Saturday, January 18, 2014
Sixty-four Republicans and three Democrats voted against the legislation. The final vote was 359-67. The legislation was opposed by conservative groups and conservative members of Congress.
The bill increases federal spending by $44.8 billion this year over the spending level previously set by Congress.
◼ Budget Bill Costs $3 Million - Per WORD - AP
The giant federal budget bill that the House passed Wednesday, Senate passed late Thursday and President Barack Obama signed Friday will cost taxpayers nearly $3 million per word, or if you want to really think big, almost $700 million per page.
The bill authorizes $1.1 trillion in spending. It is 1,582 pages long. An Internet word counting program said it has 370,445 words, numbers and symbols. So simple math comes up with $2.9 million per word average and $695 million per page average, though different parts of the budget package spend more than others sections.
By comparison, there are only 4,543 words in the U.S. Constitution, before amendments, and 1,458 words in the Declaration of Independence.
Taxpayers for Common Sense, a Washington spending watchdog, figured that senators spent slightly more than 69 hours before passing the bill, giving them just under two minutes per page to read it.
Friday, January 17, 2014
Agents Are 'Our Neighbors and Friends'...
WHITE HOUSE: Obama didn't know extent of surveillance...
PANEL: Program Hasn't Prevented Any Terrorist Attacks...
'We Are Now a Police State'...
Spies Want Edward Snowden Dead...
All of the films at the top of the page were produced by Harvey Weinstein. That success has made him one of the most powerful—and easily the most intimidating—force to be reckoned with in Hollywood (net worth estimated at $150 million). And all of these flicks have one very obvious theme in common:
Gun violence. Lots of it.
In fact, four of the five (with Pulp being the exception) make CNN’s recent list of the 20 most violent movies. So you can understand the hilarious hypocrisy of Weinstein when, on Wednesday, he shared with the great Howard Stern his plans to release to a film (starring Meryl Streep) that will make the NRA “wish they weren’t alive after I’m done with them.”
Who has glamorized gun violence on the big screen for decades…
All while putting millions in his pocket along the way.
In Colorado: Democrats on Wednesday voted against a GOP proposal to add marijuana shops to the list of places where recipients of public assistance can’t use their government-issued EBT cards to access cash.
◼ Colorado Dems Endorse Welfare Recipients Using Their EBT Cards At Pot Shops - Right Wing News
The more people on welfare who use pot, the more people who will stay on welfare, the worse off the country will be, but the better off the Democrats will be because people who are dependent on the government tend to vote for liberals. We’ve now reached a point where we have one political party that wants to destroy as many lives as possible because they think it helps. So whether they want to deliberately destroy the country or are just wrecking things out of ignorance or political calculations, it really doesn’t matter because the end result is the same.
◼ Dianne Feinstein derides GOP attacks on Hillary Clinton over Benghazi report - Tim Mak/Washington Examiner
...Nothing in the bipartisan report, Feinstein said, assigned any blame for the attacks to Clinton, who was secretary of State at the time.
“Ultimately… the final responsibility for security at diplomatic facilities lies with the former Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton,” said the "Additional Views" approved only by Republicans. “We believe there should be a full examination of her role in these events, including on the night of the attacks.”...
◼ Chambliss: ´Didn´t Seem Like the WH Really Wanted to Get tothe Bottom´ of Benghazi Attack - Susan Jones/CNS
"I can tell you that within hours, Saxby Chambliss, as the vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, knew that it was a terrorist attack. And within 24 hours knew that there was a suspected al Qaeda leader involved and maybe even more than one individual involved with an al Qaeda affiliate involved. So as to what the White House knew, surely they knew more than I did, quicker than I did." - See more at: http://cnsnews.com/news/article/susan-jones/chambliss-didnt-seem-wh-really-wanted-get-bottom-benghazi-attack#sthash.nzqXPLuL.dpuf
Sen. Dianne Feinstein says Intel. Cmte. Benghazi report does not blame Hillary Clinton. It does blame State Dept. And the Secretary was...?— Brit Hume (@brithume) January 16, 2014
◼ Sen. Feinstein defends Hillary from Benghazi report; Brit Hume destroys claim with one question - Twitchy
IRS Targeting and 2014: Democrats are working hard to make sure conservative groups are silenced in the 2014 midterms.
That's the big, dirty secret of the omnibus negotiations. As one of the only bills destined to pass this year, the omnibus was—behind the scenes—a flurry of horse trading. One of the biggest fights was over GOP efforts to include language to stop the IRS from instituting a new round of 501(c)(4) targeting. The White House is so counting on the tax agency to muzzle its political opponents that it willingly sacrificed any manner of its own priorities to keep the muzzle in place....
So that puts a spotlight on newly sworn-in IRS Commissioner John Koskinen, who vowed during his confirmation hearing to restore public trust in the agency, and now must decide whether to aid in a new and blatantly political abuse of IRS powers. The White House is using the agency to win an election this fall. They gave the proof this week.
...His comments were backed up by testimony by Kennedy, who is CEO and founder of TrustedSec LLC and a self-described "white hat hacker," meaning someone who hacks in order to fix security flaws and not commit cybercrime. In November, Kennedy and other experts testified before the same panel about security issues on Healthcare.gov.
Kennedy testified that most of the flaws they identified at the time still exist on the site, and said "indeed, it's getting worse," telling the panel that he and other experts have seen little improvement in the past two months.
◼ Hackers: HealthCare.gov still riddled with potential security issues - NBC
Cybersecurity researchers slammed HealthCare.gov's security during a House hearing on Thursday, saying the site is still riddled with problems that could put consumers' sensitive health details at risk.
“The reason we’re concluding that this is so shockingly bad is that the issues across the site are so varied,” David Kennedy, founder of the information security firm TrustedSec, told NBC News. “You don’t even have to hack into the system to see big issues – which means there are [major problems] underneath.”
...“Some issues still include critical or high-risk findings to personal information,” Kennedy said in his written testimony. He also submitted statements from seven other security researchers who expressed serious concerns.
◼ Democrat Claiming to be Obamacare Watchdog Just Voted Against Improving Healthcare.gov Security - Bryan Preston/PJMedia
Democrat Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (AZ) is running a re-election ad in which she claims that she is blowing the whistle on problems with the Obamacare rollout. That in and of itself is a joke — she supported the law when it was passed and still supports it.
Today, it became even more of a joke. The House passed a bill today, H.R. 3362, that requires that the government disclose to Americans when their information has been compromised via Healthcare.gov. Thirty-three Democrats joined the GOP majority in passing the bill, 259-154. It was not a close vote.
But Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick was not among the yays. The so-called watchdog just voted against letting Americans know when Healthcare.gov has endangered their privacy and personal information.
"Both statements are false," Sen. Inhofe said of Obama's global warming claims, since neither the EPA nor the U.N. IPCC climate group can provide any supporting statistics
"On multiple occasions, and most recently on May 30th of last year, President Obama has said, and this is a quote he has used several times, he said that 'the temperature around the globe is increasing faster than was predicted even ten years ago' and that 'the climate is warming faster than anybody anticipated five or ten years ago.'
"Both statements are false, and through letters to you, Ms. McCarthy, and on the record in this Committee, we've asked the EPA to provide us with the data backing up these two statements, the two statements made by the president, but they don't have any data and referred us to the UN IPCC. And, their scientists, apparently, the EPA thought they were the source of this.
"Well, we went there and they had nothing to back it up, so apparently the president just made that up.
"And, I think that's very important because, when you get statements that are made, they're supposed to be logic and on truth, you have to check them out.
- See more at: http://www.cnsnews.com/mrctv-blog/craig-bannister/sen-inhofe-obamas-global-warming-claims-president-just-made#sthash.45EKYn5A.dpuf
President Obama is “chronically incapable” of military strategy and falls far short of his predecessor George W. Bush, according to one of Britain’s most senior military advisors.
Sir Hew Strachan, an advisor to the Chief of the Defense Staff, told The Daily Beast that the United States and Britain were guilty of total strategic failure in Iraq and Afghanistan, and Obama’s attempts to intervene on behalf of the Syrian rebels “has left them in a far worse position than they were before.”
The extraordinary critique by a leading advisor to the United States’ closest military ally comes days after Obama was undermined by the former Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who questioned the President’s foreign policy decisions and claimed he was deeply suspicious of the military.
Strachan, a current member of the Chief of the Defense Staff’s Strategic Advisory Panel, cited the “crazy” handling of the Syrian crisis as the most egregious example of a fundamental collapse in military planning that began in the aftermath of 9/11. “If anything it’s gone backwards instead of forwards, Obama seems to be almost chronically incapable of doing this.
Thursday, January 16, 2014
◼ Some Key Revelations from the Senate Report on Benghazi: The bipartisan Benghazi report issued...by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI) is...a damning document. - Larry Johnson/No Quarter
This report shreds the credibility of the New York Times, who attempted to push the lie that the attack was motivated/inspired by some insipid video. Nope. The SSCI report eliminates any doubt that what happened in Benghazi was a terrorist attack that was carried out by Islamic extremists, many with ties to Al Qaeda....
(The)conclusions are political death for Hillary Clinton and provide a withering tool that will enable critics and competitors to bludgeon and shred her Presidential aspirations on several fronts. The woman whose campaign tried to mock Barack Obama as ill-prepared to handle a crisis at 3am, demonstrated callowness and ineptitude. She lied to the families of the victims and American public about the attack in Benghazi. But her real failure occurred before the lie about the video. As the event unfolded she failed to answer the phone that was ringing at 5pm in Washington, DC as American diplomats were under fire. The most appalling failure was her reaction to news that Ambassador Stevens was missing. Within an hour of the attack, we now know from the report, Ambassador Stevens was believed to have been kidnapped by Islamic radicals. Page 7 of the SSCI report describes in detail the chronology of events in the so-called “consulate” during the first 40 minutes of the attack and includes this remarkable admission:
During this time, State and CIA personnel re-entered the burning compound numerous times in an attempt to locate Ambassador Stevens, but to no avail. Under the impression that the Ambassador “had already been taken from that compound and that he’d been kidnapped,” the leader of the Annex security team decided that U.S. personnel needed to evacuate to the Annex for their safety.23 DS special agents agreed with the decision to evacuate.That information was reported immediately, and at the highest priority, back to U.S. officials in Washington, and that includes, among others, Hillary Clinton. And what did Hillary do? Hillary, backed by her key senior deputy, Under Secretary for Management Patrick Kennedy, refused to treat this as a terrorist incident and shunned following standard crisis response protocols developed for dealing with the suspected kidnapping of a U.S. Ambassador. At a minimum, Hillary should have fully engaged the Counter Terrorism Office and Staff at State to initiate contingency planning. She issued no such order. Instead, she spent her time concocting the nonsense that the attack was provoked by an obscure anti-Mohammed video.
◼ 15 More Benghazi-Related Victims Murdered: Does it Matter Now Hillary?
Read more at http://freedomoutpost.com/2014/01/15-benghazi-related-victims-murdered-matter-now-hillary/#fgpeBoPiGMuFvWAk.99 - Freedom Outpost
◼ Krauthammer: The Only People Who have Been Held Accountable For Benghazi Are 15 Libyans Who Are Now Dead (Video) - Nice Deb
◼ The Benghazi timeline catalogues Obama’s continuous campaigning even as terrorist forces vowed Libyan attacks and State Department officials were warned of security threats. - Wynton Hall/Breitbart
The government watchdog group that revealed that President Barack Obama failed to attend over half of his daily intelligence briefings (known officially as the Presidential Daily Brief, or PDB) released a devastating Benghazi timeline Wednesday.
It reveals Obama’s schedule in the week leading up to the terrorist attacks that claimed the lives of four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens....
As the GAI timeline reveals, Obama failed to attend his daily intelligence briefing for the five consecutive days leading up to the September 11, 2012 attack of the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi.
The day following the deadly attacks, Obama departed for a Las Vegas campaign rally.
Third, political dishonesty has swift, radiating and condign consequences. Opposition to the Common Core is surging because Washington, hoping to mollify opponents, is saying, in effect: “If you like your local control of education, you can keep it. Period.” To which a burgeoning movement is responding: “No. Period.”
Stop and think about that for a minute: 24 weeks is nearly six months. Even if you are an advocate of “a woman’s right to choose,” you can hardly say that limiting abortion to 20 weeks is a serious infringement of that right. With advances in neonatal medicine, a fetus at 24 weeks is now viable. Let’s not mince words: Abortion at such a late stage of pregnancy is killing a baby that could survive.
Erick Erickson dubbed Texas Democrat state Sen. Wendy Davis “Abortion Barbie” last year when she filibustered a bill to reduce the legal window for abortion from 24 to 20 weeks of pregnancy.
...maintaining the legality of abortion at 24 weeks in Texas was such a crusade for Wendy Davis and Democrats that ◼ they shut down debate in the legislature to try to stop a bill — one with widespread voter support — to limit abortion to 20 weeks. And they did this even in the aftermath of the horrific ◼ Kermit Gosnell revelations.
So, guess who NBC decided to feature on the Today show?
◼ NBC News Fails to Disclose Soros Connection In Shriver Report on Women - John Nolte/Breitbart Big Journalism
...The promotion of the report also allowed Shriver and NBC News to portray President Obama as "sympathetic to working mothers." This push focusing on women we see throughout the media, not just on NBC, is nothing more than the media prepping the battlefield to elect Hillary Clinton. That Soros, his Center for American Progress, and NBC News would pull something like this is not even close to a surprise:
Not only did NBC allow their special anchor Maria Shriver to promote her own report on “Nightly News,” they did it without disclosing that it was made in partnership with a group that liberal billionaire George Soros gave $7.3 million to....It is important to remember that this is NBC News and not MSNBC.
Texans for Cornyn has a new ad out this week that just brutalizes the Obama administration’s dishonest mouthpieces. Senator Cornyn has one of the most conservative ratings in congress, and he is taking these Democratic charlatans apart in the public square.
◼ Texas Justice: Conservative Fighter Demolishes Democrats' Lies, Scandals, and Cover-ups - Caleb Howe/IJ Review
Cover Oregon's acting director, Dr. Bruce Goldberg, says it's too soon to consider that option. He says he's planning for contingencies in case the technology can't be fixed in the next two months or very few people enroll in coverage.
◼ Yet to complete single enrollment - Washington Free Beacon
The state’s exchange, Cover Oregon, still cannot process an entire enrollment online — a problem that is not expected to be repaired until after the 2014 enrollment period ends in March.
Wednesday, January 15, 2014
The spending plan runs more than 1,500 pages, and House lawmakers spent only one hour Wednesday debating the omnibus measure. It is packed with reams of spending and policy decisions. So, what’s in it?
We’ve sifted through most of it and unearthed some notable and controversial elements.
◼ “Congress is once again showing complete unwillingness to restrain spending!” -AFP President Tim Phillips. - AFP
“This spending bill is the predictable consequence of a series of poor choices from politicians on both sides of the aisle. If we continue down this road of misguided budget negotiations, our national debt will continue to grow – and hardworking Americans and their families are the ones who will end up footing the bill.”
◼ AP: "House passes $1.1 trillion bill to fund government" -- Introduced two days ago... 1,582 pages of legislation... blasted through on a 359-67 vote... Why the rush?
"I don't think there's going to be a lot of opposition," one tea party leader, Rep. Raul Labrador, R-Idaho, said before the vote. "The die has been cast for the next year on budget fights."
To buy time for the Senate debate, Congress on Wednesday sent President Barack Obama a three-day funding bill in time to avert a scheduled shutdown at midnight. The Senate cleared that measure by an 86-14 vote and Obama quickly signed it into law.
The bill increases core agency spending by $26 billion over the fiscal 2013 year, after last year's automatic spending cuts took them to $986 billion. But it's $31 billion less than Congress passed last March before automatic cuts known as sequestration took effect....
Question: Did ANY of them actually read it before they voted on it? Now, it's headed to the Senate. Will ANY of them read it first?
Email/phone your representative and senator and ask...
Critics of the agency and its nonprofit allies were surprised by the cooperation.
“The level of coordination in these documents is shocking,” EELI (the Energy and Environment Legal Institute) said in a statement.
◼ McCarthy Dodges Environmentalist Coordination Questions - Washington Free Beacon
Republicans press EPA chief on apparent collusion with far-left groups...
One of those emails showed that deputy EPA administrator Bob Perciasepe held an event with two dozen environmentalist groups for the explicit purpose of helping them solicit comments supportive of stringent environmental regulations.
“Is it proper behavior for the EPA to go out with these groups for the sole purpose of recruiting additional comment signers to then go ahead and support your position?” Barrasso asked.
McCarthy declined to address the event specifically, saying she had not seen the email in question and was not aware of the Perciasepe event.
“I certainly don’t want to interpret what you just read, senator,” McCarthy said. “I don’t know what the occasion was, I’m sorry.”
She noted that the EPA holds events with all sorts of “stakeholders,” including environmentalists and industry groups. However, Barrasso insisted the newly uncovered emails suggest more overt collaboration with the former.
“The magazine ban did not garner one Republican vote in the House or Senate, and now as a result of this one-sided, Democrat-sponsored law, more than 200 people will lose their jobs and their ability to provide for their families,” said Ms. Saine in a statement. “[T]his move will cost the state of Colorado over $80 million a year in revenue.”
Prior to the signing, Magpul officials told state officials that the company contributes more than $85 million annually to Colorado’s economy. The company employs 200 people and supports another 400 supply-chain jobs.
A year ago, the rapidly expanding firm was preparing to build a state-of-the-art facility in Broomfield, but pivoted after the gun-control bills gained steam. Magpul was founded in 1999 by CEO Richard Fitzpatrick in the basement of his home in Longmont, Colo.
The company plans to keep a small presence in Colorado in order to continue to fight the ammunition-magazine law.
“2013 began with Magpul planning expansion in Colorado, now 2014 begins with the announcement that Magpul will move 92 percent of its operation to Wyoming and Texas,” said Republican state Sen. Greg Brophy in a statement.
So far no Democratic lawmakers, including Mr. Hickenlooper, have commented publicly on Magpul’s decision to leave Colorado, although several Democrats have said that job growth is their top priority for 2014.
You see, Evans is a Mike McGuire fangirl. That don’t fly with
Evans, the Times tells us, can kiss her sweet committee appointments goodbye.
◼ Sen. Steinberg recommends replacing Sen. Evans as judiciary panel chair - LA Times
Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) recommended Tuesday that Sen. Noreen Evans (D-Santa Rosa) be replaced as chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and observers say it appears part of a political squabble between the two over the race for Evans’ district....
Evans decided not to run for re-election this year, and one of the early candidates for her 2nd District Senate seat was Chris Lehman, who is in charge of fundraising for the Senate Democrats under Steinberg.
Steinberg wrote an email to Senate Democrats in October urging them to support Lehman, but Evans wrote her own email to the same lawmakers a day later saying it was premature for them to line up behind Lehman when there were other candidates emerging.
Steinberg cited Evans’ email countering his own when he notified her that he was replacing her as chair of the Judiciary Committee, according to Terry Price, Evans' Santa Rosa political director.
"Chris was his guy. She froze things in place and that appears to have angered him," Price said. "She is very disappointed."
◼ MERCY! The Last Standing Boyfighter Submits to McGuire - Hank Sims/Lost Coast Outpost
◼ As NewsBusters has been reporting for months, late night comics have been tearing the atrocious rollout of ObamaCare apart. Conceivably the best job done to date was by ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel who during his opening monologue Tuesday evening absolutely savaged the law whilst ridiculing the uninformed young people in this country that have ignorantly supported something that clearly harms them... - Conservative Outfitters
Pension reform went nowhere until 2012, when the governor and Democratic legislators put together a watered-down reform package that critics saw largely as a political ploy to help encourage voters to pass the Proposition 30 tax measure (You can give us more money because we’re serious about reform!). Legislators have since declared the system “reformed” and have gone on to other things.
...Brown calls for “a new funding strategy” and vows to “begin working with the Legislature, school districts, teachers, and the pension system on a plan of shared responsibility to achieve a fully funded, sustainable teachers’ pension system within 30 years.”
At his press conference last Thursday, he, too, fielded a question from a reporter wondering about his plans to deal with CalSTRS. The governor didn’t point to a Web site, but he did promise to begin meetings, which is a necessary start. But talking about a problem is one thing, and using one’s political capital to fix it is quite another.
Moran becomes the third House Democrat to retire just this week. George Miller (D-CA) also represents a similarly safe district, D+17 in Cook, and California is a much safer state for Democrats than Virginia. That’s still the loss of a 30-year veteran of the caucus and another Pelosi ally out the door, which makes the boasts about putting the gavel back in her hands look more and more like either cheap talk or false bravado.
The third, Bill Owens, only won NY-21 thanks to a special election and a split on the Right in the R+2 district. Our own Jazz Shaw worked in that special election fight, and while it’s not a slam-dunk for Republicans, it’s a clear pickup opportunity. If Owens is leaving, that says something about the prospects for Democrats in battleground districts.
This is, of course, retirement season for the House. Incumbents disinclined to campaign again will let their constituents know early enough to allow their party to find a strong candidate rather than wait until the last moment. So far, Republican retirements outstrip Democrats, but only by three, and Republicans don’t have to make up ground against Democrats anyway. Democrats need to retain their incumbents in this midterm election far more than the GOP does — and if high-seniority members in cushy districts are heading for the exits, that suggests that they’re seeing no point in sticking around for another few years of minority status.
◼ The report out today by the Senate Intelligence Committee is noteworthy, not just because it is bipartisan, but because its conclusions are clear and devastating for Hillary Clinton. - Larry Johnson/No Quarter
The report leaves no doubt that there was ample intelligence in the months and days preceding the attacks on 11 September 2012 and that those warning were ignored by the Department of State leadership, including Hillary Clinton.
◼ Read it here. Pay special attention to the footnotes.
◼ Senate Report on Benghazi: Strong Evidence of Al Qaeda in Libya - Washington Free Beacon (1/25/15) link updated from this original link http://www.intelligence.senate.gov/benghazi2014/benghazi.pdf Thank you.)
◼ Lieberman: Benghazi ‘Obviously a Terrorist Attack by Any Definition of Terrorism’ - Bridget Johnson/PJMedia
◼ Feinstein rejects NYT on Benghazi - The Hill
Feinstein leads later-day Warren Commission. Benghazi was just military/State Dept incompetence, go back to sleep. http://t.co/XGADBaXmS7— Margaret Khan (@wakeup1442) January 15, 2014
Senator says new Iran sanctions bill signals the U.S. wants 'regime change' http://t.co/xQZYJrq64C— ThinkProgress (@thinkprogress) January 15, 2014
◼ Senate report: Attacks on U.S. compounds in Benghazi could have been prevented - Adam Goldman and Anne Gearan/Washington Post
...The report says that on Sept. 18, 2012, the “FBI and CIA reviewed the closed circuit television video from the Mission facility that showed there were no protests prior to the attacks.”
But it took six more days for intelligence officials to revise their chronology of events and say that “there were no demonstrations or protests” at the diplomatic compound “prior to the attacks.”...
Let's all be very clear: The FBI did not conduct an “investigation” into the IRS scandal. Not unless there are new protocols for investigating potential unlawful activities, which discard the quaint notion of speaking to the victims.
Last week, we learned that the head of the “probe,” Barbara Bosserman, is a donor to Obama campaigns and the Democratic National Committee. This is, someone who could hardly be trusted to understand what all the fuss is about.
Now we learn that the FBI has “concluded” that there was no actual illegal activity involved in the IRS scandal, conclusions reached without ever speaking to a single conservative or Tea Party organization leader or attorney to learn what actually happened these past four years.
Having represented dozens of groups before the IRS over the years, including many victimized by the IRS in this scandal, one might have thought the FBI might have called me or even one of my clients.
But, to paraphrase the song, if our telephone ain’t ringin,’ I guess it must be the FBI “investigating” the IRS.
Had the FBI bothered to contact or interview me, any of my clients, or anyone who actually could tell the FBI what the IRS did, we could have provided some specific facts about the IRS scandal....
This is a new low for the FBI, which appears to have been completely silenced by this administration, starting with the president’s appointment of the very political Eric Holder, who in turn appointed Barbara Bosserman.
Shame on Robert Mueller and James Comey, the former and present FBI directors, for allowing this to happen on their watches. Shame on them, too, for fighting very hard for months to keep from telling the truth to House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa of California and subcommittee chairman Jim Jordan of Ohio about what the status of the FBI's “investigation.”
Not the FBI’s finest hour when the entire episode appears to demonstrate a bureau tightly controlled by the Obama administration and its political partisans.
...It didn’t have to be this way. Had Mr. Obama not serially communicated weakness and irresolution, hollowed out the U.S. military, undermined it further with social engineering on matters ranging from homosexuals in the military to women in combat and embraced some of the most dangerous of our Islamist enemies — including the Muslim Brotherhood, Iran and even representatives of the Taliban — America’s security interests might not be in free fall around the world today.
There is, therefore, no small irony in the current rap on Mr. Gates‘ book — from some Republican savants as well as the predictable Democratic partisans — that he shouldn’t have published it until after the end of the Obama presidency in 2017.
To the contrary, it would have been far better if Mr. Gates had exposed his insights into what was happening to the common defense far earlier.
Indeed, one wonders: If Bob Gates had resigned over the practices and conduct we are now told infuriated him, instead of staying in office and accommodating them, might his warnings have prevented, or at least substantially reduced, the wrecking operation that is currently devastating our all-volunteer force and putting our country and the rest of what’s left of the Free World in ever greater jeopardy?
◼ When government grows too large, dependency replaces achievement - Ben S. Carson/Washington Times (image source)
...Both free enterprise and government want to grow. The free-enterprise system creates wealth and grows the economy, but it is hindered when it is constantly manipulated by government interference and, I dare say, predation. Government growth saps the lifeblood of an expanding economy; namely, money. It is like a spider sucking dry a fly caught in its web, getting ever bigger and requiring more victims to sustain its growth....
We have strayed far from the idea of independent life and personal responsibility for our populace. Many of our young people cannot even conceive of a world in which personal freedom reigns supreme. This does not mean that we should not try to recapture the spirit of freedom and courage that characterized our rapid ascent to the pinnacle of world power.
We the people must control the government before it attains the size and power that will preclude that possibility. It is time we begin discussing with friends, associates and neighbors our vision for our nation and how to realize it. This is not a Democratic or Republican issue. It is an issue of freedom in America for everyone and our progeny.
◼ Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates joined Morning Joe Wednesday to discuss his new book, Duty, saying that “disgraceful” comments by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) did not help troop morale in Iraq and Afghanistan. - Washington Free Beacon
“That sends a riveting message to kids who are putting their lives on the line every day that they’re doing it for nothing,” Gates noted, “and that was absolutely not the case.”
A quick glance at recent polling shows that President Obama and Congressional Democrats are not in a good spot. Obama’s approval ratings are near all-time lows, Congressional Democrats’ took a historically bad dip in generic ballot tests, and the party’s trustworthiness on nearly every issue has taken a tumble.
But what does all that mean? In a typical year three metrics are used to predict how a party will fare. They are, as Jay Cost writes for the Weekly Standard, the relative exposure of the parties, the political standing of the president and the pace of economic growth.
Democrats are clearly at a disadvantage in the first two.
◼ The Battle of 2014: With the midterm elections less than a year away, the terrain looks surprisingly favorable for Republicans - Jay Cost/Weekly Standard
...To get at partisan exposure, simply ask which party has the better playing field. Next year it is undoubtedly the Republicans. Democrats are defending seven Senate seats in states that Mitt Romney won in 2012: Alaska, Arkansas, Louisiana, Montana, North Carolina, South Dakota, and West Virginia. Of these, only North Carolina was close. Democrats also must defend six more seats in states where Republicans are competitive and often win: Colorado, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, and Virginia. Republicans, meanwhile, are defending only one seat where the broader electoral dynamics favor the Democrats—in Maine.
This sets the context for appreciating not only the scope of potential gains for the GOP, but also the role that President Obama will play. Right now, his job approval is languishing in the low 40s, according to the Real Clear Politics average of polls. If that number is unchanged a year from now, the president is likely to be even less popular in the states that Romney won and right around that average in the purple states that are up for grabs. This will be an enormous challenge for Democratic candidates to overcome....
Tuesday, January 14, 2014
The leaders of Iran didn’t go to Columbia in the early 1980’s and didn’t dabble in the arms control movement. Ayatollah Khamenei and President Rouhani had different formative experiences, ones that involved using arms, not trying to control them. They hanged political opponents by their necks from cranes, built a terrorist organization in Lebanon that murdered and abducted Americans, fought a war with Iraq, and carried out assassinations in Europe against regime opponents and bombings in Argentina against Jews. Obama wants to give peace a chance; the Iranians are giving victory a chance.
◼ Yoko Ono vs. Ayatollah Khomeini - Noah Pollak/Weekly Standard
Obama has been mostly concerned with the possibility that the Senate may adopt a bill that would slightly tighten sanctions on Iran after one year’s time, but only if Obama somehow proves unable to talk the Iranians into surrendering their nuclear program peacefully. All options really are on the table for the president when it comes to the threat from the Senate: he warns he’ll use the veto, he accuses members of his own party of warmongering, he says he’ll blame the failure of the talks – and the failure of peace itself – on supporters of the bill, and he’s daring senators like Chuck Schumer and Cory Booker to declare openly that they’re trying to start a war with Iran.
A lot of sound and fury, but it doesn’t signify nothing. It tells the Iranians that the thing the president values most is the talks themselves – not stopping their nuclear program, not cutting their regional ambitions down to size, not defending American allies. The Iranians understand that Obama’s greatest desire is to be able to say that his central foreign policy promise – that he can settle conflicts through diplomacy – is finally, five years on, being fulfilled.
For their part, the Iranians know that with the talks set to begin, they have what amounts to a blank check from the White House to make mischief. They know that Obama will now say and do little lest Iran play its trump card – leaving the talks. Obama is thus playing cuckold, willing to absorb repeated public humiliation so long as his partner doesn’t leave him.
The Iranians know it and they feel it, and so they’re taking advantage of every bit of the latitude Obama’s desperation provides...
◼ Iranian General: America Pursuing Diplomacy Because They Cannot Defeat Us Militarily - Truth Revolt
On Tuesday, Iranian news agency FARS reported the comments of Iranian Army Commander Major General Ataollah Salehi, who stated that the United States and Israel had no capacity to defeat Iran militarily. “Had the enemy been able to confront us militarily, it would have already taken action,” Salehi stated. He said that the talks proved that the West was unwilling to confront Iran: “Given their weakness in the military dimension, they have opted for the political arena and we will certainly succeed in this area too.”
◼ Secret Deals With Our Enemies: Just Give Peace A Chance - Trevor Loudon/New Zeal
◼ Is Iran Trying to Sabotage the Nuclear Deal? - Breitbart
Iran's extreme gestures since the Geneva nuclear deal was finalized Sunday--calling the deal a "surrender" by world powers, and visiting the grave of the terrorist behind hundreds of American deaths in Beirut--seem calculated to inflame U.S. public opinion and humiliate President Barack Obama (or both). There seem three possible explanations: one, sheer triumphalism; two, an attempt to appease Iranian hard-liners who oppose any negotiation; three, an effort to provoke Congress to back new sanctions so Iran has a pretext to back out.
The last explanation certainly seems possible. There are 59 co-sponsors of the bipartisan Senate bill for new sanctions, and as many as 77 "yes" votes, a veto-proof majority. President Obama has urged Congress not to pass any new measures---even ones that, like the bill in question, only become active if the interim deal fails. However, Iran's rhetoric will create new pressure on Congress to do something in response. Iran could then complain that the U.S. had failed to keep its word on sanctions relief--as it did last last year--and walk out.
AB 842 would have prohibited federal and state funds from being used to finance the high-speed rail project on the basis that California’s crumbling infrastructure should be funded first.
My response: “When our roads are in disrepair, it saddens me to see that my colleagues in the Assembly were more compelled to support this High Speed Boondoggle once again, instead of having the chance to rebuild our current highways to the standards they were once famous for.”
...Republicans scored victories in blocking regulation of agricultural greenhouse gas emissions — shed of the technical vernacular, cow flatulence — and in weakening policies adopted by the Export-Import Bank and Overseas Private Investment Corporation that made it harder to use public dollars to finance coal-fired power plant construction overseas.
Also gone — funding for the DOE's light bulb standard, which had effectively banned the production and import of most incandescent bulbs.
◼ After combining and weighting the four indices to create an overall fiscal-condition index, the five states in the best shape were Alaska, South Dakota, North Dakota, Nebraska, and Wyoming, while the five in the worst shape were California, Massachusetts, Illinois, Connecticut, and New Jersey coming in dead last. - Erika Johnsen/HotAir
(Quite the red vs. blue dichotomy there, eh? Just sayin.’)
An advocacy group called “A is For” has collected a band of Hollywood comedians and musicians for an event they are calling “A Night of a Thousand Vaginas.”
Money raised by the event will go to fund abortions in Texas, since stricter Texas laws have regulated some abortion clinics out of existence.
Comedians Sarah Silverman and Zach Galifinakis are scheduled to appear, as well as musician Josh Homme from Queens of the Stone Age.
...Touting the event as a night of “comedy and music,” A is For shows just how tactless and clueless abortion-rights activists really are. Apparently they don’t realize that they are literally selling laughs to pay for the death of babies.
◼ Hollywood fundraises for Texas abortions with ‘Night of a Thousand Vaginas!’ - Caroline May/Daily Caller
Tickets are now sold out but they ranged in price from $60 – $100.
...The irony is that free people usually create far more wealth than the coerced, which makes the lower echelons better off, a fact that reminds “equality” is usually about empowering progressive elites rather than materially helping the poor. Moreover, in a free society, there are all sorts of forces — religion, constantly improving and ever cheaper technology, family pressures, honor, shame, philanthropy — that redistribute wealth either naturally or through the consent of the giver, and far more effectively than creating a huge government equalocracy that seeks power to bully others and exempt itself.
◼ Publication of UN climate change report suggesting global warming caused by humans pushed back to later this month - David Rose/Daily Mail UK
533,000 more square miles of ocean covered with ice than in 2012
BBC reported in 2007 global warming would leave Arctic ice-free in summer by 2013
My father, who worked multiple jobs and faithfully and honestly paid his taxes for fifty years, had never heard a word from the IRS. In 2008, his daughter was tapped to run for vice president of the United States. Since that time, he has been, in his words "horribly harassed" six times by the agency. They've tried to dig up something on him but he's always operated above board.
Government and politics are ugly. Kudos to the few that are trying to clean it up.
◼ To date, Heath’s comments have not generated any mainstream media attention at all. - Bryan Preston/PJMedia
◼ In the interview, Araqchi referred to the side agreement using the English word “nonpaper,” a diplomatic term used for an informal side agreement that doesn’t have to be disclosed publicly. - LA Times
◼ OBAMA: 'Give peace a chance'... - Weekly Standard
◼ Iran's Rouhani casts nuke deal as win for Iran... - UT San Diego
President Hassan Rouhani has praised a landmark nuclear deal struck in Geneva as his country's victory, telling a home crowd it effectively means the "surrender" of Western powers to Iranian demands.
◼ ROUHANI: 'World Powers Surrendered to Iranian Nation's Will'... - Weekly Standard
Our relationship w/ the world is based on Iranian nation's interests. In #Geneva agreement world powers surrendered to Iranian nation's will— Hassan Rouhani (@HassanRouhani) January 14, 2014
◼ A vocal bipartisan group of senators say that view is naïve when dealing with Tehran and the U.S. needs to do everything it can to keep to prevent Iran from attaining a nuclear weapon. - Washington Examiner
A bipartisan group of senators are continuing to vocally back an Iran sanctions bill despite President Obama's warnings that passing it would derail a six-month agreement with Iran to roll back parts of its nuclear program....
Support for the new measure has swelled since December, reaching 59 co-sponsors. Senate aides say a veto-proof majority — senators numbering well into the 70s — have pledged to support the bill if it comes to the Senate floor for a vote.
◼ America leads from behind as Iran spits in our eye on nuke deal - Washington Examiner
Miller is the top-ranking Democrat on the House Education and the Workforce Committee and is the fifth-longest serving congressman. He was just 29 when he was first sworn in in 1975.
The congressman also famously lives in a group house with Sens. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and Dick Durbin, D-Ill. -- and, in fact, is the landlord of their Capitol Hill abode
Monday, January 13, 2014
Business Insider reported a bombshell this afternoon. It reports, by translating Spanish-language reporting from El Universal, that the US government has had a relationship with Mexico’s Sinaloa drug cartel since the Clinton administration. That relationship/alliance was used to damage Mexico’s other drug cartels, but at a great price: Sinaloa alone imports about 80% of the illegal drugs that make their way to Chicago. The alleged deal allowed the cartel to import drugs virtually without fear of capture or punishment by the US government.
While the relationship predates the Obama administration, El Universarl reports that one part of it does not. The information came out after the arrest of a Sinaloa capo...
JUST ASKING: Republican Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann and her husband had 23 foster children; NYTimes Paul Krugman writes an article accusing the Republicans of being “Enemies of the Poor” –
◼ who is doing more? Just asking… - Gretawire/FOX
Maybe Paul Krugman of the New York Times is doing a lot for poor people and I just don’t know…but I am now looking at action, not words. If he is ‘doing,’ congratulations to him.
As an aside….I am sick of listening to talk or reading what people say – what are people DOING? Doing matters.
"There was absolutely no one in Washington — senators, congressmen, even the president — who dared hold J. Edgar Hoover to accountability...It became pretty obvious to us,” he said, “that if we don’t do it, nobody will.”
...They were never caught, and the stolen documents that they mailed anonymously to newspaper reporters were the first trickle of what would become a flood of revelations about extensive spying and dirty-tricks operations by the F.B.I. against dissident groups.
The burglary in Media, Pa., on March 8, 1971, is a historical echo today, as disclosures by the former National Security Agency contractor Edward J. Snowden have cast another unflattering light on government spying and opened a national debate about the proper limits of government surveillance. The burglars had, until now, maintained a vow of silence about their roles in the operation. They were content in knowing that their actions had dealt the first significant blow to an institution that had amassed enormous power and prestige during J. Edgar Hoover’s lengthy tenure as director....
...the document that would have the biggest impact on reining in the F.B.I.’s domestic spying activities was an internal routing slip, dated 1968, bearing a mysterious word: Cointelpro.
Neither the Media burglars nor the reporters who received the documents understood the meaning of the term, and it was not until several years later, when the NBC News reporter Carl Stern obtained more files from the F.B.I. under the Freedom of Information Act, that the contours of Cointelpro — shorthand for Counterintelligence Program — were revealed....
The passage of years has worn some of the edges off the once radical political views of John and Bonnie Raines. But they said they felt a kinship toward Mr. Snowden, whose revelations about N.S.A. spying they see as a bookend to their own disclosures so long ago.
◼ “Behold my display of the 2013 Federal Register,” Lee wrote along with the photograph. “It contains over 80,000 pages of new rules, regulations, and notices all written and passed by unelected bureaucrats. The small stack of papers on top of the display are the laws passed by elected members of Congress and signed into law by the president.” - Matthew Boyle/Breitbart
◼ Mike Lee photo depicts a nation of federal regulations - Joel Gehrke/Washington Examiner @joelmentum
Congress passed a historically low number of laws in 2013, but the executive branch bureaucrats who write the nation's federal regulations remained as busy as ever, as Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, demonstrated with a single picture.
◼ Food stamps at pot shops banned under Colo. bill - AP via TownHall
A bill proposed this week by several Republicans would add marijuana dispensaries to liquor stores, gun shops and casinos as places where recipients of public assistance payments and food stamps can’t use their electronic benefits cards to access cash.
There haven’t been any reports of public EBT cards being used at marijuana dispensaries. But lawmakers say pot shops should be added to the law to make clear it’s not legal.
...(Gen. Carter) Ham's account of that fateful day was included in some 450 pages of testimony given by senior Pentagon officials in classified, closed-door hearings conducted last year by the Armed Services subcommittee. The testimony, given under "Top Secret" clearance and only declassified this month, presents a rare glimpse into how information during a crisis travels at the top echelons of America's national security apparatus, all the way up to the president.
...Numerous aides to the president and then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton repeatedly told the public in the weeks following the murder of Ambassador Stevens and three other Americans that night -- as Obama's hotly contested bid for re-election was entering its final stretch -- that there was no evidence the killings were the result of a premeditated terrorist attack, but rather were the result of a protest gone awry. Subsequent disclosures exposed the falsity of that narrative, and the Obama administration ultimately acknowledged that its early statements on Benghazi were untrue.
◼ The News They Kept To Themselves - Ed Driscoll/PJMedia
Supreme Court justices took a dim view Monday of President Obama’s claim of almost unlimited powers to appoint top government officials, saying he appeared to be breaking with the founders’ vision of separation of powers between the branches of government when he tried an end-run around the Senate in 2012
Justice Stephen Breyer said the administration is trying to use the recess powers as an end-run around senators who want to block appointments — something the justice said wasn’t part of the Constitution’s plan.
“I can’t find anything so far that says the purpose of this clause has anything to do with political fights between Congress and the president,” he said.
◼ Supreme Court Hears Arguments on Obama's Claimed Power to Make Temporary Appointments Even When the Senate is Not Recessed - Ace Of Spades
While the Constitution permits the President to make temporary appointments to executive positions when the Senate is in recess, Obama, get this, violated the Constitution by claiming the Senate was in recess when the Senate itself said it wasn't in recess. His appointees -- illegal ones -- made some rulings on the National Labor Relations Board which should be nullities, as men with no right to sit on the NLRB did in fact sit there.
Obama claims, get this, that his Constitutional powers grow when he decides a coequal branch of government is being "intransigent" and failing to give him everything he wants.
The argument did not seem to persuade most of the Court. Even the liberal members seemed wary of the claim...
◼ SCALIA LABELS OBAMA 'SELF-INTERESTED' DURING ORAL ARGUMENTS OVER RECESS APPOINTMENTS - Ben Shapiro/Breitbart
Scalia said that official recesses were required for recess appointments. “Let’s assume I think the text is clearly against you,” Scalia stated, explaining that Obama would have to “ignore the Constitution” in order to simply order recess appointments during a non-recess.
◼ Supremes Poised to Strike Down Obama's Recess Appointments - Ken Klukowski
While it is unclear whether the Court will rule narrowly or broadly, it does seem clear the Obama lost today at the Court, potentially by a lopsided 8-1 vote (if not unanimous against him). Breitbart News will publish a full analysis tomorrow.
◼ Nest gives Google some design knowhow as well as a lot of home energy data. Google's tentacles are spreading into your home even more. - ZDNet
For Google, Nest founders Tony Fadell and Matt Rogers will bring some more design knowhow to the search giant, which has a hardware side of the business via Motorola. Google will also be able to harness more data from individual homes as well as garner more data.
Consider the moving parts:
◼ Google has mobile access via your smartphones and various apps on multiple platforms.It remains to be seen how all of these efforts fit together, but it's clear that Google's tentacles are spreading.
◼ Google has multiple ways into your living room via Android and Chromecast, a streaming TV gadget, as well as tablets and PCs.
◼ The company had tried to monitor energy usage with utilities, but scrapped the plan in 2011.
◼ Google's Android will increasingly be in your car.
◼ And Google is working the robot market.
◼ Feds Push Software to Monitor Americans' Energy Usage... - CNS News ◼ Via Drudge
The good Republican who has the bad taste to stay alive will only enjoy a temporary vacation in the good graces of the media. It does not matter how often he pays fealty to global warming, gun control, gay marriage and amnesty for illegal aliens, or his willingness to appear on morning shows to bemoan the extremism of the Tea Party; the time will come when he will be dragged out of the Saturday Night Live studio and the CNN green room, hung from a tree and beaten with a stick for the enlightenment of the people.
There is no help for it....
The same media that insisted that the murder of four Americans in Benghazi was not a scandal and that the murder of Brian Terry in Operation Fast and Furious was not a scandal is bleating that a little traffic is a scandal. Not a little traffic in assault rifles, as in Fast and Furious, but in the distance between cars.
During the government shutdown, Obama escalated his political war with Congress by barricading war memorials, shutting down private parks and shuttering private restaurants.
Senior citizens were left homeless when they were evicted from cabins on Federal land and inns were forcibly shut down by park rangers who were deployed to keep watch to see that no one went inside. Joggers on Federal land were given tickets and veterans were barred from entering their own memorials. When a group of elderly tourists tried to take a photo of Yellowstone erupting, armed rangers showed up to bellow at them that they were illegally “recreating”.
A park ranger admitted to the Washington Times, “We’ve been told to make life as difficult for people as we can.” If Christie was indeed responsible for Bridgegate, he was only following in Obama’s footsteps.
Tim Donnelly: "It is both an honor and a thrill to receive the full support of someone as remarkable as actress Maria Conchita Alonso!
Maria and I are excited to announce the release the following fun VIDEO we’ve put together that highlights my bid for Governor as well as the way forward for California.
◼ Watch, enjoy and share it with all your friends! Godspeed."
But what if many of those Americans rebel? Even if they know having health insurance is better than not having it, what if they refuse to be forced to buy the kind of coverage dictated by the government — which may not really meet their needs — at prices they don't want to pay? What then?
"I don't think Obamacare can survive without people wanting to buy it," Bob Laszewski, the respected health care analyst whose writings on Obamacare have become essential in recent months, told me in an email exchange recently. "How the hell are you going to enforce a mandate to buy something that people don't think is valuable enough to buy? If the uninsured don't start to see value in Obamacare and buy it, is the Democratic solution to fine the heck out of them until it hurts so much they have to buy it? Great political strategy!"
Of course, that's exactly what the strategy is. Democrats designed the penalty for not having "minimum essential coverage" to start low and increase rapidly....
But Democrats in Congress feared public reaction to actually forcing Americans to write a check to the government to cover the penalty. So instead, the Internal Revenue Service, which is charged with enforcing Obamacare, will subtract the penalty from the tax refunds of those Americans who incur the penalty, provided they are due a refund.
The IRS scandal and the Senate nuke are daggers held at the GOP's throat. If they are allowed to remain in place, the two-party system is dead.
Baseball's Leo "The Lip" Durocher was famously credited for saying "nice guys finish last." House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell could learn a few things from Durocher.
House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa revealed last week that the individual leading President Obama's investigation of the IRS scandal is one of his long-time donors.
As today's Washington Examiner editorial observes, putting an Obama donor in charge of the probe of IRS targeting and harrassment of the president's toughest critics is the equivalent of the chief executive waving a middle finger at Boehner, McConnell and the rest of the congressional Republicans.
Then there is Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's bullying of McConnell and the upper chamber's Republicans, which has been cheered by the Obama White House.
Not only has Reid rendered the Senate GOP impotent by denying them virtually any opportunities to introduce amendments, he and the Democratic majority exercised the "nuclear option" that ended the filibuster against most presidential nominees.
The result is the only difference between the Senate and the House is one has more members. Otherwise, both are simply majority rule legislative bodies, thus enabling the very factional tyranny so feared by the Founders....
I contend it’s a result, in part, of the fact that they get away with it, and they gain power as conservative leadership retreats from the ugliness. There have never been any serious consequences for liberal hate speech, threats and general cultural assault.
Conservatives, on the other hand, the target of that bile, act on their inherent decency and “forgive and forget.”
We’ve all watched with familiar astonishment some in the leftist media expressing their rank malice for conservatives with not just the usual horrid insults, but arguments for specific personal harm to be done, and the mocking of a child.
My concern is the reaction by high-profile conservatives who, after having been smeared in the most repugnant of ways, immediately accept the apologies of the liberals who slander them. This pattern needs to change.
Conservatives must recognize that accepting apologies from liberals who cross the line only reinforces the myth that these attitudes are one-off “mistakes,” uttered by normally decent people.
As a former liberal, I assure you nothing could be further from the truth.
◼ Amiri Baraka represented the worst of today's Left: Sorry, Mr. Baraka, but here’s how I’ll remember you: as a nasty, bilious little man who was the quintessential representative of today’s leftists and liberals. - gregory Kane/Washington Examiner
◼ Why Are the Media’s ‘Consumer Interest Groups’ So Leftist and Anti-Consumer? - Seton Motley/PJMedia
Sunday, January 12, 2014
If there is anyone out there who still thinks Sen. Harry Reid isn’t battier than a pet raccoon, then allow me to point out a Reid reference in former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates’ new book that would argue the point
No wonder the media are so thrilled to discuss Chris Christie and “Bridgegate” this weekend; any excuse not to discuss Robert Gates’ hard-hitting new memoirs of his time serving as Secretary of Defense alongside Barry and Hillary....
Meanwhile at Power Line, Scott Johnson spots a Las Vegas Review-Journal columnist attempting to find a local angle within Gates’ memoirs: ◼ THE TROUBLE WITH HARRY? - Scott Johnson/Powerline
Las Vegas Review-Journal columnist Sherman Frederick has been scouring the, ah, pages of Robert Gates’s forthcoming Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War for a local angle, and he has discovered it. Frederick fearlessly reports:
If there is anyone out there who still thinks Sen. Harry Reid isn’t battier than a pet raccoon, then allow me to point out a Reid reference in former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates’ new book that would argue the point.
Gates says that Harry Reid once urged him to have the Defense Department “invest in research on irritable bowel syndrome.”
“With two ongoing wars and all our budget and other issues,” Gates writes, “I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry.”
Dear Mr. Gates: I assure you that Nevadans feel the same way.
I’m saying that your insistence that flashing boobies is some kind of “expression of what it’s like to be alive” is a risible pile of bollocks.
Via ◼ Drudge comes ◼ this outburst of brilliance, emphasis mine, in response to the question “I don’t get the purpose of all the nudity on the show. . .”:
In the moment, Dunham herself spoke clearly about her position on the nudity [in Girls], saying it is “a realistic expression of what it’s like to be alive. But I totally get it. If you’re not into me, that’s your problem and you’re going to have to work that out with professionals,” she retorted. And later, fellow EP Jenni Konner interrupted her response to another question to add, “I literally was spacing out because I’m in such a rage spiral about that guy,” she said pointing to the question-asker. “I was just looking at him looking at him and going into this rage [over] this idea that you would talk to a woman like that and accuse a woman of showing her body too much. The idea it just makes me sort of sick.”Lena, Lena, Lena: your show is pure vanity, in the truest Ecclesiastes sense of the word. While falling short of waxing moralistic, can we just get to some honesty about your cheap show? It’s a cheap show, cheaply exposing cheap flesh for a cheap audience. You’ve got more “cheap” than an aviary. Be honest about that. Just admit “Yeah, I’m getting my nudist on for the eyeballs.” I’m not saying it makes you any more or less evil than anyone else. I’m saying that your insistence that flashing boobies is some kind of “expression of what it’s like to be alive” is a risible pile of bollocks.
◼ “I literally was spacing out because I’m in such a rage spiral about that guy” - InsideTV
If President Obama wants to reduce income inequality, he should focus less on redistributing income and more on fighting a major cause of modern poverty: the breakdown of the family. A man mostly raised by a single mother and his grandparents who defied the odds to become president of the United States is just the person to take up the cause.
"Marriage inequality" should be at the center of any discussion of why some Americans prosper and others don't. According to Census Bureau information analyzed by the Beverly LaHaye Institute, among families headed by two married parents in 2012, just 7.5% lived in poverty. By contrast, when families are headed by a single mother the poverty level jumps to 33.9%.
And the number of children raised in female-headed families is growing throughout America. A 2012 study by the Heritage Foundation found that 28.6% of children born to a white mother were out of wedlock. For Hispanics, the figure was 52.5% and for African-Americans 72.3%. In 1964, when the war on poverty began, almost everyone was born in a family with two married parents: only 7% were not.
...Given how deep the problem of poverty is, taking even more money from one citizen and handing it to another will only diminish one while doing very little to help the other. A better and more compassionate policy to fight income inequality would be helping the poor realize that the most important decision they can make is to stay in school, get married and have children—in that order.
In 2011, the top 1 percent of tax returns accounted for 41 percent of the state's personal income tax revenues, and that was before Proposition 30 raised rates on the rich. Meanwhile, about half of California adults paid no state income tax that year, according to an estimate from the state Finance Department.
Bryan Goldberg, who founded the Bleacher Report sports website and sold it to Turner Broadcasting for about $200 million in mid-2012, is moving his primary residence from San Francisco to New York this year. A major reason, he says, is Prop. 30 and the way it was applied retroactively.
Taxes in New York City, where he has started a new website, Bustle.com, are also high. Goldberg says his exodus "was more about creating a statement than it was about maximizing my personal income."
Prop. 30, approved by voters in November 2012, raised state income taxes retroactively to Jan. 1, 2012, on singles making more than $250,000 and married couples making $500,000. It raised rates by one, two or three percentage points through 2018, bringing the top rate on incomes above $1 million to 13.3 percent, the highest in the nation....
Thanks in part to a capital gains windfall, Gov. Jerry Brown's budget proposal released last week estimates that Prop. 30 alone will generate $5.7 billion in additional income tax revenues in fiscal 2014-15. That represents 5.4 percent of total general fund revenue, projected at $106 billion.
The budget makes no allowance for migrating millionaires.
◼ The folly of taxing the rich: The little guy is the collateral damage of class warfare - Washington Times EDITORIAL
◼ On Tuesday, Washington DC got hit with the coldest day on record since 1994. With the rest of the nation also experiencing record low temperatures, MRCTV thought it would be a good day to find out if people were still convinced that global warming was a big problem. - IJ Review
◼ Nothing less than the boundaries of executive power are at stake Monday as the Supreme Court considers whether President Obama violated the Constitution during his first term. - The Hill via Drudge
Oral arguments slated for Monday will center on a trio of recess appointments to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) that were deemed unconstitutional by lower courts.
If they uphold the decision, experts say the justices could endanger hundreds of NLRB decisions.
Even more significant are the ramifications for future presidents, with the court poised either to bolster or blunt the chief executive’s appointment powers....
The Obama administration’s case hinges on winning three points, according to Georgetown University Law Center’s Nicholas Quinn Rosenkranz, who is arguing against the government.
First, it must convince the justices that presidents may make appointments during regular recesses and not, as the appeals court ruled, only during the breaks between numbered sessions on Congress.
Next, the court must agree that the appointments may include the filling of vacancies that existed before the recess began, rather than those that occurred during a recess.
Finally, it must conclude that the pro-forma sessions do not count as formal sessions of Congress.
Proving all three points, particularly the last, would be a tall order, said Rosenkranz, who predicted a 9-0 ruling in favor of Noel Canning.
“I don’t think this is a close case,” he said.