May 19, 2014
In an interview with Bloomberg News Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov asserted that Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland had meetings with the Ukrainian neofascist group Right Sector in Washington DC. The Right Sector has been involved in numerous killings including the burning of pro-Russian supporters in Odessa.
“The other thing to which I wanted to get response from Washington was these reports about the secret visit of the Right Sector coordinator (Andrei) Artyomenko to Washington for alleged meetings with Victoria Nuland. And we want answers to these questions because it’s too serious to manipulate events in Europe across the Atlantic. It’s not a remote-control game. It’s very serious for us.” Lavrov said.
Whether Nuland met with Artyomenko or any other representative of the Right Sector to help with fundraising and support is unknown. What is known is that the US is supporting the gang in Kiev’s “interim government” which includes Svoboda an openly neofascist party which aligns itself historically and currently with the principles of Hitler’s Nazi party.
Lavrov also said he questioned US officials over claims made in the German press concerning the employment of mercenaries from companies such as Greystone and Academi (formerly Blackwater) in Ukraine. Lavrov said US officials never explicitly denied the charge but instead made counter-charges.
Today it has been reported that Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered Russian troops performing maneuvers on the Ukrainian border back to their permanent bases. Whether the troops will actually leave or stay back at base for long is unknown especially with the Ukrainian presidential elections still scheduled for May 25th.
This article was posted: Monday, May 19, 2014 at 10:21 am
On Monday, Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) suggested that until Congress passes sweeping amnesty legislation, “every institution in America” should find ways to ignore or work around federal immigration laws. He also said that President Barack Obama’s Deferred Action program was the first step in implementing more amnesty programs.
Testifying before a Senate Subcommittee hearing in Chicago on “Immigrant Enlistment” that Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) chaired, Gutierrez said that “every institution in America, including our military, must work around the inability of our federal government and the U.S. House of Representatives to fix our immigration system.”
He also pushed the Navy and Marines to allow U.S. citizens who are married to illegal immigrants to enlist at a hearing in which Durbin called on the Pentagon to start enlisting DREAMers.
Gutierrez, one of the most vocal pro-amnesty legislators, has repeatedly called on Obama to flout the nation’s immigration laws even more and act unilaterally to give amnesty to more illegal immigrants, including the families of those offered temporary amnesty.
“DACA [Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals] is an important first step in implementing modern immigration policies that reflect our values and strengthen our nation,” he said. “Next we must fully incorporate DACA recipients and their families and the millions of immigrants who live among us into our society.”
Gutierrez and other pro-amnesty advocates pressured Obama’s Department of Homeland Security to undergo a review of its immigration policies. Last week, Homeland Secretary Jeh Johnson indicated to PBS’s Judy Woodruff that the administration may be on the verge of enacting executive actions to ease even more deportations, even though the myth that Obama is the so-called “deporter-in-chief” has been thoroughly debunked.
The United States National Security Agency is reportedly collecting the contents of effectively every phone call dialed or received within the Bahamas, putting the conversations of countless residents and tourists into the hands of the NSA.
Journalists at The Intercept on Monday accused the secretive American spy agency of participating in this massive but previously undisclosed dragnet surveillance system after being supplied with classified documentation provided to them by former intelligence contractor Edward Snowden.
“According to documents provided by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, the surveillance is part of a top-secret system – code-named SOMALGET – that was implemented without the knowledge or consent of the Bahamian government,” Ryan Devereaux, Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras wrote for The Intercept. “Instead, the agency appears to have used access legally obtained in cooperation with the US Drug Enforcement Administration to open a backdoor to the country’s cellular telephone network, enabling it to covertly record and store the ‘full-take audio’ of every mobile call made to, from and within the Bahamas – and to replay those calls for up to a month.”
In one of those documents, The Intercept acknowledged, the NSA boasts of being able to log “over 100 million call events per day.”
Previously, Mr. Snowden’s NSA disclosures have led national security reporters to reveal how the US intelligence community has been collecting in bulk the raw metadata pertaining to millions of phone calls domestically, and similar records abroad are collected and stored by a program codenamed MYSTIC: “a surveillance system capable of recording ‘100 percent’ of a foreign country’s telephone calls,” according to a Washington Post report published in March using documents supplied by Snowden. In the Bahamas and another, unnamed country, however, The Intercept reports that the NSA is allegedly recording the actual contents of every conversation, then storing it for analysts to review at a later date using a specialized project known only as SOMALGET.
“Documents show that the NSA has been generating intelligence reports from MYSTIC surveillance in the Bahamas, Mexico, Kenya, the Philippines and one other country, which The Intercept is not naming in response to specific, credible concerns that doing so could lead to increased violence,” the website reported. “The more expansive full-take recording capability has been deployed in both the Bahamas and the unnamed country.”
“If an entire nation’s cell-phone calls were a menu of TV shows, MYSTIC would be a cable programming guide showing which channels offer which shows, and when,” The Intercept reported this week. “SOMALGET would be the DVR that automatically records every show on every channel and stores them for a month. MYSTIC provides the access; SOMALGET provides the massive amounts of storage needed to archive all those calls so that analysts can listen to them at will after the fact.”
When reached for comment by The Intercept, the agency reportedly said in a statement that “the implication that NSA’s foreign intelligence collection is arbitrary and unconstrained is false.” The office of the Bahamian prime minister and another government official failed to comment ahead of The Intercept’s report, but journalists say that the documentation supplied by Mr. Snowden makes it clear that the NSA implemented this surveillance system unbeknownst to any officials in the Bahamas.
Key to the news, Greenwald tweeted on Monday, “isn’t just [that the] NSA is targeting country unrelated to terrorism, but the sweeping call-storing capability they’ve implemented.”
As investigators try to sort out who is responsible for the deaths of American veterans after they were forced to wait for treatment, the White House has sought to make it clear that they, too, are angered by the VA scandal.
In keeping with the Obama Administration’s tradition, their “outrage” is really just ornamental.
On Sunday, Obama’s Chief of Staff Denis McDonough stated on CBS’s “Face the Nation” that Obama was “madder than hell” about the VA scandal. The administrators have been accused of not only mismanaging the VA to the point where veterans died waiting for treatment, but then falsifying records to cover-up their ineptitude.
According to a new report, however, the Obama Administration knew about the VA’s mismanagement as far back as 2008, following Obama’s election.
But wait- I thought he was “madder than hell” to find this out…
We’ve heard it all before. Time and time again, the president demonstrates either supreme neglect or a wanton disregard for law and order in America and when these failures of leadership are brought to light, what are Americans offered?
Does President Obama own up to his mistakes like a man?
Does he lay out solid solutions for how to remedy these scandals that plague his administration?
No; instead, Americans are merely offered platitude and he shares in their anger. When Americans elect a president, it’s not out-of-line for them to expect a certain amount of hands-on leadership; the mistakes (and triumphs) must fall on the president as he is supposed to delegate responsibly. When our leadership fails us, Americans are only interested in expressions of outrage when they are immediately followed by swift action to remedy the problem.
After all, what good was Obama’s “outrage” after Benghazi? Fast and Furious? The AP scandal? The IRS scandal? Time and time again, President Obama shares with us his “outrage,” but then shrugs off his responsibilities and then gets in another round of golf.
Courtesy of Red Alert Politics, we get a glimpse into Obama’s pattern of shrugging-off his responsibilities:
IRS scandal: “It’s inexcusable, and Americans are right to be angry about it, and I am angry about it.”
Healthcare.gov: “Nobody’s madder than me about the website not working as well as it should.”
Lavish spending at the General Services Administration: “On the GSA issue, he was I think it’s fair to say apoplectic.” (Former White House senior advisor David Axelrod)
“Fast and Furious:” “It’s very upsetting to me to think that somebody showed such bad judgment that they would allow something like that to happen.”
Secret Service scandal: “If it turns out some of the allegations that have been made in the press are confirmed, then, of course, I’ll be angry.”
When are we expected to see some real, honest-to-goodness leadership?
Whenever the Obama Administration is implicated in a scandal that outrages Americans, Obama’s team has two routine maneuvers: they maintain that this is the first they’ve heard about it and then they quickly share that the president is outraged.
What’s missing? A solution.
On Sunday, Obama Chief of Staff Denis McDonough on CBS’s Face the Nation told Major Garrett that Obama was “madder than hell,” about the scandal at the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (VA).
But according to briefing materials obtained through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) by the Washington Times, Obama knew about the deadly backlog as far back as 2008, following the presidential election which elected Obama to his first term.
“This is not only a data integrity issue in which [Veterans Health Administration] reports unreliable performance data; it affects quality of care by delaying —and potentially denying — deserving veterans timely care,” the officals wrote, according to the Washington Times report.
This information follows VA Secretary Eric Shinseki telling the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee last Thursday that he was also “mad as hell.” Shinseki testified that he did not know if anyone had been fired over the scandal, nor would he agree that falsifying patient records was a fireable offense at the government agency.
Reports indicate that the falsification of records was so rampant that at the VA facility in Phoenix, and possibly other locations, patient waiting records were intentionally falsified in order for employees at the agency to receive bonuses for lowering costs.
It’s up to Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio).
Republican and Democratic advocates see one final, long-shot chance to pass immigration reform this summer, and its fate rests with a Speaker stuck between his party’s resistance and his search for a career-defining legacy.
House lawmakers writing immigration proposals say Republican leaders haven’t told them if they plan to hold a vote on immigration legislation before the August recess, which both sides see as the deadline for action in this Congress.
Boehner clearly wants to overhaul the immigration system, but to revive the issue, he will have to untangle knots he tied during the past year.
First, he ruled out the Senate’s “comprehensive” bill and said no House bill would get a vote absent support from a majority of Republicans. Then he announced that instead of a single, wide-ranging bill, the House would take a “step-by-step” approach, with reform embodied in several separate bills that could not be reconciled with the Senate proposal.
Yet these practical or procedural hurdles may not be Boehner’s biggest challenge. The highest bar to clear may be an issue of trust, specifically trust of President Obama.
Since February, the Speaker has said legislation cannot proceed until Republicans can trust the administration to enforce any new laws Congress passes.
It is a seemingly impossible standard for a president reviled by a majority of Republican lawmakers. Even stalwart advocates of immigration reform see scant chance of Obama meeting it.
“Nobody trusts the president, and that’s just the reality,” said Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (Fla.), a Republican who has written a bill that beefs up border security and offers a path to legal status for illegal immigrants. “Can the president re-establish his credibility in the next two months with the House, with the American people or with our allies? No. I think he can hopefully not make it worse.”
Boehner has not said how Obama could restore trust among Republicans who have watched angrily as he has repeatedly delayed parts of the healthcare law without congressional approval. Aides say, however, that he could begin by working with GOP members on some of their other priorities, such as the Skills Act, which the House passed to overhaul federal job-training programs.
A House GOP leadership aide said Obama could also help his cause by publicly ruling out unilateral action to halt deportations and by promising to enforce any new immigration law fully in the way Congress intended.
“Would it be helpful? Yes. Will it be enough? No,” Diaz-Balart said.
Diaz-Balart’s solution to the dilemma is to write legislation that would “hold the administration accountable” so it cannot ignore requirements to enforce border security. He would not give specifics, but his provisions would probably include a trigger based on a proposal agreed to last year that would revoke legal status for immigrants after five years if an employer E-Verify program were not in place.
Despite his emphasis on trust, Boehner has sent mixed signals that have confused supporters and foes about his intentions. He reportedly told a group of donors he was “hell-bent” on passing a law this year, mocked Republicans for their resistance, and then assured his House colleagues there is no “secret conspiracy” to ram an overhaul through.
Further confusion was engendered last week when White House aide and Obama family friend Valerie Jarrett was quoted as telling a forum in Las Vegas on Thursday that, on reform, “We have a commitment from Speaker Boehner, who’s very frustrated with his caucus.”
The following day, Jarrett distanced herself from the report, via Twitter. “I said Boehner has made [a] commitment to trying not that he has made [a] commitment to us or [to a] time frame,” she tweeted.
But, while Boehner has continued to leave open the possibility of immigration votes this year, his colleague, Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.), has been more sharply critical of Obama. This stokes doubt that Cantor would back a reform push before the midterm elections.
Although he has talked about offering citizenship to illegal immigrants brought to the United States as children, Cantor issued a blistering statement after an April phone call about immigration with the president. He has also criticized Obama’s credibility and his “all-or-nothing” approach to reform. Cantor faces a primary challenge in June and denounced what he called the Senate “amnesty bill” in a speech last week.
“We are unlikely to make progress on immigration reform if we cannot restore trust between the White House, Congress, and the American people,” Cantor spokeswoman Megan Whittemore said. “Frankly, the president’s all-or-nothing approach makes it difficult to get anything done.”
Democrats dismiss Boehner’s complaint about trust, saying it is an excuse adopted to camouflage his fear of a conservative revolt among his rank and file.
“It is time for the House Republican leadership to decide whether they stand with the majority of the American people, and supposedly the majority of their conference, or if they’re really going to let [Rep.] Steve King dictate the policy of the Republican party on immigration,” an architect of the Senate immigration bill, Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), said in a floor speech last week, referring to the Iowa conservative who opposes any new immigration legislation. “This is what Steve King wants. He wants the House to do nothing. He is winning, and America is losing.”
Obama said last week that Republicans have “two to three months” to take action. It is widely believed that if the House takes no action, the president, under pressure from liberal activists, will issue an executive order in August to slow or halt deportations of illegal immigrants.
Conservative supporters of an overhaul believe action is possible in June and July, after most Republican primaries have ended. With the GOP losing ground among Hispanic voters in swing states, these Republicans see getting reform passed this year as essential if the party hopes to win the White House in 2016.
Republican senators tell The Hill they will push a conservative reform solution if the GOP wins the Senate in November, but Schumer says the issue would by then be dead until after the presidential election.
Which brings the question back to Boehner.
He appeared to be pondering his mortality last week when he said in San Antonio that he could not guarantee he would stick around for another two-year term.
After failing to seal a “grand bargain” with Obama on cutting the federal deficit, Boehner may see immigration as his opportunity for an achievement that would define his tenure in office.
Read more: http://thehill.com/homenews/house/206447-all-eyes-on-boehner#ixzz32CM0ngYc
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