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  • State Dept. calls on Russia, separatists to ‘halt attacks’ and live up to Ukraine ceasefire
    Posted February 16, 2015 at 5:24 pm by Pete Kasperowicz

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    The State Department said Monday it’s “closely monitoring” reports that Russia is moving new military equipment toward Debaltseve, Ukraine, less than two days after a ceasefire agreement was supposed to take effect.

    Reports of ongoing military action, plus the State Department’s warning, seemed to indicate that the agreement hailed just days earlier in Minsk was on the brink of falling apart, if it had ever taken hold.

    Screen Shot 2015-02-16 at 5.19.22 PM

    Ukrainian government soldiers load boxes of food rations onto a vehicle. The State Department on Monday accused pro-Russia forces of failing to live up to a ceasefire agreement reached last week. Image: AP Photo/Petr David Josek

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  • The movie Glenn Beck suggested people ‘pick up the neighbor’s dog poop’ before seeing
    Posted February 16, 2015 at 4:57 pm by Erica Ritz

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    Glenn Beck doesn’t hold back when it comes to movie reviews, and on Monday, jokingly suggested that your time would be better spent “[picking] up the neighbor’s dog poop” than seeing new film “Jupiter Ascending” starring Channing Tatum and Mila Kunis.

    “Avoid it as if it is the plague,” Beck said with a laugh on his radio program. “Don’t rent it. It’s not even worth On Demand.”

    Even if you could see the film for free, Beck said you might be happier cleaning toilets than watching it.

    “I want to make it clear that I didn’t think this was a good movie,” Beck said. “Go to the circus and put your head down on the hay in some lion dung. Then call the trainer over and say, ‘Can you bring the elephant to just slowly step on my head? I don’t want him to crush it immediately. … But in the end, I want my head totally crushed.’ Do that before you see this movie.”

    Watch Beck’s full review, below.

    Complimentary Clip from TheBlaze TV

    The full episode of The Glenn Beck Program, along with many other live-streaming shows and thousands of hours of on-demand content, is available on just about any digital device. Click here to watch every Glenn Beck episode from the past 30 days for just $1!

  • Ex-Im Bank spokesman wades into Twitter fight (on a holiday) over the fate of his agency
    Posted February 16, 2015 at 4:47 pm by Pete Kasperowicz

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    A spokesman for the Export-Import Bank got into a Twitter fight Monday with a staunch opponent of the Bank, and simultaneously gave Twitter followers a preview of this year’s debate over whether to reauthorize the Bank, or kill it.

    The Ex-Im Bank was at risk late last year of having its charter expire without having it renewed by Congress, but it was saved at the last minute by legislation keeping it in business through the end of June, 2015.

    Screen Shot 2015-02-16 at 4.41.01 PM

    Fred Hochberg, president of the Export-Import Bank, has a dedicated communications staff. But it may not be enough to save the Bank from being eliminated later this year. Image: Bloomberg/Bloomberg via Getty Images

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  • Former general: Obama security team’s actions are ‘treasonous’
    Posted February 16, 2015 at 4:31 pm by Chris Salcedo

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    Resident Obama’s light footprint/lead-from-behind foreign policy is beginning to yield predictably destructive fruit: Iran continues its march toward a nuclear weapon. The Islamic State holds territory the size of Indiana and is expanding. Militants identifying themselves as Islamic State affiliates just killed 21 Christians in a mass beheading. U.S. allies in Middle East find themselves surrounded by Iran or Iranian clients. The U.S.-backed government in Yemen has been overthrown by Iranian-backed Houthis. To make matters worse in Yemen, as our Marines abandoned yet another Middle Eastern embassy, they were instructed to destroy their weapons in a war zone, an order that reportedly enraged U.S. Central Command.

    The confluence of events ushered in by Obama’s leadership, or lack thereof, has caused a great deal of concern among pro-American retired military leaders. Major Gen. Paul Vallely is one such leader. In our interview, not only does he articulate a huge problem with the practical and symbolic ramifications of an American government commanding its troops to disarm in the face of Iranian terror, but he takes direct aim at the Obama security team, calling their actions “treasonous.”

    Fallout continues to rage over Obama’s prayer breakfast insanity and Brian William’s struggle with the truth.  We covered those during the Chris Salcedo Show, the show that is the antidote to the Brian Williams press.

    To hear Major Gen. Paul Vallely’s frank assessment of Team Obama’s actions, cue to 1:34:55:

  • Democrats’ latest jobs plan: Create a National Full Employment Trust Fund
    Posted February 16, 2015 at 3:19 pm by Pete Kasperowicz

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    Dozens of House Democrats have proposed a plan that they say will lead to millions of new jobs, by creating a government-run National Full Employment Trust Fund.

    Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.) proposed the bill last week, along with 30 other Democrats, to establish a trust fund that would “create employment opportunities for the unemployed.”

    Screen Shot 2015-02-16 at 3.17.23 PM

    Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.) has reintroduced his plan to create jobs by setting up a National Full Employment Trust Fund. Image: The Washington Post/The Washington Post/Getty Images

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  • ‘FTR’ Producer’s Notebook: The victims of Fort Hood
    Posted February 16, 2015 at 2:08 pm by Tom Orr

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    As TheBlaze TV’s For the Record prepares to launch its fourth season, our Producer’s Notebook podcast looks back at one of our most popular episodes.

    “Broken Heart” investigated the November 2009 mass shooting at Fort Hood that killed 13 people, including a pregnant woman, and touched off a firestorm of controversy over the federal government’s response.

    For the Record executive producer Joe Weasel shares some of the experiences from the people who were there that day — powerful stories of survival that we didn’t have time to include in the episode. You can listen to the podcast embedded in this post or on the FTR Soundcloud feed.

    And don’t forget: The new season of For the Record premieres Wednesday, Feb. 18 at 8:00 p.m. ET with “Unreliable: America’s Broken Intelligence Network.”

  • Blaze Poll: Will you eat the new USDA-approved, genetically modified apple?
    Posted February 16, 2015 at 1:45 pm by Mike Opelka

    Comments (104)

    How comfortable are you eating foods that are genetically modified organisms?

    On Friday, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced the first-ever approval of a genetically modified non-browning apple for sale in the U.S.

    Image: YouTube

    Image source: YouTube

    The new fruit variety, called the Arctic apple, has been in development for over a decade. To educate consumers, the company explained how it changed the genes in the apple to stop it from turning brown once it’s been cut.

    “The science behind Arctic Apples’ is relatively simple – we just turned off the apple genes that cause browning, and we used apple genes to do that.”

    Now that the government has approved these apples for sale, we wondered how people feel about their food being tinkered with by scientists?

    As you might expect, opinions on the safety of genetically modified foods vary between those in the scientific community and the average person: A recent survey from the Pew Research Center found that a majority of scientists consider genetically modified foods to be quite safe, while fewer than 40 percent of consumers are comfortable with the altered food.

    Image: Pewinternet.org

    Image source: Pew Research Center

    How do you feel about food with altered DNA? Would you eat one of these new genetically modified apples? Take our Blaze Poll and share your thoughts in the comments section below.

    (H/T: Zero Hedge)
    __

    Follow Mike Opelka (@Stuntbrain) on Twitter

  • Dem says Obama’s three-year time limit for Islamic State war is ‘not appropriate’
    Posted February 16, 2015 at 1:40 pm by Pete Kasperowicz

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    A key Senate Democrat said Sunday that he doesn’t support President Barack Obama’s request for authorization to use force against the Islamic State that expires after just three years.

    “I think the resolution for three years a time limit is not appropriate,” Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.) said on Meet the Press. “We don’t want to send a signal to the world that we’re there for just so many years. Unfortunately, this battle is going to take a long time.”

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  • Retired four-star admiral says the unsayable about Islam and President Obama’s foreign policy strategy
    Posted February 16, 2015 at 12:35 pm by Benjamin Weingarten

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    Recently we reported on retired Lt. Gen. and former DIA Chief Mike Flynn’s devastating criticism of the terms of President Obama’s Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) against ISIS.

    Another prominent retired member of America’s armed forces who has emerged as an outspoken opponent of the Obama administration’s foreign policy is four-star admiral James “Ace” Lyons.

    During the Center for Security Policy’s recent Defeat Jihad Summit, the naval officer of 36 years, who served most recently as the Commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet, made some simply astounding comments about Islam and President Obama’s foreign policy strategy:

    Lyons’ remarks followed a scathing critique of the bipartisan failure of U.S. leaders to deal with the threat of Islamic supremacism, dating back to President Carter.

    The Defeat Jihad Summit, held on February 11, was intended to serve as a corrective for the Obama (more…)

  • How Alexander Hamilton and his First Bank of the U.S. paved the way for the 2008 financial crisis
    Posted February 16, 2015 at 11:03 am by Benjamin Weingarten

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    Author Jay Cost of The Weekly Standard has a new book out titled “A Republic No More: Big Government and the Rise of American Political Corruption,” in which he presents an extensive history of how the federal government came to promote private interests over the public good — corrupting the Republic to an ever-greater degree as government expanded beyond its Constitutional bounds.

    This corruption in Cost’s reading dates back to Alexander Hamilton’s First Bank of the United States — a national bank that James Madison likely never envisioned when drafting the Federalist Papers with Hamilton — that used its position to buy off members of Congress. This government-sponsored entity would pave the way not only for endemic and systematized corruption, but future financial calamities including the 2008 crisis, precipitated in part by a Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac similarly enabled by Congress, and which used its advantages to buy Congress off.

    As Cost explained:

    We did not build institutions to manage a GSE like the First Bank [of the U.S.] successfully.

    …It’s created by Congress, and Congress simply…lacked the capacity to keep the GSE [government-sponsored enterprise] under control. And what happens?

    Well, Jefferson and Madison are good friends with the first clerk of the House of Representatives, and he keeps a list: here are the members of Congress who own bank shares. And here are the members of Congress who have insider information and have been supplied insider information by the bank itself.

    And Jefferson writes to Washington and says, “Look, if there were an honest up or down vote on the bank itself, it would lose. The only reason it is still around is because enough members of Congress have been bought off.”

    And that’s the problem with it…it [the bank] was created by the government, but then it turned around to lobby it.

    Madison in a letter to Jefferson…talked about the shareholders of the bank — they called them “stockjobbers.” He writes: “The stockjobbers will become the praetorian band of the government, at once its tool and its tyrant, bribed by its largesses, and overawing it by clamors and combinations.”

    What he means by that is that the government created the bank, and the government made the bank — the people who held bank shares — were better off because of…the government’s action. And they turned around and they used some of the benefits…gave it back to members of Congress effectively to buy them off.

    So how does this relate to Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and the financial crisis of 2008?

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    [Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are similarly] private institutions with public charters. And they have the implicit bank backing of the United States government. Investors in Fannie and Freddie believe that if they got into trouble, the federal government would bail them out…And that enabled the GSEs — that enabled Fannie and Freddie — to borrow money at substantially lower rates, and effectively corner the secondary mortgage market.

    …They were able to do this at a cut rate price because of this federal subsidy [valued by the CBO at around $10 billion]…the benefit to Fannie and Freddie for their federal charter. But they only turned a portion of this subsidy back over to the consumers in the form of lower mortgage rates. They kept the rest of it for themselves, and so the executives of Fannie and Freddie were able to collect jaw-droppingly large bonuses.

    But more importantly for the purposes of my story about corruption…all it took was just a tiny fraction of this $10 billion subsidy, plow it back into the political process through campaign contributions, through an extensive lobbying network, through strategic charitable giving…They would open offices, regional offices, in states and Congressional districts, and they would hire the the relatives and friends of members of Congress. They were able to do all of this because of their federal subsidy.

    And what did all of this lobbying buy them? It bought them freedom to do whatever the heck they wanted. (more…)

  • ‘Certainly’: John Boehner’s answer when asked if he’s prepared to allow a DHS shutdown
    Posted February 16, 2015 at 10:28 am by Pete Kasperowicz

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    House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) made it clear Sunday that House Republicans won’t rush in at the last minute to keep the Department of Homeland Security open if Democrats continue to block a DHS funding bill.

    On Fox News Sunday, Boehner was pressed again on the fate of the agency, whose funding expires on February 27. Boehner said Democrats in the Senate are the ones blocking the bill, and they should be blamed if they can’t agree to advance and ultimately pass the bill.

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  • Senator issues 50-page catalogue of Obama’s executive action on immigration
    Posted February 16, 2015 at 8:52 am by Pete Kasperowicz

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    Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) on Monday released an updated listing of every Obama administration effort to work around Congress on immigration, and other events over the last six years that have contributed to weaker enforcement of immigration laws.

    Sessions last released this list in May 2014, when it was about 24 pages long. But the list has since doubled in size and is now a 50-page compendium of everything that Sessions and many other congressional Republicans are trying to fight.

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    Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) on Monday released an updated catalogue of Obama administration efforts to ease U.S. immigration rules. Image: Bloomberg/Bloomberg via Getty Images

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