democrats.

The cuts would have reduced benefits that seniors receive from health plans in the program, which is intended as an alternative to Medicare.

Under cuts planned by the administration, insurers offering the plans were to see their federal payments reduced by 1.9 percent, which likely would have necessitated cuts for customers.

Instead, the administration said the federal payments to insurers will increase next year by .40 percent.

The healthcare law included $200 billion in cuts to Medicare Advantage over 10 years, in part to pay for ObamaCare.

The Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) on Monday said changes in the healthcare market meant it did not need to make those cuts to Medicare Advantage this year.

It cited an increase in healthy beneficiaries under Medicare, which it said has lowered projected costs for that program.

CMS separately is delaying a risk assessment proposal that was set to take affect under ObamaCare.

 

Read More Here

 

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Obama administration proposes 1.9% cut in Medicare Advantage payments

February 21, 2014 8:08 pm by

Barack ObamaMedicare Advantage plans could see payment reductions of 1.9 percent next year under proposed rates announced Friday by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

Insurers, who have led a fierce lobbying campaign against payment reductions, have said the combination of the health law’s lower payment rates, new fees on health plans and other factors, including automatic federalspending cuts known as “sequestration,” mean that Medicare Advantage plans will see their Medicare payment rates drop by 6 percent – or even more — in 2015.

CMS said Friday its preliminary estimate is “the combined effect of the Medicare Advantage growth percentage and the fee-for-service growth percentage.”

America’s Health Insurance Plans said they are reviewing the details of the announcement to determine the total impact of the federal payment rates. In a statement, AHIP President and CEO Karen Ignagni was critical of the proposed rates, saying, “The new proposed Medicare Advantage cuts would cause seniors in the program to lose benefits and choices on which they depend.”

 

Read More Here

 

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Obama flip-flops on Medicare drug coverage

(REUTERS/Jonathan Bachman)

The Obama administration, in an abrupt about-face, said on Monday it would drop proposed changes to Medicare drug coverage that met wide opposition on grounds they would harm health benefits for the elderly and disabled.

Late last week, more than 370 organizations representing insurers, drug makers, pharmacies, health providers and patients urged the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to withdraw changes it had proposed for Medicare Part D.

One of the federal government’s most successful and cost-effective healthcare programs, Part D provides drug benefits for the elderly and disabled through private insurers to 36 million enrollees.

Critics said the changes, if adopted in coming months, could not only undermine Part D benefits but impact drug benefits available through Medicare Advantage, a program that allows Medicare beneficiaries to obtain their major medical coverage through private insurers.

“Given the complexities of these issues and stakeholder input, we do not plan to finalize these proposals at this time. We will engage in further stakeholder input before advancing some or all of the changes in these areas in future years,” CMS Administrator Marilyn Tavenner advised in a letter sent on Monday to members of the Senate and House of Representatives.

The proposals were opposed by both Republicans and Democrats in Congress. The Republican Party had already begun to look for ways to leverage popular anger over the changes into campaign attacks on Democratic incumbents who could be vulnerable in November’s election showdown for control of Congress.

Elated critics of the proposed changes said the government had effectively agreed to start over in the face of broad, bipartisan opposition.

 

Read  More Here

 

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New York Times SundayReview

The Obama administration’s proposed cuts to Medicare Advantage plans — the private insurance plans that cover almost 30 percent of all Medicare beneficiaries — are fair and reasonable. As it happens, they are also mandated by law. Yet Republicans, sensing a campaign issue, are telling older and disabled Americans that the administration is “raiding Medicare Advantage to pay for Obamacare.” The health insurance industry, for its part, is warning that enrollees will suffer higher premiums, lower benefits and fewer choices among doctors if the cuts go into force.

Some of this could in fact happen, although the industry has cried wolf before and continues to thrive. But the key point is this: Over the past decade, enrollees in Medicare Advantage have received lots of extra benefits, thanks to unjustified federal subsidies to the insurance companies. Now they will have to do with somewhat less, unless the insurers are willing to absorb the cuts while maintaining benefits. Enrollment in these private plans, offered by companies like UnitedHealth and Humana, has more than doubled since 2006, in part because of lower premiums and extra benefits, like gym memberships, that are not included in traditional fee-for-service Medicare.

What made these perks possible was, in effect, a subsidy from taxpayers and other Medicare beneficiaries. The federal government paid the private plans, on average, 14 percent more in 2009 than it would cost to treat the same people in traditional Medicare. The insurers used this extra money to reduce enrollees’ costs and add benefits.

The 2010 Affordable Care Act rightly required that these subsidies be reduced, although it stopped short of completely eliminating them. The reductions began to take effect in 2012, and have not, so far, visibly harmed beneficiaries or the plans. Since enactment of the law, Medicare Advantage premiums have fallen by 10 percent, the opposite of what some expected, and enrollment has increased by nearly 33 percent, according to the administration. But as the law intended, federal payments to the private plans dropped — from 7 percent more than services under traditional Medicare in 2012 to 4 percent more last year. The administration now proposes to further reduce the payments to Medicare Advantage plans in 2015. The loudest criticism has come from Republicans, but plenty of Democrats have chimed in.

Read More Here

 

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Washington Examiner

 

By Paul Bedard | FEBRUARY 24, 2014 AT 3:50 PM

This week’s Mainstream Media Scream features a new report from the Media Research Center about the revolving door between Team Obama and the news media. The total has now reached 30, with MSNBC’s debut of two shows Monday, Ronan Farrow’s “Ronan Farrow Daily” and Joy-Ann Reid’s “The Reid Report.” Both have toiled for President Obama.

“Ours is a strict ‘revolving door’ list, sticking to those with jobs as reporters, editors, correspondents, anchors, producers or media executives, not those who just have or had roles as ‘contributors’ to news outlets,” said MRC.

The MRC report lists all 30.

“I’ve tracked the news media-political position revolving door since the Reagan days, and never have I seen so many journalists leave the news media to help advance the cause of a presidential administration by joining it. At least 25 so far, with White House press secretary Jay Carney, who had been Time magazine’s Washington Bureau Chief, the poster child,” said Media Research Center Vice President of Research Brent Baker.

Read More Here

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Ronan Farrow: From State Department to Twitter legend to MSNBC host (A timeline)

In this 2011 photo released by the United Nations Foundation, Ronan Farrow speaks during the Social Good Summit in New York. (AP/United Nations Foundation/Gary He)

Monday afternoon, 26-year-old Ronan Farrow kicks off his very own news program on MSNBC, “Ronan Farrow Daily.” A couple years ago, you may have only recognized his name if you had an in-depth knowledge of celebrity offspring and human rights advocates. Now, Farrow (the biological son of Mia Farrow and Woody Allen — or is it Frank Sinatra?) is everywhere.

Thanks to a talent for being on-camera, a massively public family scandal, and a few skewering tweets that have made him something of a Twitter legend, Farrow has risen through the ranks from child prodigy to State Department employee to major cable news network host. A look at how that happened:

2004: Farrow graduates from Bard College at age 15, the school’s youngest graduate ever. “Boy genius” title cemented.

2006: Already serving as a spokesperson for UNICEF and working on rights issues around the world, he’s also a journalist, and writes a controversial Wall Street Journal piece about Chinese investments and the Darfur conflict. That story shows his expertise in human rights and foreign policy, and he starts appearing on TV as a commentator.

Read More Here

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Two New MSNBC Hosts Bring News Media-Obama Revolving Door to 30

 

Two New MSNBC Hosts Bring News Media-Obama Revolving Door to 30

 

With two political activists, who toiled for Barack Obama, starting hosting duties today with new shows on MSNBC (Ronan Farrow’s 1 PM EST Ronan Farrow Daily and Joy-Ann Reid’s 2 PM EST The Reid Report), the Media Research Center’s list of those revolving between working on behalf of Obama and positions in the news media has reached 30.

 

(Ours is a strict “revolving door” list, sticking to those with jobs as reporters, editors, correspondents, anchors, producers or media executives, not those who just have or had roles as “contributors” to news outlets. And we’re sticking to those with a direct tie to one of Obama’s campaigns or a position within his administration, so none of the many others in the news media who currently or have in the past put in stints for Democratic officials or even liberal groups which advance Obama’s agenda. For instance, that leaves out Teddy Davis, who in 2010 jumped from ABC News, where he was Deputy Political Director, to the left-wing Service Employees International Union.

 

Also, not here: Relatives, such as ABC’s Claire Shipman, who is married to White House Press Secretary Jay Carney.)

 

1) David Axelrod: political reporter for the Chicago Tribune, late 1970s-1984 >>> chief strategist for the Obama presidential campaign, 2007-2008; Senior Adviser to the President, 2009-2011; Senior Strategist, Obama-Biden Re-Election Committee, 2011-12 >>> Senior Political Analyst for MSNBC, 2013-

 

2) Roberta Baskin: former senior investigative producer for the ABC News magazine 20/20, chief investigative correspondent for CBS’s 48 Hours and senior Washington correspondent for PBS’s Now with Bill Moyers >>> Director of Media Communications for the Office of Inspector General at the Department of Health and Human Services, 2009- (2009 Washington Post item)

 

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democracynow democracynow

 

Published on Feb 20, 2014

http://www.democracynow.org – A short-lived truce has broken down in Ukraine as street battles have erupted between anti-government protesters and police. Last night the country’s embattled president and the opposition leaders demanding his resignation called for a truce and negotiations to try to resolve Ukraine’s political crisis. But hours later, armed protesters attempted to retake Independence Square sparking another day of deadly violence. At least 50 people have died since Tuesday in the bloodiest period of Ukraine’s 22-year post-Soviet history. While President Obama has vowed to “continue to engage all sides” a recently leaked audio recording between two top U.S. officials reveal the Obama administration has been secretly plotting with the opposition. We speak to Stephen Cohen, professor emeritus of Russian studies and politics at New York University and Princeton University. His most recent book, “Soviet Fates and Lost Alternatives: From Stalinism to the New Cold War,” is out in paperback. His latest Nation article is “Distorting Russia: How the American Media Misrepresent Putin, Sochi and Ukraine.”

 

 

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Obama administration’s plans to monitor newsrooms ignites bitter opposition

Americans are outraged over the Obama administration’s Federal Communication Commission’s plan to study exactly how news agencies pick and choose stories. Already, 33,713 and counting have signed a petition saying “no government monitors in newsrooms”, according to the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ).

In just the first two hours of the petition’s launch yesterday, the organization claims that the number of signers against the government’s plan to watch newsrooms reached 10,000. Last year, the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) made an announcement about a Multi-Market Study of Critical Information Needs (CINs).

It explained that it’s goal was to understand how stories were chosen, news station priorities, production of content, populations it reached out to, perceived station bias as well as the percentage of news out toward the content to every part of the “critical information needs” in a region, according to what Fox News reported.

However, chief counsel of the ACLJ Jay Sekulow is highly concerned that it could be utilized as a tool of intimidation for specific news agencies to cover issues that state and federal officials feel are vitally important.

“This is an extremely troubling and dangerous development that represents the latest in an ongoing assault on the Constitution by the Obama Administration,” Sekulow said in a statement, “We have seen a corrupt IRS unleashed on conservatives. We have seen an imperial president bypass Congress and change the law with executive orders.”

Presently, the FCC has jurisdiction over the broadcast sector and does not have power over cable news or print. Local stations, networks, and the majority of radio stations would be subject to the monitoring project the federal agency wishes to carry out in the future.

“Now we see the heavy hand of the Obama administration poised to interfere with the First Amendment rights of journalists,” Sekulow said in an article on theblaze.com, “It’s clear that the Obama administration is only interested in utilizing intimidation tactics – at the expense of Americans and the Constitution. The federal government has no place attempting to control the media, using the unconstitutional actions of repressive regimes to squelch free speech.”

During press time, it was noted that an FCC spokesperson did not make a comment in regards to the plan. Various objectives are outlined for the research initiative. In a statement released on May 28, 2013 the goals are “collect data to inform: the access (or potential barriers) to CINs as identified by the FCC; the media that makes up media ecologies (i.e., what media is actually included in that ecology; ownership of that market; what specific type of content dominates those media ecologies; what is the flow of information within the ecology, etc); the use of and interaction between media that makes media ecologies (i.e., how do different layers of the ecology interact to provide for CINs; how do individuals of diverse neighborhoods/communities differ in terms of access to CINs); validate data collection tools/templates and protocols; demonstrate high internal validity and reliability of measured constructs.”

The Obama administration has come under harsh critique for how it has treated the press in the past. Reporters Without Borders’ group put the United States in the 46th place in the world for press freedom. It noted that government investigations into a variety of news agencies in national security incidents are what put the country in that ranking.

“The trial and conviction of Private Bradley Manning and the pursuit of NSA analyst Edward Snowden were warnings to all those thinking of assisting in the disclosure of sensitive information that would clearly be in the public interest,” the international journalists report states.

“US journalists were stunned by the Department of Justice’s seizure of Associated Press phone records without warning in order to identify the source of a CIA leak,” the report noted, “It served as a reminder of the urgent need for a ‘shield law’ to protect the confidentiality of journalists’ sources at the federal level.”

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Canada Free Press

Hooray for our glorious state-run media!

Behold the Obama administration’s creepy plan to put FCC monitors in America’s newsrooms

By Robert Laurie (Bio and Archives)  Thursday, February 20, 2014

Hey, you know what’s a pain in the rump for the ruling class? That pesky “freedom of the press,” that’s what. Reporters can investigate whatever they want, and then they can just go ahead and put those reports on the air. That means that someone might discover the horrible things politicians are doing, and they might even decide to run the story.

If only there was a way for Obama’s FCC to get the First Amendment under control.

From Mediaite:

An FCC commissioner is warning people about an agency study that would bring government monitors into newsrooms and inspect issues like the amount of time spent on the “critical information needs” [CIN’s] of Americans in news content.

FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai wrote an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal bringing people’s attention to this study, saying “the government has no place pressuring media organizations into covering certain stories.” And while participation is technically voluntary, ignoring them would not be a wise decision for any news outlet that wants an FCC license.

The FCC has evidently cooked up eight “CIN’s” that it feels outlets should be covering. Their study would demand that news departments answer a series of questions designed to “ascertain the process by which stories are selected, station priorities (for content production quality, and populations served), perceived station bias, perceived percent of news dedicated to each of the eight CIN’s and perceived responsiveness to underserved populations.”

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Enlarge Photo

** FILE ** President Obama speaks at a campaign rally in Las Vegas, Oct. 24, 2012. (Associated Press)

The Washington Times

By Valerie Richardson

DENVER — Bankers should beware of the Obama administration’s newly issued green light for banks doing business with the legal marijuana industry, according to the head of the Colorado Bankers Association.

Memos released Friday by the Justice Department and Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network were intended to give banks leeway to open accounts for marijuana businesses in states like Colorado and Washington that have legalized retail pot. Instead, the guidance “only reinforces and reiterates that banks can be prosecuted for providing accounts to marijuana related businesses,” said the CBA in a Friday statement.


SEE ALSO: Obama admin.: Banks can do business with marijuana sellers


“In fact, it is even stronger than original guidance issued by the Department of Justice and the Treasury,” said CBA president and CEO Don Childears. “After a series of red lights, we expected this guidance to be a yellow one. This isn’t close to that. At best, this amounts to ‘serve these customers at your own risk’ and it emphasizes all of the risks. This light is red.”

Colorado’s first-ever legal marijuana market, which kicked off Jan. 1, has been hampered by a lack of access to bank accounts and small-business loans. Many of the state’s retail pot shops are cash-only enterprises, making them vulnerable to crime.

Washington is expected to start sales of retail pot in June. Voters in Colorado and Washington approved in 2012 ballot measures legalizing limited amounts of recreational marijuana for adults 21 and over.

“Now that some states have elected to legalize and regulate the marijuana trade, FinCEN seeks to move from the shadows the historically covert financial operations of marijuana businesses,” said FinCEN Director Jennifer Shasky Calvery in a statement.

“Our guidance provides financial institutions with clarity on what they must do if they are going to provide financial services to marijuana businesses and what reporting will assist law enforcement,” she said.

But the FinCen memo makes it clear that banks must avoid doing business with illegal marijuana operators or those that violate the eight priorities laid out in the Justice Department’s so-called Cole Memo, issued in August by Deputy Attorney General James Cole.

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Forbes

The Feds’ Scary Reassurances To Banks That Deal With State-Licensed Marijuana Businesses

Jacob Sullum, Contributor

On Friday the Treasury Department and the Justice Department issued guidelines for banks that do business with state-licensed marijuana suppliers. According to Attorney General Eric Holder, the aim of the memos is to reassure financial institutions that are leery of accepting cannabusinesses as customers because they worry it will attract unwanted attention from federal regulators and prosecutors. But as with the August 29 memo in which Deputy Attorey General James Cole said that prosecuting properly regulated marijuana growers and sellers would not be a high priority, there are no guarantees, and that fact is likely to deter traditionally cautious banks more than plucky cannabis entrepreneurs.

The Treasury memo, issued by the department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), says the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) requires financial institutions to file “suspicious activity reports” (SARs) for all marijuana businesses. But FinCEN draws a distinction between marijuana businesses that violate state law or implicate one of the Justice Department’s “enforcement priorities” and marijuana businesses that do neither. The former merit “marijuana priority” reports, while the latter fall into a newly invented “marijuana limited” category. According to the memo, this distinction “aligns the information provided by financial institutions in BSA reports with federal and state law enforcement priorities.”

What are those priorities? Cole’s August 29 memo lists eight: 1) “preventing the distribution of marijuana to minors,” 2) “preventing the diversion of marijuana from states where it is legal under state law in some form to other states,” 3) “preventing drugged driving and the exacerbation of other adverse public health consequences associated with marijuana use,” 4) “preventing the growing of marijuana on public lands,” 5) “preventing marijuana possession or use on federal property,” 6) “preventing revenue from the sale of marijuana from going to criminal enterprises,” 7) “preventing violence and the use of firearms in the cultivation and distribution of marijuana,” and 8) “preventing state-authorized marijuana activity from being used as a cover or pretext for the trafficking of other illegal drugs.” At the end of the memo, Cole adds that the feds might also intervene for other, unspecified reasons.

The FinCEN memo lists “red flags” that suggest a marijuana business deserves special scrutiny, including “international or interstate activity,” an inability to “demonstrate the legitimate source of significant outside investments,” signs that the business is “using a state-licensed marijuana-related business as a front or pretext to launder money derived from other criminal activity,” and “negative information, such as a criminal record, involvement in the illegal purchase or sale of drugs, violence, or other potential connections to illicit activity.” Such red flags are supposed to inform banks’ decisions about which customers to reject or drop as well as which sort of SAR to file. FinCEN warns that the red flags it mentions “do not constitute an exhaustive list.” Although FinCEN says its advice “should enhance the availability of financial services for, and the financial transparency of, marijuana-related businesses,” it never actually says banks that follow the guidelines need not worry about getting into trouble with regulators.

 

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US airstrike killed 13 Afghan civilians in Parwan: Official

Fri Jan 17, 2014 1:50PM GMT
5

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A member of a fact-finding mission said on Friday that 13 civilians, most of them women and children, were killed in the US airstrike in Parwan Province on Wednesday. Initial reports had put the death toll at 8.

In a press conference in Kabul, the Afghan official said most of the victims were women and children.

The fact-finding mission began work after President Hamid Karzai ordered an investigation into the deadly attack.

A large number of civilians have been killed or injured at the hands of US-led foreign forces — most of them in nighttime raids and airstrikes. The casualty rate has risen over the past few months, even though the Afghan government had asked foreign forces to make every effort to avoid killing civilians.

An escalation in the US-led strikes on Afghanistan’s civilian areas has angered both the public and the government.

Afghans have held numerous protest rallies countrywide to condemn such attacks.

Afghan government officials — including President Karzai himself — have also frequently condemned the killings of civilians by foreign forces.

The latest development comes as the US and Afghanistan are still at loggerheads over a bilateral security deal. Washington has been mounting pressure on Kabul to sign the deal that would allow several thousands of US troops to stay in Afghanistan beyond 2014.

Afghan political figures have heaped scorn on the US-led forces for committing unforgivable crimes against Afghan women and children since invading the country in 2001.

JR/AB/SS

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Op-Ed: New evidence shows US intelligence on Syrian sarin attack faulty

 

By Ken Hanly

Jan 16, 2014
Damascus – U.S. technical intelligence on the Damascus sarin attack of August 21, 2013 appears flawed as new analysis of the rocket said to have delivered the gas in a main attack has too short a range to have been fired from government positions as the U.S. claims.
There have long been questions about the intelligence used to make the case that the Assad regime carried out the attack, and no very plausible motive for Assad to mount the attack has ever been offered. Some claim that the attack was the result of frustration by Assad forces at their inability to dislodge the opposition from the areas attacked. However, there were UN inspectors in Damascus at the time and a gas attack had been a red line for U.S. intervention. The largest attack on the night in question was delivered by a rocket whose range was too limited to have been fired from Syrian government positions from which the Obama administration has insisted they originated. The rocket had long been recognized as improvised and not one that some intelligence operatives believed was part of the Syrian armaments. Neither was such a weapon declared as part of its arsenal or uncovered by OPCW inspectors. It is possible that Syria deliberately left such rockets out of its declaration in order not to be tied to the event. Even if this were so, it does not explain why the U.S. continues to insist that the rocket was launched from positions that lie beyond the rocket’s range!

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New analysis of rocket used in Syria chemical attack undercuts U.S. claims

McClatchy Foreign StaffJanuary 15, 2014

Mideast Syria

This image provided by Shaam News Network on Thursday, Aug. 22, 2013, has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting. It purports to show bodies of victims of an attack on Ghouta, Syria

UNCREDITED — AP

— A series of revelations about the rocket believed to have delivered poison sarin gas to a Damascus suburb last summer are challenging American intelligence assumptions about that attack and suggest that the case U.S. officials initially made for retaliatory military action was flawed.

A team of security and arms experts, meeting this week in Washington to discuss the matter, has concluded that the range of the rocket that delivered sarin in the largest attack that night was too short for the device to have been fired from the Syrian government positions where the Obama administration insists they originated.

Separately, international weapons experts are puzzling over why the rocket in question – an improvised 330mm to 350mm rocket equipped with a large receptacle on its nose to hold chemicals – reportedly did not appear in the Syrian government’s declaration of its arsenal to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and apparently was not uncovered by OPCW inspectors who believe they’ve destroyed Syria’s ability to deliver a chemical attack.

Neither development proves decisively that Syrian government forces did not fire the chemicals that killed hundreds of Syrians in the early morning hours of Aug. 21. U.S. officials continue to insist that the case for Syrian government responsibility for the attack in East Ghouta is stronger than any suggestion of rebel involvement, while experts say it is possible Syria left the rockets out of its chemical weapons declaration simply to make certain it could not be tied to the attack.

“That failure to declare can mean different things,” said Ralf Trapp, an original member of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and a former secretary of the group’s scientific advisory board. “It can mean the Syrian government doesn’t have them, or that they are hiding them.”

In Washington, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence said its assertion of Syrian government responsibility remains unchanged.

“The body of information used to make the assessment regarding the August 21 attack included intelligence pertaining to the regime’s preparations for this attack and its means of delivery, multiple streams of intelligence about the attack itself and its effect, our post-attack observations, and the differences between the capabilities of the regime and the opposition. That assessment made clear that the opposition had not used chemical weapons in Syria,” it said Wednesday in an email.

But the authors of a report released Wednesday said that their study of the rocket’s design, its likely payload and its possible trajectories show that it would have been impossible for the rocket to have been fired from inside areas controlled by the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad.

In the report, titled “Possible Implications of Faulty U.S. Technical Intelligence,” Richard Lloyd, a former United Nations weapons inspector, and Theodore Postol, a professor of science, technology and national security policy at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, argue that the question about the rocket’s range indicates a major weakness in the case for military action initially pressed by Obama administration officials.

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