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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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When We Talk About the ‘Corrupt Media,’ This Is What We Mean

Thursday, November 20th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Sen. Mary Landrieu pitched a Hail Mary up this week, when she tried to get the Harry Reid-controlled Senate to pass Keystone XL Pipeline approval.

A majority of the American people support building the pipeline. The Reid-controlled Senate had blocked a vote on that for years, mainly to save Obama from having to veto it, but let Landrieu have one in the lame-duck session in a last-ditch attempt to save her seat.

It failed, and with it, Landrieu’s alleged “clout” evaporated. Too bad, so sad.

Before it failed, the New York Times, alleged paper of record, was ready to roll with two different versions of the record that it saw fit to publish.

One version would go live if the vote succeeded, and that version praised Landrieu.

Another version would go live if the vote failed, and that version also praised Landrieu.

Either way, win or lose, the alleged paper of record was going to give Landrieu some good press.

Any media wondering why Americans’ trust of them is at an all-time low need look no further than this. But if they want to, they could look at the Grubergate blackout on the networks. Or they could look at the Texas media, which is so out of touch with Texas voters that they don’t even realize how out of touch they really are, and publicly mock their own state. But I digress.

In the world outside the media bubble, Landrieu is falling behind Rep. Bill Cassidy (R) — whose Keystone bill passed the House but she failed to get through the Senate, incidentally — by double digits. Unless there is some catastrophic change in the race at this point, Mary Landrieu will be ejected from the Senate in December and forced to make a meager multi-million dollar living as a Beltway lobbyist. Or perhaps a left-wing think tank will come to her aid.

But we can rest assured that whether Landrieu wins or loses, the New York Times is already drafting stories to praise her.

h/t Ace

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Obama Has Fundamentally Transformed Americans’ Views on Healthcare…

Thursday, November 20th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

…by convincing a majority of Americans that it’s not the federal government’s duty to provide healthcare. Gallup finds that opinion has flipped since Obama’s first election to the presidency.

PRINCETON, N.J. — For the third consecutive year, a majority of Americans (52%) agree with the position that it is not the federal government’s responsibility to ensure that all Americans have healthcare coverage. Prior to the start of Barack Obama’s presidency in 2009, a majority of Americans consistently took the opposite view.

The most recent data were collected in Gallup’s annual Health and Healthcare poll, conducted Nov. 6-9. Gallup first asked this question in 2000, when 59% of Americans said it was the federal government’s responsibility to make sure all Americans have healthcare. This sentiment peaked at 69% in 2006. Americans’ attitudes began to shift in the 2008 poll, conducted just after Obama was elected, and became evenly divided after Obama took office in 2009. During this time, Republicans and independents became more likely to say universal healthcare was not the government’s responsibility, most probably in reaction to Obama’s campaign promise that he was going to attempt to do just that. This non-government-involvement view became more pronounced in 2012 and has been the majority opinion in the U.S. over the past three years.

The Obama administration’s pattern of dishonesty has surely helped spur the switch. For the latest on that, Bloomberg reports that the administration fudged the most recent Obamacare enrollment numbers.

The Obama administration included as many as 400,000 dental plans in a number it reported for enrollments under the Affordable Care Act, an unpublicized detail that helped surpass a goal for 7 million sign-ups.

Without the dental plans, the federal government would have had 6.97 million people with medical insurance under the law known as Obamacare, investigators for the House Oversight and Government Reform committee calculated, using data they obtained from the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

Federal officials said in September they had 7.3 million people enrolled in coverage through new government-run insurance exchanges. They didn’t distinguish between medical and dental plans, breaking from previous practice without notice.

It’s just lies and deceptions all the way down, from the “most transparent administration in American history.”

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Second Thoughts on Emperor Obama, Democrats?

Thursday, November 20th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

As predicted here yesterday, some vulnerable Democrats recognize that President Obama’s unilateral amnesty is likely to cost them their jobs. But they’re not quite ready yet to block him where it counts.

“I wish he wouldn’t do it,” Democratic Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia said. “I think we ought to work through this process, and with the new elections and the results of the elections, we ought to try in January to see if we can find a pathway to get something accomplished.”

Senator Claire McCaskill of Missouri said she supported comprehensive immigration reform but was concerned by Obama’s plan. “I have to be honest, how this is coming about makes me uncomfortable; I think it probably makes most Missourians uncomfortable.”

“I would prefer the Congress acted, yes,” Tester said. “I think it would be great to have the House take up the Senate-passed bill … That would be a solution to the problem.”

That’s not going to happen, and it’s one reason Obama is choosing to act now. The mid-terms finally killed off that Senate bill, which never did pass the House. Had it passed and the president signed it, Obama would have just scuttled the security provisions and granted legalization anyway. We would be more or less where we are now, just via a different route — and the GOP base would have been dispirited by its elected leaders’ betrayal.

If the new Senate were to take up immigration without the president having already poisoned the well first, any bill it passes is likely to look more like the House effort that the Obama White House interfered with and killed, for the simple reason that the Senate is now under Republican control and the likes of Chuck Schumer have been relegated to the bench. The Senate bill, which the Democrats and some in the corrupt media treat as sacrosanct despite the fact that it never passed the House, is the best deal that Obama and the Democrats know is the best they could get. But it has slipped away. The Congress will now be pre-occupied with finding ways to gut Obama’s power grab rather than work on any kind of “reform.” Which is perfectly fine with Barack Obama.

The House’s Obamacare repeals never passed the Democrat-controlled Senate. Why don’t they get the same reverence in the media as that Senate immigration bill that never passed the House?

We all know the answer to that.

Democrats such as the ones quoted above need to figure something out, and the sooner the better. That is, that Barack Obama couldn’t care less about them or whether remain in office or not. He couldn’t care less about the Democratic Party. He has presided over its gutting and is expanding his own power at their expense.

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Rep. Raul Labrador: Obama Interfered When the House Neared Passing an Immigration Bill

Thursday, November 20th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Rep. Raul Labrador (R-ID) appeared on MSNBC today and shot down the Obama White House’s effort to paint the House as an intransigent block to immigration reform.

Labrador told host Jose Diaz-Balart that the Republican-controlled House was working on a bill and was close to passage. But the closer the bill got to being passed, the more the Obama White House interfered to stop it.

According to Rep. Labrador, “[The House bill] was something that would be acceptable to the House, would include all of the areas of immigration we needed to do. It was going to include border security, interior security, and the more the White House heard about what the House was doing, the more they interfered. His chief of staff, the president’s chief of staff at the time, decided to call House Democrats and tell them that they needed to stop negotiating with House Republicans because they wanted the only vehicle for immigration reform, they want it to be the Senate bill. The president is in essence telling the American people it is only the Senate bill that is the only vehicle for immigration reform and that nothing else is acceptable.”

Other than executive action, which President Obama repeatedly rejected as illegal but now intends to impose.

Labrador went on to note that the major difference between the Senate bill and the one that the House was working on was the latter’s prioritization of security ahead of any legalization for those already in the country illegally.

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Obama’s Revolution Day

Thursday, November 20th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

“I swore an oath to uphold the laws on the books. . . . Now, I know some people want me to bypass Congress and change the laws on my own. Believe me, the idea of doing things on my own is very tempting. I promise you. Not just on immigration reform. But that’s not how our system works. That’s not how our democracy functions. That’s not how our Constitution is written.”

–President Barack Obama, 7/25/11

—-

Nearly half of Americans disapprove of President Barack Obama’s expected plan to take executive action that would potentially allow millions of undocumented immigrants to stay legally in the United States, according to a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll.

Forty-eight percent oppose Obama taking executive action on immigration — which could come as soon as later this week — while 38 percent support it; another 14 percent have no opinion or are unsure.

–NBC/WSJ

—-

After his party’s historic losses, [Obama] refused to even acknowledge the thrashing. Instead, he said the real lesson from that day was that Americans want everyone in Washington to “work together.”

Yet behind the scenes, the president was busy directing his team of lawyers to find real or perceived loopholes in the law — even the Constitution — in order to wave his royal scepter and instantaneously turn as many as 12 million illegal aliens into America citizens. Already he had quietly ordered the federal government to stop deporting aliens and unilaterally allowed some 60,000 “unaccompanied minors” to enter the U.S.

So he never had any intention of “working together” with Republicans, who in six weeks will control both chambers of Congress. Instead, he set off to circumvent Congress by granting amnesty to millions. Throughout, he knew that he would be, as GOP leaders said, “poisoning the well” and “waving a red flag in front of a bull.”

–Joseph Curl, Washington Times

—-

University of Virginia law professor David Martin is a Democrat and a supporter of comprehensive immigration reform who served as principal deputy general counsel of the Department of Homeland Security during the Obama administration’s first two years.

“For Democrats, it’s a dangerous precedent,” he told me. “You’re opening the possibility for a Republican president to say, I’m not going to go forward with enforcement in a number of areas.”

–Ruth Marcus, Washington Post

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Obama Dines Tonight With Politicians Whose Careers He Has Destroyed

Wednesday, November 19th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

How “stupid,” to use Jonathan Gruber’s word for Obamacare supporters, are Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid?

Both of them were among the most powerful people in America not too long ago. Pelosi was the first woman Speaker of the United States House of Representatives. Reid is still the Senate Majority Leader, for now.

President Barack Obama’s handling of the office of the presidency has cost both Pelosi and Reid most of their power. After January, both will be the leaders of a rump, largely regional party that holds fewer seats now than at any other time since the Hoover administration. Sharper minds would notice that Obama is to blame. They might even reject his entreaties.

Yet the two partisan dullards are set to have dinner with Obama tonight, a dinner that Obama will conduct under the romantic lighting of watching the Constitution burn. The dinner comes on the eve of Obama’s unilateral and unprecedented amnesty executive order.

Obama has invited Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.), House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and the leaders of the congressional Asian, Black and Hispanic caucuses, said the aides, who were not authorized to speak publicly about the plans.

No Republicans allowed, of course. Republicans hold the majority of power in the country thanks in part to Obama, but he has not summoned any of them into his presence.

 

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Maryland County to Pastors: Preach Green Propaganda and Get a Tax Break

Wednesday, November 19th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Maryland’s ridiculous “rain tax” is among the reasons that the voters there rejected Gov. Martin O’Malley’s handpicked successor and elected Republican Larry Hogan. Hogan promises to get rid of the tax, but of course the state’s overwhelmingly Democrat assembly stands in his way. They’re the reason that the Free State is really the fee state.

Prince George’s County wants preachers there to get with the program anyway. It’s offering pastors in the county a deal: preach green and we’ll cut the “rain tax.”

To their everlasting and total disgrace, several pastors have accepted the county’s offer, according to the Washington Post.

The news was as welcome to the group of Prince George’s County pastors as a plague of locusts: Maryland’s controversial “stormwater remediation fee” applied to all property owners, including houses of worship. Depending on the acreage, churches faced a tax of hundreds, even thousands of dollars.

The Rev. Nathaniel B. Thomas of Forestville New Redeemer Baptist Church and his colleagues figured there had to be a better way. “We challenged the fee,” Thomas said. “Once Uncle Sam finds a way to take your money, he doesn’t stop.”

After months of negotiation with county environmental director Adam Ortiz, the pastors emerged with a rebate deal that will significantly cut the fees if churches adopt programs and equipment that will curb runoff, lessen pollution and help bolster the environment.

So far, about 30 churches have applied. Forestville Redeemer was the first. They are planning to install rain barrels, build rain gardens, plant trees and, perhaps, replace their blacktop with permeable pavement. The government will cover most of the cost. In return, a fee that was estimated at $744 a year will be reduced to “virtually nothing,” Ortiz said.

Thomas and other pastors also have agreed to start “green” ministries to maintain the improvements at their churches, and to preach environmentally focused sermons to educate their congregations. (emphasis added)

So much for the so-called separation of church and state.

h/t Weasel Zippers.

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White House: Obama Wears ‘Emperor’ as a ‘Badge of Honor’

Wednesday, November 19th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Over the past few years, as illegal immigration activists questioned why President Obama was not taking unilateral action to grant amnesty to some who are here illegally, he declared that he cannot because he is not “emperor.”

Apparently, even that statement has now expired and Barack Obama now likes that word. White House spokesman Josh Earnest brought it up and then declared that the president wears it now “as a badge of honor.” The fact that Earnest brought it up indicates that it was in his prepared talking points.

Watch Earnest all but crown Obama here.

Earnest: “We heard rhetoric for some time. Their most recent statement referred to ‘Emperor Obama. The fact is the president is somebody who is willing to examine the law, review the law and use every element of that law to make progress for the American people and that’s a criticism the president wears with badge of honor.”

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Democrat: Obama Should Do What He Wants and Let the Courts Decide If It’s Legal

Wednesday, November 19th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

The Democrats have rolled out a couple of dishonest talking points in support of Obama’s executive order amnesty. One is that Presidents Reagan and Bush 41 both used executive orders on immigration. What that ignores is that both were cleaning up a law duly passed by Congress. In this case, Obama is explicitly acting because Congress won’t bend to his royal will.

The new talking point, trotted out here by Rep. James Clyburn (D-SC) is that this executive order is just like Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, and that Obama should do it and then just let the courts decide whether his act is legal or not. Rob a bank — see if you get caught!

Seriously, that’s pretty much what he told MSNBC today. Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has reportedly made similar remarks.

This is just more Democrat trolling of the American people.

Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation was a wartime move made in order to preserve the union, a large part of which was in a state of military rebellion at the time. The Democrats started that war and sustained it, by the way.

As Lincoln wrote to New York Tribune editor Horace Greeley in 1862, his paramount goal was preserving the Union.

I would save the Union. I would save it the shortest way under the Constitution. The sooner the national authority can be restored; the nearer the Union will be “the Union as it was.” If there be those who would not save the Union, unless they could at the same time save slavery, I do not agree with them. If there be those who would not save the Union unless they could at the same time destroy slavery, I do not agree with them. My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and is not either to save or to destroy slavery. If I could save the Union without freeing any slave I would do it, and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone I would also do that.

Lincoln was resolutely and publicly against slavery. The Republican Party was founded to destroy slavery. But Abraham Lincoln recognized that as vile as slavery was, his paramount duty as president was to preserve the Union, and restore it once the war was over.

After the war, Lincoln was so concerned that the Emancipation Proclamation stood that he had it codified into the Constitution as the 13th Amendment. That took an act of Congress and ratification by the states. The Democrats fought emancipation and equality for more than a century.

Suffice it to say, the Emancipation Proclamation is not even close to what Barack Obama is doing. He is intentionally bypassing Congress to favor non-citizens who have violated the law, and his interest is far from preserving the country. He fully intends to divide the country and provoke outrage. His Democratic Party is to some extent reprising its historic role as a nasty, bitter and divisive force in American politics.

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Boehner: Here Are 22 Times that Obama Said He Could Not Do What He Is About to Do

Wednesday, November 19th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) has helpfully cataloged all 22 times that President Barack Obama admitted that tomorrow’s illegal immigration executive is illegal.

The president’s statements go back as far as 2008 and are as recent as this year. They repeat similar themes, so there is no Gruberesque “speak-o” here. It’s just Barack Obama saying things that he now intends to pretend he did not say, but which clearly show that he knows that what is doing is illegal.

Here is the full list.

  1. “I take the Constitution very seriously. The biggest problems that we’re facing right now have to do with [the president] trying to bring more and more power into the executive branch and not go through Congress at all. And that’s what I intend to reverse when I’m President of the United States of America.” (3/31/08)
  2. “We’ve got a government designed by the Founders so that there’d be checks and balances. You don’t want a president who’s too powerful or a Congress that’s too powerful or a court that’s too powerful. Everybody’s got their own role. Congress’s job is to pass legislation. The president can veto it or he can sign it. … I believe in the Constitution and I will obey the Constitution of the United States. We’re not going to use signing statements as a way of doing an end-run around Congress.” (5/19/08)
  3. “Comprehensive reform, that’s how we’re going to solve this problem. … Anybody who tells you it’s going to be easy or that I can wave a magic wand and make it happen hasn’t been paying attention to how this town works.” (5/5/10)
  4. “[T]here are those in the immigrants’ rights community who have argued passionately that we should simply provide those who are [here] illegally with legal status, or at least ignore the laws on the books and put an end to deportation until we have better laws. … I believe such an indiscriminate approach would be both unwise and unfair. It would suggest to those thinking about coming here illegally that there will be no repercussions for such a decision. And this could lead to a surge in more illegal immigration. And it would also ignore the millions of people around the world who are waiting in line to come here legally. Ultimately, our nation, like all nations, has the right and obligation to control its borders and set laws for residency and citizenship.  And no matter how decent they are, no matter their reasons, the 11 million who broke these laws should be held accountable.” (7/1/10)
  5. “I do have an obligation to make sure that I am following some of the rules. I can’t simply ignore laws that are out there. I’ve got to work to make sure that they are changed.” (10/14/10)
  6. “I am president, I am not king. I can’t do these things just by myself. We have a system of government that requires the Congress to work with the Executive Branch to make it happen. I’m committed to making it happen, but I’ve got to have some partners to do it. … The main thing we have to do to stop deportations is to change the laws. … [T]he most important thing that we can do is to change the law because the way the system works – again, I just want to repeat, I’m president, I’m not king. If Congress has laws on the books that says that people who are here who are not documented have to be deported, then I can exercise some flexibility in terms of where we deploy our resources, to focus on people who are really causing problems as a opposed to families who are just trying to work and support themselves. But there’s a limit to the discretion that I can show because I am obliged to execute the law. That’s what the Executive Branch means. I can’t just make the laws up by myself. So the most important thing that we can do is focus on changing the underlying laws.” (10/25/10)
  7. “America is a nation of laws, which means I, as the President, am obligated to enforce the law. I don’t have a choice about that. That’s part of my job. But I can advocate for changes in the law so that we have a country that is both respectful of the law but also continues to be a great nation of immigrants. … With respect to the notion that I can just suspend deportations through executive order, that’s just not the case, because there are laws on the books that Congress has passed …. [W]e’ve got three branches of government. Congress passes the law. The executive branch’s job is to enforce and implement those laws. And then the judiciary has to interpret the laws. There are enough laws on the books by Congress that are very clear in terms of how we have to enforce our immigration system that for me to simply through executive order ignore those congressional mandates would not conform with my appropriate role as President.” (3/28/11)
  8. “I can’t solve this problem by myself. … [W]e’re going to have to have bipartisan support in order to make it happen. … I can’t do it by myself. We’re going to have to change the laws in Congress, but I’m confident we can make it happen.” (4/20/11)
  9. “I know some here wish that I could just bypass Congress and change the law myself.  But that’s not how democracy works.  See, democracy is hard.  But it’s right. Changing our laws means doing the hard work of changing minds and changing votes, one by one.” (4/29/11)
  10. “Sometimes when I talk to immigration advocates, they wish I could just bypass Congress and change the law myself. But that’s not how a democracy works. What we really need to do is to keep up the fight to pass genuine, comprehensive reform. That is the ultimate solution to this problem. That’s what I’m committed to doing.” (5/10/11)
  11. “I swore an oath to uphold the laws on the books …. Now, I know some people want me to bypass Congress and change the laws on my own. Believe me, the idea of doing things on my own is very tempting. I promise you. Not just on immigration reform. But that’s not how our system works. That’s not how our democracy functions. That’s not how our Constitution is written.” (7/25/11)
  12. “So what we’ve tried to do is within the constraints of the laws on the books, we’ve tried to be as fair, humane, just as we can, recognizing, though, that the laws themselves need to be changed. … The most important thing for your viewers and listeners and readers to understand is that in order to change our laws, we’ve got to get it through the House of Representatives, which is currently controlled by Republicans, and we’ve got to get 60 votes in the Senate. … Administratively, we can’t ignore the law. … I just have to continue to say this notion that somehow I can just change the laws unilaterally is just not true.  We are doing everything we can administratively.  But the fact of the matter is there are laws on the books that I have to enforce.  And I think there’s been a great disservice done to the cause of getting the DREAM Act passed and getting comprehensive immigration passed by perpetrating the notion that somehow, by myself, I can go and do these things.  It’s just not true. … We live in a democracy.  You have to pass bills through the legislature, and then I can sign it.  And if all the attention is focused away from the legislative process, then that is going to lead to a constant dead-end. We have to recognize how the system works, and then apply pressure to those places where votes can be gotten and, ultimately, we can get this thing solved.” (9/28/11)

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Most Transparent Administration Evah Says It Doesn’t Know How Much Obama’s Amnesty Will Cost

Wednesday, November 19th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

This happened during today’s White House press briefing. Note Josh Earnest’s sarcasm as he tells the pliant media that they’re “welcome to ask” for a cost number that the White House will not supply.

Reporter Alexis Simendinger: “When we get briefed, or we get information, will there be budgetary numbers attached to it? Will we be able to understand more what the projected cost or what the budgetary effect will be?”

White House spokesman Josh Earnest: “Well, I don’t know if those numbers will be produced, but you are certainly welcome to ask about them. We’ll see if we can get you some answers.”

The Obama White House’s trolling of America continues…

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Cruz: Here Is How to Fight Obama’s Amnesty

Wednesday, November 19th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) has moved quickly to offer Republicans a plan to fight President Obama’s unilateral immigration amnesty.

Writing for Politico, Cruz says that “the dispute over executive amnesty is not between President Obama and Republicans in Congress; it is a dispute between President Obama and the American People. The Democrats suffered historic losses in the midterm elections largely over the prospect of the President’s executive amnesty.” Sen. Cruz notes that “Our founders repeatedly warned about the dangers of unlimited power within the executive branch; Congress should heed those words as the President threatens to grant amnesty to millions of people who have come to our country illegally.”

The question is, what can Congress do about it?

Cruz has an idea.

If the President announces executive amnesty, the new Senate Majority Leader who takes over in January should announce that the 114th Congress will not confirm a single nominee–executive or judicial–outside of vital national security positions, so long as the illegal amnesty persists.

This is a potent tool given to Congress by the Constitution explicitly to act as a check on executive power.  It is a constitutional power of the Majority Leader alone, and it would serve as a significant deterrent to a lawless President.

Additionally, the new Congress should exercise the power of the purse by passing individual appropriations bills authorizing critical functions of government and attaching riders to strip the authority from the president to grant amnesty.

Sen. Cruz warns that Obama will threaten to shut the government down over any funding measures that Congress takes, but by working on the funding piecemeal, responsibility for any shutdowns would rest with the president.

 

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Chairs of House Homeland Security, Judiciary Fire Off Warning Letter to Obama

Wednesday, November 19th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX), Chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, and Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, responded today to denounce President Barack Obama’s executive order on immigration. The president will announce his plan in prime time Thursday, and then head out to Vegas to campaign for it, mimicking his ghastly behavior after the deadly disaster in Benghazi on September 11, 2012.

The two chairmen have sent a letter to the White House in which they express “our disappointment in your continued efforts to bypass Congressional authority.”

He is less “bypassing” than he is just flat out ignoring congressional authority. Obama is also ignoring this month’s elections, in which the Democrats were reduced to regional party status.

The chairmen write that the recent mid-term elections serve as evidence that the American people have rejected Obama’s policies, which he said were on the ballot. They attempt to remind the president that Congress’ duties including writing laws, while presidents are charged with faithfully executing laws. In the letter, they also note that illegal immigration surges whenever there is a promise of amnesty in the air in Washington.

Obama is surely not only aware of that, he is banking on it.

The letter implores Obama to work with Congress, despite the fact that he has already rejected that possibility and will formally reject it Thursday evening. The letter calls on Obama to “respect the Constitution and abandon any unconstitutional, unilateral executive actions on immigration. Let’s secure the border, enforce our immigration laws in the interior of the United States, and build a broad consensus for immigration reform. Otherwise, as the chairmen of the committees with oversight over border security and our nation’s immigration laws, we will be forced to use the tools afforded to Congress by the Constitution to stop your administration from successfully carrying out your plan.”

Read Reps. McCaul and Goodlatte’s entire warning letter here.

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Obama to Announce His Illegal, Unilateral Amnesty on Thursday

Wednesday, November 19th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

On 22 separate occasions, President Barack Obama told various audiences that he lacks the legal authority under the Constitution to move unilaterally on immigration. Barack Obama frequently railed against what he characterized as President George W. Bush’s executive power overreaches.

All of those statements, like so many of this president’s previous statements, are set to expire on November 20, 2014. Barack Obama’s word is utterly worthless. Tomorrow, Obama will go rogue and grant legal status to as many as 5,000,000 illegal aliens. He will make the announcement and then do one of the few things that he really knows how to do — campaign. He will go to Vegas and speak at a high school in front of a cheering, hand-picked audience of supporters to tout the plan that nearly two-dozen times he called illegal. He will either ignore or insult critics and skeptics.

Obama and his allies claim that his move is similar to ones made in years past by Presidents Reagan and Bush. Like nearly everything else that Obama and his allies say, this is a lie. Reagan and Bush were working within a law passed by Congress in 1986. Obama is explicitly acting because Congress will not meet his demands and pass a law that he wants. Obama is not even giving the new Congress time to act. It was elected this month and will not be sworn in until January. Obama is acting now expressly to pick fights and provoke, not to solve any actual problem that the bulk of the American people want solved.

Obama intends for this move to divide Republicans and unite Democrats. In reality, it’s likely to divide both, though not very neatly. It also endangers the Constitution. That’s a feature of Obama’s plan, not a bug.

On the Democratic side, there remain enough red state and border state Democrats who will be rendered even more vulnerable by the president’s move, coming as it does in the face of public opposition to it. Democrats have taken a bludgeoning at the state and local level thanks in no small part to Obama’s actions and policies. More will be forced to distance themselves from him, or lose.

On the Republican side, the business interests that rely on cheap (and often illegal) labor will be supportive of Obama’s action, while the GOP’s security-minded base will be inflamed. Obama is banking on the latter to react angrily and toss up heated rhetoric that he and the media will undoubtedly use to cast opposition as “racist.” As always, Obama is counting on the corrupt national media to help him out. There is little reason for him to expect anything else.

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Uber Has a Very Serious Privacy Problem (Updated)

Wednesday, November 19th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Let’s get disclosure out of the way: I like Uber’s entrepreneurial spirit and creativity, but I’ve never actually used the company’s services. I don’t like Uber’s vocal support for Obamacare, at all. Uber CEO Travis Kalanick says “The democratization of those types of (healthcare) benefits allow people to have more flexible ways to make a living. They don’t have to be working for The Man.” Right, they just have to obey The Government Man or face the loving embrace of the IRS, the Tax Man. That’s not freedom.

Uber drivers should be aware that their company is on the record supporting higher taxes on them as individuals that the company isn’t willing to pay. Never mind all the privacy implications of centralizing all Americans’ healthcare records in the hands of a government that has already proven itself an aggressive antagonist and oppressor of dissent. Hello, IRS and NSA scandals…

That out of the way, Uber is a tech darling. But that may change, swiftly and brutally, after a couple of its executives have been caught using its “God View” to track a BuzzFeed reporter — and one threatened to use Uber-based information to destroy a critical reporter’s life.

Uber said Tuesday that it is investigating its top New York executive for tracking a BuzzFeed News reporter without her permission in violation of what the transit giant says has long been its privacy policy. The company also published its privacy policy for the first time on Tuesday, though it said the policy had always been in effect.

Uber took both actions in the wake of a BuzzFeed News story that revealed that the reporter’s ride had been tracked without her permission and that another Uber executive had suggested the company might smear journalists who wrote critically of Uber. The executive who suggested digging into the private lives of journalists, Emil Michael, said his comments were “wrong” and that he regrets them.

That’s a political take. Michael regrets that his comments, made at an off-the-record soiree, ended up on the record. Those comments suggest that Michael has a fully-formed plan to hush up journalists who ever criticize the $30 billion company.

Michael, who Kalanick described as “one of the top deal guys in the Valley” when he joined the company, is a charismatic and well-regarded figure who came to Uber from Klout. He also sits on a board that advises the Department of Defense.

Over dinner, he outlined the notion of spending “a million dollars” to hire four top opposition researchers and four journalists. That team could, he said, help Uber fight back against the press — they’d look into “your personal lives, your families,” and give the media a taste of its own medicine.

Michael was particularly focused on one journalist, Sarah Lacy, the editor of the Silicon Valley website PandoDaily, a sometimes combative voice inside the industry. Lacy recently accused Uber of “sexism and misogyny.” She wrote that she was deleting her Uber app after BuzzFeed News reported that Uber appeared to be working with a French escort service. “I don’t know how many more signals we need that the company simply doesn’t respect us or prioritize our safety,” she wrote.

I have nothing to say about Lacy’s reporting, as I haven’t followed it. In general, accusations of sexism and misogyny have come to feel like cries of “Wolf!” lately. In this case, though, Lacy may have a point.

Whether she has a point or not, Lacy has a right to criticize Uber without the company then using a slice of its billions to destroy her personally. The rideshare company that claims that it’s against The Man is behaving like The Man, and a very sinister Man at that.

Update: In the interests of disclosure…

BuzzFeed itself — a financial play as much as Uber is — has key investors who are investors in Uber’s main competitor, Lyft. Those investors are, too, investors inPandoDaily. Does this have any bearing at all on the cost of tea in China? I don’t know. But I know that little in this world is what it seems.

The author of that is Michael Wolff. He invited BuzzFeed’s Ben Smith to the party at which Uber’s Michael outlined his plot to go after journalists.

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Rep.-Elect Mia Love: Obama’s Immigration Move ‘Looks Like Dictatorship’

Wednesday, November 19th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Mia Love is the daughter of immigrants from Haiti. She has worked her way up to become a mayor and is now heading to Congress as the first black Republican woman ever elected to the House, where she will represent Utah’s 4th district.

Love appeared on Fox this morning, and blasted President Obama’s decision to unilaterally grant amnesty to as many as 5,000,000 illegal aliens currently living in the United States.

Love noted that 74% of the voters say they want the president to work with Congress, not go unilateral. “He can’t make unilateral decisions,” Love said.

Asked to respond to Democrat Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee’s support of Obama’s unilateralism, Love pulled no punches.

“This is not about her. This is not about the president,” Love said. “It’s about the American people and what the American people want the president to do. The American people want Congress to work with the president, want the president to work with Congress so that we can be compassionate, so that we can create a uniform rule of naturalization. It is Congress’ job under Article 1, Section 8, to create a uniform rule of naturalization, a way in. It should be done line by line, section by section with the input of the public instead of being done by one person.

“It looks more like a dictatorship when a president is unilaterally making decisions for the American people,” Rep.-elect Love concluded.

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Al Sharpton Has a Big Tax Problem

Wednesday, November 19th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Stop what you’re doing right now and read this New York Times piece on Al Sharpton’s massive tax problems. Here’s a sample.

Mr. Sharpton has regularly sidestepped the sorts of obligations most people see as inevitable, like taxes, rent and other bills. Records reviewed by The New York Times show more than $4.5 million in current state and federal tax liens against him and his for-profit businesses.

And though he said in recent interviews that he was paying both down, his balance with the state, at least, has actually grown in recent years. His National Action Network appears to have been sustained for years by not paying federal payroll taxes on its employees.

With the tax liability outstanding, Mr. Sharpton traveled first class and collected a sizable salary, the kind of practice by nonprofit groups that the United States Treasury’s inspector general for tax administration recently characterized as “abusive,” or “potentially criminal” if the failure to turn over or collect taxes is willful.

In 2009, when the group still owed $1.1 million in overdue payroll taxes, Mr. Sharpton began collecting a salary of $250,000 from National Action Network. The recent Treasury report that called that sort of practice abusive also said only 1,200 organizations in the nation owed more than $100,000 in unpaid payroll taxes, which would put Mr. Sharpton’s group among the most delinquent nonprofit organizations in the nation.

Today, Mr. Sharpton still faces personal federal tax liens of more than $3 million, and state tax liens of $777,657, according to records. Raw Talent and Revals Communications owe another $717,329 on state and federal tax liens.

Read the whole thing.

The Times has surveyed Sharpton’s records, and found that the formerly large alleged reverend is living large while failing to pay the little people — the travel agencies, the hotels, the landlords, the government that he is always trying to grow. He has been sued for failing to pay rent. Basically, he’s running a racket disguised first as churches and then as his public advocacy group, National Action Network, a group that is national and capable of action in name only. The Times says that Al doesn’t pay his bills, and that his liabilities have grown in recent years despite his claims that he is paying his debts down.

Sharpton’s tax and bills issues presents a problem for cable bottom feeder MSNBC. They can’t fire him, or he’ll turn around and accuse them of racism — that’s his standard shakedown schtick. On that network, literally every problem in the universe comes down to too little government or too much racism, or both. Sharpton could become the subject of unflattering news reporting even as he opines about public affairs on his show every weekday.

Sharpton and his network can hardly claim racism, as it’s the Obama government to which he owes money now, along with New York’s liberal government and various private entities to whom Sharpton reportedly owes millions. They can’t blame Fox or conservatives for the New York Times writing up a report on him. Sharpton himself is hardly in a strong position to continue his advocacy for big government, when he refuses to pay his own share toward that government. What’s a knee-jerk leftist cable network to do?

Ignore it all, of course, and so far that’s exactly what MSNBC is doing. Just as they and the rest of the media ignore Sharpton’s bloody and hoax-powered past.

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Is Obama’s Immigration Power Grab Imminent? (Update: Friday)

Wednesday, November 19th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

The Hill reports that the Obama administration held conference calls with illegal immigration advocates Tuesday.

The White House did not hold any calls with Brian Terry’s family, or with anyone else who has been harmed by crime related to the border’s insecurity. No one who lives in a border community that has been ravaged by cross-border crime and violence was invited on the calls. No ranchers who have their land overrun by illegal trespassers were invited on the call. No Americans whose jobs are threatened or whose wages are depressed by illegal alien competition were invited on the calls.

The purpose of the calls was to prepare those groups for  the president’s unilateral amnesty — the one that Obama himself has repeatedly claimed would be illegal.

One source said the White House sought to “temper expectations,” on the executive action, cautioning that while some advocates have pushed for him to carry out the Senate’s immigration reform bill, Obama doesn’t have the legal authority to go as far by acting alone.

“They’re setting expectations, making it clear he has the legal authority to do what he’s going to do, but that he’s not going beyond his authority, as some advocates would like,” said one source familiar with the calls on Tuesday.

The source predicted that, given the timing of the calls, that the White House could announce the executive order as early as Wednesday, but cautioned the president could also wait for the government funding fight in Congress to run its course.

“My guess is whatever they have teed up is already ready,” the source said.

Multiple reports have suggested Obama is poised to dramatically expand his deferred action program, allowing the parents of children who are legal residents or citizens of the United States to avoid deportation proceedings. Obama might also expand the eligibility for the current deferred action program, which allows children who were brought to the United States and remained in violation of the law to remain.

The president is also reportedly poised to expand specialty visas for high-tech workers. In total, an estimated 4 to 5 million illegal immigrants could be eligible for the program.

All without Congress, of course. Obama has been trying to goad and intimidate Congress into doing exactly what he wants, or he will bypass them and do what he wants anyway.

Obama has admitted in the past that what he is about to do is not how our system works.

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Update: Friday–

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Keystone Vote Fails in the Senate

Tuesday, November 18th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

It was appropriate that Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), author of the Democrats’ “you didn’t build that” line against entrepreneurs, presided over and announced that the vote to authorize construction of the Keystone XL pipeline had failed. Senator You Didn’t Build That got to announce that You Can’t Build That. Because hard left Democrats say so.

Sen. Mary Landrieu’s (D-LA) attempt to show her clout in the Senate to Louisiana voters who are prepared to fire her next month failed. The Democrat-controlled Senate voted against the Keystone by a single vote. The measure needed 60 votes, and it only mustered 59.

The votes should tell America a few things. The Democrats now regard the United States Senate itself as nothing more than an ornament. The vote, blocked by the Democrats for ages, was only allowed to give Landrieu a lifeline in her recall election. The measure’s failure says that Landrieu’s fellow Democrats do not believe that she can defeat Republican Rep. Bill Cassidy in the run-off. If they thought that she could win, they would have released one more senator to vote with her.

The failure prevents President Obama from having to make good on his veto threat and stand exposed for the radical that he truly is. He still has two years in office; Landrieu’s days have been numbered far less. The Democrats in the Senate chose to protect Obama, even after all the damage he has done to their party and the country.

The Keystone pipeline would create thousands of jobs, create stronger ties to our ally Canada, and would transport needed oil more cleanly than it is currently transported. The fact that it failed demonstrates clearly that the Democratic Party from the president down care far more about the radical environmentalists like billionaire and party bankroller Tom Steyer than they care about American jobs and our national energy security.

Also read: 

Tribe Says Construction of Keystone XL Over Their Land Would be ‘Act of War’

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House GOP Picks Jonathan Turley to Lead Lawsuit Against Obama

Tuesday, November 18th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Good choice. Jonathan Turley is a committed liberal Democrat who has spoken out clearly and repeatedly against President Obama’s executive power grabs.

As many on this blog are aware, I have previously testified, written, and litigated in opposition to the rise of executive power and the countervailing decline in congressional power in our tripartite system. I have also spent years encouraging Congress, under both Democratic and Republican presidents, to more actively defend its authority, including seeking judicial review in separation of powers conflicts. For that reason, it may come as little surprise this morning that I have agreed to represent the United States House of Representatives in its challenge of unilateral, unconstitutional actions taken by the Obama Administration with respect to implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). It is an honor to represent the institution in this historic lawsuit and to work with the talented staff of the House General Counsel’s Office.

 

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New White House Gruber Spin: The Videos Are Old!

Tuesday, November 18th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

ABC’s Jon Karl quizzed White House spokesman Josh Earnest about the Gruber-gate videos during today’s press briefing.

Earnest re-iterated some of President Obama’s spin — that he disagrees with what Gruber said — and then launched into new spin that rests on two hooks.

One, the Republicans want to talk about Gruber to distract America from Obamacare’s alleged successes.

The problem with that spin is that Republicans didn’t dig up the Gruber videos. A regular guy dug them up. Plus, most Americans still oppose Obamacare and hardly anyone sees it as a “success.”

The second hook is an utter irrelevance, and mostly a lie. Earnest claimed that the videos are “6 to 8 years old.”

They are not. They date from 2013 back to about 2009. The only video in the Gruber-gate set that is 8 years old is the one in which President Obama, then a senator, admits to “borrowing liberally” from Jon Gruber.

Apparently Earnest believes that the age of the recording renders it moot, no matter what the future president actually says on the recording. Or something. Take a look at video of Josh Earnest’s spin cycle, on the next page.

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Boehner Rips Obama’s Keystone Veto Threat: ‘Stupid’

Tuesday, November 18th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

As the Senate nears a vote to approve the Keystone XL Pipeline, President Obama is threatening to veto it — despite overwhelming popular and bipartisan support for approving the studied-to-death oil pipeline.

The Senate, still under Democratic control until January, is only allowing a vote in an attempt to save Sen. Mary Landrieu’s (D-LA) seat. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has blocked previous attempts to vote on the pipeline, which the GOP-controlled House has already approved.

House Speaker John Boehner gave a few comments on the president’s threat today, and said that if Obama carries out that threat, it would amount to calling the American people, who strongly support building the pipeline, “stupid.”

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Boehner is clearly referencing comments made by Obamacare architect Jonathan Gruber, which have been caught on tape over the past couple of years but have only recently come to light. In some of those comments, Gruber bragged that Democrats played on the “stupidity of the American people” to pass Obamacare into law.

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David Brooks Almost Figures Out that a Great Pants Crease Doesn’t Make a Great Man or President

Tuesday, November 18th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

David Brooks, the NYT’s resident faux conservative, is almost there. Almost.

The columnist who worshiped Obama’s fine pants leg creases and who admitted that he “divides people into people who talk like us and who don’t talk like us” — the essence of Gruberism — almost sees the light. In his column today, Brooks wonders why President Obama is being so “superaggressive” on immigration after losing the mid-terms in a landslide.

Usually presidents use midterm defeats as a chance to rethink and refocus. That’s what Obama did four years ago. Voters like to feel the president is listening to them.

Obama signed a healthcare law that the majority opposed at the time, and has defended it with smears and lies. When was he ever listening?

But Obama’s done no public rethinking. In his post-election news conference, the president tried to reframe the defeat by saying the turnout was low, as if it was the Republicans’ fault that the Democrats could only mobilize their core base. Throughout that conference, the president seemed to detach himself from his own party, as if the Democrats who lost their jobs because of him were a bunch of far-off victims of some ethereal malaise.

That’s how this president sees the whole country. It’s how he has always seen and treated the red states. He not only does not feel our pain, he is often the instigator of it. Now Obama has gotten around to loathing his fellow Democrats, too.

Usually presidents with a new Congressional majority try to figure out if there is anything that the two branches can do together. The governing Republicans have a strong incentive to pass legislation. The obvious thing is to start out with the easiest things, if only to show that Washington can function on some elemental level.

But the White House has not privately engaged with Congress on the legislative areas where there could be agreement. Instead, the president has been superaggressive on the one topic sure to blow everything up: the executive order to rewrite the nation’s immigration laws.

Brooks notes the obvious, which is that Obama is only treating immigration as an urgent issue now, not when he could have had the Democrat supermajorities in both houses of Congress pass an actual law. Instead, Obama is treating it as an urgent issue only when he can break the Constitution and pick a massive fight over it.

And that’s where Brooks loses the plot.

This move would also make it much less likely that we’ll have immigration reform anytime soon.

Obama does not and never did want to pass a law. He wanted it as a live issue, and now a means to another end. He does not care about immigrants, legal or illegal, or the rule of law.

White House officials are often misinformed on what Republicans are privately discussing, so they don’t understand that many in the Republican Party are trying to find a way to get immigration reform out of the way. This executive order would destroy their efforts.

Which is exactly what Obama wants.

The move would further destabilize the legitimacy of government. Redefining the legal status of five million or six million human beings is a big deal. This is the sort of change we have a legislative process for. To do something this seismic with the stroke of one man’s pen is dangerous.

Instead of a nation of laws, we could slowly devolve into a nation of diktats, with each president relying on and revoking different measures on the basis of unilateral power — creating unstable swings from one presidency to the next. If President Obama enacts this order on the transparently flimsy basis of “prosecutorial discretion,” he’s inviting future presidents to use similarly flimsy criteria. Talk about defining constitutional deviancy down.

I’m not sure why the Obama administration has been behaving so strangely since the midterms.

Brooks muses that it might be anger at losing, or the Gruberism that everyone else is dumber than those in the White House (an elitist position that Brooks shares). He misses the most obvious possibility: That division and chaos are exactly what Barack Obama has always wanted. He is picking this fight because he wants to pick this fight.

Brooks finishes up, wondering if Obama will look back at his presidency with regret because of all the damage he has done, but again Brooks absolves Obama of blame.

I wonder if, post-presidency, Mr. Obama will look back and regret that he got sucked into the very emotional maelstrom he set out to destroy.

Obama did not get “sucked into” anything. What part of “fundamentally transform America” did David Brooks miss when Obama issued that threat? All of it, apparently.

The mysterious cipher, the great divider, the angry community agitator, the shameless liar — this is who Barack Obama is. He never intended to be a unifying figure, and he never intended to stay within the bounds of American law or tradition. “Fundamental transformation” necessitates destruction first.

Six years later, David Brooks the intellectual still doesn’t even have the very first clue.

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CNN Misspells ‘Synagogue’ to ‘Mosque’ While Reporting Terrorist Attack

Tuesday, November 18th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Two Palestinian terrorists entered a Jerusalem synagogue today and launched an attack on the worshipers using guns and meat cleavers. The terrorists killed four and wounded several more before they were killed by police.

CNN’s Chyron operators got just about everything wrong that they could possibly get wrong during a report on the attack. The nature of the errors suggest bias.

Take a look.

The terrorists attacked a synagogue — a Jewish house of worship — not a mosque, which is an Islamic house of worship. The Chryron’s grave error is repeated twice in the segment above.

Additionally, the Chyron says: “Police: Four Israelies, 2 Palestinians killed in attack.” That implies that there are six victims and religion must not have played any role, since two of the victims are Palestinians and presumably Muslims.

But the two Palestinians who were killed were the perpetrators. The Palestinians killed the victims because the victims were Jews. Israeli police then killed the two terrorists before the terrorists could kill even more Jews.

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Former Obama WH Official: Gruber was ‘the Guru’ on Obamacare

Tuesday, November 18th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

There’s no nice way to put this — when President Obama dismisses MIT professor Jonathan Gruber’s role in constructing Obamacare, he is lying. Federal and state governments paid Gruber nearly $6 million total to build the federal and state versions of the system. Gruber met with Obama and White House officials 19 times over the course of the law’s authoring and passage. Gruber even says that Obama was in the room when the “Cadillac Tax” was created.

In a series of videos that have come out over the past week, Gruber is caught on tape calling the American people who supported Obamacare “stupid,” bragging about exploiting the American people, and bragging that the Obama administration and the Democrats lied in order to get the bill passed.

Steve Rattner was Obama’s chief adviser on the auto industry and headed up the Cash for Clunkers program. He was known as the president’s “car czar.” Rattner told Morning Joe today that any claim that Gruber was not the key person on Obamacare is false.

“The problem is not that Gruber helped them put Obamacare together, because he was the man,” Rattner said. “The problem is what he said in the last two weeks and how the White House has handled it.”

The White House has handled Gruber the same way it usually handles inconvenient facts: with misdirection and transparent lying.

President Obama has dismissed Gruber as “some adviser who never worked on our staff” at the White House. Gruber was the architect of Obamacare. He was an extremely well paid consultant to the Obama White House.

Rattner admitted that on Morning Joe.

“Jonathan Gruber was, back in the day in 2009, the guru on health care,” Rattner said. “I remember that when I was in the White House, he was certainly viewed as an important figure in helping to put Obamacare together.”

“I think if you go back and look at the Washington Post or the New York Times or anything from that period you will find Jonathan Gruber’s name all over it as both someone who’s the leading expert on health care quoted by everybody, and as someone who the White House was using — I don’t think we knew the dollar numbers he was paid at the time.”

Gruber was indeed quoted by President Obama, then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and other top Democrats who now pretend that he played little or no role in Obamacare’s construction and passage.

Watch Rattner’s admission here.

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Three Americans Among the Dead in Jerusalem Synagogue Attack

Tuesday, November 18th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Hamas has applauded the grisly terrorist attack in a Jerusalem synagogue that left four dead. Among the dead are four dual citizens. Three of them were dual American-Israeli citizens and one was a dual citizen of Israel and the UK.

The two assailants who launched their attack with meat cleavers and a gun during early morning prayers were then killed by police officers in the ensuing gun battle at the scene of the attack.

The deaths occurred as the two men – identified by family members as cousins Ghassan and Uday Abu Jamal from the East Jerusalem district of Jabal Mukaber – burst into the Bnei Torah synagogue in Har Nof, an ultra-Orthodox Jewish neighbourhood of West Jerusalem.

A man who identified himself only as Yossi and was in the synagogue at the time of the attack, told Channel 2: “The police arrived and surrounded the entrance and then the terrorist ran out and they shot him. There was wild gunfire. People ran out of the synagogue. It was hell.”

“I tried to escape. The man with the knife approached me. There was a chair and table between us … my prayer shawl got caught. I left it there and escaped.”

Yosef Posternak, who was also praying in the synagogue at the time of the attack, told Israel Radio that about 25 worshippers were inside when the attackers entered.

Three of the victims held dual US-Israeli citizenship, and one was a British-Israeli citizen – 68-year-old Avraham Shmuel Goldberg, who emigrated to Israel from the UK in 1993.

The three US citizens were 59-year-old Rabbi Moshe Twersky – the head of an English speaking religious college – Aryeh Kopinsky, 43, and Kalman Zeev Levine, 55. The grandson of one of the founders of the Modern Orthodox movement, Twersky lived close to the scene of the attack in Har Nof.

The two attackers were reportedly members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. Police killed them as they attempted to escape. Hamas, the terrorist group that rules Gaza, has called for additional attacks on civilians. Palestinians in Gaza have reacted to the attack by celebrating, passing out candy and brandishing axes.

Israel Prime Minster Benjamin Netanyahu promises a “harsh response” to the attack.

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Caught on Tape: Obama Admits to Stealing Ideas from Jonathan Gruber

Monday, November 17th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

President Obama now dismisses Jonathan Gruber as some guy he barely ever heard of, but that wasn’t always his story.

At the Brookings Institution’s “Restoring America’s Promise of Opportunity, Prosperity and Growth” conference in April of 2006, the future president bragged about using one Jonathan Gruber’s ideas.

Obama said, “You have already drawn some of the brightest minds from academia and policy circles, many of them I have stolen ideas from liberally, people ranging from Robert Gordon to Austan Goolsbee; Jon Gruber; my dear friend, Jim Wallis here, who can inform what are sometimes dry policy debates with a prophetic voice.”

Watch.

More: 

UH OH: Obama: ’Like Your Plan, Keep Your Plan.’ Gruber, 2009: ‘Five Million People Will Lose Their Plan

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Missouri Governor Declares State of Emergency

Monday, November 17th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Anticipating violence in response to any grand jury verdict in the Michael Brown case, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon (D) today declared a state of emergency effective immediately.

According to Gov. Nixon’s statement, the state of emergency means that the National Guard will be deployed and the state will have a unified command to protect life and property.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, JEREMIAH W. (JAY) NIXON, GOVERNOR OF THE STATE OF MISSOURI, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and Laws of the State of Missouri, including Sections 44.010 through 44.130, RSMo, do hereby declare a State of Emergency exists in the State of Missouri.

I further direct the Missouri State Highway Patrol together with the St. Louis County Police Department and the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department to operate as a Unified Command to protect civil rights and ensure public safety in the City of Ferguson and the St. Louis region.

I further order that the St. Louis County Police Department shall have command and operational control over security in the City of Ferguson relating to areas of protests, acts of civil disobedience and conduct otherwise arising from such activities.

I further order that the Unified Command may exercise operational authority in such other jurisdictions it deems necessary to protect civil rights and ensure public safety and that other law enforcement agencies shall assist the Unified Command when so requested and shall cooperate with operational directives of the Unified Command.

The order automatically expires in 30 days unless the governor rescinds or extends it.

US Attorney General Eric Holder did nothing to quell the potential for violence. He connected the shooting of Michael Brown by police Officer Darren Wilson to “the struggle” for civil rights and said that that struggle “goes on.”

Brown was shot moments after robbing a convenience store, and may have attacked Officer Wilson and tried to get his gun. According to medical examiners, Brown had a substantial amount of marijuana in his system at the time of the incident in which his life ended.

 

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Jonathan Gruber Really Wasn’t On the White House Staff. He Made a Whole Lot More Money Than Anyone Who Was.

Monday, November 17th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

MIT professor Jonathan Gruber is a member of the one percent. Deroy Murdock counts up the cash that the Obamacare architect was paid by state and federal entities, mostly federal, to mislead the “stupid” American people into passing the law that he knew depended on most people not knowing what was in it.

$103,500 from the U.S. Department of State

$392,000 from the state of Minnesota

$392,600 from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Resources

$400,000 from the state of Vermont

$400,000 from the state of Wisconsin

$481,050 from the state of Michigan

$1,730,000 from the U.S. Department of Justice (that medical hotbed)

$2,050,000 from the U.S. National Institutes of Health

Lying to the American people for fun and profit…mostly profit. All tolled up, Gruber made a whopping $5.8 million on Obamacare advocacy.

Of course Gruber wasn’t on the White House staff. The president’s current salary is only $400,000. Gruber would have had to take a massive pay cut to leave his consultancy gigs.

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For the Democrats, ‘Demographics is not enough.’

Monday, November 17th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

True story: When I was communications director at the Republican Party of Texas, we moved the party headquarters from one building in Austin to another. During that move, we discovered some old party publications that provided talking points on how demographics would shape Texas in the future. The paper stated that demographers expected that changes in the population would hand Texas permanently to the Democrats within a decade or two.

The publication was dated to the early 1980s. It echoed the talking points that the Texas Democratic Party has used forever, to justify why they believe that they don’t have to modulate their leftist stances on any issues. Demographics will eventually hand the state to them.

But they’re wrong. Since that time, the opposite has happened even as Texas’ population has become more diverse. What was a Democrat stronghold is now a Republican bastion, and has not elected any Democrat to any statewide office in a generation.

Democrat Kevin Baker writes in the NYT that the Democrats’ setbacks aren’t limited to Texas, and that demographics will not save them across the nation.

DEMOGRAPHICS is not enough.

For years now, it’s been an article of faith among Democrats that the future belongs to them, thanks to the country’s changing demographic mix. The rising percentage of voters who are women, Americans of color and especially Latinos were always about to turn the country deep “blue.”

I never believed this — largely because I have been hearing it since 1971. That was the year the 26th Amendment passed, lowering the voting age to 18. Democrats had already been the dominant political party since the 1930s, and now with young people getting the vote, a permanent Democratic majority was guaranteed, right?

The future failed to arrive on time again this fall. Democrats lost all over America, and they lost big, by much wider margins than predicted. They lost statewide races in the Midwest where Democrats have won repeatedly in presidential elections for more than 20 years. They lost in races against radical right-wing Republicans they might have been expected to defeat, like Sam Brownback in Kansas and Paul R. LePage in Maine.

Nor was this month’s election an anomaly. It was the third disastrous midterm for Democrats in the past 20 years. The party suffered similar or even worse losses at all levels of government in 1994 and 2010, along with a lesser catastrophe in 2002. It now holds fewer elected offices at both the federal and state level than it has at any time since the 1920s.

Baker writes that Democrats believe that demographics will rescue them in 2016, when “their base will go to the polls in greater numbers, and when demographics — again — will render the country less white, more Latin and more female.”

But will that happen? In my opinion that depends very much on the candidates. Hillary Clinton might bring out much of that base for the Democrats, but she is probably the most overrated politician in the world. She was so “inevitable” in 2008 that she was easily beaten by a rookie who happened to have a good stump speech. And Obama won in large part because the Republicans nominated the uninspiring John McCain, and he mostly ran a terrible and indecisive campaign. In 2016, it’s the Republicans who will have a deep bench and could have any of several historic candidates on the ticket.

Baker goes on to note that the Democrats are at a historic weak point nationally, after dominating for decades from the Senate and House to statehouses. The Democrats have declined nationally as the nation has become more diverse.

Baker, though, has no real prescriptions to fix the problem. Instead, he wants Democrats who took credit for electrification, the GI Bill and for ever increasing government control of our lives and businesses, to offer more of the same.

Today’s Democratic Party, with its finely calibrated, top-down fixes, does not offer anything so transformative. It seems scared of its own shadow, which is probably why it keeps reassuring itself that its triumph is inevitable. It needs instead to fully acknowledge just how devastating the recession was for working people everywhere in America, and what a generation of largely flat wages did to their aspirations even before that. It needs to take on hard fights, even against powerful forces, like pharmaceutical and insurance companies that presume to tell us the limits of what our health care can be or energy companies that would tell us what the world’s climate can endure. It means carving out a place of respect for working men and women in our globalized, finance-driven world.

There’s a lot to unpack in that — especially for a party that wants government control of our healthcare and just about everything else — but it boils down to pining for more class warfare and soaking the rich either through more regulation and mandates or higher taxes.

But when you do the math, the rich cannot pay much more than the huge share of our taxes than they are already paying.

The Democrats’ idea people are out of ideas. So, demographics!!!

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DEA Launches Surprise Raids on NFL Teams

Monday, November 17th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

The Drug Enforcement Agency added to the NFL’s problems over the weekend. On a day that saw the Arizona Cardinals and New England Patriots each take key wins to stand atop the league, the DEA launched surprise raids on several traveling teams, according to the Washington Post. The raids were triggered by the class-action lawsuit that was filed against the league by more than 1,300 former players.

Federal drug agents conducted surprise inspections of National Football League team medical staffs on Sunday as part of an ongoing investigation into prescription drug abuse in the league. The inspections, which entailed bag searches and questioning of team doctors by Drug Enforcement Administration agents, were based on the suspicion that NFL teams dispense drugs illegally to keep players on the field in violation of the Controlled Substances Act, according to a senior law enforcement official with knowledge of the investigation.

The medical staffs were part of travel parties whose teams were playing at stadiums across the country. The law enforcement official said DEA agents, working in cooperation with the Transportation Security Administration, inspected multiple teams but would not specify which ones were inspected or where.

Inspected teams include the San Francisco 49ers, Seattle Seahawks and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, all of which played on the road Sunday. That’s key, because the DEA’s investigation centers on whether team doctors are registering the drugs that they may administer to football players in the states where they play when they’re traveling.

Federal law prohibits anyone but a physician or nurse practitioner from distributing prescription drugs, and they must meet myriad regulations for acquiring, storing, labeling and transporting them. It is also illegal for a physician to distribute prescription drugs outside of his geographic area of practice. And it is illegal for trainers to dispense or even handle controlled substances in any way.

At first blush, then, this looks like a hunt for technicalities as well as possible actual violations. Some players allege that team doctors have given them unlabeled medications during games, and filling out prescriptions in players’ names without their knowledge. They also allege that trainers have been known to pass out pills in team hotels and locker rooms and team planes after games.

Team doctors and trainers are presumably certified to practice in the states where the teams they serve are located (if they’re not, the DEA isn’t the only legal authority that would like to have words with them). Is the DEA saying that team docs have to get certified in every state where their team might possibly play a game, or they’re in violation of the law, even if everything else they do is otherwise legal?

Going after the football league is a curious choice, for an administration that has released thousands of known violent illegal aliens back into the wild — and misled the public about that.

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Melissa Francis: CNBC Accused Me of Being Unpatriotic for Questioning Obamacare

Monday, November 17th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Melissa Francis is now an anchor at Fox Business Channel and Fox News Channel, but during the debate over Obamacare, she worked at CBNC.

While she worked at the business-oriented cable channel, Harvard-educated Francis says that she noticed that the numbers that President Obama and the Democrats were offering in support of the healthcare bill did not add up.

“You can’t add millions of people and have it not cost everyone. You can’t add people who have pre-existing conditions and not charge more,” Francis says she noticed at the time, adding that the American people might have supported the bill even if they knew all of that, but the administration was not revealing all of the facts needed to make a sound judgement on the bill.

Francis told Fox and Friends today that she pursued that line of questioning whenever she conducted interviews on Obamacare, until one day when she got a call to speak to her manager in his office.

“I got told that I needed to stop. And I said ‘Why? This is math, not politics,’” Francis recalls.

“They said that I was ‘disrespecting the office of the president,’ that was the exact language that they used.”

Francis says that after that day, she felt that her job at CNBC was under threat, and she no longer pursued tough questions regarding Obamacare. Francis moved to Fox in 2012.

She says that recent videos of Obamacare architect Jonathan Gruber bragging that he and the Democrats misled Americans about Obamacare’s costs, and bragging that they exploited the “stupidity” of the American people, hit home with her because of how CNBC censored her.

CNBC has issued a sarcastic, non-denial statement regarding Francis’ explosive accusation.

A CNBC rep said, “That’s laughable, but we take notice, because as the fastest-growing network in prime time, we’re always on the lookout for high quality comedy writers and actresses.”

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Obama in 2006: Illegal Immigration Hurts American Blue Collar Workers

Monday, November 17th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Ever since he won the presidency in 2008, Barack Obama has consistently conflated legal and illegal immigration and treated both as an unmitigated good for the economy.

But that was not always the case.

In one of his two autobiographies, The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts On Reclaiming the American Dream, the future president sounded a very different note.

The Daily Caller’s Neil Munro reports that then-Senator Obama wrote that “[T]here’s no denying that many blacks share the same anxieties as many whites about the wave of illegal immigration flooding our Southern border — a sense that what’s happening now is fundamentally different from what has gone on before.

“Not all these fears are irrational.

“The number of immigrants added to the labor force every year is of a magnitude not seen in this country for over a century. If this huge influx of mostly low-skilled workers provides some benefits to the economy as a whole — especially by keeping our workforce young, in contrast to increasingly geriatric Europe and Japan — it also threatens to depress further the wages of blue-collar Americans and put strains on an already overburdened safety net,” Sen. Obama wrote.

None of those arguments appear to be slowing President Obama now as he threatens to grant amnesty to an estimated 5 million illegal aliens via executive order. Such a move would be illegal, according to Obama himself.

Granting those illegal aliens legal status would allow them to openly seek jobs in an already stressed American economy, thereby directly competing with American citizens mostly at the lower skilled end of the job market — the workers Obama claimed to care about in his book. At the same time, Obama is vocally supporting a major increase in the minimum wage, which the Congressional Budget Office estimates could cost 500,000 jobs. Taken together, these two policies stand to squeeze some of America’s most vulnerable workers the hardest.

2006 vintage Obama would probably accuse the current incarnation of the president of illegally favoring foreign workers over American ones, to play on economic populism.

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Obamacare Approval Reaches New Low

Monday, November 17th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

As the second Obamacare enrollment period gets underway, Gallup finds that the law is deeply under water.

According to Gallup, just 37% of Americans approve of President Obama’s signature legislative achievement. 56% percent disapprove.

The 37% approval is down a point from January 2014. Just 33% of independents support Obamacare.

A majority of the American people disapproved of the law when Democrats passed it with zero Republican votes, and President Obama signed it into law.

Over the past week, several videos have surfaced in which the architect of the law, MIT professor Jonathan Gruber, brags that he and the Democrats exploited the “stupidity” of the “American people” in order to pass the law. But as the law has never held majority support, any “stupidity” exploited must have belonged to the Democrats and their supporters who backed the law. The majority of Americans never did support it.

President Obama has tried word games to distance his administration from Gruber, by claiming that the professor was not on the White House staff when the law was passed. That’s true, narrowly, and a lie at the same time: Gruber was not on staff, but he was paid about $400,000 in consultancy fees to help write the law. According to Gruber, President Obama was in the room when Obamacare’s controversial “Cadillac tax” was created.

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Obama Says He’ll Send Ground Troops to Fight ISIS, But Only if They Get a Nuclear Weapon

Monday, November 17th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Any situation short of the Islamic State obtaining nuclear weapons, and the United States knowing about that, appears to mean that President Obama will not order American ground troops into battle to destroy the terrorist group.

Over the weekend, ISIS beheaded a third American, former Army Ranger turned aid worker Peter Kassig. But a day before that news broke, President Obama outlined an extreme scenario under which he would order troops to fight ISIS on the ground in Iraq and Syria. The president made his remarks at the G20 Summit in Australia Saturday.

Obama says that he would send ground troops into the fight, if ISIS gets its hands on a nuclear weapon.

Obama said, “There are always circumstances, in which the United States might need to deploy US ground troops. If we discovered that ISIL had gotten possession of a nuclear weapon, and we had to run an operation to get it out of their hands, then yes, you can anticipate that not only would Chairman Dempsey recommend me sending U.S. ground troops to get that weapon out of their hands, but I would order it.”

Obama chuckled as he spoke about ISIS obtaining nuclear weapons.

ISIS has beheaded three Americans and two Englishmen. It has murdered thousands of Iraqi and Syrian civilians and military. ISIS has sold women into sex slavery and has destroyed historical monuments and sites. ISIS has also threatened to attack Americans in the United States itself.

h/t NoMoreCocktails

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