Saturday, March 23, 2013

Amazing unmitigated gaul...

Biden Stays at London, Paris Hotels; Two Nights, $1 Million
By Todd Beamon / Newsmax

Vice President Joe Biden’s one-day trips to Paris and London in February cost American taxpayers more than $1 million, according to multiple reports.

Image: Biden Stays at London, Paris Hotels; Two Nights, $1 MillionBiden and his security detail rung up a $585,000.50 tab for a single night on Feb. 4 at the Hotel Intercontinental Paris Le Grand, a luxurious five-star hotel near the Louvre Museum, The Weekly Standard reports.

Meanwhile, The Daily Mail in London reports that Biden’s group spent $459,388.65 for one night on Feb. 5 at the Hyatt Regency in London, where the vice president met with Prime Minister David Cameron.

The contract for the London trip specified that Biden’s crew required 136 hotel rooms for that one-night stay, The Daily Mail reports.

Biden’s wife, Dr. Jill Biden, accompanied him to Paris on his European trip, which also included a stop in Germany.

The Mail reports that Biden’s entourage required more than 100 rooms at Le Grand. One night in the presidential suite there costs more than $3,800.

Here’s how the Intercontinental Paris Le Grand is described on its website:

“With floodlit views of the Opera House, this superbly renovated luxury hotel is at the heart of Parisian society. Opened in 1862, it defines historical grandeur, from CafĂ© de la Paix to La Verriere Restaurant, set in an 800 square meter winter garden. Elegantly appointed, the hotel’s boutique-style suites overlook stunning landmarks. Located … close to the Louvre Museum, shopping, theatre and banking districts, this luxury Paris hotel is an icon in the City of Light.”

Reaction was swift to Biden’s lavish spending.

“Still no WH tours, but VP Biden’s recent trip to Europe racked up $1mil in hotel room bills,” said U.S. Rep. Randy Neugebauer, R-Texas, among dozens to vent outrage on Twitter.

Muslim with ties to 9/11 jihad mass murderers living in U.S., virtually immune from deportation

From Jihad Watch / Posted by Robert Spencer

"Napolitano described the Chehazeh case as closed with 'clarity and finality.'" With him safely and comfortably in the U.S. Why?

"Exclusive: Syrian with ties to 9/11 hijackers still in US, virtually immune from deportation," by Pamela Browne and Catherine Herridge for, March 22 (thanks to Jerk Chicken):
Free to do as he pleases, living out his days in the suburbs of northern New Jersey, a Syrian national who is a known associate of the 9/11 hijackers never has to worry about deportation by the U.S. government, according to an investigation by Fox Files. 
With nearly 400,000 people waiting for U.S. citizenship, Daoud Chehazeh last November received political asylum for a third time after a series of bureaucratic screw ups at the federal level, according to a review of court documents and interviews with former federal and state investigators.
"It's a slap in the face to Americans, especially the victims of 9/11 and the families," said Jim Bush, who as a New Jersey state criminal investigator was part of the 9/11 investigation code-named PENTTBOMB. His partner in the investigation was Bob Bukowski, a now-retired FBI special agent.
"Three thousand people were murdered," Bukowski said.  "(Chehazeh) was definitely part of that conspiracy. ... He facilitated the moves and protection up to the whole flight, basically, of Flight 77. Could we prove that in a court of law? No. But there are other remedies. Deport him. That's what should have been done in this case."...
Chehazeh arrived in the U.S. in July 2000 from Saudi Arabia and quickly settled into Paterson, N.J.'s Middle Eastern community. Paterson was the launching pad for the plot, where 11 of the 19 hijackers passed through before the attacks.
In Paterson, Chehazeh met up and lived with another key facilitator of the hijackers, a Jordanian named Eyad al Rababah. The significance of the Chehazeh-Rababah support network for the hijackers in Virginia and New Jersey was first reported by Fox News in May 2011. Law enforcement sources told Fox News that revelations Chehazeh was still living in the U.S. went to the most senior levels of the FBI.
Seven months before the attacks, Chehazeh, who had no job and no known source of income, suddenly decided to leave Paterson. Along with his roommate, Rababah, the two men moved to suburban Washington, D.C., and almost immediately made contact with Anwar al-Awlaki, who was the imam at the mosque in Falls Church, Va....
By April 2001, beside al-Awlaki, Chehazeh's new circle of friends and neighbors included future Flight 77 hijackers Nawaf al-Hazmi and Hani Hanjour, a pilot. Chehazeh made a point to tell Rababah, even though both men later admitted to investigators they were not religious men, to go to the mosque and ask Imam al-Awlaki for work.
"Al-Rababah returns home with two of the hijackers," Bush explained. "And that's the first time, that we know of, that Daoud Chehazeh met the hijackers."
Rababah got the hijackers an apartment in Virginia. He helped them get settled. And in May 2001, Rababah drove al-Hazmi, Hanjour and two of the newly arrived muscle hijackers to Connecticut and New Jersey. The 9/11 Commission Report said that within a few weeks seven of the hijackers were living in New Jersey in a one-room apartment.
Bukowski and Bush are still haunted by a piece of evidence.
"When (Chehazeh) was arrested, in his car we found booklets, flight information from (New Jersey's) Teterboro Airport, where we know Hani Hanjour, again the pilot, practiced out of," Bush said. Chehazeh "didn't know how the hell they got there."
Bukowski and Bush say they still believe there was an unknown relationship between al-Awlaki, Chehazeh and Rababah. At least five of the hijackers were tied to these men. And it is striking that the 9/11 Commission report makes no reference to Chehazeh.
"Chehazeh was still being a little bit investigated at the time when we were interviewed by the 9/11 Commission.," Bukowski explained. "I guess they believe that Al-Rababah played, uh, was more of the leader, but we found out, no, he was more of the one that was just being told what to do."
For more than a decade, the U.S. government has spent more than half a million dollars trying to deport Chehazeh. Bush and Bukowski said Chehazeh knew how to play the system. While the FBI was on his trail after 9/11, the immigration judge was apparently in the dark about his hijacker connections. It is unknown who or what government agency dropped the ball.
In 2001, court documents show U.S. immigration judge Annie Garcy helped Chehazeh fill out his asylum application. She would eventually rule that he belonged to a social group of "people who are hopelessly in debt."
"I think it was unusual for a federal judge to grant him asylum based upon his being a member of a social group called hopeless debtors," said Andrew Napolitano, a superior court judge in New Jersey for eight years who now is a senior judicial analyst for Fox News.
"The federal judge concluded that he would be tortured or killed in Syria."
Chehazeh was free to live in this country. But the case was reopened in 2007 when the FBI claimed Chehazeh was a danger to national security. Bukowski said the basis was "his connection to the hijackers."
In 2007, the Board of Immigration Appeals reopened Chehazeh's case. And this time, Chehazeh had high-powered pro bono attorneys from the New York City law firm Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton. Fox Files contacted Chehazeh and his attorneys numerous times, but they declined to provide a written statement or otherwise comment.
For now it looks like Chehazeh is never leaving the United States. Last November, the Board of Immigration Appeals reversed its decision to reopen Chehazeh's case. And on Feb. 13, the case was officially closed and entered into court records of the United States District Court District of New Jersey.
Napolitano described the Chehazeh case as closed with “clarity and finality.”
But others suspected of 9/11 connections faced very different outcomes. Rababah was deported to Jordan in 2003. And al-Awlaki was killed by drone in Yemen in 2011.

Is Government Readying For A Shooting War

By / Personal Liberty Digest

Is Government Readying For A Shooting War Against Gun Owners?

Gun grabbing lawmakers at both the State and Federal level continue to push forward with their anti-American, anti-2nd Amendment, anti-gun agendas, even as more individuals, State legislatures and manufacturers of weapons, weapons accessories and ammunition push back. It almost seems as if the elected class is itching for a fight.

And when one considers that the Department of Homeland Security has contracted for 1.6 billion rounds of ammunition — much of it hollow points or for use in sniper rifles — for its 55,000 armed agents, plus 2,717 armored personnel carriers and 7,000 select fire “personal defense weapons,” it seems even more apparent that’s the goal. For perspective, 1.6 billion rounds is enough to fight the Iraq war for 20 years. It’s enough to shoot every American five times. It’s 28,000 tons, or the equivalent of three guided missile destroyers. It’s almost 30,000 target practice rounds per armed agent — but of course, because they are more expensive, hollow points are not used for target practice.

These purchases have long concerned many of those who pay attention. But only the alternative media talked about it — to derision and catcalls — until Feb. 15. That’s when The Denver Post ran an article by The Associated Press about the purchases. That prompted a column by Ralph Benko at in which he said it’s time for a national conversation about the purchases.

More than that, it’s time for a national conversation on the link between the purchases and the ongoing push by the elected class to collapse the economy and pass legislation against the will of the people.

Recall that Representative Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), speaking for the state, informed us that, “One of the definitions of a nation state is that the state has a monopoly on legitimate violence. And the state ought to have a monopoly on legitimate violence.”

The Federal Assault Weapons Ban bill passed out of the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday on a partisan 10-8 vote. The bill’s primary sponsor, Senator Diane Feinstein (D-Calif.) — who has said she’d like to see all guns removed from the hands of Americans — knows “the road is uphill” for the legislation’s passage. If that’s the case, then why pass it if not just to poke in the eye a significant portion of the American population already upset over the anti-gun rhetoric and attacks on lawful gun owners by the gun grabbers?

But while the ban on so-called “assault weapons”  is more than likely to fail, it’s not unlikely that Republicans who want to go along to get along will glom on to legislation requiring universal background checks, which passed out of the Judiciary Committee on Tuesday. Universal background checks are the camel’s nose under the tent. As former Attorney General Janet Reno said in 1993 during discussions of the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban (AWB): “Waiting periods are only a step. Registration is only a step. The prohibition of private firearms is the goal.” Remember that the elites are content with incremental steps that I call gradualism.

Remember also that gun control is not a partisan issue, although it appears so now and conventional wisdom says so. Prominent Republicans (including much of the field for the last GOP Presidential nomination), in a bid to appear “reasonable” to the establishment crowd, have supported various measures that restricted gun ownership. The last GOP standard-bearer, Mitt Romney, said he would have signed the 1994 AWB if it came to his desk. If he were President today, a gun bill would be more than likely to pass because he would provide cover for statist Republicans to go along with a gun ban — as George W. Bush provided cover for Republicans to support anti-liberty measures like expanding Medicare and passing No Child Left Behind and other government-growing legislation.

President Richard Nixon, in a taped conversation with aides, said: “I don’t know why any individual should have a right to have a revolver in his house. The kids usually kill themselves with it and so forth.”

He asked why “can’t we go after handguns, period? I know the rifle association will be against it, the gun makers will be against it.” But “people should not have handguns.”

Even more insidious — and likely more harmful to gun rights — are the States that are passing anti-gun measures against the will of the people. New York rammed through legislation banning weapons and large-capacity magazines, violating its own procedures in the process. Since then, 52 of New York’s 62 counties have introduced legislation calling for the repeal of the New York State Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act. The legislation has passed in 40 of them. Colorado has passed bans on magazine capacity, and a bill that would require background checks is close to passage. Governor John Hickenlooper has said he will sign the bills despite threats by gun supply manufacturers to pull out of the State if he does.

Sheriffs, other law enforcement agents, some groups and many individuals are vowing to resist gun-confiscation efforts. Twenty-eight States have introduced or passed bills to preserve the 2nd Amendment. Fourteen have introduced or passed Firearms Freedom Acts.

Manufacturers of guns, gun accessories and ammunition have put their financial health on the line by refusing to sell to State and local governments that pass restrictions on gun ownership by individuals. That list is at 136 and growing.

And the Outdoor Channel, a popular cable channel for outdoors enthusiasts, hunters, fishermen and shooters, has told Colorado it will pull its production out of Colorado if gun control measures are signed into law.

If gun grabbers thought the Sandy Hook shooting would cause Americans to stand passively by and allow their 2nd Amendment rights to be snatched away, they have learned differently. The question now is: How far is government willing to go now that it’s getting push-back?

President John F. Kennedy once said, “Today, we need a nation of Minutemen, citizens who are not only prepared to take arms, but citizens who regard the preservation of freedom as the basic purpose of their daily life.”

It appears those people are stepping up.

Obama Cuts Medicare – Again!

Last month, the Obama Administration moved forward with new Medicare spending cuts that few outside ardent industry observers noticed. If put into place, however, these cuts will mean significantly less money in the pockets of some 14 million senior citizens around the country. 

But with health care costs projected to rise another three percent, these reductions couldn’t come at a worse time. 

When President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act into law, he simultaneously authorized $200 billion in cuts to the Medicare Advantage program. At the time, the Congressional Budget Office projected that the health care reform law’s cuts would result in three million fewer Medicare Advantage enrollees. Moreover, actuaries at Oliver Wyman predicted that the cost of the health insurance tax would mean an additional $3,500 in out-of-pocket expenses for seniors over the next ten years. 

If all that weren’t bad enough, a few weeks ago the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) proposed an additional 2.3 percent reduction in Medicare Advantage payments for 2014.  This new reduction, combined with the cuts in the health care law, mean Medicare Advantage payments next year will go down by more than eight percent, or about $11 billion. 

Oliver Wyman calculates the impact in 2014 will be $50 to $90 per month in some combination of benefit cuts and premium increases per senior participant. As the full effect of the mandated ObamaCare cuts become fully implemented, the impact worsens significantly.

It’s time for seniors to stand up and say enough is enough.

Medicare Advantage is the one program that allows seniors to choose a plan that offers coverage through a private company rather than a government agency. Much to the chagrin of the Obama Administration, 28 percent of all Medicare beneficiaries - 14 million – rely on Medicare Advantage.

Participation among minority groups is even higher: 31 percent for African-Americans, 38 percent for Hispanics. Forty-one percent of all beneficiaries have incomes of $20,000 or less. However, 61 percent of minority beneficiaries are in that low income group. Bad as it is for everyone, the CMS’ proposed cuts to Medicare Advantage will disproportionately affect minority, low-income senior citizens.

The combined impact of these administrative actions will force millions of seniors into the government run Medicare they already chose to reject. According to the CMS’ own numbers, enrollment in Medicare Advantage fell for several years after the program was faced with significant cuts in the Balanced Budget Act of 1997. And between December 2001 and December 2002, enrollment dropped by more than 900,000. Those who stayed in the program saw higher premiums and reduced benefits and coverage.

And, what of those in the low-income category? They’ll be shouldering the brunt of the higher premiums. According to Oliver Wyman, “those who utilize services the most will be required to pay even higher cost sharing or be forced by higher MA premiums or loss of access to MA plans to move back into FFS Medicare…”

Furthermore, according to 2010 analysis by the Heritage Foundation’s Robert A. Book, Ph.D. and James Capretta, the grisly truth is that the reform law’s cuts in payments to Medicare Advantage and the subsequent premium hikes and reduced benefits will only drive would-be Medicare Advantage enrollees into a government- run Medicare program. The net effect is that spending is only transferred from one program to the other; it’s not reduced.

So why not fund Medicare Advantage and allow the millions of seniors, particularly low income and minority seniors, to keep the coverage they already have?

Barack Obama repeatedly pledged, "If you like your health care plan, you can keep it. If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor." But, the war he is waging against Medicare Advantage will give lie to both of those promises.

It’s time for Washington to stop playing politics with seniors’ medical care and continue to allow private companies to compete in the Medicare marketplace. Simply forcing more and more Americans to become dependent on the federal government is no way to go about real reform. The Obama Administration can, and should, stop these cuts before it’s too late.

Obama Delivers Recipe For Disaster in Israel

By: Mark Davis / Townhall Columnist
You can’t blame President Obama for making a beeline to a convention hall filled with students during his Israel trip. If there is any group that has shown a particular susceptibility to his snake oil, it is the soft, impressionable minds of those at the cusp of adulthood.

We can only hope that Israeli students are less gullible than their American counterparts.

The president’s wish is for Israelis to lose their resolve against Palestinian terrorism, to shrug and just let a Palestinian state sprout in their midst.

For the record, there are plenty of Israelis willing to do just that, which has confounded me for years.

How is it that I, an American Christian, am more vigilant about the security of Israel than some Israeli jews?

Polls show that many young Israelis are more skeptical of the “two-state solution” than their parents. I hope so, but I wonder if Israel has the time for these youngsters to grow up, achieve power, and spread the kind of clarity currently offered by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Meanwhile, I hope Netanyahu is eating right and hitting the treadmill often. At 63, he needs to be around a very long time to awaken some of his own people and educate current and perhaps future American presidents.

To be bipartisan about this, the Bush administration bought into this two-state nonsense, willingly marching Israel toward shared space with a freshly-created country that would surely be peppered with leadership flavored by Hezbollah and Hamas.

This is, as they say in international affairs, crazy.

I know it is hard to tell long-suffering Palestinians that their propensity to elevate leaders of a terrorist bent is a deal-breaker for any group looking for its own country.

It is even harder to deliver the ultimate clarity-- that there is in fact no basis in logic or history for a new nation called Palestine, carved from the soil of Israel.

There is already a Palestinian state in the region. It’s called Jordan. If geography is a sticking point, any Palestinian seeking to remain on Israeli soil can be assured of a life far more promising under Israeli governance than the violent third-world lives they lead in the West Bank and Gaza, lands handed over to them in the most recent phony offer of land for peace.

It’s never enough. if Israel, a tiny slice of land surrounded by millions of square miles of people longing for its extinction, will just give up a little more territory, then, finally, there will supposedly be peace.

So goes the scam. How many times will people fall for this? How many times will Israelis listen to leaders, from America and among their own ranks, who recommend such a suicidal march?

The president’s Thursday remarks to the Israeli students were vintage Obama. “It is not fair,” he said, invoking his favorite conceit, “that a Palestinian child cannot grow up in a state of her own, and lives with the presence of a foreign army that controls the movements of her parents every single day.”

Putting aside the reference to Israeli troops on technically Israeli land as “foreign,” I suppose this belongs on the “unfairness” list with the Cherokee child who is not growing up in an America where the white man was chased into submission, or the Alabama child who is not growing up under a confederate flag.

History does not provide what every faction wants.

In the recent history of the Middle East, the Arab attempt to subjugate Israel was shut down in 1967. There has been no intervening war in which Palestinians have militarily seized Israeli land.

They have not had to. It has been given to them by politicians deluded into thinking “peace” can be achieved by concession after concession after concession.

So how is that working out? Rockets are sailing over the heads of Israelis even as an American president visits, pushing coexistence with the people launching them.

Obama is right-- the younger generation of any nation can make a difference. He has succeeded in prodding American kids toward the culture of dependency he seeks to establish at all levels in his own country.

Now he aims to infuse Israeli youth with his brand of appeasement and acquiescence.

Just as millions of Americans are blind to the financial ruin just around the bend if we ignore our spending crisis, far too many Israelis are insufficiently alarmed by the dangers of a further walk down the hazardous road leading to a cobbled-together Palestinian state.

Things do change on the world scene. if the Palestinians show a penchant for electing leadership without blood on its hands, if the rockets fall silent and if the Palestinian coziness with Iran can subside for, let’s say, five years, that might be a signal that maybe-- maybe-- we can begin to think about a Palestinian state if that passion still exists.

But to harbor that notion prematurely, to press for such a state today with a blindness to its disastrous prospects for Israeli and thus American security, is to ignore history and invite its long, bloody repetition.

We should hope that this is grasped by future generations of Israelis-- and future American presidents.