Archive for the ‘Military’ Category
According to this roll call vote, Rick Nolan voted against a bill that a) had broad bipartisan support and that b) would have held VA officials accountable. Why Nolan voted against accountability is inexplicable, especially in light of the fact that Nolan’s congressional website issues page on veterans insists that “America’s obligation to our veterans is permanent and sacred. We must leave no stone unturned to ensure that the men and women who have put themselves in harm’s way to protect and serve us have the very best medical care, counseling, housing, job training, and educational opportunities a grateful nation can provide.”
In light of this vote, Rep. Nolan’s statement should read “America’s obligation to our veterans is permanent and sacred except if it includes punishing VA employees who commit work-related felonies.” HR5620 would “provide for the removal or demotion of employees of the Department of Veterans Affairs based on performance or misconduct, and for other purposes.”
Nolan was one of 116 votes against the bill. Other high-profile liberals that voted against passage of the bill were Nancy Pelosi, Charlie Rangel, Keith Ellison, Maxine Waters, Raul Grijalva, Luis ‘Open Borders’ Gutierrez, Sheila Jackson-Lee, Jim McDermott, Jan Schakowsky and Debbie Wasserman-Schultz.
As with other things, Nolan’s sacred promises come with an asterisk. That asterisk apparently applies when it involves holding government bureaucrats accountable. Apparently, Rep. Nolan’s sacred promise to veterans isn’t sacred whatsoever.
The other night at NBC’s Commander-in-Chief Forum, Hillary Clinton potentially offered a glimpse of her debate performances. She potentially offered that glimpse by twisting herself into a pretzel. HRC is prone to that because she’s caught in an impossible situation. She’s caught in an impossible situation because she’s gotten caught lying about sending and receiving classified emails on her private email server.
The impossible situation started with a question that went like this “As a naval officer, I held a top secret, sensitive compartmentalized information clearance and that provided me access to materials and information that was highly sensitive to our war-fighting capabilities. Had I communicated this information not following prescribed protocols, I would have been prosecuted and imprisoned. Secretary Clinton, how can you expect those such as myself who were and are trusted with America’s most sensitive information to have any confidence in your leadership as president when you clearly corrupted our national security?”
Predictably, Mrs. Clinton started her oratorical gyrations, saying “Well I appreciate your concern and also your experience, but let me try to make the distinctions that I think are important for me to answer your question. First, as I said to Matt, you know and I know, classified material is designated. … And what we have here is the use of an unclassified system by hundreds of people in our government to send information that was not marked, there were no headers, there was no statement top secret, secret, or confidential. I communicated about classified material on a wholly separate system. I took it very seriously.”
Mrs. Clinton should consider herself fortunate because she lied with that reply. Classified material is supposed to be protected whether it’s got the markings on it or not. Also, we know from Jim Comey’s testimony that there were emails on Hillary’s server that contained classified material. It’s possible that Mrs. Clinton occasionally used “a wholly separate system” to communicate classified materials but she certainly didn’t use that separate system consistently, much less all the time.
Because she’s caught in that impossible position of defending the indefensible, there’s a high probability that she’ll corkscrew herself into the ground in the debates. Those are the types of replies that might create an election-shifting moment.
Republicans should willingly accept the fight that the Democrats have picked on defense spending. Democrats just picked the fight by filibustering the bill that would fund the military, including funding overseas operations against ISIS. If Democrats are willing to shut down the government over fulfilling the Democrats’ special interest allies’ wish list, Republicans should highlight that. If Democrats want to commit political suicide, then it’s Republicans’ responsibility to make them pay for that stupidity.
First, it’s important to know that “Senate Democrats Tuesday blocked for a third time a key defense spending bill, signaling they will not take up any spending legislation outside of an all-inclusive package that incorporates both military and domestic spending.” According to the article, Democrats blocked the bill because “Democratic leaders said they don’t trust the GOP to negotiate in good faith on the remaining domestic spending bills if they agree to the military spending separately.”
It’s time for Democrats to put on their big boy britches and negotiate in good faith. If they won’t fund the military unless they get everything they want for their special interest allies, then they aren’t fit to chair the Senate’s committees. Period. They aren’t fit for those responsibilities because they’re too beholden to the special interests to do what’s right for America.
Sen. Rubio issued this statement:
The federal government’s chief responsibility is to keep Americans safe and provide the resources our military needs to do its job, and it’s a shame Senate Democrats are refusing to do either by blocking this bill for the third time this year.
In addition to funding our military, this bill would also have made it crystal clear to the administration that dangerous terrorists must remain at the detention facility in Guantanamo Bay. In these last four months of President Obama’s term, we need to do everything possible to stop him from releasing dangerous terrorists to other countries, or bringing them into the U.S. This includes keeping the 18 “forever prisoners“, which an independent board has deemed too dangerous to ever release, right where they are.
This is a fight that Republicans should fight with Democrats. Let the people see that Democrats aren’t ready to chair the important committees that fund this nation’s national security operations. Let the people see that Democrats consistently put a higher priority on political gamesmanship than they put on doing what’s right for our troops.
Based on this article, it sounds like Angie Craig isn’t an honest businessperson. The article says “The company in 2012 paid $3.65 million as part of a settlement with the Department of Justice over the allegation. The settlement resolved allegations by two whistleblowers that the company violated the False Claims Act that it had inflated the cost of replacement pacemakers and defibrillators purchased by the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs.”
The issue had subsided until this week when “St. Jude came under renewed scrutiny last week when Carson Block, a prominent short seller, issued a memo to investors warning that the company’s devices could be fatally hacked. “The nightmare scenario is somebody is able to launch a mass attack and cause these devices that are implanted to malfunction,” Block said in an interview with Bloomberg.
At the time of this settlement, Ms. Craig “ran media relations” for St. Jude Medical. Now, Ms. Craig is running an ad touting her as the veterans’ hero:
That’s downright shameful. Ms. Craig’s company ripped off veterans and exposed them to hackers that might kill these veterans. Putting veterans at risk of getting killed isn’t the way to be a veterans’ hero. That’s like saying the administrators at the Phoenix VA Hospital are heroes. They’re nothing of the sort. Ms. Craig isn’t the veterans’ hero, either.
Tuesday night, Jason Lewis won his primary against Darlene Miller and John Howe. Saying that this was expected is understatement. Lewis now heads into the general election against the DFL’s Angie Craig. The DCCC is already spinning Lewis as a rigid ideologue from hell.
Craig’s only hope of winning this election is to make the focus on Jason Lewis. The minute that this becomes a fight between Angie Craig’s progressive agenda and Lewis’ ideas for creating jobs and protecting us from terrorists, this race is over.
Nowhere on Ms. Craig’s issue page, which has a heading of “My Priorities”, does it talk about protecting against terrorist attacks, though it mentions “Slowing the Pace of Climate Change.”
When Ms. Craig talks about veterans care, she’s all about describing the problem:
We owe so much to the brave men and women who volunteer to serve our country in the armed forces. When they come home from their service, they deserve access to every benefit and opportunity they’ve earned. However, so often our veterans are faced with long wait times at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and service-related health problems that aren’t fairly compensated.
A 2014 internal audit by the VA found that more than 120,000 veterans waited at least 90 days for healthcare appointments or never received appointments at all. And as of January 2016, over 82,000 veterans were still waiting for the VA to evaluate their claims for service-connected disability compensation more than 125 days after filing.
Nowhere in that word soup is an identifiable solution. I’m not interested in another cookie-cutter politician that can identify problems but can’t identify solutions.
Jason Lewis is into solving problems. He’s also a principled Constitution-first citizen. It’s time to elect Jason Lewis.
It isn’t a secret that the media has seen protecting President Obama and Hillary Clinton as one of their primary responsibilities. Still, it’s stunning that it’s outdone itself with this Miami Herald editorial.
With regards to absolving Hillary of all wrongdoing, it created a preposterous argument, saying “Yes, it found a series of failings by the national security bureaucracy, but here’s what else it did: Cleared former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton of the absurd accusation that she somehow knew about the attack on the diplomatic compound in Libya before it happened and did nothing about it.” That’s breathtakingly dishonest. I’ve followed this story for almost 4 years. In that time, I’ve never heard anyone accuse Mrs. Clinton of knowing “about the attack on the diplomatic compound before it happened and did nothing about it.”
What has happened is that people accused Mrs. Clinton of not acting on repeated requests from Christopher Stevens for additional security. Then as now, Democrats have insisted that the cables, many of them labeled as urgent, never were brought to Mrs. Clinton’s attention. Then as now, nobody outside of her inner circle believes her. That’s why her honest and trustworthy numbers stink.
This part really stinks:
The GOP-led committee’s desire to find evidence of malfeasance by Ms. Clinton to support all the conspiracy theories surrounding Benghazi went unfulfilled. Had there been real facts to support it, surely this committee would have found it.
First, the thing that sets Benghazi apart from other tragic events is the relative scarcity of conspiracy theories of what happened that night. Next, this article highlights the evidence showing the utter incompetence of Mrs. Clinton and the disinterest shown by President Obama and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta:
The following facts are among the many new revelations in Part I:
- Despite President Obama and Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta’s clear orders to deploy military assets, nothing was sent to Benghazi, and nothing was en route to Libya at the time the last two Americans were killed almost 8 hours after the attacks began. [pg. 141]
- With Ambassador Stevens missing, the White House convened a roughly two-hour meeting at 7:30 PM, which resulted in action items focused on a YouTube video, and others containing the phrases “[i]f any deployment is made,” and “Libya must agree to any deployment,” and “[w]ill not deploy until order comes to go to either Tripoli or Benghazi.” [pg. 115]
- The Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff typically would have participated in the White House meeting, but did not attend because he went home to host a dinner party for foreign dignitaries. [pg. 107]
- A Fleet Antiterrorism Security Team (FAST) sat on a plane in Rota, Spain, for three hours, and changed in and out of their uniforms four times. [pg. 154]
- None of the relevant military forces met their required deployment timelines. [pg. 150]
- The Libyan forces that evacuated Americans from the CIA Annex to the Benghazi airport was not affiliated with any of the militias the CIA or State Department had developed a relationship with during the prior 18 months. Instead, it was comprised of former Qadhafi loyalists who the U.S. had helped remove from power during the Libyan revolution. [pg. 144]
How can a patriotic American read that information and not be infuriated? That the Miami Herald read that and dismissed it says that a) there aren’t any patriots on the Miami Herald’s Editorial Board and b) the Miami Herald’s Editorial Board can’t be trusted to offer insightful, honest opinions about the biggest events of our time. That’s how it can say this with a straight face:
The report, a product of the longest Congressional investigation in memory on possible wrongdoing in the executive branch, longer than Watergate or 9/11, went a bit further and deeper than the earlier ones, but the general outline was already known.
TRANSLATION: This report was far more detailed than the other ‘investigations’ but we the media have already determined the narrative we’re going to push. If it conflicts with the truth, then the truth be damned. It’s the narrative, damn it.
Watch Andrea Mitchell’s interview of Chairman Gowdy. Then tell me his committee didn’t uncover important new information:
If this plethora of new information doesn’t constitute important new information, what would constitute something new and important?
Technorati: Hillary Clinton, Christopher Stevens, Benghazi Terrorist Attack, Leon Panetta, Barack Obama, Miami Herald Editorial Board, Media Bias, Trey Gowdy, House Select Committee on Benghazi, Benghazi Report
Yesterday, negotiators from the Minnesota House and Senate theoretically met in the hopes of hammering out a bonding bill agreement. That wasn’t the DFL’s goal. DFL senators, led by Jeff Hayden, blamed Republicans for not getting the bonding bill passed.
The DFL used the same misleading arguments they’ve been using since the DFL Senate sabotaged a bill that had broad bipartisan support. Here’s what’s important to know. The House passed a $1,000,000,000 bonding bill without funding for SWLRT. SWLRT funding wasn’t part of the agreement reached by Speaker Daudt and Sen. Bakk. Simply put, it didn’t have the votes to pass in the House.
Key questions: Why does the DFL insist on pushing a controversial project that didn’t have the votes to pass? Isn’t that a definition of insanity? Isn’t that what you’d do if you wanted to prevent a bill from passing while blaming the other side for your obstruction?
Another tactic that the FL is using to deflect criticism from Gov. Dayton’s veto of the tax bill is talk about the $100,000,000 drafting error. The minute Gov. Dayton brought it up, Speaker Daudt agreed to fix it the minute a special session was called. Problem solved, right? In Sanityville, yes. In Dayton-DFLville, that molehill turned into a mountain. At least, that’s how some of Twin Cities media are playing it.
Simply put, Gov. Dayton vetoed a tax bill that a) provided tax relief to farmers, small businesses, students will college loan debt, veterans and parents saving for their kids’ college education and b) passed 178-22 in the House and Senate.
Key question: Doesn’t real leadership accept yes for an answer and move onto bonding bill negotiations?
Gov. Dayton and the DFL aren’t about fixing things, though. Their word salad automatically talks about ‘bringing people together’ and ‘making progress’. The DFL never talks about fixing problems. The DFL doesn’t talk about doing the right thing.
There’s a reason for that. The DFL doesn’t want to get to a point where things are running smoothly. The DFL doesn’t want to fix things. If that happened, people might expect that. If that happened, people might notice that they prefer limited government that gets the important things right all the time and worries about peripheral things once they’ve gotten the important things right. The day that that happens is the day that progressives are out of a job.
The DFL’s whining is aimed at one thing: regaining control of the House so they control state government again. Thoughtful people should reject that possibility ASAP. The last time the DFL ran St. Paul, taxes got raised, including property taxes, spending went through the roof and they checked off tons of things from their special interest allies’ wish lists.
As a result, capitol flight accelerated and young, productive, people left the state at a greater rate. If losing the border battle brain drain sounds appealing, vote DFL. If you want statewide prosperity, vote GOP. It’s that simple.
It isn’t surprising that Donald Trump is an unhinged anti-war liberal with a passion for conspiracy theories. That’s been obvious for months. Saturday night, however, Trump the 9/11 Truther, made his first appearance on a debate stage. As a result of what Mr. Trump said, Medea Benjamin praised Mr. Trump, saying “It felt surreal to hear Donald Trump, the leading Republican contender for President, saying what we at CODEPINK have been shouting to the winds for 14 years now: that Bush and his cronies lied about WMDs, that the Iraq war was catastrophic, and that Bush never ‘kept us safe’ because 9/11 happened on his watch.”
This is a time for choosing for the so-called Republicans who support Trump. These Republicans can’t pretend that they’re patriots. They can’t pretend that they care about protecting the nation from terrorist attacks. They can’t tell us that they support Mr. Trump because they hate political correctness. They can’t even hide behind the fallacy that they support Mr. Trump because “he gets things done.”
The indisputable truth is that the thing bigger than Mr. Trump’s ego is the paranoia that fuels his truther beliefs. Here’s something Mr. Trump said that isn’t getting talked about enough:
TRUMP: How did he keep us safe when the World Trade Center — the World — excuse me. I lost hundreds of friends. The World Trade Center came down during the reign of George Bush. He kept us safe? That is not safe. That is not safe, Marco. That is not safe.
RUBIO: The World Trade Center came down because Bill Clinton didn’t kill Osama bin Laden when he had the chance to kill him. (APPLAUSE)
TRUMP: And George Bush– by the way, George Bush had the chance, also, and he didn’t listen to the advice of his CIA.
Mr. Trump couldn’t know that President Bush got information from the CIA on bin Laden, much less know whether President Bush refused to act on that intelligence. We know that it’s impossible for Mr. Trump to know this because that’s the type of intelligence that would get an SAP classification. We know that because of Hillary Clinton’s emails.
Trump’s supporters need to ask themselves whether they’re supporting him because they thought he was a patriot who would change this nation’s direction or did they support Mr. Trump because they thought he was a liberal anti-war activist that’s praised by far left organizations like Code Pink? Five minutes into this video, Carl Higbie, a former Navy Seal, insists that ISIS will be gone within 2 years:
HIGBIE: I think we see ISIS gone within 2 years. We put 250,000 boots on the ground. I know people that that’s not a popular comment but we do what’s necessary. We set the threshold. We say ‘if you do this, we’ll do this’. You follow through.
Apparently, Mr. Higbie isn’t well-informed. All he has to do is watch this video to be better informed:
Mr. Higbie can forget about a Trump administration that will put 250,000 boots on the ground to defeat ISIS. Trump has repeatedly said that he’d farm US national security out to Putin. Trump said repeatedly that he wants Putin to take out ISIS. Though you can’t trust anything Mr. Trump says from one day to the next, there’s no question that he’s repeatedly said that he wants Putin to do our dirty work with regards to ISIS.
Anyone that supports a presidential candidate that sounds like an anti-war CODE PINK activist one minute, then says he’d get Vladimir Putin to take out ISIS isn’t thinking straight.
On a night when Sen. Rubio exceeded expectations, Gov. Jeb Bush, who finished with 2.8% of the vote in Iowa, sounded totally unlike his dad and his brother. Gov. Bush sounded like a total sourpuss, saying “Speaking of Rubio and Cruz Monday night, Bush said they don’t have the experience to win. And the two other candidates that are likely to emerge in Iowa are two people that are backbenchers that have never done anything of consequence in their life. They’re gifted beyond belief. They can give a great speech. But I think it’s time for us to recognize that maybe what we need is someone who can lead.”
Bush’s supporting super PACs spent almost $25,000,000 attacking Sen. Rubio in the hopes of building Bush up. Rubio far exceeded expectations, finishing with 23.1% of the vote in Iowa. Meanwhile, the guy who thinks we need “someone who can lead” finished a mere 20.3% behind the guy who Jeb thought should wait his turn. That doesn’t sound like a guy who entered the race saying that he wanted to run a joyous race. That sounds like a bitter man who didn’t see this impending defeat coming.
What’s particularly insulting is Jeb’s suggestion that Sen. Rubio is incapable of leading people. Part of leadership is understanding what’s important to people, then offering a vision that inspires them to achieve their goals. If there’s anyone on the GOP side that can do that, it’s Sen. Rubio. Half the battle of leading is directing people to where they already wanted to go. People want to prosper. Sen. Rubio offers that. People want to feel safe from the advances of ISIS. Sen. Rubio certainly passes the commander-in-chief test.
People have tried crippling Sen. Rubio’s campaign by saying he’s an inexperienced first-term U.S. senator. It’s indisputable that he’s a first-term senator but that isn’t a strike against him. When Barack Obama started running for president, the truth is that he was just 2 years removed from being a state senator in Illinois. He spent the first 2 years playing politics and not taking policy seriously.
That isn’t what Sen. Rubio did. Sen. Rubio took his responsibilities seriously on the Intelligence and Armed Services committees. He learned national security issues until he could recite them backwards or frontwards.
The Bush dynasty should go into hibernation. The American people aren’t interested in dynasties.
This Federalist article raises questions about the legitimacy of Trump’s fundraiser. The Federalist is reporting that the website thrown together is really an extension of the Donald J. Trump Foundation. Specifically, they’re reporting that “100% of the money raised on the site goes directly to Donald Trump’s personal non-profit foundation.”
That’s a major problem for multiple reasons. First, Trump has been saying that “100% of your donations will go directly to Veterans needs.” Next and most importantly, the Federalist is reporting “Trump’s non-profit donated more money to the Clinton Foundation than it did to veterans causes.”
To be fair with Trump, I don’t think he’d shaft veterans. That being said, I think it’s entirely appropriate to question his statements. If he’s saying that “100% of the proceeds” are going to veterans, then he’d better live up to that promise. Getting 80% of the proceeds isn’t enough after making that promise. That means if there are administrative costs involved in getting veterans’ organizations the money, Trump should eat those costs. Period.
It would be different if he hadn’t made that statement. Then the regular rules of charities would apply. Trump upped the ante by making this statement. Now he’s obligated to fulfill that obligation.
Finally, the fact that he’s given lots of money to the Clinton Foundation is disturbing and telling. I know what he’s saying now. I know that it doesn’t match up with what he said earlier. That trust factor isn’t there like it is with other candidates. That’s the price you pay when you change positions rapidly.