December 4th, 2014
By LEE FERRAN
A NASA official recently confirmed that one of the agency’s aircraft had been spotted on an American military airstrip in eastern Africa a few weeks ago, but like a series of U.S. military officials, declined to say what the space agency’s high-tech bird was doing there.
“I really can’t give you any of the details,” Jim Alexander, a NASA official with the WB-57 High Altitude Research Program, told ABC News. “You know, the airplane was there, you see it in the picture. But I really can’t tell you what it was for.”
The broad-winged white plane belonging to the agency best known for putting a man on the moon was photographed by the satellite company Digital Globe back in September sitting next to some tilt-rotor aircraft at Camp Lemonnier in Djibouti, a development reported by the military blog War Is Boring last month.
A NASA website that tracks the agency’s three WB-57s shows that one of its planes, number 926, was on a “foreign deployment” from July to November this year. A NASA handbook for the WB-57 posted online lists 14 international deployment sites for the aircraft around the world, but the American base near Djibouti isn’t one of them.
The Pentagon declined to answer any questions about “a NASA aircraft in Djibouti” and a spokesperson for the Air Force Space Command, which has a closer relationship with NASA, said they wouldn’t have operational knowledge of a mission on the continent. AFRICOM, the U.S. military’s Africa Command, would only say that “aircraft from a variety of agencies and nations perform diverse missions from Camp Lemonnier in support of U.S. and allied military peace and security operations in the region, which spans East Africa and the Mideast.”
“As a matter of policy, we do not discuss details of operations,” AFRICOM public affairs officer Tom Saunders told ABC News by email.
NASA’s Alexander said that their WB-57 aircraft “does a lot of work with a variety of different customers from the government, from industry, from academia,” including the Defense Department. “Anybody who needs to fly something high,” he said.
According to NASA’s website, the WB-57s have been flying research missions “since the early 1970s and continue to be an asset to the scientific community with professional, reliable, customer-oriented service designed to meet all scientific objectives.” A government website devoted to the converted old bombers describes a mission in Costa Rica to “explore the tropical upper troposphere and lower stratosphere” and another to collect cosmic dust from comets and asteroids in the Earth’s upper atmosphere, among many others. A variation of the aircraft was used to gather air samples from above-ground nuclear tests conducted “by other countries,” according to an Air Force fact sheet.
But as War Is Boring noted, the military may be interested in more than just scientific objectives, as the plane can fly nearly as high as the famed U2 spy plane and carry more weight – including an array of high-tech imagery and communications equipment.
One previous mission was described by Arati Prabhakar, the head of the military’s fringe-tech specialists at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, to the House subcommittee on Intelligence earlier this year as a kind of mass, three-dimensional terrain mapping.
She said that a WB-57 was deployed to Afghanistan for a few months beginning in late 2010 and “collected” over 70,000 square kilometers of “terrain data” – information on about 10 percent of the country – using a system called High-Altitude LIDAR Operations Experiment (HALOE). LIDAR, or Light Detection and Ranging, uses light from a “pulsed laser” to create “precise, three-dimensional information about the shape of the Earth and its surface characteristics,” according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
“HALOE provided forces in Afghanistan with unprecedented access to high-resolution 3D data, and it collected orders of magnitude faster and from much longer ranges than conventional methods,” Prabhakar said, according to written testimony. Given 90 days, Prabhakar said she was confident the system could’ve mapped half the country.
NASA WB-57 photographed at dawn.
A civilian who worked with the WB-57 program in Afghanistan, and who asked not to be identified due to the sensitive nature of some of the WB-57’s missions, told ABC News the plane is highly-customizable, using sometimes “one-off” configurations depending on the objectives of the project.
Whereas unmanned and manned surveillance platforms are often used for specific intelligence-gathering missions or to help put together individual “target packages” for U.S. special operations, the civilian guessed the WB-57 was in Africa to give the military a more “big picture, high-altitude, lower-level resolution” look at the landscape in the region -– like it did in Afghanistan -– for use whenever called upon in future operations there.
But the civilian admitted it was just a guess and the WB-57 can carry any number of sensor payloads. And for now, the military isn’t saying any more.
Whatever the mission was, it appears to be over. According to NASA, all three WB-57s are now back in the U.S., with their status listed as “inactive.”
December 3rd, 2014
The Daily Caller
By PATRICK HOWLEY
The Obama administration said that it is withholding all of the thousands of pages of documents related to the White House’s coordination with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) during the IRS conservative targeting scandal.
Secretary of the Treasury Jacob Lew, Obama’s former White House Chief of Staff, took the documents that were set to be released and now refuses to ever turn them over. His rationale? Lew cannot release information about improper disclosures of confidential taxpayer information because that would be an improper disclosure of confidential taxpayer information.
The Daily Caller reported that the Treasury Department’s inspector general found nearly 2,500 pages of documents that chronicle investigations into the confidential taxpayer information that the White House exchanged with the IRS. (RELATED: Thousands of Documents: IRS Gave Taxpayer Information To White House).
The documents were found pursuant to a lawsuit that the legal advocacy firm Cause of Action filed against the Treasury Department’s inspector general.The lawyer for the inspector general, Gregory M. Miller, told Cause of Action this week in a letter that Lew seized the documents.
“All of the 2,043 pages of documents we have determined to be responsive were collected by the Secretary of the Treasury with respect to the determination of possible liability under Title 26 of the United States Code,” Miller wrote.
“These pages consist of return information protected by 26 U.S.C. § 6103 and may not be disclosed absent an express statutory exception. Because no such exception exists here, we are withholding those documents in their entirety under FOIA subsection [b] in conjunction with 26 U.S.C. §6103.”
According to the letter, there are “Department of Justice attorneys assigned to this matter.”
December 3rd, 2014
Join host Barry Secrest and exo-government specialist Lee Daniel as they discuss an ever-expanding caseload of governmental oddities, politics, the Supernatural & The New World Order--all from an entertaining, cutting edge, Conservative perspective.
Topics for tonight include:
5 Economic Lies in Translation: America's Forgotten Debt Just Hit $ 18 Trillion and the Fix Won't Be In
Listen live and CALL IN to speak to the host and co-host--(347) 996-3923. Join the conversation!
December 2nd, 2014
Yes, you read that correctly--it's now illegal to pray "in Jesus Name"according to military regulations--wonder of the Feds feel the same way about praying in "Allah's name?"
Don't bet on it--however--the religious persecution being increasingly parlayed against Christianity as a whole has reached epidemic proportion, as long ago predicted, but, nothing to really see here, right?.....~ Refocus Notes
By Bob Unruh
An openly lesbian federal judge whose appointment was opposed by dozens of U.S. senators has ruled against a Christian former Navy chaplain who alleged his superiors engineered his dismissal from the service because he was not “ecumenical.”
The decision by Elaine Kaplan of the U.S. Court of Federal Claims rejected the allegations of former chaplain Gordon Klingenschmitt, who recently was elected to the Colorado House of Representatives.
He had routinely prayed “in Jesus name” as part of his work as a chaplain.
The judge, who formerly worked for the National Treasury Employees Union, was opposed by 35 GOP senators when she was appointed by President Obama.
The Washington Blade, a homosexual-advocacy publication, quoted Fred Sainz of the Human Rights Campaign praising Kaplan’s confirmation.
“LGBT people are increasingly visible in all areas of public service, but as a community that so deeply cherishes the virtues of fairness and equality, there is a unique power in seeing role models like Kaplan preside over a court of law,” Sainz said.
In her profile on the federal court system website, Kaplan notes she resides in Washington “with her partner.”
She also explains her legal background includes “civil rights” work.
Klingenschmitt told WND he likely will appeal the decision.
“Is anybody surprised that a new Obama appointee and liberal judge ruled that a Navy chaplain can be legally punished for his sermons, punished for writing to Congress, and punished for praying in Jesus’ name in uniform?” he asked.
“Although Judge Elaine Kaplan ruled against me, at least she affirmed how I was vindicated by the U.S. Congress, who rescinded [military regulation] 1730.7C after it was enforced against me in the Navy court,” he continued.
“She also admitted in her ruling that the government really did punish me, a Navy chaplain, for quoting the Bible in chapel, which would be protected by the First Amendment, but this judge refused to correct the Navy’s obvious abuse of power.
“She also acknowledged that I had written permission to wear my uniform during ‘public worship’ but that my prayers offered in Jesus’ name at a press conference did not qualify as ‘public worship,’” he said.
“Finally, she acknowledged I was punished for writing to my congressman and the president, but again claimed she didn’t have jurisdiction to enforce whistleblower laws. My lawyer and I plan to immediately appeal this bad ruling, and again later if necessary all the way to the Supreme Court,” Klingenschmitt told WND.
Klingenschmitt claims the Navy acted in violation of his constitutional rights when officials refused to re-certify him as a chaplain and launched proceedings to dismiss him....
December 2nd, 2014
The New American
Written by Warren Mass
A researcher from the influential Heritage Foundation estimates that the cost to U.S. taxpayers of President Obama’s pending grant of amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants will be “around $2 trillion.”
So said Robert Rector, senior research fellow in the Domestic Policy Studies Department at the Heritage Foundation, in a November 24 interview with Breitbart News. “The net cost — which is total benefits minus total benefits paid in — of the amnesty recipients I estimate will be around $2 trillion over the course of their lifetime,” said Rector. He added, “What [Obama] is doing is he is putting these 4 million people — who on average have a 10th grade education — into the Social Security and Medicare programs.”
Rector estimates that these illegal immigrants who will be protected from deportation by Obama’s executive actions will, over the course of their lifetimes, receive three dollars’ worth of benefits from government programs such as Social Security and Medicare for every dollar they pay into them.
The president’s plan, which he unveiled officially during a November 20 nationwide address, uses executive action to grant protection from deportation (amnesty) to those who have been in the United States for more than five years, and to those who have children who are American citizens or legal residents. The children of the latter group are often referred to as “anchor babies,” since children born in the United States to illegal immigrants are granted citizenship.
Rector noted that once these “anchor baby" children of immigrants granted amnesty reach the age of 21, they will be able to petition to have their parents obtain Permanent Resident Cards (green cards). “After 5 years with a green card status [the amnestied immigrants will be] eligible for all the welfare programs,” he added.
While those granted amnesty will not immediately be eligible for federal benefits, Rector has projected the long-term cost to taxpayers that will result as these immigrants achieve normalized status over time. “Even if they are waiting 10 or 12 years to get access to these programs, that is still a trillion dollar cost once they begin to get into them,” he said.
Last year, Rector co-authored (with Dr. Jason Richwine) a special report for the Heritage Foundation entitled, “The Fiscal Cost of Unlawful Immigrants and Amnesty to the U.S. Taxpayer.” The heavily documented report noted four types of benefits and services that all Americans (and now illegal immigrants granted amnesty) receive, including Direct benefits (Social Security, Medicare, unemployment insurance, and workers’ compensation); Means-tested welfare benefits (Medicaid, food stamps, the refundable Earned Income Tax Credit, public housing, Supplemental Security Income, and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families); Public education (which costs on average $12,300 per pupil per year); and Population-based services (Police, fire, highways, parks, and similar services, which the National Academy of Sciences has determined will generally have to expand as new immigrants enter a community).
The report noted that in 2010, the average U.S. household received $31,584 in government benefits and services from one or more of these four categories.
However, not all Americans receive more in benefits than they pay into the system. Some are “net tax contributors,” while others are what the Rector-Richwine report calls “net tax consumers.” The report offers these statistics to illustrate this point:
For example, in 2010, in the whole U.S. population, households with college-educated heads, on average, received $24,839 in government benefits while paying $54,089 in taxes. The average college-educated household thus generated a fiscal surplus of $29,250 that government used to finance benefits for other households.
Those who had not finished high school, in contrast, presented a different result:
On average, [they] received $46,582 in government benefits while paying only $11,469 in taxes. This generated an average fiscal deficit (benefits received minus taxes paid) of $35,113.
The relevance of these figures to the amnesty program is that half of illegal immigrant households are headed by an individual with less than a high school education, and another 25 percent of household heads have only a high school diploma.
Furthermore, notes the report, even legal immigrant households receive significantly more welfare, on average, than U.S.-born households, but not more than U.S.-born households with the same education level. Households headed by poorly educated individuals, “whether immigrant or U.S.-born, receive far more in government benefits than they pay in taxes.”
The report noted the contrast between legal and illegal immigrants, who presently do not have access to means-tested welfare, Social Security, or Medicare. As Rector stated in his recent interview, however, “After 5 years with a green card status [the amnestied immigrants will be] eligible for all the welfare programs.”
Even prior to the Obama executive action amnesty, however, and even without access to means-tested welfare, Social Security, or Medicare, illegal immigrants still received government benefits and services. For example, children in illegal immigrant households receive heavily subsidized public education. And the U.S.-born children of these illegal immigrants (those “anchor babies”) “are currently eligible for the full range of government welfare and medical benefits,” noted the Heritage report.....