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David Grove's MyC-SPAN

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    Pension Advance Programs

    The Senate Special Committee on Aging held a hearing to gather ideas for ways to address pension advances scams and hold perpetrators accountable. Pension advance programs ask retirees to sign over to third parties future pension checks in exchange for a smaller lump-sum payments. Some of these programs are fraudulent and harmful to the elderly. Experts who specifically deal with this issue testified.

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    U.S. Role and Strategy in the Middle East

    The presidents of non-governmental organizations involved in humanitarian aid assistance testified at a hearing on about Middle East policy and the Syrian refugee crisis. The witnesses discussed the impact of refugees on host countries, the potential for a no-fly zone in Syria, the impact of barrel-bombing on civilian populations, and Russia’s military presence in the region.

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    Intelligence and Cybersecurity Issues

    National Security Agency (NSA) Director Michael Rogers testified on the challenges his agency faces, including retention of key personnel, securing the budget, optimization within the NSA, and the need for new legislation that would benefit the organization. He answered questions from the committee on issues that included massive data breaches at Sony Pictures, U.S. efforts to thwart current terrorist threats, and what would ensure the NSA to be more proactive as opposed to reactive.

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    U.S. Policy in the Middle East

    Former CIA Director and General David Petraeus (Ret.) testified at a hearing on U.S. policy toward the Middle East and combating ISIS* in the region. He talked about his support for military enclaves in Syria and for greater military action against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and ISIS. He also gave his assessment of the Russian military build-up in Syria and of the Iran nuclear agreement. 

    At the beginning of his testimony, General Petraeus apologized for what what he called his “serious mistake” of sharing classified information with his biographer, with whom he also had an extramarital affair.

    * The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), or DAISH/DAESH in Arabic is a militant group that has called itself the Islamic State.

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    U.S. Strategy Against ISIS

    General Lloyd Austin, the head of U.S. Central Command, testified testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee on combating ISIS.* General Lloyd vowed to take appropriate action regarding a Defense Department inspector general investigation involving Central Command possibly skewing intelligence about ISIS. In addition, he announced that only four or five U.S.-trained Syrian fighters remained on the battlefield against ISIS and that the U.S. would not reach its goal of training 5,000 fighters in the near term. Defense Under Secretary for Policy Christine Wormuth also provided testimony. Committee Chair Senator John McCain (R-AZ) heavily criticized the U.S. strategy in Iraq and Syria, calling it a failure.

    * The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), or DAISH/DAESH in Arabic is a militant group that has called itself the Islamic State.

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    2015 National Fair Housing Conference, Fair Housing Act

    Former Vice President and Senator Walter Mondale (D-MN) and Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA) spoke about the history of the Fair Housing Act. Mr. Mondale discussed his co-sponsorship of the 1968 Fair Housing Act and the challenges he encountered in getting it passed through Congress. Senator Kaine described the challenges in enforcing the law he faced as a fair housing attorney. Other speakers included Housing and Urban Development Secretary (HUD) Julian Castro, who made opening remarks.

    The event began with a two-minute video that included remarks by President Johnson and former secretaries of HUD.

    This was the opening portion of “A Call to Advance Housing Rights and Opportunities,” the 2015 National Fair Housing Training and Policy Conference, held at HUD’s national headquarters.

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    Melvin Laird and the U.S. Military

    Panelists talked about Melvin Laird’s time as President Nixon’s defense secretary during the last years of the Vietnam War, and his strategy to position the military for the future. This event by the Historical Office of the Secretary of Defense in the William G. McGowan Theater of the National Archives Museum was to launch Richard Hunt’s book, Melvin Laird and the Foundation of the Post-Vietnam Military, 1969-1973.

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    Work in Retirement

    Experts on aging and health testified on the findings of an AARP study that showed nearly half of retirees either must or want to work during their retirement years. They discussed the needs of older workers and the ways in which employers were changing to accommodate them.

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    Presidential Candidate Jim Webb Meet-and-Greet at the Iowa State Fair

    Following a speech at the Iowa State Fair, Democratic 2016 presidential candidate Jim Webb met with fairgoers.