LABOR UNIONS ARE FUNDING MODERATES IN THE GOP CIVIL WAR TO HELP DEFEAT THE TEA PARTY

LABOR UNIONS ARE FUNDING MODERATES IN THE GOP CIVIL WAR TO HELP DEFEAT THE TEA PARTY

It’s no secret that the GOP is divided. While the moderates and the Tea Party battle it out in the Republican Civil War, the moderates are receiving funding from an unlikely source to help wage war against conservatives: labor unions.

As the 2014 midterm elections approach, the greatest threat to Republican domination remains the divided nature of the GOP. The Republican Party is deeply divided between establishment Republicans and principled conservatives. Though the Republican Party, in many ways, has the Democrats on the ropes as they scramble to deal with the endless stream of Obamacare-related disasters, the GOP is in danger of self-destructing in this coming election as the moderates and the conservatives battle it out.

According to the National Journal:

The Republican Main Street Partnership has emerged as an outspoken, deep-pocketed player in pro-business GOP plans to beat back tea-party challengers next year. But the group’s new super PAC has an unexpected source for its seed money: labor unions.

The super PAC, called Defending Main Street, has not yet submitted a major donor disclosure to the Federal Election Commission. But documents filed by other groups show that two labor organizations, the International Union of Operating Engineers and the Laborers’ International Union of North America, directed a combined $400,000 to the Republican group in September and October.

Main Street says it has raised roughly $2 million total between its super PAC and an affiliated nonprofit group so far—and that means labor has supplied at least 20 percent of those funds.

[T]he scale of these six-figure donations—$250,000 from the Operating Engineers and $150,000 from LIUNA—makes this effort distinct. Plus, the money is coming as the Main Street group has been publicly declaring its intent to crush tea-party challengers in Republican primaries, going head to head with conservative bankrollers such as the anti-tax Club for Growth.

“Hopefully, we’ll go into eight to 10 races and beat the snot out of them,” Main Street President Steven LaTourette told National Journal in October.

That puts these labor groups on the front line of the GOP’s intra-party ideological conflict, a battle where the affiliation to unions won’t be considered advantageous, to say the least.

In an effort to crush the conservatives, the establishment GOP is making a deal with the devil and it is bound to work against the interests of small-government proponents. If labor unions, who traditionally favor big-government policies, are helping fund the GOP Civil War, moderates ought to wake up to realize the longterm benefit for liberals of Republican infighting.

Moderates continue to blame conservatives for an endless string of legislative failures, however, the GOP leadership is largely comprised of establishment-leaning republicans. With a minority presence in the Senate and a majority in the House, the Republican Party has done little to quell the ceaseless advancement of fiscal lunacy at a time when hard-nosed posturing is not only preferable, but direly needed.

The U.S. is currently over $17 trillion in debt. The Democrat-controlled government has done nothing to adjust their spending habits for these dire times but have, instead, increased government spending by restoring the sequester cuts, increased taxes and acquired the acquiescence of moderate GOP leaders who agreed to such insanity for the mere promise of future spending cuts.

NSA REPORTEDLY PLANTED SPYWARE ON ELECTRONIS EQUIPMENT- DELL, SAMSUNG & MORE

NSA REPORTEDLY PLANTED SPYWARE ON ELECTRONIS EQUIPMENT- DELL, SAMSUNG & MORE

CNET – A new report from Der Spiegel, based on internal National Security Agency documents, reveals more details about how the spy agency gains access to computers and other electronic devices to plant backdoors and other spyware.

The Office of Tailored Access Operations, or TAO, is described as a “squad of digital plumbers” that deals with hard targets — systems that are not easy to infiltrate. TAO has reportedly been responsible for accessing the protected networks of heads of state worldwide, works with the CIA and FBI to undertake “sensitive missions,” and has penetrated the security of undersea fiber-optic cables. TAO also intercepts deliveries of electronic equipment to plant spyware to gain remote access to the systems once they are delivered and installed.

Der Spiegel: Inside TAO -Documents Reveal Top NSA Hacking Unit

Der Spiegel: Shopping for Spy Gear – Catalog Advertises NSA Toolbox

According to the report, the NSA has planted backdoors to access computers, hard drives, routers, and other devices from companies such as Cisco, Dell, Western Digital, Seagate, Maxtor, Samsung, and Huawei. The report describes a 50-page product catalog of tools and techniques that an NSA division called ANT, which stands for Advanced or Access Network Technology, uses to gain access to devices.

CONFESSIONS OF A DRONE PILOT: THE PUBLIC SHOULD KNOW WHAT REALLY HAPPENS

CONFESSIONS OF A DRONE PILOT: THE PUBLIC SHOULD KNOW WHAT REALLY HAPPENS

Heather Linebaugh knows first hand about the America’s drone program. She worked in the intelligence unit of the United States Air Force until March 2012. She was an imagery analyst and geo-spatial analyst for the drone program to support troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.

She believes that Americans are not being told the whole truth about our drone program by our politicians. It isn’t so much the facts, but the details around the facts that causes her problems. It isn’t just the way they promote the program to the public, but the way the program is portrayed and romanticized by politicians to garner support for the program. When she hears a politician supporting the program, she wishes she could ask them these questions:

“How many women and children have you seen incinerated by a Hellfire missile?”

“How many men have you seen crawl across a field, trying to make it to the nearest compound for help while bleeding out from severed legs?”

“How many soldiers have you seen die on the side of a road in Afghanistan because our ever-so-accurate UAVs [unmanned aerial vehicles] were unable to detect an IED [improvised explosive device] that awaited their convoy?”

These are questions that she can answer, and she rather doubts that politicians who support the program could. She said if they did, they would regard the program in a different light. She has seen the human face of the use of drones. Linebaugh describes what it is like on the other side of the drone.

Few of these politicians who so brazenly proclaim the benefits of drones have a real clue of what actually goes on. I, on the other hand, have seen these awful sights first hand.

I knew the names of some of the young soldiers I saw bleed to death on the side of a road. I watched dozens of military-aged males die in Afghanistan, in empty fields, along riversides, and some right outside the compound where their family was waiting for them to return home from the mosque.

Linebaugh calls into question the efficacy of the program and the lack of evidence on the part of the program managers to prove they are meeting objectives and saving lives.

The US and British militaries insist claim that this is an expert program, but it’s curious that they feel the need to deliver faulty information, few or no statistics about civilian deaths and twisted technology reports on the capabilities of our UAVs. These specific incidents are not isolated, and the civilian casualty rate has not changed, despite what our defense representatives might like to tell us.

She believes the technology has been misrepresented to the public and the training to the personnel in the program insufficient for the demands of the job. They may not be on the battlefield in the same way, but the tapes of who they kill or watch die play over in their minds. More than one of her fellow soldiers committed suicide. That aspect of the program is almost never discussed.

What the public needs to understand is that the video provided by a drone is not usually clear enough to detect someone carrying a weapon, even on a crystal-clear day with limited cloud and perfect light. This makes it incredibly difficult for the best analysts to identify if someone has weapons for sure. One example comes to mind: “The feed is so pixelated, what if it’s a shovel, and not a weapon?” I felt this confusion constantly, as did my fellow UAV analysts. We always wonder if we killed the right people, if we endangered the wrong people, if we destroyed an innocent civilian’s life all because of a bad image or angle.

It’s also important for the public to grasp that there are human beings operating and analysing intelligence these UAVs. I know because I was one of them, and nothing can prepare you for an almost daily routine of flying combat aerial surveillance missions over a war zone. UAV proponents claim that troops who do this kind of work are not affected by observing this combat because they are never directly in danger physically.

But here’s the thing: I may not have been on the ground in Afghanistan, but I watched parts of the conflict in great detail on a screen for days on end. I know the feeling you experience when you see someone die. Horrifying barely covers it. And when you are exposed to it over and over again it becomes like a small video, embedded in your head, forever on repeat, causing psychological pain and suffering that many people will hopefully never experience. UAV troops are victim to not only the haunting memories of this work that they carry with them, but also the guilt of always being a little unsure of how accurate their confirmations of weapons or identification of hostile individuals were.

She asserts that drone aviators are subject to the same PTSD that ground troops are, but in a different way. Linebaugh says there is very limited support for drone aviators who suffer trauma because they were not themselves on the battlefield.

Lastly, she states that the true nature of the drone program is not defensive, but offensive. Linebaugh believes this is the opposite of how the program really is, and she believes the public has the right not know that. She writes,

The UAVs in the Middle East are used as a weapon, not as protection, and as long as our public remains ignorant to this, this serious threat to the sanctity of human life – at home and abroad – will continue.

ILLINOIS RANKS SECOND FOR STATES WITH HIGHEST MOVE-OUT RATES

ILLINOIS RANKS SECOND FOR STATES WITH HIGHEST MOVE-OUT RATES

Higher taxes, a poor job market, and other issues are forcing people to leave the state of Illinois.

Illinois has the second most people move out in 2013, according to a survey by Allied Moving Company.

New York, Pennsylvania, Michigan and New Jersey rounded out the top five for the third year in row. But this year, New York jumped to the number one spot.

Texas was the nation’s most attractive state to live in, followed by Florida, Arizona, Oregon and Colorado.

FAA ANNOUNCES LOCATION FOR FUTURE DRONE TESTING SITES

FAA ANNOUNCES LOCATION FOR FUTURE DRONE TESTING SITES

Drones are coming to America – the Federal Aviation Administration announced on Monday the six states chosen to develop test sites for unmanned aerial vehicles.

Alaska, Nevada, New York, North Dakota, Texas and Virginia were chosen by the FAA as the agency moves towards integrating commercial drones into American skies.

The goal is to have drones operated by businesses, farmers and government agencies sharing the same space as commercial airplanes by the year 2015, though it’s possible it may take longer to draft the proper rules and regulations.

“These test sites will give us valuable information about how best to ensure the safe introduction of this advanced technology into our nation’s skies,” Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx told the Associated Press.

The test sites, scheduled to be operational through 2017, will be developed at the following locations:

- University of Alaska: Will help develop standards for state monitoring and navigation, as well as safety.

- State of Nevada: Will study standards and requirements for operators. It will also research exactly how air traffic control procedures will change with the introduction of drones into the sky.

- New York’s Griffiss International Airport: Will focus its research on how drones and commercial airplanes will sense and avoid colliding with each other in congested airspace.

- North Dakota Department of Commerce: Will develop “airworthiness” data as well as reliable links that share information between drones and other aircraft.

- Texas A&M University in Corpus Christi: Will develop safety system requirements.

- Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University: Will test failure mode procedure and other risks should a drone malfunction while in the air.

Although the FAA does not sanction the commercial use of drones just yet, it estimates that close to 8,000 unmanned vehicles could be in the sky within five years of being granted access to American airspace.

“Safety continues to be our first priority as we move forward with integrating unmanned systems into US airspace,” FAA Administrator Michael Huerta said in a statement. “We have successfully brought new technology into the nation’s aviation system for more than 50 years, and I have no doubt we will do the same with unmanned aircraft.”

Studies have estimated that between 70,000 – 100,000 American jobs could be created by a widespread drone industry that generates more than $80 billion in economic activity. Amazon.com CEO Jeff Bezos has already declared his interest in using drones to deliver packages.

Others, however, are less excited about the prospect of drones taking over US skies. The American Civil Liberties Union has spoken out against giving these vehicles greater access to American airspace in the past, saying it would move the country towards “a surveillance society in which our every move is monitored, tracked, recorded and scrutinized by the authorities.”

THE PERKS OF GOVERNMENT ‘SERVICE’: TOP CMS OBAMACARE OFFICIAL QUIETLY ‘RETIRES’, ENROLLMENT LEVELS STILL LOW

THE PERKS OF GOVERNMENT 'SERVICE':  TOP CMS OBAMACARE OFFICIAL QUIETLY 'RETIRES', ENROLLMENT LEVELS STILL LOW

Have you been happy with the ObamaCare roll out? I think that it would be a fair statement to say that very people have, friend or foe of Obama and the healthcare law itself. As you also well know one of the key agencies that has been tasked with helping to get ObamaCare ready to go and then keep it ‘working’ has been the CMS. Now, we see that a second top official has left since the roll out of the Affordable Care Act.

Michelle Snyder was responsible for setting up new programs and activities that were required by the ACA. She has now decided to quietly retire rather than continue such outstanding performance. It seems that these days, federal bureaucrats do not get fired or even resign. Instead, they resign during a quite holiday weekend and then get to run away with a huge amount of taxpayer benefits that have been so richly deserved over years of excellent service. And of course, we should all celebrate Michelle and her incredible dedication to the mission of providing vital healthcare services to tens of millions of people.

So, congrats. After all, she was one of the people responsible for ensuring that the website actually worked. Of course, we should simply forget that millions of people struggled to even log on and connect to the site at all, much less actually sign up. Then, those who did sign up were faced with the prospect of punching in their sensitive personal data to a site rife with security breaches and holes. Way to go…job well done! Listen to what one observer had to say about all this:

“Botch the roll out of the president’s legacy law so badly that you end up with three million fewer insured people than when we started, and you get to retire, announce it over a holiday weekend, and grab that juicy pension for 41 years of mediocre to disastrous public service.”

My thoughts exactly. The Obama Regime has even announced hat 1.1 million Americans have signed up through the HealthCare.gov site. This number is well short of their 2013 enrollment goal. Not to mention the fact that we still cannot even be sure how many of those 1.1 million people actually are insured due to problems with the back-end of the site being able to deliver accurate information to insurers. Not only that, but there was also no huge rush to get covered that the White House had predicted, either.

Even if these figures are correct, that is 1.1 million people. Compare this to the nearly 5 million who had their plans canceled. This number is also set to grow in the new year as we see the employer mandate take effect just before the November midterm elections. Will they government reach their 7 million member total goal? Not likely. We are now beginning to see many people coming to the site and browsing their options, then simply leaving, choosing NOT to purchase any type of ObamaCare plan. These new plans still feature higher premiums, huge deductibles, and much smaller healthcare provider networks and options. It is simply just not a good deal.

It is also very telling that the CMS has not provided any type of demographic break down as to those that have signed up through the exchange. This should be a key metric for measuring the success of the program, given the fact that they need to have a large number of young, healthy people to offset the cost of older and sicker people enrolling.

What do YOU think? Is ObamaCare dead? Would people simply rather pay the fine than sign up? Do you believe that 1.1 million actually have insurance through ObamaCare?