May 20th, 2013
Interesting, is the best way I can describe this observation where a story is viraling on the web about two fireballs which were seen by many people in the northeast and in Colorado.
But when I looked at the AMS meteorology charts describing the viewing of these "fireballs" which appeared near Washington DC and northern Virginia, and then saw a simultaneous Viewing of "fireballs" over the Cheyenne Mountain area, which is home to NORAD, I could not help but see the connectivity with the two US earthquakes which occurred in about the same sequence of timing and in about the same locations.
In another raw twist to this entire story, there is one more significant point that some few have overlooked. You see, the rare earthquake that happened in Virginia had companion quakes which occurred, only a couple of hours before, all the way across the US in Colorado, another extraordinarily rare venue for earthquakes. And once again, only hours apart in fact. My, how odd it is that two places, totally unconnected and separated by numerous undisturbed seismological faults, could both see unprecedented seismic activity in the same relative period.
The kicker in Colorado? You guessed it, no appreciable connective p waves here either. P waves are, indeed, becoming so de rigueur anyway these days, it would seem. The other point here would be that Colorado is, like Virginia, dotted with all sorts of both known and unknown military bases...think NORAD, for instance.
Connected in some bizarre way?
Here is the story from the American Meteor Society as penned by MIKE HANKEY:
Two significant fireballs were reported last night to the AMS both with nearly identical times and headings.
On the east coast over 25 witness reported a fragmenting fireball with delayed boom sounds around 12:30 EST (4:30 UTC). The fireball entered the atmosphere near washington DC and headed on a north westerly trajectory terminating over central PA.
Nearly 45 minutes before this event around 9:30 Mountain time (3:45 UTC), a brillant fragmenting fireball was reported in Colorado. The fireball in Colorado was also traveling from the south east to the north west.
Click the trajectory image below to see the map for the Colorado event.
Two significant fireballs in different parts of the country each sharing a similar heading and reported within an hour of each other is interesting. More study would be required however to determine any linkage between the two events.
If you witnessed either of these events, please fill out an official fireball report.
More from the AMS
May 19th, 2013
Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) on Sunday said he believed a special counsel to investigate the IRS targeting scandal would ultimately be “necessary."
Speaking on ABC’s “This Week,” Portman welcomed an inspector general’s report and the launch of congressional hearings, but said there were still many unanswered questions.
“I also think that special counsel is going to end up being necessary here, because it has to be independent of the White House,” said Portman of the ongoing investigation.
“What we do know is that politics was put ahead of the public interest. And it was done in two of the most sensitive areas of our government. One, of course, the tax collection agency, which has this enormous power over all of us. And second, our national security,” said Portman referring to the Justice Department’s seizure of journalists’ phone records in a leak probe.
“There's a lot of issues here we need to get bottom of. We need to find out what really happened and ensure that we can begin to regain some trust in our government. That's my concern,” he added.
More from The Hill:
• Extraordinary measures now standard as debt limit hit again
• No effort in Congress to change ObamaCare employer mandate
• McConnell: White House 'made up a tale' on Benghazi
• Paul Ryan: IRS scandal shows 'big government cronyism'
But other lawmakers expressed caution, saying that Congress needed more time to gather facts.
Fellow GOP lawmaker, Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.), said that while the IRS actions were “chilling” it was still “premature” to say whether a special counsel would be needed.
“I do believe that the committees of jurisdiction in the House and in the Senate need to continue their investigation and determine exactly who made these decisions,” said Price, also appearing on ABC.
The IRS admitted to subjecting Tea Party groups seeking tax exempt status to higher scrutiny. The announcement led to criticism from both parties, with Obama requesting and accepting the resignation of the acting director of the IRS last week.
GOP lawmakers have pledged to find out if the political targeting was directed by anyone at the White House.
Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), however, said he did not see a need yet for a special counsel.
Menendez said that the law governing tax-exempt status should be the real focus of Congress.
“I think there are two scandals here. And clearly what the IRS did in this regard is absolutely wrong and it's outrageous. It's a lack of management,” he said.
“But there's second scandal, and that fact is, is that hundreds of millions of dollars had been used in C-4s that are supposed to be used as nonprofit social welfare entities for political purposes,” Menendez added.
Senior Obama adviser Dan Pfeiffer on Sunday said no one at the White House knew of the IRS targeting beforehand and vowed the president would investigate the scandal thoroughly.
May 19th, 2013
The Washington Times / Armstrong Williams
Scandals are nothing new in Washington. Just about every president has faced an accusation of misconduct, whether moral or criminal. It should be no surprise that the Obama administration finds itself in the midst of one (well actually three).
Many Republicans have been quick to declare this the end of President Obama, even calling for impeachment. However, these scandals are not the personal failings of Mr. Obama himself, rather they are the failings of the liberal philosophy which he and his entire administration espouse. In case you were out camping without a cellphone last week, here is a brief recap in order of appearance:
•Benghazi: The White House has been criticized for failing to prevent the Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. Consulate and of misleading the public about it.
• IRS: Conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status were targeted for extra scrutiny, beginning shortly after Scott P. Brown’s special election U.S. Senate victory in Massachusetts in 2010 through the 2012 presidential campaign. Also, confidential tax documents of prominent conservatives were leaked to the media.
• TheAssociated Press: The Department of Justice acquired the phone records of AP reporters over two months in an effort to locate an administration leak.
APgate is troubling, but the problem for the Republicans is that acquiring phone records is legal and part of the Patriot Act. Attempts to roll this particular part of the legislation back have been convincingly voted down by both parties. Suddenly, the Republicans realize that an overreaching Patriot Act may not have been a good thing, but that stance looks to be driven by politics rather than ideology.
The IRS scandal is the most relatable and represents the most immediate problem for our country. Only a fool would believe that two to four field workers took it upon themselves to institute a policy of red taping conservative groups. The scandal rises higher, but I seriously doubt Mr. Obama directed such actions.
Benghazi was undoubtedly a tragedy. Was there negligence? Yes. Was there a poor attempt at spin? Most definitely. Were departments pointing fingers at each other? As sure as the sun shines. Is anything that happened impeachable? No. More than anything Benghazi is another example of an administration getting caught flat-footed and stumbling to fudge the facts for fear that Americans could not handle the truth, especially so close to the elections.
And that, my dear readers, gets to the heart of what the week was really about: the competence of a government ruled by a party that thinks the solution to every problem is more government.
This is not about Obama the man, or even about Obama the president. This is not even about Republicans and Democrats. This is about the fundamental failure of progressive liberal ideology.
Logistics alone make it impossible for a government to solve every citizen’s problem. Yet, a bigger government is expected to do just that. Big government is inflexible; it cannot respond to priorities because, over time, there are too many competing priorities. The greater the bureaucracy grows, the more it becomes impersonal, wasteful, over-stretched, and difficult to rein in.
Furthermore, big government does not trust you to know how best to run your life, yet other imperfect beings are somehow capable of properly directing your life as soon as they are employed by the government. People are fallible, and so is the state.
If liberals are right about the role of government, then how did these scandals happen? Do we truly need more government to stop these things from happening?
Regarding Benghazi, should even more officials debated whether to send troops to save our people? Perhaps there should not have been a consulate in a hot zone in the first place, especially one so ill-protected. How effective can an isolated diplomatic post on lockdown really be? It seems more prudent to have a smaller footprint in extreme conflict areas (especially when our military is not in the field), which would save more lives and treasure.
May 19th, 2013
(Reuters) - The Justice Department's seizure of phone records for journalists at the Associated Press is hurting the agency's ability to gather news, the wire service's Chief Executive and President Gary Pruitt said on Sunday.
"Officials that would normally talk to us and people we talk to in the normal course of news gathering are already saying to us that they're a little reluctant to talk to us," Pruitt said on CBS's "Face The Nation" program. "They fear that they will be monitored by the government."
The Justice Department told the AP on May 10 that it had earlier seized records of more than 20 of its phone lines for April and May 2012. The seizure was part of an investigation of media leaks about a foiled terrorism plot.
"Approximately a hundred journalists use these telephone lines as part of news gathering," Pruitt said. "And over the course of the two months of the records that they swept up, thousands upon thousands of news-gathering calls were made."
The White House has said that President Barack Obama learned about the Justice Department's record seizure from press reports and had no prior knowledge of the action. Obama's administration is fielding concerns on several incidents that raise questions about its transparency.
Pruitt said the Justice Department claimed an exception to its own rules that required them to notify the AP of such a record seizure by saying that such a disclosure would have posed a substantial threat to the investigation.
"But they have not explained why it would and we can't understand why it would," Pruitt said. "We never even had possession of these records, they were in the possession of our telephone service company and they couldn't be tampered with."
Government officials have told Reuters that the AP phone records were just one element in an ongoing sweeping U.S. government investigation into media leaks about a Yemen-based plot to bomb a U.S. airliner, prompted by a May 7, 2012 AP story about the operation to foil the plot.
"We don't question their right to conduct these sort of investigations," Pruitt said. "We think they went about it the wrong way, so sweeping, so secretively, so abusively and harassingly."
Pruitt said the AP would have sought to narrow the scope of the record seizure through courts had it been notified, instead of "the Justice Department acting on its own, being the judge, jury and executioner, in secret."
Reuters was one of nearly 50 news organizations that signed a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder complaining about the AP phone record seizures.
(Reporting by Alina Selyukh; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)
May 19th, 2013
A Brilliantly conceived and expertly executed article.
It must be noted, however, that Conservative Refocus disagrees with the very narrow focus of this idea in principle, however the overall premise in general cannot be refuted based upon everything that we have seen thus far.
We do know that the culpable IRS Commissioner resigned in November, as this story was just being hatched for the public to take note of. We also know that this systemic practice of harassment has been hitting both religious and social groups and individuals nationwide, other than those whom are just socio-political in nature, and not just the 501 c groups.
Ultimately, these attacks are almost impossible to be couched as simply an organic bureaucratic contagion that spread by non-contact alone.
Critical analysis would seem to dictate that even an infectious disease has a defined traceable origin.
The Wall Street Journal
By KIMBERLEY A. STRASSEL
Was the White House involved in the IRS's targeting of conservatives? No investigation needed to answer that one. Of course it was.
President Obama and Co. are in full deniability mode, noting that the IRS is an "independent" agency and that they knew nothing about its abuse. The media and Congress are sleuthing for some hint that Mr. Obama picked up the phone and sicced the tax dogs on his enemies.
But that's not how things work in post-Watergate Washington. Mr. Obama didn't need to pick up the phone. All he needed to do was exactly what he did do, in full view, for three years:
Publicly suggest that conservative political groups were engaged in nefarious deeds; publicly call out by name political opponents whom he'd like to see harassed; and publicly have his party pressure the IRS to take action.
Mr. Obama now professes shock and outrage that bureaucrats at the IRS did exactly what the president of the United States said was the right and honorable thing to do. "He put a target on our backs, and he's now going to blame the people who are shooting at us?" asks Idaho businessman and longtime Republican donor Frank VanderSloot.Mr. VanderSloot is the Obama target who in 2011 made a sizable donation to a group supporting Mitt Romney. In April 2012, an Obama campaign website named and slurred eight Romney donors. It tarred Mr. VanderSloot as a "wealthy individual" with a "less-than-reputable record." Other donors were described as having been "on the wrong side of the law."
This was the Obama version of the phone call—put out to every government investigator (and liberal activist) in the land.
Twelve days later, a man working for a political opposition-research firm called an Idaho courthouse for Mr. VanderSloot's divorce records. In June, the IRS informed Mr. VanderSloot and his wife of an audit of two years of their taxes.
In July, the Department of Labor informed him of an audit of the guest workers on his Idaho cattle ranch.
In September, the IRS informed him of a second audit, of one of his businesses.
Mr. VanderSloot, who had never been audited before, was subject to three in the four months after Mr. Obama teed him up for such scrutiny.
The last of these audits was only concluded in recent weeks.
Not one resulted in a fine or penalty.
But Mr. VanderSloot has been waiting more than 20 months for a sizable refund and estimates his legal bills are $80,000. That figure doesn't account for what the president's vilification has done to his business and reputation.
The Obama call for scrutiny wasn't a mistake; it was the president's strategy—one pursued throughout 2012. The way to limit Romney money was to intimidate donors from giving. Donate, and the president would at best tie you to Big Oil or Wall Street, at worst put your name in bold, and flag you as "less than reputable" to everyone who worked for him: the IRS, the SEC, the Justice Department. The president didn't need a telephone; he had a megaphone.
The same threat was made to conservative groups that might dare play in the election. As early as January 2010, Mr. Obama would, in his state of the union address, cast aspersions on the Supreme Court's Citizens United ruling, claiming that it "reversed a century of law to open the floodgates for special interests" (read conservative groups).
The president derided "tea baggers."
Vice President Joe Biden compared them to "terrorists."
In more than a dozen speeches Mr. Obama raised the specter that these groups represented nefarious interests that were perverting elections.
"Nobody knows who's paying for these ads," he warned. "We don't know where this money is coming from," he intoned.
In case the IRS missed his point, he raised the threat of illegality: "All around this country there are groups with harmless-sounding names like Americans for Prosperity, who are running millions of dollars of ads against Democratic candidates . . . And they don't have to say who exactly the Americans for Prosperity are. You don't know if it's a foreign-controlled corporation."
Short of directly asking federal agencies to investigate these groups, this is as close as it gets.
Especially as top congressional Democrats were putting in their own versions of phone calls, sending letters to the IRS that accused it of having "failed to address" the "problem" of groups that were "improperly engaged" in campaigns. Because guess who controls that "independent" agency's budget?
The IRS is easy to demonize, but it doesn't exist in a vacuum. It got its heading from a president, and his party, who did in fact send it orders—openly, for the world to see. In his Tuesday press grilling, no question agitated White House Press Secretary Jay Carney more than the one that got to the heart of the matter:
Given the president's "animosity" toward Citizens United, might he have "appreciated or wanted the IRS to be looking and scrutinizing those . . ." Mr. Carney cut off the reporter with "That's a preposterous assertion."
Preposterous because, according to Mr. Obama, he is "outraged" and "angry" that the IRS looked into the very groups and individuals that he spent years claiming were shady, undemocratic, even lawbreaking. After all, he expects the IRS to "operate with absolute integrity." Even when he does not.
More from Kimberly Strassel at the WSJ
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