California Governor Jerry Brown may have vetoed a statewide ban on so-called assault rifles, but San Francisco officials have enacted a similar version of the bill locally – and the NRA is fighting back.
The city has a history of pushing the envelope on gun control. A total ban on handguns in 2005 was ultimately overturned by a state court in 2008. Smaller scale gun laws have been passed in the city since the court invalidated the handgun ban.
The new San Francisco high-capacity magazine ban was unanimously approved by the Board of Supervisors, making it illegal to sell guns with magazines with the ability to hold more than 10 rounds. The new San Francisco gun control law also requires that citizens who already own high-capacity magazines turn them in to the police department within 90 days.
The law, though, likely will have no impact on violence. As previously reported by Off The Grid News, an Indiana county sheriff recorded a now-viral YouTube video demonstrating just how quickly even a novice shooter could empty magazines of any size, reload and begin firing again.
Despite the constantly evolving California gun control laws, crime in the cities of San Francisco, Oakland, and San Jose, has increased, and FBI crime statistics show that homicides are at a two-decade high. After all, criminals, by their very nature, have no respect for gun laws.
How to hide your guns, and other off grid caches…
Supervisor Malia Cohen, who sponsored the law, said:
While not a panacea, this legislation provides law enforcement with more tools to continue to address gun violence and also continues to strengthen our city’s strong stance on gun regulation. Banning assault rifles only scratches the surface. We need to be better at addressing mental health concerns if we really want to solve the problem.
She went on to state that she hoped the new gun control law would “serve as a model” for other cities in her region.
The National Rifle Association (NRA) has filed a suit against the law, saying it is unconstitutional. Larry Barsetti is one of the plaintiffs and a retired cop.
“All you’re doing is impacting honest law abiding citizens of San Francisco; the bad guys aren’t going to obey this law, they’re not supposed to be carrying guns in the first place,” Barsetti told a local ABC station.
The law firm that is filing the lawsuit on behalf of the NRA said:
Although the San Francisco ordinance describes the banned magazines as ‘large-capacity,’ magazines with capacities of more than 10 rounds are standard for many common handguns and long guns. Millions of firearms that have been sold in the United States come from the manufacturer with magazines capable of holding more than 10 rounds.
A group of Catholic health and educational organizations don’t have to comply with a federal Affordable Care Act requirement to provide their employees with contraception coverage, a federal judge in New York ruled.
U.S. District Judge Brian Cogan in Brooklyn today barred the government from enforcing the mandate against Catholic Health Care System, Catholic Health Services of Long Island, Cardinal Spellman High School and Monsignor Farrell High School.
The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York and the health and educational groups challenged the mandate on religious freedom grounds. After the U.S. issued a rule exempting the archdiocese, schools and health-care affiliates were still subject to the law, which takes effect Jan. 1.
The groups “have demonstrated that the mandate, despite accommodation, compels them to perform acts that are contrary to their religion,” Cogan wrote. “And there can be no doubt that the coercive pressure here is substantial.”
Groups that don’t comply with the mandate are subject to fines of $100 a day per affected beneficiary, Cogan said.
Catholic Health Services of Long Island, the largest of the groups, oversees six hospitals, three nursing homes and a hospice service and has a health plan covering almost 25,000 people.
The case is Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York v. Sebelius, 12-cv-2542, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of New York (Brooklyn).
To contact the reporter on this story: Christie Smythe in federal court in Brooklyn, New York, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at email@example.com.
Former high-ranking Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) official John Beale testifies before the House Oversight Committee on Oct. 1, 2013.
The EPA’s highest-paid employee and a leading expert on climate change deserves to go to prison for at least 30 months for lying to his bosses and saying he was a CIA spy working in Pakistan so he could avoid doing his real job, say federal prosecutors.
John C. Beale, who pled guilty in September to bilking the government out of nearly $1 million in salary and other benefits over a decade, will be sentenced in a Washington, D.C., federal court on Wednesday. In a newly filed sentencing memo, prosecutors said that his lies were a “crime of massive proportion” that were “offensive” to those who actually do dangerous work for the CIA.
Beale’s lawyer, while acknowledging his guilt, has asked for leniency and offered a psychological explanation for the climate expert’s bizarre tales.
“With the help of his therapist,” wrote attorney John Kern, “Mr. Beale has come to recognize that, beyond the motive of greed, his theft and deception were animated by a highly self-destructive and dysfunctional need to engage in excessively reckless, risky behavior.” Kern also said Beale was driven “to manipulate those around him through the fabrication of grandiose narratives … that are fueled by his insecurities.”
The two sentencing memos, along with documents obtained by NBC News, offer new details about what some officials describe as one of the most audacious, and creative, federal frauds they have ever encountered.
When he first began looking into Beale’s deceptions last February, “I thought, ‘Oh my God, How could this possibly have happened in this agency?” said EPA Assistant Inspector General Patrick Sullivan, who spearheaded the Beale probe, in an interview with NBC News. “I’ve worked for the government for 35 years. I’ve never seen a situation like this.”
Beyond Beale’s individual fate, his case raises larger questions about how he was able to get away with his admitted fraud for so long, according to federal and congressional investigators. Two new reports by the EPA inspector general’s office conclude that top officials at the agency “enabled” Beale by failing to verify any of his phony cover stories about CIA work, and failing to check on hundreds of thousands of dollars paid him in undeserved bonuses and travel expenses — including first-class trips to London where he stayed at five-star hotels and racked up thousands in bills for limos and taxis.
Until he retired in April after learning he was under federal investigation, Beale, an NYU grad with a masters from Princeton, was earning a salary and bonuses of $206,000 a year, making him the highest paid official at the EPA. He earned more money than Gina McCarthy, the agency’s administrator and, for years, his immediate boss, according to agency documents.
In September, Beale, who served as a “senior policy adviser” in the agency’s Office of Air and Radiation, pled guilty to defrauding the U.S. government out of nearly $900,000 since 2000. Beale perpetrated his fraud largely by failing to show up at the EPA for months at a time, including one 18-month stretch starting in June 2011 when he did “absolutely no work,” as Kern, Beale’s lawyer, acknowledged in his court filing.
To explain his long absences, Beale told agency officials — including McCarthy — that he was engaged in intelligence work for the CIA, either at agency headquarters or in Pakistan. At one point he claimed to be urgently needed in Pakistan because the Taliban was torturing his CIA replacement, according to Sullivan.
“Due to recent events that you have probably read about, I am in Pakistan,” he wrote McCarthy in a Dec. 18, 2010 email. “Got the call Thurs and left Fri. Hope to be back for Christmas ….Ho, ho, ho.”
In fact, Beale had no relationship with the CIA at all. Sullivan, the EPA investigator, said he confirmed Beale didn’t even have a security clearance. He spent much of the time he was purportedly working for the CIA at his Northern Virginia home riding bikes, doing housework and reading books, or at a vacation house on Cape Cod.
“He’s never been to Langley (the CIA’s Virginia headquarters),” said Sullivan. “The CIA has no record of him ever walking through the door.”
Nor was that Beale’s only deception, according to court documents. In 2008, Beale didn’t show up at the EPA for six months, telling his boss that he was part of a special multi-agency election-year project relating to “candidate security.” He billed the government $57,000 for five trips to California that were made purely “for personal reasons,” his lawyer acknowledged. (His parents lived there.) He also claimed to be suffering from malaria that he got while serving in Vietnam. According to his lawyer’s filing, he didn’t have malaria and never served in Vietnam. He told the story to EPA officials so he could get special handicap parking at a garage near EPA headquarters.
When first questioned by EPA officials early this year about his alleged CIA undercover work, Beale brushed them aside by saying he couldn’t discuss it, according to Sullivan. Weeks later, after being confronted again by investigators, Beale acknowledging the truth but “didn’t show much remorse,” Sullivan said. The explanation he offered for his false CIA story? “He wanted to puff up his own image,” said Sullivan.
Even at that point, prosecutors say, Beale sought to “cover his tracks.’” He told a few close colleagues at EPA that he would plead guilty “to take one for the team,” suggesting that he was willing to go to jail to protect people at the CIA. This has led some EPA officials to continue to believe that Beale actually does have a connection to the CIA, Sullivan said.
Kern, Beale’s lawyer, declined to comment to NBC News. But in his court filing, he asks Judge Ellen Huvelle, who is due to sentence Beale Wednesday, to balance Beale’s misdeeds against years of admirable work for the government. These include helping to rewrite the Clean Air Act in 1990, heading up EPA delegations to United Nations conferences on climate change in 2000 and 2001, and helping to negotiate agreements to reduce carbon emissions with China, India and other nations.
Two congressional committees are now pressing the EPA, including administrator McCarthy, for answers on the handling of Beale’s case. The new inspector general’s reports fault the agency for a lack of internal controls and policies that allegedly facilitated Beale’s deceptions.
For example, one of the reports states, Beale took 33 airplane trips between 2003 and 2011, costing the government $266,190. On 70 percent of those, he travelled first class and stayed at high end hotels, charging more than twice the government’s allowed per diem limit. But his expense vouchers were routinely approved by another EPA official, a colleague of Beale’s, whose conduct is now being reviewed by the inspector general, according to congressional investigators briefed on the report.
Beale was caught when he “retired” very publicly but kept drawing his large salary for another year and a half. Top EPA officials, including McCarthy, attended a September 2011 retirement party for Beale and two colleagues aboard a Potomac yacht. Six months later, McCarthy learned he was still on the payroll
In a March 29, 2012 email, she wrote, “I thought he had already retired. She then initiated a review that was forwarded to the EPA general counsel’s office . But the inspector general’s office was not alerted until February 2013 and he didn’t actually retire until April.
Sullivan said he doubted Beale’s fraud could occur at any federal agency other than the EPA. “There’s a certain culture here at the EPA where the mission is the most important thing,” he said. “They don’t think like criminal investigators. They tend to be very trusting and accepting.”
In a statement to NBC News, Alisha Johnson, McCarthy’s press secretary, said that Beale’s fraud was “uncovered” by McCarthy while she was head of the Office of Air and Radiation. “[Beale] is a convicted felon who went to great lengths to deceive and defraud the U.S. government over the span of more than a decade,” said Johnson. “EPA has worked in coordination with its inspector general and the U.S. Attorney’s office. The Agency has [put] in place additional safeguards to help protect against fraud and abuse related to employee time and attendance, including strengthening supervisory controls of time and attendance, improved review of employee travel and a tightened retention incentive processes.”
More from NBC News Investigations:
Be prepared for eligibility, payment and information protection debacles—and longer waits for care.
The White House is claiming that the Healthcare.gov website is mostly fixed, that the millions of Americans whose health plans were canceled thanks to government rules may be able to keep them for another year, and that in any event these people will get better plans through ObamaCare exchanges. Whatever the truth of these assertions, those who expect better days ahead for the Affordable Care Act are in for a rude awakening. The shocks—economic and political—will get much worse next year and beyond. Here’s why:
The “sticker shock” that many buyers of new, ACA-compliant health plans have experienced—with premiums 30% higher, or more, than their previous coverage—has only begun. The costs borne by individuals will be even more obvious next year as more people start having to pay higher deductibles and copays.
If, as many predict, too few healthy young people sign up for insurance that is overpriced in order to subsidize older, sicker people, the insurance market will unravel in a “death spiral” of ever-higher premiums and fewer signups. The government, through taxpayer-funded “risk corridors,” is on the hook for billions of dollars of potential insurance-company losses. This will be about as politically popular as bank bailouts.
The “I can’t keep my doctor” shock will also hit more and more people in coming months. To keep prices to consumers as low as possible—given cost pressures generated by the government’s rules, controls and coverage mandates—insurance companies in many cases are offering plans that have very restrictive networks, with lower-cost providers that exclude some of the best physicians and hospitals.
Next year, millions must choose among unfamiliar physicians and hospitals, or paying more for preferred providers who are not part of their insurance network. Some health outcomes will deteriorate from a less familiar doctor-patient relationship.
More IT failures are likely. People looking for health plans on ObamaCare exchanges may be able to fill out their applications with more ease. But the far more complex back-office side of the website—where the information in their application is checked against government databases to determine the premium subsidies and prices they will be charged, and where the applications are forwarded to insurance companies—is still under construction. Be prepared for eligibility, coverage gap, billing, claims, insurer payment and patient information-protection debacles.
The next shock will come when the scores of millions outside the individual market—people who are covered by employers, in union plans, or on Medicare and Medicaid—experience the downsides of ObamaCare. There will be longer waits for hospital visits, doctors’ appointments and specialist treatment, as more people crowd fewer providers.
Those with means can respond to the government-driven waiting lines by making side payments to providers or seeking care through doctors who do not participate in insurance plans. But this will be difficult for most people.
Next, the Congressional Budget Office’s estimated 25% expansion of Medicaid under ObamaCare will exert pressure on state Medicaid spending (although the pressure will be delayed for a few years by federal subsidies). This pressure on state budgets means less money on education and transportation, and higher state taxes.
The “Cadillac tax” on health plans to help pay for ObamaCare starts four years from this Jan. 1. It will fall heavily on unions whose plans are expensive due to generous health benefits.
In the nearer term, a political iceberg looms next year. Insurance companies usually submit proposed pricing to regulators in the summer, and the open enrollment period begins in the fall for plans starting Jan. 1. Businesses of all sizes that currently provide health care will have to offer ObamaCare’s expensive, mandated benefits, or drop their plans and—except the smallest firms—pay a fine. Tens of millions of Americans with employer-provided health plans risk paying more for less, and losing their policies and doctors to more restrictive networks. The administration is desperately trying to delay employer-plan problems beyond the 2014 election to avoid this shock.
Meanwhile, ObamaCare will lead to more part-time workers in some industries, as hours are cut back to conform to arbitrary definitions in the law of what constitutes full-time employment. Many small businesses will be cautious about hiring more than 50 full-time employees, which would subject them to the law’s employer insurance mandate.
On the supply side, medicine will become a far less attractive career for talented young people. More doctors will restrict practice or retire early rather than accept lower incomes and work conditions they did not anticipate. Already, many practices are closed to Medicaid recipients, some also to Medicare. The pace of innovation in drugs, medical devices and delivery is expected to slow significantly, as higher taxes and even rationing set in.
The repeated assertions by the law’s supporters that nobody but the rich would be worse off was based on a beyond-implausible claim that one could expand by millions the number of people with health insurance, lower health-care costs without rationing, and improve quality. The reality is that any squeezing of insurance-company profits, or reduction in uncompensated emergency-room care amounts to a tiny fraction of the trillions of dollars extracted from those people overpaying for insurance, or redistributed from taxpayers.
The Affordable Care Act’s disastrous debut sent the president’s approval ratings into a tailspin and congressional Democrats in competitive districts fleeing for cover. If the law’s continuing unpopularity enables Republicans to regain the Senate in 2014, the president will be forced to veto repeated attempts to repeal the law or to negotiate major changes.
The risk of a complete repeal if a Republican takes the White House in 2016 will put enormous pressure on Democratic candidates—and on Republicans—to articulate a compelling alternative to the cost and coverage problems that beset health care. A good start would be sliding-scale subsidies to help people buy a low-cost catastrophic plan, purchasable across state lines, equalized tax treatment of those buying insurance on their own with those on employer plans, and expanded high-risk pools.
— Mr. Boskin, an economics professor at Stanford University and senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, was chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers under President George H.W. Bush.
, Associated Press
WASHINGTON (AP) — A federal judge says the National Security Agency’s bulk collection of phone records violates the Constitution’s ban on unreasonable searches.
FILE – This June 6, 2013 file photo shows a sign outside the National Security Agency (NSA) campus in Fort Meade, Md. A federal judge says the NSA’s bulk collection of phone records violates the Constitution’s ban on unreasonable searches. The judge put his decision on hold pending a nearly certain government appeal. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)
WASHINGTON (AP) — In a ruling with potentially far-reaching consequences, a federal judge declared Monday that the National Security Agency’s bulk collection of millions of Americans’ telephone records likely violates the U.S. Constitution’s ban on unreasonable search. The ruling, filled with blistering criticism of the Obama administration’s arguments, is the first of its kind on the controversial program.
Even if NSA’s “metadata” collection of records should pass constitutional muster, the judge said, there is little evidence it has ever prevented a terrorist attack. The collection program was disclosed by former NSA systems analyst Edward Snowden, provoking a heated national and international debate.
U.S. District Court Judge Richard Leon granted a preliminary injunction against the collecting of the phone records of two men who had challenged the program and said any such records for the men should be destroyed. But he put enforcement of that decision on hold pending a near-certain government appeal, which may well end up at the Supreme Court.
The injunction applies only to the two individual plaintiffs, but the ruling is likely to open the door to much broader challenges to the records collection and storage.
The plaintiffs are Larry Klayman, a conservative lawyer, and Charles Strange, who is the father of a cryptologist technician who was killed in Afghanistan when his helicopter was shot down in 2011. The son worked for the NSA and support personnel for Navy SEAL Team VI.
Leon, an appointee of President George W. Bush, ruled that the two men “have a substantial likelihood of showing” that their privacy interests outweigh the government’s interest in collecting the data “and therefore the NSA’s bulk collection program is indeed an unreasonable search under the Constitution’s Fourth Amendment.”
“I have little doubt that the author of our Constitution, James Madison, who cautioned us to beware ‘the abridgment of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments by those in power,’ would be aghast,” he declared.
In addition to civil liberties critics, big communications companies are unhappy with the NSA program, concerned about a loss of business from major clients who are worried about government snooping. President Barack Obama will meet Tuesday with executives from leading technology companies. The meeting was previously scheduled, but the NSA program is sure to be on the agenda, and now the court ruling will be in the mix.
After the ruling, Andrew C. Ames, a spokesman for the Justice Department’s National Security Division, said in a statement, “We’ve seen the opinion and are studying it. We believe the program is constitutional as previous judges have found. We have no further comment at this time.”
Snowden, in a statement provided to reporter Glenn Greenwald and obtained by The Associated Press, said, “I acted on my belief that the NSA’s mass surveillance programs would not withstand a constitutional challenge and that the American public deserved a chance to see these issues determined by open courts. Today, a secret program authorized by a secret court was, when exposed to the light of day, found to violate Americans’ rights. It is the first of many.”
Klayman said in a telephone interview that it was a big day for the country.
“Obviously it’s a great ruling and a correct ruling, and the first time that in a long time that a court has stepped in to prevent the tyranny of the other two branches of government,” he said.
The Obama administration has defended the program as a crucial tool against terrorism.
But in his 68-page, heavily footnoted opinion, Leon concluded that the government didn’t cite a single instance in which the program “actually stopped an imminent terrorist attack.”
“I have serious doubts about the efficacy of the metadata collection program as a means of conducting time-sensitive investigations in cases involving imminent threats of terrorism,” he added.
He said was staying his ruling pending appeal “in light of the significant national security interests at stake in this case and the novelty of the constitutional issues.”
The government has argued that under a 1979 Supreme Court ruling, Smith v. Maryland, no one has an expectation of privacy in the telephone data that phone companies keep as business records. In that ruling, the high court rejected the claim that police need a warrant to obtain such records.
But Leon said that was a “far cry” from the issue in this case. The question, he said, is, “When do present-day circumstances — the evolutions in the government’s surveillance capabilities, citizens’ phone habits, and the relationship between the NSA and telecom companies — become so thoroughly unlike those considered by the Supreme Court 34 years ago that a precedent like Smith simply does not apply? The answer, unfortunately for the government, is now.”
He wrote that the court in 1979 couldn’t have imagined how people interact with their phones nowadays, citing the explosion of cellphones. In addition, he said, the Smith case involved a search of just a few days, while “there is the very real prospect that the (NSA) program will go on for as long as America is combatting terrorism, which realistically could be forever!”
Leon added: “The almost-Orwellian technology that enables the government to store and analyze the phone metadata of every telephone user in the United States is unlike anything that could have been conceived of in 1979.”
The judge also mocked the government’s contention that it would be burdensome to comply with any court order that requires the NSA to remove the plaintiffs from its database.
“Of course, the public has no interest in saving the government from the burdens of complying with the Constitution!” he wrote. As for the government’s complaint that other successful requests “could ultimately have a degrading effect on the utility of the program,” he said, “I will leave it to other judges to decide how to handle any future litigation in their courts.”
Sen. Mark Udall, a Colorado Democrat and member of the Intelligence Committee, said Leon’s ruling “underscores what I have argued for years: The bulk collection of Americans’ phone records conflicts with Americans’ privacy rights under the U.S. Constitution and has failed to make us safer.”
Stephen Vladeck, a national security law expert at the American University law school, said Leon is the first judge to say he has serious constitutional concerns about the program.
“This is the opening salvo in a very long story, but it’s important symbolically in dispelling the invincibility of the metadata program,” he added.
Vladeck said 15 judges on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court have examined Section 215 of the Patriot Act, the provision of law under which the data collection takes place, without finding constitutional problems. “There’s a disconnect between the 15 judges on the FISA court who seem to think it’s a no-brainer that Section 215 is constitutional, and Judge Leon, who seems to think otherwise.”
Vladeck said there is a long road of court tests ahead for both sides in this dispute and that a higher court could ultimately avoid ruling on the big constitutional issue identified by Leon. “There are five or six different issues in these cases,” Vladeck said.
Robert F. Turner, a professor at the University of Virginia’s Center for National Security Law, said searching the databases involved in the National Security Agency case is similar to searching motor vehicle records or FBI fingerprint files.
The judge’s decision is highly likely to be reversed on appeal, Turner said.
He said the collection of telephone metadata — the issue in Monday’s ruling — has already been addressed and resolved by the Supreme Court. Turner said law enforcement officials routinely obtain telephone bills that include the numbers dialed without the use of a warrant.
“The odds that an American will have their phone metadata examined by law enforcement officials are about 1,000-times greater than by the National Security Agency,” Turner said.
Jameel Jaffer, deputy legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union, which has a similar challenge pending in federal court in New York, called Leon’s ruling “a strongly worded and carefully reasoned decision that ultimately concludes, absolutely correctly, that the NSA’s call-tracking program can’t be squared with the Constitution.”
Associated Press writers Mark Sherman, Pete Yost, Nedra Pickler and Kimberly Dozier in Washington and Bradley Brooks in Brazil, contributed to this story.
- See more at: http://www.cnsnews.com/news/article/judge-nsas-bulk-collection-program-violates-4th-amendment#sthash.mTN2w9HI.dpuf
A group of Catholic health and educational organizations don’t have to [Full Story]
Fox News host Bill O’Reilly defended fellow Fox host Megyn Kelly Monday [Full Story]
2 months ago | Politics, US | Posted by Michael Lotfi
California Governor Jerry Brown Signs NDAA Indefinite Detention Nullification Bill Into Law
Assembly Bill (AB) 351 was signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown yesterday. California is the third state to have passed legislation, which nullifies the unpopular federal provision. A selection of AB 351 reads:
The United States Constitution and the California Constitution provide for various civil liberties and other individual rights for a citizen of the United States and the State of California, including the right of habeas corpus, the right to due process, the right to a speedy and public trial, and the right to be informed of criminal charges brought against him or her.
Certain provisions of federal law affirm the authority of the President of the United States to use all necessary and appropriate force to detain specified persons who engaged in terrorist activities.
This bill would prohibit an agency in the State of California, a political subdivision of this state, an employee of an agency or a political subdivision of this state, as specified, or a member of the California National Guard, on official state duty, from knowingly aiding an agency of the Armed Forces of the United States in any investigation, prosecution, or detention of a person within California pursuant to (1) Sections 1021 and 1022 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012 (NDAA), (2) the federal law known as the Authorization for Use of Military Force, enacted in 2001, or (3) any other federal law, except as specified, if the state agency, political subdivision, employee, or member of the California National Guard would violate the United States Constitution, the California Constitution, or any law of this state by providing that aid. The bill would also prohibit local entities from knowingly using state funds and funds allocated by the state to those local entities on and after January 1, 2013, to engage in any activity that aids an agency of the Armed Forces of the United States in the detention of any person within California for purposes of implementing Sections 1021 and 1022 of the NDAA or the federal law known as the Authorization for Use of Military Force , if that activity would violate the United States Constitution, the California Constitution, or any law of this state, as specified.
The bill’s common name is “The California Liberty Preservation Act.” California’s legislation takes things a step further than other states, which have implemented nullification legislation with regard to the NDAA.
The bill specifically states:
It is the policy of this state to refuse to provide material support for or to participate in any way with the implementation within this state of any federal law that purports to authorize indefinite detention of a person within California. (emphasis added)
This meaning the legislation takes aim at not only the NDAA provision, but any federal law, which seeks to disregard one’s constitutional rights.
President Obama, British Prime Minister David Cameron and Denmark Prime Minister Helle Thorning Schmidt pose for a selfie as Michelle Obama looks on. Photo: AFP/Getty Images
My bookshelves sag with encyclopedic volumes arguing that America and the West are in decline. But proving that a picture is worth a thousand books, the “selfie” seen ’round the world ends the argument.
It’s official — the government of the United States of Obama consists of boobs and bores and is led by a narcissist. It is no consolation that Great Britain joins us in racing to the bottom.
President Obama’s flirting with Denmark’s prime minister would be shameful on any occasion. That it happened at the memorial for Nelson Mandela only adds to the embarrassment.
But the “selfie” episode also symbolizes the greater global calamity of Western decline. With British prime minister David Cameron playing the role of Obama’s giggling wingman, the “look at me” moment confirms we have unserious leaders in a dangerously serious time.
Iran marches toward nuclear weapons and already there is talk in military circles that a nuclear-armed Iran could mean mushroom clouds in the Mideast within five years.
China is flexing its muscles throughout Asia, its ships brazenly confronting ours on the high seas. Russia is expanding its writ in the Arab lands and in Eastern Europe while making casual threats about bombing America. Syria’s Assad uses chemical weapons and Obama and Cameron rattle little sabers before meekly agreeing to become his partner.
The sign-language interpreter wasn’t the only fake at the Mandela funeral. Obama and Cameron were posing as world leaders.
They will never be confused with FDR and Churchill. The fratboys stand in stark contrast to the days when the “special relationship” meant two great leaders uniting two great countries in the fight for freedom. Those leaders understood the consequences if evil prevailed and were committed to victory. Read More
President Barack Obama’s appearance at Nelson Mandela’s memorial service this week was subject to a “Saturday Night Live” skit that targeted the stage’s fake interpreter and the president’s now infamous selfie.
The skit opened with an actor playing Obama delivering an address on the “series of unfortunate events” that occurred at the Mandela memorial.
“First, I got roped into taking a selfie with the blonde female Danish prime minister,” the Obama actor said. “Some people said Michelle was angry at me for that. But, I talked to her afterwards and I can assure you, she was furious.”
“Some people said Michelle was angry at me for that….she was furious.”
As “Obama” transitioned his speech to detail some “exciting” updates to the health care website, a sign language interpreter appeared behind him, offering some bizarre gestures to the audience.
“Saturday Night Live” poked fun at the fake sign language interpreter from Tuesday’s Mandela memorial. (Image source: Screen grab via NBC)
“Secret Service” agents ultimately escorted the man off stage, clearing the way for an actress playing Angela Merkel to appear.
“I have one favor to ask,” the Merkel actor said with a strong German accent. “The Danish prime minister has been bragging all over northern Europe about her selfie with you and I was hoping I could get one as well.”
“I don’t think so,” the president replied.
“Oh really, I feel like you kind of owe me after the whole wiretapping my cell phone thing,” Merkel countered.
Watch the entire “SNL” skit: