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Tags: Democrats | Have | Secret | Plan | Venezuela | terrorism | ACLU Chief

Democrats Have Secret Plan for November

By    |   Sunday, 13 June 2010 03:36 PM

Insider Report

Headlines (Scroll down for complete stories):
1. Senators Demand Answers on Venezuela’s Links to Terrorism
2. ACLU Chief: ‘I’m Disgusted’ With Obama
3. Sen. McConnell: BP Helped Write Climate Bill
4. Immigrants Taking Summer Jobs From U.S. Teens
5. Democrats Have Secret Plan for November
6. We Heard: Fox News, House Republican Conference

1. Senators Demand Answers on Venezuela’s Links to Terrorism

A dozen Republican senators have sent a letter challenging the Obama administration to explain what it knows about Venezuela’s support for terrorism and suggesting that the country be declared a “state sponsor of terrorism.”

“Hugo Chavez’s relationships with Iran and other foreign terrorist organizations continue to grow and pose a serious threat to our hemisphere,” Sen. George LeMieux of Florida, one signer of the letter, said of the Venezuelan president.

“I encourage the State Department to thoroughly evaluate Venezuela’s actions and determine if the country needs to be added to the official U.S. list of state sponsors of terrorism.”

John Ensign of Nevada, who drafted the letter along with LeMieux, declared: “It’s no secret to the American people that Venezuela wishes harm to the United States. What is secret is how many more ties to terrorist organizations and state sponsors of terrorism does Venezuela need to be declared a state sponsor of terrorism.”

The letter addressed to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton points to a number of concerns raised by Chavez’s Venezuela:

  • Surface-to-air missiles and other weapons have reportedly been provided by Venezuela to FARC guerillas in Colombia. An arms cache captured from FARC in 2008 included Swedish-made anti-tank rocket launchers that had been sold to Venezuela.
  • Venezuela provides cross-border sanctuaries for Colombian guerillas.
  • A United Nations report last year disclosed that nearly one-third of all cocaine produced in the Andean region passes through Venezuela. The senators question how much terrorist groups such as al-Qaida profit from trafficking drugs that originate in or flow through Venezuela.
  • The U.S. has frozen the assets of two Venezuelans, including one working for Chavez, for providing direct support to the terrorist group Hezbollah. The senators ask the State Department for an assessment of the activities of Hezbollah inside Venezuela.
  • Chavez’s “extensive support” of the Castro regime in Cuba is calculated to amount to $1 billion a year, and Cuban advisors are involved in the intelligence and security apparatus of the Venezuelan government.
  • Chavez “has repeatedly expressed support” for Iran’s covert nuclear program and announced a plan for the construction of a “nuclear village” in Venezuela with Iranian assistance. Also, Chavez has pledged to provide Iran with 20,000 barrels of gasoline per day.
  • As for Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, “recent years have witnessed an increased presence in Latin America, particularly Venezuela.”
  • Weekly flights connecting Iran, Syria, and Venezuela raise suspicions of “nefarious purposes” because passengers on these flights have been subject to only “cursory immigration and customs controls.”

Newsmax magazine’s May issue disclosed that Iranian security officers seal off the airport in the Venezuelan capital, Caracas, two hours before Iran Air jets arrived. Those officers supervise cargo unloading with no inspection by local officials.

Iran could easily fly in highly enriched uranium that could then be carried into the U.S. from Mexico, increasing the risk of a terrorist attack with a nuclear weapon.

If the U.S. did declare Venezuela a state sponsor of terrorism, American arms sales to the country would be prohibited, as would U.S. economic assistance, and severe restrictions would be placed on bilateral trade.

“The Obama administration’s decision to pull the trigger on Venezuela may hinge on whether the United States can afford to forfeit petroleum exports from that South American country,” Roger F. Noriega, a former assistant secretary of state and a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, observes on the Institute’s journal, The American.

“Anticipating the argument that Venezuela’s oil supply is too essential to the U.S. economy to risk slapping that country with the terrorist label, the senators ask the administration to explain its ‘contingency plan’ for dealing with a ‘sudden and prolonged unavailability of Venezuelan oil exports to the United States.’”

In answer to the question, the U.S. would likely find new sources of oil on the international market — but Venezuela’s economy will be crippled by the loss of oil revenue and consumer imports, Noriega notes, adding: “Since the last years of the George W. Bush administration, U.S. diplomats have steered clear of Chavez for fear of ‘provoking’ him. Thanks to congressional oversight, we are about to confront the terrible downside of that naïve, passive policy.”

Other senators who signed the letter include John McCain of Arizona, Scott Brown of Massachusetts, and Republican Whip Jon Kyl of Arizona.

Editor's Note:

2. ACLU Chief: ‘I’m Disgusted’ With Obama

American Civil Liberties Union Executive Director Anthony Romero has lambasted the Obama administration for its handling of civil liberties issues, including its unwillingness to prosecute officials from the George W. Bush administration.

"I'm going to start provocatively. I'm disgusted with this president," Romero told a conference of liberal activists on Wednesday.

Romero clarified his remark in an interview with Politico, saying: "I'm not disgusted at President Obama personally. It's President Obama's policies on civil liberties and national security issues I'm disgusted by . . .

“Guantanamo is still not closed. The administration still uses state secrets to shield themselves from litigation. There's no prosecution for criminal acts of the Bush administration. Surveillance powers put in place under the Patriot Act have been renewed. If there has been change in the civil liberties context, I frankly don't see it."

The ACLU has said Bush and Dick Cheney’s comments about waterboarding amount to an admission of war crimes.

Romero added: "The unwillingness of the administration to stick by its guns and prosecute the Sept. 11 defendants in criminal court does not bode well for the broader civil liberties agenda.”

Arianna Huffington, founder of The Huffington Post, said most of Obama’s problems stem from his quest for bipartisanship with Republicans on almost every issue.

Editor's Note:

3. Sen. McConnell: BP Helped Write Climate Bill

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell charges that the energy company BP helped craft the cap-and-trade bill proposed by Democratic Sens. John Kerry and Joe Lieberman.

“The problem for Democrats is that debating the Democrat cap-and-trade bill might not fit neatly into the White House messaging plan since it’s been widely reported that a major part, a major part of the Kerry-Lieberman bill was essentially written by BP,” the Kentucky Republican said on the Senate floor on Wednesday, referring to the company responsible for the massive and ongoing oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

“Let me say that again. A major part of the Kerry-Lieberman bill was written by BP. This is clearly an inconvenient fact,” McConnell emphasized.

Congress is debating a compromise global warming bill — a watered-down version of earlier climate change bills — introduced in May by Kerry and Lieberman after the oil rig explosion in April. It would tax businesses for carbon emissions and raise the cost of fuel for American consumers, CNS News reports.

McConnell also charged that Democrats are trying to “piggy-back” the climate change legislation into a bill under consideration to deal with future oil spills.

“An administration that seems to spend most of its time coming up with new ways to show how angry it is at BP is pushing a proposal that BP actually helped write,” said McConnell. “I can’t understand it, and I don’t think the American people will understand why it makes sense to respond to the BP oil spill by imposing a gas-tax increase on the American people that was advocated by BP.”

When asked by CNS News about McConnell’s assertion that a major part of the Kerry-Lieberman bill was essentially written by BP, Sen. James Inhofe of Oklahoma, the top Republican on the Committee on Environment and Public Works, said, “I believe that’s true.”

Editor's Note:

4. Immigrants Taking Summer Jobs From U.S. Teens

The percentage of U.S.-born teenagers in the summer job market has been declining as the number of illegal and legal immigrants with jobs has risen, a report from the Center for Immigration Studies reveals.

In 1994, nearly two-thirds of U.S.-born teens ages 16 through 19 were in the summer labor force, meaning they were working or looking for work. Last summer, the number had dropped to 45 percent. Over that same period, the number of teens not in the labor force rose from 4.7 million to 8.1 million.

“At the same time, the overall number of immigrants, legal and illegal, holding a job doubled,” according to the report from Steven A. Camarota, Director of Research at the Center, and Karen Jensenius, a demographer there.

She added: “The evidence indicates that immigration accounts for a significant share of the decline in teen labor force participation. The decline in teen work is worrisome because research shows that those who do not hold jobs as teenagers often fail to develop the work habits necessary to function in the labor market, creating significant negative consequences for them later in life.”

The report also discloses the following:

  • Immigrants and teenagers frequently do the same kind of work. In the 10 occupations employing the most U.S.-born teens during the summer of 2007, 1 in 5 workers was an immigrant.
  • Between 1994 and 2007, teenage employment declined the most in the occupations where immigrants made significant job gains.
  • Just 45 percent of U.S.-born teens were in the summer labor force in the 10 states with the largest percentage of immigrant workers in 2007, compared to 58 percent in the 10 states with the smallest share of immigrant workers.

The most likely reason immigrants displace U.S.-born teens, according to the authors, “is that the vast majority of immigrants are fully developed adults — relatively few people migrate before age 20. This gives immigrants a significant advantage over U.S.-born teenagers who typically have much less work experience.”

Editor's Note:

5. Democrats Have Secret Plan for November

Political analysts are predicting a huge win for Republicans in November's congressional elections, but some Democrats believe they have a secret plan to stave off a crushing Republican landslide.

That’s the analysis from Newsweek magazine’s Andrew Romano, who writes that “the Democrats in charge are actually rather confident about getting their fellow Dems elected this year. The reason? They have a plan — a plan that they believe will produce much better results on Election Day than anyone expects.”

The first element of that plan is the return of Obama’s former campaign manager David Plouffe, who left politics after Obama’s election win. At the president’s request, he is now communicating on a regular basis with the Democratic National Committee on campaign strategy.

Plouffe’s top priority is to get many of the 15 million people who voted for the first time in 2008, and largely supported Obama, back to the polls this year. His main weapon is the 13-million-name e-mail list from the Obama campaign now available to the DNC.

The focus on individual elections for Democrats will be “keep it local,” according to Romano. “While Republicans hammer away at national themes targeted at right-wing activists, Democrats plan to focus on bread-and-butter regional concerns like jobs.”

Democrats also believe that the emergence of tea party challengers in GOP primaries will help their candidates attract moderate voters. A tea party candidate who wins the primary will drive moderates toward the Democrat in the general election, the thinking goes, and a tea partyer who loses will likely have forced the winning Republican to move further to the right and possibly alienate moderate voters.

Back in 1994, Democrats were unprepared for the GOP onslaught that captured both the Senate and the House, but that won’t happen in 2010, observes Romano, who concludes, “This year, careful planning, internal GOP conflict, an improving economic climate, and yet-to-be-introduced technologies have the potential to limit Democratic losses to less-than-catastrophic proportions.”

Editor's Note:

6. We Heard . . .

THAT Fox News has the inside track to take over the front-row White House briefing room seat vacated by the retirement of longtime Washington journalist Helen Thomas.

CNN White House correspondent Ed Henry, one of three officers of the White House Correspondents Association, will vote for Fox News, Media Bistro reported.

When CNN was awarded a front-row seat in 2007, Fox News supported the move.

Thomas, who had covered presidents since 1960, retired on June 7 following anti-Israel remarks that were denounced by the White House and her press corps colleagues.

THAT Rep. John Fleming of Louisiana has taken first prize in the House Republican Conference’s “New Media Challenge” to see which member could gain the most new Facebook friends, Twitter followers, and YouTube subscribers.

“The biggest winner, however, was the conference as a whole,” said Rep. Cathy McMorris of Washington, vice chair of the conference. “From the start of the challenge on April 19 to its completion on May 28, participating members gained a total of over 30,000 new Facebook fans, over 11,000 new Twitter followers, and over 1,100 new YouTube subscribers.”

Conference Chairman Mike Pence said, “It is my pleasure to congratulate the New Media Challenge winner Representative John Fleming for his steadfast efforts in regards to online communications.

“Like Representative Fleming, House Republicans know that New Media is essential to communicating with the American people. We will continue to make listening to the American people our top priority.”

Rep. Phil Gingrey of Georgia took second prize.

Editor's Note:

Editor's Notes:

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Insider ReportHeadlines (Scroll down for complete stories):1. Senators Demand Answers on Venezuela s Links to Terrorism 2. ACLU Chief: I m Disgusted With Obama 3. Sen. McConnell: BP Helped Write Climate Bill 4. Immigrants Taking Summer Jobs From U.S. Teens 5....
Democrats,Have,Secret,Plan,Venezuela,terrorism,ACLU Chief,Mitch McConnell,Fox News,House Republican Conference
Sunday, 13 June 2010 03:36 PM
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