U.S. Set to Lift Sanctions on Iran

WSJ.com By Laurence Norman and Jay Solomon 12/2/15 IAEA found no credible evidence of recent atomic-weapons activity The Obama administration said it expects to start lifting sanctions on Iran as early as January after the United Nations’ nuclear watchdog found no credible evidence that Tehran has recently engaged in atomic-weapons activity. But the agency reported that the country had pursued a program in secret until 2009, longer than previously believed. The mixed findings in the report, which also indicated that Iran showed limited cooperation with investigators, fueled critics who said … Continue reading

John Kasich: “…new agency…to promote the core Judeo-Christian western values…”

By Russ Phillips NBC “Meet the Press” 11/22/15 Yesterday on “Meet the Press” presidential candidate and Ohio Governor John Kasich was interviewed by moderator Chuck Todd. Several days before, Kasich spoke to the National Press Club on his proposal for national security strategy. He referred to creating a “…new agency…to promote the core Judeo-Christian western values…” The video of his entire remarks are here. Chuck Todd questions Kasich about these remarks and other topics as printed below. The transcript of the entire program is here. CHUCK TODD: Welcome back. One … Continue reading

“COMBATING TERRORIST AND FOREIGN FIGHTER TRAVEL” lists 32 Key Findings

By Russ Phillips This morning on ABC’s “This Week” moderated by George Stephanopoulos presidential candidates Donald Trump, Ben Carson and Martin O’Malley were interviewed on topics including the Syrian refugees and responding to the ISIS threat. Next the Roundtable took place with participation including U.S. Representative Keith Ellison (MN), the first Muslim elected to Congress and U.S. Representative Martha McSally (AZ), the first woman fighter pilot to fly in combat who is now a member of the House Homeland Security Committee. McSally served on the bipartisan Foreign Fighter Task Force that … Continue reading

Sen. Coats criticizes claims about phone data collection, changes to program

(How did your Senators and Representative vote on the USA Freedom Act, i.e. government surveillance? Find it here.) Under changes, phone companies would collect and retain phone surveillance data, and the National Security Agency would have to get court approval to access it. IndyStar.com Washington Bureau By Maureen Groppe 6/2/15 WASHINGTON — A visibly frustrated Sen. Dan Coats railed this week against what he called blatantly false statements by a member of his own party that threaten the federal government’s surveillance powers. The result of the misinformation campaign, Coats said, … Continue reading

GOP senators tear into (Sen. Rand) Paul

One fellow Republican (Sen. Dan Coats) accuses him of ‘lying’ about government surveillance to get more campaign donations.

Politico.com
By Manu Raju and Burgess Everett
5/31/15

The Rand Paul pile-on session began a few hours before sunset Sunday evening.

Behind closed doors in the Senate’s Strom Thurmond Room, Republican senators lashed out at the junior Kentucky Republican’s defiant stance to force the expiration of key sections of the PATRIOT Act, a law virtually all of them support. Indiana Sen. Dan Coats’ criticism was perhaps the most biting: He accused the senator of “lying” about the matter in order to raise money for his presidential campaign, according to three people who attended the meeting.

The message may have gotten through to Paul except for one thing: The libertarian-minded senator skipped the hour-long meeting. That only infuriated his colleagues more.

“Anything that goes against anything he believes, he never comes,” Coats said in an interview. “It’s always helpful if you’re in there working to have your position understood, and we all learn a lot and we all try to come to a much better understanding of what we’re trying to do.”…
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PATRIOT Act on life support after Rand Paul stymies renewal efforts

Liberals, libertarians block short-term reauthorizations, leaving a tiny window of opportunity next week for a deal.

Politico.com
By Seung Min Kim and Burgess Everett
5/23/15

The Senate plunged into chaos Saturday as Republicans found themselves tangled over the PATRIOT Act, Rand Paul repeatedly stymied his leaders, and senators left town with critical national security programs about to lapse.

In a rare early morning Saturday vote, the Senate blocked a popular House bill that would rein in controversial government surveillance programs. The vote was 57-42 (see roll call), and it needed 60 votes to advance. Immediately after that vote, the Senate also rejected a straight 60-day extension of the Bush-era national security law on a 45-54 vote (see roll call) — leaving the Senate with no immediate options to ensure the programs don’t expire before the end of the month.

Paul, the libertarian firebrand and GOP presidential hopeful, pushed the Senate into the wee hours of Saturday to protest the bulk collection of…
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House and Senate Budgets “…envision a significant campaign to cut spending, with much of the savings coming from Medicare, Medicaid, food stamps and welfare…”

REPUBLICANS PUSH CONSERVATIVE BUDGETS IN BOTH HOUSES

Associated Press
By David Espo and Andrew Taylor
3/18/15

WASHINGTON (AP) — Making good on last fall’s campaign commitments, Republicans advanced conservative budgets in both houses of Congress on Wednesday, setting up a veto struggle over the fate of the health care law and promising a whopping $5 trillion in spending cuts to erase deficits by the end of the coming decade…

…Both budgets envision a significant campaign to cut spending, with much of the savings coming from Medicare, Medicaid, food stamps and welfare…
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Unable to Be Straight With Himself – Or the American People…

Unable to Be Straight With Himself – Or the American People
President Obama underplays American concessions and overplays Iranian commitments in the nuclear talks.

U.S. News and World Report
By Mortimer B. Zuckerman
3/6/15

In the confrontation of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Barack Obama, we are seeing the consequences of the long game Obama initiated right in his inauguration six years ago: “To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent,” he declared, “know that you are on the wrong side of history, but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.” A regime might well be tyrannous and murderous, as Iran had been since the return of Ayatollah Khomeini in 1979, but the better angels of human nature might reassert themselves if embraced in a web of cooperation…
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Presidential news conference Dec. 19, 2014

Transcript of entire news conference Video of entire news conference (52 minutes) President Obama’s comments in part: …Our investments in American manufacturing have helped fuel its best stretch of job growth also since the 1990s. America is now the number-one producer of oil, the number-one producer of natural gas.  We’re saving drivers about 70 cents a gallon at the pump over last Christmas.  And effectively today, our rescue of the auto industry is officially over.  We’ve now repaid taxpayers every dime and more of what my administration committed, and the American … Continue reading

Senate kills bill that would have reined in NSA and rampant surveillance

(https://nakedsecurity.sophos.com, 11/19/14) – Last night, Republicans led by Senator Mitch McConnell fended off efforts to rein in the National Security Agency (NSA), resulting in the axing of the bipartisan-crafted USA Freedom Act. The bill missed the chance to be debated by just two “yes” votes. With it goes what privacy advocates had called the best opportunity yet to curb the country’s run-amok surveillance… (more) (How did your Senator vote?) … Continue reading