Obama Not Going To Auschwitz Ceremony, Sending Jack Lew Instead

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The Obama administration will have a top-level official at the 70th anniversary ceremony of the liberation of Auschwitz Tuesday. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew will be the government’s representative instead of President Obama or Vice President Joe Biden.

Auschwitz was the Nazi concentration camp in Poland where more than one million people – mostly Jews – were murdered, and is widely regarded as the primary symbol of the Holocaust.  

Heads of state from Austria, Croatia, France, Germany, Malta, Poland, Slovenia, Switzerland, and Ukraine are all scheduled to attend the event, The Hill reported last week. The New York Times noted that royalty from Belgium, the Netherlands, and Denmark will also be there.  

President Obama, however, will not be on hand. He is instead sending a delegation led by Lew, America’s first Orthodox Jewish Treasury Secretary. The group includes State Department officials and Auschwitz survivors.

Flickr/CSIS | Center for Strategic & International Studies

National Security Council spokeswoman Bernadette Meehan told reporter Daniel Wiser the president “will be in India, on a long scheduled trip.”

Unlike the Charlie Hebdo terrorist attacks in Paris earlier this month, the Obama administration is at least sending a top-ranked official to commemorate Auschwitz. Still, several on social media have been quick to criticize the president for not going himself:  

h/t: Free Beacon

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom

New Saudi King Appoints Successor

Photo credit: Presidency Maldives (Flickr)

Saudi Arabia’s newly minted monarch, King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, took steps right away to appoint a new successor.

Salman’s half-brother, King Abdullah, died Friday after nearly two decades in power, though he had only been king since 2005. Abdullah was buried Friday in an unmarked grave after afternoon prayers. The burial was attended by influential Muslim clerics, Saudi princes, and Arab businessmen, The Guardian noted.

According to The Wall Street Journal, the new king appointed his nephew, Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, deputy crown prince. Bin Nayef will ascend to the throne after Salman’s immediate successor, Crown Prince Muqrin bin Abdulaziz. The Guardian pointed out that Salman and Muqrin are sons of Abdulaziz Bin Saud, who founded the Sunni kingdom in the 1920s.  

“We will continue adhering to the correct policies which Saudi Arabia has followed since its establishment,” the new Saudi king told a national audience.  

As The Journal noted, the 55 year-old bin Nayef, appointed Saudi Arabia’s interior minister in 2012, has been praised for leading the charge in eliminating al-Qaeda operatives from the Sunni led nation. Several pundits who observe the nation are hailing the royal decree by King Salman:

Salman, before assuming the throne, was defense minister. He gave that position to his son, Mohammed bin Salman.

h/t: The Guardian

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom

Mark Levin Says John Boehner Is ‘Playacting’ On Immigration

Twitter/Fox News

On Wednesday, syndicated radio talk-show host Mark Levin slammed House Speaker John Boehner for engaging in “playacting” with regards to immigration and national security.

“This is actually not about the issue of immigration. This is about the president acting lawlessly,” Boehner said at a press conference Tuesday on Capitol Hill. “Listen, our goal here is to fund the Department of Homeland Security.” This clearly did not sit well with Levin the following day:

“Don’t buy all this phony talk of, ‘Oh, we’re gonna take on Obama, because what he’s doing is unconstitutional, this unconstitutional amnesty.’ This is round one. This is playacting.”

Levin stressed again, “This is playacting.”

“Because Boehner out of the other side of his mouth said that they’re going to fund the Department of Homeland Security. Would you fund it in a clean bill? ‘Oh sure!’ What that means is fund it lock stock and barrel.

“Problem is the various elements of our immigration enforcement and immigration generally is in that department. Used to be in the Justice Department but now it’s there. Boehner has no intention of ‘shutting down the government’ over this. None.”

“He has no intention of playing out the power of the purse over Article I – Congress’s power to the end. None,” Levin continued. “And Obama knows it.”

The syndicated talk show host also asserted “passing a bill to secure the border” does not necessarily secure the border, referencing a National Review article published by Peter Kirsanow on Wednesday.

Kirsanow writes, “The Secure Fence Act of 2006 mandated the construction of 670 miles of double-layered fencing along the 1,930-mile border with Mexico.”

The Department of Homeland Security claims that 352 miles of pedestrian fencing has been erected. But Representative Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., notes that only 40 miles of that is double-layered, as required.

Levin said, “Gee, I would think this is a perfect stimulus program for our infrastructure. Wouldn’t you?”

h/t: The Right Scoop

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom

Lois Lerner Asked Supervisor To Not Come To Office During Tea Party Scandal

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A set of newly released emails detail former IRS official Lois Lerner asking a supervisor not to visit her Cincinnati office while conservative organizations accused Lerner and her office of denying conservative organizations 501(c)(4) tax exempt status.

These emails were obtained by conservative advocacy group Judicial Watch through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit they filed in 2013.

The following email exchange took place on April 4, 2012 between Lerner and then Tax Exempt and Government Entities (TE/GE) Division Deputy Director Joseph H. Grant. Lerner pleads with Grant – her superior – to postpone his visit.

LERNER: We just got a very extensive information request from Imraan -sure looks like op review material. I’m especially concerned that information about pipeline is being asked about.

Add to that the fact that Cincinnati is smack dab in the middle of the c4 Congressional inquiries and is about to get a request from TIGTA on all of that, this is NOT a good time to be asking them for anything or to be talking to them about issue in their work. Everyone is stressed to the max and at their wits end, so can we put this off please?

GRANT: It is a visit, not an OP review … I am also interested in the questions [Imraan Khakoo, TE/GE official] sent to them. Some answers should be readily at hand. Others certainly won’t be.

The questions just serve as a framework for a broader conversation about how things are going and what is on our respective minds.

LERNER: I get that – but timing would be bad if we have to go to Cincy now. So, I will assume we can go over this here as I get the information I’ve already asked for? Thanks.

GRANT: I think we are in agreement, but just to be sure. I am planning to go to CIncy at the end of the month. I am travelling with Nan Marks and Imraan.

LERNER: Fine with me – just trying to keep the stress level manageable in Cincinnati – they are pretty freaked. Please don’t ask them about closures, pipelines, wait time for full development cases, or the c4 application letters. I know Imraan is really interested in that stuff in general – I promise to give him info – that just wouldn’t be the best place to ask.

GRANT: Noted.

A separate report released last month by former House Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., showed Hilary Goehausen – a tax-law specialist working under Lerner – called a specific Tea Party group applying for (c)(4) status “icky.”

I think there may be a number of ways to deny them. Let me talk to Sharon [Light] tomorrow about it and get some ideas from her as well… This sounds like a bad org. :/ … This org gives me an icky feeling.

h/t: The Daily Caller

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom

New Startup Says Rand Paul Is Most Conservative Candidate

Photo credit: circulating (Flickr)

A new startup ranks potential 2016 presidential candidates as the most conservative and the most liberal based on their donors, what they have said, and their issue positions. The startup ranks Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky. as the most conservative and Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., as the most liberal.

Crowdpac was founded by researchers at Stanford University. Their mission is to categorize candidates based on these publicly available criteria: money, speech (what the candidates actually say), and voting history. From their site:

In analyzing the patterns of who gives to whom, our data model is able to make inferences about the issue positions of both candidates and donors. Additional information on candidates’ personal contributions made to other campaigns are incorporated to improve the model’s predictions.

 “To calculate scores on specific issues for incumbent candidates, we use congressional voting records,” the group adds. “For non-incumbent candidates with no voting record, we compare their donors with the donors of incumbents.”

The scale is rated left to right – 10L to 10C – with moderates receiving a zero in the middle. Paul is the most conservative with a score of 10+C, followed by Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, with 9.7C. Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin scored a 7.8C, followed by former Governors Rick Perry of Texas and Mike Huckabee of Arkansas with 6.9C and 6.2C, respectively.

Former Governors Jeb Bush of Florida and Jon Huntsman of Utah are towards the moderate end of Crowdpac’s scale, scoring 4.2C and 3.0C. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie received a 2.5C

Sanders is the most liberal with 8.3L. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., was close behind with 8.2L, though Warren recently stated she will not seek the Democratic nomination in 2016. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton scored a 6.4L, while former Governor Martin O’Malley received a 5.3L. Vice President Joe Biden scored a 4.4L.

Photo: Crowdpac

Photo: Crowdpac

h/t: The Daily Signal

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom