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Hillary Has an NSA Problem

Hillary Has an NSA Problem | BoogieFinger Politics |
For a year now, Hillary Clinton’s misuse of email during her tenure as secretary of state has hung like a dark cloud over her presidential campaign. As I told you months ago, email-gate isn’t going away, despite the best efforts of Team Clinton to make it disappear. Instead, the scandal has gotten worse, with never-ending revelations of apparent misconduct by Ms. Clinton and her staff. At this point, email-gate may be the only thing standing between Ms. Clinton and the White House this November.

Specifically, the Federal Bureau of Investigation examination of email-gate, pursuant to provisions of the Espionage Act, poses a major threat to Ms. Clinton’s presidential aspirations. However, even if the FBI recommends prosecution of her or members of her inner circle for mishandling of classified information—which is something the politically unconnected routinely do face prosecution for—it’s by no means certain that the Department of Justice will follow the FBI’s lead.

What the DoJ decides to do with email-gate is ultimately a question of politics as much as justice. Ms. Clinton’s recent statement on her potential prosecution, “it’s not going to happen,” then refusing to address the question at all in a recent debate, led to speculation about a backroom deal with the White House to shield Ms. Clinton from prosecution as long as Mr. Obama is in the Oval Office. After mid-January, however, all bets would be off. In that case, winning the White House herself could be an urgent matter of avoiding prosecution for Ms. Clinton.

That said, if the DoJ declines to prosecute after the Bureau recommends doing so, a leak-fest of a kind not seen in Washington, D.C., since Watergate should be anticipated. The FBI would be angry that its exhaustive investigation was thwarted by dirty deals between Democrats. In that case, a great deal of Clintonian dirty laundry could wind up in the hands of the press, habitual mainstream media covering for the Clintons notwithstanding, perhaps having a major impact on the presidential race this year.
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Trump wins New Hampshire

Trump wins New Hampshire | BoogieFinger Politics |
MANCHESTER, N.H. — Donald Trump romped over a fractured field of Republican presidential candidates at the New Hampshire primary on Tuesday, securing a critical first win for the political novice.

Trump entered Tuesday the heavy favorite, but he badly needed to prove he could turn the energy surrounding his campaign into hard votes and a victory.

The billionaire businessman didn’t take anything for granted, plunging into the retail-style politics he’s largely dismissed, and deploying his celebrity family members across the state on Tuesday to stake out polling precincts and local businesses.

Trump appeared weakened after a disappointing second-place showing at the Iowa-caucuses last week. He entered New Hampshire with a comfortable lead in polls, but fell short to Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and was nearly caught by Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.).

The showing opened Trump up to criticism that he lacks the resources and political savvy to deliver on his polling numbers, and left some wondering whether voters were suffering from Trump-fatigue.

His win in New Hampshire should put those questions to bed — at least until the Republican primary in South Carolina on Feb. 20.

Early surveys show Trump with a double-digit lead over the next closest contender in the Palmetto State, although the GOP field is likely to shrink after New Hampshire and the polls are expected to tighten.
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State Dept. classifies another seven Clinton emails 'top secret'

State Dept. classifies another seven Clinton emails 'top secret' | BoogieFinger Politics |
A Republican member of the House Intelligence Committee said Wednesday that the State Department has classified seven more of Hillary Clinton's private emails as top secret.
There are more than 22, and it's not just one or two more, Rep. Chris Stewart told the Washington Examiner, referring to the 22 emails deemed top secret by the State Department last week. It's a more meaningful number than that.
Stewart said the State Department has classified seven additional emails as top secret. The agency will now withhold 29 emails from the public due to their sensitive content.
These were classified at the top secret level, and in some cases, above that, he said.
Stewart said his years of experience handling highly classified material allowed him to recognize immediately the sensitive nature of Clinton's emails. The Utah Republican said he had never seen anything more sensitive than the information contained within the emails.
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Clinton emails contained 'need-to-know' classified info

Clinton emails contained 'need-to-know' classified info | BoogieFinger Politics |
The secret information on former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s personal email was more highly classified than previously understood, according to the intelligence community’s internal watchdog.

In a letter to Capitol Hill obtained by The Hill, Intelligence Community Inspector General I. Charles McCullough III wrote that Clinton had highly classified information known as “special access programs” (SAP) on her private server. 

“To date, I have received two sworn declarations from one [intelligence community] element,” the watchdog told lawmakers in Congress, Fox reported. “These declarations cover several dozen emails containing classified information determined by the IC element to be at the CONFIDENTIAL, SECRET, and TOP SECRET/SAP levels.
“According to the declarant, these documents contain information derived from classified IC element sources,” he added.

The intelligence office is “coordinating with” the State Department “to determine how these documents should be properly treated in the FOIA [Freedom of Information Act] litigation.”
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Federal judge certifies tea party in class action lawsuit against IRS

Federal judge certifies tea party in class action lawsuit against IRS | BoogieFinger Politics |
A federal judge on Tuesday certified a class action lawsuit against the IRS for its political targeting, advancing the cause of more than 200 tea party groups who said they were denied their First Amendment rights by the tax agency's actions.
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A federal judge on Tuesday certified a class action lawsuit against the IRS for its political targeting, advancing the cause of more than 200 tea party groups who said they were denied their First Amendment rights by the tax agency’s actions.

Judge Susan J. Dlott in the Southern District of Ohio issued an order certifying the class, though she sealed the order for now to protect private taxpayer information.


Edward Greim, one of the lawyers advancing the tea party groups’ case, said the certification is a major step because it means the judge has agreed that the IRS did systematically target more than 200 groups for special scrutiny.

“It’s the court recognizing that all the plaintiffs were treated the same way,” he said. “The only remaining question at that point is whether it was legally permissible to treat the plaintiffs that way.”

The IRS said it couldn’t comment on pending litigation.

In the past the agency had argued that the targeting was not an organized policy but rather an overzealous pursuit by individual employees confused about how to handle nonprofit groups’ applications after the Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling.

But Mr. Greim said the judge’s ruling punctures that explanation, finding that the IRS singled out tea party groups’ applications based on four criteria.

The tax agency delayed those applications while it demanded answers to extensive questionnaires — including questions the agency has since admitted were intrusive and shouldn’t have been asked.

The delays persisted for years in many cases, and some groups still haven’t been approved nearly three years after the IRS said it stopped the targeting. One of those, the Texas Patriots Tea Party, which was one of the original plaintiffs in the class action lawsuit, applied in 2012 and is still awaiting approval, Mr. Greim said.

Now that the class has been certified, the case moves to the discovery stage, where the tea party groups’ lawyers will ask for all of the agency’s documents related to the targeting, and will depose IRS employees about their actions.

Mr. Greim said he hopes to include former IRS senior executive Lois G. Lerner in that list of deposed employees.

Ms. Lerner was at the center of the targeting, and was the one who revealed the scandal after she planted a question at a forum.

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Bergdahl faces court-martial for desertion

Bergdahl faces court-martial for desertion | BoogieFinger Politics |
Charges against U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, a former Taliban prisoner of war, were referred for trial by general court-martial, according to Reuters. 
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State Department can't find emails of top Clinton IT staffer - POLITICO

State Department can't find emails of top Clinton IT staffer - POLITICO | BoogieFinger Politics |
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The State Department has told Senate investigators it cannot find backup copies of emails sent by Bryan Pagliano, the top Hillary Clinton IT staffer who maintained her email server but has asserted his Fifth Amendment right and refused to answer questions on the matter.

State officials told the Senate Judiciary Committee in a recent closed-door meeting that they could not locate what’s known as a “.pst file” for Pagliano’s work during Clinton’s tenure, which would have included copies of the tech expert’s emails, according to a letter Chairman Chuck Grassley sent to Secretary of State John Kerry that was obtained by POLITICO.

Story Continued Below


The department also told the committee the FBI has taken possession of Pagliano’s government computer system, where traces of the messages are most likely to be found, according to the letter.

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Retired Geologist Predicted EPA Spill Week Prior, Says It Was Intentional for Money

Retired Geologist Predicted EPA Spill Week Prior, Says It Was Intentional for Money | BoogieFinger Politics |
A letter to the editor of The Silverton Standard and The Miner by a retired geologist predicted the disastrous toxic spill in Colorado at the hands of the Environmental Protection Agency exactly one week prior to the accident. Taking it one step further, the author added that they will do this on purpose in order to secure more funding.
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On July 30, 2015, Dave Taylor wrote to the editor warning that the EPA is planning a "Superfund biltzkrieg" for the Gold King mine in Silverton, Colorado. If the site were to be granted Superfund status as the EPA has long desired (25 years), they would be entitled to federal monies up-front for any cleanups. And that's exactly what Taylor suggested in his prophetic writing:

Based on my 47 years of experience as a professional geologist, it appears to me that the EPA is setting your town and the area up for a possible Superfund blitzkrieg.

Taylor then went on to explain in detail how millions of gallons of heavy-metal laden water would be released because of the buildup of too much pressure by the EPA plugging the mine. Under this scenario, the EPA would need instant funding to build a treatment plant for the clean up process. Taylor was dead-on.


Just a week after the letter was published, the EPA was onsite attempting to insert a pipe above the mine to help them pump out the toxic water from inside the plugged mind. Yet by admission, they misjudged the pressure and the plug was dislodged sending the yellow/orange sludge into the nearby river systems -- just as Taylor predicted


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IRS's Lois Lerner called conservatives 'assholes' in emails: report

IRS's Lois Lerner called conservatives 'assholes' in emails: report | BoogieFinger Politics |
A trove of IRS emails show top official Lois Lerner had a deep commitment to the Democratic Party and a significant dislike for the new conservative grassroots groups that formed under the Tea Party banner and sought tax-exempt status from the agency.

"Crazies" and "a--holes," were the blunt terms Lerner used to describe conservatives, who, with a Supreme Court decision striking down the campaign finance reform law, were bringing about "an end to America," she wrote.

The emails are included in a bipartisan report issued Wednesday by the Senate Finance Committee, which cited "gross mismanagement" and also "personal politics" as the root cause of the IRS mishandling of tax-exempt applications from Tea Party organizations.

Democrats on the panel emphasized the mismanagement, declaring there was no evidence the groups were singled out because they were conservative. They cited lack of training, lack of oversight and ineptitude as the main culprits in the mishandling of hundreds of tax-exempt applicants that were subjected to extra scrutiny and delays.
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"The results of this in-depth, bipartisan investigation showcase pure bureaucratic mismanagement without any evidence of political interference," said Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon, the top Democrat on the finance panel.

But Lerner, the former top official who oversaw tax-exempt groups, showed a true dislike for conservative-leaning organizations, according to her email conversations with her husband and associates.

"Well, you should hear the whacko wing of the GOP," her husband, Michael Miles, wrote to Lerner in November 2012.

"The US is through; too many foreigners sucking the teat; time to hunker down, buy ammo and food, and prepare for the end. The right wing radio shows are scary to listen to."

Lerner responds, "Great. Maybe we are through if there are that many a--holes."

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'Wiccan Ritual Killing' Leaves Family of Three Dead in Pensacola: Police

'Wiccan Ritual Killing' Leaves Family of Three Dead in Pensacola: Police | BoogieFinger Politics |
A triple homicide in Florida is suspected to be a "Wiccan ritual killing" related to the "blue" moon, police said Tuesday.

The three victims, all from the same family, were found after a welfare check by on Friday, July 31, said Escambia County Sheriff's Office spokesman Sgt. Andrew Hobbes.

"It appears that this might be connected to some type of Wiccan ritual killing and possibly tied to the blue moon," Hobbes told NBC News.

A "blue" moon is what it's called when there are two full moons in the same calendar.

Voncile Smith, 77, and her two sons, Richard, 49, and John, 47, were discovered when one of the son's employers realized he hadn't shown up for wor
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Top Clinton aide accused of receiving overpayments at State Department

Top Clinton aide accused of receiving overpayments at State Department | BoogieFinger Politics |
tate Department investigators concluded this year that Huma Abedin, one of Hillary Rodham Clinton’s closest aides, was overpaid by nearly $10,000 because of violations of rules governing vacation and sick leave during her tenure as an official in the department.

The finding — which Abedin has formally contested — emerged publicly Friday after Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa) sent letters to Secretary of State John F. Kerry and others seeking more information about an investigation into possible “criminal” conduct by Abedin concerning her pay.

The letters also sought the status of an inquiry into whether Abedin had violated conflict-of-interest laws related to her special employment situation, which allowed her to work simultaneously for the State Department, the Clinton Foundation and a private firm with close ties to the Clintons.

The finding that Abedin, a longtime Clinton confidante who now serves as vice chairwoman of her presidential campaign, had improperly collected taxpayer money could prove damaging to Clinton’s candidacy, as Republicans charge that government rules were routinely bent to benefit Clinton and her aides.
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White House Admits To ‘Merely Repeating’ Planned Parenthood Talking Points

White House Admits To ‘Merely Repeating’ Planned Parenthood Talking Points | BoogieFinger Politics |
White House spokesman Josh Earnest conceded on Thursday to “merely repeating” what Planned Parenthood has released in response to a series of videos of the organization’s executives discussing the sale of aborted fetal tissue.

“I’m merely repeating what I’ve seen that they [Planned Parenthood] have said,” Earnest said, catching himself mid-sentence.

Earnest accidentally confirmed Breitbart reporter Charlie Spiering’s assertion the White House was adopting Planned Parenthood’s talking points without reviewing the evidence.

Earnest said he suspected someone in the White House had watched the undercover Planned Parenthood footage, but said he is unsure if the president has seen any of the videos released by the Center for Medical Progress, whom he referred to as “extremists on the right.”

The White House spokesperson maintained, despite not seeing the videos, the tapes were “grossly distorted” and “selectively edited.”
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Bloomberg Business

Bloomberg Business | BoogieFinger Politics |
he inspectors could hardly believe what they were seeing. Summoned from their headquarters near Munich, the team of logistics, safety, and aviation experts had arrived at newly constructed Berlin Brandenburg International Willy Brandt Airport in the fall of 2011 to begin a lengthy series of checks and approvals for the €600 million ($656 million) terminal on the outskirts of the German capital. Expected to open the following June, the airport, billed as Europe’s “most modern,” was intended to handle 27 million passengers a year and crown Berlin as the continent’s 21st century crossroads.

The team of inspectors, known as ORAT, for Operations Readiness and Airport Transfer, brought in a dummy plane and volunteers as test passengers. They examined everything from baggage carousels and security gates to the fire protection system. The last was an especially high priority: None could forget the 1996 fire that roared through Düsseldorf Airport’s passenger terminal, killing 17.

When they simulated a fire, though, the system went haywire. Some alarms failed to activate. Others indicated a fire, but in the wrong part of the terminal. The explanation was buried in the 55-mile tangle of wiring that had been laid, hastily, beneath the floors of the building where ORAT technicians soon discovered high-voltage power lines alongside data and heating cables—a fire hazard in its own right. That wasn’t all. Smoke evacuation canals designed to suck out smoke and replace it with fresh air failed to do either. In an actual fire, the inspectors determined, the main smoke vent might well implode.
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Confronted with the fire system fiasco, Rainer Schwarz, chief executive officer of Flughafen Berlin Brandenburg (FBB), the airport company owned by the city of Berlin, the state of Brandenburg, and the federal government, downplayed it. Schwarz and his staff told the airport’s board of oversight, as well as Stephan Loge, the commissioner of Dahme-Spreewald County, who had the final authority to issue the airport an operating license, that they were working through some issues, but that the situation was under control. Schwarz also appointed an emergency task force to propose solutions that would allow the airport to open on time. In March 2012 the group submitted its stopgap: Eight hundred low-paid workers armed with cell phones would take up positions throughout the terminal. If anyone smelled smoke or saw a fire, he would alert the airport fire station and direct passengers toward the exits. Never mind that the region’s cell phone networks were notoriously unreliable, or that some students would be stationed near the smoke evacuation channels, where in a fire temperatures could reach 1,000F.

It was, says Martin Delius, “an idiotic plan.” Delius is a physicist and member of Berlin’s parliament who has conducted an extensive investigation of the airport’s troubled infrastructure. “They thought that this would at least eliminate the need for wiring,” he says, “because [the spotters] could see with their own eyes if there is a mass of smoke lower than 6 feet above the ground.”

 Photographer: Michael Sohn/AP Photo 
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Colorado issues massive recall of pesticide-tainted marijuana

Colorado issues massive recall of pesticide-tainted marijuana | BoogieFinger Politics |
Colorado regulators issue another in a string of recalls of marijuana grown with pesticides not approved for use on the plant
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Couple accused of sex act on Las Vegas Strip observation wheel

Couple accused of sex act on Las Vegas Strip observation wheel | BoogieFinger Politics |
A Houston man and a New York woman are facing felony charges after authorities say they were recorded having sex in public during a 30-minute ride in a glass-enclosed cabin 550 feet above the Las Vegas Strip. A Las Vegas judge on Tuesday set a March 9 date to see if the charges against Phillip Frank Panzica III and Chloe Scordianos can be resolved without ...
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Phillip Frank Panzica III and Chloe Scordianos.

Associated Press

Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2016 | 4:28 p.m.

A Houston man and a New York woman are facing felony charges after authorities say they were recorded having sex in public during a 30-minute ride in a glass-enclosed cabin 550 feet above the Las Vegas Strip.


A Las Vegas judge on Tuesday set a March 9 date to see if the charges against Phillip Frank Panzica III and Chloe Scordianos can be resolved without trial.

The two were arrested Feb. 5 after riding alone together in one cabin on the High Roller.

Police say surveillance cameras captured the act, security warned the couple to stop, and people in another car shot cellphone video.

Images haven't been made public.

Panzica's attorney, Bennair Bateman, declined comment.

Scordianos' lawyer, Chris Rasmussen, says his client believed the couple had an expectation of privacy

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Clinton changes tone on Sanders

Clinton changes tone on Sanders | BoogieFinger Politics |
INDIANOLA, IA — As her allies acknowledged that her forceful attacks on Bernie Sanders have backfired, Hillary Clinton on Thursday softened the edges of her criticism of her main primary opponent, arguing that his heart is in the right place even if his proposals are wrong.

Her new tone marked a contrast from last week, when her forceful dismissal of his universal healthcare system appeared to boomerang.

Clinton allies grimaced when Chelsea Clinton told a crowd in New Hampshire that the Vermont Senator would “dismantle Obamacare." She was the wrong messenger, they said, delivering the wrong message.

The Clinton campaign said the former first daughter was merely responding to a question. But even Clinton’s own attacks on Sanders’ “Medicare for All” healthcare plan seemed to unsettle many Democrats who consider a single-payer system a cherished ideal.

“His plan would take Medicare and Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program and the Affordable Care Act health care insurance and private employer health insurance and he would take that all together and send health insurance to the states, turning over your and my health insurance to governors,” she said last week, calling out Iowa Republican Gov. Terry Branstad.

Clinton allies said the attacks alienated potential supporters.

“For Hillary and Chelsea to say saying the likes of Bernie Sanders are going to result in people losing their healthcare -- what are they talking about?” fumed one 2008 veteran.

Sanders’ campaign fundraised off the onslaught from her surrogates and campaign. “Thanks, Team Clinton,” a spokesman blasted out in a press release last week, announcing the campaign raised $1.4 million in the day following her attacks.

But on Thursday, in organizing meetings across Iowa, Clinton struck a different tone -- she embraced Sanders’ ideals while explaining why she believes her methods are a better way of getting there.
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German politician sends bus with refugees to Merkel

German politician sends bus with refugees to Merkel | BoogieFinger Politics |
Associated Press historical news archive articles dating back to 1985
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BERLIN (AP) — A bus carrying 31 Syrian refugees arrived from southern Germany in Berlin on Thursday night as a district councilor in Bavaria followed up on his pledge to Chancellor Angela Merkel that he'd send refugees her way if his district could no longer provide accommodation for them.

The act came amid ongoing concerns about how Germany will deal with the 1.1 million asylum-seekers that flooded in last year. Peter Dreier, a Landshut district councilor, said he wanted to "send a sign that refugee policy cannot continue like this."

Dreier said he had talked with Merkel on the phone last year. He said he warned her that Landshut was reaching its capacity for housing asylum-seekers and told her he'd put refugees on buses to Berlin if his district could no longer handle the influx.

The bus arrived shortly after 6 p.m. (1700 GMT) in front of Merkel's chancellery in the center of Berlin. Several police officers shielded the 31 refugees from reporters as officials asked them to board another bus waiting nearby that was to take them to local shelters. However, the refugees refused to leave the bus and after a two-hour wait in front of the chancellery, the bus left for an overnight accommodation.

Merkel's spokesman Steffen Seibert said in a statement that the city of Berlin had agreed to offer accommodation for the refugees for their first night in Berlin.

Both German news channel n-tv and Zeit newspaper's online edition reported their reporters had talked to refugees during the ride to Berlin and that the migrants didn't know the trip had been organized as an act to criticize Merkel's refugee policy.

The refugees thought of the trip to the German capital as an opportunity and were upset when they found out they had been used by Landshut politicians to make a stance against the federal government's policy, both outlets reported.

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State Department gave ‘inaccurate’ answer on Clinton email use, review says

State Department gave ‘inaccurate’ answer on Clinton email use, review says | BoogieFinger Politics |
Inspector general review finds long-standing problems with public records at agency.
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Two years before the public learned of Hillary Clinton’s private server, the State Department gave an “inaccurate and incomplete” response about her email use when it told an outside group that it had no documents about Clinton’s email accounts beyond her government address, according to a report from the State Department’s inspector general to be released Thursday.

The State Department made its statement in response to a 2012 records request from the independent watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW). The response came even though Clinton’s chief of staff, who knew about the secretary’s private account, was aware of the inquiry, the report says. In addition, the IG review found that agency staffers had not searched Clinton’s office for emails.

The incident was one of four cases that the report highlights as examples of flawed responses to public-records requests made while Clinton was in office. The report found it was part of a long-standing problem stretching back through previous administrations.

Clinton’s exclusive use of a private email system, which became public in March 2015, led to an FBI investigation into whether her unusual arrangement had compromised national secrets.

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State Department | Hillary Clinton | Libya Has Struggled

State Department | Hillary Clinton | Libya Has Struggled | BoogieFinger Politics |
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State Department spokesman John Kirby admitted Friday that Libya “has struggled” since 2011, when then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton led the charge for U.S. military intervention in the Libyan civil war.

“After the intervention in 2011 … I think we’ve all seen that Libya has struggled since 2011,” Kirby said. He pointed to the power vacuum that dictator Muammar Gaddafi’s ouster created as a source of instability, and said that since 2011, violent groups like the Islamic State have filled that vacuum.

“We know that groups like ISIL try to use ungoverned spaces there, as they have in Syria, to try to propagate their own twisted form of ideology and violence,” he said.

Kirby said that the international community is laboring to recover the security situation in Libya.

“There is a concerted effort by the international community to do what they can, to do what we must, to try to get at better security and stability there in Libya,” he said.

Clinton has been criticized for pushing President Obama to intervene in Libya without aconcrete post-war plan. Others write that following the intervention, Congress “showed little interest” in Libya, until the U.S. consulate in Benghazi was attacked in 2012, resulting in the deaths of four Americans.

Clinton defended the intervention in the October 13 CNN debate, calling it “smart power at its best.” She justified the intervention by telling viewers that as a result, the Libyan people “had a free election the first time since 1951,” and that “they voted with the hope of democracy.”

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CBO projects 2 million fewer jobs under ObamaCare

CBO projects 2 million fewer jobs under ObamaCare | BoogieFinger Politics |
The budget office expects the workforce to shink because of coverage expansions.
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ObamaCare is expected to cost the U.S. workforce a total of 2 million jobs over the next decade, Congress’s nonpartisan scorekeeper said Monday.

The total workforce will shrink by just under 1 percent as a result of the new coverage expansions, mandates and changes in tax rates, according to a 22-page report released by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO).


“Some people would choose to work fewer hours; others would leave the labor force entirely or remain unemployed for longer than they otherwise would,” the agency said in its latest analysis of the now five-year-old law.

Republicans were quick to seize on the report, which provides new analysis of a previously mentioned figure.

“When the President’s health law hurts the labor force at the same time it increases healthcare premiums and taxes, it’s clear the law is not working for the American people,” said Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah.).

“The CBO’s latest report confirms yet another broken promise and negative consequence stemming from Obamacare.”

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Moviegoers fearing chainsaw attack escape Newport Beach theater

Moviegoers fearing chainsaw attack escape Newport Beach theater | BoogieFinger Politics |
Moviegoers in Newport Beach ran from what they thought was a chainsaw-wielding attacker after a small group burst into a crowded theater and revved the motor of a leaf blower, police said Monday.
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A few patrons were trampled as panicked viewers fled a showing of “The Gift” at Edwards Big Newport 6 shortly before 11 p.m. on Saturday, Newport Beach police spokeswoman Jennifer Manzella said. No major injuries were reported, she said.

Some in the audience thought the theater was being stormed by a gunman, police said.


Investigators believe two or three men in their late teens to early 30s intended to scare moviegoers, Manzella said. “It appears they were trying to lead people to believe there was a weapon,” she said.

As the nation reels from mass shootings in theaters across the country,most recently in Lafayette, La., Saturday's scare is “not something we consider just a minor prank,” Manzella said.


Authorities said that at least one of the men was in the theater during the movie and opened an exit door so another person could enter with the leaf blower. That man then hoisted the blower over his head, yelled and revved the motor, police said.

“Several seconds later, all of the suspects exited the theater through the same emergency exit door,” Manzella said.

Police set up a perimeter around the theater complex, but the men had already fled.

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Lawyers for Minnesota terror suspects argue ISIL not a terrorist organization

Lawyers for Minnesota terror suspects argue ISIL not a terrorist organization | BoogieFinger Politics |
Defense attorneys for seven suspects charged with supporting terrorism are arguing that the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) is not a terrorist organization because it operates a government and regulates services for citizens living under its control in Syria.

In one of several motions filed Friday in U.S. District Court in Minneapolis, the attorneys argued that despite its reputation for brutality, ISIL carries many characteristics of a government that tends to day-to-day business and that therefore criminal charges against the defendants are too broad.

“While the group has adopted harshly violent and repressive tactics, and engages in military and insurgency attacks against the Syrian and Iraqi armies, it has also embarked on a systematic process of civilian governance over the eight to 10 million people with the territory it controls,” attorneys said.

The statutes under which the defendants are charged prohibit providing support under the direction or control of a terrorist group. The attorneys argue that when a terrorist group controls an entire territory, simply being in that country would effectively become, under the current charges, support to the terrorist group. But when services are provided, it’s no longer possible to describe that territory as being part of a terrorist state.

“Mere travel to Syria, or willingness to ‘join’ ISIL, cannot constitutionally be equated with material support. Accordingly, the material support statute is void,” the attorneys argued.

In April, six of the seven defendants in the case were arrested by FBI agents following a 10-month investigation. No trial date has been set. A hearing on motions is scheduled Sept. 2 in front of U.S. District Judge Michael Davis.

Other motions included a request to dial back a heavy security presence at the trial because the attorneys said it could negatively influence a jury. Current hearings have a large contingent of police and Homeland Security officers, and at least one bomb-sniffing dog.

“If allowed, this extraordinary display of security would be present from the moment jurors arrive at the courthouse until after they leave, serving as a constant reminder, not just of the fact that Defendants are accused of a crime, but of the fact that they are accused of a crime related to terrorism,” the motion stated. “ … The security appears not to be designed to protect against potential danger posed by the accused but, rather, perceived danger from members of the Somali community who are not accused of any crime.”
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Attorneys for 7 suspects in FBI case are also seeking lighter security at trial, saying it could influence jury. 

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Seattle CEO who set firm's minimum wage to $70G says he has hit hard times

Seattle CEO who set firm's minimum wage to $70G says he has hit hard times | BoogieFinger Politics |
The Seattle CEO who reaped a publicity bonanza when he boosted the salaries of his employees to a minimum of $70,000 a year says he has fallen on hard times.

Dan Price, 31, tells the New York Times that things have gotten so bad he’s been forced to rent out his house.

Only three months ago Price was generating headlines—and accusations of being a socialist -- when he announced the new salary minimum for all 120 employees at his Gravity Payments credit card processing firm. Price said he was doing it, and slashing his $1 million pay package to pay for it, to address the wealth gap.

“I’m working as hard as I ever worked to make it work,” he told the Times in a video that shows him sitting on a plastic bucket in the garage of his house. “I’m renting out my house right now to try and make ends meet myself.”

The Times article said Price’s decision ended up costing him a few customers and two of his “most valued” employees, who quit after newer employees ended up with bigger salary hikes than older ones.

“He gave raises to people who have the least skills and are the least equipped to do the job, and the ones who were taking on the most didn’t get much of a bump,” Gravity financial manager Maisey McMaster, 26, told the paper.

She said when she talked to Price about it, he treated her as if she was being selfish and only thinking about herself.

“That really hurt me,” she said. “I was talking about not only me, but about everyone in my position.”

Approaching burnout, she quit.

Grant Moran, 29, also quit, saying the new pay-scale was disconcerting

“Now the people who were just clocking in and out were making the same as me,” he told the paper. “It shackles high performers to less motivated team members.”

Price said McMaster and Moran, or even critic Rush Limbaugh, the talk show host, were not wrong.

“There’s no perfect way to do this and no way to handle complex workplace issues that doesn’t have any downsides or trade-offs,” he said.

The Times said customers who left were dismayed at what Price did, viewing it as a political statement. Others left fearful Gravity would soon hike fees to pay for salary increases.
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Data in Clinton’s ‘secret’ emails came from 5 intelligence agencies

Data in Clinton’s ‘secret’ emails came from 5 intelligence agencies | BoogieFinger Politics |
The classified emails stored on former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s private server contained information from five U.S. intelligence agencies and included material related to the fatal 2012 Benghazi attacks, McClatchy has learned.

Of the five classified emails, the one known to be connected to Benghazi was among 296 emails made public in May by the State Department. Intelligence community officials have determined it was improperly released.

Revelations about the emails have put Clinton in the crosshairs of a broadening inquiry into whether she or her aides mishandled classified information when she used a private server set up at her New York home to conduct official State Department business.

While campaigning for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination, Clinton has repeatedly denied she ever sent or received classified information. Two inspectors general have indicated that five emails they have reviewed were not marked classified at the time they were stored on her private server but that the contents were in fact “secret.”

The email issue, however, has distracted from Clinton’s campaign for days and already has hurt her in public opinion polls. Besieged with questions, she has found herself caught in a murky dispute between State Department and intelligence officials over whether emails on her server were classified.

“Even if Secretary Clinton or her aides didn’t run afoul of any criminal provisions, the fact that classified information was identified within the emails is exactly why use of private emails . . . is not supposed to be allowed,” said Bradley Moss, a Washington attorney who specializes in national security matters. “Both she and her team made a serious management mistake that no one should ever repeat.”
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McClatchy also has determined some details of the five emails that the intelligence community’s inspector general has described as classified and improperly handled.

Intelligence officials who reviewed the five classified emails determined that they included information from five separate intelligence agencies, said a congressional official with knowledge of the matter.

The Benghazi email made public contained information from the National Security Agency, the Defense Intelligence Agency and the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, a spy agency that maps and tracks satellite imagery, according to the official, who asked to remain anonymous because of the sensitivity of the matter.

The other four classified emails contained information from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and the CIA, the official said.

The Office of the Intelligence Community Inspector General did not respond to questions about the matter. The five agencies either referred questions about it to the inspector general’s office or declined to comment.

The intelligence community inspector general only looked at a sample of 40 emails, even though a total of 30,000 emails were turned over to the State Department by Clinton.

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Senate smackdown: Ted Cruz, Mike Lee efforts squelched by leaders

Senate smackdown: Ted Cruz, Mike Lee efforts squelched by leaders | BoogieFinger Politics |
Republican leaders delivered a smackdown of Sens. Ted Cruz and Mike Lee on the Senate floor Sunday — the latest in an increasingly testy rivalry marked by accusations of deceit and grandstanding.

The showdown was triggered by an attempt by Cruz (R-Texas) and Lee (R-Utah) to employ arcane Senate procedures to take a tougher stand on Iran and to defund Planned Parenthood. Republican leaders led by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) viewed the move as an affront to Senate rules and squelched the effort in dramatic fashion — an embarrassing setback for two of the chamber’s most conservative members.

First Cruz tried unsuccessfully to force the Senate to consider an amendment to a transportation bill stating that sanctions on Iran could not be lifted until the country recognizes Israel’s right to exist and frees four American hostages. But he was unable to rally enough senators to back his effort to get a roll call vote on the matter.

Then Lee tried to push through a vote on defunding Planned Parenthood. That, too, failed to muster enough support for a vote. On Monday, Lee is expected to try to repeal Obamacare with a simple majority vote of 51 senators, effectively circumventing the 60-vote requirement to break a filibuster after Democrats defeated an attempt to repeal the health care law on Sunday.
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Both senators believe now is the time for the party to use its majority to advance key elements of the conservative agenda. Republicans close to the party leadership are wary: Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) argued that such tactics would undermine the “regular order” and institutions of the chamber.

And Cruz’s Texas colleague pointedly shot down his effort. Sen. John Cornyn, the GOP’s chief vote-counter, called Cruz’s strategy “a terrible mistake” and urged Republicans to vote against it, a rare public disagreement.

“If the rule that the junior senator from Texas is arguing for is embraced, we will lose all control of the Senate schedule. There will be chaos,” Cornyn said. “Any senator who wants to get a vote on an amendment will be entitled to do so and that can’t be the rule. It’s not the rule. It’s never been the rule.”

The efforts come as tensions are growing between Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s allies and conservative hardliners led by Cruz, who on Friday took to the Senate floor and accused his party’s leader of telling a “flat-out lie.”

The intraparty dispute stems from McConnell’s move on Friday to prioritize two amendments to a bipartisan highway bill: One that would revive the Export-Import Bank and another to repeal Obamacare, both at a 60-vote threshold. Renewing the charter of the Ex-Im Bank, a credit agency supporting exports, has the support of more than 60 senators and the business community. But the bank is strongly opposed by Cruz and like-minded conservatives, who argue it’s tantamount to corporate welfare.

To the angst of Cruz, the Export-Import Bank successfully advanced toward attachment to the the must-pass highway bill, 67-26. The Obamacare effort failed mostly on party lines, 49-43.

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