C93-Microsoft-phishing-campaing

By Nancy Thorner & Ed Ingold – 

The press is being played like a “phish” by President Obama over the Russian hacking incident. First of all, it is a distraction from the real damage which Democrats inflicted on themselves by using dirty tactics against Hillary’s opponents and disrespecting many of the groups on which they depend for support. If you can’t defend the message, attack the messenger. Secondly, it is not an attack on democracy or the election process, it was an attack on Democrats. If there was an effect on the election, it was the content of these emails, not the fact that they were hacked.

Based on what we know so far, the level of involvement by Russian intelligence is also being exaggerated. This was not an high level, sophisticated attack like the one executed by the U.S. and Israel on Iran’s nuclear separation industry.  Democrat e-mails were hacked by a low level attack called “spear phishing.”

“Phishing” is a term used when a malicious email is delivered asking the receiver to open a document or website which contains malware or asks for personal information. Many times they bear the name of an acquaintance, whose email has been hacked or merely guessed. These are often marked by poor grammar or misspelled words or an unusual topic.

Spear phishing is more sophisticated, but still low level. The email and subsequent websites are disguised to look official, complete with logos and layout like the real site. However they are bogus, and any information the user provides is directed to a spurious server which collects and uses or sells the collected personal information. Usually some sort of software will be planted on the user’s computer that will continue to collect and transmit information to the criminal. A typical ruse is “Your account has been hacked, and will be locked pending your response. Please re-enter your password and personal information.”

Hillary’s campaign chairman, John Podesta, fell victim to a spear phishing attack, which was spread to other members of his contact list. These attacks preceded the November presidential election, specifically after Obama allegedly warned Putin to cease and desist.  AND MEMBERS OF THE DNC KEPT FALLING FOR THE RUSE!

This does not mean Russia had no involvement. In fact many criminal attacks of this sort originate in Russia or Eastern Europe. On the other hand, it does not mean the Russian government played an official role. We simply don’t know without additional facts.

Obama’s evidence supporting the role of Russia and Putin is vague in its analysis of alleged Russian government-sponsored hacking groups that are blamed for breaching several different parts of the Democratic Party during the 2016 elections.  The so-called FBI/DHS report issued on Thursday, December 29, 2016, meant for technology professionals, likewise contains self-contradictory statements.

Of note is that not one of the “17” security agencies (out of three or four) have come forward.  All of the information has come from Obama or staff working at his pleasure.  If true, a factual report would reveal sources and methods, which are more valuable than any information derived by their use.  Instead, the report was criticized by security experts who said it lacked depth and came too late.  Security experts using Twitter criticized the government report as too basic. Jonathan Zdziarski, a highly regarded security researcher, compared the joint action report to a child’s activity center. Tom Killalea, former vice-president of security at Amazon and a Capital One board member, wrote: “Russian attack on DNC similar to so many other attacks in past 15yrs. Big question: Why such poor incident response?”

Meanwhile, on the same day the FBI/DHS report was released (Thursday, December 29, 2016) Barack Obama announced sanctions against Russia for interfering in the 2016 elections in retaliation for Russian efforts to interfere with the US presidential election.  These sanctions included the expulsion of 35 Russian diplomats from the US.   Putin’s reaction was to be the good guy for now. Rather than respond with similar sanctions against the US, Putin said Friday he would wait until Donald Trump becomes the US president next month before deciding his course of action

“While we reserve the right to take reciprocal measures, we’re not going to downgrade ourselves to the level of irresponsible ‘kitchen’ diplomacy,” Putin said in his statement. (The phrase “kitchen diplomacy” in Russian refers to “quarrelsome” behavior, according to The New York Times.)

With his statement, Putin indicated he plans to ignore Obama’s final diplomatic moves and focus on working with the Trump administration going forward. That puts the US response to the hacking attacks squarely in the hands of the president-elect, who has maintained that there’s no way to know that Russia orchestrated the hacks. Trump’s statements run counter to the US intelligence community’s publicly stated assessment that Russia was indeed behind the attacks.

Wisely Donald Trump is not biting but instead is keeping a low profile regarding the hacking incident.  Keeping silent is Trump’s best option. Trump wants to ‘move on’ but says he will meet with intelligence officials this week for an update. If Trump comes out in support of Obama’s allegations without justification, he will alienate Putin and the Russians and future diplomatic relations. If he denies it, Obama may spring corroborating information, playing Trump as a politically ignorant and dogmatic. 

The only way to prove Russian government involvement and/or intent is by intercepting other means of communication. Obama now faces a dilemma. If he provides proof certain, he will divulge national secrets. If he doesn’t provide this proof, and it is all politics, it will come out in subsequent Congressional investigations. With Trump silent, it is Obama twisting in the wind. On the other hand, John McCain and Lindsay Graham find the bait irresistible.  This is not surprising in the least for those who follow the erratic behavior of both McCain and Graham, who many times promote issues that are not in keeping with what is best for the Republican Party.

Popcorn anyone?

Thorner & Ingold: Obama’s lame-duck land mines

Barack-Obama-Pictures

If true, giving anti-aircraft missiles to the Syrian rebels is an act of utter stupidity on the part of Obama. How long before these missiles find their way to ISIS, Al Qaeda, or any number of hostile groups to shoot down our planes and airliners? 

The fact is, there is no daylight between the “friendly” rebels in Syria and these other groups, merely geography and opportunity.

When the Russians moved into Aleppo, they discovered mass graves of people tortured and executed, in all likelihood by the rebels. The area in question was held by the rebels for several years, and denied to the Syrian government and the Russians. Assyrian Christians were able to celebrate Christmas for the first time in many years, claiming they were prevented as rebels became increasingly Islamist in their rule.

In all likelihood, Obama knows this but thinks the consequences will fall on the President-Elect. The best indication of this knowledge is his reluctance to come to the rebels’ aid after Assad crossed Obama’s “Red Line in the Sand.” There is not and never was a clear way to identify “friendly” rebels.

In his brief tenure, Jimmy Carter managed to alienate the Middle East by his interference in Iran. Obama has built on the Carter legacy in steroids. At least Carter had respect for Israel. Will American Jews see Obama’s conspiracy with the U.N. as their “Red Line in the Sand” now that Obama has enabled the UN Security Council to vote for a resolution which urges Israel to end settlement activities in occupied territory?  This resolution will be difficult for Trump to reverse, because UN Security resolutions are considered law in some parts of the world.

In respects to Russia, Obama has recently upset Russia when he signed the NDAA on Friday, December 23, 2016.  The bill was passed by veto-proof majorities in both the House and the Senate earlier this month.  As in other recent years, the bill prohibits military cooperation between the United States and Russia until Russia has “ceased its occupation of Ukrainian territory and its aggressive activities that threaten the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine and members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.”  Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova has concluded that the Authorization Act has been adopted by the outgoing Obama administration to create problems for the incoming Trump administration.  

Another johnny-come-lately policy on December 20, 2016, of Obama’s lame-duck presidency was to designate Atlantic and Arctic areas off-limits to offshore drilling

There must be an effort to stop this lame-duck president before he can lay any more landmines in our foreign and domestic policy. Let there be a lantern in the steeple of the North Church.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Thorner & Ingold: Gun Control: Much to ado about nothing?

Gunshopping

By Nancy Thorner & Ed Ingold – 

As we digested events from last week in the light of President Obama’s Executive Order about gun control, it became clear that gun control was secondary to his attempt to marginalize the NRA. There was lots of sizzle, but no steak in the end. Even diverting attention from Gitmo, ISIS, North Korea, China, and the Middle East played a minor, but useful role.

The NRA refused to bite, so Obama was left to debate an empty chair. According to polls, undecided voters weren’t fooled either. They overwhelmingly agree with the NRA and the Republican candidates in opposition to the President. 

Obama’s references to “Smart Guns” were vague and not picked up by the press nor the NRA, but they are available for purchase.  Not popular at the moment, nevertheless, we took the liberty to explain later in our article what Smart Guns are all about and whether it would be advantageous for you to consider one.

Perhaps the most memorable event during this past week was Obama’s confrontation with Tara Kyle at his town hall meeting at George Mason University in Virginia where Obama sat stunned.  When he couldn’t answer her question, he fell back on the old “something is better than doing nothing” trick.

Background:

The day after the December 2 assault on a Christmas party in San Bernardino, President Obama appeared on television to denounce “yet another tragic example of gun violence,” and renewed his vows to bypass Congress on gun control if they wouldn’t do as he asked. To Obama’s embarrassment, his FBI director announced that San Bernardino would be a terror investigation, not one of workplace violence as depicted by the President.

By at least one account, supposedly leaked from Obama’s inner circle, the President was outraged to be made a fool by director Comey. Accordingly, Obama, Valerie Jarrett and Loretta Lynch made plans to mitigate the situation. The next day Director Comey conducted a press conference, describing the nature of the investigation, accompanied by Attorney General Loretta Lynch.

While Comey outlined the facts of the case, Lynch restricted her comments to a threat to prosecute anyone depicting Muslims as terrorists. When Comey opened the podium to questions, the video feed was suddenly cut off. Actual video of the remaining conference appeared briefly on the internet the next day, but was deleted within hours.

Scare Tactics:

In order to gain support for his forthcoming announcements, the President mentioned things like using the no-fly list to disqualify gun buyers, which has serious constitutional issues. Re-classifying who needs a license to sell firearms. Streamlining reporting of mental issues (HIPAA issues), banning high (actually standard) capacity magazines and assault weapons based on cosmetic features, and mandating weapons to have electronic safety features tying them to one user.

Actual Announcement:

When the President announced his decisions on Tuesday, January 5, they were basically as follows:

  • Directed the ATF to establish rules for licensing requirements to sell firearms. It was not an order to change the rules, rather a directive to start the rule-process, including public comment and Congressional review, which will last well into 2017.
  • Simplify the rules under which mental health professionals can report issues to NICS without violating HIPAA rules. Technically only involuntary examinations are affected, including court-ordered procedures.
  • Increase the budget for mental health research in violence by $500M (subject to Congressional approval).
  • Ask Congress to allow the CDC to study violence as a public health issue (banned by Congress in 2003, following highly questionable and biased reports).
  • Asked for more funding to study “smart gun” technology, comparing it to seat belts in cars and safety standards for toys. This escaped the notice of the press, and apparently the NRA too.

Significance:

In an interview with Fox News, former Attorney General, Michael Mukasey, described the President’s actions as “rearranging furniture.”  Generalities were used by Mukasey: 

  • Less than 1% of guns used in crimes were purchased at gun shows (0.7% by FBI statistics). Most guns used in crime come from illegal street sales (40%) and close relatives (30-40%), not subject to background checks.
  • Potentially criminalizes private individuals selling guns without a license, after the fact, depending on the prosecutor, not clear rules.
  • $500M for mental health research was immediately tabled by the administration, without consulting Congress.
  • No mention was made of using the no-fly list.
  • No mention was made of “assault weapon” bans
  • Mental health issues already impose a limit on who can purchase a firearm, but are not reported reliably by many states. Criminal convictions are not consistently reported to NICS either.
  • Over 2/3rds of Obama’s “gun deaths” are suicides, which occur at the same rate in countries like Great Britain and Japan where no guns are allowed at all.
  • More deaths occur on the streets of Chicago in a month than in all  “active shootings” since Obama was elected.
  • The 24/7 news cycle emphasizes incidents like San Bernardino for weeks on end, while ignoring the daily carnage in cities like Chicago, St. Louis, Baltimore and New Orleans, all run by  unrepentant liberal Democrats. NYC is still somewhat below the national average (4/100K), but climbing rapidly under DeBlasio’s liberal policies.
  • “Smart guns” restrict their use to a single person, using biometrics or an electron finger ring. The technology already exists, in case someone wants it. The acceptance has been very low, almost zero. While it keeps children from firing the weapon, failure would keep the owner from firing it too in an emergency, like an air bag which won’t deploy or a flashlight gone dead when the lights go out. The political implications are serious. At least one state, New Jersey, requires all guns to have this technology once it becomes available. The Democrats would be quick to spread this across the country, and Bloomberg would sponsor initiatives in states where they are allowed (e.g., Washington and Oregon). It would not have protected the cop in Philadelphia, who was shot with a gun stolen from the police. Any mechanism of the sort is easily disabled in a few minutes. The law would come down heavily on any citizen disabling this feature, but what does a criminal have to lose?

Town Hall Meeting:

Obama held a town hall meeting on Thursday, January 7, at George Mason University in Virginia, moderated by CNN. While packed with anti-gun activists and gun violence victims, a few surprises occurred.

Following a lecture by the President, containing familiar talking points, the meeting was opened to questions from the audience. Tara Kyle, widow of the “American Sniper,” Chris Kyle, who was murdered in 2013, pointed out that homicides are at an historic low, gun ownership at an historic high, criminals don’t do background checks, and federal prosecutions for gun crimes are down by 40% since Obama took office. Why?

Making NRA the Strawman:

The NRA was invited to attend, but declined. In an interview with Fox News, NRA Director Chris Cox explained that they were allowed one pre-screened question, and would be held hostage while Obama leveled one accusation after another. In fact, that is precisely what Obama did anyway – accused the NRA of blocking this or that and of raising panic among gun owners, the classic Strawman approach. While there was a marked increase in gun purchases, the NRA had nothing to do with it. Gun owners tend to keep one ear to the ground, and the President made a lot of noise leading up to Tuesday. The NRA was surprisingly low key throughout the two weeks, waiting to discuss facts not assumptions.

It is clear that the President wants to demonize the NRA as the enemy of public safety. With a budget of about $37M, the NRA isn’t even in the top 100 list of lobbying organizations, but their members (and even more followers) are passionate about their right to keep and bear arms for personal safety. Michael Bloomberg alone spends about $20M a year in anti-gun activities, including $2M alone in the Chicago primary race to replace disgraced Jesse Jackson Jr in the House of Representatives, for a race which normally costs less than $500K. The issue – gun control.

Distracting from domestic and international stumbles: 

Throughout the last two weeks, the President has made nearly daily announcements regarding his gun control agenda. This has captivate the attention of nearly everybody, most important the network and cable news industry. This seems to be a Machiavellian attempt to control the news cycle and divert attention from the political situation in the Middle East. It also kept attention from Obama’s continued effort to close the Gitmo prison. Seventeen dangerous Al Qaeda members are scheduled for release in January, almost unnoticed by the press. By law, the Secretary of Defense must affirm (in writing) that these pose no security problem to the US or its allies. Robert Gates, Leon Panetta and Chuck Hagel all resigned in protest. Ashton Carter, who majored in Physics and Medieval History, with a career as a technical advisor, seems more … compliant in this regard.

What would work?

Criminals are going to get firearms as long as it is necessary to do what they do. They will go to the streets, suburbs, other states or other countries if necessary, and they won’t get background checks. If you can’t keep guns from the hands of criminals, why not do as much as possible to keep their hands away from guns. Prosecute them under existing gun laws!

As noted, prosecutions for federal gun crimes are down 40% since Obama took office. In Chicago, there are nearly 3500 illegal guns seized each year, but the average sentence served is less than one year. Under federal law, the minimum is 5 years and can be much longer, yet there were no prosecutions under federal law since Obama took office. It’s a lot harder for criminals to get guns in prison (unfortunately not impossible), and the public would get 5 years of relief from that individual’s depredations.

Mr. President, where is your Department of Justice? Is your reticence due to the demographics of violent crime in your home city?

Thursday, January 07, 2016

Thorner: Republicans accused of cynical scheme that led to odious education law

Essa

By Nancy Thorner – 

Proponents of the “Every Student Succeed Act” (ESSA) — a bi-partisan, progressive, 1061-page “No Child Left Behind” reauthorization education bill passed by Republican majorities in both houses and signed by President Obama on December 10, 2015 – have argued that the bill is worthy of conservative support, claiming it stops Common Core, reins in Obama’s Department of Education, and consolidates a number of federal education programs.

Not so!  Instead, S 1177 represents an unprecedented expansion by the federal government into education, which contrasts the conservative view that education decisions should be made by state and local decision.

According to “Conservative Review”:

The bill retains the fundamental mandate requiring states to concoct uniform standards in reading and math that would be applied statewide throughout all jurisdictions. The bill also keeps the plethora of federal testing requirements that have been the driving force behind the adoption of Common Core, and does nothing to address the duplicate and wasteful programs funded by the Department of Education.  Although a few programs were cut, the bill retains many more programs and even adds a few, such as a pre-K program grant, which will increase spending levels increase over the life of S. 1177. And despite popular rhetoric from supporters, ESSA does not eliminate Common Core, much to the outrage of millions of parents.

Jane Robbins, a respected writer and author on education issue (including Common Core) for “Truth in American Education”, has this to say regarding the newly added ESSA’s preschool program (extending federal tentacles over toddlers) and its institution of President Obama’s pet project, “21st-century community learning centers.” 

 

“The latter means that schools will be expanded to replace family and church as the center of every child’s life, offering myriad “services” including mental-health programs. Few things should alarm parents more than the prospect of the government’s assessing their child’s mental health and proceeding to fix any problem the government claims to find. But this is what the Republican Congress has given us.”

ESSA represents a further erosion of local control and the continuation of a data driven model which corporate interests will benefit from, with its data collection, competency based pay for teachers, pipeline services from birth to age 20, an expansion of data driven computer adaptive testing, and in-school mental health services which will not be protected by HIPPA privacy protection laws.

 

Laurie Higgins, in writing for Illinois Family Action  (sister organization to Illinois Family Institute) on December of 2015, sums up the most pressing problems inherent in the l061 page “No Child Left Behind” reathorization bill:

  • No provision for states to opt out of programs that fall under the ESSA through FY2020.
  • No portability for Title I public school funds, therefore, limiting parental choice of schools.
  • Authorizes $250 million for a new federal preschool program to be administered by the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Education.
  • Education spending levels rise in accordance with the Obama-Boehner budget deal that lifts spending caps and waives debt limit.

The Heritage Foundation offers these additional shortcomings of S 1177:  

  • It doesn’t stop Common Core. 
  • It doesn’t rein in Obama’s Department of Education.  
  • It consolidates a number of federal education programs. 

It is rumored that S. 1177 bill rushed through the U.S. House with too little time for voters to read and digest it in order to protect Jeb Bush’s floundering campaign. It hasn’t helped so far.  Bush did admit to helping re-write the bill.

 

According Emmett McGroarty in his December 21, 2015 article titled, “Obama Administration Reveals GOP Leaders’ Betrayal on Common Core in Ed Bill”, Senator Lemar Alexander, Rep. John Kline, and House Speaker Paul Ryan carried out a cynical scheme to betray their constituents and give the Administration everything it wanted after Anti-Common Core activists tried for months to warn Congress that the new federal education bill (the Every Student Succeeds Act, or ESSA) was a disaster that would cement, not overturn, the odious progressive-education philosophies of the Obama Administration,  Except for 64 House members (click here to see how your member voted) and 12 senators (click here to see how your senators voted) who were brave enough to buck Republican leadership, their warnings were dismissed.

 

The Republican betrayal was revealed by Secretary of Education Arnie Duncan — assuming Duncan is telling the truth and as a lame duck on his way out the door, why shouldn’t he?  In relating a conversation he had with Speaker Paul Ryan a month before the final Senate passage of the bill, Duncan asked whether Ryan was willing to take on the far right.  Ryan replied, “Absolutely.  We’re going to back this.”

 

So Alexander, Kline, and Ryan asked the Administration to keep quiet, not to specifically praise bill and let it get through, while they slipped policies into the bill that they would then market to their “far right” as something that overturned what has been the core of progressive education goals from Day One.  U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Congressman John Kline (R-MN) then fed this bill to their colleagues with talking points that it returns local control, provides more flexibility for states, and “ends Common Core.” Heard over and over again was how this bill will end the “national school board. 

 

Is it not surprising that Arnie Duncan took a victory lap after the bill was passed.  And why not? Just as the grassroots warned, the “core of the [leftist] agenda” is embodied in the unread 1,061 pages of ESSA. Every member of Congress who claims to be conservative and who voted for this, deciding to trust the establishment rather than the knowledgeable constituents who know this issue intimately, should hang his or head in shame.

 

Had members of Congress actually read the bill, they would have seen the bill for the leftist educational agenda that it represented.

Now that the damage has largely already been done, it is up to states to peel themselves away from Common Core and other unauthorized federal incursions on their programs.  In that the federal footprint has not been reduced in any meaningful way insures that ESSA will maintain its current accelerated spending pace.

 

Unfortunately, the S 1177 conference report represents a missed opportunity for Republicans to provide a contrast with the left on this important issue, and to enact legislation to significantly improve our nation’s K-12 education system.

Thorner:  Common Core alive and well, thanks to Republican support

Thursday, January 07, 2016

Essa

By Nancy Thorner – 

Proponents of the “Every Student Succeed Act” (ESSA) — a bi-partisan, progressive, 1061-page “No Child Left Behind” reauthorization education bill passed by Republican majorities in both houses and signed by President Obama on December 10, 2015 – have argued that the bill is worthy of conservative support, claiming it stops Common Core, reins in Obama’s Department of Education, and consolidates a number of federal education programs.

Not so!  Instead, S 1177 represents an unprecedented expansion by the federal government into education, which contrasts the conservative view that education decisions should be made by state and local decision.

According to “Conservative Review”:

The bill retains the fundamental mandate requiring states to concoct uniform standards in reading and math that would be applied statewide throughout all jurisdictions. The bill also keeps the plethora of federal testing requirements that have been the driving force behind the adoption of Common Core, and does nothing to address the duplicate and wasteful programs funded by the Department of Education.  Although a few programs were cut, the bill retains many more programs and even adds a few, such as a pre-K program grant, which will increase spending levels increase over the life of S. 1177. And despite popular rhetoric from supporters, ESSA does not eliminate Common Core, much to the outrage of millions of parents.

Jane Robbins, a respected writer and author on education issue (including Common Core) for “Truth in American Education”, has this to say regarding the newly added ESSA’s preschool program (extending federal tentacles over toddlers) and its institution of President Obama’s pet project, “21st-century community learning centers.” 

“The latter means that schools will be expanded to replace family and church as the center of every child’s life, offering myriad “services” including mental-health programs. Few things should alarm parents more than the prospect of the government’s assessing their child’s mental health and proceeding to fix any problem the government claims to find. But this is what the Republican Congress has given us.”

ESSA represents a further erosion of local control and the continuation of a data driven model which corporate interests will benefit from, with its data collection, competency based pay for teachers, pipeline services from birth to age 20, an expansion of data driven computer adaptive testing, and in-school mental health services which will not be protected by HIPPA privacy protection laws.

Laurie Higgins, in writing for Illinois Family Action  (sister organization to Illinois Family Institute) on December of 2015, sums up the most pressing problems inherent in the l061 page “No Child Left Behind” reathorization bill:

  • No provision for states to opt out of programs that fall under the ESSA through FY2020.
  • No portability for Title I public school funds, therefore, limiting parental choice of schools.
  • Authorizes $250 million for a new federal preschool program to be administered by the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Education.
  • Education spending levels rise in accordance with the Obama-Boehner budget deal that lifts spending caps and waives debt limit.

The Heritage Foundation offers these additional shortcomings of S 1177:  

  • It doesn’t stop Common Core. 
  • It doesn’t rein in Obama’s Department of Education.  
  • It consolidates a number of federal education programs. 

It is rumored that S. 1177 bill rushed through the U.S. House with too little time for voters to read and digest it in order to protect Jeb Bush’s floundering campaign. It hasn’t helped so far.  Bush did admit to helping re-write the bill.

According Emmett McGroarty in his December 21, 2015 article titled, “Obama Administration Reveals GOP Leaders’ Betrayal on Common Core in Ed Bill”, Senator Lemar Alexander, Rep. John Kline, and House Speaker Paul Ryan carried out a cynical scheme to betray their constituents and give the Administration everything it wanted after Anti-Common Core activists tried for months to warn Congress that the new federal education bill (the Every Student Succeeds Act, or ESSA) was a disaster that would cement, not overturn, the odious progressive-education philosophies of the Obama Administration,  Except for 64 House members (click here to see how your member voted) and 12 senators (click here to see how your senators voted) who were brave enough to buck Republican leadership, their warnings were dismissed.

The Republican betrayal was revealed by Secretary of Education Arnie Duncan — assuming Duncan is telling the truth and as a lame duck on his way out the door, why shouldn’t he?  In relating a conversation he had with Speaker Paul Ryan a month before the final Senate passage of the bill, Duncan asked whether Ryan was willing to take on the far right.  Ryan replied, “Absolutely.  We’re going to back this.”

So Alexander, Kline, and Ryan asked the Administration to keep quiet, not to specifically praise bill and let it get through, while they slipped policies into the bill that they would then market to their “far right” as something that overturned what has been the core of progressive education goals from Day One.  U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Congressman John Kline (R-MN) then fed this bill to their colleagues with talking points that it returns local control, provides more flexibility for states, and “ends Common Core.” Heard over and over again was how this bill will end the “national school board. 

Is it not surprising that Arnie Duncan took a victory lap after the bill was passed.  And why not? Just as the grassroots warned, the “core of the [leftist] agenda” is embodied in the unread 1,061 pages of ESSA. Every member of Congress who claims to be conservative and who voted for this, deciding to trust the establishment rather than the knowledgeable constituents who know this issue intimately, should hang his or head in shame.

Had members of Congress actually read the bill, they would have seen the bill for the leftist educational agenda that it represented.

Now that the damage has largely already been done, it is up to states to peel themselves away from Common Core and other unauthorized federal incursions on their programs.  In that the federal footprint has not been reduced in any meaningful way insures that ESSA will maintain its current accelerated spending pace. The S 1177 conference report represents a missed opportunity for Republicans to provide a contrast with the left on this important issue, and to enact legislation to significantly improve our nation’s K-12 education system.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Keystone-Construction-640x218

By Nancy Thorner and Ed Ingold – 

As predicted, President Barack Obama on Friday, November 6, 2015, rejected the proposed Keystone XL oil pipeline from Canada in a victory for environmentalists who campaigned against the project for more than seven years.  His reasons include protection of the environment, no “lasting” economic benefits for the U.S., and the current low price of petroleum.

The supposed danger to the environment is based on the mining of oil sands in Canada, not with the pipeline itself. In fact, oil sands mining will continue unabated, but the oil will be transported by truck and rail at 30 times the environmental risk of a pipelineAccording to the governor of South Dakota, Dennis Daugaard, rejection of the Keystone Pipeline by Obama mean that rail capacity needed to carry petroleum will not leave enough to carry farm produce and grain.

The so-called “temporary” economic benefits consist of employing 20,000 U.S. workers for two to five years building the pipeline, at PRIVATE expense. To Obama, “lasting” benefits only accrue when employing far fewer workers to build roads and bridges at PUBLIC expense.

According to Obama, we don’t need Canadian oil.  Even if we had access to Keystone pipeline oil, the oil gasoline prices wouldn’t be reduced [not overnight anyway]. Besides, gasoline is now priced at record low levels [but still higher than when Obama took office].

Low petroleum prices are deceiving.  Modern extraction techniques, including “fracking” (hydraulic fracturing), still need prices over $60/bbl to be profitable. Prices are low because Saudi Arabia, in what is a Saudi Price War on US Oil, is producing crude oil at the same or higher rate as in the past in order to keep prices below the economic break point for U.S. production. The result: our producers are being driven out of business. Petroleum production is down, and thousands of workers have been laid off. It is also the same strategy Rockefeller (Standard Oil) used in the early 1900s to drive his competitors out of business. Rockefeller was then able to charge as much as he wished without restraint. (This, in turn, led to Teddy Roosevelt’s creation of anti-trust legislation, and the start of the Progressive political movement.)

Legacy building guides Obama

As one who deserves a C- as a student of history (and the Constitution), President Obama does not recognize the strategic value of petroleum in world politics. Countries don’t go to war over principles, they fight for natural resources, manufacturing capability, and other strategic assets (e.g., warm water ports). Western Europe depends on Russia for oil and natural gas supplies, whether from Russia directly, or from the Middle East. Without the ability to provide an alternate source of energy, the U.S. cannot count on Europe to back us if Russia were to attack the Baltic States or were Iran to attack Saudi Arabia (almost a certainty in the foreseeable future).

One thing Obama does understand, and only too well, is that in approving Keystone he would undercut his global leadership on Climate Change when nations come together at the end of this month for COP21.

France will chair and host the 21st Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP21/CMP11) from November 30 to December 11, 2015. The conference is crucial because the expected outcome is a new international agreement on climate change, applicable to all, to keep global warming below 2°C. This temperature variation has been adopted, in spite of the fact that the same climate experts admit the 2 degree rise will occur regardless of the proposed CO2 cutbacks. The real issue:  transferring billions of dollars to corrupt, “developing” nations, while at the same time crippling the economies of those nations expected to pay up.

Legacy is all important to Obama.  Consequences matter little to Obama, as long as his political agenda is being fulfilled in accordance to what he views as appropriate in his assumed role of an imperialist president.

Obama, in accusing others about politicizing the pipeline, remarked that its importance had become “overinflated” and was being used as campaign fodder by both parties.  However, Obama is using the pipeline as a symbol for his global climate change legacy?  Approving the pipeline would have been out-of-step with Obama’s climate message.

It matters not to Obama that as this nation has lead the world in reducing emissions. His legacy assured, it will be up to succeeding presidents to deal with the problems he has created. Rejection of the Pipeline is part of a win-win strategy for Obama and a lose-lose strategy for the rest of nation.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

By Nancy Thorner and Bonnie O’Neil – 

25-firstdraft-boehner-golf-tmagArticle

We all should be concerned, actually outraged, about a secret deal reported to have been made between former House Speaker Boehner and President Obama. Recently,an executive with Eagle Forum met with his organization’s state leaders, a dozen members of the House and a Senator. Each Congress member complained about the deal and expressed their outrage.

`Their complaints centered around the procedure and a lack of information, among which were the following complaints:

  • “It (the deal)  just came out and no one really knows what’s in it.”
  • “Republican leadership wants it passed, but how can we vote on this massive deal if we haven’t even read it?”

The manner in which Congress members described the budget bill’s secret deal was not unlike what Nancy Pelosi told Congress March 9, 2010 about Obamacare:  “But you have to pass the Obamacare bill to find out what’s in it . . . .”   That caused many Republicans to be furious, but who ever thought the Republican leadership would allow Obama to persuade them to enact the same type of back room type deal?

It was obvious that John Boehner was asking Republicans to vote for a budget bill they did not yet understand and that would give President Obama unlimited authority to raise the debt. Is it any wonder why congressmen were infuriated?  The U.S. national debt jumped $339 billion on Monday, November 2, 2015, the same day President Obama signed into law the two-year budget legislation suspending the debt ceiling which allows the government to borrow as much as it wants above the $18.1 trillion debt ceiling that had been in place.

Dave Walker, who headed the Government Accountability Office (GAO) under Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, said that when you add up all of the nation’s unfunded liabilities, the national debt is more than three times the number generally advertised or about $65 trillion!

After further meetings with officials, it finally occurred to the Eagle Forum president what was about to happen. The House was preparing to execute another deception to the American people:  the old bait-and-switch vote.  Just after 3 p.m. EST Wednesday, Oct. 28, there was a vote on the floor of the House with all but 29 of the Republicans in the House voting to advance the “Rule” for the Boehner-Obama secret budget deal.

By passing this “rule,” Republicans who had not read the bill or even likely understood its details were putting Boehner, Pelosi and Obama in charge of our future.  If the Republicans had voted against this “rule,” there would have been no vote on the budget deal. However, just after 5 p.m. the House voted on the Boehner-Obama secret budget bill BEFORE voting against it. This enabled congressmen to go home and tell their constituents that they voted against a very bad bill.  But in reality they didn’t vote against the Boehner-Obama budget deal until after they voted for it.  This is not what constituents expect from their leaders.

The 1st vote of House members to move the Boehner-Obama Budget Deal was at 3:33 pm, Wed. Oct. 28th. You can learn how your member voted here:  Unfortunately, not one U.S. Illinois congressman voted to stop the bill!

The 2nd vote of the House to move the Boehner-Obama Budget Deal occurred at 5:21 pm, Wed. Oct. 28th.   Now, 167 Republicans voted to stop it, but it was too late!  You can find how your member voted here: 

This is the oldest political game in the book — token voting and token opposition. This is not the first time the Republicans in power used tactics that allowed Democrats to pass controversial bills. There is a growing number of people who now suspect many Republicans who claimed they were against Obamacare actually wanted it, which is why they supported Romney as their choice for the Republican presidential ticket. His health care insurance law known as Romneycare, which passed in MA in 2006, was their primary reason.

It is also suspected that specific Republicans allowed Al Franken to steal the 2008 election from Norm Coleman. Facts indicated fraud, but Republicans did little to demand further scrutiny and/or evidence of the fraud, thus their lack of demands allowed Franken to become the vote needed to get a filibuster proof vote of 60 .

Then Republicans permitted Obamacare to pass on Christmas Eve in 2009 when they could have easily stalled and waited until Scott Brown become the 41st vote to filibuster it.  Ultimately, Republicans, refused to defund Obamacare when a shutdown over Obamacare would have been a political winner.  This is clearly why Republican voters are eyeing non-establishment candidates for 2016; they are weary of their representatives ignoring their requests, using deceptive tactics, and voting with the opposition party on highly controversial legislation.

Other D.C. games that hide the agenda of many Republican leaders

1.  By voting for Paul Ryan to replace House Speaker Boehner, conservatives must now have 218 votes to initiate or object to any bill Ryan does not want.  Since Ryan has advocated open borders, what are the chances of enacting and passing conservative bills with which the speaker disagrees even if a Republican president should be elected?

2. By allowing Democrats to register the bad votes, Republican House moderates are spared the blame when unpopular bills are passed.  There should be a caucus rule that no bill reaches to the floor that doesn’t have majority Republican support. Any such bill, except with a discharge petition, would mean an automatic revote for a new Republican House Speaker by the Republican caucus.

3. By allowing one rule for Democrats but another rule for Republicans, Democrats were allowed to suspend the filibuster under Reid to get Obama’s bad judges through, but the Republicans didn’t turn the tables and end it under their rule this year. Republicans could force Obama to veto a lot of bad bills. In 2001 Bush’s tax cuts got through the Senate on budget reconciliation rules so Democrats couldn’t filibuster them. Are we going to do the same thing for President Cruz’ or President Trump’s tax plans? Maybe. But what about all the other legislation Democrats could filibuster, including judges and other presidential appointments?

Might Republicans suffer from ‘Stockholm Syndrome’?

This accusation from the Eagle Forum president is not lost on many frustrated conservatives:

“It is always a surprise when men and women of good will are dishonest.   We conservatives believe the truth matters and that men and women of good will are abiders of the truth. To be candid, I am not sure whether the lies we are being told are malicious or if the Republicans are in the throes of ‘Stockholm Syndrome’ and believe that what they are doing is somehow justified. But I am not sure it matters: America is on the brink and our congress is lying to us.”

The budget deal hammered out by Boehner with his fellow leaders in Congress and the White House, enraged the very members of his conference who edged Boehner out.  The Obama-Boehner deal would increase the $18.1 trillion debt limit by at least $1.5 trillion and add $80 billion in spending. Although the Boehner deal has been called his “parting gift”, whose gift is it?  While Paul Ryan blasted Boehner over the budget deal, the fact is, Ryan did vote for it.

For many, the 2016 election represents this nation’s last chance to right itself from the path it is has been traveling towards Socialism, a political system that has never succeeded wherever or wherever it has been enacted. This nation desperately needs a president who will wrest control from the establishment of both parties.  We need an entirely new Congress that will work with a conservative president and not use the parliamentary games described above to stop him.

Conservatives have the tools to fight back!

We applaud Kyle McCarter for taking on a “Republican” congressman (John Shimkus of the 15th Congressional District) who has been cynically playing the Washington game to fool his constituents.  Hopefully there will be others who will step forward to take on the rest of Illinois’ “Republican” delegation.

But even if no one steps forward, there is a good possibility of a third party springing up in the fall to register voter disgust.  Dissatisfied Illinois voters can safely vote third party without being accused of “electing a worse Democrat”, in light of U. S. Illinois congressmen like Peter Roskam (67.22%); Randy Hultgrin (65.6%); John Shimkus (75%); and Adam Kinzinger (70.7%) who won by large margins of voters in 2014.

It’s really not a mystery why this nation is failing and patriots are concerned.  Not only are some Republicans not adhering to their campaign promises, but Conservatives won’t use the tools they have to fight back.  If we don’t start now, it won’t be long before we will all be like Kim David, in jail because of the actions of liberal judges and bureaucrats flush with power and an unprecedented audacity never before seen in America until now.

It is time for all good men to come to the aid of their party.  Those of us who loved the America we once knew must not allow socialism to seep into the fabric that allowed us to become the greatest nation in the World.  Elections have consequences; make your vote an educated one and elect a strong, honest patriot who will not be influenced by anything other than what is best for America.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Friday, February 13, 2015


Tuesday, January 27, 2015