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Bryan Preston

Bryan Preston has been a leading conservative blogger and opinionator since founding his first blog in 2001. Bryan is a military veteran, worked for NASA, was a founding blogger and producer at Hot Air, was producer of the Laura Ingraham Show and, most recently before joining PJM, was Communications Director of the Republican Party of Texas.
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Marc Lamont Hill on Shutting Down Highways, Burning Business, Etc. in Ferguson and Nationwide: ‘This Is What Democracy Looks Like’

Wednesday, November 26th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Presented without much comment, other than to note that this is what democracy looks like to progressives such as Hill when they agree with the aims or hate the same enemies. When they disagree, the smears come out.

“You see people shutting down highways. You see people shutting down roads,” Hill said on CNN. “You see people shutting down games and operas over the last few months. It’s an exciting moment for young protesters. As again, the violence is one thing. And we can bracket that for a moment and talk about the 99.9 percent of the protesters who are trying to make change in the spectacle of protests and through organized action, cop watch programs, educational intervention, voter registration drives. This is what activism is like. This is what democracy looks like.”

What about stopping raising kids who have no respect for authority at all and who immerse themselves in drug and gang culture?

Peaceful protests are part of democracy. However, when citizens rose up peacefully at town hall meetings to query their elected representatives about a health care bill that they opposed, usually equipped with more information than those representatives, progressives regarded and still smear that as “terrorism.” They continue to smear all opposition to all of Obama’s policies as racist.

Fairness from progressives such as Hill is too much to ask for.

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For This Holiday Season, Obama Rolls Out the Largest Lump of Coal (Regulations) Ever

Wednesday, November 26th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Politico reports on the Eco Warrior president’s latest gift to the nation: The most expensive regulation in history.

The Obama administration proposed a draft air pollution rule on Wednesday that business groups charge could be the costliest regulation of all time — setting up a test of how hard the president will fight for his environmental agenda against a newly strengthened GOP.

President Barack Obama has already blinked once on the rule, which aims to limit smog-creating ozone pollution after 2020 from power plants and factories: Just before Labor Day in 2011, he forced the Environmental Protection Agency to withdraw an almost-final version of the rule, infuriating green groups that accused him of capitulating to industry pressure to ease his reelection. Obama said he was acting to “underscore the importance of reducing regulatory burdens and regulatory uncertainty.”

This is easy to explain. He blinked in 2011 because he faced re-election in 2012. How dare the voters get the chance to hold him accountable for unleashing the bureaucracy!

Now he is punishing America for electing Republicans to Congress — in his mind — but he’s actually punishing American for electing him president.

[B]usiness groups are just as adamant that a tough new limit on ozone would devastate the economy by making it difficult to open or expand hundreds of manufacturing plants in much of the country. “This would be the most expensive regulation ever imposed on the American public,” said the National Association of Manufacturers, in a July study calculating that an especially strict version of the rule would wipe out $3.4 trillion in economic output and 2.9 million jobs by 2040.

On Wednesday, the association said EPA’s proposal jeopardizes the nation’s manufacturing comeback and indeed “threatens to be the most expensive ever.” The ozone draft “comes at the same time dozens of other new EPA regulations are being imposed that collectively place increased costs, burdens and delays on manufacturers, threaten our international competitiveness and make it nearly impossible to grow jobs,” the group said.

Predictably, greens say the regulation doesn’t go far enough. While the leaders of the big green political machine fly around from conference to conference in their jets, they would have the rest of us living in caves.

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Making Sense of the Orchestrated Ferguson Riots

Wednesday, November 26th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

It was obvious for weeks that there would be riots in Ferguson as soon as the grand jury decision — whatever it turned out to be — was made public. Indictment or no, there would be riots. Residents armed up for weeks, as outsiders poured in and the likes of Al Sharpton egged on the rage and the media played its part all along. They had time and they got their “good TV,” as President Obama said.

Yet the decision was made public at night, which was tactically stupid if you want to keep the peace, and after that, Gov. Jay Nixon (D) decided not to send in the national guard that he had brought under his unified command.

Result: Dozens of businesses burned. Glenn Reynolds has a theory that might explain what’s going on.

[I]t’s not about swing voters. It’s about the base. And it’s not about the Democratic Party’s base, but about certain leaders’ base within the Democratic Party. This may be best understood as an intra-party struggle. Obama is the champion of the urban-black wing of the party, and because of him that wing has been on top. But his star is fading, black voters are beginning to realize that they haven’t benefited economically, and the next Dem nominee — whether it’s Hillary Clinton, Jim Webb, or Elizabeth Warren — will be from the white gentry-liberal wing of the Democratic Party. The riots, the marches, the traffic-blocking are a way of telling them that the Sharpton wing is still a force to be reckoned with, and to improve its bargaining power between now and 2016.

That would help explain why MSNBC can talk about practically nothing else. Well, that and the fact that at MSNBC every story is about race. Except the stories that are about the “war on women.”

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MSNBC: It’s ‘Embarassing’ that Obama Can’t Talk Anyone Into Taking the SecDef Job

Wednesday, November 26th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

According to MSNBC host Andrea Mitchell’s sources, President Obama personally called Michele Flournoy to ask her to succeed departing Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel. But Flournoy turned him down flat. She cited “family reasons,” but that’s Washington-speak for “Thanks but no thanks.”

Mitchell said “I was told that Flournoy was actually called by the president the day before yesterday to both offer her the job, cajole her, talk her into it. And the fact that gets out there that I learned about it and others then learned about it is so embarrassing to a White House that they’ve got a job, a cabinet job like this, the top-tier cabinet job that they can’t talk anyone into taking.”

Mitchell also said that Flournoy would make a “great choice” mainly because she is a woman.

“She was passed over last time and is such a great choice. Would be the first woman defense secretary,” Mitchell said, ignoring the fact that Flournoy involved herself in Obama’s last presidential campaign and made comments about Iraq that would come up in confirmation hearings in the new Senate.

It’s not difficult to understand why no one wants Hagel’s job. Serving as Barack Obama’s defense secretary during the final two years of his presidency is likely to end up being a career killer. Obama’s next defense secretary will preside over the continued decline of American military strength, and may have to lead one if now two new wars — one against ISIS and one versus Russia. Obama wants to slow roll our way into war against ISIS, to the extent that he wants to fight at all. That’s a sure strategy for bleeding the American military and treasury and ultimately losing the war — and leaving ISIS and its caliphate more or less intact for the next president to deal with.

In addition to that, Hagel is being let go because he told the truth about the above. The next secdef will be expected not to do that, or they will be fired too. And unless they are already an Obama insider, they stand little chance of getting past his inner circle to get the president’s ear.

Who would want that job?

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Pakistan Sentences Actress Veena Malik to 26 Years in Prison for ‘Blasphemy’

Wednesday, November 26th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

26 years. That’s a heavy sentence, which Malik has called “ridiculous.”

In America, you’ll only get a year in prison for blaspheming Islam. Perhaps we’ll catch up to Pakistan before too long.

A Pakistani anti-terrorism court presented the sentence, accusing the media organisation of airing “blasphemous content” on one of its programmes.

DNA reported that the charges, subsequent arrest, and sentencing occurred as Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman was accused of allowing the telecast of a staged mock marriage between Malik and her husband Asad Bashir, while a religious song was played in the background.

As reported by CNN-IBN, along with Malik, Bashir, and Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman, TV host Shaista Wahidi was also convicted of the crime and given a 26-year prison sentence.

In addition to the prison sentence, the court has ordered fines and that all the convicteds’ property be sold off to pay that fine.

While the trial was going on, “extremists” who weren’t judges on the court threatened to kill those on trial. Those threats continue.

The Bollywood actress was recently married and has a baby boy.

In 2013, she admitted an ambition to seek political office in her native Pakistan. That made her a threat to the Islamists who hate freedom, humanity and all beautiful things. Now she cannot live in Pakistan at all.

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Oopsies! Schumer Admits that Passing Obamacare Was a Mistake

Wednesday, November 26th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Get a load of this. The majority of the country opposed Obamacare when Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and his cohort passed that bill, and President Obama signed it into law. The Democrats smeared Tea Party activists who peacefully assembled to voice their opposition as “racists.”

Only now, years later and after the law has wreaked havoc on millions of Americans’ health care, Sen. Schumer recognizes that the law was a big mistake. He said so in a speech in Washington on Tuesday.

Schumer says Democrats “blew the opportunity the American people gave them” in the 2008 elections, a Democratic landslide, by focusing on healthcare reform instead of legislation to boost the middle class.

“After passing the stimulus, Democrats should have continued to propose middle class-oriented programs and built on the partial success of the stimulus,” he said in a speech at the National Press Club.

He said the plight of uninsured Americans caused by “unfair insurance company practices” needed to be addressed, but it wasn’t the change that people wanted when they elected Barack Obama as president.

“Americans were crying out for an end to the recession, for better wages and more jobs; not for changes in their healthcare,” he said.

Schumer even noted that with just 5% of Americans lacking health care prior to the law, there was no crisis. Which begs the question, then why did he and every other Democrat claim, for decades on end, say that there was a crisis? Democrat policy amounted to systematically lying to the American people, claiming there was a crisis when there was not one, across several decades.

While it would be nice to be able to take Schumer at face value here and assume that he is being honest, he and his fellow Democrats have repeatedly surrendered any right to be taken at their word.

Schumer himself has touted Obamacare and joined smears of those of us who oppose it. So what’s up with his mea culpa now?

Schumer is posturing, giving Democrats space to criticize and abandon Obama over the next two years. It’s all about the Democrats’ hopes of re-taking Congress in two years. His comments may spark serious public infighting between the congressional Democrats and the Obama White House and its bitter enders — which is just what both the congressional Democrats and the White House want. For the preening and posturing.

 

But, dude, that was like four years ago…

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Majority of Americans Oppose Obama’s Immigration Executive Order

Wednesday, November 26th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Most Americans are not fooled by media and Democrat trolling that President Obama’s immigration executive order is along the same lines as actions taken by previous presidents including Reagan.

It’s not even close, according to Rasmussen:

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 62% of Likely U.S. Voters oppose the president granting amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants without the approval of Congress. Just 26% are in favor of Obama’s plan, while 12% are undecided. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

Only 24% think the president has the legal authority to grant amnesty to these illegal immigrants without Congress’ approval. Fifty-seven percent (57%) believe the president does not have the legal right to do so. Eighteen percent (18%) are undecided.

Additionally, 55% want Congress to challenge Obama’s actions in court. And 67% think border security should come before any amnesty.

But like Obamacare, which Barack Obama signed into law against the wishes of the majority of Americans, he is going ahead with his unilateral amnesty anyway.

A court challenge is definitely coming, the only question is whether Congress will also file one or not. Texas Attorney General and Gov.-elect Greg Abbott has announced plans to file suit within the next couple of weeks, and other states are likely to join that suit or file their own.

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Flournoy Withdraws from SecDef Consideration

Tuesday, November 25th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

The Cable reports that Michèle Flournoy has withdrawn her name from consideration to become the next defense secretary. Flournoy was among a handful believed to be on President Obama’s short list to succeed Chuck Hagel, who was fired Monday.

Flournoy, the co-founder and CEO of the Center for a New American Security, a think tank that has served as a farm league for future Obama administration officials, would have been the first female secretary of defense had she risen to the position.

But in a letter Tuesday to members of the CNAS board of directors, Flournoy said she would remain in her post at the think tank and asked Obama to take her out of consideration to be the next secretary of defense. Flournoy told the board members that family considerations helped drive her decision.

The move means that only one of the three names rumored for the post remains under consideration: Ashton Carter, the former deputy secretary of defense. When Hagel was ousted Monday, speculation had immediately turned to Flournoy, Carter, and Democratic Sen. Jack Reed of Rhode Island, a former Army Ranger. But Reed took himself out of the running almost immediately after Hagel announced his resignation.

Flournoy cites family reasons for her withdrawal but her public support for Obama’s unilateral withdrawal of troops from Iraq would have come up on confirmation hearings. Republicans like Sens. John McCain and Lindsey Graham, among many others, would surely have seen to that.

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MSNBC Analyst: ‘Charging’ Is Now a ‘Racially Tinged Word’

Tuesday, November 25th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

MSNBC legal analyst Lisa Bloom embarrassed herself on MSNBC today. Host Joy Ann Reid asked Bloom to comment on some of Ferguson police Officer Darren Wilson’s testimony.

Bloom objected to the characterization of Michael Brown’s actions as “charging” Officer Wilson, because it’s racist.

“This issue about charging,” Bloom said, “which I find to be a racially tinged offensive word in and of itself, but I would have asked him, what exactly does that mean?”

To most people, it means “running directly at someone.” Charging is an offense in both hockey and basketball. Referees who find that one player has charged another must be racists, according to Lisa Bloom.

Taking Lisa Bloom’s lead, here are other instances of racist behavior and imagery.

Charging your phone — now racist.

usb-wall-charging-iphone-640x353

 

The 2015 Dodge Charger RT — racist.

2015 Dodge Charger R/T

San Diego Chargers fans — racists.

charger-fans

 

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Video: When Michael Brown’s Stepdad Screamed ‘Burn This B**** Down!’

Tuesday, November 25th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

CNN found and aired this footage of Louis Head, stepfather of Michael Brown, calling on those assembled in Ferguson, MO, last night to burn the town down.

The mother’s grief and rage are deep and understandable. But it’s difficult to see how Mr. Head’s comments constitute anything but a credible threat showing intention to perpetrate violence.

Nearly three dozen businesses in Ferguson would burn Monday night, many of them owned and operated by minorities who live in the community.

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To Al Sharpton, the Real Problem Is that Officer Wilson Was ‘Like a Child Against Hulk Hogan’

Tuesday, November 25th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Like a moth to flame, Al Sharpton took to the microphone to denounce Ferguson prosecutor Robert McCulloch and the entire state prosecution and grand jury work in the Michael Brown case. The press conference was allegedly for the Brown family, not the MSNBC host and activist who owes millions in back taxes.

Sharpton accused McCulloch of putting Brown on trial, and trying to discredit Brown and several of the cases’s witnesses.

Then Sharpton made a claim that is unlikely to sit well with police officers unions or those who advocate for lowering standards for candidates to be accepted into police work.

Sharpton said that Officer Wilson is too small to be an officer.

“How do you have a man on the force that feels like he is a child up against Hulk Hogan?” Sharpton asked as those around him nodded in agreement. “So what kind of training and policing do you do?”

That is actually a good question, but logic doesn’t take it where Sharpton would like it to go.

Brown was 18 and large, at 6’4″ and just under 300 pounds. Officer Wilson, 28, said in his testimony that “when I grabbed him, the only way I can describe it is it felt like a 5-year-old holding onto Hulk Hogan.”

To Sharpton, that seems to be Wilson’s fault and should cause a re-evaluation of police procedures. But another reasonable interpretation of Wilson’s testimony is that he feared that Brown would easily overcome him in their physical struggle. Deadly force was therefore Wilson’s logical choice, especially if Brown reached for Wilson’s sidearm.

Wilson told the grand jury (his testimony itself an unusual move for a potential suspect): “At this point I’m like why isn’t this working, this guy is going to kill me if he gets ahold of this gun.”

What is a “child up against Hulk Hogan” supposed to do in that situation?

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‘No Questions Will Be Asked’ When Obama’s Newly Minted Legal Aliens Sign Up for Obamacare

Tuesday, November 25th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Watch this clip from President Barack Obama’s State of the Union Address, 2009.

YouTube Preview Image

That’s the famous “You lie!” moment. Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC) was moved to interrupt the president’s address, when the president claimed that Obamacare would not apply to illegal aliens.

Rep. Wilson has been finally vindicated.

Secretary of Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell held an online chat with Latino bloggers on November 11, 2014. The bloggers asked Burwell about Obamacare benefits for “mixed families” — families in which some are present in the United States legally, while others are not.

Burwell said that so-called “dreamers,” people brought to the United States illegally when they were children, are not eligible, but she indicated that she and President Obama would like to change that. Surely another executive order cannot be far off.

But then she said “mixed families should come…Everyone should come on, and folks should not be scared. No questions will be asked, and it is not about an immigration issue.”

It is an immigration issue, and it’s a fiscal issue, it’s a rule of law issue and a constitutional order issue, but deeper than that, it is an honesty issue. Rep. Joe Wilson was right all along. American taxpayers, a majority of whom never supported Obamacare in the first place, will now be forced to subsidize healthcare for millions who are not even in the country legally.

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Most of the Businesses Destroyed in the Ferguson Riot Were Owned By Minorities

Tuesday, November 25th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

The fact that Ferguson, MO’s businesses played no role at all in the shooting of Michael Brown did not save them. Many were destroyed Monday night. Unknown rioters set fire to some, and either those same rioters or others fired upon the fire fighters who braved the violence to try putting the fires out. Some rioters looted stores and shops that were owned by minorities who live in the community.

The orgy of violence will leave Ferguson a “ghost town,” according to this bewildered resident. She says that she came out Monday night just to make sure that the rioters had not destroyed her place of work.

“I mean, this is crazy,” she said. “I mean, the business didn’t do anything. If they were going to do something, get the right people, if they have to do it.”

She added that the AutoZone, which is seen burning in the background, was where she purchased her auto parts.

CNN’s Sara Sidner asked the resident what she thinks will happen to the community now that so many businesses have burned.

“They’re not gonna rebuild,” she answered. “It’s just gonna be like a ghost town.”

According to KMOV-TV, most of the businesses that were destroyed in last night’s rioting were owned by minorities.

One of those businesses was a cake store, Cakes and More, owned by Natalie DuBose. DuBose sold cakes at flea markets while she saved up to open up her own store so she could feed her kids and succeed.

She did succeed, only to have the rioters destroy her business among the nearly three dozen businesses that were looted or burned or both.

 

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Michael Brown Is a Victim. But Not in the Way That You May Think.

Tuesday, November 25th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

According to the grand jury in Ferguson, MO, 18-year-old Michael Brown lost his life on August 9, 2014 when he charged police Officer Darren Wilson.

Wilson had his gun drawn. When Brown charged the police officer, who was much smaller than he was, the officer feared for himself and fired.

But how did Brown get to that point?

Moments prior to the fatal shots, the grand jury found that Brown had had an altercation with Officer Wilson at* the back of the officer’s car. Brown went for the officer’s weapon. Wilson fired two shots at that point. Forensic evidence — gunpowder residue on Brown’s hand, a wound on Brown’s hand, Brown’s blood on the gun and in the car — says that there was a fight between the teenager and police officer. After the first shots, he fled, then turned back toward Wilson.

But how did things get to that point?

Moments before the altercation in the squad car, Officer Wilson had stopped Brown and a friend, Dorian Johnson, who were walking down the middle of the road and disrupting traffic. Wilson did not know what Brown and Johnson had done just prior to that, or why they were disrupting traffic.

Moments prior to that, Brown and Johnson had robbed a liquor store. They didn’t take cash, though. They stole less than $50 worth of Swisher Sweets cigars. Brown was supposedly heading off to college soon. Why did he risk everything for a petty robbery?

And why did he act like a thug and steal that specific type of cigar?

It turns out that Swisher Sweets cigars have a specific purpose to marijuana smokers. Some pot smokers take Swisher Sweets, which are among the cheapest cigars on the market, hollow them out, and fill them with pot. That disguises the pot as an ordinary cigar. Brown’s social media included strong hints that he used Swisher Sweets cigars in that way.

Stealing Swisher Sweets cigars doesn’t necessarily make Michael Brown a drug user. Social media posts suggesting that he was a drug user don’t make him a drug user. But the amount of THC, the chief active ingredient in marijuana, found in Brown’s autopsy does mean that he was a drug user. Just prior to the robbery of the convenience store, Brown had used so much pot that he could have had hallucinations, according to the autopsy. He may have been hallucinating when Officer Wilson confronted him in the middle of the street. We will never know.

How did Brown get to the point where he was a heavy pot user, at least once, and strong-arm robbed a liquor store to obtain cigars used to conceal drug use? And from whom was he concealing that drug use?

Answering those questions may finally get us to understand what happened to Michael Brown, and why. We need to rewind far past August 9, 2014, back as many as 18 years.

Did Brown’s parents know who his friends were? Did they know about his drug use? Did they know about his social media habit of pretending to be a gang banger? Was he one of those kids born into a “good family” that taught him well, only to reject those values? Was he taught any values at all?

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Ferguson Officer Wilson Releases Statement on the Grand Jury’s Finding

Monday, November 24th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Through his attorney, Ferguson police Officer Darren Wilson has released a statement reacting to the grand jury’s decision not to indict him in the shooting of Michael Brown.

Today, a St. Louis County grand jury released its decision that no charges would be filed in the case involving Officer Darren Wilson. From the onset, we have maintained and the grand jury agreed that Officer Wilson’s actions on August 9 were in accordance with the laws and regulations that govern the procedures of an officer.

In a case of this magnitude, a team of prosecutors rightfully presented evidence to this St. Louis County grand jury. This group of citizens, drawn at random from the community, listened to witnesses and heard all the evidence in the case. Based on the evidence and witness testimony, the grand jury collectively determined there was no basis for criminal charges against Officer Wilson.

Law enforcement personnel must frequently make split-second and difficult decisions. Officer Wilson followed his training and followed the law. We recognize that many people will want to second-guess the grand jury’s decision. We would encourage anyone who wants to express an opinion do so in a respectful and peaceful manner.

On a side note, Officer Wilson would like to thank those who have stood by his side throughout the process. This continued support is greatly appreciated by Officer Wilson and his family. Moving forward, any commentary on this matter will be done in the appropriate venue and not through the media.

Small numbers of rioters are causing major trouble and violence in Ferguson. At least three stores have been burned and several police cars destroyed, despite the Brown family’s and President Obama’s call for peace.

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New York Daily News, You’re Part of the Problem

Monday, November 24th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

This biased front page speaks for itself. It is the NYDN’s irresponsible reaction to the grand jury’s decision in the Brown case.

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Ferguson Grand Jury Declines to Indict Officer Wilson (Video Added)

Monday, November 24th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

After three months of deliberations, a grand jury in Ferguson, Missouri voted not to indict police Officer Darren Wilson in the August 9 shooting death of Michael Brown.

Prosecutor Robert McCulloch announced the grand jury’s decision Monday evening. As he made the announcement, thousands were assembled in Ferguson’s streets and threats of a return to riots and violence hung in the air.

The announcement was scheduled for 8 PM Central time, but the prosecutor was about 15 minutes late. During the waiting time, rumors swirled on cable news and social media that Officer Wilson would not be indicted.

In his lengthy statement, McCulloch noted that the grand jury and the federal investigators examined “all of the available evidence,” including witnesses, physical evidence from the scene, evidence from autopsies of Michael Brown, and all other relevant evidence. He also criticized the media for excessive speculation and sensationalism, despite the fact that he schedule the announcement to be in prime time, when it would surely attract massive media coverage, and after thousands had gathered in the city’s streets.

McColluch stated that he delivered his lengthy statement to ensure everyone that the grand jurors and the federal investigators had “examined every witness and every piece of evidence.” He noted that the grand jury deliberated for two days before reaching its decision.

“No probable cause exists to indict Officer Wilson,” McCulloch said. The grand jury had voted not to indict the police officer.

McCulloch then described the events of August 9, in which Officer Wilson shot Michael Brown.

While McCulloch continued to lay out the evidence that Brown had in fact attacked Officer Wilson, Brown’s family released a statement:

Update: Watch video of Prosecutor McCulloch’s statement.

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VA Manager at the Center of Phoenix Scandal Gets Fired

Monday, November 24th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

It only took six months of taxpayer-funded leave…

Department of Veterans Affairs officials on Monday said they had “formally removed,” Sharon Helman, the director of the Phoenix VA Health Care System, where the largest nationwide scandal in the agency’s history first came to light this summer.

Helman has been on paid administrative leave for nearly six months, following findings that employees at her hospital lied about health-care wait times for former troops seeking treatment for everything from cancer to post-traumatic stress disorder.

The action comes amid complaints from a growing chorus of Republicanswho said the agency was not acting quickly enough to discipline officials responsible for the wrongdoing, despite legislation this summer to expedite the process for firing VA senior executives.

“This removal action underscores VA’s commitment to hold leaders accountable and ensure that Veterans have access to quality and timely care,” the agency said in a short e-mailed statement.

The Justice Department had signaled that Helman’s firing would be fine, on Nov. 6. The VA had claimed that it could not legally fire her, because the scandal was still under FBI investigation.

Weeks before that, in October, the VA had officially recommended firing four officials who were involved in the scandal — but Helman was not on that list.

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Kerry Tells Russians to ‘Just ignore Obama’s statements’

Monday, November 24th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Watch what Barack Obama does, not what he says — that was reportedly Secretary of State John Kerry’s recent message to Russian leaders.

Though it went entirely unnoticed in the Western press, all major Russian news outlets – RIA Novosti, Sputnik, RT, and others – were only too happy to report on what US Secretary of State John Kerry said last week to the Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in private: “Just ignore Obama’s statements.”

According to Mr. Lavrov, John Kerry advised him not to pay too much attention to the US President’s harsh rhetoric directed toward his state. As recently as September, during his speech to the 69th UN General Assembly in New York, Mr. Obama puzzled and shocked Mr. Lavrov by placing “Russian aggression in Europe” in second place among the world’s threats, behind only the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, resigning to third place the “brutality of terrorists in Syria and Iraq.” “Aggressive Russia” again was included in Mr. Obama’s world top-danger list during November’s G20 Summit in Australia.

According to a translation commissioned by the Observer, Mr. Kerry advised Mr. Lavrov to “just ignore Obama’s statements.” Google translator phrases the nuance slightly differently: “Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov says US Secretary of State John Kerry called on him to ‘pay no mind’ to a statement by President Obama.” But the take-home message is clearly the same.

Indeed it is. President Obama makes public comments for consumption and reaction in the United States, but has no intention of following through on what he says. His statements on Russia automatically and immediately expire.

The truth is, after erasable red lines and all, the entire world is pretty much ignoring what Obama says these days.

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Sunni and Shiite Clerics Meet to Discuss Ways to Combat Extremists…in Iran

Monday, November 24th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

How about taking a look at your hosts…

QOM, Iran (AP) — Shiite and Sunni clerics from about 80 countries gathered in Iran’s holy city of Qom on Sunday to develop a strategy to combat extremists, including the Islamic State group that has captured large parts of Iraq and Syria.

Shiite-majority Iran has been helping Iraqi, Syrian and Kurdish forces battle the Sunni extremist group on the ground while the U.S.-led coalition has been bombing it from the air. The Islamic State group views Shiites as apostates deserving of death and has massacred hundreds of captured Syrian and Iraqi soldiers, as well as Sunni rivals.

Grand Ayatollah Nasser Makarem Shirazi, the chief organizer of the conference, appealed for consensus among Islam’s two main branches, urging all Muslim clerics to work to discredit groups espousing extremism.

Such as, the regime that routinely calls the United States the “Great Satan,” Israel the “Little Satan,” and calls for the latter to be wiped off the face of the earth? No?

Some of the clerics there said helpful things about taking ISIS down. Others…not so much.

Others repeated widely-circulated conspiracy theories holding that the United States and Israel created the Islamic State group to sow discord in the Muslim world.

“IS is a pawn whose job is to deepen divisions among Muslims,” said Mahdi Alizadeh Mousavi, a lower-level Iranian Shiite cleric.

Yahoo news helpfully notes that Iran isn’t really the model state for combating terrorism.

Iran is a strong backer of the Lebanese Hezbollah — viewed as a terrorist group in the West — and supports Iraqi Shiite militias that rights groups say have abducted and killed scores of Sunni civilians in reprisal attacks.

Iran also kept the Iraqi insurgency going for years. So there’s that.

 

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Cartoon: Hagel Fiddled with Climate Change While the World Burned

Monday, November 24th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Departing SecDef Chuck Hagel may have fired some shots at President Obama on his way out, but cartoonist Rob Lang reminds us that Hagel has done his boss’ bidding on political priorities, while serious national security threats emerged around the world. Click to enlarge.

Fiddling with climate change

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‘New Car Smell’? MSNBC Pundit Says Hillary Clinton Is the Democrats’ ‘Only Hope’

Monday, November 24th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

In an ABC interview broadcast Sunday, President Obama said two things that are contradictory to each other.

When asked about his declining popularity and what Americans might be looking for in the 2016 presidential election, Obama said that voters will be looking for that “new car smell.” In other words, not someone like him, who has now been in the national eye for a decade and in the presidency for six years.

“I think the American people, you know, they’re going to want — you know, that new car smell. You know, their own — they want to drive something off the lot that doesn’t have as much mileage as me,” Obama told Democrat operative turned ABC host George Stephanopoulos.

But Obama also said that Hillary Clinton would be a “terrific” president. Clinton has been in national politics since her husband won the presidency in 1992. The former first lady, senator and secretary of state has spent decades on the national stage, yet has very few accomplishments — but major controversies like “sniper fire,” the Russian “reset” and Benghazi — to burnish her resume.

MSNBC pundit Mark Halperin sees a potential Hillary Clinton candidacy differently. Halperin told his colleagues on Morning Joe today that Hillary Clinton is the Democratic Party’s “only chance” to retain the presidency in 2016.

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“They’ve got a bench,” host Mika Brzezinski said of the Republicans’ 2016 hopefuls, noting that Mitt Romney, Chris Christie, Rand Paul, Jeb Bush and many others are considering running and have records to run on. “Unlike, I mean, do the Democrats have a bench?” she asked Halperin.

“Oh no they’ve got one big front-runner,” Halperin replied.

“But do they have a bench?” Brzezinski asked again.

“No, she’s their only hope,” Halperin replied, shaking his head and chuckling.

Hillary Clinton is currently 67 years old, and would be 70 by the time she takes office if she were to win the presidency in 2016. That would make her one of the oldest presidents in American history, something quite different from Barack Obama’s “new car smell.”

h/t DC Examiner

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Flournoy Unchained: SecDef Shortlister Defended Obama’s Iraq Withdrawal

Monday, November 24th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Former Pentagon official Michèle Flournoy is said to be on the short list to replace Chuck Hagel. Hagel is being forced out of the Obama administration, the first cabinet-rank change since voters roundly rejected Obama’s policies in the Nov. 4 elections.

Flournoy bears the distinction of having publicly defended Obama’s withdrawal of American troops from Iraq. During the 2012 election, Flournoy attacked Mitt Romney over the issue.

Romney, in comments that have turned out to be prescient in light of the rise of ISIS, ripped Obama’s troop withdrawal as “tragic.” That withdrawal left a vacuum of power into which the Islamic State has risen and seized territory the size of England.

“Governor Romney called the ending of the Iraq War and the bringing of our troops home ‘tragic,’ which is really hard to understand,” Flournoy said in an Obama campaign video. “He wanted to keep our troops there longer, tens of thousands of them.”

Such loyalty to Obama may be rewarded with an appointment to lead the Pentagon.

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Hagel Unchained: Departing Defense Secretary Fires Parting Shots in Interview Last Week

Monday, November 24th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Departing Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel may have sealed his exit in this interview with Charlie Rose last week. Rose conducted the interview at the Pentagon.

In the interview, Hagel made two key points that serve as accusations that President Barack Obama is mismanaging the United States military and the ISIS threat.

Rose asked Hagel to elaborate on comments that he made in a speech at the Reagan Library last weekend. In that speech, Hagel said that America’s military capability, while still the best in the world, is being threatened.

Hagel re-iterated that to Rose, but also left viewers to wonder about the direction that President Obama is taking the military.

“I am worried about it, I am concerned about it, Chairman Dempsey is, the chiefs are, every leader of this institution,” Hagel said, including Pentagon leadership but leaving both President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden’s names out of his list of officials who are worried about the U.S. military’s declining capability. Hagel said that the Congress and the American people need to know what while the U.S. military remains the strongest, best trained and most motivated in the world, its lead is being threatened because of policies being implemented now.

Hagel went on to note that a good leader prepares their institution for future success, saying that “the main responsibility of any leader is to prepare your institution for the future. If you don’t do that, you’ve failed. I don’t care how good you are, how smart you are, any part of your job. If you don’t prepare your institution, you’ve failed.”

In the past couple of years, Hagel has warned that defense budget cuts implemented under President Obama were hurting readiness and capability. The “how smart you are” line may be a veiled shot at President Obama, who basks in a media image that he is a cerebral, professorial president.

In the same interview, Hagel also commented on the rise of ISIS and how it must be fought. Hagel charged that Obama’s handling of the ISIS threat is now indirectly assisting Syrian dictator Bashar Assad.

While President Obama has downplayed the ISIS threat, even calling the group “jayvee” as it rose to power, Hagel warned last week that it is a threat unlike any other we have ever faced.

“We’ve never seen an organization like ISIL that is so well-organized, so well-trained, so well-funded, so strategic, so brutal, so completely ruthless,” Hagel said. “We have never seen anything quite like that in one institution.

“And then they blend in ideology — which will eventually lose, we get that — and social media. The sophistication of their social media program is something that we’ve never seen before. You blend all of that together, that is an incredibly powerful new threat.”

Related: 

Flournoy Unchained: SecDef Shortlister Defended Obama’s Iraq Withdrawal

 

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The Senate Must Pass This Vital Bipartisan National Security Bill Before the Session Ends

Monday, November 24th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

The lame duck Senate, still under Democratic control, has at least one major national decision to make: confirming departing Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel’s successor. That is, if President Obama nominates Hagel’s successor before the session ends.

The Senate could and should take up an important national security bill before the 113th Congress’ clock runs out. That bill is S.2329, the Hezbollah International Financing Prevention Act of 2014. The bill directs the president to designate Hezbollah,up to now viewed primarily as a terrorist group and national security threat, as a significant narcotics trafficker and a significant transnational criminal organization.

Hezbollah has American blood on its hands. The terrorist group bombed the U.S. Marine barracks in Beirut, Lebanon on October 23, 1983, killing 241 American personnel. The group was founded in 1982 and has been an officially designated terrorist group for nearly 20 years. But it has flourished, thanks to its Iranian patronage and to its extensive criminal activities. In addition to launching numerous attacks against Israel, Hezbollah has killed civilians in attacks all over the world.

S.2329 was introduced by Sen. Jean Shaheen (D-NH) and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) in May 2013. There has been no Senate action on it since.

The House version passed unanimously on July 22, 2014. It has 321 co-sponsors in the House, including conservatives like Rep. Michael Burgess (R-TX) and liberals like Rep. Bobby Rush (D-IL).

In the Senate, in addition to Shaheen and Rubio, the bill has 55 co-sponsors from both parties. Those co-sponsors include conservative Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and liberal Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA). It has support across the ideological divide, in both houses of Congress, and for good reason: It would enable the United States to bring new law enforcement firepower to bear against a major international terrorist group, in two key ways.

One, it would “prevent Hezbollah’s global logistics and financial network from operating in order to curtail funding of its domestic and international activities.” Two, it would “utilize diplomatic, legislative, and executive avenues to combat Hezbollah’s criminal activities in order to block that organization’s ability to fund its global terrorist activities.”

The bill would also go after Hezbollah’s broadcasting operations and its worldwide logistics network. By choking off its finances and its propaganda, the U.S. may eliminate Hezbollah as a threat both to our country and to our allies. Doing so would weaken Iran’s hand as the U.S. and our allies look to curb Iran’s nuclear weapons ambitions.

The U.S. has had some important successes in choking off Hezbollah’s criminal funding streams over the past few years, by prosecuting banks and individuals found to be assisting Hezbollah’s financial operations. But more tools are needed to fight Hezbollah.

The bill is needed, in short, because it would add Hezbollah’s criminal activities to its its ideological-terrorism activities as crimes which the U.S. government and our allies would vigorously fight worldwide. The fact is, while Hezbollah receives funding from Iran to conduct its operations primarily against Israel, it is also a major worldwide drug trafficking network and money laundering operation. Hezbollah is both an Islamic terrorist group and a violent drug cartel. Its cartel activities fund its mass murder attacks. But its criminal activities mostly take a back seat to its ideological activities, in terms of national security priorities and its overall treatment by the United States.

S.2329 would change that, and bring significant law enforcement tools to bear against Hezbollah. These tools will help close off the terrorist group’s finance streams all over the world, and put countries that host Hezbollah on notice that they are harboring a group that the United States now considers a major global criminal network as well as an ideological foe.

All the Senates needs to do is pass the bipartisan bill. Then it would go to President Obama’s desk for his signature, and the United States would significantly ramp up the fight against Hezbollah terrorism, all over the world.

 

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SecDef Chuck Hagel Is Resigning

Monday, November 24th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Breaking news today: Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is leaving the Obama administration. The NY Times reports that Hagel is the first casualty from the Democrats’ massive defeat on Nov. 4.

WASHINGTON — Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is stepping down under pressure, the first cabinet-level casualty of the collapse of President Obama’s Democratic majority in the Senate and a beleaguered national security team that has struggled to stay ahead of an onslaught of global crises.

The president, who is expected to announce Mr. Hagel’s resignation in a Rose Garden appearance on Monday, made the decision to ask his defense secretary — the sole Republican on his national security team — to step down last Friday after a series of meetings over the past two weeks, senior administration officials said.

Hagel has “struggled to fit in” with Obama’s close circle of advisers, according to the Times, and initiated talks over his future in October.

Hagel’s departure will be announced in the White House Rose Garden this afternoon.

Hagel was the lone Republican left in Obama’s national security team. He got off to a disheartening start at Defense, in incoherent confirmation hearings. Hagel has presided over a sharp rise in the Islamic State threat, a threat that he and President Obama publicly saw very differently.

He raised the ire of the White House in August as the administration was ramping up its strategy to fight the Islamic State, directly contradicting the president, who months before had likened the Sunni militant group to a junior varsity basketball squad. Mr. Hagel, facing reporters in his now-familiar role next to General Dempsey, called the Islamic State an “imminent threat to every interest we have,” adding, “This is beyond anything that we’ve seen.” White House officials later said they viewed those comments as unhelpful, although the administration still appears to be struggling to define just how large is the threat posed by the Islamic State.

Possible replacements include former undersecretary of defense Michèle Flournoy, Democrat Sen. Jack Reed (RI), and former deputy defense secretary Ashton Carter, according to the Times.

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Report: E-Cigs Can Give You Malware

Friday, November 21st, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Specifically, Chinese-made e-cigarettes. If you plug them into your computer’s USB port to charge them up, you may be loading malware on your machine.

Many e-cigarettes can be charged over USB, either with a special cable, or by plugging the cigarette itself directly into a USB port. That might be a USB port plugged into a wall socket or the port on a computer – but, if so, that means that a cheap e-cigarette from an untrustworthy supplier gains physical access to a device.

A report on social news site Reddit suggests that at least one “vaper” has suffered the downside of trusting their cigarette manufacturer. “One particular executive had a malware infection on his computer from which the source could not be determined,” the user writes. “After all traditional means of infection were covered, IT started looking into other possibilities.

“The made in China e-cigarette had malware hardcoded into the charger, and when plugged into a computer’s USB port the malware phoned home and infected the system.”

Rik Ferguson, a security consultant for Trend Micro, says the story is entirely plausible. “Production line malware has been around for a few years, infecting photo frames, MP3 players and more,” he says. In 2008, for instance, a photo frame produced by Samsung shipped with malware on the product’s install disc.

Lovely.

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Here’s a Key Stat on Illegal Immigrants that Relates to Obamacare

Friday, November 21st, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

FiveThirtyEight looks at current statistics on illegal immigration. They save one of the most consequential for last.

A majority of unauthorized immigrants are struggling financially. Nearly a third live in poverty, and nearly two-thirds earn less than twice the federal poverty line. Two-thirds lack health insurance, and less than a third own their own homes. (Bold added.)

So two-thirds of the flood of low-wage workers that Obama has just unleashed on the economy lack health insurance. How long will that remain the case?

Thanks to Obamacare, employers are mandated to either cover their workers or to pitch them over onto the Obamacare exchanges, where thanks to low income they may qualify for taxpayer-funded subsidies. These formerly illegal workers who formerly toiled in the shadows are now working in the bright light of day. What’s to stop them from getting subsidized Obamacare? The honor system? The Democratic Party, the media, and the feral federal bureaucracy?

At the same time, the weak economy will see a flood of several million newly legalized workers. President Obama himself described them as mostly low-skill and low-wage workers. President Obama has also strongly advocated for a federal minimum wage hike, on the pretense of helping workers at the lower end of the wage scale (while ignoring estimates that a hike will kill half a million jobs).

How does allowing millions of low-skill and low-wage workers to legally compete with Americans who already hold those jobs, help those Americans get higher wages?

Anyone?

 

 

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Number of Texas Women Seeking Concealed Carry Licenses Doubles

Friday, November 21st, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Suffice it to say that anti-gun Wendy Davis does not and never did speak for most Texas women.

Elena liked it so much she recently decided to get her Concealed Handgun License. She is not alone. As of July 31, 2014 there were 198,000 Texas women with an active license to carry.

“The reason to get a firearm should be one of empowerment and not fear,” said Julianna Crowder, who started teaching CHL courses with her husband eight years ago.

She also founded a Central Texas women’s shooting league called A Girl and A Gun. They meet regularly at a new indoor range in Cedar Park called Shady Oaks. It’s where Bettye Lane Chambliss comes to shoot.

Shady Oaks…I haven’t been there so I’m adding that one to my list.

“One day I was out working in the yard and when I came back in there was a man standing in my house,” said Chambliss. “I was pretty much blocked in. There was no way to get to the door.”

Her dogs scared off the stranger, and after that she decided to get a gun and learn how to shoot.

“I went, it’s time, it’s time to get something,” said Chambliss.

Indeed.

As women’s gun clubs grow, so do the number of Texas women getting their license to carry. In 2010, the Texas Department of Public Safety issued 22,000 CHL’s to women. In 2013, the state issued nearly 67,000.

And yet we don’t have blood running in the streets and gunfights on every street corner. Hm, maybe the liberals got that one wrong too.

I’ve increased the number of firearms in my collection over the past couple of years, and I’ll tell you why: Our border is overrun, the federal government won’t stop it, and while my local police are very good and crime rates here are low, the police are minutes away when nanoseconds count. Citizens have the right and the obligation to protect our families and our property.

Plus, skeet, hunting and range time are enjoyable.

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Obama Wanted to ‘Work Together’ With Republicans So Much That He Spent Nine Months Planning to Work Around Them

Friday, November 21st, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

After the voters rejected President Obama and his policies and his party on November 4, the president spoke to the nation and declared that he had gotten the election’s message. That message was: The American people want Democrats and Republicans in Washington to work together.

He didn’t mean that. It was just a line he used to buy time.

Feral federal government, meet corrupt and pliant media. Politico reports today that President Obama had been planning last night’s extraconstitutional maneuver for nine months.

That gets us all the way back to February, and tells us just how long ago the administration realized that the Democrats were going to lose the Senate.

Nine months ago, the new Homeland Security secretary, Jeh Johnson, received a request from the White House. President Obama wanted him to personally take on perhaps the administration’s toughest political assignment: looking for creative ways to fix America’s immigration system without congressional action—or executive overreach.

Just four months into the job, Johnson had been prepared to take on tough security issues: Bombs on planes. Deadly diseases. Radical Islamists carrying U.S. passports. As the Pentagon’s chief counsel, Johnson had routinely dealt with contentious national security matters, finding himself in the midst of sensitive political fights like whether and how to close Guantanamo Bay, allowing gays in the military, and the rapid expansion of America’s killer drone program.

He wasn’t prepared for a crisis of purely political making.

Politico doesn’t spell it out, but President Obama distracted the chief of Homeland Security away from security and toward a plan that will increase national insecurity.

Johnson was working on this plan all summer, which means he was working on harming border security and providing incentives for more people to come into the nation and stay illegally, when the border was being overrun by thousands of illegal aliens.

Politico does point out that many in the president’s own party did not want him to do this. But he did it anyway.

At several key points, Obama wavered under pressure from members of his own party, worried about an electoral collapse that happened anyway when the votes were counted in the midterm elections earlier this month. Throughout, Johnson worked, largely in secret on the grand plan that finally became public this week, convening a small group of former Capitol Hill aides with expertise on immigration to work with Homeland Security officials to draft a policy that all expected would provoke not only fierce opposition from conservatives but from liberals who thought Obama should go further. It was a consuming task: in all, sources said, the immigration issue ate up fully half of the Homeland Security secretary’s time in recent months, with Johnson —a high-powered corporate attorney in his previous life — writing the final presidential memorandum himself.

Again, Politico doesn’t make the next logical connection, perhaps because like some of their colleagues they traded integrity for access — Homeland Security was consumed with working on Obama’s secret plan even while the border was in an active state of chaos.

That’s worth repeating: While the border was being overrun and in an active state of chaos, President Obama distracted the head of Homeland Security away from his job, and toward crafting a purely political plan to circumvent Congress.

Politico does blame the voters. So there’s that.

[Rep. Diaz-Balart] had planned to sit down with House leaders on June 12, ask for a week to firm up the numbers and secure their commitment to bring the bill to the floor — from which he hoped it would pass with a bipartisan majority. Behind the scenes, he kept the White House informed of his actions. Obama held out hope that Diaz-Balart might succeed where so many others had failed, agreeing to delay the release of a narrow batch of executive actions on immigration to avoid antagonizing conservatives at a delicate moment in Diaz-Balart’s negotiations.

But then, just two days before the meeting, Eric Cantor, the House majority leader who had gingerly supported certain immigration reforms, lost the Republican primary for his Virginia House seat to an insurgent candidate who hammered him for his supposed softness on immigration. “Eric Cantor saying he opposes amnesty is like Barack Obama saying he opposes Obamacare,” thundered Dave Brat, an obscure college professor who challenged the powerful majority leader. Beating Cantor, Brat claimed, “is the last chance” to prevent undocumented immigrants from pouring into the country.

“We were so close,” Diaz-Balart says now. “We were closer than the House has ever been.”

Virginia voters, this is your fault!

Despite [Homeland Security Secretary Johnson's] scant knowledge of the complex web of immigration laws when Obama first handed him the assignment, he took personal ownership of preparing the president’s policy. He held dozens of meetings with outside legal experts, lawmakers and interest groups, including NumbersUSA and Center for Immigration Studies, fierce opponents of legalizing undocumented immigrants.

While the border was in an active state of chaos.

Obama and Johnson, as well as their staffs, traded draft memos and ideas for months. By one count, they produced more than 60 iterations of the proposals. Johnson’s aides would draft something, then shoot it over to Eggleston and Munoz to examine and return with revisions.

While the border was in an active state of chaos.

Secretary Johnson should be called to testify under oath before the new Congress regarding the level of distraction this secret planning created. President Obama knowingly politicized national security. Secretary Johnson lacked the integrity to resist, and to resign if necessary. The American people should hear directly from him next year.

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When a Republican Was President, Hillary Clinton Wanted to Limit Presidential Power. Now She Doesn’t.

Friday, November 21st, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Hillary Clinton came out in favor of President Obama’s unilateral amnesty last night.

This is perhaps the least surprising event of the week.

As a political matter, what else was the concealer of the Rose Law Firm records and the swatter of “bimbo eruptions” going to do? The Democrat base wanted Obama’s amnesty. Hillary Clinton needs the Democrat base to realize her dreams of power in a couple of years. So like Barack Obama, she will pretend not to have made the following statements on curbing presidential power — conveniently made when neither she nor her husband nor any other Democrat actually occupied the presidency.

Clinton et al only believe in curbing presidential power when the nation has a Republican president. The sooner Republicans absorb that truth, the better.

Hillary Clinton, 2006: Say, let’s save our republic by limiting presidential power.

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Hillary Clinton, 2007: Let’s rein in the presidency.

Senator Hillary Clinton said yesterday that if she is elected president, she intends to roll back President Bush’s expansion of executive authority, including his use of presidential signing statements to put his own interpretation on bills passed by Congress or to claim authority to disobey them entirely. “I think you have to restore the checks and balances and the separation of powers, which means reining in the presidency,” Clinton told the Boston Globe’s editorial board.

Hillary Clinton, 2007: Bush is a power-grabby president.

QUESTION: “And what specific powers might you relinquish as president, or renegotiate with Congress – for example the power to declare a US citizen an enemy combatant?”

CLINTON: “Well, I think it is clear that the power grab undertaken by the Bush-Cheney administration has gone much further than any other president and has been sustained for longer.

Hillary Clinton, 2008: Hey, we have an “imperial presidency” and that’s bad.

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Hillary Clinton, 2008: Bush has “rewritten our laws” through signing statements. We have to have a president who “follows the laws.”

CLINTON: “This administration’s unbridled ambition to transform the executive into an imperial presidency in an attempt to strengthen the office has weakened our nation. It has corrupted and corroded our moral authority and brought our prestige and reputation to its lowest ebb.

Hillary Clinton, 2008: That whole “separation of powers” thing is pretty good and we should stick with it.

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All of the above statements have now expired.

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Obama’s Former Spokesman: Yep, This Is a Big Ol’ Flip Flop

Friday, November 21st, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Freed from the constraints of having to torture the English language to justify Barack Obama’s actions, Jay Carney wound up telling some truth last night.

The president’s former spokesman appeared on CNN, and host Anderson Cooper did something that’s really unfair. He played clips of Obama’s previous statements denouncing what Obama did last night regarding immigration, and asked Carney to respond directly to them.

That didn’t leave Carney much wiggle room, and he admitted that Obama has committed a flip flop on immigration.

COOPER: “I just want to play again the president’s past comments on this because there is a stark distinction between what he said tonight and what he had said in the past. Let’s just look at some of his commentary.”
[clip starts]
OBAMA: “With respect to the notion that I can just suspend deportations through executive order, that’s just not the case.

…I can’t do it by myself. We are going to have to change the laws in Congress.

…The notion that somehow by myself I can go and do these things, it any just not true.

…What I have said is that there is a path to get this done. That’s through Congress.

…I’m the president of the United States. I’m not the emperor of the United States. My job is to execute laws that are passed.”
[clip ends]
COOPER: “So, I mean, other than his frustration, what has changed — constitution scholar. What changed to allow him to do this?”
CARNEY: “Here’s what I say. I think, If he could have the word back, the first clip where he talked about suspending deportations. That is literally what he is doing today. In, later — instances including when I was there he would speak carefully about what he could not do as president.”

Barack Obama has proven over and over again that he simply does not care and will not be bound by any of his previous statements. He does not care about lying, and cares even less when he is caught. Obama lied through his teeth when he promised that “If you like your healthcare/doctor, you can keep your healthcare/doctor.” He knew it was a lie at the time, and that his law would hurt the people he was lying to. But he lied anyway.

As the new Republican-controlled Congress and state governments grapple with Obama’s actions and consider what remedies they may deploy, it’s time to absorb one critical lesson. That lesson is: Never give the Democrats a nanometer, never mind an inch. The 1986 amnesty that President Reagan signed was controversial at the time, but it followed a true national debate on the matter and it depended on the Democrats following through on their obligation to increase border security. They reneged on that promise almost immediately. That fact is not finding its way into media reporting now. It ought to, because it explains much of the skepticism that many Americans have toward any alleged immigration reform now. Once bitten, twice shy, as the saying goes. In Obama’s case, it’s more than 30 times bitten, thanks to his unilateral re-writes of Obamacare for obviously political reasons.

But the 1986 amnesty law itself and the subsequent efforts to clean it up are being used, dishonestly and with malice in mind, to justify Obama’s action now. Republicans worked with Democrats on that law 28 years ago. The Democrats’ response ever since, and especially now, is to pocket what they gained, break their own promises, and give Republicans, American workers, and the rule of law a giant middle finger.

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Irritated Pro-Amnesty Group Leaks Details of Obama’s Amnesty Hours Ahead of His Speech

Thursday, November 20th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

President Obama invited Democrats and several representatives of pro-amnesty groups to the White House to hear details of his edict.

One of those groups, citing Obama’s deportation record, decided to break the embargo and release the White House’s talking paper on the president’s plan ahead of time.

The group, the National Immigration Youth Alliance, says: “Early leak of a White House Press Release on Obama’s announcement for Executive Action.”

“Ideally we would have respected an embargo, but after 2 million deportations the President has lost a tad bit of respect from our organization. We don’t care to play on their terms…

“No anticipated language on individuals who have been deported, or who were forced to leave due to attrition style policies.”

In other words, they want some deported aliens allowed back in, and are upset that the president’s unilateral plan does not go far enough.

You may read the entire leaked press release here.

The 8-page document spells out five key facts about the plan. They include:

1. You must meet strict requirements to qualify for relief from deportation

2. You Cannot Apply (for relief) for Several Months

3. Recent Border Crossers will be a Priority for Deporation

4. If you commit fraud you will not qualify

5. Beware of Immigration Scams

Point 2 is likely to spark interest both in Congress and states contemplating suing the administration to stop the president in his tracks. If people cannot apply immediately, courts will have more time to rule on the plan one way or the other.

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Bombshell: Email Proves that White House, DOJ Targeted Reporter Sharyl Attkisson

Thursday, November 20th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Judicial Watch reports that the Obama administration has turned over about 42,000 pages of documents related to the Fast and Furious scandal. The administration was forced to turn the documents over to Judicial Watch in a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit. Judicial Watch is posting them on its web site. The administration turned them over on November 18, 2014.

One of the documents provides smoking gun proof that the Obama White House and the Eric Holder Justice Department colluded to get CBS News to block reporter Sharyl Attkisson. Attkisson was one of the few mainstream media reporters who paid any attention to the deadly gun-running scandal.

In an email dated October 4, 2011, Attorney General Holder’s top press aide, Tracy Schmaler, called Attkisson “out of control.” Schmaler told White House Deputy Press Secretary Eric Schultz that he intended to call CBS news anchor Bob Schieffer to get the network to stop Attkisson.

Schultz replied, “Good. Her piece was really bad for the AG.”

Schultz also told Schmaler that he was working with reporter Susan Davis, then at the National Journal, to target Rep. Darrel Issa (R-CA). Issa led the House investigation into Fast and Furious. Davis now works at USA Today. In the email chain, Schultz tells Schmaler that he would provide Davis with “leaks.”

Davis wrote a critical piece on Issa a few weeks later.

Attkisson was later subjected to hacking of her computer by people who remain unknown, but who likely belong to a government agency. She and CBS parted ways earlier in 2014, and Attkisson has since said that the network blocked her reports from airing.

Update: More about Schmaler here, here, here and here.

Flashback: In April 2014, Attkisson appeared on Fox with Bill O’Reilly. According to Attkisson, CBS “felt the story was over” long before she had gotten to the bottom of it, so the network stopped her. She tells O’Reilly that CBS ran “hot and cold” on her stories about Fast and Furious and Benghazi, and would switch from being supportive to acting like they did not want her to bring her stories on those topics anymore.

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The Courts May Be the Best Route to Stop Obama’s Amnesty

Thursday, November 20th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

As President Obama undoubtedly hoped, the mere threat of unleashing unilateral amnesty is now dividing Republicans over strategy. Says the Daily Mail:

A disagreement between Republican lawmakers over a proposed strategy to block President Barack Obama’s coming immigration mandate took a nasty turn on Thursday as a battle between two powerful factions of the GOP spilled into the press.

On one side of the ring are conservative lawmakers, including Rep. Matt Salmon of Arizona and Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama, who want to insert language into future spending legislation that bars immigration agencies from using their funding to issue the roughly 5 million new work permits the president is expected to authorize tomorrow.

At the other end are moderates, like House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers, who don’t want to disrupt the budget process or risk another government shutdown.

If Congress does not pass a new bill disbursing federal funds before Dec. 12, the government will undergo a partial shut down, with other essential services and staff remaining in place until a new resolution is adopted.

And a shutdown is that thing that we’re supposed to fear like the monster on the airplane wing in that Twilight Zone episode…even though voters gave Republicans even more power after the last shutdown — during which the Obama administration overreached in such ugly ways that they locked veterans out of their own monuments.

I’m not saying that I favor a shutdown, just…look, the Republicans have more power now, when the last shutdown was supposed to destroy the party and salt the earth under its feet. That didn’t happen. Apocalypse did not descend on the earth. A partial shutdown to block this thing that the American people don’t support need not be the end of the world.

Yes, Sean Davis writes, Congress could de-fund and therefore de-fang Obama’s amnesty. He makes a good case.

The GOP could, through effective and unified messaging, hammer home the point that when Democrats claim that the Republicans have “left Obama no choice,” the Democrats are really saying that the American voters have left them no choice — but to reach for power that the voters have taken away from them. Effective and unified messaging could point out that Obama’s move, supported by most Democrats and many in the corrupt media, is basically a childish tantrum and a punishment that the out-of-favor party is inflicting on the nation for refusing to bend to that party’s will. America, you voted Republican? We Democrats will show you!

The problem with that is, the business interests that would mostly fund such messaging would not agree with it. They want the amnesty, maybe not in the manner it’s happening, but they want it all the same. So they’re unlikely to fund a major messaging effort to block it.

My impression going into this is that the courts move too slowly and would therefore be a poor means of blocking this. But Mickey Kaus reminds us that the courts can move quickly when they want to.

Here you have a president going directly against the law and his own word to seize power that is clearly given to Congress in the Constitution. There is no emergency situation dictating the president’s move or its timing. The courts do have a history of intervening, quickly, in other similar circumstances in American history.

And don’t assume it will take forever (as Rand Paul seems to think). On April 8, 1952, during the Korean War, President Truman seized crucial steel facilities. The steel companies immediately sought and got an injunction. On June 2, 1952, less than two months after Truman acted, the Supreme Court swatted him down.

Courts can move quickly when they want to. This smells like one of those cases.

Indeed it does. There is no emergency, but the president will create pressure once he speaks tonight. Millions of people will begin applying for work permits, Obamacare (I know, the Democrats say that the newly minted guests won’t be eligible — they’re lying), etc.

The courts could provide a stay which would halt granting even a single amnesty until the case can be heard in full. That would give time for full arguments to be made, right up to and in the Supreme Court. This court has a mixed record when it comes to Obama, having stopped his illegal recess appointments but having bought Obamacare. So there’s no guarantee that the court would stick to the Constitution. But at least it’s a chance.

We’re not even forced to depend on the Beltway Republicans to get to court. Texas and other states may file suit as early as tomorrow. Gov.-elect Greg Abbott has already said as much, and he filed dozens of suits against the Obama administration over the years when he was attorney general.

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