Monday, August 7, 2017

National Security Advisor’s Serial Insubordination and Personnel Actions Undermine Trump Presidency, Requires His Termination

Washington, D.C. - August 7, 2017 (The Ponder News) -- The Center for Security Policy has joined with others who are alarmed at the disloyal and subversive behavior of National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster. They have joined together in calling on President Trump to dismiss McMaster from his office immediately. Such disloyal and subversive behavior from McMaster includes undermining the President’s policies on virtually every important foreign and defense policy issue and purging staff members who support these issues, while retaining or hiring others – including large numbers of Obama holdovers – who do not.

“No voter in this country – not one – elected H.R. McMaster to run U.S. foreign policy. Actually, the winner of the 2016 election was a man who opposed virtually every aspect of the McMaster agenda – and that of the president who made its architect a three-star general, Barack Obama,” said Center for Security Policy President Frank Gaffney in a nationally syndicated radio commentary today.

“It may be hard to square that reality with what has happened since McMaster became Donald Trump’s National Security Advisor. At every turn, the Army general has been insubordinate to his Commander-in-Chief. For example, he has openly opposed Mr. Trump on “radical Islamic terrorism,” Syria, Qatar, Iran, Russia and the Muslim Brotherhood.

“Of late, McMaster has taken to purging Mr. Trump’s most loyal staff members, including senior intelligence advisor Ezra Cohen-Watnik – a man the President had previously, personally insisted be retained. If such misconduct is tolerated, Trump voters will have unknowingly elected President McMaster.”

Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Director of National Intelligence Dan Coates described the administration’s redoubled efforts to stop leaks that compromise national security. One place that must receive close scrutiny is McMaster’s own office in light of Thursday’s revelation by Sara Carter of Circa News that last April, the National Security Advisor personally granted one of his most notorious predecessors, Susan Rice, continued access to classified information and vouched for her trustworthiness with respect to safeguarding it. Given Ms. Rice’s record of playing fast-and-loose with sensitive information for partisan political purposes, this action speaks volumes about Gen. McMaster’s poor judgment and loyalties – and affirms the necessity of his termination forthwith.


Washington, D.C. - August 7, 2017 (The Ponder News) -- U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) cosponsored two bills intended to protect veterans and service members—men and women who have proven they are willing to lay down their lives to defend America—from being deported. The bills, sponsored by U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), an Iraq War veteran, would help keep our promises to these brave individuals by preventing the Administration from deporting veterans, giving legal permanent residents a path to citizenship through military service, and establishing naturalization offices at military training facilities.

“These bills will help us honor our commitment to veterans and service members seeking U.S. citizenship,” said Cortez Masto. “Unfortunately, the programs that exist to help eligible noncitizen military service members complete their naturalization process are often under-resourced and inconsistent. If passed, these bills would allocate resources to help ensure that qualified military members in Nevada and across the country receive the guidance and support they need on their pathway to citizenship. I am proud to have co-sponsored this legislation to support the men and women who have sacrificed so much to keep our nation safe.”

A 2016 American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) study identified 239 non-citizen veterans who have been deported from the United States in recent years – and some experts believe the actual number of deported veterans is significantly higher.

While most deported veterans would have been eligible for naturalization when they were in the military, the U.S. government in many cases failed to prioritize assisting non-citizen service members with completing the naturalization process. Because of this lack of follow-through, some veterans who thought they had become citizens found out later that they were vulnerable to deportation because their paperwork had never been processed.

Once a veteran is deported, they are usually unable to access the VA benefits they have earned and would receive if they were still living in the United States. Many have trouble accessing even basic medical care, which is particularly problematic because veterans struggle with higher rates of post-traumatic stress disorder and physical health problems like chronic pain than the general population. Many deported veterans have also been separated from their families and their children, who live in the United States. Veterans deported to Mexico or Central America also are vulnerable to threats from gangs and drug cartels because of their military experience.

The following bills were cosponsored this week by Senator Cortez Masto:

  • The Immigrant Veterans Eligibility Tracking System (I-VETS) Act of 2017 would identify non-citizens who are currently serving or who have served in the armed forces when they are applying for immigration benefits or when placed in immigration enforcement proceedings. The bill would also require the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to annotate all immigration and naturalization records to reflect their service records. This information will enable DHS to “fast track” veterans and service members who are applying for naturalization, while also allowing officials to practice prosecutorial discretion, if appropriate, when adjudicating their cases.
  • The Naturalization at Training Sites (NATS) Act of 2017 would establish a naturalization office at each initial military training site to identify and conduct outreach to non-citizen service members to ensure the government follows through on its promise to help them become American citizens.

  • ‘Kari’s Law’ Makes Dialing 911 Easier from Multiline Phones

    Washington, D.C. - August 7, 2017 (The Ponder News) -- U.S. Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) issued the following statement after the Senate passed the Developing Innovation and Growing the Internet of Things (DIGIT) Act, which included Kari’s Law, a bill that amends the Communications Act of 1934 to require multiline telephone systems, common in hotels and offices, to have the ability to directly dial 911 without locating an outside line first:

    “In an emergency situation, every moment counts. By ensuring all callers are able to directly dial 911, we can help save critical seconds that could mean the difference between life and death,” said Sen. Cornyn. “Following the example of the State of Texas, I’m glad my colleagues in the Senate have taken this commonsense step to help prevent tragedies across the nation.”

    Sen. Cornyn is an original co-sponsor of Kari’s Law, named after Kari Hunt, who was tragically killed in her hotel room in 2013. Kari’s daughter was unable to reach emergency personnel because she failed to dial “9” to locate an outside line on the multiline phone in the hotel room before dialing 911. The Texas legislature passed a similar state law that went into effect in 2016. A similar bill passed the House of Representatives on January 23, 2017.

    Kari Hunt was killed in her hotel room after her daughter was unable to reach emergency responders due to the hotel phone system's requirement of dialing an extra “9” to reach 911.

    “I am grateful my colleagues in the Senate have come together to pass this bill that has the potential to save many lives,” Senator Ted Cruz said. “No family should have to endure the grief inflicted upon the Hunt family, when technology that was supposed to be there in Kari's time of need was not easily accessible. I am a proud supporter of this bipartisan bill that will make dialing 911 easier and I hope it quickly becomes law.”

    Plan to Improve Generic Drug Competition, Ensure Patient Access to Affordable Medication Heads to President's Desk

    Provisions authored by U.S. Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Claire McCaskill (D-MO) to improve generic competition and lower the cost of prescription drugs cleared the Senate as part of the FDA Reauthorization Act. The provisions, which were unanimously adopted as an amendment during the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee’s consideration of the legislation in May, will help foster a competitive marketplace to improve the affordability and accessibility of prescription drugs for patients. The House passed bipartisan legislation mirroring Senators Collins and McCaskill’s plan last month, and the bill will now head to the president’s desk to be signed into law.

    “Drug companies should not be able to increase their prices dramatically by thousands of percent overnight without any justification or development of the drug to improve its effectiveness, for example,” said Senator Collins in her remarks from the Senate floor. “Our legislation will help to foster a much healthier and more competitive marketplace as the best defense against such exploitation. I am pleased that our bipartisan plan will increase generic competition, which is so important to American families and particularly our seniors, who take a disproportionate number of the prescription drugs that are prescribed in this country.”

    “Prescription drugs aren’t a luxury item—for many, they’re lifesavers, and Missouri families shouldn’t have to choose between their prescriptions and their groceries,” Senator McCaskill said. “We’ve got to bring down the cost of prescription drugs, and a fundamental way to do that is through generic competition. That’s why this plan by Senator Collins and me will make a difference—and why I’m thrilled it’s headed to the President’s desk to be signed into law.”

    In December 2015, Senators Collins and McCaskill, the Chairman and former Ranking Member of the Senate Aging Committee, launched the first ever bipartisan investigation into the causes, impacts, and potential solutions to egregious price spikes for certain drugs. Their investigation included a series of hearings that strived to understand why companies can make these large price increases and to identify which policies should be considered to counter these disturbing practices. In December 2016, Senators Collins and McCaskill released a report on drug pricing that detailed the Committee’s findings.

    Senators Collins and McCaskill’s bipartisan plan will take a number of steps to foster a competitive marketplace to help keep drug prices down and improve access to affordable prescription drugs for Americans. These measures will enhance regulatory certainty for generic drug companies, prevent shortages, increase competition to lower prices and avoid monopolies, and deter practices that can lead to unjustifiable exorbitant price hikes.