House Oversight Chair Issa Predicts Disgraced US Attorney General Will Be Held In Contempt (But of course it will be civil, and less than a slap on the wrist…)

June 24, 2012

WASHINGTON, DC – The top Republican leading the House investigation into Operation Fast and Furious said Sunday he expects a “bipartisan” floor vote to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress this coming week.

“I believe they will (vote to hold him in contempt),” House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., told “Fox News Sunday.” “Both Republicans and Democrats will vote that — I believe it will be bipartisan.”

Issa kept his focus on the Justice Department, clarifying that he has no evidence the White House was involved in any Fast and Furious cover-up. But he repeatedly said Congress is trying to get to the bottom of why the Justice Department “lied” about the operation.

The comments underscored the apparent momentum among majority House Republicans behind the contempt push, following a committee contempt vote against Holder along party lines this past week. That vote proceeded after Holder and Republicans were unable to reach an agreement over subpoenaed documents pertaining to the Obama administration’s Fast and Furious discussions.

Issa said Sunday it’s possible the vote could be delayed or even “eliminated” if the administration produces the subpoenaed documents the House is seeking. He noted the entire schedule is at the discretion of House Speaker John Boehner.

“But we have to see the documents first,” he said.

Barring such a resolution, Issa and his allies are teeing up a major election-year clash this coming week between the Executive and Legislative branches, and between Democrats and Republicans.

President Obama intervened this past week, invoking executive privilege to protect the documents in question, but Republicans dismissed the claim and proceeded with the contempt vote. On the sidelines, minority House Democrats are pleading with Republicans take a step back and work out the document dispute without the threat of contempt. At the same time, both sides are antagonizing each other at the dais and in the press over what Democrats claim has become a political “witch hunt.”

Rep. Elijah Cummings, R-Md., ranking Democrat on the oversight committee, told “Fox News Sunday” that the confrontation was entirely avoidable.

“I think it’s extremely unfortunate,” he said. “The attorney general has made it clear that he is willing to work with this Congress.”

Cummings called on Boehner to intervene and try to reach an agreement with Holder that involves turning over some documents while also halting the contempt proceedings.

“I think that we have a duty … at this critical moment to get the documents,” he said. “I know we can get them. It’s just a matter of sitting down and talking to Holder.”

Cummings suggested the course of the committee’s investigation has lost sight of one of the major reasons for the probe — the death of Border Patrol agent Brian Terry, whose murder scene included weapons from the Fast and Furious operation.

But Issa defended the escalation, saying the committee is trying to obtain critical documents to help explain why Congress was initially told — incorrectly — in February 2011 that the government did not knowingly let guns “walk” across the U.S.-Mexico border. The department later issued a correction to that statement.

“We, in fact, are simply trying to get to the truth when we were told a lie,” Issa said. “It’s about the cover-up.”

“Ultimately, Justice lied to the American people on February 4 (2011), and they didn’t make it right for 10 months.”

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More Federal Government Debt Racked Up In Last 15 MONTHS Under Obama Than In Previous 195 YEARS Under 43 Presidents

June 3, 2012

WASHINGTON, DC – The Republican-controlled House of Representatives, which took office in January 2011, has enacted federal spending bills under which the national debt has increased more in less than one term of Congress than in the first 97 Congresses combined.

In the fifteen months that the Republican-controlled House of Representatives–led by Speaker John Boehner–has effectively enjoyed a constitutional veto over federal spending, the federal government’s debt has increased by about $1.59 trillion.

Article 1, Section 9, Clause 7 of the Constitution says: “No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law.” A law appropriating money cannot be enacted unless it is approved by the House.

The approximately $1.59 trillion in new debt accumulated since the Republican-controlled House gained a veto over federal spending legislation is more than the total increase in the federal debt between 1789, when the first Congress convened, and October 1984, when the 98th Congress was nearing the end of its second session.

Rep. Frederick Muhlenberg of Pennsylvania served as speaker in the first Congress. Rep. Tip O’Neill of Massachusetts served his third term as speaker in the 98th Congress.

When Boehner became speaker on Jan. 5, 2011, the federal government was operating under a continuing resolution that had been passed on Dec. 21, 2010 by a lame-duck Congress. That CR expired on March 4, 2011.

On March 1, 2011, Boehner agreed to a new short-term spending deal with President Barack Obama and Democratic congressional leaders to keep the government running past the March 4, 2011 expiration of the old CR. Since March 4, 2011, federal expenditures have been carried out under a series of CRs approved by both the Republican-controlled House and the Democrat-controlled Senate and signed into law by President Obama.

At the close of business on March 4, 2011, the total federal debt was $14,182,627,184,881.03, according to the Treasury Department’s Bureau of the Public Debt. At the close of business on May 31, 2012, it was 15,770,685,085,364.14. That is an increase of $1,588,057,900,483.11—in just 15 months.

All of the debt accumulated by the federal government throughout the history of the country did not exceed $1.588 trillion until October 1984.

Under the Republican-controlled House, the federal debt has been increasing at an average pace of about $105.9 billion per month.

Frederick Muhlenberg served two non-consecutive terms as speaker–in the first and third Congresses. At the end of the first Congress, in 1791, the total debt of the federal government was about $75.5 million, according to the U.S. Treasury.

Tip O’Neill served as speaker in the 95th through 99th Congresses, from 1977 through 1986.

At the end of September 1984, during the 98th Congress, the total national debt was approximately $1,572,266,000,000.00, according to the Treasury Department’s Monthly Statement of the Public Debt for that month. At the end of October 1984, it was $1,611,537,000,000.00, according to the Monthly Statement of the Public Debt.

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Obama Ignorant And Incompetent: Poland Demands Response After President’s Mention Of “Polish Death Camp”

May 30, 2012

WASHINGTON, DC – Poland demanded a “strong and clear response” from the U.S. after President Barack Obama’s mention of a “Polish death camp” while honoring a Pole who told the world about the Holocaust.

“We can’t accept such words in Poland, even if they are spoken by a leader of an allied country,” Prime Minister Donald Tusk told journalists in Warsaw today. “Saying Polish concentration camps is as if there was no German responsibility, no Hitler.”

Since, 2004 Poland has sought clarifications from several news outlets for the use of a phrase “Polish concentration camps” that were run by the Nazis during the country’s occupation in the World War II, according to the Foreign Ministry’s website. The government has convinced publications including the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times and the San Francisco Chronicle to stop using the phrase.

The U.S. administration regrets “this misstatement,” the Wall Street Journal’s website cited Tommy Vietor, the National Security Council spokesman, as saying. The text of Obama’s remarks on the White House website hasn’t been corrected as of today.

“The White House will apologize for this outrageous mistake,” Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski wrote on his Twitter Inc. account. “It’s a shame that such a momentous ceremony has been overshadowed by ignorance and incompetence.”

Obama posthumously awarded Jan Karski the Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor, at a ceremony in Washington yesterday, saying the Polish officer “illuminated one of the darkest chapters of history” as he “repeatedly crossed enemy line to document the face of genocide, and courageously voiced tragic truths all the way to President Roosevelt.”

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Incompetent President Bankrupting The United States – Federal Debt Has Increased 4.3 BILLION Dollars Per Day Under Obama – Now Totals Over 5 TRILLION – $5,027,761,476,484.56

April 18, 2012

WASHINGTON, DC – In the 39 months since Barack Obama took the oath of office as president of the United States, the federal government’s debt has increased by $5,027,761,476,484.56.

Although he has served less than a term, Obama is now the first American president to see the federal government’s debt increase by more than $5 trillion during his time in office.

During the full eight years that George W. Bush served as president, the federal government’s debt increased by $4,899,100,310,608.44. (Rising from $5,727,776,738,304.64 to $10,626,877,048,913.08.)

The $5,027,761,476,484.56 that the debt has increased during Obama’s presidency equals $16,043.39 for every one of the 313,385,295 people the Census Bureau now estimates live in the United States.

At the close of business on Jan. 20, 2009, the day Obama was inaugurated, the federal government’s debt was $10,626,877,048,913.08, according to the U.S. Treasury. By the close of business on April 16, 2012—as many Americans were working to finalize their 2011 tax returns to meet an April 17 filing deadline—the debt had reached $15,654,638,525,397.64.

The $5,027,761,476,484.56 in additional debt that the U.S. government has taken on during the 39 months that Obama has been president is more debt than the federal government accumulated in the first 219 years of the Republic.

The total federal debt did not exceed $5,027,761,476,484.56 until March 14, 1996, when President Bill Clinton was in the last year of his first term in office. On that day, the national debt rose from $5,025,887,531,178.79 to 5,035,165,720,616.33.

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Harris County Texas Court Sentenced Man To Life In Prison For Of Robbery That Occured While He Was In Jail

December 13, 2011

HOUSTON, TX – LaDondrell Montgomery had his conviction for armed robbery and a life sentence overturned thanks to his attorney discovering he was in jail at the time of the crime.

But he’s still not a free man. The Houston, Texas, felon remains in jail faced with five more robbery charges.

“He learned from his trouble. But he did have a record and I believe that is what kind of got him into trouble now, ” Larry Montgomery, 58, told ABCNews.com. “Some of the people involved [in the cases] knew him from the past, from the neighborhood, and I believe had personal vendettas against him.”

LaDondrell Montgomery, 36, has had several stints behind bars, starting in his twenties, which made it difficult for him to remember whether he was in jail or out on a particular date.

His life sentence for armed robbery, which he received in November, was overturned last Thursday after his attorney realized he had an air tight alibi. He was in jail at the time of the crime.

“My son had previously been in and out of incarceration before and had trouble remembering the dates,” the elder Montgomery said.

LaDondrell Montgomery might not have known where he was on Dec. 13, 2009, but he knew one place where he was not- the check cashing store that was held up by an armed robber.

He insisted throughout the trial that he was not the man in the surveillance footage that was used to convict him and sentence him to life in prison.

Montgomery’s life sentence was thrown out after his attorney, Ronald Ray, scoured his rap sheet and realized he had been in jail at the time on a misdemeanor domestic violence charge and hadn’t been released until nine hours after the crime.

State District Judge Mark Kent Ellis chided Ray and Assistant Harris County District Attorney Alison Baimbridge for being “spectacularly incompetent,” according to the Houston Chronicle.

Baimbridge was unavailable for comment, but told the newspaper that prosecutors are typically barred from questioning suspects.

“That information, everyone would assume, would come from the person in custody,” she said.

Ray told the newspaper the barb didn’t bother him.

“I have freed a man from a life sentence, so if you want to say I’m incompetent for doing that, I’ll accept that with a smile,” he said.

For now, Larry Montgomery, who is a bishop with the Nation of God Ministries, said he hopes his son will be exonerated of the other counts and will return to being a productive member of society, something his father said he trying to do.

“He got married and he had a child,” Montgomery said. “He went to work for the Harris County Flood Control. Every day, all the time. He was trying to turn his life around as a family man.”

It’s unclear whether Montgomery has discovered five more iron-clad alibis to get him out of trouble this time.

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TSA Fired 28 Honolulu Baggage Screeners For Not Doing Their Jobs, Suspended 15 Others

September 18, 2011

HONOLULU, HAWAII – The Transportation Security Administration fired 28 of its employees — in addition to three that resigned or retired — following a probe that revealed bags were allowed onto planes at Hawaii’s Honolulu International Airport without being properly screened, the agency said Sunday.

Another 15 people were suspended, the TSA reported in a statement.

The moves come after the agency “completed the adjudication process” it had announced in June, months after the allegations first surfaced. All those terminated or suspended “have the right to appeal the decision,” according to the TSA.

The firing is believed to be one of, if not the biggest, such action in the agency’s history, with officials previously stating that it underscores they will not tolerate employees who compromise security.

In March, Honolulu’s KITV 4 News reported that TSA officers assigned to a morning shift regularly allowed checked bags to be loaded onto flights on nine daily departures without being screened for explosives. Sources told the TV station that such lapses occurred for as long as four months and involved thousands of checked bags. CNN confirmed the investigation.

TSA officers are required to screen 100% of all checked bags before they are stored in the cargo holds of passenger aircraft.

In June, agency officials said they did not know exactly how many bags were allowed onto flights without being inspected, but said the lapse took place during the last four months of 2010. The TSA said after it became aware of the problem, it took steps to ensure that every bag is properly screened at the airport

A TSA official said in June that in addition to rank-and-file screeners and some supervisors, the airport’s federal security director and assistant federal security director for screening had also received letters proposing that they lose their jobs.

“TSA holds its workforce to the highest ethical standards, and we will not tolerate employees who in any way compromise the security of the traveling public,” TSA Administrator John Pistole said then in a statement.

The TSA said it uses closed-circuit TV, random inspections, covert tests and peer and management oversight to check on the integrity of the system.

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Incompetent Phoenix Arizona Police Chief Jack Harris Refuses To Step Down After Department Lied To Get Extra Federal Tax Dollars

March 2, 2011

PHOENIX, ARIZONA – Speaking from the scene of an early morning home invasion in West Phoenix, Police Chief Jack Harris said he will not be stepping down amid controversy over his department’s reported kidnapping statistics for 2008.

“Anyone who wants these stars can come and get them,” a visibly angry Harris said. “But I’ve got news for you. I’m not giving them to you. You’re going to have to take them.

“I am absolutely outraged by what is happening in this community, by some people with a political agenda who are trying to convince the community that incidents like this [home invasion] aren’t happening.”

The controversy stems from allegations that the Phoenix Police Department misrepresented the number of kidnappings in the city. The department received $1.7 million in federal grant money to deal with the problem.

The Office of the Inspector General launched an audit in December to try and determine if the department deserved that money.

Initially, the department reported more than 350 kidnappings in 2008. Based on that number, the department and many politicians labeled Phoenix as the “kidnapping capital of America.”

Supposedly, Mexico City was the only city in the entire world that had more kidnappings. Now the Phoenix Police Department is saying some of the reports, as many as 100, included in that initial number should not have been counted.

“If there is anybody in this community who does not believe that we have a kidnapping/home invasion problem in this community, they either just got off the bus today or they’ve been living under a rock in this community for the last several years,” Harris said.

“I’ve been accused of doing something wrong because I went to the federal government and said, ‘Give me money to help me protect this community and to protect my officers.’ … If I did something wrong by doing that, stand by, because I’m going to do it again and again and again as long as I’m wearing this uniform ….”

In the wake of the revelation that the initially reported number of kidnappings was incorrect, some have been calling for Harris’ resignation. The police chief says they are not going to get it.

“I am not stepping down,” he said. “I am not voluntarily giving up my job.”

In an e-mail sent to city managers Tuesday, the Phoenix Law Enforcement Association reportedly requested an independent investigation into the Phoenix Police Department’s management.

The e-mail alleges misconduct, saying, “The kidnapping statistics were manipulated and flawed in order to obtain federal monies.”

There has been talk that Harris, who also holds the title Public Safety Director, could be moved from the Phoenix Police Department to City Hall. Such a move could spark another issue in terms of his pension and recent talk regarding “double dipping.” A public watch group called Judicial Watch sued Harris in late 2009 for douple dipping, which is collecting both pension benefits and a yearly salary.

It’s not yet known if or when any action against Harris might be taken.

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