Obama Sending 565 Kentucky National Guard to Africa – Protecting Christians or Muslims?

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) – A departure ceremony is planned for 565 Kentucky National Guard soldiers who will deploy to Africa for nine months.

Maj. Gen. Edward W. Tonini, adjutant general for Kentucky, will attend the sendoff ceremony Friday at the Frankfort Convention Center for soldiers assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 138th Field Artillery.

The soldiers will deploy to the Horn of Africa where they will work to promote regional security and stability.

Hmmm, wonder just what role they will be playing in ‘promoting regional security and stability.’?  Whose security and stability – the Christians or the Muslims persecuting them?

 

Pattern of White House Leaks Threatens Nation’s Security

Ronald Kessler via Newsmax 

English: A March 2009 meeting of the United St... News reports on Tuesday disclosed that the FBI is probing the leaking of information about a classified U.S. cyberattack program aimed at Iran’s nuclear facilities, but a close look at recent developments uncovers a broad and disturbing pattern of leaks of some of the nation’s most guarded secrets by the Obama administration.

John Brennan, Obama’s counterterrorism chief, set the tone a year ago when he went on national television immediately after the killing of Osama bin Laden and gave a highly detailed account of the top-secret operation.

Defense Secretary Bob Gates, for one, was shocked.

“Too many people in too many places are talking too much about this operation,” Gates said, adding that the level of disclosures and blabbing violates an agreement reached in the White House Situation Room on May 8, 2011, to keep details of the raid private.

“That lasted about 15 hours,” Gates said with chagrin.

Then came disclosures that directly revealed secrets helpful to the enemy, that could endanger lives, and undermine trust by other countries and potential informants in U.S. intelligence operations.

Soon after the bin Laden raid, word began leaking to the press that a Pakistani doctor had helped the CIA operation.

In fact, Dr. Shakil Afridi reportedly provided critical intelligence on the location and identify of the al-Qaida leader. He had set up a fake vaccination program to obtain DNA during a visit by bin Laden.

Following the leaks, Afridi was arrested and on May 23 he was sentenced to 33 years in prison on a charge of conspiring against the state.

“The blame has been placed on my brother because of America,” Shakil’s brother Jamil told Fox News.

The protection of secret sources of the United States is not only good sense, it is vital for continuing operations and getting new sources that could improve our security and prevent the loss of American lives. But who will trust us if we leak sensitive information?

And critics of the Obama administration point to a pattern of leaks over a long period:

  • On May 9, The Associated Press reported that a CIA asset from Saudi Arabia had infiltrated al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula and thwarted a planned “underwear bomb” attack on an airplane bound for America. As a result of that disclosure, the asset had to be extracted and brought to the United States, possibly precluding opportunities for obtaining future inside information from within the terrorist group.
  • On May 29, The New York Times ran a detailed account of how President Obama directs U.S. drone attacks based on a classified “kill list” of terror suspects. The story rightly credited Obama with killing top al-Qaida leaders. Sen. John McCain has charged that the kill list leak was politically motivated.
  • On June 1, The New York Times ran a story revealing an alleged U.S. covert action program called Olympic Games, designed to thwart Iran’s nuclear program with computer virus attacks utilizing first the Stuxnet computer worm and later the Duqu malware. Thanks to the Times article, which cited U.S. government sources, details of the previously unknown operations are now public, including how the programs were supposed to operate and the involvement of Israeli intelligence. Up to that point, the possibility that the U.S. or Israel was behind the cyberattacks on Iran’s computers was pure speculation. In effect, the Times story provided Iran with a roadmap on U.S. efforts to defeat its nuclear bomb efforts.
  • Another front-page New York Times article in 2011 disclosed that the Obama administration had agreed to sell to Israel bunker-buster bombs capable of destroying buried targets, including suspected nuclear weapons sites in Iran.

The Bush administration had rebuffed Israeli requests for the bombs. But word of Obama’s sale to Israel came soon after Republican Bob Turner captured the U.S. House seat vacated by the resignation of scandal-marred Anthony Weiner in a Queens, N.Y., district with a large Jewish population.

Former New York City Mayor Ed Koch cited Turner’s election in a Newsmax column explaining why he had decided to back Obama for re-election in 2012. He referred to a New York Times article reporting that the United States had agreed to back Israel’s call for a return to negotiations with the Palestinians without preconditions, saying the agreement was “affected” by Turner’s win, and stating that “the president should be praised” for “providing the Israeli military with bunker buster bombs” — a clear reference to the Times story about the bombs that had the effect of bucking up Jewish support for Obama.

The leaks — which have accelerated as Obama’s re-election efforts have stumbled — have provoked bipartisan outrage.

“In recent weeks, we have become increasingly concerned at the continued leaks regarding sensitive intelligence programs and activities including specific details of sources and methods,” said a joint statement released by the top members of the Senate Intelligence Committee and the House Select Committee on Intelligence.

“The accelerating pace of such disclosures, the sensitivity of the matters in question, and the harm caused to our national security interests is alarming and unacceptable,” said the statement from Sens. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., and Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga. — the chair and ranking Republican on the Senate Intelligence Committee — and Reps. Mike Rogers, R-Mich., and C.A. “Dutch” Ruppersberger, D-Md. – the chair and ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee.

“These disclosures have seriously interfered with ongoing intelligence programs and have put at jeopardy our intelligence capability to act in the future. Each disclosure puts American lives at risk, makes it more difficult to recruit assets, strains the trust of our partners, and threatens imminent and irreparable damage to our national security in the face of urgent and rapidly adapting threats worldwide.”

Republican Rep. Peter King of New York, chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, told the New York Post that the leaking of vital secrets reflects an “amateur hour” style of management at the White House.

“It’s a pattern that goes back two years, starting with the Times Square bomber, where somebody in the federal government, probably the FBI, leaked his name before he was captured,” he said.

“They mentioned we had DNA, which is how the Pakistanis focused on the doctor they arrested.

“It puts our people at risk and gives information to the enemy. And it gives our allies a reason not to work with us because what they do might show up on the front page of The New York Times.”

Sen. John McCain of Arizona, the top Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, directly accused the Obama administration of leaking sensitive intelligence information to make Obama look good.

“This is the most highly classified information and it has now been leaked by the administration at the highest levels of the White House. That’s not acceptable,” McCain said on CBS, referring to several of the recent stories.

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney rejected McCain’s claims.

“This administration takes all appropriate and necessary steps to prevent leaks of classified information or sensitive information that could risk ongoing counterterrorism or intelligence operations,” Carney told reporters.

“Any suggestion that this administration has authorized intentional leaks of classified information for political gain is grossly irresponsible.”

By inserting the phrase “for political gain,” Carney avoided denying outright that Obama had authorized the leaks. Obama could have authorized the disclosures without admitting to himself that his intent was to help him win re-election. In that case, since the president can declassify information, the disclosures would not technically be considered leaks — but they would be just as harmful.

The FBI has begun an investigation of at least two of the leaks. In addition to the probe of the cyberattacks against Iran, FBI Director Robert Mueller disclosed on May 16 that the bureau has launched an investigation into who leaked information about the al-Qaida “underwear bomber” plot to place an explosive device aboard a U.S.-bound airline flight.

Overlooked in most of the coverage is the role of the press. When Valerie Plame was exposed as a CIA operative, the press turned the disclosure into a scandal and blamed the George W. Bush administration. Plame was technically undercover but not in any danger.

Yet The New York Times ran 521 stories suggesting it was wrong for the White House, and specifically Karl Rove, to divulge her name. Only 27 of the articles mentioned the person who actually leaked her name to columnist Robert Novak, former State Department official Richard Armitage, who ironically was critical of the Bush administration.

In contrast, the press now is silent on leaks that genuinely impair national security and whether the Obama White House is behind the disclosures. Nor are journalists examining the legitimacy of publishing such information in the first place.

It’s one thing to disclose classified information to expose an abuse — meaning an illegal act for political or otherwise improper purposes.

It’s another to disclose secrets for the sake of revealing secrets, when agencies are doing their jobs properly and when uncovering how they perform them prevents them from carrying out secret operations in the future.

The U.S. won World War II in part because America could intercept and decode German and Japanese military transmissions. That remained a secret until long after the war was over. Back then “loose lips sink ships” was the operative slogan.

If another major terrorist attacks occurs because foreign intelligence services and potential assets no longer want to risk cooperating with the CIA, papers like The New York Times will be the first to condemn the intelligence agencies for failing at their mission.

In their joint statement, the congressional leaders said they plan to “press the executive branch to take tangible and demonstrable steps to detect and deter intelligence leaks, and to fully, fairly, and impartially investigate the disclosures that have taken place.”

In particular, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, a California Democrat, called for Capitol Hill hearings about the cyberattack leak.

“I am deeply disturbed by the continuing leaks of classified information to the media, most recently regarding alleged cyber efforts targeting Iran’s nuclear program,” Feinstein said.

“We plan to move legislation quickly, to include possible action in this year’s intelligence authorization act,” the lawmakers said. “We believe that significant changes are needed, in legislation, in the culture of the agencies that deal with classified information, in punishing leaks, and in the level of leadership across the government to make clear that these types of disclosures will not stand.”

Said Rep. Ruppersberger: “These leaks can be dangerous to our country, they can hurt us with our allies, and they could have very serious consequences. They’ve got to be stopped.”

Read more on Newsmax.com: Pattern of White House Leaks Threatens Nation’s Security

Ronald Kessler is chief Washington correspondent of Newsmax.com. He is the New York Times bestselling author of books on the Secret Service, FBI, and CIA.

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Emboldened GOP wants to abolish state income taxes – Is your state one of them?

By SEAN MURPHY, Associated Press via CNS News

Map of USA highlighting states with no income ...

Map of USA highlighting current states with no income tax (red and gray)

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — A year after Republicans swept into office across the country, many have trained their sights on what has long been a fiscal conservative’s dream: the steep reduction or even outright elimination of state income taxes.

The idea has circulated among academics and think-tank researchers for years. But it’s moving quietly into mainstream political discourse, despite the fact that such sweeping changes would almost certainly mean a total rewiring of tax systems at a time when most states are still struggling in the aftermath of the recession.

“I think there’s going to be more action that way,” especially as Republican governors release their budget plans, said Kim Rueben, an expert on state taxation at the Brookings Urban Tax Policy Center.

Last year, GOP lawmakers in many states quickly went to work on a new conservative agenda: restricting abortion, cracking down on illegal immigration, expanding gun rights and taking aim at public-employee unions.

Emboldened by that success, the party has launched income tax efforts in Idaho, Kansas, Maine, Missouri, Ohio, Oklahoma and South Carolina. But it’s not clear how all those states would make up for the lost revenue, and Rueben said she’s not aware of any state in modern history that has eliminated an income tax.

Nine states already get by without an income tax, mostly by tapping other sources of revenue. Nevada and Florida rely on sales taxes that target the tourism industry. Alaska has taxes on natural resources, and Texas imposes substantial property taxes. The other five states are: New Hampshire, South Dakota, Tennessee, Washington and Wyoming.

But in the rest of the country, income taxes pay for bedrock government services, including roads and bridges and schools and prison systems.

In Oklahoma, Republican Gov. Mary Fallin says gradually cutting the top income-tax rate of 5.25 percent will make the state more attractive to businesses, help spur economic growth and ensure Oklahoma is competitive against neighboring states such as Texas. Although the personal income tax does not apply to corporate earnings, supporters say company executives and employees will prefer to live in a state that doesn’t tax personal income.

South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley is pushing this year to consolidate four personal income tax brackets and to phase out corporate income taxes. She promises to seek more tax cuts in the future.

Missouri has a bill to reduce income taxes and offset the lost revenue by raising the cigarette tax.

And Maine’s GOP-controlled Legislature voted last year to lower the income tax from 8.5 to 7.95 percent, taking 70,000 low-income citizens off the income-tax rolls.

Idaho Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter has suggested reducing the individual income tax rate from 7.8 percent to 7.6 percent, the same as the corporate income tax rate, and then gradually lowering both to 7 percent. But business groups have said they would rather get help eliminating the personal property tax businesses pay on their equipment.

In Ohio, Gov. John Kasich‘s 2010 campaign included a pledge to phase out the state’s personal income tax, though without a timetable for doing so. Thus far, the state’s fiscal situation has stymied the governor’s efforts to achieve his goal, other than implementing a previously scheduled income tax cut.

As one way to compensate for the lost revenue, the Oklahoma governor and others have suggested eliminating other kinds of tax breaks and incentives, specifically transferrable tax credits offered to certain businesses. But that would still fall woefully short in Oklahoma, where the income tax provides more than one-third of all state spending.

Still, 23 Republicans in the Oklahoma House have signed up as sponsors of a measure to abolish the income tax over the next decade without raising any other taxes.

“Our goal is to transform Oklahoma into the best place to do business, the best place to live, find a quality job, raise a family and retire in all of the United States. Not just better than average, but the very best,” state Rep. Leslie Osborn said.

Lower taxes appeal to many voters, but some wonder how the state could get by if lawmakers abandon a major source of money.

“I personally would favor paying less taxes, but to me, it’s like where are we going to make up the difference?” said Steve Schlegel, a bicycle shop owner in Oklahoma City. “I already feel like government is underfunded at the moment.”

Roger Garner, a letter courier, said he would accept higher property taxes if it meant eliminating the income tax.

“Get rid of it,” Garner said. “Florida doesn’t have it. Texas doesn’t have it. We don’t need it. If something is needed, we can figure out a way to pay for it at the local level.”

Conservatives say the lost revenue will be made up by increased economic activity — more businesses paying corporate taxes and more employees paying property taxes and spending money. But economists warn those predictions are unrealistic.

Without creating an alternative funding system, “it’s clearly irresponsible to propose taking action against the income tax,” said Alan Viard, an economist with the American Enterprise Institute, a Washington, D.C.-based conservative think tank.

Former Oklahoma Treasurer Scott Meacham, a Democrat who helped negotiate a series of small income tax cuts, urged state leaders to be careful tinkering with the state’s economy, which is currently enjoying double-digit revenue growth and has one of the 10 lowest unemployment rates in the country.

“If you look at our state’s economy, it’s doing very well versus virtually any other state, whether they have a state income tax or not,” said Meacham, who is now a member of the board of directors for the State Chamber, an association of Oklahoma business and industry.

Voters, he added, “ought to be very concerned, especially in an election year, when the politicians are telling them they know what’s best for them from an economic standpoint.”

In neighboring Kansas, Republican Gov. Sam Brownback has a sweeping plan to overhaul income taxes that calls for offsetting income tax cuts by canceling a scheduled drop in the sales tax. But it would increase the tax burden for the state’s poorest households. And he faces resistance from within his own party over concern that the sales tax increase was supposed to be a temporary fix back in 2010.

A similar debate is unfolding in Oklahoma, where the plan calls for reducing the income tax from 5.25 percent to 4.75 percent by eliminating the personal exemption for every household member, including children, as well as the child tax credit and earned income tax credit.

An analysis by the Oklahoma Policy Institute shows those steps would raise taxes for 55 percent of Oklahomans, mostly low-income families and those with children.

“We have grave doubts about this proposal,” said David Blatt, director of the institute. “We see stumbling blocks in every direction. You either decimate state services or shift the burden onto those that can least afford it.”

___

Associated Press writers John Hanna in Topeka, Kan.; Seanna Adcox in Columbia, S.C.; David Lieb in Jefferson City, Mo.; and Glenn Adams in Augusta, Maine; Julie Carr Smyth in Columbus, Ohio; and John Miller in Boise, Idaho, contributed to this report.

 

 

Nobel peace prize jury under investigation – could Obama lose his?!?

By KARL RITTER, Associated Press

English: Nobel Peace Prize 2009, Barack Obama

STOCKHOLM, Sweden (AP)Nobel Peace Prize officials were facing a formal inquiry over accusations they have drifted away from the prize’s original selection criteria by choosing such winners as President Barack Obama, as the nomination deadline for the 2012 awards closed Wednesday.

The investigation comes after persistent complaints by a Norwegian peace researcher that the original purpose of the prize was to diminish the role of military power in international relations.

If the Stockholm County Administrative Board, which supervises foundations in Sweden’s capital, finds that prize founder Alfred Nobel’s will is not being honored, it has the authority to suspend award decisions going back three years — though that would be unlikely and unprecedented, said Mikael Wiman, a legal expert working for the county.

Obama won in 2009, Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo won in 2010, and last year the award was split between Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Liberian activist Leymah Gbowee and Tawakkul Karman of Yemen.

For this year’s award, Russian human rights activist Svetlana Gannushkina, jailed former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko and Cuban rights activists Oswaldo Paya and Yoani Sanchez are among the candidates who have been publicly announced by those who nominated them.

The secretive prize committee doesn’t discuss nominations — which have to be postmarked by Feb. 1 to be valid — but stresses that being nominated doesn’t say anything about a candidate’s chances.

Fredrik Heffermehl, a prominent researcher and critic of the selection process, told The Associated Press on Wednesday that “Nobel called it a prize for the champions of peace.”

“And it’s indisputable that he had in mind the peace movement, i.e. the active development of international law and institutions, a new global order where nations safely can drop national armaments,” he said

Especially after World War II, the prize committee, which is appointed by the Norwegian Parliament, has widened the scope of the prize to include environmental, humanitarian and other efforts, he said.

For example, in 2007 the prize went to climate activist Al Gore and the U.N.’s panel on climate change, and in 2009 the committee cited Obama for “extraordinary efforts” to boost international diplomacy.

“Do you see Obama as a promoter of abolishing the military as a tool of international affairs?” Heffermehl asked rhetorically.

Nobel, a Swedish industrialist and inventor, gave only vague guidelines for the peace prize in his 1895 will, saying it should honor “work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses.”

Nobel said the peace prize should be awarded by a Norwegian committee, and the other Nobel Prizes by committees in Sweden. The two Scandinavian nations were in a union at the time.

Geir Lundestad, the nonvoting secretary of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, dismissed Heffermehl’s claims.

“Fighting climate change is definitely closely related to fraternity between nations. It even concerns the survival of some states,” he told AP.

Still, the County Administrative Board decided to sent a letter to the Stockholm-based Nobel Foundation, which manages the prize assets, requesting a formal response to the allegations.

“We have no basis to suggest that they haven’t managed it properly. But we want to investigate it,” Wiman said.

“The prize committee must always adjust its rules to today’s society,” he said. “But peace work has to be at the core — it can’t deviate too much from that,” Wiman said.

The peace prize and the Nobel awards in chemistry, physics, medicine, literature and economics are always handed out Dec. 10, the anniversary of Alfred Nobel’s death.

‘Extremist’ speaker withdraws from West Point event after protests

Kasey’s note:  Once again CAIR has reared it’s ugly head and silenced another American from expressing his views.  We are on a very slippery slope and CAIR is winning the battle.  We need a leader with common sense and enough backbone to say enough is enough – we are Americans and we are ALL protected by the first Amendment – even those who oppose the not so peaceful politics of Islam.

By Jeff Black, msnbc.com

William G. Boykin

Updated at 9 p.m. ET

West Point issued a brief statement late Monday saying that retired Lt. Gen. William Boykin has decided to withdraw from speaking at the Feb. 8 prayer breakfast and another speaker would be lined up in his place.

Earlier

The Army is drawing protests from veterans’ and Islamic groups for inviting a retired general who many have called anti-Muslim to speak at a West Point prayer breakfast.

Lt. Gen William G. Boykin has been criticized for speeches at evangelical Christian churches in which he made disparaging remarks about Islam. Boykin has said that Muslims are trying to implement Shariah Law in the United States and that Islam is the greatest threat America faces.

According to The Associated Press, Boykin has also said that America’s enemy was Satan, that God had put President George W. Bush in the White House and that one Muslim Somali warlord was an idol-worshipper.


Groups such as VoteVets.org, Military Religious Freedom Foundation, as well as Forum on Military Chaplaincy all petitioned the Pentagon to stop Boykin from speaking at the Feb. 8 breakfast, Stars and Stripes reported.

VoteVets.org told Army Gen. Raymond Odierno in a letter that allowing retired Boykin to speak at the Feb. 3 National Prayer Breakfast Service would be contrary to Army values and disrespectful to Muslim cadets.

‘Incompatible with Army values’ “These remarks are incompatible with the Army values, and a person who is incompatible with Army values should not address the cadets of the United States Military Academy,” VoteVets chairman Jon Soltz said in the letter, according to The Associated Press.

Army public affairs didn’t immediately comment, though West Point’s Lt. Col. Sherri Reed said cadets are “purposefully exposed to different perspectives and cultures” during their four years at the academy.

“The National Prayer Breakfast Service will be pluralistic with Christians, Jewish, and Muslim cadets participating,” Reed said in a prepared statement. “We are comfortable and confident that what retired Lt. Gen. Boykin will share about prayer, soldier care and selfless service, will be in keeping with the broad range of ideas normally considered by our cadets.”

The Council on American-Islamic Relations is also asking officials to retract the invitation.

“Having a guy like that speak at a respected institution like the U.S. Military Academy gives credibility to his extremist views of hatred toward Muslims,” Ibrahim Hooper, spokesman for Council on American Islamic Relations, told msnbc.com. “We are strong defenders of the First Amendment. What we are saying is that he not be allowed to spread views at West Point. He can go shout his hatred on the streets if he wants to.”

Hooper calls the argument that Boykin represents an alternative viewpoint “ridiculous,” and equates it with inviting a racist white leader to speak at West Point since some of the cadets are African American.

“I doubt that they would invite a KKK speaker and claim that they want to expose the students to a variety of opinions,” CAIR’s national executive director, Nihad Awad, told the Associated Press, referring to the hate group the Ku Klux Klan.

Just last week, CAIR and People for the American Way had asked officials in Maryland to rescind an invitation for Boykin to speak at a prayer breakfast. Boykin attended and spoke about his faith and did not mention Islam.

Before his retirement in 2002, Boykin was chastised by military commanders for comparing the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to a holy war. Boykin later issued a written statement apologizing and said he didn’t mean to insult Islam.

Pentagon investigation concluded that Boykin violated regulations by failing to make clear he was not speaking in an official capacity when he made nearly two dozen church speeches beginning in January 2002. It also found that Boykin, who made most speeches wearing his uniform, didn’t get prior clearance for the remarks.

Boykin couldn’t immediately be reached by msnbc.com for comment.

Warren Buffett cleans up after Keystone XL – Cronyism Perchance?!?

by John Hayward in Human Events

President Barack Obama and Warren Buffett in t...

When President Obama, who is normally a great proponent of “infrastructure” projects, made his bizarre decision to block the Keystone XL pipeline project, I wondered if he might have been induced to create those thousands of American jobs if the oil could be moved by his beloved high-speed rail.

As it turns out, oil is already moved from northern latitudes, such as the booming oil fields of North Dakota, down to the Gulf of Mexico by rail of the old, low-speed variety.  Fortunately, as Newt Gingrich pointed out during the Monday night Republican debate in Florida, the oil is on private land, so Obama can’t shut production down.

Shipping the oil with a pipeline would have significantly reduced costs, as an Associated Press report explains:

Billions of dollars of infrastructure improvements have been made in recent years to allow North Dakota’s oil shipping capacity to keep pace with the skyrocketing production. North Dakota is the nation’s fourth-biggest oil producer and is expected to trail only Texas in crude output within the next year. Alison Ritter, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Mineral Resources, said the state’s so-called takeaway capacity is adequate, though producers and the state were counting on the on the Keystone XL to move North Dakota crude. Shipping crude by pipeline in North Dakota adds up to $1.50 to its cost, compared to $2 or more a barrel for rail shipments, producers say. “Oil that would have moved by the Keystone XL is now going to shift to rail transportation,” Ritter said.

Amusingly, a spokesman for the Sierra Club admitted “there is no question that [transporting] oil by rail or truck is much more dangerous than a pipeline,” but that didn’t stop the zero-growth eco-fanatics from calling in their chips with President Downgrade to kill that pipeline.

Those rail shipments are expected to “increase exponentially with increased oil production and the shortage of pipelines,” according to Justin Kringstad, director of the North Dakota Pipeline Authority.  That’s going to be quite a windfall for the railroad companies, isn’t it?

As it happens, 75 percent of the oil currently shipped by rail out of North Dakota is handled by Burlington Northern Santa Fe LLC… which just happens to be a unit of Warren Buffett’s company, Berkshire Hathaway Inc.  What a coincidence!

For some reason, nobody from BNSF or Berkshire Hathaway would return the AP’s telephone calls, but oilman Harold Hamm told them he was sure this was just a wonderful “lucky break” for Barack Obama’s favorite billionaire, who is “certainly favored by this decision.”  I’ve heard Buffett’s famously overtaxed secretary will be a guest at the State of the Union address tonight.  Maybe someone could ask her about it.

The “tax me more” refrain from liberal billionaires is one of the oldest sucker games in the book.  For the well-connected, the money that can be made through government power – whether by influencing corrupt politicians, or merely predicting what they’re going to do – dwarfs whatever income they offer to cough up.


John Hayward is a staff writer for HUMAN EVENTS, and author of the recently published Doctor Zero: Year One.

U.S. Taxpayers Subsidize Overseas Mosques: What’s Another Billion Anyway?

By Gadi Adelman

English: Muhammad Ali Mosque in Cairo Citadel.

The story of the U.S. State Department funding mosques overseas was uncovered in July 2010 when reporter Justin Farmer from ABC affiliate WSBTV Channel 2 in Atlanta Georgia did an investigative report. Farmers’ story focused on how the U.S. was spending its tax payer dollars while supposedly trying to cut the budget.

I’ve written on this in the past, but I think it needs a re-visit. I don’t think that at a time when our own administration, Congress and Senate have to fight just to come to a 2 month budget agreement we as American taxpayers need to be funding mosques overseas.

What’s more, I would bet my Burqa that most Americans have no idea that there hard earned money is going to rebuild mosques.

President Barack Obama announced on January 5, 2012 his administration’s new military strategy, saying it will include cutting at least $487 billion in defense spending.

The U.S. budget is so bad that we need to cut $487 billion in defense spending, but Hillary Clinton signed a check for $770 million from the U.S. State Department’s USAID program to rebuild Egypt’s sewer system. Funny I thought our own infrastructure here in the U.S. is in dire need of repair.

But what was supposed to be a ‘sewer’ rebuild is much more. The USAID website shows both before and after pictures of one such mosque in Cairo, Egypt. It states,

The Saleh Talai Mosque in historic Islamic Cairo, dating back to the 10th century, is now active, and open for prayers and tourists. This mosque suffered for decades from rising groundwater contaminated with sewage. USAID, as part of its $770 million Cairo Sewerage Program, allocated $2.3 million for lowering the groundwater at the mosque area, replacing the old sewage collector, and providing a healthier environment for people living in the area.

The Washington times reported on other mosques in August 2010 and emphasized how we are paying for “Muslim triumphalism”,

Americans also may be surprised to learn that the United States has been an active participant in mosque construction projects overseas. In April, U.S. Ambassador to Tanzania Alfonso E. Lenhardt helped cut the ribbon at the 12th-century Kizimkazi Mosque, which was refurbished with assistance from the United States under a program to preserve culturally significant buildings. The U.S. government also helped save the Amr Ebn El Aas Mosque in Cairo, which dates back to 642. The mosque’s namesake was the Muslim conqueror of Christian Egypt, who built the structure on the site where he had pitched his tent before doing battle with the country’s Byzantine rulers. For those who think the Ground Zero Mosque is an example of “Muslim triumphalism” glorifying conquest, the Amr Ebn El Aas Mosque is an example of such a monument – and one paid for with U.S. taxpayer funds.

The Same report brought up what can only be called the most important question in this argument. Is it legal for our tax dollars to be used for religious purposes of any kind? The article reported the answer, yet it never received any traction in the media,

But Section 205.1(d) of title 22 of the Code of Federal Regulations prohibits USAID funds from being used for the rehabilitation of structures to the extent that those structures are used for “inherently religious activities.” It is impossible to separate religion from a mosque; any such projects will necessarily support Islam.

Well, call me doubtful, but I like to see things for myself so I went and read 205.1(d) of title 22 of the Code of Federal Regulations, it states plainly,

(b) Organizations that receive direct financial assistance from USAID under any USAID program may not engage in inherently religious activities, such as worship, religious instruction, or proselytization, as part of the programs or services directly funded with direct financial assistance from USAID.

One does not have to be an Iranian nuclear scientist to understand the above law. It is illegal, period.

But it doesn’t end there; Dr. Laurie Roth wrote in the Canadian Free Press in August 2010,

What I have uncovered is unacceptable, obscene and should be fought at all levels by the American people. Our State Department is using undisclosed amounts of US tax dollars to build and renovate Islamic Mosques in 27 different countries. They do this under an ‘outreach’ program with the purpose of fostering ‘good will’ in Muslim countries. The state department will not reveal just how much they spend on overseas, foreign programs but a very reliable source told me most likely it is in the hundreds of billions.

Oh, so now it’s only hundreds of billions, no big deal when we are in debt for trillions.

My own research found more than just 27 countries.  According to the Associated Press also August 2010,

This year, the Obama administration will spend nearly $6 million to restore 63 historic and cultural sites, including mosques and minarets, in 55 nations, according to State Department documents.

So now it’s 55 countries not 27, but really, what are a few more minarets anyway.

Former Egyptian Muslim and author Nonie Darwish stated during an interview about the U.S. rebuilding mosques, that trying to buy respect in the Middle East only shows our weakness,

“This part of the world has a lot of respect for power and America is not showing its power, it’s showing its appeasement. They are laughing all the way to the bank.”

“We are rebuilding mosques to support the radicals, not to support the moderates. We are building mosques to issue fatwas of death against people like me.”

State Department documents also show that it is providing funding to buy inter-net computer service for the mosques. Darwish had this to say,

“They call us the Great Satan. So, we’re giving them access to really get together against America.”

I have written about Obama’s Muslim Outreach Program several times dating back to July 2010 but as usual each and every time I point out how much this current administration is trying to buy friendships with those that not only don’t like us, but quite frankly would rather see us dead, I get called an Islamaphobe.

The U.S. tax payer dollars continue to flow for projects like this and others. As Jon Christianryter’s website reported,

Fifty-five of sixty-three 2010 grants went to Muslim countries. But some of the grants to non-Muslims countries—like China—were nevertheless used to refurbish mosques or other Islamic artifacts.

My question is who over sees this money once the check is written? Do we or for that matter, our State Department really know how it is being spent?

It’s bad enough that my tax dollars are going to rebuild mosques and minarets, but I want to know that know that none of that money is being used to buy weapons that are being used against our men and women in the military.

I decided to see what I could find that was more current and came upon one such USAID audit. “The Office of Inspector General Audit of USAID/West Bank and Gaza’s Palestinian Health Sector Reform and Development Project”

The audit is the most recent I could find dated January 5, 2012, so barely two weeks old.

I figured this would be a good place to start, tax dollars going to health care in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, surely that money would go towards what it was intended and easily tracked.

In the summary it explains,

In September 2008, USAID awarded a 5-year, $56,907,081 contract to Chemonics International to implement the Palestinian Health Sector Reform and Development Project, known as the Flagship Project, to support efforts to reform the Palestinian health sector. USAID/West Bank and Gaza provided supplemental funding of $28,529,883 in September 2009, bringing the total contract amount to $85,436,964. Total disbursements for the project as of June 30, 2011, were $49,459,930. The mission had obligated $61,526,896 for the project as of June 30, 2011.

Under the ‘Audit findings’ section it explains in the first paragraph the importance of “partners” as well as the rules set by USAID,

“When contemplating an alliance approach to achieve a result, it is important to conduct due diligence on potential partners… According to ADS 201.3.11.9, “USAID Missions [Offices] should ensure that host country governments have major involvement in project and activity planning decisions.”

The title of the very first section summed it all up, “USAID/West Bank and Gaza did not establish a reliable partnership with the Minister of Health.” It stated,

Moreover, according to the mission’s health and humanitarian assistance team and the evaluation results, weak oversight by the mission allowed the project team to respond to Ministry requests that may have not been directly in line with the project’s strategic vision.

The audit continues with all the wonderful work that was achieved with our tax dollars,

The unreliable partnership with the Minister of Health developed because of the lack of focus in the original statement of work for the project. USAID/West Bank and Gaza also allowed the relationship to develop in this way by approving whatever the Minister requested, regardless of how the requests fit into the mission’s vision and focus for the project.

“Approving whatever the Minister requested, regardless”? Makes you wonder what the Minister requested. The outcome of that section of the audit, it gives 3 recommendations so it won’t occur again in the future.

The second section of the audit is simply titled “Some Reported Results Were Not Reliable”. Really? I don’t even need to elaborate on this. After explaining the importance on about budget, funding, project direction, and achieved results, it gives 2 more recommendations.

No surprise at the title of the third section, “Contractor Reporting of Achievements Was Sometimes Misleading”. Misleading, would that not be the PC term for Lies? After this section there is of course another recommendation.

Section 4 is titled “Contractor’s Vetting Information Was Incomplete”. In this section it actually stated,

Weaknesses in data accuracy also weaken the project’s efficiency and antiterrorism efforts.

Antiterrorism efforts? I thought this money was going to health reform and development. Perhaps proper health care will keep people from wanting to blow themselves up, I’m not sure on that one. At the end of section 4 as expected two more recommendations.

The final part of the audit was the ‘scope’ and it states,

We reviewed compliance by the mission and Chemonics with Executive Order 13224, “Blocking Property and Prohibiting Transactions with Persons Who Commit, Threaten To Commit, or Support Terrorism,” and with USAID/West Bank and Gaza Mission Order 21, “Anti-Terrorism Procedures.” Our antiterrorism compliance testing included reviews of relevant documentation, such as USAID/West Bank and Gaza’s agreement with Chemonics and eligibility notifications for trainees, subcontractors, and grantees.

I for one am glad that the compliance of “transactions with persons who commit terrorism” was reviewed through relevant documentation, especially since that documentation was provided by the group that “did not establish a reliable partnership”, “reported results that were not reliable”, “reported of achievements that were sometimes misleading” and provided “vetting information that was incomplete”.

Yes, our debt is growing and in the time it took me to write this it has risen over 2 million dollars. But no worries, we will still give money to our enemies to rebuild their mosques, after all we are sitting down with the Taliban, right?

FamilySecurityMatters.org Contributing Editor Gadi Adelman is a freelance writer and lecturer on the history of terrorism and counterterrorism. He grew up in Israel, studying terrorism and Islam for 35 years after surviving a terrorist bomb in Jerusalem in which 7 children were killed. Since returning to the U. S., Gadi teaches and lectures to law enforcement agencies as well as high schools and colleges. He can be heard every Thursday night at 8PM est. on his own radio show “America Akbar” on Blog Talk Radio. He can be reached through his website gadiadelman.com.