Poll: Overwhelming Majority – Including Blacks – Consider Blacks to be Most Racist Demographic in America

Via Rasmussen:

Americans consider blacks more likely to be racist than whites and Hispanics in this country.

Thirty-seven percent (37%) of American Adults think most black Americans are racist, according to a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey. Just 15% consider most white Americans racist, while 18% say the same of most Hispanic Americans. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

There is a huge ideological difference on this topic. Among conservative Americans, 49% consider most blacks racist, and only 12% see most whites that way. Among liberal voters, 27% see most white Americans as racist, and 21% say the same about black Americans.

From a partisan perspective, 49% of Republicans see most black Americans as racist, along with 36% of unaffiliated adults and 29% of Democrats.

Among black Americans, 31% think most blacks are racist, while 24% consider most whites racist and 15% view most Hispanics that way.

Among white adults, 10% think most white Americans are racist; 38% believe most blacks are racist, and 17% say most Hispanics are racist.

Overall, just 30% of all Americans now rate race relations in the United States as good or excellent. Fourteen percent (14%) describe them as poor. Twenty-nine percent (29%) think race relations are getting better, while 32% believe they are getting worse. Thirty-five percent (35%) feel they are staying about the same.

These figures reflect more pessimism than was found in April when 42% gave race relations positive marks and 39% said race relations were improving.  However, the April number reflected all-time highs while the current numbers are more consistent with the general attitudes of recent years. Americans consider blacks more likely to be racist than whites and Hispanics in this country.

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Thirty-seven percent (37%) of American Adults think most black Americans are racist, according to a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey. Just 15% consider most white Americans racist, while 18% say the same of most Hispanic Americans. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

There is a huge ideological difference on this topic. Among conservative Americans, 49% consider most blacks racist, and only 12% see most whites that way. Among liberal voters, 27% see most white Americans as racist, and 21% say the same about black Americans.

From a partisan perspective, 49% of Republicans see most black Americans as racist, along with 36% of unaffiliated adults and 29% of Democrats.

Among black Americans, 31% think most blacks are racist, while 24% consider most whites racist  – and 15% view most Hispanics that way.

Among white adults, 10% think most white Americans are racist; 38% believe most blacks are racist, and 17% say most Hispanics are racist.

Overall, just 30% of all Americans now rate race relations in the United States as good or excellent. Fourteen percent (14%) describe them as poor. Twenty-nine percent (29%) think race relations are getting better, while 32% believe they are getting worse. Thirty-five percent (35%) feel they are staying about the same.

These figures reflect more pessimism than was found in April when 42% gave race relations positive marks and 39% said race relations were improving.  However, the April number reflected all-time highs while the current numbers are more consistent with the general attitudes of recent years.

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Read more at http://patdollard.com/2013/07/poll-americans-including-blacks-overwhelmingly-consider-blacks-most-racist-people-in-america/#VEmqp74tU7zYK5hZ.99

Reid: Anyone who Supports Bundy is a Terrorist

Via The Examiner:

While attending a Las Vegas Review-Journal “Hashtags & Headlines” event, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., ratcheted up the rhetoric against conservatives by calling supporters of rancher Cliven Bundy “domestic terrorists,” the Review-Journal reported Thursday. He also told the Review-Journal that a task force is being set up to “deal” with Bundy.

“Those people who hold themselves out to be patriots are not. They’re nothing more than domestic terrorists,” he said. “I repeat: what went on up there was domestic terrorism.”

He also accused supporters of bringing children to the ranch to put them in harm’s way in order to make the government look bad. He also accused supporters of using fully automatic firearms.

“There were hundreds — hundreds of people from around the country — that came there,” Reid told the Review-Journal. “They had sniper rifles on the freeway. They had assault weapons. They had automatic weapons.”

He also attacked Bundy, implying that in his view, the Nevada rancher is unpatriotic.

“[Cliven] Bundy does not recognize the United States,” Reid said. “He says that the United States is a foreign government. He doesn’t pay his taxes. He doesn’t pay his fees. And he doesn’t follow the law. He continues to thumb his nose at authority.”

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Post Office Planning to Mine & Sell Data from your Mail

Via the Independent Journal Review:

As if Americans needed one more reason to dislike the post office, now comes word that it wants to begin mining and selling private data gathered from our personal mail.

USPS chief marketing and sales officer Nagisa Manabe recently told the PostalVision 2020 conference that the post office is “actively looking for ways to build new business lines around what not long ago might have been considered science fiction.”

While some of Manabe’s ideas included useful fixes like new delivery systems and partnerships, one idea stands out as troubling: selling data collected from observations of personal mail – sent and received – by potential every person in the country.

He described a scenario in which a woman test drives two different types of cars at two different dealerships, while trying to decide which one to buy.

“We’re at the point where, all too soon… We’re going to know exactly that she was shopping at two different car dealers looking at cars, and both of those car dealers should be mailing her communication about that vehicle, right? And we’re there now, folks. I mean, you all know this.

*

There are dozens of folks out there who are supplying that kind of information. If we’re not testing and exploring some of that together, we should.”

Manabe said the “marketing opportunity” is too big for USPS to pass up:

“As we know more and more about how consumers are traveling around and making their decisions, it behooves us to get involved and actually send them information to actually close the deal. For me, it’s all about speed and accuracy of the mail.”

May I be frank, Mr. Manabe? First of all, it’s none of your business where I shop, what I shop for or what I buy. Secondly, I neither want, nor need, your help in making buying decisions. Thirdly, what I do want is to be waited on in a timely and efficient manner whenever I’m forced to stand in line at the post office when there’s no other option.

Additional, Mr. Manabe, do you really think Americans will be receptive to the US Postal Service gathering data from their personal mail – and selling it, no less? Really? Hey, at least the NSA isn’t in it for a profit.

 

Millions of Elderly to Lose Home Health Services due to Obamacare

Via The Washington Times:

President Obama’s mendacious political promise, “If you like your health care plan, you can keep it,” continues to cast a long and disturbing shadow of doubt and confusion over millions of Americans who have lost coverage as a result of Obamacare. As 2014 unfolds, the most vulnerable senior citizens — those who receive home health care services — are about to learn they are out of luck. Obamacare opens a trap door under them, leaving this elderly population in freefall — with many citizens losing access to home health care.

Add another compelling reason to reverse Obamacare. Whether by accident or intention, the “Affordable Care Act” empirically strips America’s oldest and poorest cohort, all part of the World War II generation, of this basic coverage. Here is how.

On Jan. 1, Medicare’s home health care services, formerly serving 3.5 million elderly beneficiaries across the country, were cut under Obamacare. The cut deleted exactly 14 percent, or an estimated $22 billion, from these lowest-income Americans over four years. News of the forthcoming cut only trickled out the Friday before Thanksgiving, yet another stunning attempt by the Obama White House to reduce Medicare benefits without attracting notice.

Guess what? We noticed. This cut does irreparable damage to recipients of Medicare’s home health care services, those who are aged, homebound and sicker than the average Medicare population. Indeed, nearly two-thirds of Medicare home health care users live at or below the federal poverty level, meaning they are the most economically compromised of America’s precious senior citizens.

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Fast & Furious Weapons Continue to Flow Back into US Via Cartels

Via the El Paso Times:

Smugglers from Arizona being monitored through the U.S. government’s Operation Fast and Furious helped supply firearms to a gun-trafficking ring led by officials in Columbus, N.M., according to court documents.

Court documents also provide additional details on the extent of the Columbus conspirators’ involvement with Mexican drug traffickers and La Linea enforcers of the Carrillo Fuentes drug cartel.

According to one of the court documents, Border Patrol agents looking for a stolen vehicle stopped Blas Gutierrez, a former Columbus Village trustee, and Miguel Carrillo, a gun straw purchaser, in Columbus on Jan. 14, 2010. The two men, who were later convicted in the federal case against 11 Columbus conspirators, were not arrested that day.

The Border Patrol agents who stopped Gutierrez and Carrillo reported that they had found eight firearms inside the 2004 Nissan, including three Romarm Cugir pistols, two Ruger P345 pistols and three Fabrique National de Herstal pistols.

An investigation later determined that the three Fabrique Nationale de Herstal pistols had been purchased Jan. 9, 2010 in Arizona by Jaime Avila, one of the arms-trafficking conspiracy ringleaders who was being monitored by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) as part of Operation Fast and Furious. Avila was one of the main suspects in the ATF’s centerpiece case for Fast and Furious.

The court document stated that the three Romarm Cugir pistols found on Gutierrez and Carrillo that day “were bought (on) an unlisted date by another straw purchaser identified as Uriel Patino, also of Phoenix.” Patino was another ATF target in Operation Fast and Furious. Patino was a co-defendant with Jaime Avila.

Operation Fast and Furious was launched by the ATF on Oct. 31, 2009. The ATF considered Manuel Fabian Celis-Acosta to be the mastermind behind arms-trafficking centered in Phoenix. The Drug Enforcement Administration was also investigating Celis-Acosta, who was suspected of drug-trafficking.

Two Fast and Furious-linked weapons were found near the body of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry, who was fatally shot Dec. 15, 2010 in the Arizona desert while pursuing armed suspects. The agent’s death prompted the ATF to shut down the operation and led to a Congressional investigation into the controversial gun-walking operation.

ATF officials said the operation was intended to uncover the top leaders of arms-trafficking groups. Under the operation, gun shops were allowed to sell firearms to straw purchasers and the ATF was to keep track of the weapons. Instead, firearms soon began turning up at homicide scenes in Mexico and later near Terry’s body.

The documents that reveal additional details about the gun-walking operation and gun-trafficking in El Paso, Juárez and Southern New Mexico come from the federal case against the Columbus conspirators, including Ian Garland, owner of the former Chaparral Guns in Chaparral, N.M., and filings in the federal lawsuits involving the deaths of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry and ICE Special Agent Jaime Zapata and the wounding of ICE Special Agent Victor Avila Jr. of El Paso.

The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents were ambushed while traveling on a highway in Mexico in 2011.

Before Terry’s death, hundreds of Mexican citizens had already been killed in Mexico by firearms linked to Fast and Furious.

Garland, who sold weapons to the Columbus conspirators, was recently released from prison after serving a sentence for his role in the conspiracy. Garland alleges that he was unjustly pressured to accept a plea agreement in July 2011.

“I was singled out for punishment even though all my sales to these people were reported as required by law, and the buyers were legally able to buy the firearms,” Garland said. “The ex-police chief, Angelo Vega, the ex-mayor, Eddie Espinoza, and Blas Gutierrez, the village trustee, and everyone else who bought from me, need to be interviewed. They all asked, on the record, ‘Why is Ian here, he had no conspiracy with us? We only used his store, as well as others, to buy from.’ The connection between Arizona’s Fast and Furious is clear, crystal clear, and this is in my pre-sentencing report.”

Garland said he is working to clear his name and has a website devoted to this and other information about Fast and Furious at http://www.fastandfuriousejusticenow.org.

“I am Australian born, a U.S. citizen, and damn proud of it,” Garland said. “I am fighting because the government’s lawyers held back information that could have exonerated me. Plus, I got sentenced under the wrong guidelines, which gave me a harsher penalty than even the charges warranted.”

Garland said he plans to share information related to the Fast and Furious ties to El Paso and Juárez with the Mexican government.

The Columbus conspiracy reportedly involved the purchase of 200 high-powered firearms from Garland and other sources between January 2010 and March 2011. However, previously disclosed court documents, such as the multiple-defendant indictment against 11 conspirators, failed to divulge the ties between the Columbus organization and the Phoenix-based straw purchasers who were part of Operation Fast and Furious.

In Terry’s wrongful death lawsuit, the plaintiffs allege that Jaime Avila was among the suspects that by December 2009 the ATF had identified as a straw purchaser for a firearms trafficking conspiracy led by Celis-Acosta.

The lawsuit also mentions that Avila had purchased two weapons from a gun dealer in Arizona on Jan. 9, 2010, which “were recovered on Jan. 14, 2010, by U.S. Border Patrol officers in Columbus, New Mexico during a search of a suspicious vehicle attempting to cross the U.S.-Mexico border.”

On Jan. 16, 2010, the lawsuit alleges, Avila bought three more weapons from the Arizona gun shop, all were WASR-10 AK-47-type assault rifles; two of the rifles were found near Terry’s body nearly a year later.

“Had Avila been arrested and the weapons been seized at the time of the Jan. 16, 2010 purchase, Brian Terry would not have been murdered on Dec. 15, 2010,” the plaintiffs alleged.

In another document concerning Fast and Furious suspects, on Jan. 13, 2010, El Paso police reported finding 40 assault rifles at a stash house in the city. The weapons were tied to the ATF’s Fast and Furious operation, and were traced back to the same Phoenix gun shop that was cooperating with the ATF’s operation. Alberto Sandoval and Sean C. Steward were arrested in connection with the 40-gun cache in El Paso. According to one of the documents, the ATF had lost track of the 40 firearms.

The ATF did not respond to questions late Monday about whether Operation Fast and Furious was limited to the Arizona-Mexico border or if it was intended to cover the entire U.S. border with Mexico. Anecdotally, the scope of the operation appears to have covered more ground beyond Arizona. According to Congressional investigations, the ATF had not accounted for more than 1,000 firearms linked to its botched operation.

According to a court transcript from Steward’s case, “out of the 289 weapons that (Steward) purchased, 125 were recovered. 49 in Mexico and 78 in the U.S.”

“Those that were recovered in the U.S., many of those were recovered in bordertowns such as Douglas, El Paso and San Antonio,” the court transcript said. “By his own statements to agents, (Steward) admitted that he had been to Juárez, Mexico, … and while he was there had heard that … children had been killed by (an) AK-47 rifle shooting.” In other words, Steward was made aware during arms-trafficking activities of the impact that smuggled weapons were having on the Juárez community, where a war between two violent drug cartels was raging.

Celis-Acosta indicated, the court transcript said, that he had both Uriel Patino and Steward travel to El Paso to deliver firearms to drug cartel associates.

Columbus conspirators

Court documents in the Garland case stated that Ignacio Villalobos, a fugitive in the Columbus drug-trafficking conspiracy, lived in Columbus and was a low-level member of La Linea, the enforcement arm of the Carrillo Fuentes drug cartel in Juárez. The Carrillo Fuentes or Juárez drug cartel was at war with the Sinaloa drug cartel led by Joaquin “Chapo” Guzman.

Villalobos worked for Gerardo Acosta-Terrazas, who was identified as a top-tier cartel leader of Palomas, Chihuahua, and who answered to a man identified only as “Cachorro” Vazquez,” son of “El Veinte” (20), the alleged main leader of La Linea before his arrest in Mexico, according to court documents.

The Garland court document also stated that Alberto Rivera, an associate of Villalobos, served as a drug recruiter and firearms smuggler for the drug-trafficking organization based in Columbus, which is across the border from Palomas.

Rivera and his son, Juan Alberto Rivera, would deposit large sums of money belonging to the drug organization, the document said. Villalobos and a cousin and her husband worked as “financial facilitators” for the drug organization by receiving large deposits of money from Billings, Montana; Fridley, Minnesota, Westminster, Colo.; Denver; and Albuquerque, into their Wells Fargo bank account. Then, they would deliver the deposits to Villalobos.

Other highlights in the Garland court document state that:

• On Feb. 22, 2011, a handgun that officials said Rivera had purchased was seized from “a kidnapping crew” in Juárez.

• Another man, whom investigators identified as Manuel Ortega and was linked to the regional drug organization, allegedly facilitated narcotics smuggling in Columbus, Deming and Palomas.

• Between January 2010 and March 2011, a high-ranking Mexican cartel member in a Mexican jail named Jesus Molinas, alias “Mantequilla,” ordered Blas Gutierrez to buy firearms in the United States and smuggle them into Mexico, prompting Gutierrez to buy numerous firearms and paying other straw purchasers to buy more weapons from Chaparral Guns.

• The Columbus-based arms-traffickers rented a unit at the Colinas del Sol apartments in the 900 block of South Mesa Hills in West El Paso to store weapons that were to be smuggled into Mexico.

• On March 24, 2011, Mexican federal police seized a handgun from five alleged hit men for La Linea that Eddie Espinoza (who also was convicted in the Columbus conspiracy) had purchased from Chaparral Guns.

• While under surveillance, Blas Gutierrez, a Village of Columbus trustee, and another suspect were seen stopping at the Colinas del Sol apartment, and later delivered a backpack to an unknown person at a Mexican bus company in El Paso, whom investigators suspected smuggled weapons in the backpack across the border.

• Investigators placed a GPS tracker on Blas Gutierrez’s vehicle in February 2011, and found that he had stopped at a house in Albuquerque, which law enforcement officers said was used by others to help move bulk cash from illicit activities.

 

Obama has Proposed 442 Tax Hikes Since Taking Office

Related: Federal Tax Revenue at Record High

Via Americans for Tax Reform:

Since taking office in 2009, President Barack Obama has formally proposed a total of 442 tax increases, according to an Americans for Tax Reform analysis of Obama administration budgets for fiscal years 2010 through 2015.

The 442 total proposed tax increases does not include the 20 tax increases Obama signed into law as part of Obamacare.

“History tells us what Obama was able to do. This list reminds us of what Obama wanted to do,” said Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform.

The number of proposed tax increases per year is as follows:

-79 tax increases for FY 2010

-52 tax increases for FY 2011

-47 tax increases for FY 2012

-34 tax increases for FY 2013

-137 tax increases for FY 2014

-93 tax increases for FY 2015

Perhaps not coincidentally, the Obama budget with the lowest number of proposed tax increases was released during an election year: In February 2012, Obama released his FY 2013 budget, with “only” 34 proposed tax increases. Once safely re-elected, Obama came back with a vengeance, proposing 137 tax increases, a personal record high for the 44th President.

In addition to the 442 tax increases in his annual budget proposals, the 20 signed into law as part of Obamacare, and the massive tobacco tax hike signed into law on the sixteenth day of his presidency, Obama has made it clear he is open to other broad-based tax increases.

During an interview with Men’s Health in 2009, when asked about the idea of national tax on soda and sugary drinks, the President said, “I actually think it’s an idea that we should be exploring.”

During an interview with CNBC’s John Harwood in 2010, Obama said a European-style Value-Added-Tax was something that would be novel for the United States.”

Obama’s statement was consistent with a pattern of remarks made by Obama White House officials refusing to rule out a VAT.

“Presidents are judged by history based on what they did in power. But presidents can only enact laws when the Congress agrees,” said Norquist. “Thus a record forged by such compromise tells you what a president — limited by congress — did rather than what he wanted to do.”

The full list of proposed Obama tax increases can be found here.

Obama Admin. Militarizing Mundane Government Offices

Via Newsmax:

Add the U.S. Postal Service to the list of federal agencies seeking to purchase what some Second Amendment activists say are alarmingly large quantities of ammunition.

Earlier this year, the USPS posted a notice on its website, under the heading “Assorted Small Arms Ammunition,” that says: “The United States Postal Service intends to solicit proposals for assorted small arms ammunition. If your organization wishes to participate, you must pre-register. This message is only a notification of our intent to solicit proposals.”

Alan Gottlieb, chairman of the Washington-based Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, said: “We’re seeing a highly unusual amount of ammunition being bought by the federal agencies over a fairly short period of time. To be honest, I don’t understand why the federal government is buying so much at this time.”

Jake McGuigan, director of state affairs and government relations for the National Shooting Sports Foundation, said widely reported federal ammunition purchases have sparked conspiracy-type fears among gun owners, who worry that the federal government is trying to crack down on Second Amendment rights via the back door by limiting the ammo available to owners.

It’s not just the USPS that is stocking up on ammo.

A little more than a year ago, the Social Security Administration put in a request for 174,000 rounds of “.357 Sig 125 grain bonded jacketed hollow-point” bullets.

Before that, it was the Department of Agriculture requesting 320,000 rounds. More recently, the Department of Homeland Security raised eyebrows with its request for 450 million rounds — at about the same time the FBI separately sought 100 million hollow-point rounds.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration also requested 46,000 rounds.

Philip Van Cleave, president of the Virginia Citizens Defense League, asked: why exactly does a weather service need ammunition?

“NOAA — really? They have a need? One just doesn’t know why they’re doing this,” he said. “The problem is, all these agencies have their own SWAT teams, their own police departments, which is crazy. In theory, it was supposed to be the U.S. marshals that was the armed branch for the federal government.”

Armed federal employees are often assigned to offices of investigative services, the offices of inspectors general, or other equally bureaucratic agencies.

For instance, regular Internal Revenue Service agents aren’t equipped with on-the-job guns — but those affiliated with the agency’s Criminal Investigations Division are.

The same goes for workers with the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, with the Department of Agriculture’s Office of Inspector General, and with the Department of Education’s Office of Inspector General.

The Energy Department, the Department of Health and Human Services, the Commerce Department, and the U.S. Agency for International Development are a few of the federal entities that boast an armed division, tasked with investigating fraud and suspected criminal activities. As such, the agents get to carry guns.

“Most of these agencies do have their own police forces,” said Jim Wallace, executive director of the Massachusetts-based Gun Owners’ Action League.

That, perhaps more than federal ammunition purchases, is the larger issue, he suggested, and Van Cleave agreed.

“What’s the need for that? Do we really need this? That was something our Founding Fathers did not like and we should all be concerned about,” Van Cleave said, speaking of the expansion of police forces throughout all levels of government.

The Department of Homeland Security employs in its various law enforcement entities — from the Coast Guard to the Secret Service to Customs and Border Protection — more than 200,000 workers, an estimated 135,000 of whom are authorized to carry weapons. When the agency makes its ammo buys, it often does so over the course of several years.

“We realize that the House is still investigating the ammo purchases by the administration, but from what we’ve seen so far, most representatives don’t seem alarmed,” said Erich Pratt, communications director for Gun Owners of America.

“For example, [Georgia Republican] Rep. Lynn Westmoreland said that given all the agencies that the Department of Homeland Security purchases for, “450 million rounds really is not that large of an order,” Pratt said.

McGuigan acknowledged that there was a scarcity of ammo but attributed it more to a rise in purchases by individuals.

The Obama administration’s stated desire to scale back gun rights drove more in the private sector to purchase firearms — which in turn fueled ammunition sales, McGuigan said.

“Over the last few years, there’s been a tremendous increase in gun ownership, [with] many more females,” McGuigan said. “I think a lot of people need to be aware of what’s happening, and what the federal agencies are doing. I don’t think, though, they need to be overly concerned that there’s not going to be any ammo left.”

But the notion of the Obama administration’s using backdoor means to scale back gun ownership — a move that’s hardly been kept secret — doesn’t seem that outlandish to some.

“I don’t believe in conspiracy theories, but it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense,” Gottlieb said. “The amount of ammunition they’re buying up far exceeds their needs. It far exceeds what they’ll use — they’ll never use it all.”

 

Evidence Obama Admin. Arming Syrian Rebels

Via Reuters:

(Reuters) – Online videos show Syrian rebels using what appear to be U.S. anti-tank rockets, weapons experts say, the first significant American-built armaments in the country’s civil war.

They would signal a further internationalization of the conflict, with new rockets suspected from Russia and drones from Iran also spotted in the forces of President Bashar al-Assad.

None of that equipment, however, is seen as enough to turn the tide of battle in a now broadly stalemated war, with Assad dominant in Syria’s central cities and along the Mediterranean coast and the rebels in the interior north and east.

It was not possible to independently verify the authenticity of the videos or the supplier of the BGM-71 TOW anti-tank rockets shown in the videos. Some analysts suggested they might have been provided by another state such as Saudi Arabia, a U.S. ally, probably with Washington’s acquiescence.

U.S. officials declined to discuss the rockets, which appeared in Syria around the same time Reuters reported that Washington had decided to proceed with plans to increase aid, including delivery of lower-level weaponry.

U.S. officials say privately there remain clear limits to American backing for the insurgency, given the widely dominant role played by Islamist militants. A proposal to supply MANPAD surface-to-air missiles was considered but rejected.

National Security Council spokeswoman Bernadette Meehan said the Obama administration was giving support she did not define.

“The United States is committed to building the capacity of the moderate opposition, including through the provision of assistance to vetted members of the moderate armed opposition,” she said in response to a query over the rocket videos.

“As we have consistently said, we are not going to detail every single type of our assistance,” she said.

While the number of U.S. rockets seen remains small, reports of their presence are steadily spreading, analysts say.

“With U.S.-made TOW anti-tank missiles now seen in the hands of three groups in the north and south of Syria, it is safe to say this is important,” said Charles Lister, visiting fellow at the Brookings Institution Doha Centre and one of the first to identify the weapons.

The first three videos were posted on April 1 and 5, Lister said. While two have since been removed, one remains on YouTube.

here

He posted clearer still images on a blog for Huffington Post last week.

here

Several other arms experts and bloggers on the Syrian conflict have also reviewed the videos. They include Eliot Higgins, a Britain-based, self-taught arms and video specialist who blogs under the name “Brown Moses” and has emerged as one of the leading authorities on foreign firepower reaching Syria.

The rebel faction shown operating the U.S. missiles in the first videos, a relatively secular and moderate group called Harakat Hazm, declined comment. But an opposition activist based in southeastern Turkey who is a former member of Harakat Hazm said that they were provided by the Americans.

The Syrian activist, who identified himself as Samer Muhammad, said Harakat Hazm received 10 anti-tank missiles earlier this month near Aleppo and Idlib, two cities torn by heavy fighting near the northern border with Turkey.

He said that Harakat Hazm had launched five of those rockets to destroy four tanks and win a battle in the Idlib suburbs of Babulin and Salheiya, and this was the first time such U.S. arms had figured in Syria’s fighting.

His information could not be confirmed independently.

SAUDI, QATARI SUPPLIES

More recent videos had shown the rockets in the hands of the Syrian Revolutionary Front and another group named Awliya wa Katalib al-Shaheed Ahmed al-Abdo, Lister said. Both are also seen as broadly moderate, in contrast with radical Islamists.

Western states have long been reluctant to make good on repeated talk of supplying weapons to Assad’s foes, nervous of arms falling into the hands of jihadi militants or simply abetting more bloodshed in a conflict that has killed over 150,000 people and displaced millions over the past three years.

Lister said that if Washington were unwilling to supply TOW rockets itself, the most likely point of origin was Saudi Arabia which has thousands of anti-tank projectiles in its arsenal.

Under terms of the original sale, Riyadh would be obliged to tell Washington if it were transferring them to any third party.

“Considering the groups already seen with these missile systems and considering Saudis’ already established reputation for providing weapons to moderate… groups, Saudi would seem the most likely candidate at this stage,” Lister said.

The other major regional supporter of the rebels, Qatar, apparently do not hold such rockets in its regular military stores, analysts say, and may have bought Chinese weaponry from elsewhere, perhaps Sudan, for shipment to rebels last year.

Chinese-built HJ-8 anti-tank guided missiles remain a relatively common part of the rebel arsenal, according to Syria arms experts. HJ-8s first popped up largely in the hands of Islamist groups early last year, possibly coming from Qatar.

More recent shipments have been noticed in the hands of relatively secular insurgent factions and are believed by analysts to have been supplied by Saudi Arabia instead.

RUSSIAN ROCKETS, IRANIAN DRONES

Use of Chinese MANPAD anti-aircraft missiles by Islamist militants has dwindled in recent months, monitors say. Such missiles arrived last year, again believed to have come from Qatar, a development that particularly worried Western states.

“I suspect there’s been two waves of Chinese weapons, the first from Qatar and the second from Saudi Arabia going to different groups,” said “Brown Moses” blogger Higgins.

The United States and other Gulf Arab states have bemoaned Qatar’s scattergun approach to arming rebel forces that has seen many weapons end up in the hands of fighters affiliated with al Qaeda linked and other radical Islamists. Qatari and Saudi officials will not discuss their Syria policy in detail.

Gulf states have also been alarmed by growing signs of support from Iran for Assad’s military. The latest new piece of Iranian equipment to appear on the battlefield, an unmanned Shahed 129 drone photographed over Damascus, is said by Tehran to carry weapons as well as conduct surveillance.

Higgins said the other most significant development in Syrian conflict firepower this year had been the government’s growing use of Russian-made BM-27 and BM-30 rocket launchers to deliver cluster munitions. While the former had long been known to be part of Assad’s armories, the latter was not.

 

 

Hypocrite Socialist NYC Mayor DeBlasio Only Paid Effective Tax Rate of 8.3%

Via Zero Hedge:

Mayor Bill de Blasio is the first New York City mayor to release his tax returns in 12 years, according to the WSJ. de Blasio earned $165,000 as public advocate last year and brought in an additional $52,000 in rent on a second home he owns in Park Slope, according to his 2013 tax returns. Mr. de Blasio’s effective tax rate was 8.3%.

As WSJ reports, Mr. de Blasio’s predecessor, Michael Bloomberg, a billionaire who served as mayor from 2002 through 2013, released highly redacted copies of his return that gave scant information about his net worth.

In 2001, during Mr. Bloomberg’s first campaign for mayor, he lost his temper on the steps of City Hall when pressed by a reporter about why he was refusing to release his returns when his opponents had released their IRS filings.

 

“That’s fine,” Mr. Bloomberg snapped. “They don’t make anything.”

Which means, Mr. de Blasio is the first city mayor in 12 years to release a full copy of his tax returns.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and first lady Chirlane McCray reported $165,047 in total income last year, according to a copy of their joint tax return released on Tuesday.

 

 

Mr. de Blasio’s effective tax rate was 8.3%.

 

 

The federal and state filings, released by his aides on Tuesday afternoon, show de Blasio and his wife, Chirlane McCray, reported receiving $52,000 in rent last year on the property where his mother lived before her death.

 

Despite their earnings, they reported taking a $6,493 loss on the home, because they paid $28,758 in mortgage and said the home depreciated by $21,547, according to tax code.

 

 

According to the return, the city’s first couple reported $5,597 in gifts to charity, roughly 3% of their total income.