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Tuesday, September 30, 2014



A new Government Accountability Institute (GAI)report reveals that President Barack Obama has attended only 42.1% of his daily intelligence briefings (known officially as the Presidential Daily Brief, or PDB) in the 2,079 days of his presidency through September 29, 2014.

The GAI report also included a breakdown of Obama’s PDB attendance record between terms; he attended 42.4% of his PDBs in his first term and 41.3% in his second.
The GAI’s alarming findings come on the heels of Obama’s 60 Minutes comments on Sunday, wherein the president laid the blame for the Islamic State’s (ISIS) rapid rise squarely at the feet of his Director of National Intelligence James Clapper.
“I think our head of the intelligence community, Jim Clapper, has acknowledged that I think they underestimated what had been taking place in Syria,” said Obama.
According to Daily Beast reporter Eli Lake, members of the Defense establishment were “flabbergasted” by Obama’s attempt to shift blame.
“Either the president doesn’t read the intelligence he’s getting or he’s bullshitting,” a former senior Pentagon official “who worked closely on the threat posed by Sunni jihadists in Syria and Iraq” told the Daily Beast.
On Monday, others in the intelligence community similarly blasted Obama and said he’s shown longstanding disinterest in receiving live, in-person PDBs that allow the Commander-in-Chief the chance for critical followup, feedback, questions, and the challenging of flawed intelligence assumptions.
“It's pretty well-known that the president hasn’t taken in-person intelligence briefings with any regularity since the early days of 2009,” an Obama national security staffer told theDaily Mail on Monday. “He gets them in writing.”
The Obama security staffer said the president’s PDBs have contained detailed threat warnings about the Islamic State dating back to before the 2012 presidential election.
“Unless someone very senior has been shredding the president's daily briefings and telling him that the dog ate them, highly accurate predictions about ISIL have been showing up in the Oval Office since before the 2012 election,” the Obama security staffer told the Daily Mail.
This is not the first time questions have been raised about Obama’s lack of engagement and interest in receiving in-person daily intelligence briefings. On September 10, 2012, the GAI released a similar report showing that Obama had attended less than half (43.8%) of his daily intelligence briefings up to that point. When Washington Post columnist Marc Thiessen mentioned the GAI’s findings in his column, then-White House Press SecretaryJay Carney dubbed the findings “hilarious.” The very next day, U.S. Libyan Ambassador Chris Stevens and three American staff members were murdered in Benghazi. As Breitbart News reported at the time, the White House’s very own presidential calendar revealed Obama had not received his daily intel briefing in the five consecutive days leading up to the Benghazi attacks.
Ultimately, as ABC News reported, the White House did not directly dispute the GAI’s numbers but instead said Obama prefers to read his PDB on his iPad instead of receiving the all-important live, in-person briefings.
Now, with ISIS controlling over 35,000 square miles of territory in its widening caliphate in Iraq and Syria, and with Obama pointing fingers at his own Director of National Intelligence James Clapper for the rise of ISIS, the question remains whether a 42% attendance record on daily intelligence briefings is good enough for most Americans.


CDC identifies first case on US soil

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirmed on Tuesday that a patient being treated at a Dallas hospital has tested positive for Ebola, the first case diagnosed in the United States.
Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital of Dallas officials said in a statement Monday that an unnamed patient was being tested for Ebola and had been placed in "strict isolation" due to the patient's symptoms and recent travel history.
Presbyterian Hospital says it's taking measures to keep its doctors, staff and patients safe.
CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden said that the patient arrived in Texas from Liberia earlier this month and exhibited no symptoms. The patient sought care last Friday and has been hospitalized in isolation since the weekend. Frieden said that officials don't believe there is any risk to anyone who was on the flight at that time.
State health officials say no other cases are suspected in Texas.
The hospital had announced a day earlier that the patient's symptoms and recent travel indicated a case of Ebola, the virus that has killed more than 3,000 people across West Africa and infected a handful of Americans who have traveled to that region.
The CDC has said 12 other people in the U.S. have been tested for Ebola since July 27. Those tests came back negative.
Four American aid workers who have become infected while volunteering in West Africa have been treated in special isolation facilities in hospitals in Atlanta and Nebraska, and a U.S. doctor exposed to the virus in Sierra Leone is under observation in a similar facility at the National Institutes of Health.
The U.S. has only four such isolation units but the CDC has insisted that any hospital can safely care for someone with Ebola.
According to the CDC, Ebola symptoms can include fever, muscle pain, vomiting and bleeding, and can appear as long as 21 days after exposure to the virus.
Jason McDonald, spokesman for the CDC, said health officials use two primary guidelines when deciding whether to test a person for the virus.
"The first and foremost determinant is have they traveled to the region (of West Africa)," he said. The second is whether there's been proximity to family, friends or others who've been exposed, he said.
U.S. health officials have been preparing since summer in case an individual traveler arrived here unknowingly infected, telling hospitals what infection-control steps to take to prevent the virus from spreading in health facilities. People boarding planes in the outbreak zone are checked for fever, but symptoms can begin up to 21 days after exposure. Ebola isn't contagious until symptoms begin, and it takes close contact with bodily fluids to spread.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Health officials say a patient at a Dallas hospital who has tested positive for Ebola arrived in Texas from Liberia earlier this month and showed no symptoms while on the plane.
  Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Tom Frieden said Tuesday that officials "don't believe there is any risk to anyone who was on the flight at that time."
  Frieden says the patient came to the U.S. to visit family and arrived on Sept. 20. The patient sought care last Friday and has been hospitalized in isolation since the weekend.
  State health officials say no other cases are suspected in Texas.
  The patient is the first case of the disease to be diagnosed in the United States.

Farmers, Congress team up to disarm bureaucrats

'They should do what the rest of us do, call the local sheriff'



Members of Congress and a major consumer-advocacy group have launched a campaign to counter the recent massive arming of federal government regulatory agencies.

An online petition by the Farm to Consumer Legal Defense Fund states: “Disturbingly, the arming of regulatory agencies has become more and more widespread in our federal government.”
The consumer group encourages lawmakers to “demilitarize” the agencies.
“While the actual number of armed raids has been low, the fear and distrust that they have created in the local foods community has been widespread and damaging,” the farm-support organization said.
The group pointed to the 2010 armed raid of a food co-op in Southern California in which the FDA participated. The raid of Rawsome Food is “still reverberating through the raw milk community,” the organization said. The co-op was raided again in 2011 “with armed police on site while the club’s food was seized and hauled away.”
The solicitation in May by the USDA for submachine guns “raises concern among farmers and local food consumers,” the group said.
“Why would an agency tasked with regulating agriculture in our country need such a weapon?” the group asked. “Answer: It shouldn’t. If agency officials face a situation in which armed backup is truly called for, they can go through the proper procedures to have support from the Department of Justice.”
The solicitation by the federal agency specified that the guns must have a “sling,” be “lightweight” and have an “oversized trigger guard for gloved operation.”
Pending in Congress now is H.R. 4934, introduced in June by Rep. Chris Stewart, R-Utah. It has been referred to the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.
It would “prohibit certain federal agencies from using or purchasing certain firearms.”
It would also demand a report from the comptroller general on every federal agency with units using “hard-plated body armor, shields, or helmets” that respond to “high-risk situations.”
It already has several dozen cosponsors: Reps. Tom Cotton, R-Ark.; Kevin Cramer, R-N.D.; Sam Graves, R-Mo.; Tom McClintock, R-Calif.; Mike Pompeo, R-Kan.; Jeff Duncan, R-S.C.; Kerry Bentivolio, R-Mich.; Todd Rokita, R-Ind.; Billy Long, R-Mo.; Doug LaMalfa, R-Calif.; Adrian Smith, R-Neb.; James Lankford, R-Okla.; Louie Gohmert, R-Texas; Matt Salmon, R-Ariz.; Tom Rice, R-S.C.; Mark Amodei, R-Nev.; Virginia Foxx, R-N.C.; Steve Stockman, R-Texas; Randy Weber Sr., R-Texas; Cynthis Lummis, R-Wyo.; Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah; Reid Ribble, R-Wis.; Scott Perry, R-Pa.; Paul Gosar, R-Ariz.; Steve Daines, R-Mont.; Robert Latta, R-Ohio; Chris Collins, R-N.Y.; Steve Southerland, R-Fla.; John Duncan Jr., R-Tenn.; Jim Bridenstine, R-Okla.; and Henry C. Johnson Jr., D-Ga.
Farm to Consumer said the bill would “repeal the arrest and firearm authority” to many bureaucrats, would prohibit federal agencies – outside of those with traditional law enforcement duties such as the FBI – from buying machine guns and grenades and require a report from the Government Accountability Office on all agencies with military-style units.
At the Modern Farmer blog, Charles McFarlane cites the USDA explanation for the needs for such extraordinary weapons.
“The types of investigations conducted … include criminal activities such as fraud in farm programs; significant thefts of government property for funds, bribery or extortion; smuggling; and assaults and threats of violence against USDA employees,” he wrote.
“Those seem like legitimate enforcement activities, but still: submachine guns? Not everyone believes the USDA being armed to the teeth is justifiable.”
Liz Reitzig, co-founder of the Farm Food Freedom Coalition, told McFarlane, “What we have seen happen, with the FDA especially, is they have come onto small farms, raw milk producers and raided the heck out of them with armed agents present.”
The raids have brought outraged protests, especially following a series of armed raids on the Rawsome Food Club in Venice, California.
In 2011, FDA, FBI and LAPD agents raided Rawsome and arrested and jailed three for “conspiracy to sell raw milk.”
According to reports, club members watched as agents loaded up raw dairy and meat for “testing,” then let it sit in the sun for hours.

One member of Congress told McFarlane, “We have never argued that federal regulators don’t need to protect themselves.”
But he said if USDA investigations were perceived to be potentially violent, “They should do what the rest of us do, call the local sheriff.”
It’s not the first time the effort has been launched. WND reported in 2012 on a plan from Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., to do the same thing, only with the FDA.
His was an amendment that would have disarmed Food and Drug Administration bureaucrats and accomplished several other goals.
“I’m troubled by images of armed agents raiding Amish farms and preventing them selling milk directly from the cow,” he said in a Senate floor statement posted online at the time. “I think we have bigger problems in our country than sending armed FDA agents into peaceful farmers’ land and telling them they can’t sell milk directly from the cow.”
Mike Adams, who writes at as the “Health Ranger,” said the plan also would “halt the FDA’s armed raids on raw milk farmers; it would also stop the FDA’s outrageous and longstanding censorship of truthful health claims of dietary supplements and medicinal herbs.”
“The very fact that U.S. Sen. Rand Paul has introduced such an amendment is proof positive that Rand Paul is exactly the kind of leader that can help take our nation out of the age of government tyranny and censorship and into a new era of transparency, accountability and liberty,” he said at the time.
But the amendment hours later was defeated 78-15.
The core of the conflict stems from the federal government’s desire to regulate the food industry from start to finish. Local growers and producers who would like to sell their products often face enforcement actions for not having a proper packaging facility or following some other regulation. A major dispute has developed over the sale of unpasteurized milk, which many people consider more healthy. Thirty states allow it but 20 don’t, and the federal government forbids it in interstate commerce.
Paul’s amendment addressed those concerns.
The senator said the first provision would halt the “overzealous regulation of vitamins, food and supplements by codifying the First Amendment prohibition on prior restraint.”
“The First Amendment says you can’t prevent speech, even commercial speech, in advance of the speech. You can’t tell Cheerios that they can’t say there’s a health benefit to their Cheerios. Under our current FDA laws, FDA says if you want to market prune juice, you can’t say that it cures constipation,” he said.
“Despite four court orders condemning the practice as a violation of the First Amendment, the FDA continues to suppress consumers’ rights to be informed and to make informed choices.”
On his effort to disarm the FDA, Paul said, “Historically the criminal law was intended to punish only the most horrible offenses that everyone agreed were inherently wrong or evil, offenses like rape, murder, theft, arson – but now we’ve basically federalized thousands of activities and called them crimes.”
He continued, “If bureaucrats need to involve the police, let’s have them use the FBI, but I see no reason to have the FDA carrying weapons.”


Say what? 'Loony tune' Democrat ashamed of 'being white'

'My guilt tends to creep up most when I reflect on power I wield'



A Democratic state lawmaker from North Carolina is raising eyebrows with comments indicating he’s ashamed of his own “whiteness.” “Just when you thought Chapel Hill couldn’t get any kookier along comes THIS GUY,” wrote Brant Clifton of the Daily Haymaker blog in a column about lawmaker Graig Meyer.
Meyer, described on the blog as “um, ‘interesting,’” was quoted discussing “Whiteness, White Guilt, and um, ‘White Supremacy’” in “Courageous Conversations About Race” by Glenn E. Singleton.
Subtitled “A Field Guide for Achieving Equity in Schools,” it includes Meyer’s comments.
Graig Meyer
Graig Meyer, D-Chapel Hill, N.C.
“The truly difficult work is looking deep within myself to recognize where my own reservoirs of whiteness reside and what value or burdens they present to me,” the excerpt states. “Every time I review Peggy McIntosh’s inventory of white privilege I learn something more about myself, and – through attentiveness to my own experience – I think I could add a few more forms of racial privilege to her list.”
He continued: “Frequently, I find myself examining my blind spots when a colleague of color expresses very different feelings about some experience we shared. This is fairly painless when it simply requires hearing about how they read between the lines of a presentation or caught a racist remark that sailed over my head. When the dissonance in our experience was in some way the result of my whiteness, it’s a little more painful but also more revealing.
“My white guilt tends to creep up most when I’m forced to reflect on the power I wield. For instance, I will spend weeks mentally reviewing an incident when one of my staff members bears the brunt of my ignorance or proclivity for dominance. I want them to trust me, I want them to like me, and I anger myself when I learn that I may have done something that makes it more difficult for them to do either. Perhaps even more important to our work are times when my power allows me to make decisions that negatively impact students of color.”
Radio host Rush Limbaugh on Monday referred to Meyer as a “loony tune” and said he would address the issue when he had more time on Tuesday’s program.
“It’s the strangest thing. It’s weird,” Limbaugh said. “I mean I don’t even know if I can do this and still stay sane. But I’m gonna give it a shot.”
The Haymaker noted Meyer was appointed to his state legislative seat following a stint as a coordinator for the Blue Ribbon Mentor-Advocate program and is now seeking re-election.
The excerpt from Meyer continued: “Although I often try to seek counsel of colleagues of color, it is inevitable that times arise where it’s only after the fact that one of them points out some flaw in my reasoning. The flaws are often the result of my ingrained whiteness and my own blindness to its perpetual presence. I suppose it’s clichĂ© to say that the work is never done or that none of us ever fully ‘get it.’ But I can’t help feeling a strong desire to master this work, to learn all there is to know, and to do enough to become the ‘good white guy.’ Ultimately, it’s probably the deepest vestige of my own white supremacy that feeds this need to know it all, to be right, and to be in charge. Paradoxically, the deeper I delve into this process, the more I feel called to lead other colleagues through the journey. My own capacity for leadership perpetuates the whiteness within me, beckoning a return trip to look in the mirror. Perhaps I can’t fully suppress all the whiteness within me, and maybe that’s for the better. The process is the task, the journey has no end, and I will always be white.”
The Haymaker noted he “has voted to kill Opportunity scholarships for low-income kids, to save Common Core, and to kill the budget that gave teachers a pay raise.”
But the strongest statements came from those who commented on the report.
“Don’t respond often,” wrote Carl Mischka, “but question whether this guy is even human. Perhaps we already have been invaded by aliens?”
Added “Raphael”: “This is one way out dude, a real space case. He fits Margaret Thatcher’s term ‘loony left’ perfectly.”
He also had his defenders. “JBP” wrote: “Craig is actually a very smart guy and he has done amazing work for the youth of the state. The Blue Ribbon Mentor program has made a huge difference in hundrrds (or many more) of people’s lives.”
WND columnist Walter Williams, however, has taken to task those who promote the concept of “white privilege.”
“What would you think if your 8-year-old came home and told you that ‘white privilege is something that white people have, meaning they have an advantage in a lot of things and they can get a job more easily’? You would have heard that at the recent 15th annual White Privilege Conference in Madison, Wisconsin, attended by 2,500 public-school teachers, administrators and students from across the nation,” he wrote recently.
“In one of the workshops, ‘Examining White Privilege and Building Foundations for Social Justice Thinking in the Elementary Classroom,’ educators Rosemary Colt and Diana Reeves told how teachers can ‘insert social justice, anti-racist information’ into their lessons that ‘even little kids’ can understand,” he wrote. “Kim Radersma, a former high-school English teacher, hosted a session titled, ‘Stories from the front lines of education: Confessions of a white, high school English teacher.’ She said teaching is a purely political act and that neutral people should ‘get the f— out of education.’”
WND also reported in 2012 school districts in Minnesota were sending teachers to a conference on how to defeat “white privilege”
“I think that it is safe to say that all white people benefit some from racism, all men benefit some from sexism, but only those at the top of the pyramid truly gain from this system and enjoy privileges that most of us can only imagine,” wrote one of the presenters.
He added: “Christianity has also played a key role in developing and justifying systems of oppression such as racism, sexism, colonialism and genocide. … Racism also had its beginning in Christianity as the distinction between Christians and non-Christians took on a biological difference during the Inquisitions, when it was decided that Jews and Muslims who converted were false converts because they did not have clean blood… This was the beginning of modern or biological racism.”
Columnist Warner Todd Huston took a decidedly critical tone over the events.
“Alright you evil, rotten, racist, white oppressors, it’s time once again for the ‘White Privilege Conference,’ this year to be held in Minneapolis, Minnesota… Come on out you white teachers so we can get your rotten minds right about how racist you are and so that you can go back to your students and let them know how racist they are,” he wrote.
Several years earlier,WND reported when the University of Delaware was teaching that “all whites are racist.”


How We Can Turn the Tide in the Culture Wars

Kathryn Jean Lopez

 There is no sugarcoating it. With each passing year, on most cultural fronts, things have been getting worse. There is a coarseness to our society and a rending of real ties that bind us to one another. Only about half of Americans are currently married, and about half of the children in the U.S. will spend time outside a household with a married mom and dad. Whatever the circumstances, that has an impact on people and culture, and it shows up in indicators from fertility rates to teen drug use. Our brotherly social safety net is fraying, and we now look to government instead, compounding our problems. After all, bureaucracy doesn’t do love as well as civil society does.

Despite the fact that the United States has among the most permissive abortion laws in the world, abortion is on the decline.
The brave new world of family life today, with seemingly endless prospects for future chaos, makes one nostalgic for the days when we were at least agreed on some of the fundamentals for a good, healthy home environment for children and women and men. Our lack of a common vocabulary and understanding of human nature has made public opinion—and now even our lawmaking and courts—susceptible to wild claims about truth and tolerance in spite of social science evidence about marriage and family to the contrary. Devoid of reason, history, and tradition, these claims simply wouldn’t have made any sense a few decades ago.
As recently as a decade or so ago, a sensitive cultural observer might have referred to “broken homes” without the prospect of a politically correct shutdown. That shutdown of serious dialogue about the direction of our society is a hallmark of what has been dubbed an “Insatiable New Intolerance.” As a powerful, thinly veiled intolerance has established its power—throughout the culture: in education, the entertainment industry, medicine, and politics—the outlook can seem grim for anyone holding traditional views of marriage, family, and life.
Photo: Getty Images
Photo: Getty Images
Even knowing this all, however, there is some good news. Despite the fact that the United States has among the most permissive abortion laws in the world, abortion is on the decline. Public opinion is also headed in an encouraging direction. Polling commissioned in early 2014, consistent with other polling, found that nearly half of Americans consider themselves “pro-life,” with three in 10 Americans considering themselves “strongly pro-life.” Importantly, polling found that “84 percent of Americans believe abortion should be restricted … or never allowed at all.” Even those who wouldn’t necessarily label themselves “strongly pro-life” or “strongly pro-choice” support placing limits on abortion and providing women accurate information. The abortion lobby’s insistence on pretending that even late-term abortions are a mere matter of women’s freedom is not accepted by most Americans.
Familiar, widespread, euphemistic rhetoric about abortion actually reflects an encouraging reality about our culture. Throughout the decades, campaigns for abortion rights have had to take the turn of referring increasingly to “choice” and “health” and anything “women.” That rhetoric has been necessary to sell Americans on legal abortion, since abortion is a source of revulsion and regret for most and a necessary, in the view of some, evil at best. America is a generous country built on the inviolable dignity of the human person.
Practical efforts to restore a culture of life are an encouraging development that bodes well for the prospects for tackling other cultural indicators heading in the wrong direction. Creative initiatives provide pregnancy support and maternity care for those in need. They teach basic skills and nurture community life and fellowship for mothers and fathers and their children.
In addition to the ministries and projects devoted to helping women in crisis pregnancies, efforts in the past decade have increased outreach to the women who bear the pain of abortion regret. Project Rachel, for example, is a well-known model. Observing that “Abortion Changes You,” these efforts have sought to serve the woman and those with whom she is most intimately connected. The culture of generosity that has been the ecumenically pervasive lifeblood of American history is making a palpable difference.
Photo: Getty Images
That spirit of community and service has driven efforts to lift up human dignity in the darkest of places: our nation’s prisons. The work of the Prison Fellowship and some of the state-level re-entry programs focusing on skills and fellowship, opportunity and accountability, is also some of the best of our culture. The news that violent crime is down at the same time is legitimately encouraging. Of course, anyone who lived through the ’80s and ’90s in an inner city as I did in Manhattan doesn’t need to see the numbers to notice the sea change.
All of this civil-society work provides models for the renewal of the culture more broadly. There is much to be alarmed about in the culture, as this section chronicles. The breakdown of marriage and family life—with more children growing up without a married mother and father and fewer married couples having children—affects every aspect of American life.

We will need to recover a common language and moral grammar that reflects our shared tradition and experience of cherishing life, family, and community.
But just as four decades of persistent activism, education, service, and prayer have brought us to a point where the tide is turning on abortion, a similar level of commitment can affect the cultural landscape as it pertains to marriage and family life. Just as progress is being made on crime and even divorce rates, we need to strive for a culture in which women and men see one another as complementary and needed by one another, made for one another and for the children whom they have participated in creating, who are completely and most naturally dependent on them.
We will need to recover a common language and moral grammar that reflects our shared tradition and experience of cherishing life, family, and community. Our responses must take into account the realities, wounds, and lessons from the cultural havoc of recent decades. Our efforts must be true to both nature and history and pursue persuasion and coalition building. We must tell the stories of what works, pointing to the people and groups who are restoring a culture of life, marriage, and religious liberty.
Democracy needs a flourishing civil society, the backbone of which is people of conscience who look out for their neighbors, who raise and support families, who take matters of human dignity either as Gospel truth or as a moral imperative to protect and uplift. The cultural indicators that follow help us to take stock of our efforts in this regard—and a number of them do not give us a good report. But the indicators are grim only if we resign ourselves from our responsibilities to one another.