Israel opens second int'l airport in response to flight cancellations

This second airport is further away from the fighting along the border with Gaza.  The FAA’s response to this development to this development will be very telling.  My suspicion is that the FAA’s suspension of flights is merely a way of putting pressure on Israel to cave in to Hamas’s demands.

Transportation Minister Israel Katz on Wednesday instructed the relevant agencies to immediately open the Uvda airport, the country’s second terminus for air traffic which lies just north of Eilat, in the wake of the spate of flight cancellations announced by major foreign airlines.

Katz convened a meeting of senior civilian aviation officials who recommended that the Uvda airport be utilized to replace Ben-Gurion Airport.

Speaking to reporters at Ben-Gurion Airport, Katz said that Uvda would begin operating at noon local time. The minister said that efforts are also being made to provide service to some 4,000 Israelis who were left stranded in Istanbul after their airlines refused to fly into Lod in light of the FAA ban announced on Tuesday.

Katz said that his ministry had urged Turkish aviation officials to transport the Israelis back home, but that the Turks are hesitant to land their aircraft in Uvda.

BREAKING: Russian separatists shoot down two military jets over Ukraine

The situation in Ukraine is growing more desperate.  Even as the outrage over flight MH17 continues to grow, Russian separatists in Ukraine just shot down two more planes, this time military jets. 

from WaPo:

Two Ukrainian warplanes were shot down Wednesday over rebel-held eastern Ukraine in the same vicinity as a Malaysian airliner that was downed last week, Ukrainian officials said.

The planes, both Sukhoi Su-25 attack aircraft, were struck in the vicinity of Saur Mogila, a town just west of the Russian border, said Aleksey Dmitrashkovsky, a spokesman for the Ukrainian armed forces.

Vladislav Seleznev, a Ukrainian military spokesman in the eastern combat zone, said the two jets were struck by antiaircraft missiles when they were flying in the same vicinity as Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17, which was shot down last week with 298 passengers and crew on board. He said a pilot was the only person in each of the two Soviet-designed military planes, which are used for close air support. The government said both pilots ejected.

The downing of the warplanes came as bodies of MH17 victims were being flown out of Ukraine en route to the Netherlands.

read the rest

To me, this new development shows that there will be no justice for the innocent victims of MH17 until the international community unequivocally stands with Ukraine against Putin and his bullies. 

IRS techs: Lois Lerner’s drive was “scratched” and “recoverable” but still destroyed

According to the tech experts at the IRS who actually examined Lois Lerner’s hard drive, the data was not unrecoverable.  Despite the Federal Records Act that requires all communications at the IRS to be preserved, the drive was destroyed anyway. 

from Washington Examiner:

Top IRS officials told congressional investigators that Lois Lerner’s hard drive — the one containing emails that could shed light on the IRS targeting scandal — was irreparably damaged before it was destroyed completely in 2011. But now, investigators have had a chance to talk to the technical experts inside the IRS who actually examined Lerner’s computer, and the experts say the hard drive in question was actually just “scratched,” and that most of the data on it was recoverable.

The IRS computer experts also told the committee that they had recommended seeking outside help in recovering the data from Lerner’s computer — something IRS management declined to do.

The revelation has increased the sense among Republicans on Capitol Hill that they’re being jerked around by the IRS. “It is unbelievable that we cannot get a simple, straight answer from the IRS about this hard drive,” House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp said in a statement Tuesday. “The committee was told no data was recoverable and the physical drive was recycled and potentially shredded. To now learn that the hard drive was only scratched, yet the IRS refused to utilize outside experts to recover the data, raises more questions about potential criminal wrong doing at the IRS.”

In addition, the committee says it has come across evidence that, at least for some period of time, Lerner’s computer was listed as “recovered” in an internal IRS IT tracking document. The committee says IRS experts were not able to say whether “recovered” meant that the hard drive had actually been saved or whether it had met some other fate.

read the rest

It’s time to start pressing criminal charges.  We now have a clear cut case of evidence tampering against Lois Lerner.  

Separate appeals court upholds Obamacare subsidies

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This happened yesterday (Tuesday) but we didn’t have time to tell you about it (and, quite frankly, it was a little depressing). [Begin Sarcasm] A couple of hours after a court ruled that the word “state” has the same definition as the word “state”, a different appeals court (apparently) ruled that the word was actually two words and that they were homonyms. They ruled that the word “state” means “state” but that the word “state”, however, means “Federal Government.” It’s really quite simple. [End Sarcasm] Facepalm.

From CNBC:

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit upheld a federal regulations that implemented subsidies that are vital to President Barack Obama’s healthcare overhaul, in direct conflict with another ruling on the issue handed down earlier on Tuesday.

A three-judge panel unanimously said the law was ambiguous, and that it would defer to the IRS’s determination that subsidies could go to individuals who purchased health insurance on both federal and state-run exchanges.

Read the Rest

Understand how troubling and dangerous that bold section is.

First of all, a three-judge panel ruled that the word “state” is ambiguous when actually, the definition is quite clear:

a nation or territory considered as an organized political community under one government.

The United States has 50 of these territories that are organized political communities under one government (Here’s a list of them in case you still consider it “ambiguous”). Did the justices not have access to that list? You would think that people who had gone through all the work and schooling it requires to be an expert on the law, would know that the United States has 50 of these territories known as “states”. There’s nothing ambiguous about it.

Secondly, if the word “state” is ambiguous, then why isn’t every word in the law ambiguous? Can the words “shall” and “must” now become suggestions that are optional? If not, why not?

But lastly, by their very ruling, they are allowing the IRS to interpret laws.

…it would defer to the IRS’s determination…

Umm…excuse me? Since when does the IRS, an agency with questionable Constitutionality in its own right, get to interpret law and change the definition of words?

What actually went down here, regardless of what anyone wants to admit, is that when the Congress wrote “state”, it actually meant “state” and that the federal government is retroactively changing the rules because they don’t like the outcome of the law they wrote. Rather than take it back to Congress to allow them to change it, they are simply trying to “fix” it with the courts. It’s the same strategy they’ve used on the Constitution for years: Take words, phrases and sentences that have very clear and specific meanings, and make them “ambiguous.”

Texas Lt. Gov: 80-85% of Illegals Aren’t Unaccompanied Kids

This is the exact opposite of what we’ve been hearing over the past few weeks. According to the Lieutenant Governor of Texas, only a small percentage of those crossing the border are unaccompanied children.

Texas Lt. Governor David Dewhurst (R) reported that the vast majority of illegal immigrants coming over the southern border are not unaccompanied minors in an appearance on Tuesday’s broadcast of MSNBC’s “The Daily Rundown.”  “Our effort in Texas is not focused on the unaccompanied children…we are focused on-the unaccompanied children represent some 12%-20%. We’re focused on that 80, the 85% of which a quarter according to the border patrol, have a criminal record” he said about Texas’ recent deployment to of the National Guard to the southern border.

For second time, rockets found at UN school in Gaza

Strangely, the UN hasn’t stopped treating Israel like the bad guys in the Middle East.  

“Today, in the course of the regular inspection of its premises, UNRWA discovered rockets hidden in a vacant school in the Gaza Strip,” the organization said in a statement issued Tuesday. “As soon as the rockets were discovered, UNRWA staff were withdrawn from the premises, and so we are unable to confirm the precise number of rockets. The school is situated between two other UNRWA schools that currently each accommodate 1,500 internally displaced persons.”

As it did the last time around when missiles were found in a school it operates, UNRWA said it “strongly and unequivocally condemns the group or groups responsible for this flagrant violation of the inviolability of its premises under international law.”

UNRWA, the UN agency charged with overseeing humanitarian efforts in Gaza, said it immediately “informed the relevant parties and is pursuing all possible measures for the removal of the objects in order to preserve the safety and security of the school.” The organization again pledged to launch a “comprehensive investigation into the circumstances surrounding this incident.”

Obama isn’t done unilaterally re-writing Obamacare

There is a massive amount of irony making its way to the Supreme Court right now.  Earlier today, the US Federal Court of Appeals ruled that the Obama administration was in violation of the Obamacare law by running a Federal insurance exchange.  Another branch of the Appeals Court ruled the exact opposite.  Thus, the Supreme Court will one again be taking up another Obamacare case, only this time the Obama administration will be arguing that the law isn’t really the law.  

In the White House’s view, the law is whatever Obama says it is. Thus, even though Obama himself signed Obamacare into existence, he continues to unilaterally issue changes to the law, something he has zero Constitutional authority to do. 

from American Spectator:

Obamacare’s supporters have long insisted that it is the “law of the land,” implicitly suggesting that it is immutable and permanent. Evidently, it hasn’t occurred to these people to mention that to their dear leader. His Majesty, Barack I, obviously thinks of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act as a collection of royal decrees, any one of which may be altered at his pleasure. Thus, in a proclamation issued last week through the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, His Highness declared that all U.S. territories are now exempt from most of PPACA’s morass of rules and regulations.

Neither he nor any other official of the executive branch possesses the constitutional authority to issue such an exemption to the territories, which include Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, American Samoa, Guam, and the Northern Mariana Islands, without first consulting Congress. In fact, one of His Majesty’s courtiers made that clear in a letter written a year ago to Sixto Igosomar, Secretary of Commerce of the Mariana Islands. Igosomar, like many of his territorial counterparts, had requested relief from Obamacare’s most destructive provisions and was advised that HHS had no authority to provide it.

Of particular concern to territorial officials was the notorious guaranteed issue provision, which requires health insurance companies to provide coverage to all comers regardless of their current or past health conditions. But the letter, which was written by the same Obama administration apparatchik who was later forced to resign pursuant to his serial prevarications to Congress concerning the Healthcare.gov debacle, unequivocally stated that the territories were stuck with that albatross: “HHS has no legal authority to exclude the territories from the guaranteed availability provision of the Affordable Care Act.”

read the rest

This is what the White House tweeted when the House voted to repeal Obamacare:

Today, the Obama administration is officially taking the legal position that the same law does not have to be followed, as long as you’re Obama.

Supreme Court Justice Kennedy: the Constitution is a “flawed document”

His job is to uphold the Constitution and hold the Federal Government to its rule, but Justice Kennedy made it clear this weekend that he isn’t really interested in Constitutional authority. 

from SF Gate:

Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy wasn’t out to make news when he addressed the annual conference of the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and devoted most of his 50-minute speech to the Magna Carta, which turns 800 years old in 2015. But Kennedy did let on that he doesn’t belong to the school of Constitution-worshipers who base their legal doctrines on what they glean to be the original, literal meaning of every word and phrase in the nation’s founding document.

“The Constitution of the United States is a flawed document,” Kennedy said at Thursday’s windup conference session in Monterey. By “thinly veiled language,” he said, it “basically reaffirmed the legality of slavery,” referring to provisions that allowed the slave trade to continue at least until 1808 and defined each slave as three-fifths of a person when deciding how many congressional delegates to assign to each state.

The 600,000 who died in the Civil War, Kennedy said, were “one of the things it cost for having a Constitution that was flawed.”

At the same time, he said, the drafters of the Constitution had the insight to declare principles, like due process of law, that could be interpreted anew by future generations — a sacrilege to literalists like Justice Antonin Scalia, who contends the court is strictly bound by what he deems to be the original intent and meaning of the document.

“The framers were wise enough to know that they could not foresee the injustices” of the future, Kennedy said, “so they used general language.”

read the rest

Perhaps Justice Kennedy needs to do a bit more reading on the Founding Fathers before he begins discounting their “general language.”  We have extensive writing from the Framers on virtually every word of the Constitution.  

It is not the job of the Supreme Court to weed out the Constitution’s supposed “flaws.”  It is their job to evaluate the Federal Government’s laws and actions and hold them to the Constitutional standard. 

Kennedy should be impeached (something the Founders were serious doing) because it is clear he has no intention of doing his job (which only exists because of the Constitution).   If Kennedy believes that the Constitution is flawed, he has no business being the one enforcing it. 

BREAKING: FAA halts all flights to Israel after Hamas rockets land near Tel Aviv airport

Earlier today, Delta halted all flights to Israel after Hamas rockets landed near Ben Gurion airport in Tel Aviv.  The FAA just expanded that decision to all US airlines. 

from Wall Street Journal:

The Federal Aviation Administration banned U.S carriers from flying to Tel Aviv for at least 24 hours after a rocket attack near Ben Gurion International Airport.

Earlier Tuesday Delta Air Lines, DAL +1.39% American Airlines Group Inc. AAL +0.40% and United Continental Holdings Inc. UAL +2.31% said they were canceling flights to Israel until further notice after reports that a rocket landed near Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion Airport.

A Delta Boeing 747 from New York was flying over the Mediterranean headed for Tel Aviv on Tuesday when it turned around and flew to Paris instead. Flight 468 had 273 passengers and 17 crew on board.

United said Tuesday that is suspending its two daily Tel Aviv flights until further notice. The airline said one of its planes left Tel Aviv with passengers earlier Tuesday and the second is still on the ground there. United is working on plans to remove the second Boeing 777.

read the rest

Nobody wants another rocket attack on a civilian airliner. 

White House to ignore Appeals Court’s Obamacare ruling and continue issuing subsidies

King Obama doesn’t care whether or not he’s violating a law that he signed.  Checks and balances mean nothing to him.

from Daily Caller:

The Obama administration will continue handing out Obamacare subsidies to federal exchange customers despite a federal court’s ruling Tuesday that the subsidies are illegal.

A D.C. Court of Appeals panel ruled Tuesday morning that customers in the 36 states that didn’t establish their own exchange and use HealthCare.gov instead cannot be given premium tax credits, according to the text of the Affordable Care Act itself. (RELATED: Federal Court Takes Down Obamacare: Subsidies In Federal Exchange Are Illegal)

But the White House said in response that it will continue handing out the billions of taxpayer dollars in subsidies. White House press secretary Josh Earnest said that while the case continues to be battled out in the courts, the administration will continue to dole out billions in tax credits to federally-run exchange customers.

“It’s important for people all across the country to understand that this ruling does not have any practical impact on their ability to continue to receive tax credits right now,” Earnest said in a press briefing Tuesday.

read the rest

The statement by the White House today only further emphasizes that Obama only follows the laws he wants to follow. This is not how a President acts.  This is how a dictator acts.

White House Correspondents Association issues formal complaint over Obama admin’s lack of transparency.

CBS’s Major Garrett took time during today’s White House press briefing to speak on behalf of the White House Correspondents Association, issuing a formal complaint against the White House’s lack of media transparency. 

No joke: Shortly after testimony, IRS requests help destroying 3,200 hard drives

According to a report, mere days after the testimony suggesting that Lerner’s “crashed” hard drive had been “wiped clean”, the IRS requested help destroying 3,200 more hard drives.

From the Washington Times:

Days after IRS officials said in a sworn statement that former top agency employee Lois G. Lerner’s computer memory had been wiped clean, the agency put out word to contractors Monday that it needs help to destroy at least another 3,200 hard drives.

The Internal Revenue Service solicitation for “media destruction” services reflects an otherwise routine job to protect sensitive taxpayer information, but it was made while the agency’s record destruction practices remain under a sharp congressional spotlight.

Read the Rest

I understand that a massive organization like the IRS (110,000 employees. Think about that. More than a tenth of a million people whose job it is to take money from citizens who have earned it.) has a great amount of private data that must not get into the hands of the public. But it seems like there would have been slightly different protocol followed under the extenuating circumstances. Unless, of course, they were trying to hide something.

Delta cancels all Israel flights over missile fear

As Hamas’ rocket attacks on Israel continue, Delta airlines has cancelled all flights to and from Israel citing safety concerns after reports of a rocket landed near a major airport.

Delta Air Lines is canceling all flights to Israel until further notice, citing reports that a rocket landed near Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion Airport.

A Delta Boeing 747 from New York was flying over the Mediterranean headed for Tel Aviv on Tuesday when it turned around and flew to Paris instead. Flight 468 had 273 passengers and 17 crew on board.

Airlines and passengers are growing more anxious about safety since last week, when a Malaysia Airlines jet was shot down over Ukraine, killing all 298 people on board.

VIDEO: When WH Press Secretary criticizes “anonymous sources,” reporter calls him out for being one!

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest just got a huge smack down from reporters in the press pool.  Refusing to answer questions about a report with anonymous sources, McClatchy White House Anita Kumar blasted him for hypocrisy, revealing that Earnest himself was often an anonymous source.

Here’s the video:

I think it’s telling that Earnest describes the daily White House press briefing as a “symbol.” In other words, it’s meaningless but he’ll stand up there and bask in his own importance.

It’s also ridiculous for Earnest to criticize anonymous sources when the Obama administration has prosecuted more whistleblowers than any administration in history.

BOOM! Federal Appeals Court deals massive blow to Obamacare

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We told you this might happen. The latest lawsuit against Obamacare hits at the actual wording of the law.

From USA Today:

federal appeals court dealt a potentially major blow to President Obama’s health care law Tuesday, ruling that participants in health exchanges run by the federal government in 34 states are not eligible for tax subsidies.

The 2-1 ruling by a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, which is sure to be appealed by the government, threatens the framework of the health care system for about 5 million Americans without employer-provided health plans.

The case, filed by a coalition of states, employers and individuals, had been considered a long shot effort to derail the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. Federal district judges in the District of Columbia and Virginia previously had ruled for the government. Three similar cases remain pending.

The appeals panel ruled that as written, the health care law allows tax credits to be offered to qualified participants only in state-run exchanges. The administration had expected most if not all states to create their own, but only 16 states did so.

Read the Rest

In short, the law states that health care exchanges would be set up by the individual states. But when 34 states rejected the exchanges, the individuals in those states signed up for Obamacare via federal exchanges. The problem is that nowhere in the law are federal exchanges mentioned. State exchanges, however, are mentioned multiple times. Some analysts are calling this a “long shot” and it might be. But it shouldn’t be. Words mean things and if “state” doesn’t mean “state”, then what other words in the law can be changed?

Remember, there are still several courts that need to hear this, but this is welcomed news to those of us who understand what a complete disaster this law is and will continue to be.

More analysis here. Reaction here.