Thursday, December 11, 2014

Ted Cruz rips Obama-Clinton team: 'Our enemies no longer fear us'

Thanks Obama ...

Sen. Ted Cruz tore into the "Obama-Clinton foreign policy" team in a speech to the Heritage Foundation, saying the outcome of the present White House position on all things overseas is a serious threat to U.S. security.

"Today, the consequences of the Obama-Clinton foreign policy is that our friends no longer trust us and our enemies no longer fear us," he said, MSNBC reported.

He suggested that President Obama and former secretary of state Hillary Clinton possessed far too much "empathy" for the terrorist mindset and Middle Eastern realities to take on the likes of the Islamic State -- and that airstrikes aren't that effective.

"In the Obama-Clinton foreign policy, all members of the international community are equal, be they nations or not, and should be dealt with respectfully and with empathy," Mr. Cruz said, during his Heritage Foundation remarks. "Let me be very clear: When it comes to radical Islamic terrorists who are crucifying Christians, who are beheading children, what our foreign policy needs is not additional empathy. It needs clarity and force and resolve to defend the United States of America."

Mr. Cruz also chided Ms. Clinton for her declared "reset" relations with Russian President Vladimir Putin, MSNBC reported. And he dismissed the White House's insistence that talks with Iran would lead that nation to halt development of its nuclear program, suggesting instead that new sanctions were the way to go. 

"Here's a hint," Mr. Cruz said, MSNBC reported. "If a nation calls you the Great Satan, it ain't good."

One more point: Mr. Cruz expressed amazement at the fact the White House would consider sanctioning Israel over new settlement construction, but not impose the same strict sanctions on Iran.

"It's difficult to imagine a more stunning indictment of the Obama-Clinton foreign policy than the notion that they might believe we should be sanctioning the nation of Israel and lifting sanctions on the nation of Iran," he said.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Gregory Clark, California economist: The American dream is now dead

A California economist who works at the University of California said he's given the numbers a good look and that there's no doubt about it -- the American dream is a thing of the past.

Specifically, Gregory Clark said that upward social mobility has pretty much tapered off the last 100 years, to the point where modern America mirrors medieval England, KOVR-TV reported.

"America has no higher rate of social mobility than medieval England or pre-industrial Sweden," he said, Raw Story reported. "That's the most difficult part of talking about social mobility, is because it is shattering people's dreams."

Nowadays, status and the ability to achieve the American dream is all about who's in your family, he said.

"The status of your children, your grandchildren, your great-grandchildren and your great-great grandchildren will be quite closely related to your average status now," Mr. Clark said, Raw Story reported.

His findings were published by the Council on Foreign Relations.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

IRS accused of sharing 2,500 private taxpayer documents with White House

The Internal Revenue Service may have given thousands of confidential filings from private taxpayers to the White House to review, a lawsuit against the Treasury Department just revealed.

The suit, filed against Treasury’s inspector general by Cause of Action, a legal advocacy outfit, reveals a steady stream of communication went on between the White House and the IRS — a potentially “improper” stream, the group alleged, The Daily Caller reported.

“[T]he Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration informed Cause of Action that there exist nearly 2,500 potentially confidential documents relating to investigations of improper disclosures of confidential taxpayer information by the IRS to the White House,” Cause of Action told The Daily Caller.

The Justice Department has requested more time to review the documents before making them public, Newsmax said.

Cause of Action, meanwhile, is shocked.

“This disclosure, coming only after [we] sued TOGTA over its refusal to acknowledge whether such investigations took place, and after the court ordered TIGTA to reveal whether or not documents existed, signals that the White House may have made significant efforts to obtain taxpayers’ personal information,” Cause of Action wrote in a statement to the Examiner.

Cause of Action has accused the IRS and the White House of harassing taxpayers.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Maryland ammo dealer: 'Mafia-style' feds 'starving manufacturers out of business'

A Maryland ammunition business owner who was just denied banking services says she suspects the federal "Operation Choke Point" is at play -- that feds are trying to starve out the gun and ammo makers.

"I believe the failure of Congress to enact strict gun control led to this method of starving manufacturers out of business," Kat O'Conner, owner of TomKat Ammunition in Gaithersburg, said to The Blaze. "I also believe this is an unfortunate abuse of power. Sadly, I don't see how this is any different that a mafia-style shakedown, promising to leave banks and card processors alone if they 'play along' by foregoing money from certain industries, regardless of their legal status."

O'Conner said she has been unable to obtain a credit card gateway for her clients, or an online pay portal. Meanwhile, she also says that she has always abided federal and state laws, The Blaze reported.

"I do not believe this is mere coincidence," she said, The Blaze reported. "It would not make good business sense and is counter-intuitive for banks and card processors to drop or deny legitimate business activity on their own, unless it was somehow in their best interest to do so."

Operation Choke Point is a Department of Justice and Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation program that weeds out so-called high risk businesses -- like casinos, payday lenders, pornography shops, debt collection agencies and gun and ammo dealers -- and stops them from conducting financial transactions.

Senate Republicans just this week asked that Attorney General Eric Holder put an end to the program, saying some establishments are being wrongfully swept into the mix and prevented from doing lawful business. 

"This list appears to have been created with no public input, no compliance guidance or metrics for private entities to follow and with disregard for the legality of a merchant's operation," a letter from Republicans to Mr. Holder read, The Blaze reported. "Further, the list has been used as a pretext by DOJ to limit essential banking services for industries out of favor by this administration."

Meanwhile, the U.S. Consumer Coalition has been lobbying to end Operation Choke Point for some time. 

"This is not a popular program whether you're on the left or the right," said Brian Wise, a senior adviser for the Consumer Coalition, to The Blaze. "What you're talking about is harming a lot of consumers across the country."

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Police skate on charges for blowing up toddler in botched drug raid

A grand jury in Georgia said no -- police will not face charges for mistakenly tossing a flash grenade into a toddler's crib and blowing off his nose and in his chest during a drug raid gone wrong in May.

Then-19-month-old toddler Bounkham "Bou Bou" Phonesavanh was sleeping in his crib when SWAT members initiated a no-knock raid at the home he was visiting with his mother, hoping to catch a reported drug dealer. The suspect, it was later learned, wasn't at the home at the time but was apprehended without incident shortly after. 

The toddler, meanwhile, was taken to the hospital for treatment of several injuries -- his nose was detached and his chest had a massive hole in it, and his body suffered serious burns. His mother, visiting the home from out of state, said he's due to have several more surgeries in the coming years. And an attorney for the family said "Bou Bou" received 60 stitches on his face and another 70 on his chest in a surgery conducted just a few weeks ago, Raw Story reported.

In the end, officers didn't even find any drugs or weapons at the home. 

But a 23-member grand jury panel that heard six days of testimony ultimately ruled that none of the officers involved in the raid should be charged, Raw Story reported. WGCL-TV reported that officials were planning to hold a press conference to give more details about the grand jury's decision sometime this week. And Reason reported that the grand jury did find that the officers had been negligent in the serving of their warrant, and had acted in a "shoddy" manner -- but were nonetheless innocent of any criminal wrongdoing.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

John Kerry: Climate change as dangerous as ISIS terrorism

Climate change ... as dangerous as ISIS, our fearless leaders say ...

Secretary of State John Kerry made clear during recent remarks with foreign leaders: Dealing with climate change demands the same level of "immediacy" as dealing with ISIS terrorists, he said.

Kerry faulted global warming with the creation of "climate refugees" and maintained that weather changes were causing the world's nations to battle over dwindling and precious resources, like water, The Hill reported.

"We see people fighting over water in some places," he said, The Hill reported. "There are huge challenges to food security and challenges to the ecosystem, our fisheries and … the acidification of the ocean is a challenge for all of us. And when you accrue all of this, while we are confronting ISIL, and we are confronting terrorism and we are confronting Ebola and other things, those are immediate."

Kerry also the long-term consequences for ignoring the problem of climate change would lead to tremendous costs.

"This also has an immediacy that people need to come to understand, but it has even greater longer-term consequences that can cost hundreds of billions, trillions of dollars, lives and the security of the world," Kerry said, The Hill reported.

This isn't the first time Kerry has drawn a parallel between terrorism and climate change. In past weeks, he's angered several on Capitol Hill for painting climates change in the same dangerous light as terrorism, and suggesting the two were equivalents in terms of the risks they bring the United States.

He made the recent comments just ahead of Tuesday's U.S. climate summit in New York, where it's expected President Obama will urge 125 leaders to take on global warming with "ambitious" proposals and reforms, The Hill said.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

San Diego school takes MRAP to 'store medical supplies' and 'teddy bears'

Are schools sending the message they're "at war with students?" This is crazy!

The San Diego Unified School District is facing plenty of criticism from the community over its acceptance of a mine-resistant ambush protected vehicle  -- an MRAP -- from the Department of Defense.

But the school and local police are saying not to worry -- the vehicle will be used for the likes of storing teddy bears and medical supplies, and not for conducted military-type operations, NPR reported.

The Pentagon 1033 program allows the federal government to transfer cast-off military equipment, including armored vehicles, night vision goggles and high-powered weapons, to local police departments around the nation -- leading into criticisms and concerns of a growing militarized police force. But the school district's acceptance of the MRAP has ratcheted concerns further.

One school board trustee, Scott Barnett, called the decision to take the MRAP a "misguided priority," and suggested it was better off with local police, NPR reported. He made the remarks in context of discussing the school's payment for the vehicle, which came in at $5,000 for shipment costs. The vehicle itself is valued at $733,000, but the school obtained it for free, NPR reported.

A day before the school district was to take possession of the MRAP, administrators and local law enforcement held a press conference to stave off criticisms from the community.

"There will be medical supplies in the vehicle," said San Diego Unified School District Police Chief Ruben Littlejohn, in NPR. "There will be teddy bears in the vehicle. There will be trauma kits in the vehicle in the event any student is injured and our officers are trained to give first aid and CPR."

KPBS reported that school officials say they're going to store $20,000 to $30,000 worth of donated medical supplies in the armored vehicle.

The school district, meanwhile, also present artists' renderings that show the MRAP could be painted white and include images of the American Red Cross.

But not all in the community are happy with the school's latest buy.

"They can call it a 'love buggy,' a 'student patrol limo,' or a 'campus polio fun bus' and then paint it pretty colors," one wrote on the KPBS website, where the story of the school's new MRAP was posted. "But that doesn't change the fact it's a piece of military equipment that is unnecessary and sends the message that local officials are at war with students."