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  • UPDATE — House stalls on $1 trillion spending bill
    Posted December 11, 2014 at 4:00 pm by Pete Kasperowicz

    Comments (24)

    The House went into a serious stall Thursday afternoon over a $1 trillion spending bill, as leaders tried to find votes from both parties for legislation that only seemed to be getting less popular as the day progressed.

    The House held a debate on the bill that finished just after 2 p.m., but then went into recess after it became clear the votes weren’t there yet.

    Screen Shot 2014-12-11 at 3.55.56 PM

    Complaints about a $1 trillion bill from Democrats, including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), forced the House to delay consideration of the bill on Thursday.
    Image: SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images

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  • Mike Lee charges Obama with planning a back-door path to citizenship for illegal immigrants
    Posted December 11, 2014 at 2:33 pm by Pete Kasperowicz

    Comments (3)

    Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) charged Thursday that President Obama’s executive action on immigration would make it easier for illegal immigrants to get on a path to U.S. citizenship, even though Obama has said he is not going that far.

    “He and his administration have cleared the pathway to citizenship for millions of people who have crossed into our borders illegally,” Lee said on the Senate floor. “They know that that’s what they have done, and it is illegal.”

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    Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) on Thursday charged that the Obama administration is looking to make it much easier for illegal immigrants to become citizens.
    Image: AP Photo/Molly Riley, File

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  • Six-year-old girl nails the cuteness factor after taking over the mic during news interview
    Posted December 11, 2014 at 2:27 pm by Jonathon M. Seidl

    Comments (14)

    Little, 6-year-old Arlillia isn’t shy in front of the cameras. She also loves her grandpa. KRIV-TV in Houston captured that all recently.

    From the news station’s video description:

    When 6-year-old Arlillia saw the cameras, she knew it was her time to shine. After taking the microphone from reporter Kristine Galvan to report live from the “Shop with a Cop” event at Target, Arlillia sent a special shout-out to her grandfather by saying, “Papa if you’re not watching your granddaughter, you need to watch your granddaughter on the news!”

     

  • Black Caucus members propose end to secret grand jury system after Ferguson, NYC cases
    Posted December 11, 2014 at 1:40 pm by Pete Kasperowicz

    Comments (13)

    Members of the Congressional Black Caucus on Wednesday introduced a bill that would strongly encourage states to eliminate the use of secret grand juries to determine whether police officers should face a trial after using deadly force against civilians.

    The bill is a response to two controversial grand jury decisions in which white police officers were not indicted after killing black men.

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    Rep. Hank Johnson (D-Ga.) and other Black Caucus members have proposed a bill to reform the grand jury system when cops kill civilians.
    Image: Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call,Inc.

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  • One senator’s simple reform that would shrink the federal budget by one-sixth — and why he believes it can pass
    Posted December 11, 2014 at 12:27 pm by Benjamin Weingarten

    Comments (35)

    James Buckley, former U.S. senator from New York of the Conservative Party (also the first and only senator ever elected from the Conservative Party), under secretary of state during the Reagan and Bush administrations, federal judge, and the Buckley in the landmark campaign finance decision, Buckley v. Valeo, has a plan that could singlehandedly shrink the federal budget by one-sixth, restore the balance of federalism and Constitutional order, return power to the states and the people, and in the process improve the services provided to taxpayers.

    The novel idea to achieve these ends is the subject of his slender but insightful new book, “Saving Congress from Itself: Emancipating the States and Empowering Their People,” and it is as follows: eliminate all federal grants-in-aid.

    James Buckley pictured during a campaign commercial during his successful 1970 run for U.S. Senate. (Image Source: YouTube screengrab)

    James Buckley pictured during a campaign commercial during his successful 1970 run for U.S. Senate. (Image Source: YouTube screengrab)

    What are grants-in-aid, and why in the world would members of Congress cede control of 17% of the federal budget and with it a substantial portion of their power?

    Grants-in-aid are federal expenditures doled out to states for projects ranging from road construction and maintenance, to assistance for the poor and education, as well as a number of arguably more questionable causes, many of which can be found in Senator Tom Coburn’s annual “Wastebook.”

    Buckley writes:

    The vast majority of federal grants…deal with needs that are generally accepted as important…But others, such as the one that would widen sidewalks to fight juvenile obesity [a $430,000 grant to a town in Buckley's home state of Connecticut from the Federal Safe Routes to School Program in order to entice children to walk or bike to school], illustrate Congress’s incurable temptation to propose a federal solution to any problem or need, however parochial.

    That temptation is as old as the Republic.

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    As Buckley lays out in his book, like so many powers before it, the federal government largely shunned the use of grants-in-aid (save for those directed toward education), adhering to an expansive reading of the Tenth Amendment and narrow reading of the Spending and Commerce Clauses, until a series of court decisions during the Depression made legitimate their use, and President Lyndon Johnson made them widespread under his Great Society program. 

    To give you a sense as to their explosion in the ensuing decades, in 1970, grants-in-aid totaled $24.1bn. In 2010 they totaled $608.4bn, 17% of that year’s federal budget, and the third largest category of all federal expenditures behind entitlements and defense.

    In addition to direct monetary costs, there are many other costs both seen and unseen that such grants impose on the states and Congress, which Buckley convincingly argues far outweigh their benefits quantitatively and qualitatively, to the detriment of the people.

    Buckley writes: (more…)

  • $1 trillion spending bill barely survives first House vote, passes 214-212
    Posted December 11, 2014 at 12:18 pm by Pete Kasperowicz

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    A huge, $1 trillion funding bill for the federal government narrowly cleared a key procedural hurdle in the House on Thursday, as a bare majority of members voted in favor of a resolution allowing it to come up for a vote later today.

    But the vote was incredibly close, and it indicated that many Republicans will likely vote against the final bill. That means there’s no guarantee it will pass later today, especially since Democratic opposition to the bill seems to be growing, and many Republicans already oppose it over immigration.

    Boehner

    House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) presided over a very close vote that just barely saw the $1 trillion spending bill advance.

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  • Watch: Senate Dem blasts Obama administration for fighting release of CIA interrogation report
    Posted December 11, 2014 at 10:24 am by Pete Kasperowicz

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    Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.) said Wednesday night that the Obama administration fought the release of a report on the CIA’s brutal interrogation tactics for years, even as President Barack Obama himself said the U.S. should not use torture to get information out of terrorist suspects.

    Udall played a key role in the Senate Intelligence Committee’s effort to release the controversial report, which found the CIA used torture techniques including waterboarding, ‘rectal rehydration’ and other physical abuse.

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  • Government wasted millions of taxpayer dollars in a fight with itself over food packaging safety
    Posted December 11, 2014 at 8:39 am by Pete Kasperowicz

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    Several conservative groups have asked incoming House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) to help end a fight within the federal government over food packaging safety — a fight that has already cost taxpayers more than $170 million.

    Groups like Americans for Tax Reform, Citizens Against Government Waste, and the National Taxpayers Union wrote to Chaffetz Wednesday to say the National Institutes of Health has handed out $172 million in grants over the last 14 years to study the safety of bisphenol A, or BPA.

    soda

    The government disagrees with itself over whether food and beverage packaging is safe, and is charging taxpayers millions to debate the issue internally.
    Image: Shutterstock

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  • Boehner defends $1 trillion spending bill as ‘bipartisan’ as GOP, Dems attack it
    Posted December 10, 2014 at 1:27 pm by Pete Kasperowicz

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    House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) on Wednesday defended the $1 trillion spending bill as a bipartisan bill that’s needed to keep the government open after Thursday, even as it came under attack from both Republicans and Democrats.

    The huge spending bill wraps up what should normally be a whole year’s worth of work by Congress, and shoves that work into a 1,600-page bill that few if any members will read. Some Republicans were criticizing the process even before it was published late Tuesday night.

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  • Trey Gowdy vows more Benghazi hearings in 2015: ‘We should not move on’
    Posted December 10, 2014 at 11:55 am by Pete Kasperowicz

    Comments (16)

    Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) on Wednesday promised the Select Committee on Benghazi that he chairs would continue to ask questions and hold more hearings next year, until all questions are answered about the 2012 attack in Libya that killed four Americans.

    “I also pledge that we’re going to keep asking questions until we have a complete understanding of what happened,” Gowdy said at a Wednesday morning hearing. “And to that end, we will have hearings in January, in February, in March.”

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  • America’s Woodrow Wilson foreign policy, and how the Founders might fix it
    Posted December 10, 2014 at 11:21 am by Benjamin Weingarten

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    Sorely lacking from America’s foreign policy today is a clear and coherent set of goals, strategies and objectives, let alone any discussion as to the principles and values that undergird them.

    As this writer has lamented, the end result has been a series of decisions under both Republican and Democratic administrations that have arguably weakened America while emboldening her enemies.

    A soldier of the 10 Mountain Division U.S. Army 2nd Battalion 22nd Infantry Regiment walks with a sniffer dog at Afghan National Army Forward Operating Base Muqor in Ghazni province on May 28, 2013. (Getty Images)

    A soldier of the 10 Mountain Division U.S. Army 2nd Battalion 22nd Infantry Regiment walks with a sniffer dog at Afghan National Army Forward Operating Base Muqor in Ghazni province on May 28, 2013. (Getty Images)

    Enter Prof. Angelo M. Codevilla (more here), a veteran, former staff member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence notably during the Reagan administration, and prolific writer with a contrarian worldview. Codevilla believes he has an answer to what he views as almost a century of foreign policy failure dating back to President Woodrow Wilson, relying on the wisdom of the Founding Fathers, and the American people with whom they entrusted power.

    In an essay in the essential Claremont Review of Books, a publication of the conservative Claremont Institute think tank, Codevilla challenges the conventional wisdom of Washington when it comes to foreign policy:

    Each of our foreign policy establishment’s several factions imagines that all peoples are interested in adopting its particular recipe for order and progress. For liberal internationalists it is secular, technocratic, socio-economic development; for realists it’s predictable, self-interested, moderate behavior; and for neoconservatives, democracy. These Americans aim to put an end to mankind’s history of brutal contention by guiding the nations along their preferred paths. Thinking this way has led them to discount the foreign-ness of foreigners—the real differences between religions, civilizations, and regimes—and to disrespect the reality of diversity in the dictionary meaning of the word, and to indulge their fantasies.

    Echoing his books including most recently “To Make and Keep Peace Among Ourselves and with All Nations,” reviewed in detail here, Codevilla asserts his theory of foreign policy, rooted in the fundamentals promulgated by the likes of George Washington and John Adams, and applies them to the problems of the day and future, namely in the Middle East, Russia and China.

    Below are some of the more compelling excerpts from his pieceWhile you may disagree with some of Codevilla’s historical interpretations and conclusions (and certainly this writer is not in full accord with every particular Codevilla raises), we felt that we would share it as a thought-provoking, substantive look at foreign policy — a contribution to a national conversation we are not having.

    On Woodrow Wilson’s impact, and the antidote:

    The ultimate source of our current dysfunction is our elites’ belief that they are morally and intellectually entitled to “nation-build” peoples abroad and Americans at home, whom they likewise deplore. In what may have been his most revealing speech, President Wilson urged his listeners in October 1914 to be their brothers’ keepers at home and abroad:

    I remember a classmate of mine saying, “Why, man, can’t you let anything alone?” I said, “I let everything alone that you can show me is not itself moving in the wrong direction, but I am not going to let those things alone that I see are going downhill.”

     …The remedy lies in focusing it onto its legitimate ends—that is, to guard America’s peace and to win its wars.

    The domestic side of the “war on terror” has underlined how far our bipartisan ruling class has departed from what the founders called popular government (now called democracy). Failure to return to popular government as originally understood would be more terrible than any series of terrorist attacks.

    On the history behind our current foreign policy:

    In 1950, the Truman Administration chose to spend over 36,000 American lives in Korea to achieve a stalemate rather than defeat the aggression by which Stalin and Mao were breaking the U.S. policy of “containment.” This made sense only in the progressive dream of world order through a grand alliance. In light of this dream, Korea had to be fought in that disastrous way because it was “the wrong war in the wrong place against the wrong enemy.” Policymakers showed how uninterested they were in America’s own business by not fighting, or even defining, what it considered to be the right war for containment. When Senator Robert Taft argued in A Foreign Policy for Americans (1951), and General Douglas MacArthur repeated to Congress, that America should fight only for its own interest and for victory or not at all, America’s foreign policy elite denounced them as dinosaurs.

    By the 1960s, the notion of fighting for our victory and our peace or not at all had become intellectually as well as politically incorrect. (more…)

  • Dave Brat, others will make last-ditch effort to defund Obama’s executive action on immigration
    Posted December 10, 2014 at 10:18 am by Pete Kasperowicz

    Comments (1)

    After just a few weeks on the job, Rep. Dave Brat (R-Va.) will join other House Republicans Wednesday in a last-minute effort to include language on the huge federal spending bill that prevents President Barack Obama from implementing his immigration plan.

    Brat famously defeated former House Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) in a primary, benefitting in part from rising complaints within the Republican party about immigration. Cantor resigned, and Brat was sworn in late last month to serve out the rest of Cantor’s term.

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    Rep. Dave Brat (R-Va.) will push GOP leaders on Wednesday to defund Obama’s immigration action.
    Image: AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta

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  • For anyone who has ever struggled to wrap a present, here’s a video that could change your life
    Posted December 10, 2014 at 10:05 am by Jonathon M. Seidl

    Comments (89)

    For all those people like me that dread gift-wrapping, this person is a God-send:

    (H/T: Buzzfeed)

  • Obama didn’t sign an executive order on immigration. But he signed one giving federal workers the day off after Christmas.
    Posted December 10, 2014 at 8:57 am by Pete Kasperowicz

    Comments (23)

    President Barack Obama has signed an executive order giving most federal workers the day off on Friday, Dec. 26, the day after Christmas.

    Obama’s decision to use an executive order contrasts with his decision to use a series of executive actions to implement his immigration plan last month. Obama announced his immigration actions on Nov. 20, which prompted some criticism from Republicans in the following days that he chose a less formal route to implement a much more sweeping and controversial initiative on immigration.

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    President Barack Obama signed an executive order this month to give federal workers the day off after Christmas.
    Image: AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File

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  • House GOP to propose $1T spending bill Tuesday night, plans on finishing work Thursday
    Posted December 9, 2014 at 4:52 pm by Pete Kasperowicz

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    House Republican leaders were finally set to release a copy of a 2015 spending bill Tuesday night, a bill they hope to pass before leaving town Thursday for the rest of the year.

    Rumors have been circulating all week about the contents of the legislation, and whether Republicans and Democrats can support it. Some have also raise the question of whether the House would have to return next week in order to finish the spending bill.

    (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

    House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and other GOP leaders are close to revealing their controversial spending plan for 2015, by sometime Tuesday night. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

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  • Official says Obamacare enrollment numbers will no longer be inflated by adding dental plans
    Posted December 9, 2014 at 2:43 pm by Pete Kasperowicz

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    Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Marilyn Tavenner said Tuesday that her agency would no longer present Obamacare enrollment data in a way that combines health care coverage and dental coverage, a practice that Republicans say let officials present an inflated number for health care coverage.

    Earlier this year, Republicans on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee said CMS told Congress that 7.3 million people were enrolled in “health care coverage” under Obamacare. Most interpreted that to mean 7.3 million people were enrolled in a full health care plan.

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    Marilyn Tavenner, the administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, said Tuesday she will no longer present Obamacare enrollment data in a way that some say inflates enrollment numbers.
    Image: AP Photo/Molly Riley

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  • Gruber clams up: Won’t say what he was paid for Obamacare consulting, won’t hand over documents
    Posted December 9, 2014 at 11:49 am by Pete Kasperowicz

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    Jonathan Gruber, who Democrats have said was the source of many ideas that went into Obamacare, on Tuesday refused to tell Congress how much he was paid by the federal government and by various states to offer advice on Obamacare or other state-run health care systems.

    He also refused to agree to give Congress documents he produced for the administration while a consultant. In both cases, he said Congress should “take that up with my counsel.”

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  • Our border today
    Posted December 9, 2014 at 11:22 am by Chris Field

    Comments (1)

    Illegal Immigration Border Battle - Blaze Magazine Cover - December 2014 - no boxThe United States’ southern border has become a horror show—for Americans who live there, Border Patrol agents trying to do their jobs and thousands of illegal aliens who have fallen for a lie.

    The only winners in this are the Mexican criminal elements smuggling people, drugs and weapons across the border and America’s corrupt politicians with their personal agendas.

    TheBlaze’s Sara Carter offers a first-hand account of what she has found at the border and interviews the men dedicating their lives to protect our country.

    And you won’t want to miss a special piece that details an amazing group of Americans who are changing the lives of abused children across the country. They’re unpaid, unknown and unwavering in their efforts to save kids in the worst-of-worst situations.

    ***********************************

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    And if you order your gift by December 20, and we’ll send your recipient a personalized, hand-written note telling them of your gift.

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  • Dem bill says kids should go Halloween trick-or-treating during the day, when it’s safer
    Posted December 9, 2014 at 9:24 am by Pete Kasperowicz

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    A House Democrat has introduced a congressional resolution that would encourage people to celebrate Halloween during the daytime, and even calls on kids to go trick-or-treating when the sun is out in order to avoid traffic accidents.

    The resolution from Rep. Steve Israel (D-N.Y.) looks to turn Halloween on its head, as it proposes ending the nearly 100-year tradition in America of kids dressing up and prowling the neighborhood at night for candy.

    halloween

    A House Democrat says Halloween should be held during the day, to keep it safe for kids.

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  • The House sued Obama over Obamacare. Should it sue him over immigration?
    Posted December 9, 2014 at 8:33 am by Pete Kasperowicz

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    Three Republicans on Monday proposed new legislative language that would let the House file a lawsuit against the Obama administration for its decision to adjust U.S. immigration practices without consulting Congress.

    The Uphold the Oath Americans Trust and Honor resolution, from Rep. Tom Rice (R-S.C.), is similar to language the House passed in July dealing with Obamacare. Passage of that resolution led to last month’s filing of a lawsuit against the administration’s implementation of the health care law.

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    House Republicans are seeking a lawsuit against President Barack Obama and his administration for going around Congress to ease immigration rules.
    Image: Bloomberg/Bloomberg via Getty Images

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  • Giving voice to America’s legal immigrants
    Posted December 8, 2014 at 7:01 pm by Chris Salcedo

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    Mary Ramirez wants you to know that legal immigrants to the United States are walking around with a throbbing, painful, red handprint on their face these days.

    It was Resident Obama and his extremist left-wing Democrats who assaulted these law-abiding folks. The proverbial “slap in the face” came when Obama put out his executive inaction orders to the various federal agencies under his control to halt the deportations of up to 5 million illegal immigrants.

    It bears pointing out that Obama didn’t have the courage to issue the decree with an official executive order. There are two reasons for not doing this: The first has to do with Obama’s ideology. Those who are liberal typically don’t operate above board and in the light of day. Instead, they prefer obfuscation, misdirection and out and out lies (see: Obamacare promises). The second reason is that official presidential executive orders are subject to judicial review for constitutionality. Obama couldn’t very well have that.

    Obama, his Democrats and the mainstream press are focused on diverting the resources of the American government to helping citizens of other nations who are in America illegally. We at The Chris Salcedo Show wanted to give voice to the legal immigrant community, a community that has been ignored, insulted and slapped by Obama’s lawless and unfair executive inaction.

    Cue to 1:14:37 to hear the stories of legal immigrants, and pass this on, will you?

  • State Dept. rejects reports that Iran is cheating on its nuclear commitments
    Posted December 8, 2014 at 3:54 pm by Pete Kasperowicz

    Comments (4)

    The State Department on Monday insisted that Iran is still in compliance with its nuclear obligations as it and other countries try to negotiate an end to Iran’s nuclear program, despite reports that Iran is buying materials needed to boost its production of plutonium.

    “Iran has kept all of their commitments under the JPOA, we continue to believe that,” State spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters, referring to the Joint Plan of Action negotiated by the U.S., Iran and others. Psaki acknowledged “concerns” State has with Iran, but said Iran is still in compliance.

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    Iran, led by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has reportedly cheated on its nuclear commitments, but the U.S. State Department says those reports are not true.
    Image: AP Photo/Office of the Iranian Supreme Leader

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  • Eric Holder bans law enforcement profiling based on religion, ethnicity, national origin
    Posted December 8, 2014 at 2:44 pm by Pete Kasperowicz

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    The Justice Department on Monday released new guidance that prevents federal law enforcement officers from relying on religion and other factors alone as a basis for surveillance or other law enforcement activities, which could complicate efforts to track radical Muslim terrorists or threats posed by others from certain regions of the world.

    The rules expand upon 2003 guidance that said federal officers cannot use race alone as a basis for action against people. The new guidance added ethnicity, gender, national origin, religion, sexual orientation and gender identity.

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  • Special border security issue: December mag cover examines the horror show on the southern border
    Posted December 8, 2014 at 1:09 pm by Chris Field

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    The lives of tens of thousands of Americans and illegal aliens are at risk.

    Illegal Immigration Border Battle - Blaze Magazine Cover - December 2014 - no box

    ***********************************

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    For a limited time, you can get two print subscriptions for just $40. That’s right, get a gift for someone and give yourself a gift—or use both subscriptions as gifts.

    And if you order your gift by December 20, and we’ll send your recipient a personalized, hand-written note telling them of your gift.

    Follow Chris Field (@ChrisMField) on Twitter

  • Did the IRS share confidential taxpayer data with the White House? It may take several more months to find out.
    Posted December 8, 2014 at 12:04 pm by Pete Kasperowicz

    Comments (2)

    A government watchdog group has been forced to ask a federal court to insist that the government hand over thousands of documents that could show the IRS gave confidential taxpayer information to the White House.

    The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, an internal oversight arm of the Treasury Department, indicated last month it was willing to hand over up to 2,500 documents that could show the IRS improperly shared this information with the Obama administration.

    WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 17: Internal Revenue Service Commissioner John Koskinen (C) testifies before the House Oversight and Government Reform's Economic Growth, Job Creation, and Regulatory Affairs Subcommittee in the Rayburn House Office Building on Capitol Hill September 17, 2014 in Washington, DC. The Oversight and Government Reform Committee continues to investigate the IRS for targeting political groups applying for tax-exempt status for intensive scrutiny based on their names or political themes. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

    Questions have emerged about whether the IRS, led by commissioner John Koskinen, gave taxpayer data to the White House. But the answers will have to wait, as Treasury’s inspector general has said it would not release documents that could show data was shared. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

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