03/2/15

America—You be the Judge

By: Retired Adm. James A. Lyons
Accuracy in Media

President Obama’s adamant refusal to link the barbaric atrocities committed by the Islamic State and affiliated al-Qaeda militias to Islam is an insult to the intelligence of all thinking Americans.  His insistence that these atrocities are the result of “violent extremism,” not associated with Islam, lessens his already diminished credibility. The Quran and Islamic Law (Shariah) prove him wrong since there are 109 verses in the Quran that can be considered to sanction violence. Furthermore, chapter 2, verse 106 (on abrogation) makes it clear that the later violent verses take precedence over the earlier, less violent ones.

In February, President Obama hosted a White House Summit on countering “violent extremism.”  As it turned out, it was essentially a public relations media event that had nothing substantive to offer in terms of countering the Islamic State’s barbaric acts of terrorism. Instead, it was more of a leftist, progressive agenda sympathetic to “Islamic sensibilities and grievances.” It cited lack of education and job opportunities as part of the root cause that enables IS to attract young Muslims. Mind boggling, particularly when Christians, women, and children are having their heads chopped off and are being buried alive.

If it were to have been a serious summit, you would have expected the Director of the FBI and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to be full participants. However, they were not invited. Instead, the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) and its front organizations were full participants, including the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) and the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), both unindicted co-conspirators for funding terrorism from the 2008 Dallas, Texas Holy Land Foundation Trial. Another MB front organization, the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC), was also represented.

The question must be asked: how can the Obama administration continue to embrace the Muslim Brotherhood when its declared creed, verified by the FBI, is to destroy the United States from within by our own “miserable hands,” and replace our Constitution with Islamic “Seventh Century” Shariah Law?

The MB today, with its deep penetration of all our national security and intelligence agencies, has now been institutionalized. With its carte blanche entry into the White House, it has, in effect, become a defacto cabinet member. All Americans should understand that there is no difference between the Islamic State, al-Qaeda, and the Muslim Brotherhood. Their objectives are all the same, it’s only the methods they use to achieve it that may be different. It is a totalitarian ideology bent on world domination (same as Communism), with Islam the dominant religion and Shariah the law.

The policies of the Obama administration in countering the Islamic jihadists of IS are clearly confusing to our allies. To understand President Obama’s strategy, everything this administration does must be viewed through the prism of his stated objective:  to “fundamentally transform America.” This strategy is clear. It is anti-US and anti-Western—but pro-Islam, pro-Iran and pro-Muslim Brotherhood. With his Marxist background, it can be assumed that Obama does not view American power and influence as a force for good in the world. Otherwise, why would he want to fundamentally transform America? Therefore, anything that undercuts US military power and influence is viewed as being “objectively progressive.” President Obama’s refusal to provide legitimate defensive weapons to Ukraine falls under this category. The net result is the emasculation of NATO.

The “leading from behind” strategy announced at the start of the Libyan war, and the unilateral disarmament of our military forces, also fall under this category. A defining moment in the Libyan war was when the Obama administration switched sides in the global war on terror and provided weapons and material support to al-Qaeda and MB-controlled militias. Furthermore, as we now know, the Libyan war was unnecessary since Muammar Gadhafi was prepared to abdicate.

The Middle East today is a disaster area with failed states in Libya, Iraq, Syria, and now Yemen. What’s astonishing is that we are now a de facto partner with the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism, Iran. By so doing, we are enhancing the expansion of Iran’s hegemony throughout the Middle East at the expense of our long term allies—Egypt, Jordan, Israel and Saudi Arabia.

The Obama administration’s precipitous withdrawal from Iraq gave Iran a clear signal that we would not contest their influence over Iraq. It was a foolish, or worse, attempt to obtain a nuclear weapons agreement with the evil Ayatollah Khamenei regime. Today, Iran is already a nuclear threshold state that has sufficient enriched uranium to make 8 to 12 nuclear weapons within a few months. Furthermore, a reliable source has informed me that Iran secretly bought four nuclear weapons from the former Soviet Muslim Republic of Kazakhstan in 1992. They were said to have been transferred to Iran and stored in the Lavizan military site near Tehran.

More recently, it was reported by Jerome Corsi of WorldNetDaily, on 26 February, 2015, that Iran is operating another secret advanced, uranium underground enrichment site northeast of Tehran that was previously unknown to the International Atomic Energy Agency.

With thousands of American lives lost due to Iran’s more than 35 years of aggression against the United States, it is inconceivable that any American administration would agree to enter into such a critical agreement, like the one currently being negotiated with such an evil regime.

When you consider all of the above, as well as the Obama administration’s abuse of power and the many scandals including Benghazi, the IRS, Operation Fast and Furious, Obamacare, and the immigration fiasco, any other administration would be brought up on charges of threatening the security of the United States. America, it’s up to you to influence your representatives to hold President Obama accountable.

02/20/15

No “Major Scandal” in Obama Administration?

By: Roger Aronoff
Accuracy in Media

David Axelrod’s book tour is off to a rollicking start, with perceived attacks on Hillary Clinton’s upcoming presidential run, and an absurd comment about the ethics and integrity of the administration he served so loyally, and continues to do so.

Axelrod, former senior advisor to President Obama, recently asserted something so patently untrue that it demands a response. “And I’m proud of the fact that, basically, you’ve had an administration that’s been in place for six years in which there hasn’t been a major scandal,” he pronounced at a University of Chicago event.

The Washington Post leapt in to defend Axelrod’s claim by pointing to how President Obama’s approval ratings did not shift in the wake of the potential scandals he has faced since taking office. “It could be that scandals don’t have a lot to do with how Americans rate the president,” writes Hunter Schwarz for the Post.

It could also be that the liberal media, along with academia, determine what is classified as a “scandal”—and then refuse to report on scandals which don’t meet their own predetermined criteria. In this case, any lies, corruption, abuses of power, financial payoffs, or associations with unsavory characters or organizations that involve President Obama or anyone in his administration are never to be treated as a scandal.

The ongoing incestuous relationship between the Obama administration and the media often tilts in favor of the administration, leaving many scandals uninvestigated, minimized, or outright ignored. For example, both CBS News president David Rhodes and former ABC News president Ben Sherwood have siblings working for the administration. CNN’s deputy Washington bureau chief, Virginia Moseley, is married to Tom Nides, a former Obama staffer under Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. And David Plouffe, Obama’s former campaign manager, joined Bloomberg News, while MSNBC hired Axelrod.

President Obama even joked in 2013 that “… David Axelrod now works for MSNBC, which is a nice change of pace since MSNBC used to work for David Axelrod.”

With so many members of the elite media in bed with the administration, Dartmouth College professor Brendan Nyhan’s 2011 observation that “the current administration has not yet suffered a major scandal, which I define as a widespread elite perception of wrongdoing” becomes essentially meaningless. Nyhan said that a scandal becomes a scandal “once the S-word is used in a reporter’s own voice in a story that runs on the front page of the [Washington] Post.”

If Axelrod is using the same criteria, then, of course, President Obama probably can be considered scandal-free. But a real scandal involves actual administration wrongdoing or lies, regardless of the “perceptions” dished out by the media.

Axelrod’s comments ignore the presence of a number of real scandals which the mainstream media, including The Washington Post, continue to report on as phony—including but not limited to:

Benghazi:

The deaths of four Americans in Benghazi, Libya in 2012 were greeted with a concerted public relations campaign by the Obama administration blaming the attacks on a protest inspired by a YouTube video, as revealed in the smoking gun Ben Rhodes email. (Ben Rhodes, deputy national security advisor to President Obama, is CBS’ President David Rhodes’ brother.) The media, including David Kirkpatrick of The New York Times, continue to dispute key facts of the case such as al Qaeda’s involvement, have championed erroneous Congressional reports, ignore evidence of a cover-up, and have generally covered for the administration by promoting the idea that this is one of many “phony scandals.” The interim report of the Citizens’ Commission on Benghazi details the various failings and scandals related to Benghazi.

IRS scandal:

The IRS targeted conservative groups applying for non-profit status from 2010 to 2012. In what some see as an attempt to influence elections, the IRS began requesting inappropriate information disproportionately from conservative groups and then delaying their approval, generally chilling free speech throughout the country. Lois Lerner, at the heart of the scandal, has refused to testify before Congress, pleading the Fifth Amendment. The media continue to argue that President Obama is not connected to this scandal, but it can be tied directly to the White House. The President has tried to assert that there isn’t a “smidgeon” of corruption at the IRS.

Fast and Furious

The Obama Justice Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) encouraged gunwalking across the Mexican border of thousands of weapons, resulting, ultimately in the murder of border agent Brian Terry. An ATF whistleblower, John Dodson, spoke out in 2011 about the problems with the ATF’s decision to let guns go to Mexico. As I wrote about in 2011, Fast and Furious was a scandal that no longer could be denied, but the media continued to do so. Sharyl Attkisson recounts in Stonewalled, “But as outrageous and remarkable as the allegations are, most of the media don’t pick up on the story. They’re steering clear.” As I wrote, the scandal “involves some 1,500 guns, about 1,000 of which ended up in Mexico, and a Border agent…who was murdered with weapons found near the scene of the crime in Arizona. The weapons were among 57 linked to Fast and Furious which have been tied to at least 11 violent crimes in the U.S., including the Terry murder.” Like Benghazi, Fast and Furious resulted in real deaths—but the media continue to ignore or downplay this scandal.

Veterans Administration

Following revelations in 2014 that there was widespread Veterans Administration falsification of health care wait times, and that certain locations had created secret waiting lists for veterans, the media finally declared this a scandal. But it’s not Obama’s scandal, it’s a Veterans Affairs scandal. Hunter Schwarz writes for the Post that “It was a very significant scandal, to be sure, but perhaps not one that people laid directly at Obama’s doorstep.” The Washington Post’s Fact Checker Glenn Kessler recently referred to this one as a scandal, noting that only eight people have lost their jobs so far as a result of this veterans care debacle, not 60 as the Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert McDonald said last week on Meet the Press. But as I have argued, there were really two scandals at the Veterans Administration at the time: health care wait times and the disability benefits backlog.

Solyndra

Solar panel business Solyndra received more than half a billion dollars as part of the administration’s green energy program, before going bankrupt. Its executives took substantial bonuses before the layoffs began. And, a Solyndra investor was also a major bundler for Obama, demonstrating a conflict of interest when the administration refused to turn over more documents as part of a Congressional investigation. And yes, the Post reported on its front page that the Obama administration had asked the company to “delay announcing it would lay off workers until after the hotly contested November 2010 midterm elections that imperiled Democratic control of Congress.” But NPR ran an article last year victoriously announcing that “Now that the loan program is turning a profit, those critics are silent”—as if that had anything to do with the crony capitalism of the Solyndra scandal.

Obamacare

Obamacare is an ongoing debacle of premium increases and high deductibles coupled with crippling regulations. It leads to less, not more, health care access. While the focus has been on errors made within the “Obamacare rollout,” the media continue to champion exaggerated statistics regarding the alleged 10 million who have received health insurance under President Obama’s signature legislation. In reality, this program marks a rapid increase in Medicaid, and many enrollees are part of a “substitution effect” by which people who previously had insurance have switched to Obamacare. The subsidies, which the media casts as essential to the law, are under dispute in the courts, and increase the burden on the American taxpayer. Even Politifact called President Obama’s false assertion that Americans could keep their health plan if they liked it the 2013 “Lie of the Year.” Meanwhile, the complicit media finds every chance it can to champion this legislation’s “successes.”

This list just scratches the surface. Executive overreach has become standard fare, whether on immigration or environmental regulations. The Obama administration’s penchant for controlling leaks, a lack of transparency, and a war on journalists has been noted by the likes of former Washington Post executive editor Len Downie Jr. who said “The [Obama] administration’s war on leaks and other efforts to control information are the most aggressive I’ve seen since the Nixon administration leaks,” and New York Times reporter David Sanger who said, “This is the most closed, control-freak administration I’ve ever covered.” James Risen of the Times added that the Obama administration has been “the greatest enemy of press freedom that we have encountered in at least a generation.”

The administration’s Middle East policies have been a disaster, if not scandalous. Just look at the growing threat from the Islamic State (ISIS) and other radical jihadist Muslim groups. More than 200,000 have been killed in Syria, Libya has become a jihadist playground, described by former CIA officer Bob Baer as “Mad Max,” and Yemen, as recently as September held up as example of where Obama’s foreign policy is working, has seen a coup by Iranian backed jihadists. And looming over all of this is the unfolding, outright appeasement of an Iran with nuclear aspirations.

What unifies all of these scandals and lies is how our news media have looked past all the administration’s corruption, treating, these occurrences as discrete, minor grievances, gaffes—or even conservative or Republican political maneuvering. This means that the constant lies by the administration, and President Obama himself, can be made with impunity. The media simply will not hold President Obama, or any of his associates who might tarnish his reputation, accountable.

02/18/15

The Betrayal Papers – Part I of V – Under Obama: The U.S. Captured by the Muslim Brotherhood

Muslim Brotherhood Control of US Govt

The Betrayal Papers will trace the influence of the Muslim Brotherhood in the Obama administration’s foreign and domestic policies. The five-part series will present a picture of a conspiracy that is manipulating the American government to the benefit of a totalitarian, genocidal movement that seeks to establish a global Islamic State.

  • The Muslim Brotherhood is an international political, financial, terrorist and movement whose goal is to establish a global Islamic State (Caliphate).
  • They have and continue to exert tremendous influence of the American government’s foreign and domestic policies under President Barack Hussein Obama.
  • The violence in the Middle East and across North Africa is a direct consequence of the Muslim Brotherhood’s effective control over American foreign policy in the region.
  • They operate through various “civic” front groups, as well as through American institutions who take their money as operational funding (Georgetown University, Brookings Institution).

In America, we have a weak and struggling economy, growing public and private debt and millions are un- and underemployed. While a weaponized IRS targets Tea Party groups and other voices of liberty, and military veterans are labeled as “domestic terrorists” by the Department of Homeland Security, the federal government refuses to secure the southern border. Educational policy now includes the teaching Arabic and visits to mosques for schoolchildren.

Internationally, America is in retreat. The Middle East is in ashes, and in the midst of an ongoing genocide replete with daily horrors, the likes which have not been seen for centuries. Former allies have been abandoned and are embittered. Under the present leadership in the White House and State Department, Israel is considered the aggressor and Hamas the oppressed.

In sum, the world is at its most volatile point since the outbreak of World War II.

If you think that this is a result of something other than an “incompetent,” “stupid,” or “clueless” President, words regularly used by those who sense something is wrong but, can’t quite bring themselves to own up to the ugly truth, you’re not alone.

Millions of Americans are realizing that the Obama administration is not merely “misguided.” It is actually and consciously anti-American, anti-Semitic, anti-Christian, and broadly anti-Western. Yet , the American public does not yet fully appreciate why and how the administration always finds itself square against everything this country is based on – religious freedom, capitalism, and justice under law.

This series of articles will explain the force and mechanics behind Obama’s anti-American global agenda: the Muslim Brotherhood.

Al-Ikhwan al-Muslimoon: The Root of Today’s Islamic Evil

Husseini speaking with Hitler in 1941

Husseini speaking with Hitler in 1941

Founded in 1928, the Muslim Brotherhood (aka, the Society of Muslim Brothers, or Al-Ikhwan al-Muslimoon in Arabic) is an international movement (some would argue an international conspiracy) that seeks to establish a worldwide Islamic State (or Caliphate). When it was created in the late 1920s, the Brotherhood was a contemporary of the Nazi Party of Germany. Indeed, the leader of the Muslim Brotherhood in Palestine, Amin al-Husseini, is considered by some as the man who catalyzed the Holocaust; for it was only after Husseini visited Hitler in Berlin in 1941 that the systematic extermination of Jews and other minorities began with industrial efficiency.

After the war, despite the insistence by many wartime leaders (Churchill included) that he be brought to justice, Husseini escaped to the Middle East. He lived there until his death in the 1970s, serving as a mentor to a young Yasser Arafat. Husseini and the Nazi Party are the connection points between the Holocaust and today’s Middle Eastern genocide.

The Allies conscious failure to arrest and prosecute Husseini haunts us today.

A Terror Hedge against Stalin and Soviet Russia

At the beginning of the Cold War, working with former Nazis, the American CIA began to court the Muslim Brotherhood as an ally against Soviet Russia. This calculus may have made sense when facing down Josef Stalin, a totalitarian tyrant hell-bent on world domination, but it has proved a costly strategy in the long run.

In the years and decades that followed World War II, the Muslim Brotherhood has evolved into a modern day Nazi International, not unlike the old Comintern (Communist International). It has a vast network of financial and business interests across the world; it has agents, supporters, and apologists within western governments; and it has a support network of “civic” organizations in the West.

These all serve as a cover for its darker and insatiably violent ambitions.

For despite all their intrigue and political gamesmanship, the Muslim Brotherhood is not strictly a political movement, nor a financial cabal. It’s also the mothership of virtually all Islamic terrorist groups operating in the world today, including Al Qaeda, ISIS, Hamas, the Taliban, Boko Haram, and many more. Such groups, all children of the Muslim Brotherhood’s fanatical Islamic ideology, are today ethnically cleansing countries such as Libya, Syria, Iraq, and Nigeria of all traces of Christianity. No less than the President of Egypt, Muslim Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, a devout Muslim, has said as much.

Considering how the Muslim Brotherhood and their terrorist pawns treat fellow Muslims in Egypt, Libya, Syria, and Iraq, butchering them by the bushel including women and children, it should come as no surprise that Egypt and Saudi Arabia have declared the them a “terrorist” organization.

It should also come as no surprise that the United Arab Emirates has designated Muslim Brotherhood front groups operating in the United States “terrorist” entities. In November, the UAE effectively declared that the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) and Muslim-American Society (MAS) were no different than Al Qaeda. Why? It’s because they share a common origin in the Muslim Brotherhood. One could add to this list of domestic terrorist collaborators and enablers the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC), and the Muslim Students Association (MSA).

A New HQ in America

Equally alarmingly, all-American institutions such as Georgetown University and the Brookings Institution have accepted so much money from the Muslim Brotherhood government in Qatar, that their political positions are virtually indistinguishable from the Muslim Brotherhood’s domestic front groups!

Yet, the United States government does not see these organizations and their employees as the enemy, as apologists for the worst kinds of barbarity. In fact, the highest profile people from these organizations advise the Obama administration, including the Department of Justice, the Department of Homeland Security, the FBI, and the National Security Council. In January, the Department of State actually welcomed the Muslim Brotherhood to a meeting, and shortly thereafter Egypt exploded in jihadi violence. This is no magical coincidence.

To the detriment of our safety and well-being, the domestic Muslim Brotherhood front groups help dictate counterterrorism policies. It is their influence which leads to the farcical idea, recently expressed by Obama at the National Prayer Breakfast, that the Crusades have something to do with ISIS and the mass murder of innocents in the Middle East today.

These front groups shape our foreign policy, which since the Arab Spring and continuing to this day is on the side of the Muslim Brotherhood.

So-called “moderate Muslims” employed at these front groups have made the country of Qatar, a totalitarian sharia-based society, and an “ATM for terrorists,” the closest ally of the United States under Obama’s Presidency. With enthusiasm from Obama and Eric Holder, they have us emptying Guantanamo Bay of the most vicious killers and sending them to Qatar, with only the vaguest of security assurances.

The remaining four articles will explore the influence of the Muslim Brotherhood on American policy, both foreign and domestic (including in Common Core, Obama’s position on illegal immigration and amnesty, and the hostility of the administration toward police officers). The exposé will also detail the operatives in the government who work to advance the Muslim Brotherhood’s ambitions for a worldwide Caliphate. And it will put into context the mysterious influence that George Soros and Valerie Jarrett have over Barack Hussein Obama, his administration, and the policies that affect every American.

The Betrayal Papers is a collaborative effort by the Coalition of Concerned Citizens, which includes: Andrea Shea King, Dr. Ashraf Ramelah, Benjamin Smith, Brent Parrish, Charles Ortel, William Palumbo, Denise Simon, Dick Manasseri, Gary Kubiak, Gates of Vienna, IQ al Rassooli, Jeff Bayard, Leslie Burt, Marcus Kohan, Mary Fanning, General Paul E. Vallely, Regina Thomson, Scott Smith, Terresa Monroe-Hamilton, Colonel Thomas Snodgrass, Trever Loudon, Wallace Bruschweiler, and William Palumbo.

Also see: Restoring Liberty: Joe Miller

02/11/15

Net neutrality a looming threat to free speech

By: James Simpson
WatchDog.org

The Federal Communications Commission will vote on a new “net neutrality” regulatory framework for the Internet on Feb. 26. FCC has already been stopped in its tracks twice by federal courts which have ruled that the FCC has no authority to impose such regulations. Not to be thwarted, the Obama administration has doubled down, declaring the Internet a public utility subject to regulation under Title II of the Communications Act of 1934.

Shutterstock Image
While 64 percent of journalists believe the government has spied on them, the FCC’s looming net neutrality decision could have repercussions for free speech online.

While the administration promises a bonanza of new benefits, this regulatory framework will stifle innovation, hobble Internet startups, and ultimately place the heavy hand of government on both accessibility and new media content.

What is Net Neutrality

Mention that name and eyes glaze over. In concept, net neutrality is the idea that the Internet should be equally accessible, i.e. “neutral,” to all comers. Thus, a blogger should have equal access to Internet speed and capability as say Netflix, for example. Under contemplated net neutrality rules, Internet Service Providers (ISPs) like Verizon and Comcast would not be allowed to charge higher prices for more access.

Thus companies like Netflix—which utilizes about 35 percent of total Internet traffic at peak times—could not be charged a premium. Small startups would have the same kind of access. So the argument goes that net neutrality will encourage competition and facilitate the growth of new Internet startups.

What’s the matter with that? In concept, nothing. In practice, everything.

Access to the Internet and Internet speeds are enabled by bandwidth, i.e. the amount of instructions that can be carried across an Internet cable or wirelessly at a given time. Like everything else in the real world, supply of bandwidth is limited, and expanding bandwidth capacity is expensive.

Bandwidth also requires electrical energy– the more used, the more power required. Those companies whose products require massive amounts of bandwidth, like Netflix, pay higher prices, one way or another. ISPs also charge different rates for residences and businesses and charge different rates for faster download/upload speeds.

This is like paying a higher price for overnight versus two or three-day mail delivery. Netflix is, in effect, purchasing a different product than, say, Joe Blogger. The market has always rationed supply of goods and services this way, and it is the most effective method for equitably distributing limited resources. It is the reason the American economy flourished for 200 years, and why the Internet, largely unregulated for the past 20 years, has experienced explosive growth.

The Heavy Hand of Government

Enter the FCC. Title II of the Communications Act of 1934 was applied to the telecommunications industry in its infancy. It brought us Ma Bell and AT&T, regulated monopolies that stifled innovation in telecommunications for decades. It was not until microwave technology offered an alternative to traditional long line telephone service that the regulated monopoly began to crack. Now the FCC wants to impose the same kind of regime on the Internet.

Net neutrality is being sold as a method to make broadband access inexpensive, but to paraphrase P.J. O’Rourke, “If you think [the Internet] is expensive now, wait until you see what it costs when it’s free.” Net neutrality is a form of price control, and price controls everywhere distort the market. By affording equal access to all comers at below cost, demand will skyrocket while supply dries up. If an ISP cannot provide Internet access at a profit, it will go out of business. The government will then step in to take its place.

And it won’t be cheap. FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai, who opposes the plan, recently warned that it will give FCC power to micromanage virtually every aspect of the Internet. “If you like dealing with the IRS, you are going to love the President’s plan,” he says. According to Pai, this is what’s coming:

  • Billions of dollars in new taxes, higher prices and hidden fees
  • Reduced investment in broadband networks, slower internet speeds and less access
  • A move from a largely unregulated Internet to a regulated monopoly

Pai’s predictions are not theoretical. Local governments all over the country have experimented with creating government-run ISPs using money obtained from President Obama’s stimulus and other taxpayer financing. They have been unqualified disasters.

Just as Obamacare will slowly squeeze private insurers out of the market, with the ultimate objective becoming a government-run, single-payer health care system, private ISPs will find it increasingly difficult to compete with taxpayer-subsidized government ISPs. The ultimate outcome will be complete government control of the Internet.

Net neutrality has been called socialism for the Internet.  Robert McChesney, co-founder of the left-leaning Free Press and author of Digital Disconnect: How Capitalism Is Turning the Internet Away from Democracy, made this explicit in an interview with the Socialist Project:

What we want to have in the U.S. and in every society is an Internet that is not private property, but a public utility… At the moment, the battle over network neutrality is not to completely eliminate the telephone and cable companies. We are not at that point yet. But the ultimate goal is to get rid of the media capitalists in the phone and cable companies and to divest them from control.

McChesney explains why getting rid of the “media capitalists” is so important:

It is hard to imagine a successful left political project that does not have a media platform… Instead of waiting for the revolution to happen, we learned that unless you make significant changes in the media, it will be vastly more difficult to have a revolution. While the media is not the single most important issue in the world, it is one of the core issues that any successful Left project needs to integrate into its strategic program. (Emphasis added).

This viewpoint is not about having “equal access.” It’s about having an information monopoly. The interrelated goals of net neutrality are thus to first seize control of the Internet, then influence content.

A Pew Research survey published on Feb. 5 reports that fully 64 percent of journalists believe the government has spied on them, and 80 percent think that being a journalist makes them a target of such spying. Given the administration’s demonstrated hostility to news media, and its heavy reliance on it to craft the president’s image, would one expect more freedom of expression following the planned government takeover of the Internet, or less?

If that question doesn’t keep you awake at night, the Federal Election Commission held a hearing on Wednesday to discuss contemplated new regulation regarding political speech on the Internet.

This article was written by a contributor of Watchdog Arena, Franklin Center’s network of writers, bloggers, and citizen journalists.  Thanks to Seton Motley of Less Government.org and Watchdog.org’s Josh Peterson who contributed to this report.

02/3/15

Something Wicked This Way Comes

By: Frank Salvato

As we approach the dreaded tax filing deadline of April 15th, many Americans are ill-prepared for the news they are going to receive from their tax preparers or tax preparation software. Between three and six million people are going to be affected by penalties, an “Individual Shared Responsibility Payment,” associated with the Affordable Care Act. And most of those affected have no idea how much financial pain they are going to feel.

When the Obama Administration was selling Obamacare to the American people – you remember, “It’s not a tax,” “If you like your healthcare plan you can keep it,” “We have to pass the bill to find out what’s in it,” etc. – they alluded to the existence of penalties for those Americans who did not purchase ACA compliant health insurance. The amount for the first year non-compliance penalty was routinely quoted as $95. For many the choice was clear: keep the non-compliant health insurance, pay the $95 penalty (read: non-compliance tax), and hope that a Republican-led Congress would affect relief for the taxpayer as soon as they took control in Washington, DC.

But that scenario doesn’t impact this tax cycle. And while three to five million people have received subsidies through the Obamacare marketplaces to offset the cost of ACA compliant health insurance (still many more will qualify for exemptions), the penalty – or Individual Shared Responsibility Payment – for most of the three to six million Americans who opted to pay the fine and go without is going to be substantially more than they think.

Contrary to the commonly referred to fine of $95 for non-compliance, that amount is the least amount that can be imposed on an individual. The calculation used for the overwhelming majority of the non-compliant will be the higher of either one-percent of your household income above your filing threshold or a flat dollar amount up to $285 ($95 per adult, $47.50 per child). The important words to consider here are “household income.”

In the scenario where one spouse is covered by employer-sponsored health insurance but the other spouse is not – where one spouse is non-compliant, the Individual Shared Responsibility Payment is still based on the total of the household income; the compliant spouse is still entered into the penalty equation through the use of the household income as a defining integer. The idea that the ACA compliant individual cannot be adversely affected at tax time is a fallacy.

For example, let’s examine what the penalty (read: tax) would be on a Virginia household consisting of a man and a woman who, combined, made $150,000 for the year 2014. The woman is covered through her employer by ACA compliant health insurance, but the man is an independent contractor and chose to attain what used to be known as catastrophic health insurance, thus acquiescing to what he thought was going to be a $95 penalty. Using the Individual Shared Responsibility Payment calculator from HealthInsurance.org, the assessed penalty would be $1,297. A full $1202 more than the $95 for which they had planned. By contrast, a non-compliant single person making $75,000 in 2014 would have been assessed a $648.50 penalty. This means that the penalty for the “crime” of being from a household earning $150,000 with a single non-compliant spouse is $648.50; the penalty for being married to a non-compliant spouse is $648.50. The irony here is that the non-compliant spouse was still covered in the event of a medical emergency, even if he wasn’t ACA “compliant.”

The reasoning used by the Progressives and Democrats when arguing for the passage of the Affordable Care Act was that relief would be given to the healthcare system by virtue of the fact that everyone would be covered by health insurance; that everyone would be paying into the system. But having “passed the bill” so we can now “see what’s in it,” the reality of the matter is this. Obamacare was never about healthcare. It was never really even about everyone being covered by health insurance. And it wasn’t ever about everyone paying into the system. It was about creating two new revenue streams: one for the health insurance companies who now have a captive client-base, and another for the spendthrift federal government through the extraction of what the US Supreme Court has now identified as a tax.

And a heck of a tax it is…especially for the non-compliant and their compliant spouses.

Frank Salvato is the Executive Director of BasicsProject.org a grassroots, non-partisan, research and education initiative focusing on Constitutional Literacy, and internal and external threats facing Western Civilization; a division of The Archangel Organization, LLC, His writing has been recognized by the US House International Relations Committee and the Japan Center for Conflict Prevention. His opinion and analysis have been published by The American Enterprise Institute, The Washington Times, The Jewish World Review, Accuracy in Media, Human Events, Townhall.com and are syndicated nationally. Mr. Salvato has appeared on The O’Reilly Factor on FOX News Channel, and is the author of six books examining Islamofascism and Progressivism, including “Understanding the Threat of Radical Islam”. Mr. Salvato’s personal writing can be found at FrankJSalvato.com.

01/5/15

Republicans Must Investigate Where the Media Fear to Tread

By: Cliff Kincaid
Accuracy in Media

On Saturday and Sunday, The Washington Post’s liberal reporters warned that Republican victories in November on the national and state levels have given the GOP the opportunity this year to become “aggressive” and pass their own legislation and initiatives. “GOP will flex muscles in the states” ran on Saturday, with an article, “Eager GOP sets its goals,” about their national effort running on Sunday. But there is something else the Republicans could do to really strike fear into the hearts of liberals—restore internal security panels that once examined “un-American” activities.

The liberal media are terrified that Republicans will actually do something with their power. On foreign policy, the Post feared that Republicans could put in jeopardy President Obama’s “outreach to Cuba and Iran.” The term “outreach” implies that Obama is pursuing a wise and correct approach to our enemies in the communist and Muslim worlds. This is how a major liberal paper attempts to intimidate Republicans into letting Obama and the far-left have their way. Let’s hope the Republicans are smart enough to see through this propaganda disguised as “news.”

The liberals are worried indeed, because, as the Post notes, there are 246 Republicans in the House, the party’s largest majority since just after World War II, and the GOP now controls 31 governorships and 68 of 98 partisan legislative chambers.

On the national level, there is no formal process underway to re-establish a House or Senate internal security panel, but the need is clearly there. The proceedings of old House and Senate panels on un-American Activities or internal security have proven to be absolutely essential in understanding the rise of Barack Obama and the modern “progressive” movement. Hearings into communist activities in America were cited by such books such as Jerome Corsi’s The Obama Nation and David Freddoso’s The Case Against Barack Obama: The Unlikely Rise and Unexamined Agenda of the Media’s Favorite Candidate. That’s because Obama’s Marxist mentor, Frank Marshall Davis, and his lawyer, Harriet Bouslog, had figured so prominently in the investigations of Soviet-sponsored networks on American soil. Bouslog defended Davis against charges that not only was he a member of the Communist Party, but a suspected Soviet espionage agent.

The Republicans have controlled the House and conducted some worthwhile investigations. The Post refers to these as probes into “alleged” wrongdoing at the IRS, the Department of Justice, and the Environmental Protection Agency. Such hearings were necessary because of the media’s failure to aggressively investigate the Obama administration. Congress has failed, however, to investigate such topics as Muslim Brotherhood penetration of the executive branch. That’s why panels looking at internal security are so desperately needed.

The failure of the House to investigate the Muslim Brotherhood lies at the feet of House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), who denounced his fellow Republicans when they sought a probe of Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin’s controversial foreign Muslim connections. Boehner was also slow to embrace a special committee to investigate Benghazi.

Frank Gaffney of the Center for Security Policy notes that the Muslim Brotherhood’s influence is so pervasive within the U.S. government and civil institutions “that a serious, sustained and rigorous investigation of the phenomenon” is in order. He adds, “To that end, we need to establish a new and improved counterpart to the Cold War-era’s HUAC [House committee on Un-American Activities] and charge it with examining and rooting out anti-American—and anti-constitutional—activities that constitute an even more insidious peril than those pursued by communist Fifth Columnists fifty years ago.”

The House Homeland Security Committee, under the chairmanship of Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX) has proven to be a major disappointment. He even refused to investigate the expansion of the Muslim Brotherhood channel, Al Jazeera, into the U.S. through the purchase of Al Gore’s Current TV.

The Senate once had a Subcommittee on Security and Terrorism that held hearings in 1982 on such topics as “The role of Cuba in international terrorism and subversion.” Such a subcommittee is badly needed today, as the Obama administration wants to drop Cuba from the official list of state sponsors of terrorism. Cuban dictator Raul Castro said of Obama’s announcement: “His decision to review the unjustifiable inclusion of Cuba on the list of state sponsors of international terrorism is encouraging.” It is time for Congress to once again document how Cuba sponsored such groups as the Weather Underground and the Puerto Rican FALN, and their bombing campaigns on American soil. The role of the Weather Underground in facilitating the prison escape of cop-killer Joanne Chesimard and her arrival in Cuba, where she remains, should be a prime topic of inquiry. She is living in Cuba with such fugitives as William Morales, the notorious FALN bomb-maker who also escaped from prison and fled.

In the same speech, Castro referred to the release from U.S. prison of the “Cuban Five” spies, saying, “I must reiterate our profound, sincere gratitude to all the solidarity movements and committees which struggled to obtain their freedom, and innumerable governments, parliaments, organizations, institutions and figures who made a valuable contribution.”

These “solidarity movements and committees” have been active on American soil for many years. I covered one of their conferences last year at a Baptist church just a few blocks from the White House. It was orchestrated by the Cuban Interests Section in Washington, D.C. and the Workers World Party, a Marxist-Leninist group. It is time for hearings into these activities and their role in the change in Obama’s Cuba policy. If Cuba is given a full-fledged embassy in Washington, D.C., we can anticipate more spying and subversion on American soil. Is that in America’s national interest?

The Post notes that, in the Senate, the chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, Senator Bob Corker (R-TN), plans a “rigorous hearing process” on Obama’s recognition of the communist regime in Cuba. But the hearings will prove to be inadequate unless the pro-Castro network in the U.S. is identified and examined—and we find out what the FBI knows about these “solidarity movements and committees.”

Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) can do some good work as the new chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere. But a subcommittee on internal security could be revived and do a lot of specialized work into the activities of the pro-Castro lobby.

In addition to re-establishing a congressional panel on internal security, Republican-controlled states can work in the same area. Some of the best hearings into internal subversion were conducted years ago by the state legislature in California through the California Un-American Activities Committee. The Golden state is no longer in the Republican camp, but a number of states now under Republican control could decide to form legislative committees or panels and open hearings in this area.

The creation of these committees would lead to cries of “McCarthyism.” Papers like the Post would say that Republicans are being too “aggressive” and “partisan.” But the conservative base is clearly demanding action to stem the tide of Obama’s “fundamental transformation” of America. They know they can’t count on the major media to investigate the Obama administration. Another opportunity like this may never happen again.

12/26/14

Media Celebrate Obama’s “Audacity”

By: Roger Aronoff
Accuracy in Media

For the left-wing media, the period between the devastating electoral defeat the Democrats suffered in November and the end of the lame duck session in Congress this month provided an opportunity for Obama to act “audaciously” and fulfill promises he made to his base as a candidate.

At the same time, the President is thumbing his nose at the segment of America increasingly disillusioned by his agenda and executive overreach. The media fervor celebrates President Obama’s most radical policies—from a lifeline to the communist dictatorship in Cuba, to a unilateral rewriting of immigration laws, to an absurd deal with China, whereby the U.S. commits to severe and specific cutbacks of energy use by 2025, while the Chinese commit to nothing except to consider starting cutbacks in 2030, all in the name of global warming,

“President Obama’s decision on Wednesday to radically shift United States policy toward Cuba is the latest and most striking example of a president unleashed from the hesitancy that characterized much of his first six years in office,” reported The New York Times last week. They did mention his past promise to promote normalization only “if Cuba took steps toward democracy and released all political prisoners.” In fact there have been no such steps taken, and “According to the Cuban Commission for Human Rights and National Reconciliation,” reported USA Today, “the number of political prisoners detained in Cuba has risen from 2,074 in 2010 to 6,424 in 2013. Through the first 11 months of 2014, that number is at 8,410.” Mark that as yet another broken promise by President Obama in the vein of, “If you like your doctor…”

With the notion that Obama is “unleashed from the hesitancy,” the Times, in essence, dismisses the controversial legacy of President Obama’s far-from-hesitant nor un-noteworthy six years, such as:

Similarly, Politico celebrates “Obama libre:” “If President Barack Obama’s year ended in November, it would have been one of the worst of his presidency,” it reports. “Good thing he had the past five weeks.”

“Obama feels liberated, aides say, and sees the recent flurry of aggressive executive action and deal-making as a pivot for him to spend his final two years in office being more the president he always wanted to be,” writes Politico.

The impression given by both the Times and Politico is that Obama is now unleashed because he doesn’t have to cater to public opinion or worry about upcoming elections. In other words, he is taking all of these actions now that he was previously constrained from doing by political considerations. Not surprisingly, Politico quotes from “a senior Obama aide,” while the Times refers extensively to former Obama senior adviser David Axelrod.

“By framing his moves in generational terms, the president is also seeking to make an implicit case that Republicans who oppose them are dinosaurs fighting yesterday’s battles,” reports the Times. Similarly, using a typical straw man, Politico reports that “Republicans” say “Obama’s liberation…is a combination of delusion and bitter denial that’s just setting him up for a lot of pain once Congress is fully in their hands in two weeks.”

Where is the national dialogue about a president’s duty to reflect the will of the people, or the discussion about whether this unhinged President lost his public mandate after the November elections? No, the perception created by his aides and the liberal media is that President Obama is still going strong. As long as the President pursues a left-wing agenda, these news outlets and others will continue their obvious cheerleading.