There’s Something Off About The NYT Defense Of Its Report Comey Called False

There’s something odd about the explanation The New York Times offered for standing by a blockbuster report that former FBI Director James Comey characterized as “almost entirely wrong” in testimony before Congress Thursday.

“Would it be fair to characterize that story as almost entirely wrong?” Republican Sen. Tom Cotton asked Comey during the hearing. “Yes,” Comey replied. And at another point in the hearing, he said of the report, “in the main it was not true.”

The paper of record reported Feb. 14 that U.S. intelligence officials had intercepted repeated communications between the Trump campaign and senior Russian intelligence officials in the year leading up to the election, based on accounts from four former and current U.S. officials. The news firmly planted the as yet totally unsubstantiated narrative that the Trump campaign colluded with Russia to sway the election in his favor.

Despite Comey’s strongly worded statements, TheNYT announced Friday it had completed a review of the facts and would stand by the report in its entirety. The three reporters behind the story offered a dubiously reasoned explanation as to why in a separate piece that includes an odd admission about the review process — no one was able to get in touch with the original sources.

“The original sources could not immediately be reached after Mr. Comey’s remarks, but in the months since the article was published, they have indicated that they believed the account was solid,” the reporters wrote.

The admission does a great deal to strip the “examination” that was conducted of any weight with critical readers looking for good reasons to trust an anonymously sourced report over the word of a former FBI director under oath. If the reporters were unable to go back and talk to their sources, what exactly was reviewed here?

“The New York Times published an examination of Mr. Comey’s statements today, which reviews our previous coverage and found no evidence that any prior reporting was inaccurate,” the statement from the paper said. “In fact, subsequent reporting by The Times and other media outlets has verified our reporting as the story makes clear.”

It’s no wonder the review — which appears to have consisted of little more than rereading the report — didn’t turn up any evidence the facts were wrong. That’s to be expected if all four of the people it was sourced to are unreachable. And of course, in order to swallow this “no evidence” line, readers would have to discount as “evidence” the sworn testimony of a guy who was running the intelligence agency heading up the Russia investigation when this was reported.

The other reasons TheNYT offers for standing by the story — a deliberately obtuse reading of Comey’s statements and more anonymously sourced reports — are also insufficient.

“Comey did not say exactly what he believed was incorrect about the article,” the reporters write in their explanation, speculating he was referring to how the paper described the Russians involved or possibly the form of evidence collected by intelligence officials. It’s true Comey didn’t specify exactly what was wrong. But did he have to?

He clearly and repeatedly stated the story is almost entirely false. He also said that when the news broke, he was so troubled that he actually double checked with the intelligence community to make sure he wasn’t missing something. It seems unlikely a dispute over what is technically a Russian intelligence official or how the evidence was gathered would prompt such a response.

TheNYT also leans heavily on other reports the paper says corroborate and confirm their report, such as a May report from Reuters that the Trump campaign had at least 18 undisclosed contacts with Russian officials or people tied to the Kremlin. But these too are based on anonymous sources. The Reuters report could hardly be more vague in its description of the sources as an unidentified number of “current and former U.S. officials familiar with the exchanges.”

Another story TheNYT points to for corroboration of their report is an April scoop from two of the same NYT reporters that is based on just one anonymous source identified as a “government official.”

Taken together, here’s what TheNYT defense of their February report really boils down to: We reread the story, other anonymous reports confirmed our reporting, and the former FBI director who has a reputation as a paragon of integrity in Washington is either misinformed or a liar.

Article reposted with permission from The Daily Caller

Lawmaker Demands Trump Admin Hand Over Unredacted Report On Phishing Email Attacks

A House committee asked the Interior Department Thursday to hand over an unredacted copy of a newly-released report detailing how more than 100 employees were “compromised” in a phishing email attack.

Utah Republican Rep. Rob Bishop, chairman of the House Committee on Natural Resources, sent a letter to Interior Deputy Inspector General Mary Kendall asking for “an unredacted copy of a November 7, 2016 report concerning a phishing attack” on employees’ email accounts.

The IG’s office has until Friday to respond to Bishop’s request, according to a copy of the letter obtained by The Daily Caller News Foundation. The IG’s office finished their report on the phishing attack in November, but released a short summary of their findings Wednesday — six months later.

The department began investigating phishing emails in January 2016 after “multiple OIG employees received a ‘phishing’ email from an internal DOI bureau-level employee” without his knowledge, the IG’s office reported.

Phishing emails are fraudulent emails that appear legitimate, but give hackers access to your account.

Investigators found the “successful phishing attack resulted in illegal access to the DOI network through remote logins on a least eight Gmail accounts,” according to a summary more than 1,500 DOI employees received the phishing email, resulting in approximately 100 compromised DOI employee Gmail credentials.of their report.

“When the recipients clicked a link within the email, they were presented with a webpage that appeared to be DOI’s standard log-in screen, and were prompted for their username and password,” the IG found.

“At least two recipients clicked on the link and entered their DOI Gmail (Bison Connect Email System) credentials, thereby unknowingly compromising their accounts,” they found.

After about two weeks, “more than 1,500 DOI employees received the phishing email, resulting in approximately 100 compromised DOI employee Gmail credentials.” The matter was referred to the FBI’s cyber investigative arm.

Interior’s chief information office sped up plans to “require two-factor authentication for DOI Gmail access, and completed the transition eleven days after the attack began” in the wake of the attacks, the IG reported.

“By implementing two-factor authentication, DOI ended the attack and it substantially increased the security of DOI’s Gmail system, Bison Connect,” the IG found.

Article reposted with permission from The Daily Caller

Go Straight To The Fifth Paragraph Of The Latest NYT ‘Bombshell’ On Russia Collusion

The New York Times dropped another “bombshell” report on Russian influence on the 2016 election Wednesday, and once again what is presented as salacious news in the headline and lead is revealed to be anything but midway through the report.

“Months before the election, U.S. spies learned that top Russians had discussed ways to use Donald Trump’s advisers to influence him,” reads the headline blasted by TheNYT in a breaking news email. The story is clearly meant to further the “Trump colluded with Russia” narrative the media has pushed for months, although it’s as yet totally unsubstantiated.

TheNYT lead builds an atmosphere of wrongdoing around Trump and his campaign aides using important sounding buzzwords and phrases. “Spies” and “revealing” information and big-time Russian officials who “exert influence.” It’s quite official sounding and obviously intended to sow suspicion.

But the (few) readers who make it to the fifth paragraph and are paying attention will realize there’s not actually much meat to the report. That paragraph hedges on the information collected by the spies, and notes the reporter has no real clue whether Russian officials actually made any attempt to influence the Trump aides in question. Oh yeah and the Trump campaign as well as both aides have consistently denied the longstanding accusations of collusion with Russia.

“The information collected last summer was considered credible enough for intelligence agencies to pass to the F.B.I., which during that period opened a counterintelligence investigation that is ongoing,” the paragraph reads. “It is unclear, however, whether Russian officials actually tried to directly influence Mr. Manafort and Mr. Flynn. Both have denied any collusion with the Russian government on the campaign to disrupt the election.”

What this report really boils down to is the “revelation” that senior Russian officials are interested in influencing important U.S. actors, and that American spies are mostly sure they had a conversation about it. Maybe newsworthy, but hardly a bombshell.

A buried explanatory paragraph that deflates the lead is a constant in report after report on the Russia collusion narrative.

When The New York Times first reported the FBI was investigating collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, it was not until the tenth paragraph readers were informed of an important fact: “American officials have said that they have so far found no proof of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.”

But the report adds there is evidence Trump’s associates were in “repeated contact” with people linked to Russian intelligence officials.

Some months later Reuters dropped an important sounding report on some of those contacts. Six paragraphs into the report on “18 undisclosed contacts” between Trump associates and Russian officials, the reader learns that those who familiar with the conversations see “no evidence of wrongdoing or collusion between the campaign and Russia.”

The New York Times pumped out another “collusion” story Wednesday with another buried caveat, this time on “mounting concern” among U.S. officials “revealed” by former CIA director John Brennan in a big bad congressional hearing. Six paragraphs in: “Mr. Brennan acknowledged that he did not know whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russian operatives and said the contacts might have been benign.”

The Daily Caller’s Chuck Ross nailed it in a recent tweet.

“Out of all the leaks thus far in the Trump-Russia probe, there have been none showing actual collusion,” he said.

Article reposted with permission from The Daily Caller

Amash: GOP Leaders Are Miscalculating Support For Obamacare Replacement Bill

Republican Michigan Rep. Justin Amash continued to insist Monday night the Obamacare replacement bill doesn’t have a chance of passing the House, saying GOP leaders have “seriously miscalculated.”

“They haven’t changed the bill’s general framework,” Amash tweeted. “They don’t have the votes to pass it. They have seriously miscalculated.”

The replacement plan drew sharp criticism from both liberals and conservatives when it was introduced in March, despite a big campaign from House Speaker Paul Ryan to defend the bill and some showing of support from President Donald Trump. Conservatives are unhappy the bill doesn’t do more to reduce government involvement in the health insurance system, and that it does not fully repeal Obama’s signature law.

“Obamacare 2.0: Bad policy meet bad Republican politics meet bad Democratic politics,” Amash tweeted earlier Monday. “The elusive lose-lose-lose.”

Following the strong backlash to the proposal, Republicans released a modified version Monday that makes some adjustments, such as moving up the date of a tax repeal and allowing states to receive Medicaid funding in a block rather than in a per capita sum. The Republican plan centers on a tax credit system to encourage individuals to purchase insurance, and still punishes individuals who drop their healthcare coverage.

The House Freedom Caucus announced Monday it would not take a unified stance on the bill, which is a good sign for its chances since the group of conservative members have enough numbers to band together and defeat the new law.

The House could vote on the new measure as soon as Thursday.

Article reposted with permission from The Daily Caller

White House Blocks NYT, CNN And Other Outlets From Press Briefing

The White House blocked several mainstream media outlets from a press gaggle Friday with press secretary Sean Spicer.

CNN, The New York Times, Politico, Buzzfeed and the Los Angeles Times were not allowed to attend the gaggle, which replaced Spicer’s daily briefing. Reporters from those outlets were surprised when White House aides denied them entrance to the gaggle, reports The New York Times. Incensed reporters quickly tweeted out the news, and several outlets boycotted the gaggle in protest.

A partial list of outlets that were allowed to intend include The Wall Street Journal, CBS, NBC, ABC, Bloomberg, Fox News, Breitbart, and The Washington Times. The Associated Press and TIME did not attend in protest.

“A big deal” Politico’s Manu Raju tweeted Friday afternoon. “WH now picking and choosing which news outlets can attend Spicer gaggle …”

The blocked outlets played a prominent role in the coverage of Trump’s alleged ties to Russia that he has loudly decried in recent days. CNN and Buzzfeed broke news of the dossier detailing unsubstantiated allegations against Trump, for example.

“This is an unacceptable development by the Trump White House,” CNN tweeted Friday. “Apparently this is how they retaliate when you report facts they don’t like. We’ll keep reporting regardless.”

“How dare you call yourselves Americans,” Kurt Eichenwald tweeted, referring to Republicans standing behind Trump’s treatment of the press.

New York Times executive editor Dean Baquet remarked: “Nothing like this has ever happened with the White House in our long history of covering multiple administrations of different parties.”

Article posted with permission from The Daily Caller News Foundation

New Data Reveals Massive Spike In Green Cards For Middle Eastern Immigrants

The U.S. government sharply increased the number of green cards for Middle Eastern immigrants from countries such as Afghanistan and Iraq in 2014, newly released data from the Department of Homeland Security shows.

In 2014 — the most recent year for which this data is available — the U.S. awarded green cards to 103,901 immigrants from countries in the Middle East, entitling them to permanent legal status, federal benefits and a direct path to citizenship. That’s a 32 percent increase from the 78,917 green cards to Middle Eastern immigrants awarded in 2013, and a 56 percent increase from 2001.

The biggest benefit went to immigrants from Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan. Nearly five times as many Afghan immigrants obtained green cards in 2014, compared to 2013, and the number of green cards awarded to Iraqi nationals more than doubled. Green cards issued to Pakistani immigrants increased by a third. (RELATED: US Will Issue 10 Million Green Cards In The Next Decade)

The sharp increase in the total number of green cards awarded to Middle Eastern immigrants is illustrated in a chart obtained by The Daily Caller News Foundation from the Senate Subcommittee on Immigration and the National Interest, chaired by Republican Sen. Jeff Sessions.

(Senate Subcommittee on Immigration and the National Interest)

(Senate Subcommittee on Immigration and the National Interest)

The new data brings the total number of green cards issued to immigrants from the Middle East since 2001 to 1,114,453. Of the about 100,000 green cards issued to Middle Eastern immigrants in 2014, roughly 10,000 went to immigrants from Afghanistan, 19,000 to Iraq, 18,000 to Pakistan and 11,615 to immigrants from Iran.

DHS published the 2014 data just last week, and has not yet released data for Fiscal Year 2015.

Article reposted with permission from The Daily Caller

Brain $3,340: Morbid Menu Breaks Down Aborted Organ Prices

Researchers paid a company that harvests fetal parts $3,340 for the brain of an aborted fetus, new evidence released by House Republicans that shows how much researchers were willing to pay for various fetal parts.

The invoices obtained by the House select panel investigating the fetal tissue industry show exactly how much researchers paid the middleman for different kinds of brains, hands and feet, liver and other parts, as well as the cost of shipping and procurement. In the chart below, constructed based on the documents by The Daily Signal, the going rate for some of the parts is illustrated.

(The Daily Signal)

(The Daily Signal)

Screenshots of the unnamed procurement company’s website contained in the report show how researchers or interested parties could order from a massive list of parts. In turn, the procurement company would send technicians to an abortion clinic where they would obtain consent from mothers, then harvest the desirable parts and ship them to the buyer.

Republicans on the panel say the documents they’ve obtained show the fetus procurement company and the unnamed abortion clinics it worked with “may have acted in violation of federal law” that prohibits anyone from profiting off the exchange of fetal tissue.

Federal law does allow abortion clinics to receive “reasonable” compensation from procurement companies. But the documents demonstrate that the technicians from the procurement company do all the work of obtaining the fetuses, so any payment the abortion clinic receives should be considered profit, according to the panel.

A former U.S. prosecutor testified before the panel Wednesday that in his opinion there is “proof without a reasonable doubt” the organizations profited from the exchange of aborted fetus parts.

“I believe a competent and ethical prosecutor could determine probable cause that both the abortion clinic and the procurement business violated the statute, aided and abetted one another in violating the statute and likely conspired together to violate the statute,” attorney Brian Lennon testified. “In fact for five or six elements in the subsequent defense, in my opinion, there is proof without a reasonable doubt.”

Planned Parenthood and fetal tissue procurement company StemExpress are not named, but it’s fairly clear they’re the organizations the panel is talking about. Both were featured in a series of undercover videos released last summer by The Center for Medical Progress, which depicted the process and attitude toward fetal harvesting in Planned Parenthood clinics.

Article reposted with permission from The Daily Caller

States Ignoring Federal Ban Against Giving Illegals Obamacare Benefits

Taxpayers are subsidizing health care for illegal immigrants in counties across the country, despite a provision in the Affordable Care Act explicitly prohibiting government-subsidized care for illegal immigrants.

Hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants in 20 of the 25 U.S. counties with the largest illegal immigrant populations are able to sign up for health care benefit programs paid for by taxpayers that act as health insurance, according to a Wall Street Journal survey of those 25 counties. And at least 750,000 illegal immigrants are receiving care in those counties, costing taxpayers more than $1 billion.

Most of the programs allow residents of the county to sign up without regard to their immigration status, and some are explicitly intended for immigrants. Those who sign up for the plans can receive free doctor visits, shots, prescription drugs and surgeries and other benefits, depending on the program.

President Obama’s healthcare law prohibits illegal immigrants from signing up for subsidized plans, but the counties surveyed by TheWSJ are treating them anyway, reasoning the reduced emergency room costs will be more cost effective than denying them coverage.

“If federal programs exclude people who live here and get sick here, then someone has to care for them,” a Montgomery County, Md., Democratic council member told TheWSJ. “We all pay anyway.”

New York City provided nonemergency care for 208,000 illegal immigrants last year in Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx at a cost of about $400 million. Los Angeles has assigned 135,000 illegal immigrants a “medical home” that coordinates their government health care, as well as an ID card and access to resources and a hotline.

Federal lawmakers and all five presidential candidates have voiced support for the prohibition, and the Department of Health and Human Services took active steps to remove 200,000 people who could not prove legal status from the health insurance rolls last year.

Article reposted with permission from The Daily Caller Foundation.

Here’s What The Constitution Actually Says About Picking Supreme Court Justices

Senate Democrats are trying to convince voters it’s a dereliction of constitutional duty for Republicans to block consideration of Obama’s Supreme Court nominee, but the little the Constitution actually says about the matter gives the Senate extremely wide latitude in handling nominees.

The Constitution does not require the Senate to hold hearings on Supreme Court nominees or even to consider every nominee, and it allows the Senate to block a nominee for essentially any reason, or even to impeach a justice for anything short of “good behavior.” (RELATED: Is Obama’s Supreme Court Pick Actually A Moderate?)

“[The president] shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, Judges of the Supreme Court … ” is the extent of what the Constitution says about appointing Supreme Court justices.

Any Supreme Court Justice must be nominated and appointed by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, period. There’s nothing here stipulating hearings, consideration or a vote on a given nominee. There’s equally nothing on a time expectation.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell made it clear within hours of Justice Antonin Scalia’s death that his “advice” was for Obama to abstain from nominating a judge, so from a constitutional standpoint, it’s completely within bounds for the Senate to refuse to consider his nominee.

The Constitution also does not stipulate a size for the Supreme Court, so the Senate isn’t constitutionally required to maintain a nine-member bench. Historically, the court has had as few as six justices.

While it may score political points, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid’s assertion that “failing to fill this vacancy would be a shameful abdication of one of the Senate’s most essential Constitutional responsibilities,” is dubious at best.

Article reposted with permission from The Daily Caller

Trump Warns Of ‘Riots’ If He Wins Most Delegates, but is Denied Nomination at Contested Convention

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump warned “bad things would happen” if he wins the most delegates ahead of the convention in July, but is denied the nomination.

“I think you’d have riots,” Trump told CNN about losing the nomination in a contested convention. “I think you’d have riots.”

“I think bad things would happen,” he added. “I really do. I believe that. I wouldn’t lead it, but I think bad things would happen.”

If no candidate wins a majority of delegates ahead of the Republican National Convention in July, the nominee will be determined in a contested convention. While Trump has the best chance of hitting that number — 1,237 — there’s also a decent chance that Republican Sen. Ted Cruz will beat him to it or earn enough delegates to force a contested convention and then swoop in for the nomination.

If Trump is just 20 or 100 delegates short of securing the nomination, it would be perfectly within the rules for Cruz or another candidate to challenge him for the nomination at the convention. But Trump argued he should be the nominee if he’s leading in delegates.

“What is your plan to bring people together there and get many, as you know, who don’t want you to get this nomination to change your minds?” CNN’s Chris Matthews asked Trump.

“I think we’ll win before getting to the convention,” Trump said. “But I can tell you, if we didn’t, and if we’re 20 votes short or if we’re a hundred short and we’re at 1,100, and somebody else is at 500 or 400 — cause we’re way ahead of everybody — I don’t think you can say that we don’t get it automatically.”

Cruz is likely to win a sizable number of delegates, so that exact scenario is unlikely, although Trump and his supporters might not be dissuaded from a conviction anything short of giving him the nomination is foul play by the establishment.

“I’m representing a tremendous, many many millions of people, in many cases first time voters,” he told Matthews. “These are people that haven’t voted, because they never believed in the system. They didn’t like candidates, etc. etc. That are 40 and 50 and 60 years old, and they’ve never voted before.”

“Many, many of those people, many Democrats, many Independents, coming. That’s what the big story is really, Chris, I mean that’s what the big story is. How many people are voting in these primaries. The numbers are astronomical.”

“Now if you disenfranchise those people, and you say well I’m sorry, but you’re a hundred vote short, even though the next one is 500 votes short, I think you would have problems like you’ve never seen before.”

Cruz said recently he’s focused on winning the nomination outright, and that a contested convention is a “pipe-dream of the Washington establishment,” so they can “snatch the nomination from the people.”

Article reposted with permission from The Daily Caller

Shock Report: Costs Same to Settle One Muslim Refugee in US or 12 in Middle East – Let’s Settle Them There

For the cost of resettling one Middle Eastern refugee in the United States for five years, the U.S. could pay to support the resettlement of 12 refugees in the Middle East, a new report based on federal data shows.

Relocating a Middle Eastern refugee to the United States and providing relocation assistance, welfare and education benefits for five years costs the U.S. about $64,370, according to estimates from the Center for Immigration Studies. That’s enough to resettle and provide for 12 Middle Eastern refugees in any neighboring country for five years.

“If policymakers want to make optimal use of American resources to help those fleeing war, they should consider alternatives to resettling refugees in this country,” the report concludes.

CIS, an advocate for reduced immigration to the United States, based the estimate on federal data regarding welfare use and money spent to resettle refugees in 2013 — the latest available. The five-year estimate includes $9,230 spent by the State Department and Health and Human Services in the first year, as well as $55,139 on welfare and education.

The money it would cost to resettle about 39,000 Syrian refugees in the United States is enough to erase a $2.5 billion funding gap the UN Human Rights Commission says it needs to care for about 4 million Syrian refugees in the Middle East. (RELATED: Sessions Expresses ‘Severe Concern’ About Obama’s Refugee Plan)

The CIS calls its estimate conservative, because it does not include the cost of social workers who assist refugees, extra English language instruction and means-tested programs such as Head Start, or costs for basic government services such as law enforcement and infrastructure maintenance.

Refugees are immediately eligible for all welfare programs when they arrive in the United States, and benefit from short-term programs designed for them, such as Refugee Cash Assistance and Refugee Medical Assistance. Ninety-one percent of Middle Eastern refugees received food stamps in 2013 and 68 percent receive cash assistance.

The Obama administration is lifting the cap on refugee admission to the U.S. in order to bring in an extra 45,000 refugees by 2018 for a total of hundreds of thousands, including at minimum 10,000 Syrian refugees.

Source

State Department Appoints Clinton Donor as Email Transparency ‘Czar’

Department of State spokesman John Kirby said it’s “not relevant” that John Kerry appointed a Hillary Clinton campaign donor as the new email “transparency czar,” in response to criticism Wednesday.

Kerry appointed Janice Jacobs to coordinate the release of Clinton’s emails in an effort to be more transparent, but did not disclose that Jacobs recently made a maximum contribution to Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign, reported The Wall Street Journal.

“I would say we didn’t talk about it when we announced her yesterday because it’s not relevant,” Kirby said on Fox and Friends, in response to criticism over the move. “There’s no prohibition against doing that kind of thing. She’s the right person for this job because of the experience she has leading large organizations and enacting reform and change.”

Jacobs is a career diplomat who has worked in for Republican and Democrat administrations. She donated $2,700 to Clinton’s campaign June 22.

Fox and Friends co-host Brian Kilmeade pressed Kirby: “But if she put $2700 to make sure someone becomes president, and she has something in her hand to prevent them from becoming president, it’s hard for people to believe she’ll approach this in a balanced and judicious way.”

“I think if you look at her career over so many decades, in Republican and Democrat administrations, you’ll see she’s balanced,” Kirby replied.

“How much money did she give George Bush?” Kilmeade asked.

“I don’t have that kind of information, and again, it’s not relevant,” Kirby replied.

Source

ISIS Leader Raped U.S. Hostage Kayla Mueller Repeatedly

ISIS chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi personally raped Kayla Mueller repeatedly before her death in captivity, counter-terrorism officials recently told her parents.

Al-Baghdadi delivered the 26-year-old humanitarian aid worker to the home of ISIS official Abu Sayyaf, where she was imprisoned, and where al-Baghdadi regularly returned to sexually assault her, counter-terrorism officials told ABC news. “He delivered Kayla Mueller, live and in person,” one official said.

The report refutes rumors Kayla had cooperated with her captors or been a willing spouse of Sayyaf toward the end of her one and a half years of captivity. Her death was confirmed in February, although exactly how she was killed is unclear. (RELATED: 14 Years Later, Al-Qaida’s HQ Is Once Again In Afghanistan)

A U.S. Army hostage-rescue unit killed Sayyaf — a Tunisian in charge of oil and gas revenue — during a raid of his compound in May, but took his wife, Umm Sayyaf, and several captives alive. (RELATED: Who Was Abu Sayyaf?)

Umm “spilled everything” while under interrogation, including information about al-Baghdadi’s role in Kayla’s capture and details about ISIS leaders’ locations and patterns of life, a counter-terrorism official told ABC News. Two teenage Yazidi girls rescued from the compound also provided information about Kayla’s life at the compound.

“We were told Kayla was tortured, that she was the property of al-Baghdadi,” Carl and Marsha Mueller told ABC News Thursday. “We were told that in June by the government.”

The U.S. announced last week that Umm was delivered to Kurdish authorities in Iraq expected to deal out a quick sentence and punishment.

Mueller would have turned 27 Friday.

Source

NYT Admits Center for Medical Progress Did Not Withhold Information from Public Regarding Planned Parenthood Videos

The New York Times finally corrected two Planned Parenthood stories Monday — more than two weeks after they were published — acknowledging The Center for Medical Progress did not withhold critical information from the public when it published the first undercover video.

Times reporter Jackie Calmes wrongly reported on July 20 that CMP spokesman David Daleiden “released what he called the full recording [of the first video] last week after Planned Parenthood complained of selective, misleading editing.”

CMP released a full-length version of the video and a full transcript at the same time it released the 9-minute edited version, not later in response to pressure from Planned Parenthood.

The Federalist’s Mollie Hemingway said she notified The Times almost immediately the next morning, but the Times repeated the false report in a July 22 editorial.

I notified them of factual error early in day yesterday. Ridiculous. RT @WardrobeDoor@MZHemingway Last line is still there and unchanged.

— Mollie (@MZHemingway) July 22, 2015

 

The Daily Caller News Foundation also pointed out the error here.

More than two weeks later, on August 6, the Times corrected the error in both stories.

First to the report:

“An article on July 21 about a video made by abortion opponents, which they said proved that Planned Parenthood sells tissue from aborted fetuses for profit, referred incorrectly to the timing of the release of what was described as the full-length, unedited version of the video showing a Planned Parenthood employee talking about how much clinics charge for specimens. The full video was posted at the same time as the edited version. It is not the case that the full video was not released until ‘after Planned Parenthood complained of selective, misleading editing.’”

And then the editorial:

“An earlier version of this editorial incorrectly stated that the full video was released by Center for Medical Progress after complaints by Planned Parenthood. It was posted at the same time as the edited version.”

The Times public editor, who advocates for readers of the Times, declined to comment. A spokeswoman for the Times did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

Source

Another Tech Giant Lays off Thousands, Wants Access to More Foreign Workers

Another tech giant that says it must import foreign workers because there aren’t enough skilled American workers in the industry is laying off thousands of workers.

Qualcomm — a major producer of smartphone chips – announced last week it’s eliminating 15 percent of its workforce or about 4,500 employees, just weeks after fellow tech giant Microsoft announced a massive round of layoffs.

Both companies are top beneficiaries of the H-1b visa program, which backers say allows companies to temporarily hire foreign workers for jobs they can’t find qualified Americans workers to fill. Critics contend the program is really used to cut costs. (RELATED: Displaced American Workers Sue DHS Over New Visa Rule)

Microsoft and Qualcomm were in the top 15 users of H-1b visas in Fiscal Year 2013, according to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services data obtained by Computer World. They’re part of a major tech lobbying effort to increase the cap on these temporary workers, on the grounds there is a shortage of Americans with science, technology, engineering, and math degrees.

“Qualcomm has been engaged within the technology industry in highlighting the ‘skills deficit’ in all areas of today’s workforce, especially engineering,” a spokeswoman for Qualcomm told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “This is an industry-wide problem, and we are committed to working to build the pipeline of students studying STEM fields.”

One in five of the new Qualcomm hires in Fiscal Year 2013 were foreign workers with H-1b visas, according to an analysis of SEC filings by Ron Hira, a professor at Rochester Institute of Technology who is an expert in offshoring. Those 900 foreign workers hired in 2013 triple the total number of workers Qualcomm hired in 2014.

“Qualcomm and other tech firms have argued that they turn to H-1Bs because there is a significant shortage of American talent available,” Hira told TheDCNF. “Given the recent large layoff announcements by Qualcomm, Microsoft, Intel, and Cisco, how can the tech industry continue to argue there’s a shortage of American workers?” (RELATED: Senators Ask Feds to Investigate Guest Worker Visa Abuse)

Microsoft did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Hira also analyzed the skills of H-1b workers Qualcomm hired from Fiscal Year 2010 through 2012, and found most of the workers weren’t the highly skilled, U.S.-trained workers lobbyists imply make up the majority of H-1b holders.

Thirty-five percent of the 1,265 workers Qualcomm hired at that time held only a bachelor’s degree, and just 32 percent held advanced U.S. degrees. Only 44 of them held Ph.Ds from U.S. universities.

“This is very different than the carefully constructed, and misleading, narrative constructed by the tech industry that the H-1b program is primarily a vehicle for keeping people from abroad that the U.S. trained, and paid for,” Hira told TheDCNF.

The Qualcomm layoffs, which it says are in response to dramatic profit losses, will eliminate the net employment gains of the past two years. A spokeswoman for Qualcomm declined to provide further detail on the layoffs or the fate of Qualcomm’s H-1b employees, beyond the 15 percent figure.

But Qualcomm said it plans to “significantly reduce its temporary workforce,” in a presentation detailing the restructuring.

“Obviously some of the ones being laid off are not engineers, but in general I’m sure that a lot of the people laid off could be doing the jobs taken by the H-1bs,” Norm Matloff, a computer science professor at the University of California Davis who is an expert on H-1bs, told TheDCNF.

The Department of Homeland Security is working with the Department of Labor to investigate the H-1b program after Southern California and then Disney, among others, allegedly laid off hundreds of American workers and essentially forced them to train their foreign replacements holding H-1b visas. (RELATED: Jeh Johnson: DHS Lacks Legal Tools To Enforce H-1b Laws)

It’s a violation of federal labor laws to fire an American worker and directly replace them with a foreign worker holding an H-1b, but companies such as SCE and Disney have apparently gotten around this by contracting the work out to H-1b reliant firms, such as Infosys and Tata.

Critics of the program, including a bipartisan group of senators, see the layoffs as evidence the companies are using the visas to cut costs, not legitimately fill in gaps in the American labor force. (RELATED: This Is What Happened To Wages As The Immigrant Population Tripled)

Seventy-four percent of Americans with STEM degrees are not working in STEM fields, according to U.S. Census Bureau data, and only 3.8 million Americans with STEM degrees hold STEM jobs. (RELATED: WSJ Editorial Board Takes A Sloppy Shot At Walker On Immigration)

“The entire industry abuses this visa, and I’m sure that includes Qualcomm,” Matloff told TheDCNF. “I’ve done research that shows statistics on how much the industry pays it’s H-1b [workers], and Qualcomm is definitely one of the ones that does not have a good record in that regard.”

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Seven of the Most Blatant Lies in Hillary’s CNN Interview

Commentators, pundits, and journalists the world over were quick to point out that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton‘s first television interview since her April 12th presidential campaign announcement was full of misleading statements and outright lies.

Here are seven of the most questionable statements Clinton made in the 20-minute interview with CNN’s Brianna Keilar:

1. “People should and do trust me.”

“Would you vote for someone that you don’t trust?” Keilar asked Clinton in a discussion of the polling numbers about voters’ perception of her trustworthiness following the drama over her private email server as secretary of state.

“Well, they – people should and do trust me,” Clinton responded. “And I have every confidence that that will be the outcome of this election.” (RELATED: Poll: Swing State Voters Don’t Trust Hillary)

Fifty-three percent of American voters said Clinton is not honest and trustworthy in a May Quinnipiac poll. And in a May AP-GFK poll, nearly four in 10 Democrats and more than six in 10 Independents said “honest” is not the best word to describe her.

The likeliest contributors: the thousands of headlines generated from both her “home brew” civilian email server and from news of the Clinton Foundation’s rolodex of foreign donors.

2. I’m subjected to a “constant barrage of attacks that are largely fomented by and coming from the Right … “

Clinton blamed the email drama and resulting questions in the minds of voters on a vast but baseless right-wing conspiracy. She admitted that Americans should be thinking about those questions.

But she said they were only on the public’s radar because she is subjected to a “constant barrage of attacks that are largely fomented by and coming from the right.”

The New York Times broke the news in March that Clinton exclusively used a personal email account stored on a private server to conduct government business as secretary of state, and since then every major media outlet has followed the story.

3. “I only used one device.”

Clinton initially told reporters she set up the private server for convenience, because she didn’t want to carry separate devices for her work and her email. “People across the government knew that I used one device,” she reiterated Tuesday. “Maybe it was because I am not the most technically capable person and wanted to make it as easy as possible.”

But in an email to Sidney Blumenthal while she was secretary of state, Clinton mentioned she was without Blackberry coverage after a tropical storm and so had switched to a “new iPad” for her emails.

4. “I’ve never had a subpoena.”

Asked why she deleted more than 30,000 emails while under subpoena, Clinton said: “I’ve never had a subpoena.”

In response, the House Select Committee on Benghazi released its March subpoena to Clinton Wednesday, which it sent directly after it became aware of her personal email account and private server. The subpoena demanded she turn over all records and emails in her possession related to Benghazi.

What she may have meant is that she wasn’t under subpoena when she deleted the emails.

Prior to the subpoena, Clinton’s staff had voluntarily turned over more than 30,000 emails to the State Department and deleted the rest, which were deemed personal and irrelevant. The State Department then provided 900 emails to the Select Committee on Benghazi.

5. “I wanted to go above and beyond what was expected of me” 

“Now I didn’t have to turn over anything,” Clinton said, referring to the emails she turned over last year. “I chose to turn over 55,000 pages because I wanted to go above and beyond what was expected of me because I knew the vast majority of everything that was official already was in the State Department system.”

But new emails surfaced in June that had not been turned over to the Benghazi committee, suggesting either that Clinton lied about turning all the remaining emails over to the State Department, or that the State Department for some reason didn’t turn all the relevant emails over to the Benghazi committee.

6. Republican presidential candidates are all “in the same general area on immigration.”

Asked about Donald Trump’s comments on immigration, Clinton tried to tie his remarks to the Republican party, saying they’re all “in the same general area on immigration.”

“They don’t want to provide a path to citizenship,” she said. “They range across a spectrum of being either grudgingly welcome or hostile toward immigrants. And I’m going to talk about comprehensive immigration reform.”

The Republican presidential candidates are in very different places on immigration. Former Sen. Rick Santorum is expressly calling for reduced legal immigration and rejects a path to citizenship. Sen. Ted Cruz also rejects a path to citizenship.

But the comprehensive plan Sen. Marco Rubio is outlining includes a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants. And while former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush has backed off a previous embrace of a pathway to citizenship, but still advocates at least a path to permanent legal status. Both want to dramatically expand legal immigration. (RELATED: Rubio Doubles Down On Gang Of Eight Bill)

7. On raising taxes: “I’m going to be telling the American people what I propose.” 

Clinton dodged a direct question about tax hikes, saying she will tell the American people what she proposes in an upcoming speech.

“Is raising taxes on the table?” Keilar asked.

“I’m going to put out my policies, and I’ll let other people speak to their policies,” she said.

Hillary’s campaign announced her policy proposals will include tax hikes in June. “We are rolling out major policy proposals over the summer/fall,” her campaign spokesman Brian Fallon tweeted. “Among those proposals will be revenue enhancements.”

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SC Senator: Forget the Confederate Flag – Let’s Deal with the National Sin

Republican South Carolina Sen. Lee Bright started off a debate about the Confederate flag by denouncing the Supreme Court’s same-sex marriage ruling and calling on people of faith in South Carolina to “rise up.”

“I heard our president sing a religious hymn, and then Friday night I watched the White House be lit up in the abomination colors,” Bright said on the South Carolina Senate floor Monday. “It’s time — we’ve got amazing grace, we’ve got people in the stands here of faith — it’s time for the church to rise up. It’s time for the state of South Carolina to rise up.”

The South Carolina Senate is considering a fresh bid to remove the Confederate flag from statehouse grounds, following the deadly Charleston church shooting that killed nine(RELATED: GOP Presidential Candidates Back SC Governors Call To Remove Confederate Flag)

“Our governor called us in to deal with the flag that sits out front,” Bright added. “Let’s deal with the national sin that we face today. We talk about abortion, but this gay marriage thing, I believe, will be one nation gone under.”

He was referring to a quote from former President Ronald Reagan: “If we’re not one nation under God, we’ll be one nation gone under.”

“We can rally together and talk about a flag all we want,” Bright added, picking up steam. “But the devil is taking control of this land, and we’re not stopping him. It’s time to make our stand — let South Carolina discuss it.” (RELATED: Southern Baptists Promise To Defy Same-Sex Marriage Laws)

Bright said it’s important not to legitimize or respect same-sex marriage and to protect religious liberty, and mentioned the state getting out of the marriage business altogether as one course of action. “I believe that Christ teaches us to love the homosexual, but he also teaches us to stand in the gap against sin, and we need to make our stand,” he said.

“I know how people feel of all colors about this, and I know we need to respect our brother and love our brother,” he continued. “But we cannot respect this sin in the state of South Carolina.”

“If we’re not going to find some way to push back against the federal government like our forefathers did, or push back against a tyrannical government like the founders of this nation did, let’s at least not put these citizens of South Carolina in a position where they’ve got to choose between their faith and their jobs.”

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Supreme Court Upholds All Obamacare Subsidies

The Supreme Court ruled Thursday that Obamacare subsidies can go to enrollees in every state in a big victory for the Obama administration and a blow to Republicans hoping to repeal parts of the law.

In a 6-3 vote, the justices said all residents are eligible to receive federal subsidies to purchase insurance, even if they live in one of the 34 states that has not set up its own insurance exchange, reported The New York Times.

Chief Justice John Roberts wrote the majority opinion, which was opposed by Justices Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito — the Court’s most conservative members.

The administration’s challengers made the case that the government can’t subsidize plans purchased on the federal exchange, because the law says that only people who buy Obamacare “though an Exchange established by the state,” are eligible for subsidies.

If the Supreme Court had ruled against the administration, the 7 million enrollees currently subsidized by the Internal Revenue Service could have been faced with plans they can’t afford. That would have crippled the entire healthcare law and given Republicans an opportunity to roll back the law and present their own ideas.

But the administration argued the greater context of the law makes it clear Congress did not intend to limit the subsidies only to states who set up their own exchange, and argued a ruling against them would place an overdue burden on the states without an exchange and on the larger healthcare system. (RELATED: How Justice Kennedy Might Justify Saving Obamacare)

Republicans released statements Thursday urging Congress to move past the ruling and keep fighting the law, saying the ruling does not change the fact that it’s a bad law.

“The politicians who forced Obamacare on the American people now have a choice,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said in a statement. “[They can] crow about Obamacare’s latest wobble towards the edge, or work with us to address the ongoing negative impact of a 2,000-page law that continues to make life miserable for too many of the same people it purported to help.”

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Obama’s ICE Has ‘Largely Abandoned’ Efforts To Punish Illegal-Hiring Employers

The Obama administration has “largely abandoned” efforts to enforce laws that prohibit businesses from hiring illegal immigrants, according to a new report from the Center for Immigration Studies.

Immigrations and Customs Enforcement audited 181 workplaces and charged 27 employers in the first five months of this fiscal year, the internal ICE data analyzed by CIS shows. That’s a steep decline from 2013, when ICE audited more than 3,000 companies and arrested 179 employers. And the number of fines ICE collected from employers dropped by more than half since 2013. (RELATED: US Deports Illegal Immigrants On Expensive Charter Flights)

“The administration’s near discontinuation of worksite enforcement means that employers now face very little risk in hiring illegal workers and have little incentive to abide by the law,” CIS Director of Policy Studies Jessica Vaughan wrote in the report.

In 2009, the Obama administration instructed top ICE investigations personnel to stop conducting physical raids of employers, and to instead conduct “virtual raids” by inspecting personnel records. (RELATED: ICE Officers Carry Flash Cards To Help Them Remember Who They Can Deport)

The number of audits fell from a high of 3,127 in 2013 to to 1,320 in 2014, and the agency is on track to complete fewer than 500 audits this year, CIS found.

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Senate Blocks Patriot Act Extension!

The Senate blocked reauthorization of the Patriot Act early Saturday, and left for Memorial Day recess without a clear plan to reauthorize the bill before it expires May 31.

Senators rejected both a two-month extension of the bill the National Security Agency uses to justify its bulk collection of phone data, and a reform bill that would make phone companies responsible for keeping the data.

The House overwhelmingly passed the reform bill, the USA Freedom Act, and won’t be back in session until June 1. The Senate will return from recess and resume debate on the bill a week from Sunday, just hours before the Patriot Act expires. (RELATED: White House Will End Bulk Collection Of Phone Records If Congress Lets Patriot Act Expire)

“Do we really want this law to expire,” Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said on the Senate floor after the votes concluded around 1 a.m. Saturday morning. “We’ve got a week to discuss it. We’ll have one day to do it.”

“So we better be ready next Sunday afternoon to prevent the country from being endangered by the total expiration of the program that we’re all familiar with.”

Republican Sen. Rand Paul, who is running for president, and largely responsible for preventing the Senate from agreeing to even a 24-hour extension of the bill, lauded the delay. “I am proud to have stood up for the Bill of Rights,” he tweeted Saturday. “But our fight is not over.” (RELATED: Rand Paul Filibuster Ends After Nearly 11 Hours)

The USA Freedom Act claims to end the bulk collection of phone data by the NSA (but Rep. Justin Amash says different), and require the agency to obtain the data from individual companies on a case-by-case basis. Defense hawks worry that process would be dangerously cumbersome, and inadequate because companies are not required to keep the data.

And some critics, including Paul, say the bill does not fix the fundamental problem, which is allowing the government access to massive amounts of American’s phone data.

The NSA currently collects and stores huge amounts of metadata, which includes basic information about phone calls, such as phone numbers, and the date, time and location of a call. Only 37 people are able to run a given phone number against the data if the NSA and Department of Justice approve the request, and if a special foreign intelligence court determines they have “a reasonably articulated suspicion.”

A federal appeals court recently ruled the metadata collection program is illegal under the Patriot Act.

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Trade Promotion Authority Clears Senate

The Senate approved a bill granting the president trade promotion authority (TPA) Friday, which would severely restrict the Senate’s ability to block future trade deals.

The bill now heads to the House, where its passage is uncertain because of opposition from wary Democrats and skeptical Republicans. (RELATED: Rep. Dave Brat Perfectly Explains GOP Skepticism Of Fast Track Authority)

Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch called it, “likely the most important bill” the Senate will pass this year. “It shows when the president is right, we’ll support him,” he said on the floor just before passage.

President Barack Obama says he needs TPA to conclude a massive trade deal, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which he is currently negotiating with 11 other countries. And the Republicans backing him up say TPA is key to future free trade agreements that will benefit the U.S. economy.

But critics contend it’s a dangerous concession of Senate power to the executive branch. (RELATED: Why Are Senate Republicans So Eager To Cede Their Trade Authority To Obama?)

TPA would give Congress more power to shape the trade agreement by defining specific objectives the president must work toward in a deal, and by setting new transparency rules that would enable a more rigorous public debate.

But once the president submits a deal to Congress, TPA greatly restricts the Senate’s ability to block or complicate the deal. The Senate would have to promptly approve or reject the deal with no chance to amend the bill and only 20 hours of debate. Just 51 votes would be required for passage, which is a far cry from the 61 votes required for major legislation or the 67 votes required for treaties.

Some Republicans and Democrats are concerned about granting fast-track authority given the secrecy surrounding TPP. The text of the deal Obama is negotiating can only be viewed in a physical location by members and advisers with a security clearance. (RELATED: Obama Wants Critics To Take His Word On TPP)

Republican Sen. Jeff Sessions has read the TPP text and expressed concern about a “living agreement” provision that suggests the president could unilaterally change the deal after it’s been approved by Congress. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell did not allow a vote on an amendment from Sessions to strike that provision.

Other members object to TPA because it doesn’t sufficiently address the currency manipulation that countries use to compete unfairly with the U.S. in the global economy.

An amendment adding strict and enforceable currency manipulation rules to the bill, offered by Republican Sen. Rob Portman and Democratic Sen. Debbie Stabenow, was rejected. Republicans warned such strong language could kill TPP and start a damaging trade war, and Treasury Secretary Jack Lew warned Obama might veto the bill if it was included.

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Senate Passes Human Trafficking Bill Unanimously

The Senate unanimously passed a bill intended to help human trafficking victims Wednesday, ending a weeks-long standoff over abortion funding language that’s been holding up the confirmation of Loretta Lynch as President Barack Obama’s next attorney general.

Republican Sen. Ted Cruz missed the vote, but every other senator voted to pass the bill, which was amended to satisfy Democrats concerned the original bill expanded abortion restrictions.

The language at issue is a standard addition to spending bills banning federal funding of abortion, except in cases of rape, incest or life of the mother. In the original bill the language would have prevented women from using compensation from a fund paid into by the perpetrators to get an abortion.

The bill now has two separate funds from which victims can be compensated, a change solely to appease Democrats, who claimed they didn’t notice the abortion language until they had voted the bill unanimously out of committee and to the floor. (RELATED: Republicans Mollify Dems To End Human Trafficking Fight)

The first is the original fund paid into by perpetrators, which is now restricted to non-medical use, and the second is a medical fund paid into by taxpayers. None of the money can be used to fund an abortion, except in cases of rape, incest or life of the mother — as was the case in the original bill.

Both parties have managed to “save face,” and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will now allow a vote on the confirmation of Lynch, which he was holding hostage until the trafficking bill moved forward. (RELATED: Jeff Sessions Makes His Case Against Loretta Lynch)

McConnell said he “appreciates” Senate Democrats’ decision to end the filibuster of the bill, without violating the ban on federal funding of abortion. “The result is passage of yet another bipartisan bill from the Senate — one that will provide critical help for those who need it most,” he said in a statement following the vote.

Last week, the Senate passed a bipartisan healthcare bill to fix the way Medicare payments are made to doctors that is estimated to add half a billion dollars to the national debt over the next twenty years. (RELATED: Rand Splits With Rubio, Cruz, To Vote For Deficit-Exploding Healthcare Bill) 

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Trey Gowdy Puts a Halt to Obama State Dept. Settling Syrian War Refugees in His District

The State Department didn’t bother to inform Republican Rep. Trey Gowdy of a plan to resettle refugees in his district, so he sent a letter last week demanding a halt to the plan until he and his constituents get answers.

Gowdy had to learn about the plan to open a refugee resettlement office in his South Carolina district through news reports. Gowdy is chairman of the House Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security, which has jurisdiction over refugee admission.

“As the Member of the U.S. House of Representatives representing the Spartanburg area, I am deeply concerned about the lack of notice, information, and consultation afforded to me and my constituents about this issue,” he said in a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry.

He asked for answers to 17 questions, including how, why and when his district was approved, what steps were taken to notify local government officials and whether they approved the plan, and where funds for the office and the refugees will come from.

Other questions: When are the first refugees expected to arrive? What benefits are they entitled to? How many will be resettled? What is their country of origin? Who is responsible for housing, employment and education services for them? Will the local government need to provide interpreters for young students in school? Are background checks conducted on the refugees?

Gowdy requested a stop to implementation of the plan until he and his constituents are given sufficient answers to his questions and have a chance to review the information.

“As previously stated, I am troubled by the lack of notice and coordination with my office and the Spartanburg community, particularly local officials, regarding the plans to resettle refugees in the area,” he wrote. “In that vein, I request at least one month’s notice prior to the arrival of the first refugee in the Spartanburg area.”

An estimated 7 million Syrians are seeking refugee status, and hundreds have been welcomed into the U.S., reported Fox News. House Republicans have voiced concern terrorists could use the Obama administration’s plan to welcome some of the refugees as a way to enter the country.

The Islamic State’s de facto headquarters are located in Syria.

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Swing State Voters Don’t Trust Hillary

The drama over Hillary Clinton’s private email server as secretary of state seems to have damaged her reputation with voters in swing states, a new poll shows, providing a boost for Republican Sen. Rand Paul as he launches his presidential campaign.

In Colorado, 56 percent of registered voters said Clinton’s not honest and trustworthy, along with 49 percent in Iowa and 52 percent in Virginia, in a new Quinnipiac University Poll. Her favorability rating has dropped five points to 41, in Iowa it dropped four points to 45, and in Colorado it remained unchanged at 48 percent.

In a head to head matchup, Paul tops Clinton in Iowa and Colorado. Every other Republican in the poll matches up competitively against her, including New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee.

The broad scope of improvement for Republicans in this poll, compared to Quinnipiac’s mid-February poll is “ominous” for Clinton, Peter Brown, assistant director of the poll, said in a statement. “It isn’t just one or two Republicans who are stepping up; it’s virtually the entire GOP field that is running better against her.”

“That’s why it is difficult to see Secretary Clinton’s slippage as anything other than a further toll on her image from the furor over her e-mail,” he continued.

A majority of voters in all three states said the email controversy is “very important” to their vote, and at least 54 percent said serious questions remain that Clinton needs to answer.

“Voters do think she is a strong leader, a key metric, but unless she can change the honesty perception, running as a competent but dishonest candidate has serious potential problems,” he added.

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Bill Banning Feds From Watching Porn On Taxpayer Dime Advances

A bill banning federal employees from viewing or downloading porn on government devices advanced out of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Wednesday.

“There is absolutely no excuse for federal employees to be viewing or downloading pornographic materials on the taxpayers’ dime,” Republican Rep. Mark Meadows, who sponsored the bill, said in a statement announcing the progress.

“To ignore this issue would not only condone an abuse of taxpayers’ dollars, but also embrace an unhealthy workplace,” he added. “Today’s action should send a clear message that it is time for zero tolerance of this kind of behavior.”

Meadows cited a number of reports of federal employees watching a lot of porn at work as evidence the current policies in place discouraging that behavior be put into law. An Environmental Protection Agency employee has not been fired, although an Inspector General report last year revealed he was watching porn for two to six hours per day on his government-issued office computer since 2010.

Also last year, a Treasury Department employee blamed a lack of work for the discovery that he had viewed 13,000 images of porn in six weeks, reported The Washington Times. Another bored General Services Administration employee reportedly spent two hours a day watching porn.

“While there are rules in place at most agencies to ban this kind of unprofessional and unacceptable workplace behavior, it continues to take place,” he said.

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Senate Republicans Looking to Surrender in Human Trafficking Fight?

Republican Sen. John Cornyn may have found a way to surrender to Senate Democrats in the human trafficking bill fight.

Instead of setting up a restitution fund paid into by the perpetrators of human trafficking crimes, Cornyn is considering setting up a fund that Congress would appropriate annually, reported The Hill. That could satisfy Democrats, who are blocking the bill Cornyn sponsored over abortion language they apparently failed to notice until after they passed it unanimously through committee. (RELATED: Senate Dem Concedes Her Staff To Blame For Trafficking Bill Implosion)

The language bans federal funding of abortion, except in cases of rape, incest or life of the mother, and has been a standard addition to spending bills for decades. But Democrats argue it’s an expansion of abortion restrictions in this case, because the money would come from fines paid by trafficking perpetrators, and not taxpayer dollars. (RELATED: Democrats Pick Abortion Fight Over Trafficking Victims)

Cornyn’s new plan would still contain the language restricting abortions, but since the funds would be taxpayer dollars, Democrats could presumably get on board. However it would mean the fund for victims would cut into the budget, instead of being paid for by the perpetrators.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said he will not move forward with the confirmation of Loretta Lynch as the next attorney general until Democrats allow the human trafficking bill to the floor. But Democrats remain adamant in their demand the abortion language be taken out of the bill, and have already played the racism and sexism cards. (RELATED: Dem Senator Accuses GOP Of Forcing Loretta Lynch To Sit In The Back Of The Bus)

Asked whether Republicans could get on board with his plan, Cornyn told reporters his idea is at least a start. “I think we’re looking for a way to get to a solution,” he said. “I think this could well be the beginning of that conversation.”

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Senate Democrats Hold Up Human Trafficking Bill Over Unconstitutional Federal Funding of Abortions

The reasons Senate Democrats give for suddenly slamming the breaks on an anti-human trafficking bill this week are numerous, but one thing is clear: for them, it’s definitely been awkward.

The 68-page anti-human trafficking bill has 13 Democratic cosponsors and was supposed to pass easily Tuesday, but Democrats suddenly reversed course and are now holding the bill hostage over standard language preventing federal funding of abortions, except in cases of rape, incest or life of the mother.

Democrats claim they didn’t notice the abortion language until this week, and accuse Republicans of “sneaking” it into the bill. Republicans say that’s bogus, and accuse the Democrats of lying about it for political gain. (RELATED: Dems Remember To Read Bill They’re Pushing, Throw A Fit)

Whatever the case, it’s not a good look for Senate Dems.

The language of the bill has been publicly available online since it was introduced in January, and the abortion language is on page 4 of the bill. In February, it passed unanimously through the Senate Judiciary Committee after Republicans and Democrats on the committee examined the bill and offered amendments.

So it’s hard to believe not a single Democrat or any of their staffers read the bill carefully enough to catch the abortion language. And yet, that’s exactly what they claim.

“Republicans were aghast that Democrats were sticking to their insistence that their aides had not read the bill,” wrote Politico’s Burgess Everett and Seung Min Kim.

Their aides. Had not. Read. The bill … which was months old and less than 70 pages.

“In order to think that people missed it, and all of a sudden discovered it just this week really is not plausible,” Republican Sen. John Cornyn, a sponsor of the bill, said at a press conference Thursday.

A Senate aide told The Daily Caller News Foundation it’s a fundraising ploy. “Democrats are basically trying to fundraise off of this,” he said. “They’re trying to make it sound like they are standing up for women’s rights by holding up a bill that is protecting women.”

“Look how quickly they turn on their own people,” he added.

Maybe they did create this mess on purpose to score points with pro-abortion groups, such as NARAL and Planned Parenthood, who are now condemning the bill and calling on Senators to remove the abortion language with the hashtag “StrikeTheBan.”

Or maybe they did it to obscure a different objection to the bill — an amendment designed to curb illegal immigration proposed by Republican Sen. David Vitter. (RELATED: Senate Democrats Fight For More Illegals In Anti-Prostitution Bill)

“It appears they’re scared to vote on amendments like mine, to close the birthright citizenship loophole,” Vitter told TheDCNF.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell offered to let Democrats offer an amendment stripping the bill of the abortion language, if they stop blocking the bill, but they refused his offer.

Maybe Senate Democrats aren’t actually blocking a bipartisan bill that would help trafficking victims for political purposes. But that would mean they failed to read the bill carefully enough to catch the abortion language.

“Of course we read the bill,” Adam Jentleson, a spokesperson for Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, told TheDCNF. “But it’s easy to miss the language if you’re not looking for it, which we weren’t since Republicans told us it wasn’t in the bill.”

Read it, but not carefully, he said.

Is it worth then killing bill over the abortion language?

“No. We want the bill to pass,” he said.

So Reid and McConnell are in yet another face-off.

“I’ll say this to everybody out there who cares about this bill,” McConnell said on the Senate floor Thursday. “We’re going to stay on it until we finish it.”

Reid also insisted the bill would pass, but without the abortion language. “The legislation dealing with human trafficking is going to pass this Congress, but it’s going to pass this congress without abortion language in it,” he said on the floor Thursday.

The Senate will take up the bill again next week.

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Someone Please Tell Barbara Boxer Which Party Won The Last Election

Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer expressed disbelief and anger on the Senate floor Thursday as Republicans continue to push their legislative agenda.

“They’ve been in charge for eight weeks,” she said. “And all we see is them taking hostage after hostage after hostage legislatively to get their way on their philosophy.”

The comment was part of a larger rant about the audacity of Republicans to inject standard language into an anti-human trafficking bill that would block federal funding of abortion, except in cases of rape, incest or life of the mother.

Democrats are feigning outrage over the language after they voted unanimously to push the bill through committee in February, and promised Monday it would pass. They suddenly changed course Tuesday, claiming they hadn’t actually read the bill — which has been available for moths — and blaming Republicans for a political “sneak attack.” (RELATED: Dems Remember To Read Bill They’re Pushing, Throw A Fit)

“This is a clear pattern,” Boxer said on the floor. “Injecting these unrelated extremely politically charged provisions into key pieces of legislation — I’ve not seen it.”

She listed a series of Republican offenses — trying to defund Obama’s highly unpopular executive order on immigration, threatening to attach the Keystone Pipeline bill, which passed Congress with bipartisan support, to a transportation bill so Obama might actually sign it, and including standard spending restrictions in this anti-human trafficking bill.

“Republicans are doing this all over the place!” she said. (RELATED: Reporter: It’s As If Obama ‘Didn’t Quite Pay Attention’ To Midterm Election Results)

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Former Obama Campaign Manager: No “Major Scandals” During Obama Years!

Obama’s former top campaign aide said he’s proud that “there hasn’t been a major scandal” in the administration during the past six years.

“I’m proud of the fact that basically you’ve had an administration that has been in place for six years in which there hasn’t been a major scandal,” David Axelrod said Monday during a discussion of his new book, Believer: My Forty Years in Politics, at the University of Chicago. “I think that says a lot about the ethical strictures of this administration.”

Axelrod made the remark while defending Obama’s promised ban on lobbyists in the White House. An audience member asked why Obama broke his promised ban and has allowed a revolving door between lobbyists, Washington insiders, and the administration.

“I think in the administration itself, in the white house, I don’t think that’s true,” Axelrod said. “I mean there are exceptions, there have been a few exceptions, but the rule has basically been that there’s been a ban on the revolving door.”

He said he didn’t take any other clients when he left in 2011 because that would have meant he couldn’t contact anyone in the White House. “So has it been pristine, has there been any sort of shading anywhere? I can’t say that’s the case — it’s been pristine — but has it been light years different than it was before? Absolutely.”

“And I’m proud of the fact that basically you’ve had an administration that has been in place for six years in which there hasn’t been a major scandal.”

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David Axelrod Details Obama’s Alleged Sodomite “Marriage” Ruse During ’08 Campaign

President Obama lied about his position on same-sex “marriage” in order to win votes in the 2008 election, his former chief campaign adviser political David Axelrod writes in a new book, “Believer: My Forty Years in Politics.”

Obama supported same-sex “marriages” then, but begrudgingly took the counsel of his advisers and said publicly he opposed same-sex “marriage” for religious reasons, according to excerpts of Axelrod’s book obtained by Time.

“Opposition to gay ‘marriage’ was particularly strong in the black church, and as he ran for higher office, he grudgingly accepted the counsel of more pragmatic folks like me, and modified his position to support civil unions rather than ‘marriage,’ which he would term a ‘sacred union,'” Axelrod writes.

Obama promised in 2008 not to be like other politicians who change their views for political reasons. “Having prided himself on forthrightness, though, Obama never felt comfortable with his compromise and, no doubt, compromised position,” Axelrod writes. “He routinely stumbled over the question when it came up in debates or interviews.”

After one event where Obama said he opposes same-sex “marriage,” he told Axelrod, “I’m just not very good at bullshitting.”

Although Obama said as early as 1996, when he was a senate candidate, that he favors legalizing same-sex marriages, he claimed in 2010 that he was “evolving” from a position of opposing them.

“I believe that marriage is the union between a man and a woman,” Obama told Rick Warren‘s Saddleback Church in 2008. “Now, for me as a Christian — for me — for me as a Christian, it is also a sacred union. God’s in the mix.”

Only after Vice President Joe Biden said on Meet the Press in 2012 that he was “absolutely comfortable” with same-sex “marriage,” did Obama publicly say he supports same-sex “marriage.”

“The president was chomping at the bit to announce his support for the right of gay and lesbian couples to wed,” Axelrod writes. “And having watched him struggle with this issue for years I was ready, too.”

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Dad Refuses To Abandon Son With Down Syndrome, Wife Files For DIVORCE

A man’s wife threatened to divorce him if he did not abandon their newborn son with Down syndrome, but he refused.

Before they allowed Samuel Forrest to meet his son, Leo, doctors and nurses in an Armenian hospital led him into a room and warned him Leo has Down syndrome, reported ABC News. Forrest had no idea at the time that Armenian law allows parents the option of abandoning children born with Down syndrome.

“This pediatrician walks out of the room with a little bundle — that was Leo,” Forrest told ABC News. “She had his face covered up and hospital authorities wouldn’t let me see him or my wife. When the doctor came out, he said ‘there’s a real problem with your son.'”

“When I walked into the room they all turned to me and said ‘Leo has Down syndrome,'” he continued. “I had a few moments of shock.”

When Forrest met Leo, he knew he wanted to keep him. “They took me in to see him and I looked at this guy and I said, he’s beautiful,” Forrest told ABC News. “He’s perfect and I’m absolutely keeping him.”

Forrest was completely surprised when he took Leo into his wife’s hospital room, and she immediately gave him an ultimatum. “She told me if I kept him then we would get a divorce.”

“What happens when a baby like this is born here, they will tell you that you don’t have to keep them,” he said. “My wife had already decided, so all of this was done behind my back.”

Forrest kept Leo, and his wife filed for divorce a week later. He and Leo plan to return to New Zealand, where they will have the support of loved ones.

He’s also started a GoFundMe page called “Bring Leo Home” to raise support, which has raised more than $350,000 in 10 days. “The mother refused to even look at or touch the newborn for fear of getting attached in a society where defects are not accepted, often bringing shame on the family involved,” the page reads.

“I don’t have a lot; I have very little in fact,” he told ABC News. “The goal is to raise enough for a year so I can get a part-time job so Leo doesn’t have to be in daycare and I can help care for him. He’s lost a lot in two weeks. It’d be different if he had his mommy.”

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Alabama Chief Justice Defies Federal Court – Tells State Judges to Disregard Sodomite’s Redefinition of Marriage Ruling

Hours after a federal court ruled Alabama must recognize same-sex “marriages,” Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore told state judges to disregard the ruling.

Alabama is not under the jurisdiction of any federal court, except the U.S. Supreme Court, Moore said in a memo Tuesday. So unless the state’s same-sex “marriage” ban is ruled unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court, Alabama officials are not required to issue same-sex “marriage” certificates.

In two separate January rulings, U.S. District Judge Ginny Granade struck down Alabama’s legal and constitutional same-sex “marriage” bans. Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange appealed the rulings to the U.S. Supreme Court, and asked Granade to allow Alabama to wait until the U.S. Supreme Court ruling before it begins recognizing same-sex “marriages.”

Granade refused, and a federal appeals court upheld her decision in a ruling Tuesday.

Moore almost immediately sent a memo and a letter to Alabama judges explaining why they do not have to break state law and recognize same-sex “marriage” unless the U.S. Supreme Court ultimately rules it unconstitutional.

“While my disagreement with Judge Granade’s orders in the cases attacking Alabama marriage law has been criticized as ‘religious,’ ‘defiant,’ and ‘unethical,’ my actions are entirely consistent with my responsibility as Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court,” he wrote in the letter, saying he has the authority to clarify rulings and give state judges guidance.

Federal and state courts are separate systems equally beholden to the Constitution, he said, so only the U.S. Supreme Court can arbitrate disputes between the two. Also, Granade’s order applies to the attorney general and anyone in the executive branch, but since Alabama’s government has strict separation of powers, the ruling cannot apply to the judicial branch.

When Moore wrote a similar letter in January, Granade fired back in a clarifying statement, saying Alabama must immediately recognize same-sex “marriages” when the temporary hold on her ruling is lifted.

He dismissed her warning. “Marriage has long been recognized as a divine institution ordained of God,” he wrote in the letter. “According to the United States Supreme Court, the basic foundation of marriage and family upon which our country rests is ‘the union for life of one man and one woman in the holy estate of matrimony.”

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Editor’s Note: Chief Justice Moore has already decried the federal tyranny that is trying to be imposed on the State of Alabama and encouraged the Alabama governor to reject federal court rulings in the matter, despite being targeted by the hateful Southern Poverty Law Center.

Obama Admin’s Insane Regulations Are Suffocating Small Businesses

Manufacturing advocate Jay Timmons touted an industry comeback Tuesday, but warned lawmakers that overly burdensome regulations and high federal taxes are stifling its power and hurting the economy.

“There are speed bumps slowing us down, so let’s get rid of them,” Timmons, CEO of the National Association of Manufacturers, said at Indiana’s Perdue University Tuesday. “Starting with achieving a sane regulatory environment.”

The regulations in place cost small manufacturers nearly $35,000 per employee per year, he said. “Today’s system is unnecessarily complex and inefficient.”

Timmons represents 14,000 large and small manufacturers in all 50 states, and said small manufacturers are hit especially hard by regulations: “Those family businesses ask me all the time: how can we make the government understand that their regulations hurt small businesses more than anyone?”

The Obama administration’s regulation of greenhouse gasses and proposed ozone standard — the costliest regulation in history — could shut down entire facilities and halt planned expansions, he said. (RELATED: EPA Sneaks ‘Costliest Regulation Ever’)

And an “outdated” tax code, which has the highest corporate rate in the world, and treats two-thirds of manufacturers as individuals, is driving manufacturers out of the country. “Every business leader in the world wants access to our market,” he said. “But every one of them has to ask: what is the cost of doing business in America?” (RELATED: Obama Would Nearly DOUBLE This Tax)

Timmons warned students that Obama’s propensity to raise taxes to spend more money will cost them job opportunities: “You’re getting a world class education at Purdue, but it won’t matter if taxing and spending in Washington limits your opportunities. The President’s budget plan will shut the doors you want to walk through.”

At the same time, he denied the idea that manufacturing in the United States has reached and passed its prime, touting its contribution of $2 trillion to the economy, and its important place in American history.

“When the world needs America to help make it out of a rough patch, it’s manufacturers in the United States who make the things that make it happen,” he said. “They’re the ones who make anything possible.”

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Dem’s Dream Of Stricter Gun Control In Virginia Killed By Republicans

Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s promised push for stricter gun control laws ended abruptly Monday, when Republican legislators killed his gun control bills in a state Senate committee.

McAuliffe wanted the Republican-controlled legislature to act on eight gun control measures, including requiring background checks at gun shows, revoking concealed carry permits for parents behind on child-support payments, and renewing a law that limits handgun purchases to one per month.

None of the bills made it out of committee Monday, reported The Washington Post. A separate bill introduced by a Democratic senator that would ban children under four from using a gun also failed.

“I am disappointed to see these commonsense measures to keep Virginians safe fall to special interest politics,” McAuliffe said after the bills failed. “Too many families in Virginia and across the nation have lost loved ones to gun crimes that these proposals could help prevent.”

Republicans dismissed the plan as political posturing, and the Senate committee instead passed through a bill that would allow people to get a lifetime concealed carry permit, and a bill that would allow concealed carry on school properties in some cases.

“It was an awesome day,” Philip Van Cleave, pro-gun Virginia Citizens Defense League president told The Virginian-Pilot.

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Boston Wants To Host The Olympics So Badly It’s Willing To Suspend Free Speech

As part of a bid to host the 2024 Summer Olympics, Boston Mayor Martin Walsh has ordered all city employees not to criticize the Olympics or the process of hosting the Olympics.

City workers cannot write or say anything that might “reflect unfavorably” on, “denigrate or disparage,” or damage the reputation of the International Olympic Committee, the U.S. Olympic Committee or the Olympics, the agreement signed by Walsh states.

The workers are also required to “promote” Boston’s specific bid in a “positive manner.”

Walsh signed the agreement with the United States Olympic Committee as part of Boston’s bid, reported The New York Times. After news of the agreement broke, Walsh released a statement defending the move, calling it standard procedure for any city that wants to host the Olympics.

“Mayor Walsh is not looking to limit the free speech of his employees and, as residents of Boston, he fully supports them participating in the community process,” Walsh said in the statement.

An attorney at the American Civil Liberties of Massachusetts said the agreement is blatantly unconstitutional. “What’s wrong with this decree is that it has no limits,” Sarah Wunsch told The Boston Globe. “It doesn’t say you have the right, as a citizen, to speak on matters of public concern.”

Walsh insists he will not limit debate on the games, regardless of the agreement. “I believe in free speech,” Walsh told The Globe. “I’ve believed in free speech my whole time.”

“If a city employee isn’t happy and on their own personal time goes to Facebook or Twitter or any other social media, that’s fine,” he added.

The host of the 2017 Olympic Games is expected to be decided in 2017.

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This Democrat Just Listed Some Very Stupid Reasons For Why The Border Is Fixed

Texas Democratic Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee said President Obama has already successfully secured the U.S. border, and objected to the tone of a House border security bill she said militarizes the country.

“The president has spent $108 billion on border security, and we have been successful,” Jackson Lee said in a Homeland Security committee markup Wednesday. “Oh we’ve had our moments, but we have been successful.”

Jackson Lee brushed off the recent flood of unaccompanied children on the southern border. “I know we had a disagreement,” she said, referring to Republican critics who blamed Obama’s policies for the flood of immigrants.

After hundreds of thousands of children and teens crossed the border illegally last summer, House Speaker John Boehner wrote a letter to Obama saying his policies were directly responsible for the surge, because they led the immigrants to believe they could stay.

The surge reignited the immigration debate, and another surge is expected this summer. But Jackson Lee argued the border is fine, because the border patrol agents were able to safely detain and supervise most of the children. “They had operational control,” she said.

“Our friend has said over and over in this committee that El Paso is the safest city in america,” she added. “This bill will militarize the nation.” (RELATED: New GOP Border Security Bill Removes Border Fences)

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