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Hillary WILL run in 2016, claims wealthy Greek donor (who says Bill told him)

February 13, 2013

Hillary WILL run in 2016, claims wealthy Greek donor (who says Bill told him)

By Leslie Larson
13 February 2013

A wealthy Democratic donor is fanning the flames of speculation that Hillary Clinton is indeed running for president.

Sacramento developer Angelo Tsakopoulos says Bill Clinton has confirmed the presumed plan that the former Secretary of State will make a bid for the White House again.


The millionaire told the Greek Reporter that Clinton’s husband revealed his wife’s political ambition, as the power couple gear up for a 2016 race.

Sacramento developer Angelo Tsakopoulos (left) was a key fundraiser for Team Hillary during her first presidential bid.

‘Hillary will be our next President and she will be a great one,’ Mr Tsakopoulos told the Greek Reporter at a private gala event in California over the weekend.

His daughter, Eleni Tsakopoulos-Kounalakis, was appointed Ambassador to Hungary in 2010

‘I talk to her husband, and he confirmed it. She will run,’ he added. Reps from the Clinton camp have publicly addressed his statements.

Hillary Clinton’s political plans are considered the worst kept secret in Washington.

Though the 65-year-old, who left the State Department in January, claims she has no set agenda for the future it has been widely thought that she still has her eye on the Oval Office.

Just days after she handed over the reins of the State Department to former Mass. Sen. John Kerry, she launched a new website with the mysterious web address

The website features a glamorous photo of the diplomat but provides no information on its purpose, other than the option for a visitor to enter their contact information.

She has long stated that she would be taking time to rest and not focusing on her long-term plans.

In December, she suffered a concussion and was hospitalized briefly for a blood clot near her brain.

She previously sought the Democratic presidential nomination in 2008, against then Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.)

She and her husband fought tooth and nail against the rising Democratic star, who ultimately proved victorious.

Though the indefatigable political pair had to lick their wounds when Mr Obama secured the Democratic presidential nomination, they eventually got in line to support the party and then Sen. Clinton (D-NY) was appointed Secretary of State under the 44th president.

But she has maintained a powerful circle of supporters who have continued to express their hope that she would run again.

Exclusive: Hillary Clinton Will Run for President in 2016 – Confirmed


  1. March 5, 2013 9:10 pm

    Obama Sequester Blame Game Backfires

    by John Nolte

    For weeks and weeks, the media aided and abetted President Obama’s crying of wolf over sequester. As Obama hit the campaign trail (literally) to blame Republicans for the upcoming spending cuts that would result in the end of America as we know it, the media went right along with him every step of the way (my personal fave is here).

    Meanwhile, it was conservative media reporting the truth — the truth that it was Obama who had proposed sequester and signed it into law; the truth that Obama and a number of federal agencies had some discretion when it came to where these cuts would hit; the truth that the sequester cuts amounted to less than 2% of the budget and 1% of GDP; the truth that the original sequester deal did not include tax increases.

    And then along came Bob Woodward…

    To protect Obama’s lies, much of the media tried to destroy Woodward for telling the truth, but after a few other brave journalists decided to bolt the Narrative Plantation and report the truth about Obama’s lies, the toothpaste was out of the tube.

    Sequester hit, the world did not collapse, and Obama and his media backed down from their unified cries of an impending apocalypse that was to be brought on by a government not bloated enough.

    And now we know why…

    Thirty-eight percent of Americans place more blame on the Republicans in Congress for the failure, while 33 percent blame President Obama and the Democrats in Congress more. Nineteen percent volunteer that they blame both sides.

    When you add up those numbers, you discover that 52% of Americans blame Obama for sequester, while 57% blame the GOP. In other words, all that campaigning and water-carrying by the media did next to nothing to help Obama. More than half the country blames Obama, and he’s only polling a measly 5% better than the GOP.

    That’s what you call a backfire.

    And all it took was New Media telling the truth and a very few mainstream media reporters brave enough to do the same.

    What we now have to hope is that this new concept of some in the elite media being willing to report honestly on this White House sticks, and starts to catch on.

  2. March 7, 2013 12:19 am

    Fascinating account of Hillary’s tenure at State… Kerry seems bewildered as the new SOS and Snake Wrangler. So far, he’s batting zero on his score card.

    The sins of Secretary Clinton are falling on John Kerry


    John Kerry is going to have a rough tenure as secretary of state. But let’s face it, whoever came after Hillary Clinton was going to have to deal with a foreign affairs press corps that has been sleeping for four years. From the moment Hillary entered Foggy Bottom, political reporters have treated their beloved secretary of state with kid gloves.

    Watching media outlets now play catch-up on just how dangerous the world really is makes you feel a bit sorry for Kerry. Suddenly the State Department reporters have realized that Iran is about to get a nuclear weapon, GITMO is still open, North Korea is invigorated, the Russians are actively out-maneuvering us, Syria is in flames and the French are leading the fight against Al Qaeda.

    way more to this story at link:

  3. March 7, 2013 12:27 am

  4. March 7, 2013 12:31 am

  5. March 7, 2013 12:37 am

    The Lame Duck President just got a little lamer behind the woodshed!

    CBS News Hits Obama on Sequester Overreach

    Did Bob Woodward’s noble decision to bolt from the Narrative Plantation prove to a brave few in media that you could indeed report honestly about Barack Obama and survive? Obama’s serial sequester lies haven’t become The National Narrative yet, but with his poll numbers already flopping, CBS deciding to do some real reporting is the last thing President Chicken Little needs:

    The Obama administration has overreached three times in the past 10 days in attempting to illustrate the negative impact of the sequester spending cuts in the short term, giving fodder to those seeking to play down the impact of the cuts.

    On Monday, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano told reporters that major airports had seen lines ballooning to 150-200 percent their normal size. The Transportation Security Administration later clarified that it was not yet seeing longer-than-normal checkpoint lines, though Customs and Border Protection told CBS News there had been increased wait times at two airports due to reduced staffing.

    Somewhere, in a dark White House room, Obama sits hunched over, head in hands, sobbing: “Why is the media acting like the media. Don’t they know who I am?”

  6. March 7, 2013 12:50 am

    Bieber Bamboozled by Black Manager, Usher-

    Bieber is being fed drugs encouraging addiction to cancel his career. All eyes need to be on Beyonce.. Bieber is a distraction and his recording revenue needs to be diverted to the untouchable Beyonce.. Someone needs to clue in Bieber’s Mom if she wants to save her young son’s career before it too late. Fire the manager and beg Timberlake to take him on… It’s a shame what the voodoo dogs in the blk culture have done to this talented white kid..

    “Hundreds of fans stranded as late running caused them to miss last trains
    Refunds will be ‘dealt with on a case-by-case basis dependent on the credibility of the claim’ Justin, with 35million Twitter followers, has partied all weekend in London Teen idol apologized to fans via Twitter, and insisted there would be no repeat at his remaining London gigs.”

  7. March 7, 2013 12:56 am

    Rand Paul Stands for the Constitution and begins a Litany of Obama’s Constitutional Transgressions:

    Watch Rand Paul WH filibuster LIVE:

    Watch the filibuster live:

  8. March 7, 2013 1:34 am

    Israel Escapes Locust Plague — For Now

    MITZPE RAMON, Israel — A menacing swarm of locusts that entered southern Israel earlier this week has been largely smitten, according to the Israeli government and local reports. But some of the insects’ ilk may be back later this week.

    Officials sprayed the flying insects with pesticide early this morning (March 6), greatly reducing the number of living, flying insects, according to a statement from the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.

    However, there’s a “moderate risk” that another, small swarm could reach this region, in Israel’s Negev Desert, later this week or on the weekend, said Keith Cressman, a senior locust-forecasting officer in Rome for the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations.

    The desert locusts, whose scientific name is Schistocerca gregaria, arrived a couple weeks before Passover, the weeklong festival that recounts the biblical exodus of the Jewish people from Egypt. According to the Bible, swarms of locusts were the eighth plague sent into ancient Egypt as a punishment for suppressing the Jews, said Hendrik Bruins, a researcher who studies the archaeology and environmental aspects of desert peoples, at Israel’s Ben-Gurion University of the Negev.

    “This [current swarm] fits very well with the seasonal timing of the exodus in the bible,” Bruins said.

    But could the plague be a divine punishment this time around? “This, we cannot say,” Bruins told LiveScience. “Because there have been so many plagues throughout history, not every locust plague can be classified in that way,” he said, laughing. [See Images of the Desert Locust Swarms]

    Gregarious grasshoppers

    All locusts are grasshoppers, or in the grasshopper family, but not all grasshoppers are locusts, said Amir Ayali, a researcher at Tel Aviv University. About 15 species of grasshoppers can be classified as locusts, essentially meaning they can fly and create swarms. The creatures are usually solitary and avoid each other, but in the right conditions, they congregate in large groups, exhibiting what is called a “gregarious” behavior, Ayali said.

    The current swarm originated in southeastern Egypt and northeastern Sudan, despite efforts by these countries to control the insects’ populations, Cressman said. The animals thrive in relatively wet conditions, and the locusts moved on once the area started to dry out in early February, he continued. By March 2, they had reached Cairo, buffeted by winds out of the south. There were many thousands of locusts in the swarms that have arrived in southern Israel, but the exact number is unclear, according to officials.

    Locusts are passive fliers, and can’t get far flying into the breeze; however, under the right conditions, they can fly up to 90 miles (150 kilometers) per day, Cressman said.

    On March 4, winds from the west brought a small swarm into Israel’s Negev, and another group arrived the same way the next day (March 5), Cressman added. Now, however, the insects have been sprayed, and the wind has shifted, now blowing out of the northeast, greatly reducing the threat the insects pose. The creatures are also “less active and voracious than normal because they have already traveled quite some distance,” Cressman said. [In Photos: Nature’s Biggest Pests]

    However, a small swarm could reach northeastern Egypt and the Negev on Friday or Saturday, Cressman said. This morning, officials warned Israel, Jordan and Egypt to take necessary measures, he said.

    Zapping locusts

    The only way to deal with large locust outbreaks is to spray them with pesticides, Cressman said, a process that “has become increasingly safer and more environmentally friendly over the years.” Persistent pesticides (that don’t break down after spraying) are no longer used, having been replaced with varieties that evaporate after 24 hours, he said. The chemicals are also sprayed directly on locusts instead of on vegetation or the ground, are only used in small quantities and are deployed by highly trained specialists, he said.

    Such specialists increasingly rely on a new family of bio-pesticides, such as a chemical called Green Muscle that comes from a naturally occurring fungus that only attacks locusts. In particular, officials use these bio-pesticides in sensitive areas like nature reserves, he said.

    The FAO warned Israel a couple days ahead of time that swarms were likely, and the country “immediately mobilized teams [and] resources, and informed farmers and other parties so they were prepared for the locusts,” Cressman said.

    The locusts may not be all bad, however. The locust is the only kosher insect, meaning it is acceptable to eat under Jewish law, Bruins said. “I’ve never eaten them, but they seem to be quite tasty.”

    Cressman, however, has sampled the critters. “I have eaten desert locusts roasted on the fire, boiled, dried and fried — rather a poor man’s version of shrimp,” he said.

    Generally, however, the locusts are the ones doing the eating. A swarm the size of Cairo — which is not unusual for the desert locust — could, in one day, eat the same amount of food as 15 million people could consume, Cressman said. That’s about twice the population of Cairo, he added.

  9. March 8, 2013 8:59 pm

    Does anyone else see the significance of Brennan’s request for a draft of the Constitution that was NEVER passed by the Founding Fathers? As we know, the deal breaker for the Constitutionalists V Federalists was the addition of the Bill Of Rights to the FINAL draft that became the eventual revered document we hold dear as the US Constitution.

    Brennan’s slight of hand requesting an earlier version of the Constitution for taking the oath of office means he is NOT about to respect the Rights of Americans. Therefore, theoretically, Brennan will have the right to order Drone Strikes at will on Americans, imprison Americans without due process among other violations of the Constitution. Doing so with vigor within the parameters set forth in a draft version of the Constitution rejected by the Founders as NOT GOOD ENOUGH for Americans living in a democratic America as the Law of the Land.


    Brennan takes oath on draft Constitution—***without Bill of Rights***


    Oh, dear. This is probably not the symbolism the White House wanted.

    Hours after CIA Director John Brennan took the oath of office—behind closed doors, far away from the press, perhaps befitting his status as America’s top spy—the White House took pains to emphasize the symbolism of the ceremony.

    “There’s one piece of this that I wanted to note for you,” spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters at their daily briefing. “Director Brennan was sworn in with his hand on an original draft of the Constitution that had George Washington’s personal handwriting and annotations on it, dating from 1787.”

    Earnest said Brennan had asked for a document from the National Archives that would demonstrate the U.S. is a nation of laws.

    “Director Brennan told the president that he made the request to the archives because he wanted to reaffirm his commitment to the rule of law as he took the oath of office as director of the CIA,” Earnest said.

    The Constitution itself went into effect in 1789. But troublemaking blogger Marcy Wheeler points out that what was missing from the Constitution in 1787 is also quite symbolic: The Bill of Rights, which did not officially go into effect until December 1791 after ratification by states. (Caution: Marcy’s post has some strong language.)

    That means: No freedom of speech and of the press, no right to bear arms, no Fourth Amendment ban on “unreasonable searches and seizures,” and no right to a jury trial.

    How … symbolic?

  10. March 8, 2013 10:20 pm

    Capital Eye Opener, March 7: Hillary’s Third Super PAC, Another Senator Is Off to K Street

    By Janie Boschma on March 7, 2013

    REALLY READY FOR HILLARY: A HillaryClinton.jpgthird super PAC has registered with the Federal Election Commission, supposedly on behalf of Hillary Clinton’s anticipated 2016 presidential campaign. The latest is HillaryFTW (an Internet abbreviation for “For The Win”), which lists Hector Pacheco of Los Angeles as its treasurer, according to its FEC report.

    As we have previously reported, the other two super PACs, Ready for Hillary PAC and HillaryClintonSuperPAC, registered with the FEC in January. Since then, Ready for Hillary has been busy hiring up Clinton’s former staffers to prepare for a potential 2016 run, The Hill reports — and to convince Hillary to go all in.

    Most recently, the organization brought on Clinton’s former attorney, Jim Lamb, as its general counsel. Lamb was a senior campaign staffer during Clinton’s 2000 Senate run, though he worked for Gov. Bill Richardson’s presidential campaign in the 2008 election cycle. The PAC has also hired veteran Clinton campaign staffers Adam Parkhomenko and Seth Bringman. Bringman is the super PAC’s spokesman.

    Retired Arizona Sen. Jon Kyl, the No. 2 Republican of the 112th Congress, is headed to K Street. Kyl will advise clients in Covington & Burling’s public policy and government affairs arm while he waits for his two-year ban on lobbying to expire. Kyl is also in charge of expanding the lobbying firm’s new government affairs practice in both D.C. and Brussels.

    Kyl was a member of the Senate’s Finance and Judiciary committees and the senior minority member of the Subcommmittee on Taxation and Internal Revenue Service Oversight. He will advise clients on both tax and immigration reforms, Politico reports.

    Over Kyl’s 26-year Senate career, the finance, insurance and real estate sector was the biggest contributor to his campaigns, giving him $4.2 million. Real estate was his second-highest industry, after contributions from retired individuals.


    2016 Democratic Field May Not Wait for Clinton

    By Scott Conroy – March 7, 2013

    She is not an incumbent president — or even currently employed — but the deference fellow Democrats have afforded Hillary Clinton regarding a potential 2016 White House run has been something to behold.

    With the official start of the next presidential campaign still three years away, friends and potential Democratic foes alike have bent over backwards to praise Clinton and talk up her chances of finishing what she started in her 2008 campaign — and for good reason.

    After all, Clinton’s resume arguably is as diverse and extensive as that of any White House hopeful in the history of American politics. No introductions would be necessary for the former first lady, U.S. senator, secretary of state and almost president, as everyone well knows her name and her story.

    In an interview with Don Imus in December, longtime Clinton family confidant and adviser James Carville suggested that the campaign for the Democratic nomination would be little more than a formality en route to Clinton’s coronation.

    “I think the pressure on her to run for president is going to be enormous because I’ve not met a single Democrat that’s not said, ‘Let Hillary run in 2016,’ ” Carville said. “ ‘We don’t want a primary. Let’s just go get this thing done.’ That’s the attitude across the country.”

    After ending her State Department tenure with a popularity level that would have been unimaginable several years ago, Clinton would begin her second White House run with a set of advantages in experience, fundraising prowess, and institutional support that, taken together, are virtually unprecedented.

    The word “inevitable” likely will come up even more than it did during the early stages of her 2008 run, when it appeared to most observers that the Democratic nomination was all but assured her.

    But as was the case then, there will almost certainly be a contested Democratic primary in 2016, despite the assumption of Carville and others.

    And though she will have a major say as to when that contest begins in earnest, Clinton is not necessarily in a position to wave the checkered flag.

    “I’m not sure she’d freeze the field,” said Doug Hattaway, a senior strategist on Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign. “We’ll wait to see what she does, but others will get started cultivating donors, staffers, and grassroots supporters. That would be a smart strategy, if you think you’ve got a shot at this, to put pressure on the perceived front-runner.”

    Paul Begala — an early backer of Clinton’s 2008 campaign 16 years after he and Carville helped steered her husband into the White House — also suggested that Clinton might not have quite as long to make up her mind as is widely perceived.

    “Hillary may be able to freeze the field, but Democratic activists are going to turn the heat up on her,” he said.

    Begala noted that he could not recall a previous instance in which there was so much collective support within the Democratic Party for one candidate so far in advance of the presidential cycle. But politics is a fickle business, as he well knows.

    “I can’t go anywhere without someone asking me if Hillary will run — in fact they not only ask me if she’s running, they tell me to beg her to run,” Begala said before adding: “These nominations are never given away, and the 2016 Democratic nomination will only be won by fighting for it.”

    As she mulls her future, the 65-year-old Clinton has little reason to rush into a decision, for the time being. After serving four years as the most-traveled secretary of state in the nation’s history, she has said several times that she is looking forward to enjoying some rest, and who could blame her?

    When the famously hard-working political icon hits the public speaking circuit (as she is expected to do) in the coming months, she will earn fees of more than $200,000 per engagement, according to Buzzfeed. That amount is more than her annual salary as head of the State Department.

    But the Clinton family is not exactly hurting for cash, as the former president has pulled in over $89 million from his own speaking engagements since leaving the White House in 2001, according to CNN. His wife’s speaking fees could end up surpassing his over time.

    Clinton and her staff are already at work on a memoir that she plans to publish in the coming years — an endeavor that likely will take up much of her time, in addition to the speaking circuit. But after her tome is published, the clock will begin to tick more loudly for Clinton.

    “In my view, we will know if she’s running by mid-2014,” said Democratic strategist Bob Shrum. “And she certainly has that kind of space and time to decide.”

    Clinton’s office has placed a conspicuous “thank you for visiting” message on the home page, as advisers wait for the signal to re-launch in earnest.

    In the meantime, a new generation of ambitious Democrats, including Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, are set to become increasingly visible in what have thus far been groundwork-laying steps toward potential campaigns of their own.

    And as trips to Iowa and New Hampshire make their way onto potential candidates’ schedules with greater regularity, the man who is technically next in line for the job of Democratic standard-bearer — Vice President Joe Biden — figures to become even more candid about his previously stated presidential ambitions.

    In the end, the Democratic field is unlikely to wait for Clinton.

    “She could mobilize support quicker than most, but presidential cycles are starting earlier and earlier, and you need a good 18 months to gear it all up, even as a front-runner,” Hattaway said. “A candidate with her following and stature can gear that infrastructure up more quickly than others, but not overnight.”

    Scott Conroy is a national political reporter for RealClearPolitics. He can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @RealClearScott.

  11. March 9, 2013 12:25 pm

    Joy… take your anti-Hillary sentiments and opinions with you… Bub-bye…

    Hillary Clinton is joining “The View” – replacing Joy Behar!

    Joy Behar, a longtime standup comic and liberal, has been on the ABC talk show since 1997. She said she would leave in August of this year, when her contract expires. Her exit leaves Barbara Walters as the show’s only remaining original co-host.

    “It seemed like the right time,” Behar told Deadline. “You reach a point when you say to yourself, ‘Do I want to keep doing this?’ There are other things on my plate I want to do — I’ve been writing a play, I’ve been neglecting my standup.”

    Walters reportedly announced that Hillary Clinton would be replacing Behar. Since leaving her post as Secretary of State, Hillary has been fielding many offers for job opportunities. Barbara Walters is a dear friend of Hillary’s and it’s something completely different for the former First Lady. ”She’s thrilled to be joining The View,” said a close friend of Hillary. ”She’ll still be running for President in 2016, but this will allow her to have some fun every day.

    “The View” has not had a cast change since 2007, when Whoopi Goldberg and Sherri Shepherd arrived. It has weathered many storms — most notably, the extremely acrimonious departures of Rosie O’Donnell and Star Jones. Behar, however, has been a constant.

    Producers of the show feel like the got the “Holy Grail” by signing Hillary to a two-year contract. ”Hillary is the most popular politician in the world and to have her on set every day with Elizabeth, Whoopi, Barbara and Sherri… well, we are thrilled!”

  12. March 9, 2013 12:54 pm

  13. March 9, 2013 1:00 pm

    Thursday, March 07, 2013

    #MyJihad at Harvard: Jewish students receive eviction notices from Muslim supremacists

    Try pulling this on the Muslim Student Association or the Muslim Students Union, “evict the Muslims” — oh yeah, let’s see how funny these annihilationists and the enemedia think that is.

    Pro-Israel Jewish students on university campuses live in fear of Muslim supremacist bullies and their leftist lapdogs.

    “Jewish Harvard Students Receive Mock Eviction Notices” Rachel Hirshfeld, Jewish students at Harvard University receive mock eviction notices in light of “Israel Apartheid Week.”

    In Harvard University’s latest attempt to promote the delegitimization of the state of Israel, Jewish students in freshman and upper class dormitories received mock eviction notices in light of “Israel Apartheid Week”, which is currently being organized on college and university campuses worldwide.

    The campaign, organized by the Harvard Palestine Solidarity Committee, distributed notices at the beginning of March which read, “We regret to inform you that your suite is scheduled for demolition in the next three days”, a reference to the group’s views regarding Israel’s treatment of the Arab population


    Last year, over two hundred Jewish students at Florida Atlantic University’s (FAU) Boca Raton campus similarly received mock eviction notices distributed by Students for Justice in Palestine, seeking to utilize this ploy to draw attention to their claim that Israel’s “occupation of Palestine” results in the demolition of “Palestinian” homes.

    “We’re taking it very seriously,” Rayna Exelbierd, a 20-year-old Jewish sophomore, said at the time. “We’re considering it a hate crime. The flier promotes hate; it doesn’t promote peace. People were scared by it. People felt threatened by it.”

    Harvard University came under fire last March for hosting a conference entitled “One State Conference: Israel/Palestine and the One State Solution,” aimed at surreptitiously stripping Israel of its legitimacy and right to exist.

    The conference was organized by a number of student groups including, Students for Justice in Palestine, the Palestine Caucus, the Arab Caucus, the Progressive Caucus, and the Association for Justice in the Middle East, all of which perpetrate an ideology based on the belief that Israel is an “apartheid state,” responsible for the “ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian population.”

    Speakers included, Ali Abunimah, the Executive Director of the Electronic Intifada; Dalit Baum, of the BDS organization Coalition of Women for Peace; Ilan Pappe, radical left Israeli academic and fervent supporter of the BDS movement; Marc Ellis, Director of the Center for Jewish Studies at Baylor University, who compares Zionism to colonialism and Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians to the Nazi treatment of Jews; as well as a number of other academics and scholars who advocate similar beliefs.

  14. March 10, 2013 12:16 pm

    Good morning Tell. 🙂

    Have you seen this?
    David Barron and Martin Lederman had a problem. As lawyers in the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel, it had fallen to them to declare whether deliberately killing Mr. Awlaki, despite his citizenship, would be lawful, assuming it was not feasible to capture him. The question raised a complex tangle of potential obstacles under both international and domestic law, and Mr. Awlaki might be located at any moment.

  15. JanH permalink
    March 11, 2013 12:34 pm

    Personally, I don’t like the idea of Hillary joining the View. I have never been a fan of the show and I honestly think she could do better.

  16. March 11, 2013 12:38 pm

    Thanks for the heads up, foxy- Whatever the problems created by Awlaki, for sure it will be applied to non-Muslim NBCitizens making it legal under the Law to assassinate natural born Americans .

    Federal workers brace for furloughs

    Associated Press

    First there was a two-year pay freeze. Now furloughs loom, as federal agencies make personnel costs a prime target for across-the-board budget cuts that went into effect last week. The result: anxiety and low morale in a workforce often envied for its job security.

    “It would certainly put a strain on things,” said Jonathan Schweizer, 61, an environmental engineer at the Environmental Protection Agency in Chicago who could be forced to take up to 13 days of unpaid leave this year. “I’d probably have to run up some credit card debt or defer maintenance on my home that I’d otherwise consider important.”

    Government agencies vary widely in how they are dealing with the “sequester,” as the automatic cuts are called, according to labor unions that represent federal workers. Federal workers could face seven days of furloughs at the Housing and Urban Development Department, while Homeland Security personnel might see twice that number.

    More than half of the nation’s 2.1 million federal workers could be furloughed over the next six months. The federal government is the country’s single largest employer, with its employees making up about 1.2 percent of the nation’s work force.

    “A lot of people think federal employees are fat-cat bureaucrats in Washington, but they don’t realize more than 85 percent of these workers live outside of D.C.,” said Tim Kauffman, spokesman for the American Federation of Government Employees. “A lot of them are not highly paid folks, like VA nurses and emergency response workers.”

    AFGE, which represents more than 600,000 federal workers, is trying to keep track of all the different furlough plans as their members face the prospect of lost wages during mandatory time off without pay and growing frustration about getting work done.

    It seems the federal workforce is under constant attack these days, particularly from Republican lawmakers who want to shrink government and contend federal employees are overpaid with more generous benefits compared to the private sector. Even President Barack Obama supported the pay freeze, though he has issued an executive order that will give workers a 0.5 percent cost-of-living raise set for April. Still, Congress could take action that prevents the raise from happening.

    The latest unemployment numbers offered even more bad news for government workers as federal employment, excluding the U.S. Postal Service, shrank by 4,200 jobs last month. That’s the fifth straight month of cuts, which may reflect a trend towards greater belt-tightening.

    Schweizer conceded that working for the federal government remains a lot more stable than other industries, but he said the comfort level has changed.

    “We’ve definitely been squeezed financially,” he said. “People have left and haven’t been replaced. That puts more pressure on us as far as getting the job done and it certainly hurts morale in my office.”

    Some agencies, including the Justice Department, already have sent out formal furlough notices to workers indicating furloughs of up to 14 days could begin as soon as April. All furloughs are subject to 30-day notices and to bargaining with unions representing government workers.

    While the unions can’t stop the furloughs, they can try to ease the pain for employees by negotiating different times, allowing employees to swap days, or other changes. Unions are also trying to persuade agencies to make other cuts that don’t affect worker pay, such as cutting government contracts with private companies.

    The Social Security Administration, for example, says it hopes to avoid furloughs altogether, instead saving money by terminating more than 1,500 temporary and other workers and losing more than 5,000 other positions through attrition.

    “In some cases, the agencies can figure out ways to slow down federal contracts instead of taking it out of federal personnel,” said Patrick Lester, director of fiscal policy for the Center for Effective Government.

    But there are limits on flexibility. “If they are largely personnel-driven, there’s no way to avoid personnel-related cuts,” Lester said.

    Meat and poultry inspectors at the Agriculture Department initially were told they might be furloughed for 11 consecutive days between June and July, possibly leading to a meat supply shortage and higher prices. But Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack backed away from that at a House hearing this week, telling lawmakers that the furloughs would not be consecutive after all.

    “Furloughs are going to cause disruption,” department spokeswoman Courtney Rowe said Wednesday. “We’re looking to do it in ways that cause the minimum impact.”

    At the EPA, officials are planning up to 13 furlough days, with the first four coming between April and June 1, said John O’Grady, president of AFGE local 704. There also would be mandatory furlough days on May 24, July 5 and Aug. 30 _ coming around the Memorial Day, July Fourth and Labor Day holidays _ that would shut the agency entirely, he said.

    Some of the longest furloughs are expected at the Defense Department, where about 800,000 civilian employees face up to 22 unpaid days off over the next several months. The agency has not yet specified when those will happen, but some agencies may try to put off furloughs for several months in hopes that Congress will come up with a budget fix.

    More flexibility could be coming soon. A House measure passed Wednesday that prevents a shutdown of federal agencies on March 27 also would grant the Pentagon greater latitude in implementing its share of short-term spending cuts. Senate Democrats could try to expand that flexibility to other agencies, potentially reducing the number of workers who are furloughed.

    Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., said he plans to introduce legislation that would allow the Obama administration to exempt from furloughs essential federal employees, such as those who perform food inspections and other urgent functions, so the consequences of the budget cuts would not harm the economy or public safety.

    Border Patrol agents at the Homeland Security Department, for example, face up to 14 days of furloughs and a moratorium on regular overtime pay, which could mean a 35 percent decline in wages for the rest of the fiscal year. Union officials warn that could mean trouble for border security, as agents aren’t used to stopping work just because their shifts end, especially if they are chasing drug or gun smugglers.

  17. March 11, 2013 12:46 pm

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