WASHINGTON (Gannett Washington Bureau/Mary Troyan) – The special House committee investigating the 2012 terrorist attacks in Benghazi will hold its first public hearing in September about changes the State Department has made to better protect diplomats, Rep. Trey Gowdy said Wednesday.
Gowdy, the committee’s Republican chairman, also said the panel is gaining access to witnesses that didn’t participate in previous congressional investigations into the attacks.
“I know I’m biased, but one of the good parts about running an investigation in a way that appears to be serious-minded is that witnesses who were previously unavailable or not interested in cooperating are now interested in cooperating,” Gowdy said. “The universe of witnesses is expanding.”
U.S. House lawmakers created the committee in May to review the Sept. 11, 2012, attacks that killed four Americans in eastern Libya, including Ambassador Christopher Stevens.
Several previous congressional investigations have looked at security lapses and intelligence failures related to the attacks, along with the military’s response and whether President Barack Obama’s administration initially downplayed the incident for political reasons.
Gowdy, in an interview Tuesday, said the panel is not scheduled to meet during the August congressional recess, but committee lawyers and investigators will be working.
In a notable departure from other House committees that battled with the administration over Benghazi investigations, Gowdy said he is “encouraged” by responses to his panel’s requests for additional documents.
“There is no substitute for sitting down and me sharing my expectations and them telling me their concerns or what their frustrations in the past have been,” Gowdy said. “I’m not looking for the fight or the story. I just want the documents. It’s been easy so far.”
The September hearing will focus on about 24 recommendations issued in December 2012 by the independent Accountability Review Board, which investigated the State Department’s actions before, during and after the attacks. The board was led by former Ambassador Thomas Pickering and Adm. Michael Mullen, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Their report blamed “systemic failures and leadership and management deficiencies at senior levels within two bureaus of the State Department” for “grossly inadequate” security.
Gowdy, a former prosecutor, is famously pit-bullish when he’s not getting the information he seeks. Let’s hope he’s just as unrelenting when these Benghazi hearings start. The family members of the four victims of the Benghazi murders have been invited to attend, and they deserve answers.
The post Rep. Trey Gowdy: “Universe of [#Benghazi] witnesses is expanding” appeared first on Sister Toldjah.
Texas Democratic Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee argued Wednesday the Republican effort to sue President Obama is nothing but a veiled attempt to impeach him — something Democrats never did to President George W. Bush:
I ask my colleagues to oppose this resolution for it is in fact a veiled attempt at impeachment and it undermines the law that allows a president to do his job. A historical fact: President Bush pushed this nation into a war that had little to do with apprehending terrorists. We did not seek an impeachment of President Bush, because as an executive, he had his authority. President Obama has the authority.
Except former Rep. Dennis Kucinich did actually introduce a bill to impeach Bush in 2008 — and Jackson Lee actually was a co-sponsor to the legislation.
Here’s the text of H. Res. 1258: “Impeaching George W. Bush, President of the United States, of high crimes and misdemeanors.” You can see who all the co-sponsors were here. Rep. Jackson Lee was indeed one of them.
Facts are pesky little things, aren’t they?
Update – 10:16 AM:
Sheila Jackson Lee's office tells me she "misspoke" when she said Dems never tried to impeach Bush. (She co-sponsored the impeachment bill.)
— Chris Moody (@moody) July 31, 2014
“Misspoke”? That was the whole purpose of her rant! You can’t make this stuff up. LOL.
- Via Nate Silver at 538 - Democrats Are Way More Obsessed With Impeachment Than Republicans
The post #Derp: Rep. Jackson Lee forgets she once helped try to impeach Bush (UPDATE: “Misspoke”) appeared first on Sister Toldjah.
Via Fox News:
House Republicans have dug up emails from Lois Lerner in which the former IRS official refers to some in the Republican Party as “—holes” and “crazies” – an exchange they say shows her “animus” toward conservatives.
The November 2012 emails were released Wednesday by House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp, R-Mich., as part of his renewed call for the Justice Department to appoint a special counsel to investigate. Lerner is the ex-IRS official who led the unit accused of targeting conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status for extra scrutiny.
In the email exchange, Lerner appears to be chatting with another unidentified individual about a vacation in Great Britain. She describes how she overheard “some ladies” talking about how America is “going down the tubes.”
The person she tells this to responds that “you should hear the whacko wing of the GOP. The US is through; too many foreigners sucking the teat; time to hunker down, buy ammo and food, and prepare for the end. The right wing radio shows are scary to listen to.”
Lerner responds: “Great. Maybe we are through if there are that many —holes.”
After another email to her about how “rabid” the radio show callers are, Lerner responds: “So we don’t need to worry about alien teRrorists. (sic) It’s our own crazies that will take us down.”
The emails are being used by Camp to make the case that Lerner had a bias against conservatives – something congressional Republicans have long suggested as they push for the Justice Department to get more involved in reviewing the IRS scandal, and Lerner herself.
This is not exactly a surprising revelation, but my thought – and lemme know if you agree – is that the real “a**holes” and “crazies” out there are the ones who grossly abuse their positions of power in government in order to unlawfully target one political ideology over another. Maybe that’s just me …
The post Newly released #IRS emails indicate Lois Lerner’s contempt for GOP appeared first on Sister Toldjah.
**Posted by Phineas
Federal senators deal with issues of national and international importance, including matters of war and peace, and overall national security. You would think, then, that someone wishing to ascend to the Senate would at least know the basics about a game-changing weapon wielded by one of our key allies, who happens to be in a shooting war.
That is, until you meet Kentucky Democrat Allison Lundergan Grimes:
As foreign policy inches its way into a debate that has largely focused on the economy, Grimes was asked about congressional efforts to aid Israel’s missile defense system, known as the Iron Dome.
“Obviously, Israel is one of our strongest allies in the Middle East, and she has the right to defend herself,” Grimes said. “But the loss of life, especially the innocent civilians in Gaza, is a tragedy. The Iron Dome has been a big reason why Israel has been able to withstand the terrorists that have tried to tunnel their way in.
Iron Dome — as normal, intelligent folks such as you, Dear Readers, can probably tell without needing the above highlighting — is a missile-defense system. It is designed to shoot down things flying through the air: incoming tactical rockets with only minutes or seconds to spare, and it does an amazingly good job at it. One thing it does not do is stop things tunneling under the ground, jihadis or even gophers.
Someone should explain these tricky technical details to Ms. Grimes.
Grimes is hoping to defeat Mitch McConnell and capture his seat for the Democrats, and it’s a tight race. While McConnell hasn’t been one of my favorite senators, he also doesn’t give me the gas that he gives many of my fellow Righties. Regardless of one’s opinion of him, though, I think we can agree that it’s important that his seat be kept in Republican hands, for the Republic.
Even against a defense wiz like Allison Lundergan Grimes.
via Jim Geraghty
(Crossposted at Public Secrets)
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Liberal darling and free-birth-control advocate Sandra Fluke is her own biggest donor in her state Senate race, according to official California campaign finance reports.
Fluke donated $12,000 to her campaign and $4,826.27 in non-monetary contributions. While $16,826.27 may not sound like a lot, Fluke also loaned her campaign $100,000.
Where does a 2012 law school grad working as a social justice attorney get a loan that size? Her campaign never responded to a Washington Examiner inquiry, so we’re left to speculate.
Perhaps the loan was in part secured by the family of Fluke’s husband, Adam Mutterperl. In 2012, Fluke married Mutterperl, an amateur stand-up comic and son of big-time Democratic donor William Mutterperl.
And wouldn’t you know it, the Mutterperls have donated quite a bit to Fluke’s campaign. William and Nancy Mutterperl have each donated $8,200 to Fluke’s campaign. Adam has given a bit less – $4,100.
As a family, the Mutterperls have given Fluke $20,500. Fluke’s own family has donated $9,600 to her campaign (her mother gave one donation as Betty and one as Elizabeth).
While it’s not unusual for family members to donate to a campaign (it would be far more telling if they didn’t give), the fact that the donations, along with Fluke’s loan, accounts for 33 percent of Fluke’s fundraising is notable.
Well – um, if she doesn’t win that Senate seat, at least we know she can now afford birth control …
The post One-third of donations to @SandraFluke campaign come from her & her family appeared first on Sister Toldjah.
LOL – talk about trying to distance yourself as far from our celebrity Prez as possible! Via The Hill:
West Virginia Democratic Senate candidate Natalie Tennant declined to say Tuesday whether she supports President Obama.
Asked if she would still campaign for the president, Tennant said, “I’m not sure I’d be,” before adding, “And he’s not on the ballot.”
Pressed on the issue, she said, “This is about me and Shelly Moore Capito and about West Virginia, because I don’t answer to the president.”
Tennant has distanced herself from Obama, who is not popular in West Virginia. She has particularly played up her disagreement with the president on coal, launching an ad this week, where she flips a switch turning lights off on the White House to protest its coal policies.
Tennant, West Virginia’s Secretary of State, is not unlike Rep. Nick Rahall (D-WV), who also is trying his best to make himself into the more “anti-Obama” candidate than his GOP opponent – WV state Sen. Evan Jenkins. Rahall was quoted earlier this year as saying, “I probably have supported George Bush more than I have Barack Obama.”
Tennant has made waves this week by releasing an ad in which she symbolically “shuts off power” to the White House, in an effort to show her support for the coal industry.
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A disturbing, revealing tweet from the Associated Press earlier this morning (screen-capped in case they delete it):
— Stacey-SisterToldjah (@sistertoldjah) July 29, 2014
As you’ll see below in the original piece published by the AP and written by journalist Bradley Klapper, this wasn’t just a headline writer gone wild. It was in the actual piece as well, the first two lines:
— Cody Derespina (@CDerespina) July 29, 2014
I’m not sure how long the article stayed up this way, but someone got a hold of it and revised it (even though as of this writing, the tweet is still there in all its infamy), and it now reads:
WASHINGTON (AP) — As the war in Gaza escalates, U.S. lawmakers are pressing the Obama administration to take no action that puts pressure on Israel to halt its military campaign against Hamas.
It’s fascinating, really, when you think about it – even the revised version is biased. Where the original article implied the Palestinians were being unfairly and horrifically targeted by IDF and ganged up on by US politicians who were “falling all over themselves” to support Israel, the revised version insinuates that Israel started the “military campaign” against Hamas without provocation. Ignored throughout the piece is the real horror behind the Gaza war, and not just this one but many prior: Palestinian children are taught from birth to loathe the Jewish people. And as soon as they’re able to hold a gun, the children are militarily trained on how to target and kill Jews. Not much later than that in their young lives, they’re instructed about martyrdom and how it is an “honor” to blow yourself up “for the cause.” Also not mentioned in Klapper’s hit piece is how Hamas routinely uses children and other innocents as human shields in their battles against Israel, how they deliberately store weapons they want to use against Israel near hospitals and schools so Israel looks like they bad guy when they destroy those weapons of war and innocents get caught in the crossfire.
I could go on, but you get the picture. Sadly, this isn’t just standard operating procedure for the Associated Press, but other news orgs as well, like Reuters and the BBC, all of which are seemingly incapable of putting their “#FreePalestine!” bias aside in favor of straight news reporting on a very delicate and dangerous subject. I’d like to think the light shined on the Associated Press today on the glaringly obvious bias in Klapper’s article will cause them and other news outlets to be a little more careful in the future when it comes to how they word their reports on the conflict in Gaza, but I won’t hold my breath. Israel-shaming is popular today, and – unfortunately – not just in media circles.
And besides, Hamas is just a “humanitarian organization“, right?
Update – 12:50 PM: The AP has now ‘officially’ revised their tweet:
— The Associated Press (@AP) July 29, 2014
Never change, AP. Never change.
The post How the Associated Press perpetuates the “Israel is the enemy” myth (UPDATED) appeared first on Sister Toldjah.
Definitely not sitting around sulking over his loss to our celebrity President, is he?
— Chris Cillizza (@TheFix) July 29, 2014
We followed family tradition this year by taking 5 of our 22 grandkids, ages 10 through 13, on a trip through the American West. My Mom and Dad began the tradition, showing their grandchildren the majesty of our country and teaching them about the sacrifices and character of the pioneers. We visited Goblin Valley, Spooky Gulch, Peekaboo Slot Canyon, Capitol Reef National Park, Bryce National Park, Zion National Park, Lake Powell, Rainbow Arch, Grand Canyon, and the four falls in the Havasupai Reservation. All totaled, we hiked over 50 miles: quite a feat for the young—and for Ann and me.
With the grandkids a captive audience, we taught them about their own ancestors: Ann’s side played instrumental roles in the foundation of the country, including William Bradford and Grover Cleveland. Mine were key to the establishment of our Church and the settlement of the American West.
Make sure to read the whole thing – both at Romney’s site and at the Washington Post, and check out the pix he has posted as well.
What a lovely couple Ann and Mitt are – and they have a beautiful family as well who they clearly are devoted to. I’m probably one of the few people still willing to say this but I still believe he would have made a good President – he has certainly turned out to be right about a lot of things, including Russia, which he was laughed at over at the time.
No word yet on whether or not he’ll run again in 2016, but for right now, it looks like he doesn’t have a care in the world – he’s enjoying himself, and his time with his family. And he deserves to.
The post Photo of the day: @MittRomney & family have a kick a** summer vacation appeared first on Sister Toldjah.
**Posted by Phineas
Dear San Franciscans,
I love your city, really I do, but, as voters, you have so much to answer for:
Rep. Nancy Pelosi appeared on CNN Sunday and commented on the ongoing war in Gaza. While defending Israel’s right to defend itself and stating that the US must support Iron Dome, Pelosi also noted that many Palestinians live in her district, and “We have to support the Palestinians and what they need.” She also made a strange comment on the nature of Hamas.
“We have to confer with the Qataris,” Pelosi told CNN’s Candy Crowley, “who have told me over and over again that Hamas is a humanitarian organization.” She added her hope that the Qataris could use their “influence” over Hamas to “calm” the situation.
The Red Cross is a humanitarian organization. So are Doctors Without Borders, CARE, Habitat for Humanity, United Way, and so many others. And yet none of them –as far as I know– use donor money to buy weapons. None of them hide behind civilians, using them as human shields. None of them store weapons in schools. None of them dig tunnels as a means of plotting mass murder. None of them get 160 children killed digging said tunnels. None of them fire rockets at a nuclear reactor, heedless of the danger to everyone in the area.
And no humanitarian organization that I have heard of has ever called for war against an entire people because of their religion:
“…the Islamic Resistance Movement aspires to realize the promise of Allah, no matter how long it takes. The Prophet, Allah’s prayer and peace be upon him, says: ‘The hour of judgment shall not come until the Muslims fight the Jews and kill them, so that the Jews hide behind trees and stones, and each tree and stone will say: ‘Oh Muslim, oh servant of Allah, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him,’ except for the Gharqad tree, for it is the tree of the Jews.’”
This, however, is perhaps not surprising. Pelosi was, after all, famously a useful idiot for Syria’s Bashar al Assad.
Hamas is a “humanitarian organization” in the same way that Capone donated to charities or Colombian drug lords paid people’s medical bills back home: whatever good works they might do are a cover for and overshadowed by the evil they commit.
And Qatar? Nancy, please. Even the Obama Treasury Department has described that nation as a sponsor of terrorism. To take seriously their protestations on behalf of Hamas is like believing Mussolini when he says Hitler has his good points.
I realize public diplomacy requires officials to often say anodyne things about despicable people, but could Minority Leader Pelosi please not insult our intelligence in the process?
(Crossposted at Public Secrets)
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Another stuck-on-stupid moment from MSNBC’s Melissa Harris-Perry (via Jeffrey Meyer at Newsbusters):
Weekend MSNBC host Melissa Harris-Perry is known for making controversial statements about race, such as when she mocked Mitt Romney for having adopted black grandson, and on Saturday, July 26 she made yet another controversial statement on race.
Perry used her weekend platform to disgustingly compare Governor Rick Perry (R-TX) and his decision to sent National Guard troops to the border to that of southern Democrats blocking African American children from integrating into previously all-white public schools. [VIDEO]
Not only is Perry’s comparison between Governor Perry and segregationist Orval Faubas highly offensive but it is historically inaccurate. The Arkansas Democrat deployed the National Guard to prevent African-Americans who were citizens of the United States from accessing public schools. In contrast, Governor Rick Perry called on the National Guard to help stop the flood of non-U.S. citizens from entering the country illegally, which is in no way comparable to the treatment of African Americans during the days of segregation. Southern Democrats used dogs and fire hoses to attack U.S. citizens attempting to access public schools. Those at the border, while opposing illegal immigration, have insisted that the children be treated humanely and receive medical attention.
Will Melissa Harris-Perry issue yet another public apology for the offensive comments she makes on her MSNBC show? Only time will tell.
Don’t count on it.
Perhaps Ms. Perry should get back to rants about “abortion rights” – at least then she is mildly entertaining if not, as usual, completely off base.
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The USA Today reports that the “rogue” Alaskan has decided to cut through the left wing media filter and launch her own network:
Sarah Palin has gone rogue again, this time launching her own Internet channel.
“Tired of media filters? Well, so am I,” the former Alaska governor proclaimed Sunday on her Facebook page. “So let’s go rogue and launch our own member-supported channel. “
In a video on sarahpalinchannel.com, Palin calls the new subscription-based network a “community” where she and viewers can share ideas. “I want to talk to directly to you on our channel on my terms and no need to please the powers that be,” she says, promising to go beyond soundbites and to “cut through the media’s politically correct filter.”
The new channel includes videos of Palin criticizing President Obama and his addiction to “OPM,” or other people’s money, and her explanation of why she believes he should be impeached. There’s also a blog by her daughter, Bristol, and running tallies of the national debt and how many days, hours, minutes and seconds are left in the Obama administration. Palin, the 2008 GOP vice presidential nominee, will serve as the channel’s executive editor and will oversee all posted content.
As to the cost? $9.95 a month, or $99.95 for a year.
Rest assured there will be a lot of laughter and mockery over this coming from the Usual Suspects, but I say more power to her. Any opportunity you have to cut through media spin, to provide your own side unfiltered – especially in a visual/video format, is a good thing. Rock on, Sarah!
Memeorandum has more.
**Posted by Phineas
This is from last June, but, given current events in the Levant, Pat’s words are still relevant. He certainly speaks for me:
In the Washington Free Beacon, Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes (whom we’ve met before) is quoted as saying the administration is seeking “a common place” between Israel and Hamas to “stop the violence.”
Try as I might, I’m having a real hard time imagining a “common place” between one side that says “I want to live in peace with you” and another that says “I want you dead.”
Afterthought: “Stop the violence” is one of those mealy-mouthed phrases that bug the heck out of me. By not assigning responsibility, it declares everyone to blame and places the Israelis on the same moral level as their Muslim attackers, which is utter tripe. Hamas started this fight by firing rockets at civilians and even a nuclear reactor. Theirs is the responsibility, theirs is the blame, and there is no moral equivalence between the two. You want to “stop the violence,” Mr. Rhodes? Then disarm Hamas.
By The Way: And speaking of disarming Hamas, the latest ceasefire proposal from Secretary Kerry would have allowed Hamas to keep their rockets. With friends like these, Israel needs no enemies.
(Crossposted at Public Secrets)
It’s not often I’m singing the praises of “comedienne” Joan Rivers but this week she has earned some major props in my book:
A passionate Joan Rivers joined the fray on the ongoing conflict between Israel and Islamic militants in Gaza, taking the opportunity to slam Selena Gomez for writing “Pray for Gaza” on Instagram last week.
“Oh, Selena Gomez, yeah, that college grad,” Rivers sneered when asked about Gomez’ social media message. “Well if Selena said that… let’s see if she can spell Palestinian.”
When questioned by a TMZ paparazzo, Rivers was adamant about her support for Israel in the ongoing conflict and compared the situation to a hypothetical conflict between New Jersey and New York.
“Let me just tell you, if New Jersey were firing rockets into New York, we would wipe them out,” she said with her voice raised. “If we heard they were digging tunnels from New Jersey to New York, we would get rid of Jersey…. [To] the Palestinians [militants], you cannot throw rockets and expect people not to defend themselves!”
The cameraman then asked her about the casualties of the citizens in Gaza.
The Palestinian death toll reached 817, after 115 were killed Thursday, in one of the deadliest days of fighting, said Ashraf al-Kidra, a Palestinian health official. More than 5,000 Palestinians have been wounded since July 8, he said.
During the same period, 34 Israelis, among them 32 soldiers, and a Thai worker were killed.
Rivers was ready with a reply, telling TMZ it was the fault of the Hamas for storing their weapons near civilians.
“Don’t you dare put weapon stashes in private homes,” she said.
Rivers added that the current clashes in Gaza are happening because Hamas had previously been firing rockets at Israel.
Go girl. When you’re right, you’re right!
The post #StandWithIsrael: A rare moment of praise for Joan Rivers appeared first on Sister Toldjah.
**Posted by Phineas
I normally use that graphic as a metaphor for the needlessly disruptive, even harmful effects the Affordable Care Act is having on the American health care system and the millions who rely on it. But the First Circuit Court of Appeals ruling in Halbig v. Burwell (formerly Halbig v. Sebelius) turned the ACA into its own flaming wreck by holding that purchasers of insurance on the federal exchange were ineligible for subsidies, meaning those buyers would be forced to pay the full cost of their new, needlessly more expensive O-care plans.
Some background: When the writers of Obamacare were designing this anti-constitutional monstrosity of a law, it was decided that states would be able to set up their own exchanges, with the federal exchange serving as the “insurance mall” for those that didn’t. To encourage states to create exchanges, it was written into the bill that subsidies for insurance purchases would only be available to those who bought their policies via an exchange “established by the State.” The idea was that pressure from purchasers who wanted those subsidies would force even conservative governors and legislatures to “opt in” to the system.
Trouble was for Obamacare fans, it didn’t work out that way.
Only 14 states set up their own exchanges (and some of those have been such disasters that their states are switching to the federal marketplace). That meant that, under the law, insurance buyers in the federal marketplace would be paying full price for their policies. It also meant that the federal government could not collect the “Roberts tax” (penalties) for not buying insurance, since those taxes were triggered by the availability of subsidies. No subsidies, no tax revenues, which the government was relying on to fund those same federal subsidies. You can just imagine how that prospect thrilled the pols in D.C.:
So the IRS, hearing its master voice, suddenly decided it had the power to declare that “established by the State” intended to include the federal exchange, and thus the subsidy money could keep flowing.
Enter Halbig and its argument that, no, the law meant what it plainly said, and then the First Circuit’s agreement.
The reaction on the Left has been amusing, to say the least. Ranging from shrieks of “judicial activism!!” to whines of “it’s just a typo and you know very well that’s not what Congress intended, meanies!”, they want the full, en banc, First Circuit to reverse the ruling. And, if they don’t do it, then, by golly, it’s on to the Supreme Court, where John Roberts will rewrite the law for us! Or something.
That got an awful lot harder to imagine, though, after the Competitive Enterprise Institute last night uncovered video from 2012 in which Jonathan Gruber, one of the key architects of both Obamacare and the earlier Romneycare, point-blank admitted the plaintiffs in Halbig were right:
The key moment starts at minute 31. Here’s CEI’s transcription of the big reveal:
What’s important to remember politically about this is if you’re a state and you don’t set up an exchange, that means your citizens don’t get their tax credits—but your citizens still pay the taxes that support this bill. So you’re essentially saying [to] your citizens you’re going to pay all the taxes to help all the other states in the country. I hope that that’s a blatant enough political reality that states will get their act together and realize there are billions of dollars at stake here in setting up these exchanges. But, you know, once again the politics can get ugly around this.
Per Michael Cannon, Gruber is off on one point, because the “Roberts taxes” are only triggered in states that create exchanges and thus get subsidies. But the core is that this destroys the government’s “congressional intent” argument, because we now have one of the designers saying the limitation of subsidies to state exchanges was the intent of Congress.
Where Obamacare defenders go from here (other than to a bar to drown their sorrows), I don’t know. They can’t give up, because the loss of the subsidies wrecks Obamacare. Can you imagine the reaction when customers on the federal exchange are told they have to pay full price, prices mandated by Obamacare, which was passed solely by Democrats?
I have no idea how the courts will handle this. Assuming the government asks for an en banc hearing, it’s possible the ruling in Halbig will be reversed, thus probably ending the matter, but I’d have to think less so after this revelation. And there is a contradictory ruling from the 4th Circuit, a situation that almost guarantees the Supreme Court would take the case in 2015.
As ST likes to say, stay tuned…
RELATED: More from Reason. The Federalist on Michael Cannon’s revenge. Mr. Cannon himself points out how Halbig frees tens of millions from an illegal tax. Paula Bolyard reports how Mr. Gruber calls the plaintiff’s arguments in Halbig “nutty,” …er… but they’re his own ideas, too. Oops, again. By the way, did you know 91% of fake applicants for Obamacare can get subsidized coverage? Another reason to kill this thing and bury it under a crossroads at midnight with a stake through it.
UPDATE: This is amusing – four ways in which Obamacare defenders have desperately tried to spin Mr. Gruber’s “speak-o.”
(Crossposted at Public Secrets)
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Our celebrity President held a couple of high-dollar fundraisers on the left coast this week – and the mainstream media are not happy that they weren’t granted access whatsoever to either of them (via):
SAN FRANCISCO — President Barack Obama went to the West Coast to meet donors from two top Democratic super PACs, but the press wasn’t invited.
Tuesday, the reporters and photographers traveling with the president on Air Force One and in his motorcade were left on the gravel path not even within sight of former Costco CEO Jim Sinegal’s house in the Seattle suburbs where Obama sat for a Senate Majority PAC fundraiser with a $25,000 entrance fee.
Wednesday morning, when he met with big donors for the House Majority PAC at the Four Seasons hotel in downtown San Francisco, they weren’t even told what room or floor he was on.
“We think these fundraisers ought to be open to at least some scrutiny, because the president’s participation in them is fundamentally public in nature,” said Christi Parsons, the new president of the White House Correspondents’ Association. “Denying access to him in that setting undermines the public’s ability to independently monitor and see what its government is doing. It’s of special concern as these events and the donors they attract become more influential in the political process.”
Despite constant complaints from the press corps and promises from White House officials, access to the president continues to be limited. The constantly repeated line that they’re running the “most transparent administration in history” tends to prompt snickers. Halfway through Obama’s West Coast swing, it’s tipping toward outrage.
Make sure to read the whole thing as Politico writes about other events that the press were only allowed very limited access to, and notes two meetings with high profile Democrats that the media only found out after the fact.
This is nothing new. In fact, the secretive nature of this administration is so absurd that they have actually blocked reporters from covering meetings about … transparency! So it’s about freaking time someone in the mainstream media got outraged. Bring on the chorus of frustrated journalists. Let’s hear more about it!
“Transparency” you can believe in – only it’s the kind of phony”transparency” that I described here….
Related: Via the SF Chronicle - Signs of donor fatigue at Obama’s Bay Area fundraisers
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Via Fox News:
Meriam Ibrahim, the Sudanese Christian woman who faced a death sentence for refusing to renounce her faith, has been flown to Italy on an Italian government jet, accompanied by that country’s vice-minister for foreign affairs.
Reuters reported that Italian television broadcast images of Ibrahim, 27, arriving at Rome’s Ciampino airport accompanied by her family and Italian politician Lapo Pistelli. Earlier, Pistelli had posted a picture on his Facebook page depicting himself with Ibrahim and her two children. The caption, translated from Italian, read “With Meriam, Maya, Martin and [Ibrahim's husband] Daniel, a few minutes from Rome. Mission accomplished.”
Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi was among those who greeted the plane, calling it “a day of celebration.”
Pistelli told The Daily Telegraph that Ibrahim and her family were due to fly to the United States in a few days. The minister also said that the family would be given an audience with Pope Francis.
Ibrahim had spent more than a month at the American Embassy in Khartoum after a previous attempt to leave Sudan was halted by that country’s authorities. They said she had attempted to use false travel documents, a claim Ibrahim denied.
Last month, Sudan’s Supreme Court threw out the death sentence Ibrahim had received for refusing to renounce her Christian faith. Ibrahim’s father, a Muslim, claimed she had abandoned Islam and committed adultery with her husband Daniel Wani, a U.S. citizen who lives in New Hampshire. However, Ibrahim insisted that she had been raised Christian by her Ehiopian Orthodox mother after her father left the family when she was still young.
While it looks like Ms. Ibrahim’s story will have a happy ending, the persecution of Christians abroad has turned into an epidemic of sorts:
After 2000 years, Christianity is exterminated in Mosul. The persecution of Christians is a human-rights crisis: http://t.co/qH89K5Jx3H
— Terry Moran (@TerryMoran) July 23, 2014
The story he references is written by St. John’s University’s Director of the Center for Law and Religion Mark Movsesian:
Say goodbye to one of the most ancient Christian communities in the world. Last week, members of ISIS—the “Islamic State in Iraq and Syria,” a Sunni Islamist group that recently has captured parts of Iraq and declared a new caliphate—began going through the northern Iraqi city of Mosul and marking the homes of Christians with the Arabic letter “Nun.” “Nun” stands for “Nasara,” from “Nazarenes,” a word that refers to Christians. The implications were clear. Mosul’s Christians faced the same fate the Christians of Raqqa, Syria, had when ISIS captured their city last spring. “We offer them three choices,” ISIS announced: “Islam; the dhimma contract—involving payment of jizya; if they refuse this they will have nothing but the sword.”
The dhimma is the notional contract that governs relations between the Muslim community, or umma, and Christians (as well as Jews) in classical Islamic law. The dhimma allows Christians to reside in Muslim society in exchange for payment of a poll tax called the jizya—in Mosul, ISIS required a jizya of about $500—and submission to various social and legal restrictions. The dhimma forbids Christians from attracting attention during worship, for example, from building new churches, and generally from asserting equality with Muslims.
The dhimma is said to date back to an “agreement” a seventh-century caliph made with the Christians of Syria, though nowadays most scholars dismiss that claim. Most likely, the rules developed over time; by the eighth or ninth centuries, they were standardized in the Islamic law books. From the classical Muslim perspective, the dhimma reflects the fact that Christians, as the recipients of an earlier, incomplete revelation, merit some protection and communal autonomy. But there is a price. The jizya and the many dhimma restrictions are meant to keep Christians in their place and provide a salutary incentive for them to convert to Islam.
Incredibly disturbing. Make sure to read the whole thing – and pray for Christians in these parts of the world, and others, where their faith effectively becomes a death sentence. Fortunately, Ms. Ibrahim and her family were able to escape. Many more Christians, unfortunately, will not.
Related: Via BBC – Isis ‘orders female genital mutilation’ for women in Mosul
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The head of the IRS confirmed Wednesday that investigators looking into missing emails from ex-agency official Lois Lerner have found and are reviewing “backup tapes” — despite earlier IRS claims that the tapes had been recycled.
IRS Commissioner John Koskinen, testifying before a House oversight subcommittee, stressed that he does not know “how they found them” or “whether there’s anything on them or not.” But he said the inspector general’s office advised him the investigators are reviewing tapes to see if they contain any “recoverable” material.
The revelation is significant because the IRS claimed, when the agency first told Congress about the missing emails, that backup tapes “no longer exist because they have been recycled.”
It is unclear whether the tapes in IG custody contain any Lerner emails, but Koskinen said investigators are now checking.
Republicans on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee first raised questions about the backup tapes on Monday, releasing a partial transcript from an interview with IRS official Thomas Kane. In it, Kane said “there is an issue” as to whether all the backup tapes were destroyed. Asked if they might still exist, he said he didn’t know but “it’s an issue that’s being looked at.”
Investigators in Congress and with the inspector general’s office want to see those backup tapes because of the possibility they might contain emails that otherwise were lost in Lerner’s apparent hard drive crash in 2011. Lerner is the former IRS official at the center of the controversy over agency targeting of conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status — the agency’s acknowledgement last month that years’ worth of emails were lost has infuriated GOP investigators.
Well, this is certainly an interesting development, to say the least. And we would’t have known about it had the House Oversight Committee done as corruptocrat Rep. Elijah Cummings demanded and stopped “the public harassment of an agency head.” Well done, Oversight. Well done. Now, on to the tapes …
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Phineas blogged about this developing scandal yesterday involving the ‘alleged’ master’s thesis plagiarism of Montana Senator John Walsh (D), but the Senator’s biggest issue going forward may not be in the allegations themselves but in his controversial attempts at excusing them away:
Sen. John Walsh said his unattributed use of others’ work in his master’s thesis was not plagiarism but “a few citations that were unintentionally left out of a term paper” that he blamed in part on post-Iraq war trauma.
The apparent plagiarism first reported by The New York Times on Wednesday was the second potentially damaging issue raised this year involving the Montana Democrat’s 33-year military career, which has been a cornerstone of his campaign to keep the seat he was appointed to in February when Max Baucus resigned to become U.S. ambassador to China.
National Democrats said Wednesday they remained “100 percent behind Sen. Walsh” in his campaign against Republican Rep. Steve Daines. But even before the plagiarism revelations, top Democratic strategists saw Walsh’s campaign as an uphill pull, never counting on it as key to holding their Senate majority.
Walsh dismissed the notion that the allegations will harm his campaign. He also chafed at the suggestion that he deliberately presented other scholars’ work as his own in his 2007 thesis to earn a Master of Strategic Studies degree at the U.S. Army War College.
“I admit that I made a mistake,” he said. “My record will be defined by (Walsh’s service in) the National Guard, not by a few citations that were unintentionally left out in a term paper.”
Walsh said that when he wrote the thesis, he had post-traumatic stress disorder from his service in Iraq, was on medication and was dealing with the stress of a fellow veteran’s recent suicide.
“I don’t want to blame my mistake on PTSD, but I do want to say it may have been a factor,” the senator said. “My head was not in a place very conducive to a classroom and an academic environment.”
You know what? No. Blaming this on PTSD is just wrong on so many levels and is, frankly, an insult to the our veterans who have experienced it. Check this graphic from the New York Times – which, surprisingly enough, broke this story, and decide for yourself:
— The New York Times (@nytimes) July 24, 2014
As to what impact this may have on Walsh’s election battle, it’s hard to say. As Phineas noted yesterday, plagiarism hasn’t hurt VP Biden’s political career and other notable politicos (like Sen. Rand Paul) have been caught in similar scandals, but this one involves military service, and there is that little matter of honor, as Army War College grad/colonel Kurt Schlichter notes:
I do NOT want these allegations against Sen Walsh to be true. Make no mistake, I support his opponent. But I want him to retain his honor.
— Kurt Schlichter (@KurtSchlichter) July 24, 2014
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**Posted by Phineas
Well, this is embarrassing. The Democratic nominee for the seat once held by Max Baucus (D – Train Wreck), who is now Ambassador to China, has been called out by no less than that arch-conservative rag The New York Times for plagiarizing his Army War College master’s thesis:
Democrats were thrilled when John Walsh of Montana was appointed to the United States Senate in February. A decorated veteran of the Iraq war and former adjutant general of his state’s National Guard, Mr. Walsh offered the Democratic Party something it frequently lacks: a seasoned military man.
On the campaign trail this year, Mr. Walsh, 53, has made his military service a main selling point. Still wearing his hair close-cropped, he notes he was targeted for killing by Iraqi militants and says his time in uniform informs his views on a range of issues.
But one of the highest-profile credentials of Mr. Walsh’s 33-year military career appears to have been improperly attained. An examination of the final paper required for Mr. Walsh’s master’s degree from the United States Army War College indicates the senator appropriated at least a quarter of his thesis on American Middle East policy from other authors’ works, with no attribution.
Mr. Walsh completed the paper, what the War College calls a “strategy research project,” to earn his degree in 2007, when he was 46. The sources of the material he presents as his own include academic papers, policy journal essays and books that are almost all available online.
Read the rest; it’s pretty damning stuff, as in wholesale cutting-and-pasting from publicly available think-tank reports. For example:
Mr. Walsh writes: “Democracy promoters need to engage as much as possible in a dialogue with a wide cross section of influential elites: mainstream academics, journalists, moderate Islamists, and members of the professional associations who play a political role in some Arab countries, rather than only the narrow world of westernized democracy and human rights advocates.”
The same exact sentence appears on the sixth page of a 2002 Carnegie paper written by four scholars at the research institute. In all, Mr. Walsh’s recommendations section runs to more than 800 words, nearly all of it taken verbatim from the Carnegie paper, without any footnote or reference to it.
As we used to say in school, “bus-TED!”
Naturally, the Democrats will immediately call on Senator Walsh to withdraw from the race, if not resign, so… Wait. I’m sorry, I’m mixing that up with what the Democrats would do if a Republican were the miscreant. In Walsh’s case, he fits right in with the party’s leaders.
Walsh is fighting to keep this seat for the Democrats against Republican challenger Rep. Steve Daines. Daines has been doing well in the polls, and this scandal isn’t likely to help Senator Walsh, but this is no time to get comfortable. You’ll find Steve Daines’ web site here. If you can, send him some money.
Because every seat counts.
(Crossposted at Public Secrets)
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The far left Daily Kos-led Netroots Nation conference was held this past weekend and, not to be outdone by the other extremist speakers who would get their chance at the mic after him, NC NAACP’s Rev. William “Moral Monday” Barber made sure to remind the Democrat party faithful in his opening keynote of what he (and they) perceive are the ‘real’ reasons why Republicans pass laws like Voter ID and refuse to budge on President Obama’s agenda:
At the Netroots Nation conference over the weekend, Barber, who is director of the North Carolina NAACP said Republicans are blocking Obama because ‘they don’t like little black girls having pajama parties in the WH’ [source]
Not shocking at all that Barber’s deliberately hateful, racially-charged rhetoric was welcomed with open arms and wild applause at the conference considering how he’s captivated activist liberals here in North Carolina who are sick over their party losing power in 2010 and 2012 at the state level after over a century of Democrat domination. It’s still a bit of a surprise, however, to see how Democrats who normally scream about the separation of church and state so openly embrace Barber’s pathetic attempts at essentially saying Jesus was a liberal by way of continuing to promote socialism through spiritualism. Via a Daily Kos report on his speech:
Rev. Barber had a rather funny moment in a very serious speech. He told his liberal friends that he does not understand why many of them do not like the Bible. He stated that the core of liberal values are codified in the text of the Bible.
“It is extreme and immoral to suppress the right to vote,” Reverend Barber said. “It is extreme and immoral to deny Medicaid for millions of poor people especially people who have been elected to office and then insurance simply because they’ve been elected. It is extreme and immoral to raise taxes on the working poor and cutting earned income taxes, and to raise taxes on the poor and the middle class in order to cut taxes for the wealthy. It is extreme and immoral to use power to cut off people’s water in Detroit. … It is extreme and immoral to end unemployment for those who have lost jobs for no fault of their own. It is extreme and immoral to re-segregate our schools and underfund our public schools. It is extreme and immoral for people who came from immigrants to now to have a mean amnesia and cry out against immigrants and the rights of children. It is mean, it is immoral, it is extreme to kick hardworking people when they are down. That’s not just bad policy. It’s against the common good and a disregard for human rights. … In fact, this kind of philosophy rooted in the policies of immoral deconstruction, if you look at them carefully, they are historically inaccurate, they are constitutionally inconsistent, they are morally indefensible, and they are economically insane.”
Rev. Barber ended his speech as if we were in church. He asked the Netroots attendees to allow him three minutes of church. And church was to be had for those three to five minutes that ended with a completely engaged and electrified audience.
Evidently, the Democrats at NN 14 were no different than the ones here in North Carolina. On one hand saying “no!!!!!!” to “religion in government” but on the other hand becoming completely comfortable using a controversial left-wing pastor to justify his/their calls for ‘social justice through the power of government’ by suggesting belief in big government not only is the answer, but that it also makes you a ‘real Christian.’ This duplicitous behavior is not unlike the left’s national calls for a kinder, gentler “New Tone” and “NO HATE” while simultaneously characterizing your political opposition “racists/misogynists.” I wish these dum dums would make up their bleeping minds.
(Hat tip: Carolina Plott Hound)
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