Tag Archives: national security

Obama’s “JV” Terrorists

isis-beheads-america-journalist-james-wright-foley-message-to-obama-islamic-state

It is not uncommon to find inconsistencies and even contradictions in U.S. foreign policy. Usually a few years of separation are required to reveal our inconsistency, as in the case of Iran. Rarely do we see such striking contradictions in real time as we do today in the Middle East policies of the Obama administration.

isis-iraq-war-crimes.siISIS occupies the center stage of our current iteration of contradictory policy. The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), which subsequently changed their name to the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL), apparently now wants to be known simply as The Islamic State (IS). This is the militaristic group that has emerged out of Syria, Al-Nusra, and merged with Al Qaeda of Iraq, to take over significant portions of eastern Syria and northern Iraq.

Threatening to violently take over all of Iraq and Syria, establishing an Islamic caliphate that would eventually cover the world, they have mercilessly spread their destruction from city to city. They behead or conduct mass executions against whoever opposes them (including American journalists), kidnap for ransoms to fund their operations, and have vowed to raise the ISIS flag over the White House. They are well funded from bank robberies, selling oil on the black market, and from kidnap ransoms. They are well trained, militant, and are well armed, predominantly with U.S. equipment.

rightThis is the Al Qaeda-linked group of terrorists that Obama referred to as “JV” (junior varsity) just a few months ago. In an interview with New Yorker magazine in January, the president applied a metaphor, saying of ISIS, that putting on a “Laker’s uniform doesn’t make them Kobe Bryant.” That “JV” group of militants, now figured to be 10,000 strong (including some westerners and as many as 300 Americans) is now perceived to be the greatest terrorist threat in the world.

During the 2012 presidential campaign, more than 32 times the president claimed Al Qaeda was “decimated” or “defeated.” To acknowledge their resurgence just two years later would not fit with his narrative as slayer of Osama bin Laden and vanquisher of his terrorist group. Consequently, their emerging threat had to be minimized.

But that’s just the tip of the ISIS iceberg for the administration. We have to realize that for the past few years the president has been actively engaged in toppling Middle Eastern regimes; Khadafy in Libya, Mubarak in Egypt, and Assad in Syria. In fact, just over a year ago the president was requesting $500 million to help the “freedom fighters” in Syria topple the Assad regime. The majority of those “freedom fighters” now go by the name ISIS, and the president was poised to fund them.

050913_ObamaBenghaziCoverUp_UFSCOLOREven worse, according to CNN last August, CIA sources have revealed that the Benghazi consulate attack of 9/11/12 was directly linked to a clandestine administration operation providing arms to the rebels in Syria. It wasn’t just the consulate compound in Benghazi that was demolished by the marauding jihadists, but the CIA facility two kilometers away, that housed the cash and weapons caches being smuggled into Syria. Jihadists got all of it.

This clarifies the need of the administration to fabricate a story about a YouTube video causing the “spontaneous demonstration” leading to the assassination of Ambassador Chris Stevens and three others in Benghazi. In light of recent developments with ISIS, clearly the administration was displaying their naiveté, or, worse yet, intentionally downplaying the effects of surging jihadist groups, by willfully arming and funding them in their effort to displace Assad.

Clarifying the nature and ideological alignment of ISIS, last week Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that ISIS and Hamas are “branches of the same tree.” He explained, “Hamas is ISIS, ISIS is Hamas. They’re the enemies of peace. They’re the enemies of Israel. They’re the enemies of all civilized countries.”

RAMclr-062514-attack-IBD-COLOR-FINAL.gif.cmsThis brings us to current events, with the president now authorizing bombing of ISIS targets in Iraq, and leaving the door open to possible raids even into Syria. So now he’s bombing the same militants that he sought to legally fund through congress, was actively arming and funding through clandestine CIA operations in Benghazi, Libya, and that he has characterized as being “JV” terrorists. And let’s not forget that by leaving Iraq so hastily without a Status of Forces agreement, the administration created the vacuum facilitating the successful march of ISIS across northern Iraq.

Last week Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said, “I think evidence is pretty clear when we look at what they did to Mr. Foley [the American journalist James Foley, beheaded last week by ISIS], what they threaten to do to all Americans and Europeans, what they are doing now, the — I don’t know any other way to describe it other than barbaric. 

They have no standard of decency, of responsible human behavior. And I think the record is pretty clear on that. So, yes, they are an imminent threat to every interest we have, whether it’s in Iraq or anywhere else.” He concluded, “We’ve never seen anything like it before.”

"We are in your state. We are in your cities. We are in your streets."

“We are in your state.
We are in your cities.
We are in your streets.”

Those who maintain that the U.S. should embrace a non-interventionist foreign policy would have us believe that this is not a concern to us. In social media and elsewhere they promulgate an attitude of, “let them kill each other off.”

It could already be too late for that. Last week Texas Governor Rick Perry said, “There’s the obvious great concern that because of the condition of the border from the standpoint of it not being secure and us not knowing who is penetrating across, that individuals from ISIS or other terrorist states could be [crossing the border] — and I think there is a very real possibility that they may have already used that.” Our southern border is not secure, and clearly anyone of means or resources could easily breach it.

There are signs that they have already done so. ISIS has posted and tweeted photographs of their flag flying in Washington, D.C. and Chicago, with the message, “We are in your cities.” Just this week, the United Kingdom raised their terrorist threat assessment from “substantial” to “severe” in response to the rising danger ISIS poses globally.

In the 1990’s, Al Qaeda declared war on the U.S. We didn’t take it seriously and dealt with terrorist attacks as incidents for law enforcement. We all remember what that led to. And according to Secretary Hagel, this threat is greater. Attorney General Eric Holder announced this week that the FBI would investigate the beheading of journalist James Foley. Is history repeating itself, due to incompetence and an ideologically driven approach to assessing and addressing our exogenous threats? Regrettably, it appears so.

Associated Press award winning columnist Richard Larsen is President of Larsen Financial, a brokerage and financial planning firm in Pocatello, Idaho and is a graduate of Idaho State University with degrees in Political Science and History and coursework completed toward a Master’s in Public Administration. He can be reached at [email protected].

 

British Court rules on search of Miranda property

Romana Klee (CC)

Romana Klee (CC)

Romana Klee (CC)


David Miranda, the Brazilian man who had been working with The Guardian’s Glenn Greenwald, obtained a partial victory in British court. His property that had been seized by authorities cannot be searched, unless it is for the purpose of “national security.”

BBC News reports:

The High Court ruled the authorities could examine the seized material for the defence of national security and also to investigate whether Mr Miranda, 28, is a person who is or has been concerned with the commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism.

Mr Miranda’s lawyers said he had had nine items, including his laptop, mobile phone, memory cards and DVDs, taken during the detention on Sunday.

They sought the injunction to prevent access to the data, arguing his detention was unlawful and threatened “journalistic sources whose confidential information is contained in the material seized”.

Speaking after the case, Gwendolen Morgan, from law firm Bindmans, said the injunction was a “partial victory”.

She said the government now has seven days to “prove there is a genuine threat to national security”.

Ms Morgan added she knew “very little” about the criminal investigation police revealed they were undertaking.

“We don’t know of any basis for that,” she added.

Miranda had been stopped presumably because of his association with Greenwald, and the Edward Snowden affair. It can be presumed that the British authorities had been hoping to find more Snowden documents before they were released to the public. In the wake of Miranda’s detainment, Guardian editors revealed that the British government had destroyed their hard drives. Given the nature of the information, and Snowden’s claims that the information will be released no matter what happens to him, it is unlikely that destroying hard drives or seizing property of journalists will put an end to the Snowden information releases. As for the Miranda situation, while his counsel is unaware of any reason the British government would have to prove that the is a danger to national security, time will tell what sort of case the Crown will manage to present in court.

Jabberwonky – August 11th

JabberwonkyCDNFinal

JabberwonkyCDNFinal

When: Sunday, August 11th, 10pm Eastern/7pm Pacific

Where: Jabberwonky on Blog Talk Radio

What:

`Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.

Whether it’s “down the rabbit hole”, or “through the looking glass”, the world of politics is often referred to in the lexicon given to us by Lewis Carroll. No matter what, those terms are resurrected when referring to something that has gone terribly wrong. And that’s what’s here on Jabberwonky…

Tonight: After a little hiatus due to vacation, it’s time to talk a little bit about how our politicians decide to spend their free time – and our tax dollars. Also, more fun with the IRS, sex and politics California-style, socialism v. fascism in America, and just how screwed up is our nation’s foreign policy and security apparatus.

Listen to internet radio with CDNews Radio on BlogTalkRadio

Book Review: Roger Thompson’s “Lessons Not Learned”

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11904.911usn

A friend recently pointed me to the 2007 book, Lessons Not Learned: The US Navy’s Status Quo Culture by Roger Thompson, published by the Naval Institute Press. The Naval Institute is a private institution completely independent of the USN and dedicated to the study of America’s national defense issues.

The book is highly critical of the US Navy and has drawn laudatory praise from the usual suspects – those who seek to gut the US military, including POGO anti-defense propagandists Douglas MacGregor, Winslow T. Wheeler and Pierre Sprey. (For rebuttal of just some of their many ignorant rants, see here, here, and here, for example.) These professional blowhards, and Thompson himself, believe they are fighting a deeply entrenched and lavishly funded “military-industrial complex” (i.e. they’re re-fighting the wars of the 1970s) and the US Navy’s supposedly vast propaganda arm. They also dismiss anyone who dares to criticize them and their writings as an industry shill, an agent of the mythical “military-industrial complex”, or a pro-USN propagandist. They also extend such slander to distinguished writers such as Tom Clancy.

But let’s leave the people aside, avoid ad hominem attacks, and focus on the book itself. Let’s see if it deserves the praise it has received from the above-mentioned individuals.

Thompson identifies four big threats to the US Navy – and thus to America’s ability to control the world’s seas, which rests on the Navy.

First is that of very quiet diesel-electric submarines. Such vessels, equipped with air-independent propulsion (AIP) systems, are very quiet and hard to detect. Yet, since the end of the Cold War, America has allowed its Navy’s anti-submarine skills, equipment, and force structure to atrophy, based on the wrongheaded belief that with the collapse of the USSR and with two ground wars in Asia, there was no more need for them. This was clearly wrong, and neglecting anti-submarine warfare has made the USN much weaker.

Nowadays, submarines – especially diesel-electric ones equipped with AIP, routinely embarrass the USN in exercises by remaining undetected and sneaking under American surface ships, in position to attack them with torpedoes or cruise missiles. This has happened numerous times during exercises involving allied navies’ subs, such as a Gotland class vessel of the Swedish Navy. It has also involved a Chinese navy Song class submarine in a 2006 incident in which the Chinese submarine sneaked undetected well within torpedo range of the aircraft carrier USS Kitty Hawk. China currently has a large (and growing) fleet of quiet diesel-electric submarines of the Kilo, Song, Tang, and Qing classes. Iran has at least three quiet Kilo class submarines, while Russia has Kilo and Lada-class subs.

The second mortal threat is that of naval mines. China has up to 100,000 of them; Iran also has thousands, as do other enemies of the US. Naval mines could easily sink unsuspecting ships, and proved to be a real threat to the Navy and civilian American shipping in the 1980s, during the tanker war between Iraq and Iran, when the USN had to deploy considerable demining assets to the Persian Gulf. But since the 1990s, the USN’s demining skills and ship fleet have atrophied greatly, forcing the USN to rely to a large degree on allies. The French and Belgian navies have proven particularly efficient at demining and helpful in the effort. The USN even recently held an exercise featuring 40 allied countries sending their demining assets.

Remember, Dear Reader, how deadly Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) proved to be in Afghanistan and Iraq, killing thousands of American troops? The US Navy will face its own version of IEDs – naval mines – in future wars unless it greatly increases its inventory of demining ships and other assets and trains to regain demining skills.

And yet, the much-vaunted replacement for the Navy’s minesweepers, the fleet of Littoral Combat Ships with demining modules, won’t be ready for many years, because these demining modules haven’t even begun testing.

The third mortal threat is that of anti-ship cruise missiles (ASCMs). Thompson focuses mostly on the supersonic Russian SS-N-22 Sunburn (Moskit) and SS-N-27 Sizzler (Klub) missiles, which Russia and China both have (allegedly, so does Iran) and the latter of which is also sold with vehicle launchers that can fit on unsuspicious, innocently-looking container ships. These missiles can also be launched from ground platforms, aircraft, and naval ships and submarines. In other words, a surface ship could be attacked with these missiles from just about anywhere – and only one Moskit is needed to sink even a ship so big as an aircraft carrier.

Aircraft carriers’ size and flattop-like silhouette makes it even easier for anti-ship missiles to reach them. DDGs, cruisers, frigates, and other surface ships are much smaller and can be made stealthy (to a limited extent, Arleigh Burke class DDGs are – their radar signature is the same as that of a large fishing boat) – but even they aren’t completely safe.

During the 1982 Falklands War (to liberate the Argentine-occupied Falklands), the British lost many brave sailors and 6 ships to Argentine anti-ship Exocet missiles and dumb bombs. The British eventually triumphed, but paid a significant price. During the forementioned tanker war, when an Iraqi fighter mistakenly fired an Exocet missile at the USS Stark, a frigate, the vessel listed and nearly sank, and was saved only by the heroic damage control efforts of her crew (worthy a Medal of Honor, in my opinion). In the latter case, the damage was wrought by a single anti-ship missile.

Yet, China, Russia, Iran, and Syria all have more anti-ship missiles than they know what to do with. China alone has 500 Moskits, along with hundreds of ASCMs of other types, including the Yingji (YJ) family. Most of these are supersonic, unlike the transonic Exocet. Any naval combat between the US and any of these countries will likely involve a massive barrage of missiles being fired at USN ships, not just a few.

And yet, the Aegis missile defense system cannot handle more than 4 enemy missiles simoultaneously.

The fourth grave problem the USN faces, according to Thompson, is one of the Navy’s own doing: a poorly trained enlisted force, frequent shuttling of personnel from one assignment and ship to another, a cretinous up-or-out promotion system, and an officer corps more concerned about careerism, advancing in the ranks, and plum post-retirement jobs than with warfighting. (This is probably not true of the Navy’s current uniformed leader, Adm. Jonathan Greenert, but he was not the Navy’s CNO at the time the book was published.)

Nonetheless, there are several serious errors in Thompson’s book, which significantly undermine its value. Besides his incessant ranting against the mythical “military-industrial complex” and those who disagree with his views or point out his errors, his biggest error has been his advocacy of land-attack cruise missiles over manned carrier-borne aircraft.

He decries the cost of acquiring and operating the aircraft and training their pilots, as well as the cost of the carriers themselves. But Tomahawk land-attack cruise missiles are not so cheap: one costs at least 1.5 million dollars, and each can be used only once. Once it’s expended, it’s gone and you need to procure a new one (and load it onto a launch-capable warship, which cannot be done at sea).

Meanwhile, planes can be used millions of times over during their multiple-decade service lifetimes. A typical tactical strike aircraft can have a life of well over 8,000 flight hours and deliver literally millions of cheap bombs (each costing less than 100K dollars) during its life.

Due to their high unit cost, cruise missiles can hit only a small, limited number of targets. They’re too expensive for any sustained operations and can be used only for small-scale attacks. During the First Gulf War, the US fired only about 100 Tomahawks – because they were so expensive. As Chuck Horner, the boss of the 1991 air war, said later about that conflict:

“”

Moreover, due to their small bodies and warheads, cruise missiles can hit only soft, unhardened, static targets. If any target is fleeting, or is even semi-hardened (e.g. a concrete structure), it is virtually immune to cruise missiles.

Furthermore, all cruise missiles except the most stealthy ones – and the Tomahawk is not stealthy at all – are very vulnerable even to the most modest air and missile defense systems. America’s enemies have two kinds of these. For large-scare area defense against cruise (and ballistic) missiles, as well as aircraft, they have air defense systems (wielding SAMs) such as the S-300, S-400, S-500, HQ-9, and the navalized HQ-16. For short-range defense of specific objects, such as buildings or weapon systems, they have short-range air defense systems like the SA-19 Grison, the Tor-M1, the Pantsir-S1, and the KS-1. Russia has the largest and most diverse arsenal of both types of systems, but has exported both kinds widely abroad – to China, Syria, Venezuela, Belarus, and many other countries.

This means that land-attack cruise missiles – which Thompson touts – are virtually useless, except against soft, unhardened, static targets not protected by any air defense systems.

A second major error in his book (besides his forementioned rants against his phantom enemies) is the claim that foreign submarines regularly defeat USN attack subs in exercises. This is an undocumented and false claim. Moreover, while Los Angeles class submarines are not very quiet by today’s standars, and don’t have the sophisticated sensors of the Virginia class, the latter class is much quieter than the submarines – diesel- or nuclear-powered – of any rival country, friend or foe – and has excellent sensors that can detect anything, including diesel-powered submarines, from 1,000 nautical miles.

The only problem is that the Virginia class – being very now – hasn’t yet entered service in large numbers (the first boat was commissioned in 2004 and their construction was upped to 2 per year only recently). Once they enter service in large numbers, they will clean the seas of enemy submarines – unless they are committed to other missions, which is likely.

Which brings me to another major flaw in Thompson’s book: his touting of the diesel-electric subs of rival countries as better than the nuclear submarines of the US Navy.

This is absolutely wrong. Not only are Virginia class submarines quieter than, and very much able to detect, enemy diesel-electric submarines, American attack subs (especially those of the Virginia class) also much more versatile.

In addition to the traditional submarine capabilities – sinking enemy ships and subs and laying mines – they can also launch land-attack cruise missiles, UAVs, and unmanned underwater vehicles; deploy and recover Special Operations personnel; and conduct espionage missions (including on enemy underwater cables, a mission that some USN subs have been conducting for decades).

The much-vaunted diesel-electric submarines of America’s adversaries and allies alike have none of these capabilities. (British Royal Navy nuclear attack submarines do, however, further validating the American model of a submarine fleet.)

This is not surprising, because foreign countries’ diesel-powered attack subs were designed only for operations not far from their countries’ shores – primarily in shallow waters (such as the Baltic Sea) or noisy, congested areas such as the East and South China Seas and the Persian Gulf. In other words, they were designed for territorial defense or in-theater anti-access/area-denial warfare.

But the nuclear attack submarines of the US Navy and its British counterpart – which Thompson himself admiringly calls “the one and only” on his website – are designed for totally different missions: for sea control as well as intelligence collection, Tomahawk missile attacks, launching UAVs and UUVs, and deploying and recovering Special Operations personnel, far away from home waters.

These submarines must, in short, do a far wider panoply of missions, and do so in any part of the globe, far away from home shores.

In short, American and British nuclear-powered attack subs can fight and win in any part of the globe. The submarines of their opponents can win only on their home court.

For all of these reasons, I cannot give the book more than a C. Thompson’s book gives a lot of interesting information and some useful advice for reforming the Navy and preparing it for tomorrow’s threats – and the Navy’s leadership would be wise to act upon it. But the book also contains the major factual errors mentioned above and is replete with Thompson’s rants against the mythical “military-industrial complex” and his critics, which is childish. For all of these reasons, his book merits nothing more than a C.

Edward Snowden could be bound for Venezuela

edward-snowden

edward-snowdenToday has been a slightly confusing time for anyone paying attention to the Edward Snowden situation. He remains not quite on Russian soil, holed up in an airport hotel outside Moscow, could theoretically go to Venezuela, but apparently hasn’t made a definite decision on that. Some of the confusion was fed by Russian MP Aleksey Pushkov, who tweeted out of turn about the NSA leaker.

“Predictably, Snowden has agreed to [Venezuelan President Nicolas] Maduro’s offer of political asylum. Apparently, this option appeared most reliable to Snowden,” Pushkov, the head of the lower house’s Committee on Foreign Affairs tweeted.

However, the post was deleted from the MP’s page on the microblog just minutes after it appeared.

“Information about Snowden accepting Maduro’s offer of asylum comes from [Russian TV channel] Vesti 24 newscast at 18:00. Contact them for all questions,” Pushkov tweeted shortly afterwards.

In spite of reports that Snowden apparently accepted the offer from Venezuela, WikiLeaks claims that isn’t the case. In the flurry of coverage, there are also conjectures about the logistics of getting to Venezuela in the first place, especially since the plane carrying President Evo Morales of Bolivia was diverted just over suspicion that Snowden was on board. The U.S. has threatened that the NSA leaker must not be permitted to fly anywhere but back to the states, and it remains unclear how he could get anywhere else, with the threat of retribution hanging over any nation that permits a flight to cross their aerospace. So, Snowden still has gone from “Catch Me If You Can” to “The Terminal”, at least until he can figure out travel arrangements that won’t land him back in the U.S.

Confederate Corner with George Neat June 11th – Islam, Liberals, National Security and Guns, oh my!

confedcornercdnlogo

confedcornercdnlogo

When: Tuesday, June 11th, 10pm Eastern/7pm Pacific

Where: Confederate Corner with George Neat on Blog Talk Radio

What: Yes there are Confederates north of the Mason-Dixon line, and George Neat is one of them. And we’re happy to bring his views to you in the “Confederate Corner” radio show.

For more information on George and his political views, please drop by the Confederate Corner at GoldwaterGal.com. (http://goldwatergal.com/goldwater-gal-media/confederate-corner/)

Tonight: George will be talking about Islam, National Security, Star Wars, TSA, NSA, and the liberals keeping up their war on guns. Of course there will also be a Soldier Salute, and a “nearly-infamous” Crack Pipe Moment.

Listen to internet radio with CDNews Radio on BlogTalkRadio

TSA still blocking small knives on planes

Public Domain Photos (CC)

Public Domain Photos (CC)

Public Domain Photos (CC)

The Transportation Safety Administration is apparently walking back plans to allow passengers to carry small penknives on planes. USA Today reports that TSA administrator John Pistole does not intend to allow the knives on planes later this week, as planned.

“This timing will enable TSA to incorporate the feedback about the changes to the Prohibited Items List and continue workforce training,” the TSA said in a statement.

The TSA had planned to let the knives, with blades up to 2.36 inches, on flights starting Thursday. It would have been the first time they would have been back on passenger planes since Sept. 11, 2001, when terrorists armed with box cutters hijacked four jetliners.

The decision to allow small knives on planes had been under protest by flight attendant unions, and wasn’t well-received by air marshals either. Whether or not the decision is directly related to the recent bombing apparently wasn’t stated officially. However, it was a consideration for at least one person in the industry.

“In the wake of the terrorist bombing in Boston last week … now is not the time to weaken transportation security,” said Sara Nelson, international vice president of the Association of Flight Attendants. “Flight attendants are breathing a sigh of relief that the weapons that led to the deadliest attack on U.S. soil in our nation’s history will not be allowed in the aircraft cabin this week.”

Pistole made the policy change on March 5th. Whether or not it will be reinstated remains to be seen.

Sen. Leahy – What Are You Doing!?

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Do Democrats see the United Kingdom as a model for their version of the surveillance society?  What on earth could Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) be thinking offering legislation that gives authorities access to personal information with no more than a formal written request and the contents of those communications with nothing more than a subpoena?

According to Declan McCullagh of C|Net, Sen. Leahy thinks it’s perfectly fine for law enforcement officials to troll your emails, twitter, and Facebook without a warrant.  It’s a perverse exploitation of the law, which hasn’t caught up to 21st Century standards – and any American who values their liberty should be appalled by this gross incident of congressional overreach.

McCullagh wrote today that:

Leahy’s rewritten bill would allow more than 22 agencies — including the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Federal Communications Commission — to access Americans’ e-mail, Google Docs files, Facebook wall posts, and Twitter direct messages without a search warrant. It also would give the FBI and Homeland Security more authority, in some circumstances, to gain full access to Internet accounts without notifying either the owner or a judge.

It’s an abrupt departure from Leahy’s earlier approach, which required police to obtain a search warrant backed by probable cause before they could read the contents of e-mail or other communications. The Vermont Democrat boastedlast year that his bill “provides enhanced privacy protections for American consumers by… requiring that the government obtain a search warrant.”

Leahy had planned a vote on an earlier version of his bill, designed to update a pair of 1980s-vintage surveillance laws, in late September. But after law enforcement groups including the National District Attorneys’ Association and the National Sheriffs’ Association organizations objected to the legislation and asked him to “reconsider acting” on it, Leahy pushed back the vote and reworked the bill as a package of amendments to be offered next Thursday. The package (PDF) is a substitute for H.R. 2471, which the House of Representatives already has approved.

Here are the revisions:

✭ Grants warrantless access to Americans’ electronic correspondence to over 22 federal agencies. Only a subpoena is required, not a search warrant signed by a judge based on probable cause.

✭ Permits state and local law enforcement to warrantlessly access Americans’ correspondence stored on systems not offered “to the public,” including university networks.

✭ Authorizes any law enforcement agency to access accounts without a warrant — or subsequent court review — if they claim “emergency” situations exist.

✭ Says providers “shall notify” law enforcement in advance of any plans to tell their customers that they’ve been the target of a warrant, order, or subpoena.

✭ Delays notification of customers whose accounts have been accessed from 3 days to “10 business days.” This notification can be postponed by up to 360 days.

Now, this afternoon, The Hill reported that the senator had no such intention to support a bill with warrantlees searches.

CNET has it wrong,” an aide tweeted from Leahy’s account.”Sen. Leahy does NOT support an #ECPA exception to search warrant requirement [for] civil enforcement [for agencies] like FTC, SEC.” A Judiciary Committee aide confirmed to The Hill that Leahy “does not support broad carve-outs for warrantless email searches.” Leahy is pushing a bill that would revise the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) of 1986. The Judiciary Committee is scheduled to vote on Leahy’s measure next week.

But we must remain vigilant. As long as Federalism remains under threat, we must keep a close eye on bills, from both parties, that seek to make us safer – while sacrificing our freedoms in the process.

Obama Administration Renews Push to Ratify Law of Sea Treaty

The Obama administration has initiated a renewed push to convince the U.S. Senate to approve the 1982 United Nations Law of the Sea treaty. Administration officials claim approval of the pact is necessary to protect the U.S. Navy’s right to carry out exercises off the coast of China. In the past Chinese ships have harassed U.S. vessels.

The administration’s push to approve the treaty comes at a time of increased focus by the Pentagon on China’s military buildup and the expansion of its influence in the Asia-Pacific region. The Pentagon is also watching escalation of a dispute between Beijing and the Philippines over a South China Sea island.

Ratification of the treaty has long been blocked due to congressional concerns that the treaty gives the UN far too much control over American oil and mineral rights while threatening U.S. sovereignty. Treaty opponents contend that China will not to change its maritime claims even if the treaty is ratified.

On the high seas, the U.S. Navy “locks in” its rights and freedoms by its capacity to sink any ship that would try to deny those rights.

The United States doesn’t need the Law of the Sea Treaty (or LOST). The Continental Congress established the U.S. Navy in 1775, and over the next 236 years it has become the greatest, most powerful maritime force in world history. LOST was first adopted by the United Nations back in 1982. Since then, the United States Navy has managed to protect the U.S. and her maritime interests without benefit of LOST.

In the interest of national security and sovereignty, the United States should withdraw from the UN, stop paying all dues to what’s become an Islamofascist/Communist criminal organization, and expel them from American shores permanently.

http://mjfellright.wordpress.com/2012/05/11/obama-administration-renews-push-to-ratify-law-of-sea-treaty/

CNN Republican Debate Recap: Debate Fatigue and Box Wine

I have a confession to make.  I was really bored by Tuesday’s Republican debate.  I know, its shocking.  Somebody found a primary debate boring? Quel horreur!  It is my job to comment on such things and I watched it eagerly, but as I was writing my traditional recap I realized that I just wasn’t that excited about what I had seen.  It’s not that the candidates weren’t interesting or capable.  Actually all of them seemed more prepared then they have been in the past. There were no major gaffes or senior moments.  The topic of national security is certainly engaging enough as debates go, but still that wasn’t enough to raise my excitement level.  Everyone did just fine.

Herman Cain is doing his homework, as always.  It’s one of the things I really appreciate about him as a candidate.  He is obviously weak on foreign policy and security issues.  Of course he is; he’s a business man.  He does not have the advantage of being privy to the tidbits of information and exchanges that result from working inside government.  Cain has to develop his foreign policy and domestic security stances just like the rest of us – by studying and employing old-fashioned common sense.  It puts him at a disadvantage, no doubt; but Cain has proven he is up to the challenge and he always seems to go into every debate knowing more than he did the last time.  Cain is what it looks like when a regular, average Joe runs for President.  Some people don’t like that, but I think its kind of neat.

This was the first debate that didn’t turn into the Mitt Romney show.  In fact, Romney probably got less camera time on Tuesday night than he has in any debate so far this year.  It was refreshing.  That being said, he (predictably) made the best use of every second. He was confident and assured in his answers.  Romney said nothing out of line or out of order or out of Romney.  Even his hair was on board. 

Maybe that is my problem with this debate.  It was predictable.  Everyone performed according to their character descriptions in the GOP Primary Field Handbook.  Cain was weak but adequate in his depth of knowledge on the subject.  Ron Paul gave his typical RonPaul-y answers about minding our own business as a nation and if we would just be nice to the terrorists they would stop hating us and leave us alone in peace.  Predictably there were more than a few Ron Paul fans in the audience.  Santorum stayed true to form: feisty, with a touch of whine but bolstered by his strong conservative stance on social and security issues alike.  Jon Huntsman was…there.  His daughters graced CNN with an appearance on the debate pre-show.  They were way more interesting than their father and they seemed like lovely young ladies.  I didn’t care for their lipstick, though.  The shade of red made me suspicious.  Rick Perry was just fine, but I always feel like I’m holding my breath when he speaks.  He seems like a nice man and I hate to see him struggle up there, which he does all too often.  But Tuesday he was fine.

Perhaps the only two people who really interested me in this debate were Newt Gingrich and Michele Bachmann.  This was Newt’s first debate as a “front-runner” and it remained to be seen how his platform/performance would change in light of that.  It didn’t really change at all which is a good thing, I suppose.  Newt was simply Newt, the smartest (if not crankiest) guy in the room.  Newt knows his stuff…and Newt does not like gotcha questions.  For the most part I believe Wolf Blitzer behaved accordingly.

If anyone “won” that debate it was Michele Bachmann.  Bachmann has a seat on the House Intelligence Committee and she is obviously privy to some very sensitive information.  She knows what she is talking about and when Bachmann speaks on foreign policy, security and Obamacare she sounds more competent than any of her compatriots on the stage.  In fact, it infuriates me to hear people refer to her as an idot, a la Sarah Palin.  I don’t know how you can listen to her speak of the nuances of foreign aid and intelligence and conclude that she is dumb.  You may not care for her social stances or her tea party label, but the woman is wickedly smart and deserves respect for that.  I really feel we need a woman like Bachmann in the House for as long as possible, but if she were our President, I have no doubt she would fight for this country every day she was in office.

In the end, the predictability was my problem.  No one came out with anything new or different.  Everyone pretty much held the line on the stances they have developed throughout this process.  There were no surprises; besides a couple of small differences on withdrawing troops and securing the border the candidates pretty much in line with each other and the Republican outlook on such issues.  Except Ron Paul, of course…but there’s an “except Ron Paul” implied in every line I write about these debates.  I know, ultimately it is a good thing that there were no fireworks.  Its important for the people to see the candidates lay out their positions logically as much as possible.  Its good that they were predictable because it helps us feel confident about how they will behave in the general elections.  But it makes for boring television sometimes.  I admit, debate fatigue is setting in.  There are at least four more debates to go.  I think I’m going to need a bigger box of wine.

 

Full Video of November 12th CBS/National Journal GOP Presidential Debate

Join CDNews for coverage of tonight’s CBS/National Journal Republican Candidate debate at Wofford College in Spartanburg, South Carolina.

The debate will be hosted by CBS News and the National Journal. The focus of tonight’s event will be on national security and foreign policy.

What to Watch For:

Rick Perry will need to have a strong performance tonight to overcome a string of debate mis-steps. He also has little foreign policy experience which may come through this evening.

Newt Gingrich will most-likely come on strong keeping-up with his strong debate appearances throughout the year. The former speaker has polled above all other candidates in the area of the military and international crisis handling.

While his domestic policies are popular among Republicans, views differ on his foreign policy and national security stances. This could be a differentiating moment for Rep. Paul, positive or negative.

Herman Cain’s business experience may not help tonight. The 9-9-9 plan will probably show up somehow, but overall expect Cain to focus on his “peace through strength and clarity” foreign policy. Specifics have been light the few times he’s mentioned it in campaign speeches and his foreign policy views have not been the subject of any real media focus or debate questioning.

Mitt Romney led the pack in a recent CBS News Poll that asked which candidate is best-suited to be Commander-in-Chief. Among likely Republican primary voters, 26% chose Romney to Gingrich’s 21%. Cain and Perry were 11% and 9% respectively.

This may be the last debate that features the entire current cast of 8. Future debates will start limiting invites to those with a larger share of support. Expect Huntsman and Santorum to miss future debate appearances as their poll numbers have stayed consistently below 5%. Bachmann could fail to receive invites shortly after that if her numbers continue to hold right at or near the 5% mark.

Where to Watch: Here is the Recording of tonight’s debate – full-length (long blank pauses are commercial breaks, be patient or forward through to the next segment)

Obama 2012- Analyzing the Early Spin

President Obama is on the campaign trail hot and heavy an astounding 18 months before the 2012 presidential elections. Never before in U.S. history has a sitting U.S. President devoted so much of his working agenda to a reelection campaign this early. This could have a lot to do with the fact that Obama and the DNC have bragged about raising the ridiculous amount of $1 billion dollars to buy his reelection, and have also repeated this message on numerous occasions. MSNBC recently ran a fluff piece conveying this message again here. While Obama and his handlers like to tell people he relies on small individual donors, as in a real grassroots movement, we see that the opposite is true from the MSNBC piece mentioned above:

This time, the former Illinois senator is no longer the fresh political face seeking to become the first black U.S. president. His 2012 campaign will be a bigger, slicker machine likely to dwarf that of his eventual Republican opponent.

Aides note the huge number of individual donors who gave to Obama’s campaign — a record 4 million. But only 25 percent of the money came from small donors who gave $200 or less, according to the non-partisan Campaign Finance Institute in Washington. (emphasis mine)

That is right, Obama relies on big donations from big corporations, UNIONS,  and political activist groups, not the small donations from the voting tax-payer he claims to rely upon for his power-base. So the next time we hear Obama and the DNC chastising the GOP for their taking donations from evil corporations and big money groups, we need to remember the historic billion-dollar man sitting in the White House today, and take note of his Democratic party’s vote buying schemes in 2012. Further on down in that very same MSNBC article we see another interesting statement:

Although he has received boost from the recovering economy, Obama’s approval ratings could easily fall if the Libya war drags on and gas prices stay high, or if voters blame him for the huge U.S. budget deficit. (emphasis mine)

If voters blame him for the budget deficit he has rung up in the last two years, along with the past four years of reckless spending by his Democratic party who controlled both houses of Congress during that time ? Who the hell else are we supposed to blame? An informed voting public can very easily see just what Obama and the Democrats are responsible for as far as budget deficits are concerned, with just one simple click of the mouse on the Internet. Just click here, and you will see that in 2006, our national debt was a little over 8 trillion dollars. (That is the TOTAL debt for all of U.S. history combined) After 4 straight years of Democratic control of Congress and 2 years of Obaman-omics, our debt now stands at a whopping $14.3 trillion dollars. That puts the responsibility of the massive debt amount of over $6 trillion dollars square on the shoulders of today’s Democrats and Barack Hussein Obama period! Yet MSNBC says “if voters chose to blame Obama for the massive budget deficits ? ”  Only the most ignorant and uniformed of voters would try to hang the recent irresponsible massive budget deficits on anyone other than Obama and the Democrats, no matter how you spin it!  The simple truth is that America can not afford four more years of Obama-nomics and the irresponsible debt spending of the Socialist Democratic party of today. ( along with help from the progressive RINOS posing as conservatives that are entrenched in Congress today )

Over at The Hill.com we see some more early spin for Obama’s reelection campaign today from this article:

Barring an unforeseen but high-profile foreign-policy failure, the elimination of America’s Public Enemy No. 1 will neutralize any Republican suggestion that the president is weak on national security.

But this only underscores the fact that 2012 will be all about the economy and jobs — and there, the president is deeply vulnerable.

Excuse me, but at a time when Obama and the Democrats are demanding major cuts to defense spending due to the massive deficits they have rung up for the past four years, doesn’t the economy have a direct impact on our national security ? Yes it certainly does! A failing, stagnate economy means less revenue for the federal government to spend on protecting America, so therefor it goes hand in hand with national security. Add to this the fact that the Obama administration and his Socialistic Democratic party of today are endangering Americans through the refusal to enforce federal immigration laws at historic levels for the attempted Hispanic vote-buying schemes, and we see that Obama is the weakest president in U.S. history on national security, no matter how you spin that one. Secure our borders and kick all illegal immigrants out of the country, or face the wrath of informed voters that are tired of the lies and spin about the border being the most secure in history.

You simply cannot hide the fact that everywhere we look today there are non-English speaking Mexicans committing crimes and taking jobs from legal American citizens, period. Why do you think Obama and the Democrats are pushing for Amnesty for illegals, and refusing to enact strict Voter ID laws, along with making the use of E-Verify mandatory to ensure only legal, American citizens work in America today? If you do not understand about E-Verify and Voter ID laws ( or lack of same) see this article here. When you hear a Democrat bragging about  the need for fair democracy today, ask them about why E-Verify isn’t mandatory, and why they are against solid Voter ID laws that would in fact ensure only legal voters are casting votes that dictate who is running our government. Maybe someone in the media could ask Obama how he feels about his Democrats constantly voting down E-verify and Voter ID laws today when they see him campaigning.

Until we see Obama stand up for American workers and legal voters, instead of amnesty for illegals, and the refusal to allow law enforcement to deport said illegals, anything else is just more campaign spin. A wide open U.S.- Mexico border with terrorists, guns, drugs and criminals crossing at historic levels on a daily basis is hardly my idea of protecting our national security, no matter how many terrorists are killed by Navy Seals in Pakistan. Obama is weak on national security across the board and that fact is proven every single day he is in office.

Just look at the Socialists and Communists rallying with his Union bed-pals and activist groups across the country today. The fact that these anti-Americans are right out in the open today while working for the collapse of America speaks volumes about Obama and his administration.  This is the reality of the danger of having a rabble-rousing community organizer who is also a proven Marxist steeped in anti-American ideology sitting in the oval office today. Again, all the spin in the world can not hide those facts when we take a good, close look at his actions since being elected to the most powerful position on the planet, the U.S. presidency. The Billion-dollar man says he can dupe Americans into voting for him in 2012. Lets show him different.

 

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