26 U.S. SENATORS WRITE CLAPPER, DEMAND ANSWERS

Twenty-six U.S. Senators wrote to Director of National Intelligence James Clapper on June 27, demanding some answers on NSA secret surveillance of Americans. The letter was organized by Oregon Democrat Ron Wyden, but the signers included four Republicans: Mark Kirk of Illinois, Mike Lee of Utah, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, and Dean Heller of Nevada, the London Guardian reported.

Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR)

Among their questions were:

“* How long has the NSA used Patriot Act authorities to engage in bulk collection of Americans’ records? Was this collection underway when the law was reauthorized in 2006?

“* Has the NSA used USA Patriot Act authorities to conduct bulk collection of any other types of records pertaining to Americans, beyond phone records?

“* Has the NSA collected or made any plans to collect Americans’ cell-site location data in bulk?

“* Have there been any violations of the court orders permitting this bulk collection, or of the rules governing access to these records? If so, please describe these violations.”

The Senators signing the letter are: Ron Wyden (D-Or), Mark Udall (D-Co), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt), Mark Kirk (R-Il), Dick Durbin (D-Il), Tom Udall (D-NM), Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), Jon Tester (D-Mt), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Dean Heller (R-Nev),Mark Begich (D-Alaska), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt), Patty Murray (D-Wash), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), Al Franken (D-Minn), Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), Chris Coons (D-Del), Maria Cantwell (D-Wash), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn), Max Baucus (D-Mont), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisc) and Mike Lee (R-Utah).

DEVELOPER GUILTY OF ILLEGAL CONTRIBUTIONS TO REID

By SCOTT SONNER | Associated Press

RENO, Nev. (AP) — A Nevada powerbroker who headed a billion-dollar real estate company and pulled the strings of state politics as a prominent lobbyist for more than a decade was convicted Wednesday of making illegal campaign contributions to U.S. Sen. Harry Reid.

Harvey Whittemore, 59, could face up to 15 years in prison and hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines after a federal jury returned guilty verdicts on three counts tied to nearly $150,000 illegally funneled to Reid’s re-election campaign in 2007.

Later in the day, U.S. District Judge Larry Hicks declared a mistrial on a count of lying to the FBI after jurors said they were deadlocked on that charge.

Whittemore stood with his arms behind his back and shook his head slightly after the verdicts were read. He was convicted of making excessive campaign contributions, making contributions in the name of another and causing a false statement to be made to the Federal Election Commission.

Each count carries a maximum penalty of up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The judge set sentencing for Sept. 23.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven Myhre said prosecutors will review the case before deciding whether to refile the charge of lying to the FBI during a February 2012 interview.

Dominic Gentile, Whittemore’s lead defense counsel, said the convictions will be appealed to the 9th U.S. Circuit of Appeals. He said a case pending before the U.S. Supreme Court touches on similar issues related to the constitutionality of federal limits on campaign contributions.

Among other things, Gentile said the defense will challenge Hicks’ refusal to allow the defense to reference an Alabama case against the Federal Election Commission.

“His conduct was protected by the First Amendment,” Gentile told reporters at a news conference with Whittemore and his wife, Annette, shortly after leaving court.

Whittemore said he would reserve immediate comment on his conviction because of the emotional toll the two-week trial has taken on his family.

“My family and I have been through quite a bit,” he said.

He said he will hold a news conference when all appeals are resolved to give the “complete and true story about who was behind this and how it got started.”

Annette Whittemore said the couple is fortunate to have such a close, “strong-willed” family to support them.

“Harvey said throughout the trial the one thing they can’t take away is our family and friends,” she said.

Prosecutors said Whittemore gave money to family members and employees in 2007 to make contributions he had promised to Reid while concealing himself as the true source to skirt campaign finance laws.

Defense attorneys argued Whittemore broke no laws by giving $5,000 checks as gifts to family members and as gifts or bonuses to 29 employees and their spouses, who then each wrote checks for the maximum allowable $4,600 to the Senate majority leader’s campaign fund, Friends of Harry Reid.

Myrhe said he hopes the verdicts send a strong message that U.S. campaign finance violations are serious offenses that will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

“These laws exist to protect the election process from undue influence and to provide transparency to the voting public,” he told reporters outside the courthouse.

Assistant U.S. Attorney General Mythili Raman said Whittemore used “straw donors” to evade federal contribution limits.

“The cornerstones of our campaign finance laws are contribution limits and transparency, and Mr. Whittemore’s crime was designed to undermine both,” Mythili said in a statement from Washington.

Prosecutors said in closing arguments Tuesday that Whittemore had been the “king of the hill” in Nevada political circles, an insider who had worked his way onto the short list of many U.S. senators and representatives as someone to call when they needed to quickly find donors.

Whittemore once hosted an event for Sen. John Edwards, then a Democratic presidential hopeful, and a fundraiser at Reid’s request for then-Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle. He also helped arrange a reception attended by President Clinton during an environmental summit at Lake Tahoe.

“When he made these contributions, he was the ultimate insider,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Eric Olshan said during his closing argument. “He was making millions of dollars and getting personal thank-you notes from the most prominent politicians in the country.”

Reid had no comment on the verdicts, said Kristen Orthman, a spokeswoman for the senator.

Reid was not accused of any wrongdoing. He has said he was unaware of any potential problems with the money he received.

“I received $25 million. He raised $150,000,” Reid told the Las Vegas Sun earlier this week. “I had money coming in from other places.”

Myhre told jurors Whittemore was driven solely by greed – “not to get more money but greed in the sense of more power.”

“It’s about trying to be on the short list that senators and congressmen call when they need money,” he said. “That’s why he did it.”

Myhre said after the verdicts that he couldn’t comment on why the prosecution chose not to call Reid as a witness, or whether the case involving Whittemore has been completely closed.

RAND PAUL: SENATE IS ARMING AL-QAEDA AND RUSHING TO WAR IN SYRIA

Rand Paul: Senate Is Arming Al-Qaeda and Rushing to War in Syria

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Written by  Joe Wolverton, II, J.D. | The New American

“This is an important moment. You will be funding, today, the allies of al Qaeda.”

That was the declaration Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.; pictured) made on May 21 during a hearing of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Paul’s comments were directed at his colleagues, nearly all of whom voted to send arms to Syrian rebels.

Senators Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) and Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) co-sponsored the bill that authorizes “critical support to the Syrian opposition through provision of military assistance, training, and additional humanitarian support.”

The bill sailed through the committee, passing with bipartisan support by a vote of 15-3.

Senator Paul offered two amendments to the bill — officially styled the Syria Transition Support Act — one that would have forbidden the transfer of weapons to the rebel forces fighting to oust the government of current Syrian president Bashar al-Asad, and another that would have prevented the use of U.S. military armed forces in Syria.

Both of Paul’s amendments were rejected by the committee.

Apart from supplying lethal and non-lethal weaponry to Syrian opposition forces, the Menendez-Corker bill contains several other regime-toppling provisions, all of which are boastfully reported by Mendendez on his website. They include:

• “Creation of a $250 million transition fund each year through FY2015 drawn from funds otherwise appropriated for regional transition support”;

• “Sanctions on arms and oil sales to Assad: Targeting any person that the President of the United States determines has knowingly participated in or facilitated a transaction related to the sale or transfer of military equipment, arms, petroleum, or petroleum products to the Assad regime.”; and

• “Amendment to the Syria Accountability Act: To allow for sanctions removal once a transitional government is in place and certain terrorism and WMD criteria have been met.”

Neither Paul’s warnings nor his amendments were enough to counteract the powerful politicians pushing to arm the Syrian rebels. A cadre of lawmakers from seemingly distinct bands of the political spectrum lined up behind the move to add Syria to the list of Middle Eastern countries with U.S.-approved ruling parties. As in the case of Iraq and Afghanistan, these dictators-in-waiting will walk a path to power paved with American money and likely covered in the blood of American soldiers.

Rubio, described by many as a Tea Party favorite, chastised Senator Paul, refuting his allegation that a vote for arming the Syrian rebels was tantamount to giving guns to al-Qaeda.

“I don’t think any member of this committee would vote for anything we thought was going to arm al Qaeda,” said Rubio.

Mendendez piled on, saying, “Al Qaeda, unfortunately, is well-armed. That is the present reality in Syria.”

Senator Corker tried striking a less hostile tone, arguing that arming rebels vetted by Congress — as called for in his bill — would prevent U.S. weaponry from being funneled into more radical segments of the coalition of anti-Assad armed forces.

Seeing through Corker’s false dilemma, Paul responded, saying, “It’s impossible to know who our friends are.” He later said that the vote was nothing more than a “rush to war.”

In an exclusive interview with The New American, Senator Paul pointed out the irony in the fact that the original Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF) enacted after September 11, 2001 called for finding and destroying al-Qaeda, while the legislation passed on May 21 by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee would arm known associates of that very organization.

“These people [Syrian rebels] will say they love America knowing that that’s how to get weapons. They lie to us and then shoot us in the back,” Paul explained.

Another bit of irony apparently lost on 15 members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee is the fact that the United States has walked this road before. In the 1980s, Congress voted to arm militant Islamic forces under the pretext that the enemy of our enemy was our friend. Then, within 20 years, the very beneficiaries of U.S. military largesse in Afghanistan seized control of that country and reportedly sheltered and trained the men who carried out the attacks of September 11.

One wonders how (or if) the Senate fails to appreciate the destruction that will surely come from once again sowing the wind and reaping the whirlwind that comes from arming those who would do us harm. Some senators, however, seemed determined to deploy troops in every corner of the planet, regardless of the fact these young men and women could be killed by militants armed with weapons supplied by their very own government.

Never one to miss a chance to take his turn banging on the war drum, Senator John McCain mocked an amendment offered by Senator Tom Udall (D-N.M.) that would have placed more stringent controls on the type of weapon shipped to Syrian rebels.

“The senator from New Mexico wants to use shotguns against SCUD missiles,” McCain said.

Rand Paul has been banging another drum, however. During the hearings on the attack on the American mission in Benghazi, Libya, Paul brought up the possibility that the Obama administration was covering up the existence of a gun running pipeline running throughout the Middle East.

Paul, in fact, tried to get answers to these questions from then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during the Senate’s investigation of the Benghazi raid that left four people dead, including U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens. Addressing Secretary Clinton, Paul asked directly, “Is the U. S. involved with any procuring of weapons, transfer of weapons, buying, selling, anyhow transferring weapons to Turkey out of Libya?”

Clinton demurred, claiming that she’d never heard about that allegation.

Undaunted, Paul continued, “It’s been in news reports that ships have been leaving from Libya and that may have weapons, and what I’d like to know is the annex that was close by, were they involved with procuring, buying, selling, obtaining weapons, and were any of these weapons being transferred to other countries, any countries, Turkey included?”

Always the savvy politician, Clinton responded, “Well, Senator, you’ll have to direct that question to the agency that ran the annex. I will see what information is available.”

“You’re saying you don’t know?” asked Paul.

“I do not know,” Clinton said. “I don’t have any information on that.”

Americans have a right to know, however, who’s receiving millions in tax dollars taken from them.

A Reuters article from last August, which detailed a secret order signed by President Obama providing support to Syrian rebel forces opposing the regime of Bashar al-Assad, noted, “Recent news reports from the region have suggested that the influence and numbers of Islamist militants, some of them connected to al Qaeda or its affiliates, have been growing among Assad’s opponents.”

Later, The New American covered the same story, writing that “Western governments, brutal Sunni-Arab dictatorships, an assortment of terror groups including al-Qaeda, and other powerful interests have all been backing the uprising since long before violence even broke out last year.”

In a story covering the violence of the Syrian uprising, the BBC added credibility to the accusations:

The al-Qaeda-styled group in Syria is Jabhat al-Nusra li-Ahl al-Sham (the Front for the Protection of the Syrian People).

Like other al-Qaeda affiliated groups, al-Nusra’s statements and videos are usually issued by its own media group, al-Manara al-Baida (the White Minaret) in Syria.

Al-Nusra has claimed responsibility for several attacks against the Syrian army, security and shabiha (state-sponsored thugs) since it announced its formation early this year.

Finally, under a headline reading “Al-Qaida turns tide for rebels in battle for eastern Syria,” The Guardian (U.K.) reported:

They try to hide their presence. “Some people are worried about carrying the [black] flags,” said Abu Khuder. “They fear America will come and fight us. So we fight in secret. Why give Bashar and the west a pretext?” But their existence is common knowledge in Mohassen. Even passers-by joke with the men about car bombs and IEDs [improvised explosive devices].

According to Abu Khuder, his men are working closely with the military council that commands the Free Syrian Army brigades in the region. “We meet almost every day,” he said. “We have clear instructions from our [al-Qaida] leadership that if the FSA need our help we should give it. We help them with IEDs and car bombs. Our main talent is in the bombing operations.” Abu Khuder’s men had a lot of experience in bomb-making from Iraq and elsewhere, he added.

Regardless of Rand Paul’s efforts to keep the U.S. from running headlong into an armed conflict in Syria and his accurate depiction of the duplicity of those Syrian opposition forces waiting for the shipment of weapons from the United States, the Senate is speedily moving toward awarding al-Qaeda with crates of technologically advanced U.S. weaponry.

The Menendez-Corker bill will now move to Senate floor for debate by the entire body. A member of the staff of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) told The New American that he was unsure when the bill would be put on the calendar.

U.S. SENATE WILL BACK ISRAELI ATTACK ON IRAN

Foreign Relations Committee of the US Senate votes in favor of resolution stipulating that US will support Israel in case it was forced to take military action against Iran

By Yitzhak Benhorin | Ynet News

WASHINGTON — Members of the US Senate’s Foreign Relations Committee have adopted “Senate Resolution 65,” according to which the US will support Israel in case it is compelled to take military action and actualize its right to self defense in the face of an Iranian threat.

The resolution stipules that Israel will enjoy Washington’s diplomatic, economic and military aid.

According to the resolution, sponsored by Sen. Robert Menendez and Sen. Lindsey Graham, the US’s policy is to halt Iranian nuclear ambitions.

Senate Resolution 65 has successfully gained the support of 70 of the 100 senators.

In a statement issued by AIPAC it was noted that “The Senate Foreign Relations Committee has sent a very clear and enormously important message of solidarity with Israel against the Iranian nuclear threat—which endangers American, Israeli, and international security.”

President Barack Obama sent his holiday wishes to Israel on its 65th Independence Day, stating: “On this date 65 years ago, the Jewish people realized their dream of the ages – to be masters of their fate in their own sovereign state.”

“The strong and prosperous Israel we see today proves Herzl’s vision – ‘if you will it, it is no dream,” the US president added.

HOUSE BILL WOULD FIRE TAX-DELINQUENT FEDERAL WORKERS

By Josh Hicks | The Washington Post

The House this week is scheduled to vote on two bills that would block federal employees, job candidates and contractors from working for the government if they owe back taxes.

One measure, sponsored by Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), would require federal agencies to fire employees and reject potential hires with “seriously delinquent” tax debt, meaning those who have been hit with a tax lien. Democrats opposed that bill when it was considered by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee last month.

A second measure, also sponsored by Chaffetz, would prohibit federal agencies from awarding large contracts and grants to contractors who are not tax-compliant. That bill passed the committee with bipartisan support.

Critics say the legislation to fire tax-delinquent feds would unfairly target civil servants, some of whom may already face economic hardship because of the furloughs that certain agencies have proposed to absorb the government-wide spending cuts that took effect on March 1.

“This is a perfect example of how out of touch this Congress is,” said Colleen M. Kelley, president of the National Treasury Employees Union, which represents approximately 150,000 federal workers.

About 3.6 percent of the nation’s nearly 3 million federal civilian employees owed a combined $1 billion in back taxes in 2011, according to data from the Internal Revenue Service.

That’s a small number of people, but Chaffetz argues that the government still needs to weed out those individuals.

“We want someone who is honest in their dealings to have that federal job,” Chaffetz said in an interview on Monday. “If they’re thumbing their noses at the government as federal employees, then it’s probably symptomatic of other undesirable behavior in their work.”

In a statement on Friday, the NTEU said that the government already has adequate remedies in place to deal with federal workers who fall behind. The union said executive-branch agencies, for instance, can take disciplinary actions that range from counseling to removal.

Critics of the firing legislation say the measure would be counterproductive, since taxes can be harder to collect from individuals who lose their jobs.

“The measure actually undermines the ability of the government to collect the unpaid taxes,’ Rep. Elijah Cummings said last month, according to a Washington Post article. “It is much more difficult to recoup delinquent taxes from someone who is unemployed.”

Chaffetz said the firing bill is still necessary as a deterrent. “When you’re talking about receiving federal taxpayer dollars, I think there’s an obligation to comply with tax law,” he said. “If you’re not paying your taxes, let’s find someone who will.”

The NTEU noted in its statement that the firing bill would not apply to members of Congress. ”It’s a double standard that Congress imposes furloughs and firings on the federal workforce yet exempts itself,” Kelley said.

The House passed a similar bill last year, but the measure died in the Senate.

REP. FRANK WOLF URGES NEW BENGHAZI INVESTIGATION

Published on Apr 10, 2013

Rep. Frank Wolf called a press conference outside the capitol to discuss his sponsorship of H. Res. 36, which would create a special congressional committee to investigate the failures that contributed to the deadly jihadist attack in Benghazi, Libya last year. He was joined by Family Research Council’s Lt. Gen. Jerry Boykin, former Deputy Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence and former member of Delta Force. Boykin represented Special Operations Speaks, a group of ex-special forces operators who came together to write a letter to Members of Congress, urging them to commit to getting to the bottom of what happened in Benghazi, and to end the administration’s cover-up. Finally, the Center for Security Policy’s Frank Gaffney spoke about the implications of the attack in Libya on America’s national security and foreign policy in the Middle East/North Africa region.

Write a letter to your congressman at http://www.endthecoverup.com

CONGRESS REPEATING THE SECOND BASIC LAW OF STUPIDITY

By Frosty Wooldridge
April 9, 2013
NewsWithViews.com

As you read in the First Basic Law of Stupidity, our U.S. Congress works on yet another mass amnesty for 20 million illegal alien migrants now working and residing in our country in violation of dozens of our laws. Notice that Congress failed to enforce the employment laws from the 1965 Immigration Reform Law as well as the 1986 Amnesty that gave four million Mexicans instant citizenship. All totaled, those two new laws by Congress flooded this country with over 120 million more people since 1965. This next amnesty will flood the country with yet another 100 million immigrants at the bare minimum.

Today, we live in 2013 with a few other interesting facts Congress bestowed on the American people:

Congress placed our country into a $16.5 trillion national debt. It’s wrecking the foundation of our republic and our financial ability to survive.
Congress waged two useless, worthless and meaningless wars for the past 10 years at a cost of $3 trillion. Trillions more when it comes to the emotional, physical and psychological chaos incurred by our military veterans.
Congress outsource, insourced and offshored millions of US jobs so we now suffer 14 million unemployed and 7 million underemployed.
Congress killed so many jobs and job training that 47 million Americans subsist on food stamps in April of 2013.
Congress refuses to enforce internal immigration employment, housing and transport laws—so that we face 20 million illegal aliens scamming American workers out of jobs as well as using $346 billion annually in taxpayer services like education, medical care, anchor babies, incarceration, drug distribution, shop lifting and more.
Congress refuses to aid lawful American citizens with jobs, but it works its magic in allowing over eight million illegal aliens full time work in our country—and much of it off the books and no taxes collected, but we subsidize their children, health care and prison costs.
Congress huddles in Washington, DC to gift another 20 million illegal aliens with instant citizenship and all the cash and welfare benefits that entails. Heritage Foundation estimates $3 to $5 trillion for the cost of this new amnesty paid for by you, the legal American taxpayer.

Which brings us to the “Second Basic Law of Stupidity” by Carlo M. Cipolla, Professor of Economics, UC Berkeley in Whole Earth Review, Spring 1987

Cipolla said in the Second Basic Law of Stupidity, “Cultural trends now fashionable in the West favor an egalitarian approach to life. People like to think of human beings as the output of a perfectly engineered mass production machine. Geneticists and sociologists especially go out of their way to prove, with an impressive apparatus of scientific data and formulations that all men are naturally equal and if some are more equal that others, this is attributable to nurture and not to nature.

“I take an exception to this general view. It is my firm conviction, supported by years of observation and experimentation, that men are not equal, that some are stupid and others are not, and that the difference is determined by nature and not by cultural forces or factors. One is stupid in the same way one is red-haired; one belongs to the stupid set as one belongs to a blood group. A stupid man is born a stupid man by an act of Providence.”

The collective IQ of America declines below three digits. Notice that 7,000 high school kids drop out or flunk out of high school every day in America. Notice those failure rates correspond to the millions of third world immigrants imported into America. Not only does our Congress import illiteracy, it imports poverty and cultures of poverty. One look at Los Angeles today provides ample proof where a teenager cannot read the bus schedule. Unemployment screams off the charts and immigrants ride the welfare gravy train like a new art form.

“Although convinced that fractions of human beings are stupid and that they are so because of genetic traits,” said Cipolla. “I am not a reactionary trying to reintroduce surreptitiously class or race discrimination, I firmly believe stupidity is an indiscriminate privilege of all human groups and is uniformly distributed according to a constant proportion. This fact is scientifically expressed by the Second Basic Law with states that: The probability that a certain person be stupid is independent of any other characteristic of that person.”

Today in America 42 million Americans cannot read, write or perform simple math problems. Another 50 million cannot read past the 4th grade level. It will be interesting when we import the projected 100 million more immigrants from the burgeoning third world by 2050—as to what kind of a completely stupid, dumb, dysfunctional and totally illiterate civilization the majority of our citizens will have become.

The democrats and republicans will probably tell us we need more immigrants to revitalize the nation, freshen it and bring new ideas to solve all our problems.

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