Tag Archives: Political Accountability

EPA: Time to Abolish, Not Merely Restrict

The New American

The federal SWAT team of nearly two dozen heavily armed agents from the EPA, FBI, and other agencies descended on the Canal Refining Co. in Church Point, Louisiana. Their target: Hubert P. Vidrine, Jr., the plant manager. His crime? Allegedly storing hazardous materials. His employees were herded up and treated like criminals. They were prevented from using the restrooms for several hours, as well as being denied the right to call their homes and daycare centers to make plans to have their children picked up.

That was in September 1996. It took the federal government more than three years, until December 1999, to indict Mr. Vidrine on one count of illegally storing a hazardous substance, during which time his name was publicly dragged through the mud, his liberties were greatly limited under pre-trial probation, and his family’s finances were devastated. The case against Mr. Vidrine turned out to be completely bogus, a malicious fabrication. The federal prosecutors, realizing they would lose in court, dropped all charges before the start of the trial. On September 30, 2011, 15 years after being subjected to the grief and humiliation of the EPA’s initial assault, Mr. and Mrs. Vidrine received a measure of redress, in the form of a decision by U.S. District Judge Rebecca Doherty awarding them $1,677,000.00 in damages and legal costs.

 

“This Court finds probable cause did not exist to indict Hubert Vidrine, nor to doggedly pursue him for close to four years,” said Judge Doherty. Moreover, she noted, the EPA’s Keith Phillips “acted with malice” and “set out with intent and reckless and callous disregard for anyone’s rights other than his own … to effectively destroy another man’s life.”

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Caving to Cuba no victory

Family Security Matters

Whoa! Sure, we should be thrilled the Cubans have released American Alan Gross, but Team Obama’s plan to normalize diplomatic relations with the Castro regime as a result is a bad idea.

At best.

First, it’s not as if this were some sort of humanitarian gesture on the part of the Cubans. They got three DGI – Cuban intelligence – officers in return for Gross and another unidentified Cuban who reportedly spied for the United States.

Plus, while the regime released Gross and another, Cuba is still a prison in the shape of an island where some 11 million Cubans toil under the weight of one of the world’s most repressive regimes – and have done so for decades.

With all the discussion of “American values” recently over the Senate report on CIA interrogations after 9/11, it’s interesting we’d embrace Cuba, a communist dictatorship which suppresses social, political and economic liberties.

Where are the American values in that?

Moreover, the establishment of diplomatic relations legitimizes the Castros and their “storied” struggle against us. The last thing we should do is prop up this regime or give it a propaganda victory.

Worse, this might also be just the beginning of a warming in relations with the Castros for this White House.

For instance, ending the American embargo on the Cuban regime – which would require congressional approval – might be next. This will put more money in the pockets of Havana, which will undoubtedly use it to crush rights at home and stir up anti-American trouble abroad.

Have we already forgotten Cuban mischief-making in this hemisphere – and beyond – when Havana was flush with Moscow’s financial, military and moral support during the Cold War?

Of course, we shouldn’t be surprised by this move by Team Obama, which is likely looking to Cuba for an “at last” foreign policy win in a long string of failing strategies from Russia to Iran to the Islamic State.

Unfortunately, caving to Cuba won’t be one.

Congress ‘Endorses’ Warrantless Collection, Storage of U.S. Communications

Free Republic

With nearly no public notice or debate, Congress on Wednesday approved legislation that critics say blesses the warrantless collection, dissemination and five-year retention of everyday Americans’ phone and Internet communications.

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The controversial language was quietly incorporated into an intelligence authorization bill that passed the Senate on Tuesday and then the House on Wednesday.

The legislation, privacy advocates say, sanctions for the first time the executive branch’s warrantless collection of American communications under Executive Order 12333, issued in 1981 to authorize the interception of communications overseas.

Section 309 of the intelligence bill sets a five-year limit, with many exceptions, on the retention of U.S. persons’ communications collected under that order, which was issued well before widespread use of cellphones and the Internet.

Members of Rep. Justin Amash’s staff noticed the section Wednesday morning, and the Michigan Republican rushed to the House floor, rallied opposition with a letter to colleagues and secured a roll call vote.

But opponents failed to defeat the bill, which passed 325-100 and now heads to President Barack Obama for his signature.

“This whole thing is so upsetting to me,” says John Napier Tye, a former State Department Internet policy official who went public as a whistleblower in July. Tye warns that U.S. spy agencies can evade congressional oversight and use the order to scoop up vast amounts of American communications routinely routed through foreign cables and servers.

“It is good that Congress is trying to regulate 12333 activities,” Tye says. “But the language in this bill just endorses a terrible system that allows the NSA to take virtually everything Americans do online and use it however it wants according to the rules it writes.” He says that includes sharing the intercepts with foreign governments and domestic law enforcement.

The provision says “any nonpublic telephone or electronic communication” sent by or among Americans that’s intercepted by intelligence agencies without a court order or subpoena can be stored for five years.

Intercepted communications can be stored longer if they are encrypted, include evidence of a crime or meet other exceptions.

“The NSA can take everything an American does online [and] write its own rules for how to share it with foreign governments and with the FBI, allowing a huge amount of American data to [be used to] prosecute Americans with no court oversight,” Tye says.

The New York Times reported in August that the Obama administration is rewriting internal policies to allow the FBI direct access to a database of raw communications collected under the executive order.

There’s no specification in the legislation of crimes that would qualify communications for distribution to law enforcement. “The executive branch writes its own rules,” Tye says, with the FBI using parallel construction to obscure the true origin of some criminal investigations.

Read the rest of this article here.

HHS Violates ACORN Funding Ban to Pay for Obamacare Navigators

JUDICIAL WATCH

Despite a 5-year-old congressional ban on federal funding for the notably corrupt Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN), Judicial Watch has obtained documents that show a chunk of taxpayer money went to an affiliate serving as an Obamacare “navigator.”

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) violated the ACORN funding ban by awarding a Louisiana nonprofit called Southern United Neighborhoods (SUN) a $1.3 million Obamacare navigator grant to recruit customers for the president’s disastrous healthcare law and help them “navigate” the complicated insurance exchanges. Headquartered in New Orleans, SUN is dedicated to combating poverty, discrimination and community deterioration that keep low-income people from taking advantage of their rights and opportunities, according to its website.

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Life in Post-Truth America

Family Security Matters

Next month Americans will experience the fifteenth anniversary of the time that the President of the United States shook his finger at the country and informed it, “I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky. I never told anybody to lie, not a single time; never.”

Bill Clinton was lying. But the lie was more significant than the thing that he was lying about.

When the lie came crashing down, Clinton and his defenders deconstructed the English language, questioning the meaning of every word in his sentence rather than admit that the lie was a lie.

Given a choice between telling the truth or challenging the definitions of such words as “sex” and “is”, they decided to burn their dictionary.

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Betrayal from Both Sides of the Aisle?

Gulag Bound

Despite the fact that We-the-People gave the Republicans a mandate to stop Obama’s unconstitutional and country-destroying dictates, policies, and programs with a landslide victory in November, the current establishment majority–still in charge of the Marxist Democrat-Lite Party (aka Republicans)–still insists upon supporting Obama.

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Message to the Congressional Republican Marxists: Your cover has been blown! You can no longer effectively use the excuse of, the media will be mean to us if we don’t support the first black president!

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SENATE REPUBLICANS VOTE TO WAIVE THE CONSTITUTION

Free Republic

There is no question that President Obama’s executive amnesty violates the Constitution. Even the president acknowledged back in September that he would be “ignoring the law” to carry out such an action.

Source : watchmen-news.com

Source : watchmen-news.com

Ted Cruz (R-TX)U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) raised a constitutional point of order against the $1.1 trillion omnibus spending that, if sustained, would have sent the bill back to the House to remove amnesty funding.

Unfortunately, a group of Republicans joined the Democrats in voting to reject Cruz’s point of order and to ignore the serious constitutional problems with the president’s executive amnesty.

These 20 Republicans voted to waive the Constitution.

Lamar Alexander (R-TN) Lindsey Graham (R-SC) Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) Orrin Hatch (R-UT) John Barrasso (R-WY) Dean Heller (R-NV) Dan Coats (R-IN) Ron Johnson (R-WI) Thad Cochran (R-MS) Mark Kirk (R-IL) Susan Collins (R-ME) John McCain (R-AZ) Bob Corker (R-TN) Mitch McConnell (R-KY) John Cornyn (R-TX) Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) Mike Enzi (R-WY) Pat Toomey (R-PA) Jeff Flake (R-AZ) Roger Wicker (R-MS)

CR #353, 12/13/14

SENATE PASSES $1.1 TRILLION OMNIBUS SPENDING BILL

After waiving the constitutional point of order, the Senate passed the omnibus bill, which fully funds Obamacare, does nothing to stop the president’s amnesty, and includes an earmark to help the DC establishment defeat conservative challengers.

These 24 Republicans voted for the bill.

Lamar Alexander (R-TN) Lindsey Graham (R-SC) Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) Orrin Hatch (R-UT) John Barrasso (R-WY) John Hoeven (R-ND) Roy Blunt (R-MO) Johnny Isakson (R-GA) John Boozman (R-AR) Mike Johanns (R-NE) Richard Burr (R-NC) Mark Kirk (R-IL) Dan Coats (R-IN) Mitch McConnell (R-KY) Thad Cochran (R-MS) Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) Susan Collins (R-ME) Pat Roberts (R-KS) John Cornyn (R-TX) John Thune (R-SD) Mike Enzi (R-WY) Pat Toomey (R-PA) Deb Fischer (R-NE) Roger Wicker (R-MS)