Sunday, March 24

Obama quietly "unblocks" half a billion in aid supposedly frozen by congress; MSM ignores

You may have heard that the U.S. is facing financial disaster due to huge debt.

It's so bad that *someone* in the Obozo administration--they still haven't said who--ordered that tours of the White House be cancelled.

So imagine my surprise when I ran across an overseas paper that said that when Obama visited the leader of Hamas during his recent trip to Israel, he "unblocked" $480 million in U.S. aid funds that congress had supposedly "frozen" in response to Palestinian actions.

This struck me as odd.  If congress had indeed "frozen" those funds, how was Obozo able to "unblock" them? Did Harry Reid secretly sign off on the deal and no one bothered to report it? Or was the congressional "freeze" merely a non-binding resolution that the president was free to ignore?

To find out I searched "palestinian aid unblocked."   22,000 results.

And I noticed something interesting:  All of the stories were either from foreign networks or publications--"Russia Today" and a swarm of middle-east newsies--or from conservative U.S. bloggers.  There was virtually no mention in the mainstream U.S. press.

My first thought was that this meant the story was almost certainly a hoax.  After all, you'd think that if it were true the Obozo administration would have made some big announcement, to show his leadership in championing the cause of helping the palestinians.

But if there was an official announcement, google seemed to be hiding it way down the list of hits.

Finally a blogger quoted State Dept PR rep Victoria Nuland, during the normal daily press conference two days ago (Friday) in D.C, responding to a reporter's question near the end. (If you click the link, do a Find on that page for "palestinian aid.")  Here's the whole exchange:
Q: Can I ask on Palestinian aid? There’s reporting out of the region that the funds have actually been unblocked kind of a bit quietly over the last couple of weeks, the 200 million that was held up in Congress, and that’s now been received by the Palestinian Authority.

Nuland: Jo, I don’t – I’m just finding it here. I did go through this about a week ago in some detail. I can do it again for you. [This is a subtle "shoo-way": "Do not ask about this, because I'm telling you I already briefed everyone on this, so you'll look slow if you persist."] To date, we have moved $295.7 million in Fiscal Year 2012 money, 200 million of that – see, this – numbers don’t – oh, and 200 million in Fiscal Year 2013 assistance. So breaking that down again, 200 million in FY2013 ESF money was direct budget support for the Palestinian Authority; 195.7 million in FY12 Economic Support money went for development and humanitarian assistance implemented by USAID; 100 million in FY2012 for International Narcotics Control and Law Enforcement; and then in February – at the end of February we notified Congress about another 200 million that we’d like to move.

Q: So you’ve moved the 295 --

Nuland: Total of 295.7 in FY12 and 200 in FY13. Why don’t we go through it again afterwards if you need to?  ["...if you need to" is a not-so-subtle hint:  Translation:  If you persist in asking about this you'll be ridiculed by all the cool kids, as they'll think you're 'slow'.]

Q: That’s been moved, okay.

Nuland: Mm-hmm.

Q: And then 200 is still – you want another further 200?

Nuland: Correct. We’ve notified.
"We've notified."  Gotta wonder, if someone had pressed Nuland on what the rest of that "we've notified" fragment actually meant, how she would have responded.

So...the State Department confirms--albeit way deep in a press conference instead of with an up-front announcement--that the story is true.   So my question stands:  If congress "froze" the funds, by what authority did Obama "unblock" 'em?

You might ask your senator or representative.  But why bother, eh?  Even if Obama defied an actual *law*, it's not like congress can actually *do* anything about it.  Members of congress can vote to hold the Attorney General in contempt, and it has as much effect as spitting into the wind.

We are no longer a nation of laws.  And ALL of you--even liberals--know that's true.


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