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9/11 plus 15

Fifteen years ago today, 19 al-Qaeda terrorists hijacked four American planes, used them as guided missiles, brought down the World Trade Towers, severely damaged the Pentagon, and four terrorists were overpowered by Americans over a field in Pennsylvania. The suicide terrorist attacks killed 2,996, caused more than $100 billion in damages and stole America’s innocence.

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According to a new Pew Research Center poll, the 9/11 attacks continue to be a powerful memory for Americans: 91 percent of adults remember exactly where they were or what they were doing when they heard about the terrorist attacks.

So how has the 15–year “war on terror” changed America? Looking back and forward, can Americans really believe they are safer?

First a bit of history, the “war on terror” rightly started in the tribal nation of Afghanistan. Brand-new President George W. Bush summoned his top advisors to the Oval Office and chose Cofer Black, former CIA whiz, to implement a devastating retaliation for the nearly three thousand deaths. Black offered no mercy and told the rookie president that this effort required a few hundred specially trained military forces, 110 CIA officers, direct firepower, a bunch of money and his plan would end with what Black called – using an old Angola War expression – “when this is all over, the bad guys are going to have flies walking across their eyeballs.”

After 10 weeks, Black and his stealth-fighting machine proclaimed victory. All the Taliban cities, as well as their government, had been toppled.

In a 2013 Men’s Journal interview Black was asked if he briefed the Russians about the impending attack and how the Ruskies responded to his plan. They said, “You’re really going to get the hell kicked out of you.” Black replied, “We’re going to kill them – we’re going to put their heads on sticks… and you know what, the Russians loved it! After the meeting was over, two senior Russian officials, whom I will not name, said to me, ‘Mr. Black, finally America is acting like a superpower!’”

The follow through earned Black and the US the respect that had been sorely lacking.

The success should have ended there. But as we know, it didn’t. Bush ensnared the country into an ill-defined and ill-conceived “war on terror” that continues today.

Whether you agree with the “war on terror” or not, the consequences are very real and very alarming. With the advent of comprehensive counterinsurgency, COIN or nation-building, thanks General Petraeus, the taxpayers have spent trillions of dollars in a region made up of tribal nations.

Case in point, in a recent interview, Commander of Afghanistan US and NATO Forces, General John Nicholson told PBS the war’s progress is tedious. “We’re trying to build an airplane while in flight, OK? So they’re fighting a war while we’re trying to build an army. This is very hard,” he explained.

It must be said that the “war on terror” falls under the asymmetrical category. The sneaky “stateless” armies must be defeated with clear goals and end-state solutions. It’s here where the most powerful armed forces on the planet have stumbled.

In his book the Field of Fight, retired Army three-star General Mike Flynn describes the best way to defeat marauding radical Islamic terrorists. Flynn says to win the battle against radical Islam we must destroy the jihadi armies, kill or capture their leaders, discredit their ideology, create a 21st-century alliance and must hold countries, like Saudi Arabia, accountable for supporting terrorism.

“The best plan gives you the most options at the last possible minute. Right now we don’t have the best plan. A real strategic discussion about what it is that we are trying to achieve. Is it the defeat of radical Islam? It has to be beyond that and that’s where an alliance of nations has to get it together,” Flynn said.

It cost Osama bin-Laden roughly $500,000 to bring down the Twin Towers and Pentagon. In return, the US has suffered tens of thousands of casualties and flushed away trillions of dollars into the Middle East black hole. Plus, hundreds of thousands of Middle Easterners have died and more than 12 million of refugees are now stateless. Newt Gingrich said this week the US has failed so badly in the Middle East that we are giving the number one state sponsor of terrorism, Iran, $1.7 billion in cash, just like a drug cartel.

“So 15 years after 9/11, we’re not winning.  We’re not winning in Afghanistan.  We’re not winning in Iraq.  We’re not winning in Syria.  We’re not winning in Libya. We’re not winning in Yemen,” Gingrich emphasized (mimicking Donald Trump). He’s right.

One reason for the protracted war may be the US Foreign Military Sales (FMS) program. American arms and technology companies export, firearms, fighter jets, tanks, as well as Patriot Missile batteries.

The big winner in the Department of State’s 2017 budget includes $5.7 billion for Foreign Military Financing. The main recipients of the proposed budget will be Israel ($3.1 billion), Egypt ($1.3 billion), Jordan ($350 million), Pakistan ($265 million), and Iraq ($150 million).

While the Middle East tops the list, funding for Africa in 2017 will double from last year. Due to ISIS’ expansion into Africa, countries like Mali, Somalia, and Nigeria will see an influx of American weaponry. But why do American leaders want to militarize the African continent? Of course, the prominent argument is; “if the US doesn’t do something then other countries will do it.” However, no other country on the planet finances military sales like the US.

The US and its band of misfit coalition partners have implemented a massive military build-up on the Arabian Peninsula and Israel. Let’s take a look at the military arsenal provided to a few coalition partners, most of which are also classified as human rights violators according to the State Department (link to other FMS article).

For the last three years, the US has provided tens of billions of dollars in military weaponry through Foreign Military Sales (FMS) to the United Arab Emirates (UAE); population 5.6 million, Qatar; population 2.1 million, Kuwait; population 2.7 million and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA); population 27.3 million.

The US has also provided both offensive and defensive weapon systems – some are designed to protect against airborne missile retaliation and air attacks. For example, the US supplied Qatar ($9.9B), Kuwait ($4.2 billion), and UAE ($1.1B) with Patriot anti-missile systems and UAE also acquired a $6.5B theater anti-air defense (THAAD) system. This type of weaponry typically protects against missile attacks from such weapons as SCUDs and the MLRS (Multiple Launch Rocket Systems) like the 880 launchers the Islamic Republic of Iran operates. The MLRS has a range of approximately 300 kilometers, making it easily capable of reaching any of the Gulf States of Kuwait, Qatar, UAE, and even KSA.

America also sold KSA $6.7 billion worth of KC-130 aerial refueling tankers, the UAE $4 billion and KSA $6.8 billion of munitions including “bunker buster bombs,” (typically used to attack harden targets like nuclear facilities); Qatar a $1.2 billion early warning radar suite; KSA $1.3 billion for 30 patrol boats for use in the Gulf of Hormuz; KSA $4 billion to upgrade its national guard; Qatar spent $3 billion on Apache Longbow attack helicopters used for special operations insertions. The list also includes the Globemaster long-range air transport planes, Javelin missiles, F-18’s and F-16’s, and Sidewinder anti-air missiles.

Also for last few years, the US has been quietly aiding the rebel insurgency in Syria trying to overthrow the Iranian-backed government of Bashir al-Assad. There have been multiple news reports, (including this report) that the US provided weapons collected from deposed Libyan Dictator Qaddafi and moved them through its CIA clearinghouse in Turkey to supply al-Qaeda-linked extremist groups opposing the Assad regime. It’s worth pointing out that both Qatar and KSA have been major supporters of the anti-Assad insurgency that evolved from a national rebellion and morphed into a major jihadi operation.

Details of this massive military build-up can be found on the Department of State (DoS) website. The DoS oversees Government-to-Government defense transfers through the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) program and is implemented through DoD’s Defense Security Cooperation Agency.

Interestingly, “(I)n addition to FMS, the Department of State also issues export licenses to US companies providing defense articles and services through our Direct Commercial Sales (DCS) efforts, usually after an intensive interagency review to ensure that exports further US foreign policy and national security interests,” a State Department official said. However, “Export license information is not disclosed by the Department due to restrictions under the Arms Export Control Act and International Traffic in Arms Regulations, but general information is released from DCS.”

According to the State Department, in the case of either FMS or DCS, the United States takes into account political, military, economic, arms control, and human rights conditions in making decisions on the provision of military equipment and the licensing of direct commercial sales to any country, in accordance with the Conventional Arms Transfer Policy, the Arms Export Control Act, and relevant international agreements

“Review and monitoring are an integral component of the process for US- origin defense articles delivered to any recipient nation. This is to make sure that those articles are being used in the manner intended and are consistent with our legal obligations, foreign policy goals, and values,” a Senior State Department official said.

And both State and Defense argue that Middle Eastern countries have agreed to work toward US security interests and abide by President Obama’s foreign policy doctrine.

However, looking at the current Middle East conflicts finds every country focused on sectarian protectionism, especially since the Obama administration has seemingly checked out. It is essential that this high-tech arsenal provided to foreign nations by US defense contractors be carefully monitored. The consequences of equipment falling into the wrong hands can be deadly, as it was for flight MH17 in Ukraine.

As the impact of ISIS’ offensive continues to sink in, US intelligence officials contend ISIS did not just randomly explode on the scene in 2014, they claim to have been reporting to high-level government officials the rise as well as the expansion of ISIS since 2012. This murderous organization is largely fueled by Qatar and Saudi Arabia. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Brett McGurk testified before a Committee claiming, “The ISIS’ operations are calculated, coordinated and part of a strategic campaign led by its Syria-based leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.”

“This was a very clear case in which the US knew what was going on but followed a policy of deliberate neglect,” said Vali Nasr, the Dean of Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies and a former State Department adviser for the Middle East. During its assault in the region, ISIS received protection from KSA and Qatar. Both nations warned the US not to interfere with ISIS’s march to conquer northwestern Iraq and its turn west toward Syria and Jordan. America obeyed and ISIS gobbled up the region and spoils of war that included American tanks, helicopters, and artillery.

Many military experts said the opportunity to strike ISIS came and went when the 7,500-man Islamic Army crossed the wide-open Damascus-Baghdad Highway.

Military generals said the terror group was vulnerable to air attack with minimal collateral damage concerns. In the end, ISIS got its free passage from Mosul to eastern Syria with US inaction, which was tantamount to acquiescence.

“We oppose all foreign intervention and interference. There must be no meddling in Iraq’s internal affairs, not by us or by the US, the UK or by any other government. This is Iraq’s problem and they must sort it out themselves,” Saudi Prince Mohammed told the UK Telegraph. Just in case that bad intel was on the horizon, the Saudis immediately moved 30,000 combat troops to protect its border with Iraq.

Many Middle East policy experts say the Sunni’s view of ISIS as an Iraqi Sunni revolution against their Shiite oppressors is myopic and portends a broader Islamic war between Sunnis and Shiites.

From the US perspective, the ISIS campaign presents a myriad of conflicts. Qatar and KSA are major recipients of billions of dollars worth of US weapons through FMS, yet their direct support of ISIS, a terrorist group, means Qatar and KSA meet the definition of state sponsors of terrorism and should be banned from participation in the military program. Nevertheless, the end user certificates and export licenses are routinely approved by the State and Defense Departments, including an $11 billion sale to Qatar. (The Pentagon has refused multiple efforts to release the end-user agreements to this reporter as requested under FOIA.)

Furthermore, Qatar, KSA, and Kuwait are listed as Tier 2WL (Watch List) and Tier 3 under U.S. anti-trafficking in humans reports, which require a waiver by President Obama stating the sale is in national security interests. To the outside world, the US ostensibly appears to be violating its own anti-terrorism and anti-trafficking laws to provide sophisticated weapons systems to these human rights violators.

The infusion of military-grade weapons in the region only portends much more war. The war between the Sunnis and Shiites has grown more contentious due to the dysfunction of the Sykes-Picot Agreement of May 1916. Essentially the Agreement drew a twentieth-century map that granted control of Syria, Lebanon and Turkish Cilicia to the French and Palestine, Jordan and areas around the Persian Gulf, Baghdad to the British. That was followed by the 1919 Paris Peace Conference that outlined a “Kurdistan” as an entity by Şerif Pasha, who represented the Society for the Ascension of Kurdistan (Kürdistan Teali Cemiyeti). That promise was never kept and it’s doubtful the Kurds, who are Caucasian or Indo-European and not Arab, will wait another 100 years to establish their own country, one that will control its destiny through its own oil and revenues from oil pipelines from the Caspian Sea.

The complexity of the middle east  today reflects Winston Churchill’s description of Russia in October 1939: “I cannot forecast to you the action of Russia. It is a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma; but perhaps there is a key. That key is Russian national interest.” Perhaps Russia is the key to the Middle East today.

Neither agreement ever took into account the tribal nature of the region that will continue to dog the Middle East until new maps emerge, or complete Armageddon is achieved. Until that day, America will continue to find itself under the threat of attack from a region that really doesn’t offer the US much. So are we safer after 15 years of war? Stay tuned!

© Copyright 2016 Kimberly Dvorak All Rights Reserved

Obama Admin aims to increase tourism in the U. S. via Disney World

Standing in front of Cinderella’s castle at Disney World in Orlando, President Obama declared another “can’t wait” executive order to boost tourism in the U.S. “This is the land where we do big things,” the President quipped in the Sunshine State.

It didn’t take long for GOP front-runner Mitt Romney to make light of the President’s Disney World location used to announce his new executive-order tourism plan. “Perhaps there’s some poetic justice in the President speaking from Fantasyland because I’m afraid, he’s been speaking from Fantasyland for some time now.”

Republican Presidential candidate, Newt Gingrich’s comments weren’t any nicer. “Obama was flanked by Donald Duck on one side and Goofy on the other, much like his cabinet.”

President Obama signed the executive order announcing new initiatives to increase travel and tourism in the United States. Currently the travel industry consists of approximately 2.7 percent of the U.S. GDP and represents 7.5 million jobs.

The “new” Obama executive order aims to create an additional 1 million jobs for the U.S. lagging economy over the next 10 years.

The administration’s announcement highlights a range of steps to promote America as a tourism destination and improve the secure visa processing process.

“Every year, tens of millions of tourists from all over the world come and visit America. And the more folks who visit America, the more Americans we get back to work. We need to help businesses all across the country grow and create jobs; compete and win. That’s how we’re going to rebuild an economy where hard work pays off, where responsibility is rewarded, and where anyone can make it if they try,” President Obama said.

The U.S. Department of Commerce claims that international travel accounted for $134 billion in U.S. exports in 2010.

The Bureau of Economic Analysis; “estimates that every additional 65 international visitors to the United States can generate enough exports to support an additional travel and tourism-related job. According to the travel industry and Bureau of Economic Analysis, international travel is particularly important as overseas or ‘long-haul’ travelers spend on average $4,000 on each visit.”

The new White House tourism strategy will focus on the emerging economies of China, Brazil and India. These three countries alone represented approximately $15 billion and thousands of jobs in 2010.

In addition, Chinese and Brazilian tourists spend between $5-6,000 per trip, according to the Department of Commerce.

In recent years, the Department of State has made progress in processing non-immigrant visas from key markets. Last fiscal year they processed 7.5 million visas. In the 2011 fiscal year, consular officers adjudicated more than one million visa applications in China, and 800,000 in Brazil.

-Some highlights of President Obama’s tourism Executive Order include;

The Secretaries of Commerce and the Interior will be charged with; Co-leading an interagency task force to develop recommendations for a National Travel & Tourism Strategy to promote domestic and international travel opportunities throughout the United States, thereby expanding job creation. This Task Force will coordinate with the Corporation for Travel Promotion (currently doing business as BrandUSA), a non-profit corporation established by Congress through the Travel Promotion Act of 2009 to promote travel to the United States and the Tourism Policy Council to ensure private sector participation and cross-agency coordination.

A focus of the Task Force will be on strategies for increasing tourism and recreation jobs by promoting visits to our national treasures. The Department of the Interior manages iconic destinations in national parks, wildlife refuges, cultural and historic sites, monuments and other public lands that attract travelers from around the country and the globe. In 2010, more than 400 million visits were made by American and international travelers to these lands, contributing nearly $50 billion in economic activity and 400,000 jobs. Eco-tourism and outdoor recreation also have an outsize impact on rural economies, particularly in Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Nevada, North Carolina, Oregon, Utah and Wyoming.

The Department of State and the Department of Homeland Security will be charged with; increasing non-immigrant visa processing capacity in China and Brazil by 40 percent in 2012.

They will ensure that 80 percent of non-immigrant visa applicants be interviewed within three weeks of receipt of application.

Increasing efforts to expand the Visa Waiver Program and travel by nationals eligible to participate in the Visa Waiver Program, and expanding reciprocal trusted travel programs for expedited travel (such as the Global Entry program).

-Final Rule to Expand and Make the Global Entry Program Permanent:

Global Entry was a program within the U.S. Customs and Border Protection that was created in 2008 to facilitate expedited clearance for pre-approved, low-risk travelers upon arrival in the United States. Through a final rule, the Administration will expand and make the Global Entry program permanent. Due in part to innovative public-private partnerships, the Global Entry program now has more than 246,000 members, more than 1 million trusted travelers have Global Entry benefits, and efforts are underway to expand enrollment even further. There are currently 131 Global Entry kiosks located at 20 airports. Members have used Global Entry kiosks more than 1.7 million times, saving CBP officers over 36,450 inspection hours—staff hours that CBP has then re-allocated to expedite regular passenger queues.

For more stories; http://www.examiner.com/homeland-security-in-national/kimberly-dvorak

© Copyright 2012 Kimberly Dvorak All Rights Reserved.

Obama lays out new plan to treat soldiers suffering TBI and PTSD

First Lady Michelle Obama and Jill Biden’s Joining Forces initiative, the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) and the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine (AACOM) have created a new generation of doctors, medical schools and research facilities that will focus on treatment options for military veterans.

“I’m inspired to see our nation’s medical schools step up to address this pressing need for our veterans and military families,” First Lady Michelle Obama said. “By directing some of our brightest minds, our most cutting-edge research, and our finest teaching institutions toward our military families, they’re ensuring that those who have served our country receive the first-rate care that they have earned.”

While this new program is welcomed by injured military veterans, the signature war wounds for the signature Middle East Wars, Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) have seen numerous successful treatment plans in the private sector.

Most recently Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was shot in the head by a mentally unstable gunman. Rep. Giffords received the best medical treatment her generous Congressional health insurance provided. As a result, she has recovered at a remarkable pace. Many argue that the military veterans are not given the same opportunity as an elected politician.

Another example of successful head trauma treatment is ABC News reporter, Bob Woodruff. He survived a bomb blast covering the Iraq War. Mr. Woodruff, was treated for TBI in New York City, received excellent medical treatment in the private sector, and has returned to work.

Woodruff has spoken about his and Giffords’ head injuries. “First, there is hope. Like the doctors who saved me almost five years ago, her surgeons knew exactly what to do. Her brain was swelling just like mine. They removed partof her skull on the left sideof her head almost exactly like mine, and she (was put) in a drug-induced coma so that her brain could recover.”

However, complaints from many service members suggest military treatment requires excessive paperwork and bland treatment options for their TBI and PTSD injuries.

Together, the AAMC and AACOM hope to advance their veteran-related injury education programs, focus laboratory research, and improve clinical care for military families. This cooperative effort seeks to better address health issues suffered by returning troops from the Middle East Wars.

Specifically, these organizations will focus on the following;

· Train their medical students as well as their current physicians, faculty, and staff to better diagnose and treat our veterans and military families;

· Develop new research and clinical trials on PTSD and TBI so that we can better understand and treat those conditions;

· Share their information and best practices with one another through a collaborative web forum created by the AAMC; and

· Continue to work with the VA and the Department of Defense to make sure that everyone is providing the best care available.

“Because of our integrated missions in education, clinical care, and research, America’s medical schools are uniquely positioned to take a leadership role in this important effort,” Darrell G. Kirch M.D., president and CEO of the Association of American Medical Colleges said. “Medical schools have long recognized the sacrifice and commitment of our military, veterans, and their families. The relationship between the Department of Veterans Affairs medical centers and academic medicine dates back to the end of World War II and serves as a model for successful partnerships between public and private institutions. Our work with the White House on Joining Forces is a natural extension of our efforts in this area and renews our commitment to the wellness of our nation’s military.”

For more information about Joining Forces visit; http://www.joiningforces.gov

For more stories; http://www.examiner.com/homeland-security-in-national/kimberly-dvorak

© Copyright 2012 Kimberly Dvorak All Rights Reserved.

Obama Administration discusses Islamic religion free speech behind closed doors

In an effort to clarify America’s free-speech policy regarding the Islamic religion, the Obama Administration held a multi-nation, closed-door meeting to discuss religious speech.

The conference attendees hope to appease Muslim nations by asking Americans to tone down their anti-Islamic religion rhetoric which the Administration claims may be the cause of unrest in the Middle East.

“We know that some people distort various religious doctrines to justify intolerance, foment violence or create strife that serves their narrow political purposes,” said Suzan Johnson Cook, U.S. ambassador at large for international religious freedom. Johnson explained that offensive (religious) dialogue should be denounced, while “religion must never be used as an excuse to stifle freedom of expression.”

The Islamic countries that attended the closed-to-media conference cite recent cartoons that mocked the prophet Muhammad and Florida preacher Terry Jones, who publically burns the Koran, as offensive and a reason for Americans to restrain their free speech rights’.

The Obama Administration hopes to broker a “middle ground” on this issue and invited nine European, nine Muslim as well as a few Latin American countries to participate in the three-day conference.

However, critics say the Administration is only pandering to the Middle East and point out that America already has a Constitution in place that sets clear free-speech parameters.

“Why is it that the U.S. Constitution must come second when representatives from Islamic counties such as Saudi Arabia and Pakistan demand we must curb our religious liberties and free speech?” Andrea Lafferty, president of the Traditional Values Coalition asked. “Why is our government bending to Taliban values here on the home front?”

Officials contend the closed-door conference is an opportunity to resolve issues that are sensitive to Islamic nations.

For more stories; http://www.examiner.com/county-political-buzz-in-san-diego/kimberly-dvorak

© Copyright 2011 Kimberly Dvorak All Rights Reserved.

Obama pardons several drug-related criminals

While Border Patrol agents put their lives on the line every day to stop drug smuggling along the nation’s southern border, President Obama announced yesterday he is pardoning several drug-related convicted felons.

The pardons draw attention to the recent conviction of Border Patrol Agent Jesus “Chito” Diaz. He was sentenced to two years in federal prison for allegedly lifting the handcuffs of a known-drug dealer in Texas.

The conviction drew the attention of numerous Congressmen who sent a letter to president Obama asking for the release of Agent Diaz. So far there has been no response from the White House or the Department of Justice who headed the prosecution of the Border Patrol agent.

The following is a list of the Presidential pardons;

PARDONS:

• Lesley Claywood Berry Jr. – Loretto, Ky.
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Offense: Conspiracy to manufacture, possess with intent to distribute, and distribute marijuana, 21 U.S.C. §§ 841 and 846.
Sentence: April 29, 1988; District of Minnesota; three years in prison.

• Dennis George Bulin – Wesley Chapel, Fla.

Offense: Conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute in excess of 1,000 pounds of marijuana, 21 U.S.C. §§ 841(a)(1) and 846 and 18 U.S.C. § 2.
Sentence: March 10, 1987; Middle District of Alabama; five years of probation and $20,000 fine.

• Ricky Dale Collett – Annville, Ky.

Offense: Aiding and abetting in the manufacture of 61 marijuana plants, 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1) and 18 U.S.C. § 2.
Sentence: March 7, 2002; Eastern District of Kentucky; one year of probation conditioned on 60 days of home detention.

• Martin Kaprelian – Park Ridge, Ill.

Offense: Conspiracy to transport stolen property in interstate commerce, 18 U.S.C. § 371; transporting stolen property in interstate commerce, 18 U.S.C. § 2314; concealing stolen property that was transported in interstate commerce, 18 U.S.C. § 2315.
Sentence: Feb. 1, 1984; Northern District of Illinois; nine years in prison, five years of probation.

• Thomas Paul Ledford – Jonesborough, Tenn.

Offense: Conducting and directing an illegal gambling business, 18 U.S.C. § 1955.
Sentence: June 12, 1995; Eastern District of Tennessee; one year of probation conditioned on performance of 100 hours of community service.

COMMUTATION:

• Eugenia Marie Jennings – Alton, Ill.

Offense: Distribution of cocaine base, 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1).
Sentence: Feb. 23, 2001; Southern District of Illinois; 262 months in prison, eight years of supervised release, $1,750 fine.
Terms of commutation: Prison sentence to expire on Dec. 21, 2011, leaving intact and in effect the eight-year term of supervised release with all its conditions and all other components of the sentence.

For more stories; http://www.examiner.com/county-political-buzz-in-san-diego/kimberly-dvorak

© Copyright 2011 Kimberly Dvorak All Rights Reserved.

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San Diego to get million dollar-solar energy project from the Obama Admin

Imperial County, just east of San Diego, has been approved to connect a 250-megawatt solar-power project to California’s energy grid something that will generate power for about 75,000 homes, according to Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar.

The solar project is expected to create more than 250 jobs during construction and add approximately $5 million in sales tax to the job-starved state.

“Through smart site(ing) of projects, early environmental review and a coordinated approval process, Interior is helping to stand up a renewable energy economy, spurring innovation, job-creation, and investment in the private sector,” Secretary Salazar said about the CSOLAR Development project. “When constructed, this solar project will add to a growing, sustainable energy strategy that will power our local communities and economies.”

This new energy plant represents the Obama Administration’s commitment to solar, wind, geothermal and transmission projects.

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“The solar project itself will be constructed on private, fallowed farm lands near El Centro,” said Bureau of Land Management Director Bob Abbey. “This transmission line will be placed in an area already designated as a transmission corridor. The entire project is sited in a perfect spot for renewable energy development in the California desert.”

The Interior Department’s continued commitment to responsible development of renewable energy was able to move this project forward after conducting an extensive environmental review with the Environmental Impact Report/Environmental Assessments (EIR/EA).

The EIR/EA worked jointly with the Interior’s Bureau of Land Management, Department of Energy and County of Imperial, to meet the ecological requirements of the California Environmental Quality Act and the National Environmental Policy Act.

For more stories; http://www.examiner.com/county-political-buzz-in-san-diego/kimberly-dvorak

© Copyright 2011 Kimberly Dvorak All Rights Reserved.

Continue reading on Examiner.com San Diego to get million dollar-solar energy project from the Obama Admin – San Diego County Political Buzz | Examiner.com http://www.examiner.com/county-political-buzz-in-san-diego/san-diego-to-get-million-dollar-solar-energy-project-from-the-obama-admin#ixzz1W45apMMe

Bastardization of the 14th Amendment

The arrogance of Democrats’ calls for the president to invoke the 14th Amendment to by-pass Congress to raise the debt ceiling demonstrates their lack of Constitutional knowledge, but also their ignorance of the basic checks and balances between the three branches of government.

The third-ranking House Democrat, James Clyburn, said if Congress delivers a short-term debt deal, the president should veto it. The Southern Democrat pointed to the Constitution that says “the validity of the public debt of the United States… shall not be questioned.” Therefore, Clyburn says, the President “should sign an executive order invoking the 14th Amendment” to end the debt ceiling issue.

Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) said the 14th Amendment should be the President’s last resort, “As far as the 14th Amendment is concerned, I urge everybody to get their Constitution and read it. It says the debts of the United States shall not be questioned.”

Even the mention of invoking the 14th Amendment sent some Republicans into a tizzy.

“Congress has the power to lay and collect taxes. It’s Congress that does the spending,” said Presidential hopeful Michele Bachmann (R-MN) during a CNN appearance. “The president is prohibited to do that (unilaterally raise America’s borrowing power). If he had the power to do that (borrow and spend), he would effectively be a dictator.” She is right.

Since all spending bills must originate in the House, (All bills for raising revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives; but the Senate may propose or concur with Amendments as on other bills.” Art I, Sec 7). Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner’s claims that the President can pick and choose what debts the U.S. will pay are disingenuous. If a credit obligation is authorized by Congress, it must be paid.

The misunderstanding also extends to those GOP lawmakers who wished to invoke the 14th Amendment to un-anchor “illegal alien anchor babies” – this is a 14th Amendment history lesson.

GOP Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) sought to revise the 14th Amendment, which currently grants citizenship to those born on America soil (this provision does not to extend to foreign diplomats).
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Even Speaker of the House, John Boehner (R-OH), said the change was “worth considering.”

However, John McCain(R-AZ), coauthor of McCain-Kennedy immigration bill, said he would support holding hearings on the (anchor baby) issue in light of the 14th Amendment.

So what is the 14th Amendment and why is it such a misunderstood and erroneously cited authority?

The 14th Amendment was ratified in 1868 to ensure that all former slaves were granted automatic United States citizenship, and enjoy all the rights, privileges and immunities of any other citizen.

A concise explanation of the 14th Amendment meaning comes from a paper written by Attorney Doug Hammerstrom. “In 1873 when the Supreme Court heard the Slaughterhouse Cases, its first 14th Amendment case, the Court rebuked the attempts of business interests to use the amendment, saying that the Fourteenth Amendment’s ‘main purpose was to establish the citizenship of the Negro.’ Justice Miller added, “We doubt very much whether any action of a State not directed by way of discrimination against the Negroes as a class, or on account of their race, will ever be held to come within the purview of this provision.”

The question American’s should be asking is what exactly does the emancipation of black slaves has to do with debt limits and illegal immigration in the United States in 2011?

President Obama, a self-proclaimed-Constitutional scholar, should know better and chastise Congress regarding the roles of the three branches of government. Section 5 of the 14th Amendment unambiguously states, “The Congress shall have the power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.”

The Constitution remains the people’s document; it represents the beacon of freedom and protects the people’s liberty. And perhaps, more importantly, it has withstood the test of time.

For more stories; http://www.examiner.com/homeland-security-in-national/kimberly-dvorak

© Copyright 2011 Kimberly Dvorak All Rights Reserved.

Continue reading on Examiner.com Bastardization of the 14th Amendment – National Homeland Security | Examiner.com http://www.examiner.com/homeland-security-in-national/the-14th-amendment-debt-ceiling-immigration-debate-not-a-valid-argument#ixzz1U4lZ33n3

La Raza pushes Obama to save college Pell Grants for Latinos

In another all-hands-on deck campaign La Raza is calling on the Obama Administration to spare college Pell Grants for Latino students in the 2011/12 budget.

The country’s extended recession has hit all Americans hard, regardless of racial divide, yet La Raza continues to push racially-baited politics in an effort to put money in Latino’s hands.

Their latest Pell Grant campaign doesn’t mention the poor African-American, American-Indian or Caucasian children that can’t afford to attend college. Furthermore numerous experts have reported that black Americans continue to fall out of the middle class due to the influx of illegal immigrants who will work for less money.

The current fragile debt-ceiling negotiations are prompting members from both sides of the aisle to prepare a list of programs they are willing to defund. And college Pell Grants for Latinos are on the line.

“Latino students struggling to afford higher education are at risk of losing the opportunity to attend college. Right now, congressional Republicans and President Obama are negotiating a budget deal, and Pell Grants are on the table,” a La Raza email blast read. “Cuts to Pell Grants would follow the elimination of the Summer Pell program earlier this year. So far, needy students have “contributed” $4 billion to debt reduction through cuts to Summer Pell, but they may be asked to make more sacrifices, even if it means that they can’t pay for college.”
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La Raza’s pitch continues, “President Obama understands that more Hispanic students must get college degrees for our country to remain economically competitive, but the cost of college has skyrocketed over the past 30 years.”

The price of a college education (tuition, fees and books) has increased dramatically since 1982. The Education Trust organization says the increase is somewhere around 439 percent.

“It’s true that Pell Grants are a lifeline for many college students who may not attend college,” according to La Raza. They contend that further cuts to Pell Grants would make college unaffordable and unattainable for needy students.

“What President Obama and congressional Republicans decide to do about Pell Grants will impact millions of Latinos hoping to graduate from college, enter the workforce, and climb the economic ladder,” La Raza said. “Without a college degree, Latino groups contend Hispanic youth will earn significantly less than more ‘affluent students’ with the means to pay for higher education.”

For more information on La Raza; http://action.nclr.org/p/dia/action/public/?action_KEY=4417

For more stories; http://www.examiner.com/homeland-security-in-national/kimberly-dvorak

© Copyright 2011 Kimberly Dvorak All Rights Reserved.

Obama begins to wind-down the costly war in Afghanistan (Final in a series)

For antiwar groups, the President’s address to the nation was somewhat welcome news; the ever-increasing unpopularity of the war opened the door to common sense. On the other hand, critics called Obama’s speech a road map for insurgents to plan their takeover of the Afghan government.

The dilemma for commanders on the ground centers on the classification of the 10-year war. A mission change is in the works and military leaders will now shift the counterinsurgency strategy to a more stealthy counter-terrorism position.

Afghanistan’s corrupt government, lack of infrastructure and tribal tendencies have met a predictable ending- a U.S. troop departure, a small victory toppling the Taliban and killing Osama bin Laden.

General David Petraeus outlined the requirements for a successful counterinsurgency strategy in a 2006 military handbook. “As the counterinsurgent gains success, offensive and defensive operations become more in balance and eventually diminish in importance compared to stability operations.”

It has been five years since Petraeus wrote the Manual on Counterinsurgency and Afghanistan remains in the hands of corrupt leaders who provide economic and security failures for its people. Afghan President Hamid Karzai continues to swindle the American people by requesting billions of dollars for nation building; however, there has been little progress with building infrastructure in the past 10 years.

According to the State Department, and the U.S. Agency for International Development in Afghanistan, the foreign aid dispensed to Afghanistan amounted to $320 million each month and the monthly military tab is approximately $10 billion. Other money earmarked for the corrupt Karzai government is a $19 billion slush fund that is included in the U.S. aid package, most of it coming under the Obama Administration for its counterinsurgency approach.

America’s love affair with exporting democracy has sent the nation into an economic abyss. In the case of Afghanistan, a 2003/04, a plan hatched by Army Lt. COL Anthony Shaffer could have saved taxpayers billions of dollars. His book entitled “Operation Dark Heart,” reported that Pakistan officials were meddling in the Afghan War and were not friends of the U.S. “They were playing both sides of the war efforts,” COL Shaffer said. Had COL Shaffer’s intelligence of the Afghan War effort been heeded by military leaders at the top, U.S. troops could have shifted their tactics and avoided a troop surge.

Evidence that the Department of Defense did not want COL Shaffer’s 2003/04 plan to find its way into civilian ranks came in the form of the heavily-redacted book “Operation Dark Heart.” The tell-all book chronicled gritty details regarding Pakistan’s and U.S. complicity with insurgents.

Many lawmakers as well as, Johnny Come Lately politicians, are arguing that the Afghan War’s focus should be on Pakistan’s unsavory alliance with the Taliban and al Qaeda. By focusing on terrorist organizations, the U.S. can unleash special op teams, and reduce the number of boots on the ground.

“There cannot be a gradual drawdown of troops without a change in mission objectives,” said Congressman Duncan D. Hunter (R-CA), a veteran of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. “Successfully implementing a counterinsurgency strategy is near impossible without enough Marines and soldiers to see it through. On the other hand, counterterrorism operations linked to a more simplified set of objectives is sustainable with a significantly smaller force size.”

Hunter continues to explain that a drawdown is on the horizon, and the military must narrow its objectives in Afghanistan. “These objectives should consist of making sure the enemy cannot get back on its feet, strengthening the Afghan military and stabilizing Pakistan. We can do all of this with a much smaller footprint, utilizing special operations forces, intelligence gathering capability and air assets.”

Hunter contends the situation on the ground has changed and, “what might have seemed like a good strategy years or even months ago is not showing the level of success that justifies continuing the mission with such a large troop presence. The time has come for a change in strategy that begins with a departure from nation-building and counterinsurgency operations – the centerpiece of U.S. efforts in Afghanistan since Mr. Obama took office.”

Corruption fuels instability

Afghanistan’s corruption is legendary. The war-torn tribal nation provides fertile fields for training terrorists and growing poppies, is home to al Qaeda, and is where the 9/11 plotters hatched their terrorist attack on America. But sadly, in the worst kept secret in Central Asia, the U.S. condones and encourages the growing of poppies (the base ingredient for heroin and cocaine) paying billions to Taliban insurgents and warlords for convoy protection. We do so, not to keep the poor farmers happy, but to line the pockets of the Taliban, warlords, and the Karzai government. In other words, Americans are fighting and dying protecting the poppy fields.
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“More declared cash flies out of Kabul each year than the Afghan government collects in tax and customs revenue nationwide. It’s not like they grow money on trees here,” said one U.S. official investigating the corruption and Taliban. “A lot of this looks like our tax dollars being stolen. And opium (poppies), of course.”

President Hamid Karzai sees the money changing hands differently. “Making money is fine and taking money out of the country is fine. The relatives of government officials can do this, starting with my brothers. But there’s a possibility of corruption.”

If this is true why does America/NATO continue to send billions of dollars to such a corrupt country? This scenario implies the American government chose its political elites poorly and the continuation of business as usual will only leave disenfranchised Afghan civilians inflamed at the U.S.

According to separate Congressional and Senate reports, the American government pays more than $2 billion for Host Nation Trucking (HNT) or in layman’s terms, private security firms that protect U.S. military convoys and materials in dangerous tribal areas.

A report titled “Warlord, Inc., Extortion and Corruption along the U.S. Supply Chain in Afghanistan” was published by Congressman John Tierney (D-MA) in June of last year. The report detailed the billions of dollars spent to protect U.S. military supply convoys in Afghanistan- the majority of the money is paid by the DOD through defense contractors and finds its way into the hands of Taliban leaders and warlords.

The Senate Armed Services Committee also sent staffers to investigate the “convoy protection” issue. Their report titled, “Inquiry into the Role and Oversight of Private Security Contractors in Afghanistan” concluded the U.S. pays trucking contractors billions of dollars a year, much of it ends up in the hands of local warlords.

Two U.S. administrations have now promised a “hearts and minds” and “nation building” campaigns and to date both have subverted the ability to impose a military solution. This role is fraught with disappointments since it implies that the U.S. and allied forces will provide the Afghan people with an effective government, root out corruption, create a westernized Afghan military, value women’s rights and ensure fair elections.

It has been 10 years since America waded into the Middle East Wars, and the ability to achieve victory continues to be nothing more than a pipe dream.

Part one- http://www.examiner.com/county-political-buzz-in-san-diego/u-s-troops-fight-and-die-to-preserve-shariah-law-afghanistan

Part two- http://www.examiner.com/county-political-buzz-in-san-diego/us-payments-to-taliban-afghan-warlords-threaten-american-nato-troops

Part three- http://www.examiner.com/county-political-buzz-in-san-diego/billion-dollar-corruption-within-the-u-s-picked-afghan-regime

Part four- http://www.examiner.com/county-political-buzz-in-san-diego/terrorism-s-down-payment-the-form-drugs-and-u-s-aid-money-part-4

For more stories; http://www.examiner.com/county-political-buzz-in-san-diego/kimberly-dvorak

© Copyright 2011 Kimberly Dvorak All Rights Reserved.

Continue reading on Examiner.com Obama begins to wind-down the costly war in Afghanistan (Final in a series) – San Diego County Political Buzz | Examiner.com http://www.examiner.com/county-political-buzz-in-san-diego/obama-begins-to-wind-down-the-costly-war-afghanistan-final-a-series#ixzz1Q9m8JYNF

Report shows African Americans suffer higher than average unemployment

Looking at the want ads in the Sunday paper is a lot tougher on the nation’s African-American community, according to the latest Bureau of Labor statistics figures which confirm higher than average unemployment for President Obama’s most loyal voting base.

The unemployment rate for black Americans remains just more than 16 percent; while their white counterparts hover around the 8 percent mark. The numbers don’t get any easier for African Americans when they compare to Latinos whose unemployment rate is 11.8 percent or Asians who enjoy the lowest joblessness of 6.4 percent.

The stubborn recession has left many job seekers crushed while searching for a good, fulltime job and as long as the nation’s joblessness holds firm, the president will have a tough time campaigning for his reelection.

Another problem job seekers face is under-employment.

A new Gallup year-long survey chart showed how unemployment and underemployment have remained within a narrow band. Unemployment, according to Gallup, has remained about 10 percent and underemployment persists near 20 percent.

Making matters worse is a recent story in The New York Times, “Only One in Four Young Black Men in New York City Have a Job.”

“The new report was prepared by the Community Service Society of New York, has other unhappy news about this group — that the unemployment rate for African-American men in New York, age 16 to 24, was 33.5 percent from January 2009 through June 2010,” the article read.

“The recession has created a landscape of the unemployed and underemployed with particular catastrophic consequences for young African-American men,” said David R. Jones, president of the, an advocacy group for New York’s low-income residents.

The new numbers have been a telling trend for African Americans in recent years that have seen lack of employment slowly creep into the double-digits.

“There is no question that black America is worse off than it has been in at least the last 30 years,” said Glen Ford, an executive editor for the Black Agenda Report.

Ted Hayes, a black activist and ardent critic of the Obama Administration, talks a lot about the black guilt this country continues to feel. “We have been bamboozled by the Democratic leaders like President Obama, Charlie Rangel, Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson, who continue to give us more Jim Crow politics,” he said.
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Hayes, who also has his own radio program and website said, “blacks need to stop following the welfare agenda of the African American community leaders.”

The job idleness rate for blacks remains constant and some experts point to the decline in the housing market as a large factor in unemployment for blacks. In the past, construction jobs have been a mainstay for many young African-Americans.

Civil rights activist Rev. Jesse Jackson said blacks are “number one in high unemployment, number one in home foreclosures and number one in populating the prisons of our country.”

However, some experts contend that the large illegal alien population in America accounts for the loss of jobs for blacks. They argue the fact that the illegals, who are primarily Hispanic, will work for less money and have virtually taken over the construction workplace.

Despite this trend, the New York Civil Liberties Union joined immigrants’ and civil rights supporters in the city to protest Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s position on the New York’s Secure Communities, a federal program that runs fingerprints of those arrested against the federal immigration data base, if a match is obtained those illegal immigrants are subject to deportation.

“Governor Cuomo should demonstrate his commitment to New York’s immigrant families and withdraw the state from this destructive program,” said Donna Lieberman, executive director of the NYCLU. “Secure Communities contradicts our state’s proud tradition of embracing immigrants and it ignores immigrants’ immeasurable contributions to New York’s economy, culture and heritage.”

There has been an effort in many liberal cities to fight the federal law banning sanctuary cities, some like San Francisco law enforcement have gone on the record saying they will not obey the law and will not release fingerprint information, even if the illegal aliens are wanted for a variety of crimes.

In the meantime, it looks like black American’s are left holding the highest unemployment prize.

For more stories; http://www.examiner.com/county-political-buzz-in-san-diego/kimberly-dvorak

© Copyright 2011 Kimberly Dvorak All Rights Reserved.

Continue reading on Examiner.com Report shows African Americans suffer higher than average unemployment – San Diego County Political Buzz | Examiner.com http://www.examiner.com/county-political-buzz-in-san-diego/report-shows-african-americans-suffer-higher-than-average-unemployment#ixzz1NIBszoTg

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