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NEWS EXTRA

This segment provides the viewer / reader with news they might have missed and focuses on key issues related to current and past events. These articles are provided courtesy of our many contributing sources. We ask that you enjoy these stories and continue your support of beenetworknews.com, our contributing sources and publishers.

ASSIGNMENTS / APPOINTMENTS / ANNOUNCEMENTS

SOURCE:  Office of Senator Mitch McConnell / Commonwealth Journal

The following op-ed by Senator Mitch McConnell appeared in the Somerset Commonwealth-Journal on April 29, 2015.  In the op-ed, Senator McConnell wrote about a “regulation known as ‘Waters of the U.S’ (WOTUS) that would classify nearly all wetlands—including small ponds and ditches—as ‘navigable’ waters, and thus subject to interference by Washington bureaucrats. If the regulation takes effect, it would wreak havoc on the coal, agriculture, commercial development, real estate, construction, and contracting industries statewide. It would be detrimental to traditional farming practices. And it would trample the private property rights of individual Kentuckians.  By expanding the definition of a wetland, the EPA aims to subject vast new areas in Kentucky to its will. The regulation will trigger confusing requirements that property owners obtain even more permits—on top of those permits they are already responsible for—before undertaking new construction. Forcing more areas that were not previously regulated to go through the EPA permitting process just because there are ditches or streams on the property will only discourage new construction by the individual property and business owners. This hurts job creation, as many property owners across various industries will choose to forego new projects due to the uncertainty and hassle caused by the EPA.”

McConnell op-ed

VOLKSWAGEN OF AMERICA REPORTS APRIL 2015 SALES

Herndon, VA — Volkswagen of America, Inc. (VWoA) today reported sales of 30,009 units delivered in April 2015.

SOURCE:  VOLKSWAGEN OF AMERICA

Volkswagen logoThe all-new Golf continued to find success in the market with the addition of the Golf R and the start of sales for the all-new Golf SportWagen, which was announced as the official vehicle of USA Cycling on April 30th.  In April, Golf family sales totaled 5,508 units, marking the best April for the Golf family since 2000.

“We are encouraged by the performance of the Golf family, delivering the best April in15 years, and happy to see the momentum is amplified by the addition of the Golf R and Golf SportWagen joining the lineup,” said Mark McNabb, chief operating officer, Volkswagen of America.

The Chattanooga-built Passat totaled 6,623 units delivered for the month. Volkswagen recently introduced the value laden Limited Edition model, which has a starting MSRP of $23,995. Replacing the Wolfsburg and SE trims, the Limited Edition features the fuel-efficient 1.8-liter TSI engine and a six-speed automatic transmission, along with a standard rearview camera, push-button start, power driver’s seat, and touchscreen radio. 

The Jetta, which was refreshed for the 2015 model year and has a suite of available driver assistance features, continued to show its strength as a core model, with11,440 units delivered, a 5.4 percent increase over the previous April.

The Tiguan delivered 2,402 units marking a 20 percent increase over the previous April. The Touareg, refreshed for 2015, delivered 619 units: 323 of these were TDI® Clean Diesel models, amounting to 52.2 percent of sales.

MASSIE:  CLOCK TICKING TO SCALE BACK SPY POWERS

SOURCE:  Office of Representative Thomas Massie / The Kentucky Enquirer NKY

Op-Ed by Thomas Massie

Congress faces a critical deadline, and time is running out. On June 1, 2015, three provisions of the USA PATRIOT Act will expire. The actions of the U.S. Congress between today and June 1st will affect the privacy and liberty of millions of innocent Americans.

The 2001 USA PATRIOT Act was drafted and swiftly passed in the wake of the September 11th terrorist attacks. Due to the nature of the crisis, the goal was simply to pass a bill as quickly as possible. Many congressmen did not have an opportunity to thoroughly read, analyze or vet the bill’s numerous and lengthy provisions. In fact, Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, one of the original authors of the Patriot Act, later declared that he was shocked by how the law was used to spy on innocent Americans.

Congress and the American people now know, thanks to whistleblower leaks, that federal agencies like the National Security Agency regularly perform mass surveillance on Americans without bothering to obtain a warrant. As constitutional law scholar Randy Barnett wrote in the Wall Street Journal, “The National Security Agency has seized from private companies voluminous data on

Photo Courtesy: U.S. Congressman Massie

Photo Courtesy: U.S. Congressman Massie

the phone and Internet usage of all U.S. citizens. … This dangerously violates the most fundamental principles of our republican form of government.” He concludes that “[s]uch indiscriminate data seizures are the epitome of ‘unreasonable,’ akin to the ‘general warrants’ issued by the Crown to authorize searches of Colonial Americans.”

One of the tools that enables this warrantless, mass harvesting of call information and data records – Section 215 of the Patriot Act – is one of the three provisions set to expire on June 1. This looming deadline presents the best opportunity we have in the foreseeable future to stop lawless surveillance. That is why Rep. Mark Pocan and I recently introduced the bipartisan “Surveillance State Repeal Act” (H.R. 1466). H.R. 1466 would repeal the entire Patriot Act, as well as its companion, the FISA Amendments Act of 2008. I believe the best option is to repeal both of these bills and start over. If members of Congress believe that individual provisions of either the Patriot Act or the FISA Amendments Act are critical to our national security, then we should bring each separate provision to the floor, allow full debate and schedule an up-or-down vote on each provision. This process would also give the American people an opportunity to fully understand exactly what each section of each bill would supposedly accomplish.

Some claim it’s too late to roll back these surveillance programs. I disagree. We can win this fight, as recent legislative victories indicate.

For example, in 2013, Rep. Justin Amash led the charge against Section 215 of the Patriot Act by offering an amendment to the Department of Defense Appropriations Act. His amendment would have ended the indiscriminate collection of Americans’ telephone records. He came very close to victory. The Amash amendment lost by a mere handful of votes, and I believe he would have won if misinformation about his amendment had not been published on the eve of the vote.

Amash’s effort set the groundwork for a subsequent legislative victory. Last year, my amendment to the Department of Defense Appropriations bill, co-sponsored with Rep. Zoe Lofgren and many others, passed the House by an overwhelming bipartisan, veto-proof majority. The amendment, which passed by a vote of 293 to 123, would have banned warrantless surveillance currently performed via the authority of Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. Although my amendment did not specifically address Section 215 of the Patriot Act, it would have put an end to surveillance that is arguably worse than the collection of records allowed under Section 215 (as bad as that is). Section 702 allows the government warrantless access to actual content of Americans’ communications, including emails and phone calls. Sadly, despite my legislative victory, congressional leadership refused to include the amendment language in the final version of last year’s government spending bill.

The votes on both the Amash and Massie amendments demonstrate that there is overwhelming support for ending mass surveillance, despite what the establishment in both Congress and our federal intelligence agencies claim.

The Founders of this great nation fought and died to stop the kind of warrantless spying and searches that the Patriot Act and the FISA Amendments Act authorize. What happens between now and June 1 depends on the American people. It is imperative that every freedom-loving American demand an end to these unconstitutional programs. At the very least, the expiring provisions of the Patriot Act should not be renewed. After that, the entire Patriot Act should be repealed so we can start over and establish law enforcement programs that respect our Constitution.

PHOTO(s) OF THE DAY

SOURCE:  Department of Defense /Defense News Lead Photo

United States Army Soldiers from Team Eagle, Task Force 2-7 Infantry pull into the General Silvestras Zlikaliskas Training Area in Pabrade, Lithuania, May 1, 2015, in anticipation of a live-fire exercise scheduled to be conducted early next week. Team Eagle, and their Lithuanian army partners, the Iron Wolf Brigade, are expected to conduct day and night exercises together, as part of Operation Atlantic Resolve, an ongoing exercise being held throughout Europe by the U.S. and its NATO Allies. Atlantic resolve focuses on joint training, security cooperation, and interoperability between NATO allies. (U.S. Army Photo by Sgt. James Avery, 16th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment)

United States Army Soldiers from Team Eagle, Task Force 2-7 Infantry pull into the General Silvestras Zlikaliskas Training Area in Pabrade, Lithuania, May 1, 2015, in anticipation of a live-fire exercise scheduled to be conducted early next week. Team Eagle, and their Lithuanian army partners, the Iron Wolf Brigade, are expected to conduct day and night exercises together, as part of Operation Atlantic Resolve, an ongoing exercise being held throughout Europe by the U.S. and its NATO Allies. Atlantic resolve focuses on joint training, security cooperation, and interoperability between NATO allies. (U.S. Army Photo by Sgt. James Avery, 16th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment)

U.S. Army Green Berets from the 7th Special Forces Group jump out of a C-130H3 Hercules for Emerald Warrior at Hurlburt Field, Fla., April 22, 2015. Emerald Warrior is the Department of Defense's only irregular warfare exercise, allowing joint and combined partners to train together and prepare for real-world contingency operations. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Joshua J. Garcia /Released)

U.S. Army Green Berets from the 7th Special Forces Group jump out of a C-130H3 Hercules for Emerald Warrior at Hurlburt Field, Fla., April 22, 2015. Emerald Warrior is the Department of Defense’s only irregular warfare exercise, allowing joint and combined partners to train together and prepare for real-world contingency operations. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Joshua J. Garcia /Released)

U.S. Air Force combat controllers, 21st Special Tactics Squadron, observe an AC-130 Gunship conduct a live-fire mission during Emerald Warrior at Camp Shelby, Miss., April 22, 2015. Emerald Warrior 2015 is the Department of Defense's only irregular warfare exercise, allowing joint and combined partners to train together and prepare for real world contingency operations. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jonathan Snyder/Released)

U.S. Air Force combat controllers, 21st Special Tactics Squadron, observe an AC-130 Gunship conduct a live-fire mission during Emerald Warrior at Camp Shelby, Miss., April 22, 2015. Emerald Warrior 2015 is the Department of Defense’s only irregular warfare exercise, allowing joint and combined partners to train together and prepare for real world contingency operations. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jonathan Snyder/Released)

 

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