Thursday, June 27, 2013

Judicial Largess - Supreme Court faces state backlash over largely political rulings that undermine recently upheld tax reform in the federal budget, Zimmerman trial evidence shows Trayvon Martin is who was racist, and how ruling on Voting Rights Act most likely to affect Southern border states. How the Supreme Court is creating political rulings and mechanisms for liberal activism than upholding current laws, tax code, and equal constitutional rights. IRS has been found to be actively discriminating against Tea Party groups, wasting taxpayer dollars, and abusing contract selection. Obama's Mami Wata worship shifts from taxpayer-funded abortions after Gosnell murder-for-profit campaign, to declaring a war on coal.

BEWARE OF AFFILIATORS: those who associate but don't authenticate

Judicial Largess - Supreme Court faces state backlash over largely political rulings that undermine recently upheld tax reform in the federal budget, Zimmerman trial evidence shows Trayvon Martin is who was racist, and how ruling on Voting Rights Act most likely to affect Southern border states. How the Supreme Court is creating political rulings and mechanisms for liberal activism than upholding current laws, tax code, and equal constitutional rights. IRS has been found to be actively discriminating against Tea Party groups, wasting taxpayer dollars, and abusing contract selection. Obama's Mami Wata worship shifts from taxpayer-funded abortions after Gosnell murder-for-profit campaign, to declaring a war on coal.

Tea Party Chief@2013_TeaParty Protected account 25 Jun

I got news for Obama -- only the Tea Party goes across the finish line...

Tea Party Chief@2013_TeaParty Protected account 25 Jun

People misunderstand the word welfare: welfare means "well-being", which we do not have if we are $17 trillion in debt, war, and stress.
6:57 AM - 25 Jun 13 · Details
@SenateFloor You are also voting to undermine Conservative voice in the Senate, and you horse trade votes on @SenateFloor

Tea Party Chief@2013_TeaParty Protected account 24 Jun

Toomey 888-995-1993 since the term TRAITOR is being thrown around so much @SenateFloor you betray our country not impeaching @BarackObama

Tea Party Chief@2013_TeaParty Protected account 24 Jun

Pryor 888-995-2016 Rubio 888-995-5431 Sherrod Brown 888-995-2029 Stabenow 888-978-3092 Tester 888-995-2045 Thune 888-995-2051

Tea Party Chief@2013_TeaParty Protected account 24 Jun

Manchin 888-995-1992 McCaskill 888-995-2019 McConnell 888-995-1997 Moran 888-995-6517 Murkowski 888-995-2057 Portman 888-995-2027

Tea Party Chief@2013_TeaParty Protected account 24 Jun

Hoeven 888-995-2047 Isakson 888-995-1978 Johanns 888-995-2038 Johnson 888-995-2052 Kirk 888-995-5459 Landrieu 888-995-2026

Tea Party Chief@2013_TeaParty Protected account 24 Jun

Donnelly 888-995-2034 Hagan 888-995-1994 Harkin 888-995-2023 Hatch 888-978-3148 Heitkamp 888-995-2048 Heller 888-995-5451

Tea Party Chief@2013_TeaParty Protected account 24 Jun

Burr 888-995-2097 Chambliss 888-995-1975 Coburn 888-995-1952 Cochran 888-995-1953 Corker 888-995-5271 Cornyn 888-995-2037
Who stand in the way of impeachment Alexander 888-995-2018 Ayotte 888-995-1986 Baucus 888-995-2041 Begich 888-995-2055 Sanders 888-978-3143

Tea Party Chief@2013_TeaParty Protected account 25 Jun

Tea Party Chief@2013_TeaParty Protected account 25 Jun

Baskin-Robbins introduced a new flavor: Barocky Road is a blend of half vanilla, half chocolate, and surrounded by nuts and flakes.

Tea Party Chief@2013_TeaParty Protected account 25 Jun

@MedvedevRussia having Tawdry News post you slept with a FEMALE HOOKER won't improve your masculinity with the well-read public @BarackObama

Tea Party Chief@2013_TeaParty Protected account 25 Jun

Tea Party Chief@2013_TeaParty Protected account 25 Jun

The Tea Party watched in horror on Iraq, our nation's Vietnam and became hell bent on changing it after the Patriot Act abuses on taxpayers.

Tea Party Chief@2013_TeaParty Protected account 25 Jun

The Tea Party came to town, to clean up the train wreck govt. that became Washington, D.C., after Clinton engaged in non-duties with Monica.

Tea Party Chief@2013_TeaParty Protected account 25 Jun

@rightwingertoo @WashTimes did Putin jest back at you @SenJohnMcCain tired, old, brain-washed commie bag Senator? (wouldn't be surprised)

Tea Party Chief@2013_TeaParty Protected account 25 Jun

@billmaher @AnnCoulter Can we say that our faith in government was lost with Bill Clinton? Yes! I just recently forgave the man.

Tea Party Chief@2013_TeaParty Protected account 25 Jun

@billmaher @AnnCoulter Bill and Monica ruined consensual relationships and marital sex for years to come with their intrusive IN-YOUR-FACE.

Tea Party Chief@2013_TeaParty Protected account 25 Jun

Who wants a soiled dress and a knock-off gucci bag for political souvenirs to be reminded of sordid sloppiness? @billmaher @AnnCoulter <UGH>
2:35 PM - 25 Jun 13 · Details


David Plouffe@davidplouffe 24 Jun

"Scandals" falling apart. Immigration moving apace. Big leadership moment on climate tomorrow. POTUS steady throughout. DC CW off again.Tea Party Chief@2013_TeaParty Protected account 25 Jun
Lawsuits amok, criminal administration, Congressional pink slips served-Americans are #FedUp with Obama @davidplouffe @SarahPalinUSA @TexGov
5:40 PM - 25 Jun 13 · Details

Aja Brooks
7 hours ago via Twitter

Tea Party Chief@2013_TeaParty Protected account 13h

@jamiedupree The Supreme Court essentially set up a tax haven for tax avoidance, not tax reform or equity of law

Tea Party Chief@2013_TeaParty Protected account 5h

@GAassemblytweet Hey, people have a right to their lifestyle, we have the right to not fund it and disagree

Tea Party Chief@2013_TeaParty Protected account 5h

Jim DeMint@JimDeMint12h

Today, the Supreme Court failed to uphold two important laws defining marriage as the union of a man and a woman.

Deval Patrick@MassGovernor 16h

Freedom includes keeping gov't out of people’s personal & intimate choices, & affirming human dignity. Today's decisions do that. #LoveisLove

Tea Party Chief@2013_TeaParty Protected account 15h

@MassGovernor Well it is what it is, and it is what it ain't: love is love, and lust is lust.
11:08 AM - 26 Jun 13 · Details

Matthew 19:12

Good News Translation (GNT)
12 For there are different reasons why men cannot marry: some, because they were born that way; others, because men made them that way; and others do not marry for the sake of the Kingdom of heaven. Let him who can accept this teaching do so.”

Tea Party Chief@2013_TeaParty Protected account 12h

Tea Party Chief@2013_TeaParty Protected account 12h

@JimDeMint Rather than #DOMA being used to preserve marriage and the tax code, Supreme Court found it was used to discriminate.

Tea Party Chief@2013_TeaParty Protected account 12h

@JimDeMint What gay people got was another political ruling passed back to the states and us with higher taxes and skirted representation.
1:22 PM - 26 Jun 13 · Details
@JimDeMint Rather than #DOMA being used to preserve marriage and the tax code, Supreme Court found it was used to discriminate.

Tea Party Chief@2013_TeaParty Protected account 12h

Tea Party Chief@2013_TeaParty Protected account 12h

@JimDeMint Instead of holding lower courts accountable to common law standards in equity of law, they created another revenue vacuum.

Tea Party Chief@2013_TeaParty Protected account 12h

@JimDeMint No, the Supreme Court inadvertently created a revenue-sucking beneficiary designation that taxpayers did not agree to on taxes.

Tea Party Chief@2013_TeaParty Protected account 12h

@jamiedupree The Supreme Court essentially set up a tax haven for tax avoidance, not tax reform or equity of law

Tea Party Chief@2013_TeaParty Protected account 12h

@jamiedupree I am just concerned that this is yet another mechanism created for funding liberal activism, not equity of law.

Tea Party Chief@2013_TeaParty Protected account 12h

@jamiedupree Rather than forcing equity through common law or taxation compliance, Supreme Court erred: politicization and special interest.Tea Party Chief@2013_TeaParty Protected account 12h
@jamiedupree Did the Supreme Court ask voters if they want to pay for partner benefits? One is tax issue, the other is a rights issue.Jamie Dupree@jamiedupree12h
Sen Marco Rubio R-FL on same-sex marriage rulings: "I believe the Supreme Court made a serious mistake today"Tea Party Chief@2013_TeaParty Protected account 12h
@jamiedupree Very much like when the Supreme Court ruled on the right to choose, it becomes the erosion of family and good governance.
1:04 PM - 26 Jun 13 · Details

Aja Brooks changed her cover photo.
Scalia Slams 'Legalistic Argle-Bargle,' Re-Argues 'Homosexual Sodomy' In Dissenting DOMA Rant
Posted: 06/26/2013 12:11 pm EDT | Updated: 06/26/2013 4:26 pm EDT


FOLLOW: Supreme Court, Video, Antonin Scalia Gay Marriage, DOMA Supreme Court, Antonin Scalia Doma, Scalia DOMA, Scalia Gay Marriage, Supreme Court DOMA, Supreme Court Gay Marriage, Politics News

WASHINGTON -- A day after siding with four other conservative justices to overturn a portion of a nearly 50 year old civil rights law that maintained broad bipartisan support, Justice Antonin Scalia lashed out at the Supreme Court for intervening in the gay marriage debate.

When it came to protections for minority voters, Scalia had no patience for democracy, specifically noting that the court should overturn the law because it is too popular to overturn in Congress. But as far as protections for gay and lesbian couples are concerned, Scalia would prefer the court stay away.

The court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act on Wednesday in a 5-4 decision. In a dissent choked with rage, Scalia dismissed the majority's reasoning as "legalistic argle-bargle."

Scalia's dissent is less a legal argument and more a plea for recognition that there are "good people on all sides." In it, he repeatedly played the role of victim, complaining that it is unfair that his opposition to gay marriage is no longer considered legitimate.

"It is one thing for a society to elect change; it is another for a court of law to impose change by adjudging those who oppose it hostes humani generis, enemies of the human race," Scalia wrote, accusing the majority of "declaring anyone opposed to same-sex marriage an enemy of human decency ... In the majority’s telling, this story is black-and-white: Hate your neighbor or come along with us."

"To hurl such accusations so casually demeans this institution," said Scalia, before using his dissent to re-argue the legality of sodomy. Wednesday's decision was inevitable, he said, when the court sanctioned "homosexual sodomy," and striking down the Defense of Marriage Act will inevitably lead to fully legal same-sex marriages.

"When the Court declared a constitutional right to homosexual sodomy, we were assured that the case had nothing, nothing at all to do with 'whether the government must give formal recognition to any relationship that homosexual persons seek to enter,'" he wrote. "Now we are told that DOMA is invalid because it 'demeans the couple, whose moral and sexual choices the Constitution protects,' ante, at 23 -- with an accompanying citation of Lawrence.

"It takes real cheek for today’s majority to assure us, as it is going out the door, that a constitutional requirement to give formal recognition to same-sex marriage is not at issue here — when what has preceded that assurance is a lecture on how superior the majority’s moral judgment in favor of same-sex marriage is to the Congress’s hateful moral judgment against it. I promise you this: The only thing that will 'confine' the Court’s holding is its sense of what it can get away with."

Along with debating sodomy, Scalia drew a connection to polygamy, noting "the Constitution neither requires nor forbids our society to approve of same-sex marriage, much as it neither requires nor forbids us to approve of no-fault divorce, polygamy, or the consumption of alcohol."

Scalia argued that the question of same-sex marriage should be left to Congress and the states.

"We might have let the People decide," he said. "But that the majority will not do. Some will rejoice in today’s decision, and some will despair at it; that is the nature of a controversy that matters so much to so many. But the Court has cheated both sides, robbing the winners of an honest victory, and the losers of the peace that comes from a fair defeat. We owed both of them better. I dissent."Larry Sabato@LarrySabato13h
Bill Clinton just issued statement hailing overturn of #DOMA--without mentioning he's the guy who made it law. #FullFlop
@LarrySabato As I have said: since @ClintonFdn crafted #DOMA they @HillaryClinton have no marriage worth defending.
12:30 PM - 26 Jun 13 · Details


President Gay-lo flies again: WH marks DOMA ruling with tribute to Obama [pic] Tea Party Chief@2013_TeaParty Protected account 13h
@TwitchyTeam The same man with a body pile of dead gay lovers behind him and current gay scandal??!! … …
12:21 PM - 26 Jun 13 · Details

BBC Breaking News@BBCBreaking13h

President Obama says "we are all more free" in reaction to historic US ruling on gay marriage

Tea Party Chief@2013_TeaParty Protected account 13h

@BBCBreaking yeah we know... #DOMA benefits: Moochelle, calling my lawyer for that divorce...
11:58 AM - 26 Jun 13 · Details

See if you don't have an IG @TedCruz you can rig defrauded elections with @dhsgov and @IRSnews HARASS the Tea Party

10:31 AM - 26 Jun 13 · Details


It's High Time We Abolished the Department of Homeland Security

It's the path to national sanity.
June 11, 2013  |    
The surveillance state is even bigger, and scarier, than we thought.
And, as a result, it's time that we broke up the failed national security experiment known as the Department of Homeland Security. Returning to dozens of independent agencies will return internal checks-and-balances to within the Executive branch, and actually make us both safer and less likely to be the victims of government snooping overreach.
Last Wednesday, the Guardian's Glenn Greenwald revealed that the National Security Agency is secretly collecting the phone records of millions of Verizon users. The agency received authorization to track phone "metadata" over a 3 month period from a special court order issued in April.
We now also know that what the Guardian uncovered is just the tip of the iceberg of an ongoing phone and internet records collection program that likely includes almost all major U.S. telecommunications companies.
President Obama - who promised the "most transparent administration ever" - now finds himself and his DHS at the center of yet another civil liberties controversy. That controversy has deepened in the wake of two reports published last night in both the Washington Post and the Guardian that outlined a different NSA snooping program – a data mining initiative code-named "PRISM."
PRISM – which was created in 2007 during the Bush Administration – is almost certainly the most far-reaching surveillance program ever created. By reaching into the servers of 9 different major U.S. internet companies - including Facebook, Google and Apple - the NSA has access to millions of users' personal data, including emails, chats and videos.
Although PRISM is supposed to only be used to gain information about "foreign individuals" suspected of terrorism – the very methods used to access such information inevitably suck up the private data of American citizens
As the Washington Post pointed out:
"Even when the system works just as advertised, with no American singled out for targeting, the NSA routinely collects a great deal of American content. That is described as "incidental," and it is inherent in contact chaining, one of the basic tools of the trade. To collect on a suspected spy or foreign terrorist means, at minimum, that everyone in the suspect's inbox or outbox is swept in."
These startling revelations about American intelligence agencies raise a number of questions, the first being, of course, who's the Guardian's source?
We don't know for sure just yet, but I'd bet on WikiLeaks. The Guardian has always been the go-to paper for the group – and exposing the NSA could be its payback for the trial of Bradley Manning, which started this week at Fort Meade in Maryland. Or, it could be somebody in the DHS who sees what a monster Bush created when he borrowed the word "Homeland" from the last generation's Germans and used it to create a huge national security agency.
Ultimately, however, the biggest question here is, "What have we become as a nation?"
Because here's the scariest thing of all: PRISM, just like the NSA's phone records collection program, is perfectly legal. Arguably unconstitutional and totalitarian, yes, but, at the moment, legal. PRISM is authorized by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, and the NSA's metadata sweeps are allowed under the broad guidelines of Section 215 of the PATRIOT Act – both acts of Congress.
The frightened little men of the Bush Administration took us into some dark places after 9/11 – but Congress and President Obama have tragically continued these exact same policies. Just this past December, Congress reauthorized an amended version of the FISA act and the President signed it without complaint.
We're supposed to have "checks and balances." But the very branches of government who are supposed to keep the intelligence agencies in check have rubber-stamped their abuses. Caught up in the hysterical spirit of the times, our elected representatives have signed away our most precious Constitutional liberties in the name of "national security." This is an institutional failure of the highest level.
Our nation now finds itself at a crossroads when it comes to Constitutional rights and civil liberties. Even Wisconsin Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner, one of the primary authors of the 2001 Patriot Act, is now backing away from a law he helped write and pass, and calling for new restrictions on its use in intelligence gathering.
But we need to go even further.
We need to repeal the Patriot Act altogether and end our obsession with "Homeland Security."
Concentration of responsibility becomes concentration of power – and because most of our intelligence and police power has been concentrated in one agency – the DHS - that agency has become way too powerful, with no checks and balances. In effect, it's created an entire surveillance industry around itself, and it's time to shut it down.
How did this happen? In a way, it was predictable, a replay of Eisenhower's warning.
As Deep Throat famously told Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein – "Follow the money."
Who benefits from our nation's addiction to out-of-control "security"? The military-industrial-security complex. Providing support and equipment and consultants to DHS has now become a trillion-dollar for-profit industry.
This is not good for the United States.
When the worst abuses of the old East German STASI become the standard policies of what Thomas Jefferson once called "the world's last best hope" – it is time for a change.
Because as Jefferson's fellow founder, Benjamin Franklin said, "those who sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither."
Repeal the PATRIOT Act, dissolve the DHS, and let's return to sanity.
Thom Hartmann is an author and nationally syndicated daily talk show host. His newest book is The Thom Hartmann Reader.
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OrgConservAmericans@OCAmericans 25 Jun

John Kerry: OMG, “People May Die” Because Of Snowden’s NSA Leaks!…#tcot

Tea Party Chief@2013_TeaParty Protected account 25 Jun

@OCAmericans OMG @JohnKerry we think the Ambassador Team already died, because Ahmadinejad already knew where Benghazi was. How did he know?
5:22 PM - 25 Jun 13 · Details

Aja Brooks shared a link via Cherry Merritt.
Cherry Merritt via Senator Ted Cruz
Senator Ted Cruz shared a link.
about an hour ago
The President's failure to nominate a State Department Inspector General since taking office in 2009 is unacceptable. The position has been vacant for almost 2,000 days. This is a crucial oversight position and should be a priority for an agency facing substantial management challenges.

While several federal agencies are operating without a Senate-confirmed Inspector General, only the State Department has been without a credible and independent Inspector General for so long.
During the last five years, there have been deadly attacks on U.S. diplomatic personnel in Libya, mismanagement of security contractors at our embassy in Afghanistan, and hundreds of millions of U.S. taxpayer dollars wasted for police training in Iraq. These issues highlight the State Department's need for an Inspector General as soon as possible.
Until the President acts, I have notified Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell that I will place a hold on all State Department nominations.
Sen. Cruz to Hold All State Dept. Nominees Until President Nominates Inspector Genera
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NEVER WAS ANY BIRTH CERTIFICATE.... WND News@worldnetdaily22 Jun
Uh-oh! Yahoo reports Obama born someplace else
News agency scrambles to revert story back to Hawaii
Retweeted by Tea Party Chief

Tea Party Chief@2013_TeaParty Protected account 7h

Hawaii Official Now Swears: No Obama Birth Certificate why Obama has no birth certificate

RedFlag News
Hawaii Official Now Swears: No Obama Birth Certificate
Like ·  · Share · 51 · about a minute ago ·

EDITORIAL: Sorry, Obama & Holder, Voting Rights Act Decision Is Cause For Celebration...

Talk about your disappointments. The first black president of the United States and the first black attorney general say they are deeply disappointed that the Supreme Court gutted the Voting Rights Act.
In fact, the ruling is worth celebrating. It reflects the success of the civil rights-era legislation in ending laws and practices aimed at denying blacks the right to vote. As chief Justice John Roberts noted in his majority opinion, two hotbeds of anti-black violence in those days, Selma, Ala., and Philadelphia, Miss., both have African-American mayors.
“Problems remain in these states and others, but there is no denying that, due to the Voting Rights Act, our nation has made great strides,” he wrote in the 5-4 decision.
The act required that routine election changes in all or most of nine states and parts of others — including New York — get advance approval from the Justice Department. Opponents argued the law relied on data from 40 years ago and intruded on the states’ sovereignty. Continue reading via Fox News...

JUN26 2013

Well, well, looks like Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi WAS directly involved with the attack in Benghazi that killed four Americans

According to a Libyan intelligence document, the Muslim Brotherhood, including Egyptian President Morsi, were involved in the September 11, 2012 terrorist attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, where several Americans, including U.S. ambassador to Libya, Chris Stevens, were killed.

Maybe this is why Barack Hussein Obama has been trying so hard to sweep this under the rug? Don’t forget Morsi is a leader in the Muslim Brotherhood, the same Brotherhood who were the founders of al-Qaeda.




Raymond Ibrahim  (h/t Jim Y) On Wednesday, June 26, several Arabic websites, including Veto Gate, quoted the intelligence report, which apparently was first leaked to the Kuwaiti paper, Al Ra’i.  Prepared by Mahmoud Ibrahim Sharif, Director of National Security for Libya, the report is addressed to the nation’s Minister of Interior.

It discusses the preliminary findings of the investigation, specifically concerning an “Egyptian cell” which was involved in the consulate attack. “Based on confessions derived from some of those arrested at the scene” six people, “all of them Egyptians” from the jihad group Ansar al-Sharia (“Supporters of Islamic Law), were arrested.

According to the report, during interrogations, these Egyptian jihadi cell members “confessed to very serious and important information concerning the financial sources of the group and the planners of the event and the storming and burning of the U.S. consulate in Benghazi…. And among the more prominent figures whose names were mentioned by cell members during confessions were: Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi; preacher Safwat Hegazi; Saudi businessman Mansour Kadasa, owner of the satellite station,Al-Nas; Egyptian Sheikh Muhammad Hassan; former presidential candidate, Hazim Salih Abu Isma’il…”

It should be noted that these findings are unsurprising: the supremacism of prominent Brotherhood figure Safwat Hegazi is such that he publicly declaresthe Brotherhood “will rule the world;  Saudi Mansour’s hate-mongering, pro-Brotherhood TV station repeatedly aired footage of the YouTube Muhammad movie inciting violence around the Muslim world; popular Sheikh Muhammad Hassan holds that smiling to non-Muslims is forbidden, except when trying to win them over to Islam;  and Sheikh Hazim Abu Ismail is simply an openly anti-freedom, anti-infidel religious leader.

As for President Morsi, a video made during the consulate attack records people speaking in the Egyptian dialect: as they approach the beleaguered U.S. compound, one of them yells to the besiegers, “Don’t shoot—Dr. Morsi sent us!”

Image of the Libyan intelligence document


By BareNakedIslam • Posted in ISLAMOBAMA

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19 comments on “Well, well, looks like Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi WAS directly involved with the attack in Benghazi that killed four Americans


Jun. 24, 2013 11:55pm Jason Howerton
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WASHINGTON (TheBlaze/AP) — The chairman of the House Oversight Committee has subpoenaed four State Department officials as part of the panel’s investigation of the deadly assault on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya, last year.
Republican Rep. Darrell Issa said in a statement and letter to Secretary of State John Kerry on Monday that delays in scheduling interviews with the officials were taking too long and he had no choice.
House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., speaks on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, June 6, 2013, ahead of witness testimony before the committee’s hearing regarding IRS conference spending. Credit: AP
“These persistent delays create the appearance that the Department is dragging its feet to slow down the Committee’s investigation,” Issa wrote in the letter to Kerry. “It does not require weeks of preparation to answer questions truthfully. These delays also take us further in time away from the dates of the events in question.”
Subpoenas have been issued for Eric Boswell, the former Assistant Secretary for the Bureau of Diplomatic Security, Scott Bultrowicz, the former Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary and Director of the Diplomatic Security Service, Elizabeth Dibble, the former Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs and Elizabeth Jones, the acting Assistant Secretary, Bureau Near Eastern Affairs.
Four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens, died in the Sept. 11, 2012, attack. Republicans have accused the Obama administration of misleading the public about the cause of the attack, playing down terrorism in the heat of the presidential election.
(Photo: AP)
Issa claims congressional investigators sent the administration a list of 13 State Department officials they wish to interview nearly two months ago, but have only been given access to one official.
Issa issued subpoenas for officials involved in diplomatic security.
Democrats have criticized the House Republican efforts as politically motivated.

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Benghazi, IRS, AP...What's next? Only TheBlaze TV offers the truth from Glenn Beck, Andrew Wilkow, and Real News from TheBlaze. Get instant access and a free trial here.Tea Party Chief@2013_TeaParty Protected account 3h
Dick Morris says it was Saudi money that helped flim-flam 2008/2012 election *why Syria can't be special interest

Obama Disposes of Another Top American General

Posted on June 26, 2013 by Tim BrownBack in November General David Petraeus resigned as head of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), claiming that he was in an adulterous affair, which was discovered by the Federal government snooping through his and his mistress’ emails. This came on the heels of Benghazi being blamed on a YouTube video. However, it was later to come out that there was another vixen by the name of Jill Kelley, who was allegedly swapping pictures between her and General John Allen, even though the Pentagon investigation denied any misconduct charges. Well, it seems that Obama has taken Allen out of the picture.
Barack Obama met with Allen on Tuesday to formally accept his request to retire. Allen said his resignation was to “address health issues within his family.”
“My primary concern is for the health of my wife, who has sacrificed so much for so long,” he said in a written statement. “For more than 35 years, my beloved Kathy has devotedly stood beside me and enabled me to serve my country. It is profoundly sobering to consider how much of that time I have spent away from her and our two precious daughters. It is now my turn to stand beside them, to be there for them when they need me most.”
He plans on returning to his home in Virginia.
“I told General Allen that he has my deep, personal appreciation for his extraordinary service over the last 19 months in Afghanistan, as well as his decades of service in the United States Marine Corps,” Obama said in a released statement.
This is the fourth senior military officer Obama has forced down from office.
Each of the officers were tied to the war in Afghanistan. reports:
There was Gen. David McKiernan, the four-star who lead U.S. ground forces during the successful lightning Iraq invasion. He was asked to resign command of allied forces in Afghanistan just four months into Obama’s presidency in 2009. Never fully explained, but the implication was administration dissatisfaction with the war’s progress.
Gen. Stanley McChrystal, a special ops veteran who was McKiernan’s successor. He resigned when his staff was quoted making derogatory comments to an embedded journalist about the administration in general and VP Joe Biden in particular. If mocking Megamind Biden is worthy of resignation, then most of America needs to step down by lunch today.
Gen. David Petraeus, the architect of the surge and successful counter-insurgency strategy in Iraq, was demoted from Central Command to return to lead the Afghan war. After that successful tour Obama named him director of the Central Intelligence Agency, which required his military resignation after nearly four decades of service.
Tuesday Obama announced that unspecified health challenges have emerged in Allen’s family requiring his full attention and Allen has resigned the NATO nomination, which Obama feels compelled to accept. While, of course, deeply appreciating Allen’s long service to the country. One more gone. No mess. Never Obama’s fault.
What’s particularly striking is Obama’s meticulous demands over the conduct of top military commanders, those general officer boots on the ground with decades of experience at the front lines of leading our troops, guiding the nation’s national security protection and assisting the enemy to die for their cause.
With the start of his second term, Barack Obama has basically revamped his cabinet, posting liberals, leftists and Muslims in positions of power within the U.S. government.
Obama’s administration seems hell bent on removing any mention of Islam having anything to do with terrorism in his administration, as evidenced with the entire YouTube video fiasco following Benghazi, the Army’s manuals claiming Christianity as number one religious extremism ahead of Muslim Brotherhood, his administration’s equating the Founding Fathers with terrorists, the DHS’ preferential treatment of Islamic supremacists, and his Federal attorneys threatening American citizen’s free speech for speaking out against Islam.
Not only that, he has promoted the demoralization of the military by having the Pentagon implement policies that are not universally accepted by military volunteers, including the removal of “Don’t ask, Don’t tell,” which allowed the service of openly homosexual perverts in the military and assigning women to combat roles.
So who will be replacing General Allen, you ask? Time will tell. I’m guessing it will be someone that will be of a similar mind to Obama.
Tim Brown is the Editor of Freedom Outpost and a regular contributor to The D.C. Clothesline.

U.S. military chief recommends bolstering Lebanon, Iraq forces

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By Phil Stewart
WASHINGTON | Wed Jun 26, 2013 6:57pm EDT
(Reuters) - The top U.S. military officer said on Wednesday he has recommended bolstering Lebanese forces grappling with the fallout from Syria's civil war by sending in military trainers and accelerating arms sales.
General Martin Dempsey also said he had recommended helping Iraq better deal with the re-emergence of al Qaeda.
"We've made a recommendation that as we look at the challenges faced by the Lebanese armed forces, the Iraqi security forces with a re-emerging al Qaeda in Iraq, and the Jordanians, that we would work with them to help them build additional capability," Dempsey told reporters at the Pentagon.
A spokesman said Dempsey's recommendations were made "in recent weeks" during internal discussions with the U.S. military's Central Command, as it deliberates how to respond to the growing, regional unrest.
After two years of fighting that has killed more than 100,000 people, Syria's war is dragging its neighbors into a deadly proxy confrontation between Shi'ite Iran supporting President Bashar al-Assad and Sunni Arab Gulf nations backing the Syrian rebels.
Both Iraq and Lebanon have suffered increasing violence at home as the Syrian conflict has escalated.
Dempsey was nominated by President Barack Obama on Wednesday for another two years as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
He was responding to a question at the news conference about whether Lebanon had asked for military help and whether the U.S. military might go into that country.
"When you say would we send the United States Army or the United States military into Lebanon, I'm talking about teams of trainers, and I'm talking about accelerating foreign military sales for equipment for them," Dempsey said in response.
"This is about building their capability, not ours."
A spokesman clarified that this would come on top of any ongoing U.S. military support being provided to Lebanon and Iraq.
The United States has left about 700 U.S. combat-equipped troops in Jordan after a military drill, which also fears a spillover of the war into its territory and where an estimated half-million Syrian refugees have fled to escape the bloodshed.
The Pentagon has also announced that it would leave Patriot missiles and F-16 fighters in Jordan after the same drill, fueling speculation that the United States might be considering a no-fly zone that would prevent the Syrian military from flying its aircraft.
Although Obama has not ruled out participating in a no-fly zone, he has appeared skeptical about such a move, and his military commanders, including Dempsey, have been outspoken about the risks involved.
Dempsey, suggesting a no-fly zone may do little to stem the bloodshed, told reporters that Assad's air power was responsible for few of the casualties.
"And if we choose to conduct a no-fly zone, it's essentially an act of war, and I'd like to understand the plan to make peace before we start a war," Dempsey said.
He also noted that any U.S. decision to impose a no-fly zone in Syria would require tough decisions about America's military priorities at a time of shrinking budgets and other demanding commitments - including the Afghan war.
"We are suffering some readiness shortfalls right now," Dempsey said. "We have resources that are at heightened states of alert in the vicinity of the Korean peninsula, in the Gulf, because of potential provocations (by) Iran. Clearly, we still remain very deeply engaged in Afghanistan.
He added: "And the question for the nation will be - and for our elected leaders - where will we prioritize our resources? But if that (a no-fly zone) becomes a priority, we can make it happen."
(Editing by Alistair Bell and Christopher Wilson)
Aja Brooks
8 hours ago via Twitter
Thank you Putin @MedvedevRussia
Aja Brooks shared Mike Rilling's status.
Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister says all personnel had been evacuated from the navy resupply base in Tartus, Syria, adding that not a single Russian military serviceman remained in the country.
Now why oh why would a nation quickly evacuate their personnel from a tinderbox like Syria ?
Mikhail Bogdanov made the announcement in an interview with the Al-Hayat newspaper. “Presently, the Russian Defense Ministry has not a single person stationed in Syria. The base does not have any strategic military importance,” the newspaper quoted the Russian official as saying.
Russian media have verified the statement and the business daily Vedomosti quoted an unnamed source in the Defense Ministry as saying that this was true as all military and civilian personnel had been evacuated from the Tartus base and there were no Russian military instructors working with the Syrian military forces. The source added that the withdrawal was prompted not only by the increased risks caused by the ongoing military conflict, but also by the fact that in the current conditions any incident involving Russian servicemen would likely have some unfavorable reaction from the international community.


Why Iran's Hackers Might Be Scarier Than China's

China is spying on US companies, but Iran is targeting the power grid.

| Thu May. 30, 2013 3:02 AM PDT

Wikimedia Commons
May was a grim month for American cybersecurity. First, the Obama administration accused China of hacking government computers, potentially to exploit weaknesses in the US military. Then, US officials announced that hackers, believed to be sponsored by the Iranian government, had successfully broken into computer networks that run US energy companies, giving Iran the means to sabotage power plants. This week, the Washington Post reported that Chinese cyberspies had hacked more than two dozen big-name US weapons programs, including the F-35 fighter jet, an army program for downing ballistic missiles, and the Navy's Littoral Combat ship. Not all cyberthreats are equal, but one question remains: Who poses the greater danger—Chinese or Iranian hackers?
To date, Chinese hackers have gotten more public attention, thanks to a February 2013 New York Times investigation of a top-secret government hacking operation based in Shanghai, and high-profile attacks, originating from China, on US media outlets. But experts point out that though China has greater capabilities for cyber-warfare and is actively stealing US military secrets, Iran's attacks could ultimately be more worrisome, because its hackers are targeting critical infrastructure and developing the ability to cause serious damage to the United States' power grid.
"The Chinese are engaged in cyber-espionage, which is more or less understood," says Richard Bejtlich, the chief security officer at Mandiant, a company that offers cybersecurity services for Fortune 100 companies. "We know what lines they will and will not cross. But a country like Iran is much more willing to be destructive. They go ahead and delete computers, they corrupt them, and they cause a lot of trouble." James Lewis, a cybersecurity specialist at the Center for Strategic and International Studies who frequently advises the White House, agrees that Iran's "attacks on critical infrastructure are probably the bigger threat…Iran is much more unstable."
Hackers directly backed by the Iranian government have demonstrated the capability to destroy critical information and an interest in causing damage to US computer systems, not simply hacking them to collect information. According to the Wall Street Journal, in their most recent campaign, Iranian-linked hackers broke into computer systems to gain information on how US energy companies run their operations, acquiring the means to "disrupt or destroy them in the future." Iranian hackers were also blamed by US officials for erasing thousands of hard drives owned by Saudi Aramco, the world's biggest oil company, in August 2012.
China and Iran have different goals when it comes to meddling with US computer systems. China's hacking culture dates back to the 1990s, with a famous underground group called the "Green Army," which reportedly led attacks on foreign websites. Today, evidence suggests that the Chinese government has an elaborate hacking operation, backed by both the People's Liberation Army and intelligence agencies, which spies on US government agencies and defense contractors. In 2006, the Commerce Department had to throw out hundreds of computers injected with spyware by hackers working through Chinese servers. In 2009, a massive Chinese cyber-espionage network called "GhostNet" penetrated embassies, nongovernmental organizations, and media outfits in 103 countries. Richard Clarke, a former counterterrorism adviser for presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, estimates that China's industrial espionage against US companies is resulting in the loss of billions of dollars in assets, including tax dollars spent developing new weapons.
"China's hacking is a long-term competitive issue," says Bejtlich. "It's not tolerable. We want them to reign their activity in, but they're not going to suddenly take down a power grid." Lewis notes that "China is a responsible power" and adds that "the risk of them launching a true cyberattack"—meaning a malicious takedown of US government computers—"is probably zero outside of an armed conflict."
Iran has a shorter, more volatile hacking history, which began in the early 2000s. In 2010, a computer worm believed to be created by the United States and Israel to damage Iranian nuclear facilities spurred Iran's interest in cyberwarfare. "They felt they could do to us what we did to them," Bejtlich says. The first real test of Iran's hacking abilities came in 2011, when Iranian hackers, suspected of cooperating with the government, breached over 300,000 targets, including some in the United States. Since then, Iran has also been blamed for disrupting the websites of American banks in retaliation against US sanctions imposed on Iran.
Experts say it would take Iranian hackers several months to locate a specific target and figure how to get access to it—such as finding the computer at a power plant in New York City that could be used to shut down the grid. But Lewis says that once that information is obtained, it would only take Iran "about 20 minutes" to hack an identified target and unleash a virus. He thinks that Iran will only deliberately cause harm if the United States interferes with its upcoming presidential elections. Clarke argues that Iranian threat isn't as dire, because, unlike China, Iran isn't actively stealing state secrets on a massive scale. Even if Iran is poking around US computers, Clarke notes, it hasn't actually destroyed US infrastructure yet: "The Iranians appear to be more interested in destruction and damage, but it's about deterrence—deterring the US from bombing them…Iran would be crazy to launch a preemptive cyberstrike. And they're not crazy."
US lawmakers have focused on preventing both cyberspying and cyberattacks. In February, President Obama issued an executive order on cybersecurity that requested that utility companies participate in a voluntary information-sharing program so that the government can help them stop assaults. Obama is also expected to address the Chinese cyberattacks at a summit next month with China's new leader, Xi Jinping.
"The executive order alone is not enough," says Candace Yu, an associate security fellow with the Truman National Security Project and a cyberpolicy adviser at the US Department of Defense from 2010 to 2012. "To prevent a large-scale cyberattack, we need national cyberlegislation that enhances information sharing." For the US government to design effective cyberdefenses, Yu explains, US companies must share information with the government about when and how they have been attacked by hackers. Clarke points out that many companies so far haven't been inclined to do this because of privacy concerns and a lack of interest in regulation.
Ultimately, Clarke says, it doesn't matter which country poses more of a threat because "the difference between hacking infrastructure and spying is only a couple of keystrokes. It's still all about getting in. And once you're in, it's relatively easy to do the destruction you want to do."
Dana Liebelson is a reporter in Mother Jones' Washington bureau. Her work has also appeared inThe Week, TIME's Battleland, Truthout, OtherWords and Yahoo! News. RSS | TWITTER

Iran-Based Hackers Traced to Cyber Attack on U.S. Company

By Chris Strohm - May 14, 2013 3:05 PM ET
A previously unknown hacking group believed to be based in Iran has started cyber attacks inside the U.S., according to Mandiant Corp., a security company that’s linked China’s army to similar activity.
The Iranian group emerged within the last six months and has infiltrated the networks of at least one U.S. corporation, Richard Bejtlich, Mandiant’s chief security officer, said in an interview in Washington today.
Richard Bejtlich, chief security officer at Mandiant, discusses emerging cyber threats during a Bloomberg Government breakfast in Washington. Photographer: Julia Schmalz/Bloomberg
May 14 (Bloomberg) -- Richard Bejtlich, chief security officer at Mandiant Corp., talks about hacking activity by Iran. He speaks with Bloomberg reporters and editors in Washington. (Excerpt. Source: Bloomberg)
“You’re starting to see the Iranians get more active,” Bejtlich said. “We’ve got at least one case where we think it’s Iran, and we think what they are doing is trying to gain some experience on a live network.”
Bejtlich’s observation backs assertions by U.S. politicians including Representative Mike Rogers, a Michigan Republican and chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, that Iranian groups are behind recent cyber attacks.
Closely held Mandiant, based in Alexandria, Virginia, released a report in February concluding China’s People’s Liberation Army may be behind the hacking of at least 141 companies worldwide since 2006.
Mandiant is investigating the new group’s tactics and hasn’t concluded it’s backed by Iran’s government, Bejtlich said. “We don’t know if it’s the government,” he said. “We don’t know if they’re patriotic hackers.”
The group’s motivation isn’t clear, and Bejtlich wouldn’t name the U.S. company that has been infiltrated or what industry is involved.
“We haven’t seen these guys before,” Bejtlich said. “They are working their way through a network trying to figure out where can they go; who will find them; who will stop them.”

Growing Threat

Allegations that the Iranian government is behind cyber attacks are “baseless,” Alireza Miryusefi, a spokesman for the country, said in an emailed statement. Iran has been repeatedly targeted in hacking attacks sponsored by other governments and wants an international legal framework to address issues surrounding cyber warfare, he said.
Mandiant tracks about two dozen groups considered to be the most aggressive attackers, known as advanced persistent threats. The majority of the groups are based in China while others are Russian or Eastern European, Bejtlich said.
Bejtlich said he is increasingly worried about cyber attacks escalating from espionage to sabotage, or the destruction of computer systems.

Persistent Attacks

“No one’s been talking about that previously,” he said. “What I worry about is that someone’s going to make a decision to do that and either not think through the consequences or understand the consequences, or even care about the consequences.”
The House has passed legislation, H.R. 624, that would encourage information sharing about threats between the government and private sector.
Bejtlich said information sharing alone won’t stop cyber attacks. The group in China identified in Mandiant’s February report continues its attacks, for example, he said.
“There are plenty of sites that are still being attacked by the same group using the same methods and the same infrastructure,” Bejtlich said. “It’s clear that even when you make information completely free and just available for download, it’s not going to solve the world’s problems.”
He said legislation is needed clarifying that companies can protect their networks from attacks, and businesses need to remain vigilant.
“We respond to companies that are armed like Fort Knox and it didn’t make a difference,” he said. “If you’re a sufficiently juicy target, they will find their way in no matter what you have.”
To contact the reporter on this story: Chris Strohm in Washington at
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Bernard Kohn at

Aja Brooks
3 hours ago via Twitter
I mean what I say. Just ask Ahmadinejad @NorthKoreaBoss
Recent tunneling activity at North Korea's nuclear testing grounds suggests that Pyongyang is preparing for more trial explosions sometime in the future, according to a new image analysis.Commercial satellite photographs taken on May 13 around the "West Portal" area of the North's Punggye-ri test si...


Power struggle underway in rebel-held Syrian townBy ZEINA KARAM | Associated Press – 9 hrs ago

  • Associated Press/Aleppo Media Center AMC, File - FILE - In this Tuesday, March 5, 2013 file photo, citizen journalism image provided by Aleppo Media Center AMC which has been authenticated based on its contents …more


  • FILE - In this Monday, March 4, …View Photo
  • FILE - In this Monday, March 4, …
BEIRUT (AP) — A slogan painted in small letters on a school wall reads, "We the people want Syria to be a civil, democratic state." Scrawled next to it in bigger letters is the response from an unknown Islamic hard-liner: "The laws of the civil state contradict the Islamic caliphate."
A quiet power struggle is taking place in the eastern Syrian city of Raqqa ever since a Muslim extremist faction of the rebels swept in and wrested the town from the regime nearly four months ago.
Armed men wearing Afghan-style outfits patrol the streets, raising black Islamic banners at checkpoints instead of the rebellion's three-star flags. But moderates are trying to counter the extremists' tight grip, establishing dozens of newspapers, magazines and civil society forums in an effort to educate the roughly 500,000 residents about democracy and their right to vote.
Raqqa, the first and only provincial capital to fall into rebel hands, is now a test case for the opposition, which has wrestled with how to govern territories it has captured amid Western concerns that Islamic groups will hijack power if President Bashar Assad is ousted.
The tensions reflect a wider struggle going on in the rebel movement across Syria, where alliances of Islamic extremist brigades have filled the void left behind whenever Assad's forces retreat, while moderate and secular rebels have failed to coalesce into effective fighters and the opposition's political leadership has failed to unify its ranks.
The rebel capture of Raqqa on March 5 consolidated opposition gains in a string of towns along the Euphrates River, which runs across the desert from the Turkish border in the north to the Iraqi border in the southeast.
Even so, the momentum on the battlefield over the past few months has been with regime, aided by Hezbollah fighters from Lebanon. More than 93,000 people have been killed since the Syrian conflict began in March 2011, according to the U.N. — though a count by activists puts the death toll at over 100,000.
Two extremist factions, Ahrar al-Sham and the al-Qaida affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra, or the Nusra Front, led the push into Raqqa, which fell relatively quickly after a campaign that lasted less than a month. Most of the Jabhat al-Nusra fighters in the city are foreign jihadis, while the Ahrar al-Sham fighters are Syrians with a jihadist ideology.
Other opponents of the Assad regime in the city have been put off by what they see as the extremists' unnecessary brutality. In the days after seizing the city, the Muslim brigades brought captured security forces into public squares, killed them and drove their bodies through the streets.
Then in May, fighters affiliated with al-Qaida killed three men described as Shiite Muslims in the city's main Clock Square, shooting them in the back of the head. In a speech to a crowd that had gathered, a fighter said the killing was in retaliation for the massacres of Sunni Muslims in the town of Banias and the city of Homs, both in western Syria, according to online video of the scene. The statement was made in the name of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, a merger of Jabhat al-Nusra and Iraq's al-Qaida arm announced in April.
Armed gunmen with their faces covered in masks shot pistols and rifles wildly in the air in celebration after the three men were killed. They wore clothing favored by Afghanistan's Taliban and Arab mujahedeen who fought in that country — a sign that they belonged to Jabhat al-Nusra.
The Shiites "were executed in front of everyone, young and old," said Mohammad Shoeib, an activist, recalling how for several hours, nobody dared approach the bodies to take them for burial until a nurse did. The nurse, Mohammad Saado, was assassinated by unknown gunmen the next day, Shoeib said. Other activists corroborated his account.
"Executing people in this manner in a public square and killing Saado was unacceptable and turned many people against them," Shoeib said. "Our revolution was against oppression and we don't accept such actions under any circumstance."
Activists set up a mourning tent in the same spot where the three were executed, receiving mourners for three days in a sign of their anger. "They didn't like it," he said of Jabhat al-Nusra, "but people demonstrated their right to an opinion and they should respect that."
Shoeib, 28, is one of the directors of "Haqquna," Arabic for "It's Our Right," an organization founded about three weeks after Raqqa fell that aims to educate people about democracy. The group's logo is a victory sign with the index finger bearing an ink mark, signifying the right to vote. The logo can be seen on walls in the city and on leaflets distributed by the group.
More than 40 publications have popped up in Raqqa, including newspapers and magazines as well as online publications, many of them run by young activists.
Many recall with pride the day rebels overran their city, about 120 miles (195 kilometers) east of the commercial capital of Aleppo, after capturing the country's largest dam and storming its central prison.
On March 5, cheering rebels and Raqqa residents brought down the bronze statue of the late Syrian President Hafez Assad after tying a rope around its neck. Others tore down a huge portrait of his son, the current president.
It was a striking scene in a city once considered so loyal to the regime that in November 2011 — early in the 2-year-old uprising — Assad prayed at Raqqa's al-Nour mosque for the Muslim holiday of Eid in an apparent attempt to show that the regime was fully in control there.
Activists like to compare Raqqa with Benghazi, the first major city in Libya to revolt against Moammar Gadhafi and fall into rebel hands.
But unlike Benghazi, which then became the rebel capital and the heartland for the militias of the months-long civil war in Libya, Raqqa feels sequestered and insecure. Regime warplanes still swoop down at random, shattering the calm with punishing airstrikes on opposition-held buildings.
Schools have closed and government employees have not been paid their salaries in months as a form of punishment.
Residents complain that the main Western-backed Syrian opposition group, the Syrian National Coalition, has paid no attention to the needs of Raqqa.
"The opposition groups are too busy fighting each other," said one owner of a sweets shop in the center of Raqqa. "They have not sent anyone to ask about our needs, nor is there any contact with any of them."
In March, the Coalition elected an interim prime minister, Ghassan Hitto, tasked with forming an interim government that would help administer rebel-held territories in northern and eastern Syria. But the opposition has been plagued with infighting, and Hitto has been effectively sidelined.
Khalid Salah, spokesman for the Coalition, insisted the opposition was trying to support Raqqa despite a lack of funds and other resources. He said the city was receiving aid from the Coalition but that it was unmarked so many people are unaware of its origin.
"We are trying to step up aid and make up for some shortcomings in the next weeks," he said, adding that regime airstrikes around the city made the work more difficult.
Rebel groups, particularly Ahrar al-Sham, administer daily life in Raqqa, setting up bakeries, keeping electricity and water going as much as possible and distributing aid they receive from international supporters. They have set up courts that impose Islamic law, mostly dealing with financial disputes and criminal cases such as kidnappings and theft.
Many residents are grateful, saying the Islamic brigades are simply making up for the shortcomings of the opposition in exile.
Mouaz al-Howeidi, a 40-year-old programmer and Web designer-turned activist, said it's promising that the power struggle has itself not turned violent.
But he said civil groups were at a disadvantage because the rebels have more means at their disposal to get their message across, through mosques and by controlling the city's resources.
"They control everything in Raqqa," he said. "And they have weapons and money — this makes everything easier."
The owner of the sweets shop, who declined to be named for fear of reprisals, said Islamic groups were the flip side of the regime.
"Raqqa has not been liberated. It has been re-occupied by the Islamists."
A Syrian journalist contributed from Raqqa.


Report: Syrian Women Face Detention, Torture

Human Rights Watch has detailed the stories—many of which include harrowing abuse—of women punished for helping the rebellion against Bashar al-Assad. Mike Giglio reports.
In the early days of the Syrian revolution—before the protest movement became an armed insurrection—government forces were often reluctant to shoot female protesters during crackdowns. So some women formed human shields during demonstrations, hoping to protect the men behind them, as one 25-year-old activist from the province of Daraa recounts in a Human Rights Watch report published this week.
As the revolution intensified, the crackdowns became more sweeping and more violent—and the authorities increasingly targeted women, too. The Daraa activist—whom the report’s authors call “Nisreen”—was arrested in February 2012 and reports being held in harrowing conditions for more than a year. Screams from tortured men echoed around her, and their blood seeped onto the floor outside her cell.
“There was a small space in our door, and we could see them cleaning the ground outside our room,” Nisreen says in the report. “They would torture them with electricity and throw water on them—we could hear it all.”
Other women activists, meanwhile, were themselves the victims of horrific abuse.
In the report, researchers documented the cases of 10 women detained by forces loyal to the Syrian government. Some were targeted for the actions of male family members, but most were being punished for their own revolutionary work, which ranged from protesting to aiding war-torn families and transporting injured rebels or defectors.
They faced dire circumstances once they were jailed. Many were held without charge, according to the report, and some were released only after their families paid bribes. One 35-year-old woman, who was imprisoned in Damascus, recounted repeated torture. On some occasions, she said, she was hung from the ceiling, her toes barely touching the ground. On others, she was electrocuted while bound to a metal chair. Another woman said that an interrogator sliced her wrists, put wires into the wounds, and then charged them with electricity. Another said she was beaten on her broken leg. Two of the women accused their jailers of rape.
“Amal,” 19, recalled how an interrogator entered her cell with two other men. The interrogator raped her on the floor, she said, and then the next man followed suit. “[With] the third one, the door was open. It was in front of whoever was in the corridor,” Amal told the researchers. “I could try to resist the first one and the second one, but not the third one. I looked down and saw a lot of blood. I felt dizzy. I was crawling to my pants and blouse.”
The report’s authors say they have no evidence that police or military officials ordered these sexual assaults—but they also say the attackers were not disciplined by their superiors. Human Rights Watch and other NGOs tracking the conflict in Syria have documented widespread detention, torture and killing of activists in the past, including at the same detention facilities in which the women cited in the recent report were held.
"Women have been extremely active in this conflict, and they're playing a large role in helping to support the opposition."
Hillary Margolis, a Human Rights Watch consultant who co-authored the report, notes that cases of prisoner abuse—including sexual abuse—appear to be even more widespread among men. Even if women aren’t singled out, she adds, they are paying a drastic price for their heavy involvement in the uprising. “Women have been extremely active in this conflict, and they’re playing a large role in helping to support the opposition,” Margolis says. “Because of that, they are targets.”
While the numbers can’t be verified, one Syrian monitoring group cited in the Human Rights Watch report—the Violations Documentation Center in Syria—estimates that more than 5,400 women have been detained by authorities since the revolution began. Of them, the group estimates, some 750 remain in custody.
One Damascus activist, who goes by the nickname Alexia Jade, has been involved in media outreach and humanitarian aid since the revolution started. She says the situation has become more dangerous for women activists as the government has become clued in to their role. While some used to feel that they could pass more easily through government checkpoints, for example, Jade says that women travelling by car now receive heavy scrutiny.
Many women activists, she adds, have been arrested from their homes. “They track them down one way or another, mostly by cell phones, or the confessions of other detainees,” Jade says. “It doesn’t matter [if an activist is male or female] anymore. They want anyone they can get."
Women remain woefully underrepresented in Syria’s fractious political opposition-in-exile. On the ground, however, they have been central to the revolution from the start. They help to deliver aid and supplies and coordinate humanitarian relief behind the scenes. They have also been key to media outreach and to transporting rebels and defectors to safety. “The media are covering the front lines, so you only see men these days. But we’re still out there working in huge numbers,” one female Damascus activist told the Daily Beast last year.
As the conflict grinds on—with the United Nations estimating that more than 93,000 lives have been claimed since the revolution began—Alexia Jade says that she and the other women activists she knows are more cautious than ever. “Most of us are not staying at home anymore, me among them. A good number of female activists left the country,” she says. “The rest of us are trying to keep working for the revolution and stay free at the same time.”
Rajaa Altalli, who runs activist training sessions for the Center for Civil Society and Democracy in Syria, says that women are “crucial” to the revolution’s success—but are also increasingly under threat. “They do everything,” she says. “And they are facing real risk.”


Last Update: Wednesday, 26 June 2013 KSA 15:11 - GMT 12:11
Desperate House Strife: Assad’s uncle sells Paris mansion for €70m
Wednesday, 26 June 2013Rifaat al-Assad’s lavish mansion had been on the market for €100 million and sold it for only €70 million. (Al Arabiya)
Al Arabiya
Fearing his lavish mansion could be seized by police, an uncle of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad reportedly sold it for lower than the market price.
Rifaat al-Assad’s mansion had been on the market for €100 million and sold it for only €70 million, the Britain-based Telegraph reported on Tuesday.
Rifaat al-Assad’s mansion had been on the market for €100 million. (Photo courtesy: DR)
The seven-story home is near one of Paris’s most desirable stretches of real estate, overlooking the Arc de Triomphe. The buyer of the house is believed to be a Russian billionaire, the newspaper reported.
“The 12,000ft property, which has its own underground swimming pool and sports hall, had been on sale for the past year at €100 million, but three weeks ago he cut the price by 30 per cent and accepted €70 million,” reported The Telegraph, adding that Rifaat is believed to have made a multi-million pound profit by selling the building at 38 Avenue Foch.
Rifaat al-Assad, Syria’s former vice president, also owns properties elsewhere in Paris and other cities abroad, including a £10 million Georgian mansion in London, according to The Telegraph.
Rifaat al-Assad, left, with his older brother Hafez at a military ceremony in Damascus in 1984. (File photo: AFP)
“He is thought to be selling up in France, where he also owns a country estate with stables, another Parisian mansion and dozens of flats, due to concerns the French government is trying to clean-up its image,” the newspaper reported, in reference to recent court decisions to seize properties belonging to controversial figures.
Rifaat al-Assad has been living in exile since his failed attempt to seize power from his brother, Hafez, in 1983.
In February 1982, he led a military assault on Hama to quash the Muslim Brotherhood. The death toll from the violence was estimated between 10,000 and 25,000, earning him the nickname “The Butcher of Hama.”


EU finance chiefs reach deal on rules shielding taxpayers from the cost of bank failures

(Markus Schreiber/ Associated Press ) - German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble speaks at a press conference about the German budget in Berlin, Germany, Wednesday, June 26, 2013. The government of Europe biggest economy finalized the budget for 2013 and the budget plan for 2014.

By Associated Press, Updated: Wednesday, June 26, 7:54 PM

BRUSSELS — A diplomat says the European Union has struck a deal on joint rules establishing who will pay for bank bailouts in the future without having taxpayers foot the bill.
The agreement is an important step forward in establishing Europe’s so-called banking union to restore financial and economic stability to the recession-hit bloc.

Kerry: Significant progress needed on Israeli-Palestinian talks

Karen DeYoung 7:15 PM ET
Secretary of State said he was “not setting any deadlines” for bringing the two sides to the table.

World Digest: June 26, 2013

7:22 PM ET
Australia’s prime minister is ousted in a party vote; pope names body to investigate Vatican bank.

Russia says it has evacuated small naval base on Syrian coast

Will Englund 3:22 PM ET
Ships are still stationed in nearby Mediterranean; evacuation at Tartus reportedly was for security reasons.

Mandela in critical condition as Obama leaves for continent

Max Ehrenfreund 2:37 PM ET
South Africans feel the 94-year-old former president is approaching the end of his life in a Pretoria hospital.
The diplomat says the EU’s 27 finance ministers reached the agreement after seven hours of negotiations early Thursday. He declined to be named pending the official announcement.
The set of rules determines the order in which investors and creditors will have to take losses when a bank is restructured or shut down, with a taxpayer-funded bailout being only a limited last resort possibility.
The EU governments will now start negotiating the legislation with the European Parliament.
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
EU, US pact: Not just two-way trade boost
Zhang Monan
China Daily
Publication Date : 26-06-2013
By forging a closer alliance, the EU and US are once again trying to reshape the global economy in their favour

The European Union and the United States announced the official start of free trade negotiations at the G8 summit in Lough Erne in Northern Ireland on June 17 and 18. The start of talks to finalise the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership shows the developed countries are pushing to build powerful new alliances.

With a trade volume of almost US$1 trillion, as well as half the world's economic production and one-third of the global trade circulation, trade between the EU and the US is the biggest and most complex of economic relations. The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership would be the biggest trade agreement since World Trade Organisation was founded. An independent study by the London-based Centre for Economic Policy Research predicts the EU's economy could benefit by 119 billion euros a year ($156 billion) and the US by an extra 95 billion euros a year.

The TTIP would help tap the huge potential that exists in their services trade and investment. The US is the biggest trader in services, and 40 per cent of the trade is with the EU. Besides, they are each other's biggest investor. The US currently invests $2 trillion in the EU and the EU invests $1.7 trillion in the US.

Of the 119 billion euros a year that the Centre for Economic Policy Research forecasts the EU would benefit from the TTIP, 80 per cent will be a result of lower supervision, liberalising the trade in services and public purchasing.

For the US, the TTIP would help form a closer alliance with EU enabling them to better coordinate their policies towards Asia, which in turn will push their Asia-Pacific trade partnerships forward and better facilitate the US' rebalancing to Asia. With the successful conclusion of the TTIP and the Trans-Pacific Partnership processes, the US would find it easier to gain the upper hand in trade strategy.

Of course, there are many divergences between the EU and the US, especially on agriculture, and neither the EU nor the US wants to end the protection and subsidies offered to their high-tech industries and related enterprises.

Other obstacles that need to be overcome are surplus tariff rates and expanding market allowances, as well as differences in market supervision and domestic standards. But they are not unsurpassable as both sides have called the TTIP a strategic arrangement and are actively accelerating the process.

Obviously, by forging a closer alliance, the EU and US are trying to dominate global trade rules and influence multilateral trade mechanisms, rather than simply trying to boost mutual trade and investment.

Under the TTIP, the two sides would eliminate all agricultural and industrial tariffs on trans-Atlantic trade, further open their services markets, enhance cooperation in public purchasing and policy-making, and establish new regulations in sectors like competition, trade convenience, labour and environmental protection. On top of these, last year the EU and US agreed on the common goal and strategy of urging better protection of Intellectual Property Rights, as well as agreeing on common approaches to some other issues concerning market entry in countries like China, Japan and Russia.

If the TTIP becomes a reality, it would reshape world trade rules, standards and patterns, thus challenging the trade alliances among emerging market economies, especially among the BRICS economies - Brazil, Russia, India. China and South Africa. The new rules forged by the EU and the US would doubtlessly raise the threshold for entry into their markets, as lower trade barriers between the EU and the US would constitute higher barriers to external economies. China's exports to the US would face competition from EU exports and its exports to the EU competition from US exports.

Facing the new situation, China must try and actively participate in the global FTA negotiations, and to this end it should accelerate domestic market reforms to meet the higher standards of international trade rules. It should also strengthen its relations with other emerging economies in order to have a stronger position in the process of making international trade rules and defending its economic interests.

The author is the deputy director and associate research fellow of World Economy Study at the Economic Forecast Department of the State Information Centre.




26 June 2013 Last updated at 11:35 ET

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Pope Francis sets up

commission to review

Vatican bankPope Francis, seen here at the Vatican on Sunday, has given the new commission carte blanche to investigate the troubled bank

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A commission of inquiry has been set up by Pope Francis to review the activities of the Vatican bank, following recent scandals.
Earlier this month, he named a trusted cleric to oversee the management of the bank, which is known officially as the Institute for Religious Works.
The institution, one of the world's most secretive banks, has been beset by allegations of money-laundering.
It has 114 employees and $7.1bn (£4.6bn; 5.4bn euros) of assets.

AnalysisDavid Willey BBC News, Rome

Pope Francis has given the commission carte blanche, bypassing normal secrecy rules, to try to get to the
bottom of scandals which have plagued the bank for decades.
The Institute for the Works of Religion was a major shareholder in the Banco Ambrosiano, a big Italian bank which
collapsed in 1982 with losses of more than $3bn. Its chairman, Roberto Calvi, was found hanging from Blackfriars
Bridge in London - murder disguised as suicide. Mr Calvi had close relations with the Vatican.
More recently, the Vatican's bank has been accused of money laundering. In 2010, the then Pope Benedict set up
a financial information authority to monitor its international transactions and to ensure that rules on money laundering
and the financing of terrorism were being respected.
Inspectors from Moneyval, an international banking watchdog based in Paris, went through the bank's books
and reported that there was still some way to go before the Vatican bank could be granted "white list" status.
The new commission is tasked with ensuring the bank operates in "harmony" with the mission of the Church.
It is made up of Mary Ann Glendon, a Harvard law professor, and four senior clerics: Italian cardinal Raffaele Farina, French cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, Spanish bishop Juan Ignacio Arrieta Ochoa de Chinchetru and US cleric Monsignor Peter Bryan Wells.
On 15 June, the Pope appointed Monsignor Battista Mario Salvatore Ricca as the bank's interim prelate - effectively his representative at the institution.
In February, German lawyer Ernst von Freyberg was named the bank's new chairman, eight months after his predecessor was ousted amid a money-laundering inquiry.
His appointment was one of the last acts of Pope Francis's predecessor, Benedict XVI.
Mr von Freyberg set about instituting checks on the bank's 19,000 accounts, which are mostly held by Vatican employees, charities, priests and nuns.

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Gov. Rick Perry today announced a Special Session of the Texas Legislature will begin at 2 p.m. Monday, July 1.
Waiting for liberals who favor abolishing U.S. Senate filibuster to denounce Texas legislator Wendy Davis for her abortion bill filibuster.
@brithume Waiting for #ObamaLobbyMedia to stop slobbering over it when Texas shuts down funding Mami Wata shrines
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@tedcruz Sacrificing 50 million children since 1973 only created stench in God's nostrils, balloon the deficit, did not end climate change.
@tedcruz Kinetic energy from cars and computer devices at unprecedented levels, despite Obama's Mami Wata blood binge pouring out innocents.
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IRS Faces Lawsuit From 41 Groups, Pro-Life Organization Over Targeting
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5:30 PM - 25 Jun 13 · Details
The IRS is running out of fifths:
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Thurs #CSPAN Live Viewing Tips: House Ways & Means Hearing on IRS review procedures of tax-exempt orgs. 10-1ET #tcot
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Only one, Ms. Tucker? @IRSnews When you went after 500 of our groups, by 12 of your groups over my newsletter? WHAT A LIE !!

Tell the IRS I've never made over $20,000 a year, keep their $ wasting, SMART-ASS, WAGGING FINGERS OUT OF MY FACE! @BarackObamaTea Party Chief@2013_TeaParty Protected account 15h
@BarackObama I have nearly an Assoc. degree in Journalism, have my own business, and never broke the poverty level !!Tea Party Chief@2013_TeaParty Protected account 15h
@IRSnews  I've never made over $20,000 a year, keep YOUR $ wasting, SMART-ASS, WAGGING FINGERS OUT OF MY FACE!Tea Party Chief@2013_TeaParty Protected account 15h
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HomeEmail Featured › Investigation Reveals IRS Used Credit Cards for Booze and Pornography

Investigation Reveals IRS Used Credit Cards for Booze and Pornography

Poor oversight by the Internal Revenue Service allowed workers to use agency credit cards to buy wine for an expensive luncheon, dorky swag for managers’ meetings and, for one employee, romance novels and diet pills, an agency watchdog said Tuesday.
Two IRS credit cards were used to buy online pornography, though the employees said the cards were stolen. One of the workers reported five agency credit cards lost or stolen.
IRS employees used agency credit cards to make more than 273,000 purchases totaling nearly $108 million in 2010 and 2011, according to the report by the Treasury inspector general for tax administration.

Watchdog: IRS fought oversight in tea party cases

5:33 PM - 26 Jun 13 · Details

Watchdog: IRS fought oversight in tea party cases

Government watchdog says IRS long resisted oversight of group that targeted political groupsBy Stephen Ohlemacher, Associated Press | Associated Press – 12 hrs ago

  • Associated Press -
  • This undated handout photo provided by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) shows National Taxpayer Advocate Nina Olson. The Internal Revenue Service long has resisted efforts by an internal …more
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Internal Revenue Service long has resisted efforts by an internal watchdog to help groups seeking tax-exempt status, creating a culture that enabled agents to improperly target such organizations for additional scrutiny, the National Taxpayer Advocate reported Wednesday.
Nina E. Olson, who runs the independent office within the IRS, said in her annual report to Congress that culture continues today, despite the scandal that has rocked the tax agency for more than a month.
Olson recommended that Congress authorize her to make "apology payments" of up to $1,000 to groups in cases in which "the IRS has caused excessive expense or undue burden to the taxpayer, and the taxpayer has experienced a significant hardship."
She said her office first approached the IRS about a backlog of applications for tax-exempt status in 2007. Olson has the authority to intervene in cases in which IRS actions are causing a "significant hardship" for taxpayers.
But the report said the agency's Exempt Organizations division resisted Olson's efforts, contending that she had no authority to intervene in such cases.
"The attitude that (Exempt Organizations) does not have to be responsive to (the taxpayer advocate) permeated the organization and persists to this day, with one EO employee recently complaining about being 'so tired of you calling,'" the report said.
The IRS has been under siege since the agency revealed last month that agents had improperly targeted tea party and other conservative groups for additional, often burdensome scrutiny when they applied for tax-exempt status during the 2010 and 2012 elections.
This week, the IRS released documents showing that progressive and liberal groups may have been improperly singled out as well.
The taxpayer advocate does not have the authority to investigate the IRS, so the new report doesn't shed any light on who ordered agents to target the groups.
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The IRS' acting commissioner, Danny Werfel, promised to work with Olson's office "to improve education inside and outside the IRS about taxpayer rights."
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The additional scrutiny caused hundreds of applications for tax-exempt status to languish for more than a year, with some waiting more than three years for a decision.
The report said IRS agents are supposed to report taxpayer inquiries to the taxpayer advocate's office if a case has been delayed more than 30 days beyond the normal processing time. Despite the directive, the Exempt Organizations division did not refer any cases to the taxpayer advocate, even though nearly 300 applications were delayed much longer than 30 days, the report said.
From 2010 to 2013, the taxpayer advocate's office said it received 19 referrals about cases that may have involved groups that were targeted for additional scrutiny, the report said. Most of the referrals came from congressional offices.
The office didn't recognize a pattern because of the volume of cases it handles. During the same period, the taxpayer advocate's office received a total of 915,000 referrals, according to the report.
Follow Stephen Ohlemacher on Twitter:

Cassedy BenghaziGate Stien
ANOTHER IRS OFFICIAL REFUSES TO TESTIFY: During today's Oversight hearing digging into an IRS official who steered nearly $500 million contracts to a special friend, the IRS official in question - Greg Roseman - pleaded the fifth and denied the Oversight Committee and the American people the answers they deserve.

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Jun. 26 8:51 PM EDT

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Home » Mitt Romney » Man charged in scheme involving Romney tax returns
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A Tennessee man was charged Wednesday in a scheme involving former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney's income tax returns during the 2012 campaign.
The U.S. Justice Department said a federal grand jury in Nashville indicted Michael Mancil Brown, 34, of Franklin, and charged him with six counts of wire fraud and six counts of extortion.
Brown is accused of having an anonymous letter delivered to the PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP accounting firm in Franklin last August, demanding that $1 million in digital currency be deposited to a Bitcoin account to keep some of Romney's income tax returns from being released. The Justice Department said Brown falsely claimed that he had gained access to the PricewaterhouseCoopers internal computer network and stolen tax documents for Romney and his wife, Ann Romney, for tax years before 2010.
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The Justice Department statement said similar letters were delivered to Democratic and Republican party offices in Franklin.
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Computer thumb drives were delivered with the demand. The letter said the tax returns delivered on the thumb drives were encrypted and more copies would be sent to "all major news media outlets" with the passwords to be released if payment wasn't made.
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8:11 PM - 26 Jun 13 · Details



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