Like the GSA and now The Secret Service, is everything in government beginning to unhinge? And then comes 'Obamascare' and over 2800 pages of more gobbledygook!
Is Kessler right or is he just jumping on for sensationalism ?
One thing is evident , however. We need more and bigger government so all our freedoms can be crushed! (See 1 below.)
Avi continues to pursue money laundering nations and lo and behold up pops Thailand! (See 2 below.)
It is all about fairness as defined by Obama. Is that fair? (See 3 below.)
We always hear we need to raise taxes but never that we need to restrain spending. Well here are some spending cut proposals which Republicans deem appropriate and it appears Obama is opposed to virtually all of them because they were part of Rep. Paul Ryan's budget bill.
Personally I believe they only skim the surface. What about closing down entire agencies like Dept. of Energy, Education, Bureau of Indian Affairs and the GSA for a start. (See 4 below.)
Romney is going to be formidable . (See 5 below.)
This from a dear friend whose wife is not of his political persuasion so I will not reveal his name. Funny! (See 6 below.)
Really an interesting, no a fascinating, article. The article linked below is all about politics… but it’s not the least bit political!
You know, of course, that New York Times readers tend to be Democrats and Wall Street Journal readers Republicans. But did you know that…
· Boston Market patrons tend to be Democrats and Panera Bread patrons Republican?
· Mercedes drivers are likely to be Democrats, but BMW drivers to be Republicans?
· Audi drivers are probably Democrats, but Lexus drivers are Republicans?
· Gin drinkers are Democrats and bourbon drinkers are Republican?
· Natural Light beer drinkers skew Democratic, but Miller Lite drinkers skew Republican?
There are fascinating implications to all this… whether you’re interesting in marketing or politics. I think you’ll enjoy the article and the graphs."
http://campaignstops.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/04/15/let-the-nanotargeting-begin/?nl=todaysheadlines&emc=edit_th_20120416 (See 7 below.)
I will end on this: "For the past three years, President Obama has been promising a better economy. But rather than hold himself accountable (like he said he would), Obama is deflecting the blame from himself and his failed policies.
On the eve of Tax Day, I'm sure everyone can agree that the state of the economy is forefront on the minds of voters. Well Mr. President,excuses don't pay the mortgage, lower skyrocketing gas prices, or cover the cost of those tax estimates.
Have times been tough? Yes. However, that doesn't justify Obama's laundry list of excuses for lacking the guidance and leadership to help America out of this fiscal disaster.
Americans are worse off than they were four years ago, so if Barack Obama won't hold himself accountable--come November, we should."
1)Secret Service Agents Violated Top Secret Clearance
Ronald Kessler reporting from Washington, D.C. — By allegedly hiring prostitutes, married Secret Service agents in Colombia violated their top-secret security clearances.
Every agent has such a security clearance. An extra-marital affair if proven can be grounds for revoking a clearance. Without that, no one can be an agent.
While some are single, most of the 11 Secret Service agents and uniformed officers suspended in the Colombia scandal are married. Two are supervisors. Aside from jeopardizing security clearances, engaging prostitutes violates the basic Secret Service code of conduct.
The scandal began last week two days before President Barack Obama’s trip to Cartagena in conjunction with the Summit of the Americas. A prostitute at the Hotel Caribe refused to leave an agent’s room because he had not paid her.
The hotel requires guests’ visitors to leave identification at the front desk and insists that they leave by 7 a.m. When hotel officials noticed that one guest had not left by the curfew, they knocked on the door of the room in question.
When they were refused admittance, the hotel called the local police. The agent eventually paid her, but the police notified the Secret Service and State Department because the incident involved a foreign national.
The breach is deadly serious. A prostitute could blackmail an agent into cooperating with a foreign intelligence service, a terrorist, or a drug cartel leader. The SVR, the successor to the KGB, would like nothing better than to have an agent in its pocket — to plant bugging devices in the president’s hotel room, limousine, or the White House itself. A terrorist could use an agent to obtain access to the president to carry out an assassination.
Some lawmakers have praised Secret Service Director Mark Sullivan for taking quick action to replace the agents. That is a sickening misinterpretation of the situation.
As outlined in my book “In the President’s Secret Service: Behind the Scenes with Agents in the Line of Fire and the Presidents They Protect,” under Sullivan the Secret Service has been cutting corners, leading to a culture that encourages reckless behavior and allowed three intruders to crash a White House state dinner in November 2009.
I broke the story of what happened in Colombia in the Washington Post after being tipped by a Secret Service agent who — like many current agents — is convinced that the agency’s corner-cutting could lead to an assassination.
Once the story broke, the Secret Service started patting itself on the back by saying Obama’s security was not compromised. In fact, sending in new agents at the last minute put an extra strain on existing personnel and required the newcomers to get up to speed quickly on the terrain.
The standard should not be that an assassination did not occur. The standard should be that nothing like this scandal — the worst in Secret Service history — should ever have been allowed to happen.
It is not true, as suggested by some media accounts, that agents routinely engage in wild partying and drinking. What is true is that the culture of corner-cutting fostered by Secret Service management breeds contempt for rules, leading agents to flout them.
As noted in my story Secret Service Laxness Puts President at Risk, the Secret Service’s corner-cutting includes:
- Not passing crowds through magnetometers at presidential, vice presidential, and campaign events. In other cases, when crowds are waiting to get in, the Secret Service shuts down magnetometer screening, under pressure from impatient White House or campaign staffs.
- Cutting back on the size of counter-assault teams and, for the sake of cosmetics, bowing to demands of staff that the teams remain at a distance from protectees.
- Not keeping up to date with the latest, most powerful firearms used by the FBI, other federal law enforcement, and the military. Both the FBI and military have switched to the M4 carbine, while the Secret Service continues to use the MP5 submachine gun. Even the Amtrak Police Department is equipped with the M4.
- Not allowing agents time for regular firearms requalification or physical training. The Secret Service covers up that practice by dishonestly telling agents to fill out their own test scores.
Instead of removing her from protecting the president and requiring her to pass the physical fitness tests that all agents are supposed to take every three months, Secret Service management told drivers to try to park so it would be easier for the vehicle door to swing open for her.
“Forget physical fitness tests,” says a recently retired agent. “We are not given the time to do them.”
Demands on the Secret Service have increased in recent years without a commensurate increase in staff. As a consequence, agents routinely work overtime and often get little sleep, working 18-hour days.
“How tired do you get? Just imagine sleeping three or four hours a night for a week,” an agent says.
In addition, the agency bows to political pressure, further jeopardizing security. When agents refused to drive friends of Dick Cheney’s daughter Mary to restaurants, she got her detail leader removed.
The fact that Secret Service management does not back personnel when they are just doing their jobs contributed to Secret Service uniformed officers’ reluctance to turn away party crashers Michaele and Tareq Salahi and Carlos Allen, who showed up at the White House state dinner for Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
This favoritism and disregard for the safety of protectees leads to low morale and increasingly high turnover. Underscoring the favoritism, the female agent who cannot open the president’s limousine doors is a supervisor. If the president were shot, she could not help carry him to safety, an agent notes.
The Secret Service may need an overhaul, but it is unparalleled when it comes to providing special access to members of Congress and sweet-talking them and the president into thinking the agency is competent.
When the Secret Service proudly shows members of Congress its Rowley Training Facility, it wows them with supposedly unrehearsed feats of heroism that bring down the bad guys and save the lives of protectees. In fact, as revealed in my book, those scenarios are dishonestly secretly rehearsed.
What is needed is a new director from outside the agency who will institute sweeping reforms. Tragically, it may take another assassination before that happens.
Ronald Kessler is chief Washington correspondent of Newsmax.com. He is the New York Times bestselling author of books on the Secret Service, FBI, and CIA.
© 2012 Newsmax. All rights reserved
2)Courting 'financial pariah' status
By Avi Jorisch
This past February, Thailand was added to a high-risk blacklist by an international organization many people have never heard of. The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) was established by the Group of Seven (G7) in 1989 to combat money laundering and terrorism finance. Being added to the FATF "high-risk" country list may not sound terrible, but in many circles, it is akin to being labeled a financial pariah.
Thailand now joins the ranks of countries that include North Korea, Iran, Syria, Pakistan, and Myanmar, to name just a few. In most contexts, these are not countries people normally wish to be associated with.
The FATF's best practices, known as the "international standard," are meant to have universal application and to serve as a comprehensive framework against the movement of illicit money. FATF's principal contribution has been Forty Recommendations on Combating Money Laundering and the Financing of Terrorism & Proliferation. Countries are assessed and rated against this standard. In the case of Thailand, the country's financial regime was found to be woefully inadequate and in act, among the worst in the world.
As Thailand grapples with how to get off the list, it will be vital for its policymakers to understand how FATF operates. The organization's international standard rests on three principles. First, countries must improve their national infrastructure to combat money laundering and terrorism financing. Next, each country is obligated to strengthen its financial system. Both banking and nonbanking institutions must set up procedures to identify clients and detect suspicious transactions, as well as develop secure and modern transaction protocols. Finally, countries must strive to improve international cooperation by collecting, analyzing, and sharing financial-related information at the administrative and judicial levels. This includes sharing information on international currency flows and developing mutual judicial-assistance programs in order to investigate, freeze, and confiscate illicit funds.
FATF's official policy is to blacklist countries that either fail to comply with the international standard or refuse to have their financial system evaluated. Although there is no enforcement mechanism, the blacklist has been remarkably effective in changing the behavior of designated countries in the past. The reason for FATF's effectiveness is simple: many financial institutions and other good corporate citizens are reluctant to do business with or in countries shunned by the organization.
Blacklisted countries that refused to take remedial action have at times lost significant international investment as a result. In fact, the International Monetary Fund and World Bank have sometimes chosen to downgrade a blacklisted country's credit rating—a significant punishment in today's interconnected financial world. Other blowback Bangkok should expect as a result of its new-found "high-risk" status is reduction in foreign investment, international trade, and financial transactions, and less willingness in the international community to help Thailand grow economically.
There are immediate steps Bangkok should consider taking in order to rectify the situation. First, it is imperative that lawmakers adequately criminalize terrorism finance. In addition, the international community has made clear that each country must have an administrative process to identify, and if necessary, freeze the assets of all illicit actors, including terrorists. Thailand has yet to put in place a mechanism to ensure the proper supervision of an anti-money laundering activity and combating the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) regime. Lastly, the FATF has made clear that the country must complete a risk assessment of its financial sector to see where other weaknesses lie.
While Thailand's Office of Anti-Money Laundering and Thai lawmakers attribute its lax financial regime to the floods that took place there last year, this claim does not hold water, and this systemic problem will affect the country's economic viability in both the short and long term if not rectified expeditiously. Thai lawmakers and policymakers should keep in mind that the steps the FATF is asking Bangkok to take are in their own best interest. Ensuring that the country's financial sector is not exposed to undue risk mitigates abuse on the part of illicit actors that include money launderers, terrorists, narco-traffickers, and weapons proliferators. It also gives the international community the confidence that Bangkok is serious about protecting the financial sector.
Give credit where credit is due. President Obama has laid out the core message of his reelection campaign. It is a message whose claims are blatantly false and whose point is irrelevant to what is of greatest challenges we face. Yet it appears to be working.
In his speech at Florida Atlantic University last Tuesday, the president discussed what he called "the defining issue of our time" -- namely, that America is not fair.
We suffer today, he says, from "a shrinking number of people who are doing really, really well, but a growing number who are struggling to get by." We are not a nation (the president never tells us if we ever were) where "everybody gets a fair shot and everybody does a fair share, and everybody plays by the same set of rules."
Excuse me for pointing out the irony of hearing from our nation's first black president the suggestion that America may no longer be a nation where dreams can be realized or where someone can come out of nowhere and make it.
Obama probably would explain his unlikely success in this unfair nation as the result of his being an exceptional and extraordinary individual. Which is why, by his thinking, we ordinary folk should turn our lives over to him to determine who should have what.
But if America is unfair today, it is because politicians and government have the power to do exactly what it is that Mr. Obama wants to do -- seize control of the wealth of some and redistribute it to whomever they choose. The Bible that I read every day calls this theft.
The president seeks to gain political support for this redistribution of wealth by tapping into the widespread dissatisfaction with our most disappointing economy. But is our economy underperforming because some have more than others, or because some succeed more than others?
At a time when Americans are looking for answers to restart our sputtering economy, our president chooses to use his time complaining about the wealthiest not paying sufficient taxes.
But according to the National Taxpayers Union, in 2009 the top 5 percent of income earners paid almost 60 percent of the funds raised by the federal income tax and the bottom 50 percent paid about 2 percent.
In the president's remarks in Florida, he defined fairness as everybody playing by "the same set of rules." Not only are the tax rules not fair by the president's definition, but in the name of alleged fairness he wants to make them even more unfair.
Of course, the president's real problem is that his policies have failed so he has to change the subject. He told us that the almost $900 billion in stimulus spending passed in 2009 would revive our economy and reduce unemployment to 6 percent. Three years later, unemployment stands at 8.2 percent.
There is no evidence that Obama has a clue about what why we are not on the path to recovery. But, unfortunately, he does have a clue about how to tap into the worst instincts of people in order to garner political support. Sadly, he hopes to reap the political dividends of inspiring blame and envy.
The fairness the president obsesses about has nothing to do with fairness, nor does it have anything to do with fixing our economy. If he really wants guidance on a fair and moral tax system, he might turn away from his campaign spin machine and look to his Bible. He can learn there that the 10 percent tithe on income applies to everyone.
Star Parker is president of CURE.
4)These are all the programs that the new Republican House has proposed cutting. Read to the end.
* Corporation for Public Broadcasting Subsidy -- $445 million annual savings.
* Save America 's Treasures Program -- $25 million annual savings.
* International Fund for Ireland -- $17 million annual savings.
* Legal Services Corporation -- $420 million annual savings.
* National Endowment for the Arts -- $167.5 million annual savings.
* National Endowment for the Humanities -- $167.5 million annual savings.
* Hope VI Program -- $250 million annual savings.
* Amtrak Subsidies -- $1.565 billion annual savings.
* Eliminate duplicative education programs -- H.R. 2274 (in last Congress), authored by Rep. McKeon, eliminates 68 at a savings of $1.3 billion annually.
* U.S. Trade Development Agency -- $55 million annual savings.
* Woodrow Wilson Center Subsidy -- $20 million annual savings.
* Cut in half funding for congressional printing and binding -- $47 million annual savings.
* John C. Stennis Center Subsidy -- $430,000 annual savings.
* Community Development Fund -- $4.5 billion annual savings.
* Heritage Area Grants and Statutory Aid -- $24 million annual savings.
* Cut Federal Travel Budget in Half -- $7.5 billion annual savings
* Trim Federal Vehicle Budget by 20% -- $600 million annual savings.
* Essential Air Service -- $150 million annual savings.
* Technology Innovation Program -- $70 million annual savings.
* Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) Program -- $125 million annual savings.
* Department of Energy Grants to States for Weatherization -- $530 million annual savings.
* Beach Replenishment -- $95 million annual savings.
* New Starts Transit -- $2 billion annual savings.
* Exchange Programs for Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiians, and Their Historical Trading Partners in Massachusetts -- $9 million annual savings
* Intercity and High Speed Rail Grants -- $2.5 billion annual savings.
* Title X Family Planning -- $318 million annual savings.
* Appalachian Regional Commission -- $76 million annual savings.
* Economic Development Administration -- $293 million annual savings.
* Programs under the National and Community Services Act -- $1.15 billion annual savings.
* Applied Research at Department of Energy -- $1.27 billion annual savings.
* Freedom CAR and Fuel Partnership -- $200 million annual savings.
* Energy Star Program -- $52 million annual savings.
* Economic Assistance to Egypt -- $250 million annually.
* U.S. Agency for International Development -- $1.39 billion annual savings.
* General Assistance to District of Columbia -- $210 million annual savings.
* Subsidy for Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority -- $150 million annual savings.
* Presidential Campaign Fund -- $775 million savings over ten years.
* No funding for federal office space acquisition -- $864 million annual savings.
* End prohibitions on competitive sourcing of government services.
* Repeal the Davis-Bacon Act -- More than $1 billion annually.
* IRS Direct Deposit: Require the IRS to deposit fees for some services it offers (such as processing payment plans for taxpayers) to the Treasury, instead of allowing it to remain as part of its budget -- $1.8 billion savings over ten years.
* Require collection of unpaid taxes by federal employees -- $1 billion total savings. WHAT THE HELL IS THIS ABOUT?
* Prohibit taxpayer funded union activities by federal employees -- $1.2 billion savings over ten years.
* Sell excess federal properties the government does not make use of -- $15 billion total savings.
* Eliminate death gratuity for Members of Congress. WHAT???
* Eliminate Mohair Subsidies -- $1 million annual savings.
* Eliminate taxpayer subsidies to the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change -- $12.5 million annual savings WELL ISN'T THAT SPECIAL
* Eliminate Market Access Program -- $200 million annual savings.
* USDA Sugar Program -- $14 million annual savings.
* Subsidy to Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) -- $93 million annual savings.
* Eliminate the National Organic Certification Cost-Share Program -- $56.2 million annual savings.
* Eliminate fund for Obamacare administrative costs -- $900 million savings.
* Ready to Learn TV Program -- $27 million savings.. WHY?????
* HUD Ph.D. Program.
* Deficit Reduction Check-Off Act.
* TOTAL SAVINGS: $2.5 Trillion over Ten Years