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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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Cruz for the Win: White House Denies Visa for Iranian Hostage-Taker

Friday, April 11th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Once Congress had voted to keep Iranian hostage-taker Hamid Aboutalebi from visiting the US as Iran’s ambassador to the UN, the Obama White House had a choice: Bow to the Iranians anyway, or accede to the wishes of Republicans and Democrats who went on the record to oppose Aboutalebi.

Congress went on the record under the leadership of one Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas. The state’s junior senator crafted a bill that sailed through Congress with impressive bipartisan support. That bill landed on Obama’s desk.

The president did not sign that bill, at least not yet. The White House is simply refusing to grant Aboutalebi’s visa.

Why act in concert with Congress and in harmony with the Constitution, when it can get away with yet another unilateral action?

 

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WATCH Sebelius Get a ‘Page Missing Error’ On Her Way Out of HHS

Friday, April 11th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Healthcare.gov is best known for not working. During the first months of its rollout, the Obamacare website has sent users millions of “Page Not Found” errors.

So resigning HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius meeting up with a missing page error during her exit speech is about as appropriate an exit as there could have been.

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Someone Tucked an Obscure Line into the Farm Bill That Allows the Treasury Department to Destroy Due Process

Friday, April 11th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

The Washington Post has an outrageous story about how the Treasury Department is going after thousands of Americans to collect on debts — which may not have ever been real debts — it says deceased family members owed the government.

A few weeks ago, with no notice, the U.S. government intercepted Mary Grice’s tax refunds from both the IRS and the state of Maryland. Grice had no idea that Uncle Sam had seized her money until some days later, when she got a letter saying that her refund had gone to satisfy an old debt to the government — a very old debt.

When Grice was 4, back in 1960, her father died, leaving her mother with five children to raise. Until the kids turned 18, Sadie Grice got survivor benefits from Social Security to help feed and clothe them.

Now, Social Security claims it overpaid someone in the Grice family — it’s not sure who — in 1977. After 37 years of silence, four years after Sadie Grice died, the government is coming after her daughter. Why the feds chose to take Mary’s money, rather than her surviving siblings’, is a mystery.

Across the nation, hundreds of thousands of taxpayers who are expecting refunds this month are instead getting letters like the one Grice got, informing them that because of a debt they never knew about — often a debt incurred by their parents — the government has confiscated their check.

Treasury says it is acting now because it can. The statute of limitations was lifted in 2011. Who lifted it? No one will admit it.

The aggressive effort to collect old debts started three years ago — the result of a single sentence tucked into the farm bill lifting the 10-year statute of limitations on old debts to Uncle Sam.

No one seems eager to take credit for reopening all these long-closed cases. A Social Security spokeswoman says the agency didn’t seek the change; ask Treasury. Treasury says it wasn’t us; try Congress. Congressional staffers say the request probably came from the bureaucracy.

The only explanation the government provides for suddenly going after decades-old debts comes from Social Security spokeswoman Dorothy Clark: “We have an obligation to current and future Social Security beneficiaries to attempt to recoup money that people received when it was not due.”

Except, it’s illegal. Debts owed by the dead do not transfer to their children, to be paid out of their own assets. Tax refunds are money refunded to Americans because of tax overpayments. That money belongs to citizens, not the government.

These cases come with no notice, just a letter that the government has intercepted the tax refunds, along with threats that failure to comply may be reported negatively to credit rating agencies. In Grice’s case, the government seems to have gone out of its way not to notify her at all.

Grice, who works for the Food and Drug Administration and lives in Takoma Park, in the same apartment she’s resided in since 1984, never got any notice about a debt.

Social Security officials told her they had sent their notice to her post office box in Roxboro, N.C. Grice rented that box from 1977 to 1979 and never since. And Social Security has Grice’s current address: Every year, it sends her a statement about her benefits.

“Their record-keeping seems to be very spotty,” she said.

That’s being generous.

Treasury officials say that before they will take someone’s refund, the agency owed the money must certify the debt, meaning there must be evidence of the overpayment. But Social Security officials told Grice they had no records explaining the debt.

“The craziest part of this whole thing is the way the government seizes a child’s money to satisfy a debt that child never even knew about,” says Robert Vogel, Grice’s attorney. “They’ll say that somebody got paid for that child’s benefit, but the child had no control over the money and there’s no way to know if the parent ever used the money for the benefit of that kid.”

Yes, the irony is obvious. As a government bureaucrat who lives in leftwing Tacoma Park, Grice is probably a big fan of big government. That doesn’t take away from the injustice that’s being done to her and thousands of others — $1.9 billion dollars worth this year.

There is no recourse for Americans who have had their money taken. They can file a claim, but it will probably go nowhere. Only 10% of appeals have been successful so far, even though the government can’t even prove that the debts ever existed in most cases.

The farm bill that enabled Treasury to torch due process is always notoriously long and full of obscure subsidies and other things that the congresspeople who pass it never bother to read. No one will even own up to lifting the statute of limitations, but clearly Treasury got wind of the change very quickly and acted on it.

If your tax refund is smaller than you expected this year, you may be a victim of this criminal government theft spree.

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Operation ‘Cynthia’ — Was the Woman Who Threw a Shoe at Hillary Clinton a Hardcore Leftist?

Friday, April 11th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Someone threw a shoe at Hillary Clinton yesterday during a speech.

After the shoe whizzed past, several feet away from Clinton, a blond woman raised her hands above her head and walked to the back of the room. Security quickly grabbed her and she’ll apparently face criminal charges.

The Wall Street Journal picks up an interesting bit from the moment: The shoe-thrower also threw something else.

An attendee later handed a reporter a piece of paper that was apparently also thrown by the woman. It appeared to be a copy of a Department of Defense document labeled confidential and dated August 1967; it referred to an operation “Cynthia” in Bolivia. There was a Bolivian army operation of that name in 1967 to capture revolutionary Che Guevara.

Global Security has a brief bit on Operation Cynthia.

The Samaipata raid on July 6 by Che’s men shocked the army into launching two offensives against the guerrillas. The first, “Operation Cynthia”, directed the Fourth Army Division from Camiri to conduct operations south of the Rio Grande River (see map #3, page 108). In early August the second offensive, “Operation Parabano”, was initiated by the Eighth Army Division in the area north of the river. The Fourth Division soldiers pursued Joaquin’s group northward throughout the months of July and August, periodically clashing with the guerrillas. The “Cynthia” soldiers, however, were denied the final victory when Joaquin’s band crossed the imposed boundary at the Rio Grande. Their counterparts of the Eighth Division, waiting at the river, destroyed their prey at the El Vado
del Yeso ford.

Che’s face adorns T-shirts on countless college campuses all over the world today, despite the fact that he was a racist, murderous Communist thug. People who are likely to support OkCupid’s and Mozilla’s ouster of Brendan Eich over “tolerance” are likely to wear or have worn Che shirts at some point in their lives.

Operation Cynthia doesn’t appear to have anything at all to do with Hillary Clinton. The shoe throwing must have been, well, crazy, but also an attempt to use Clinton to draw attention to Che Guevara.

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If You Only Watch One Clip of a Democrat Getting Destroyed on National TV Today, It Should Be This One

Friday, April 11th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

At nearly 6 minutes, the following clip of Democrat Mike Dickinson losing, badly and repeatedly and embarrassingly, to Fox’s Greta Van Sustern last night is on the longish side. But it’s awesome.

Mike Dickinson is a Democrat running for Rep. Eric Cantor’s seat in Congress. In his campaign materials, Dickinson claims that he’s the CEO of a chain of strip clubs. A dubious credential, and yet it’s fake. Greta gets him to admit that he’s a fraud.

Dicksinon claims that he just wants politicians to stop all the “partisan bickering,” yet his Twitter account got suspended because he uses it to engage in nothing but bickering. The man who wants everyone to stop all the bickering already has declared “war” on Fox, the Tea Party and the NRA.

He recently promised that if elected, he would use his office to go after the NRA, the Tea Party, and “other trash,” effectively promising he would abuse his power as a member of Congress to go after millions of Americans he disagrees with.

Basically, he’s promising to be a damagogue, corrupt the government and turn it against citizens.

“If elected I promise WAR on the tea party, @FoxNews, @NRA and other trash,” he tweeted.

“When I am elected I will go to war with these groups. I will pursue the @nra & destroy them. I will get the IRS to audit the tea party,” he said later.

Dickinson has also said the Tea Party is a terrorist group, and compared it to al-Qaeda. In another tweet, he compared Sarah Palin to Osama bin Laden.

An article at Red Knuckle Politics said Dickinson has used various alternate identities on Twitter to allegedly send tweets to porn stars and harass others.

So, he’s a mainstream, Anthony Weiner wannabe Democrat.

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Wendy Davis Voted for WHAT in Texas Classrooms?

Friday, April 11th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Parents of children in Texas public schools need to pay attention to this one.

In the 2011 session of the Texas legislature, lawmakers considered a bill that made it easier for school districts to fire teachers who had been convicted of felony crimes. The need for such legislation, in an age when teachers have been caught having sex with underage students and other terrible misdeeds, is obvious.

The Texas House considered HB 1610 to make it easier for school districts to get felons out of classrooms. Sen. Wendy Davis was among a handful of Democrats who voted against the bill. The bill passed easily, without Davis’ vote. Davis then voted for a loophole that would have allowed felons to continue teaching if their crimes were unrelated to teaching.

A convicted felon is a convicted felon.

HB 1610 passed the Texas Senate and then passed the Texas House almost unanimously. Just one member voted against it in the House. It was one of the most bipartisan bills of the session.

But Wendy Davis voted against it.

Why would she do that? Why would Wendy Davis vote repeatedly to keep felons in our public school classrooms?

The Real Wendy (which is a political attack site — it also gets its facts right, though) speculates that she was voting to satisfy the teachers unions. Davis is the union candidate — teachers unions have donated more to her campaign than all of the three previous Democratic governor candidates combined.

Whatever the reason, Davis’ votes to keep felons in Texas public school classrooms is disturbing and appalling. There’s no way around that.

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Sebelius’ Replacement? The Person Who Shut Down the Veterans Memorials Last Year.

Friday, April 11th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Never let it be said that Barack Obama doesn’t reward loyalty. Loyalty to himself, of course.

Within seconds of the announcement that HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius was resigning Thursday, news broke about who her replacement would be: Sylvia Burwell of OMB.

Burwell is famous for something that she did last year. NBC News:

A single person shut down the entire U.S. government for the first time in 17 years.

Not a congressman, but an unelected woman named Sylvia Burwell who, as the relatively new director of the Office of Management and Budget, sent the email that initiated the process that has closed national parks, visitors’ centers and even the “panda-cam” at the National Zoo.

“Agencies should now execute plans for an orderly shutdown due to the absence of appropriations,” Burwell wrote in a memo to heads of executive departments and agencies Monday night as it became clear lawmakers had failed to agree on a budget deal. “We urge Congress to act quickly to pass a Continuing Resolution to provide a short-term bridge that ensures sufficient time to pass a budget for the remainder of the fiscal year.”

And with that email, veterans got locked out of their memorials, federal parks got shut down, even the National Zoo’s Panda Cam went dark. Burwell was Obama’s point person for punishing the American people in ways that the federal government had not contemplated during any of the previous shutdowns.

Burwell will have to be confirmed by the Senate before she takes the reins of Obamacare. Thanks to Harry Reid’s filibuster rule change last November, she’ll only need 51 votes. She is likely to get them, the Senate confirmed her 96-0 to head OMB just last year. The Democrats will portray any criticism of her now as a battle in the phony “war on women.” Her role in the shutdown will come up, in fact Obama is surely counting on it and hoping that the hearings are contentious and generate headlines and soundbites useful to him for the mid-terms. But some red state Democrats might be on the spot as to whether they’ll support the person who locked veterans — some who traveled hundreds or even thousands of miles from their homes to Washington — out of the memorials dedicated to their friends and comrades.

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Breaking: HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius is Resigning

Thursday, April 10th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

AP and Fox are reporting that HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius is resigning. No date has been given yet.

Sebelius presided over the botched rollout of Healthcare.gov, and has been caught breaking federal laws against engaging in political activity on government time. More recently, she was caught disowning her own claim that 7 million Obamacare enrollees would constitute success, before the Obama administration claimed to have reached that magical number.

While it would be nice to think that failure and dishonesty have caught up with Sebelius, the reality is that she is probably leaving government for more lucrative reasons.

As Sebelius leaves, OMB Director Sylvia Matthews Burwell has been nominated to replace her.

Update: Yep.

 

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MSNBC’s Alex Wagner Just Broke Punditry

Thursday, April 10th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Honestly, I don’t even know where we go from here.

The IRS and several other executive branch agencies came down on True the Vote’s Catherine Engelbrecht like the proverbial ton of bricks after she founded her organization. The agency delayed her tax-exempt application for years. There is no debate that the IRS targeted her and many other Americans, and that the targeting was political. The Daily Caller even has emails suggesting who within the White House may have been responsible. It’s no one most of us have ever heard of, one of President Obama’s direct assistants. So, close enough to the president to start asking what he knew and when he knew it.

But none of that has gotten past the cute ears of one Alex Wagner. She believes that targeting did happen. She just has a novel theory on who targeted whom.

“There is a controversy here,” Wagner conceded. She said, however, that the true controversy in the IRS scandal involves the influence of outside money.

After detailing some of the revelations released this week involving how the IRS tried to draft a letter denying Karl Rove‘s Crossroads GPS its tax-exempt status was agonized over, Wagner said it was striking how little oversight there was of the new post-Citizens United rules.

“In my mind, the IRS, who was trying to get this out, they were the ones that have been actually targeted in this whole investigation,” Wagner asserted.

Like I said, I don’t know where we go from here.

The targeting happened. Emails released yesterday show that Rep. Elijah Cummings was involved. He was involved at the same time he was supposedly investigating the abuse. With the Daily Caller’s story added, the scandal looks more and more like it touches many major Democrat figures and goes to the White House. Jeanne Lambrew, the person highlighted by the DC, works directly for President Obama. She’s one of his major assistants. Previous disclosures have suggested involvement by other Obama appointees.

So where do we go if that’s the case? I don’t recall a party-wide scandal of this importance in American history up to now.

It’s a given that Obama and Holder will never ever ever appoint a special counsel to investigate. Ever. They are beyond ordinary political pressure. They have no respect for the rule of law. They do not respond to public opinion. They will always have the likes of Alex Wagner to carry their ever more preposterous defenses.

With no special counsel, that leaves Congress to appoint a select committee in one or both houses. That will not happen in the Senate before the mid-terms. It could happen in the House, but such a committee will necessarily have Democrats on it. Cummings’ emails show the fatal problem there — he already abused his position on the Oversight Committee to thwart the investigation, of which he now ought to be a target. If he becomes a target, he will play the race card, Holder and Obama will play the race card, and most of the media will play the race card too. What, you think Chris Matthews, Dana Milbank, ABCNBCCBS and the rest of them are above dropping the race card?

Besides, how do we know which Democrats weren’t involved? Most of them had the motivation, they had the hatred of the Tea Party and the lesson of 2010, and they harbored the hatred of the Citizens United decision that apparently animated Democrats to take action, from Obama on down. Show me the Democrat who would have had a moral or ethical problem with using the IRS as a weapon to suppress dissent. Does such a Democrat roam the halls of Congress? Even one?

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British Peer Suggests Regulating Emissions from the ‘Musical Fruit’

Thursday, April 10th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Today is one of those days when I reconsider my my life choices and wonder if I shouldn’t have gone into a more serious profession. Like, I don’t know, clowning.

I mean, how does one take politics seriously when the President of the United States just trots out discredited lies all the time?

You can debunk him all day long, and that number has been debunked over and over again including this week. His own spokesman pretty much admitted that it’s bogus. You can’t shame him or his people out of lying, because they don’t feel shame. It’s as alien to them as being able to breath in a sea of molten gummy bears.

At any rate, at least we can look to good old England to provide some serious policy discussion. Their country is older than ours. Wiser. Better.

Labour peer Viscount Simon, 73, raised concerns about the “smelly emissions” resulting from the UK’s unusually high consumption of baked beans.

He put energy and climate change minister Baroness Verma on the spot during the government’s daily question session in the upper chamber.

She said his question was “different”.

His comments came as energy minister Baroness Verma answered questions in the House of Lords on how the government was tackling climate change.

Lord Simon said: “In a programme some months ago on the BBC it was stated that this country has the largest production of baked beans and the largest consumption of baked beans in the world.”

To laughter from peers, he added: “Could the noble baroness say whether this affects the calculation of global warming by the government as a result of the smelly emission resulting there from?”

A Shakespearean ode to the “musical fruit.”

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But the question remains, which end should government regulate, the intake of the beans, or the output of the fumes? The beans would be easier to tax, but the farmers will protest, and beans are supposedly good for the heart. The output is more nebulous, yet more offensive. It’s quite a quandary.

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Wendy Davis Shuts Out the Press AGAIN

Thursday, April 10th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

The Democrat who wants to be governor of Texas got herself in hot water when she shut the press out of one of her major speeches a few months back. The anger that that move generated evidently has not taught Davis anything. Oops — she did it again!

President Obama met today in private with Texas State Senator Wendy Davis (D), who is running this year to replace retiring Gov. Rick Perry (R).

Reporters who are in Texas with the president today did not get to witness the meeting, and learned about it from the White House press office, which provided them with the following readout:

“This afternoon, following his remarks at the LBJ Library, the President visited briefly with Texas state senator Wendy Davis.”

Pool reporter Todd Gillman of the Dallas Morning News had this to say about the meeting:

“This took place with the pool in the vans so obviously we didn’t witness it. Davis is the Democratic nominee for governor, facing Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, who had publicly dared her to be seen with Obama.”

It’s Bill White all over again. He was the Democrats’ nominee in 2010. Every time President Obama would show up in Texas, White managed to be clear on the other side of the state. He just wouldn’t be seen with the president and leader of his own party.

Wendy Davis agrees with Barack Obama’s policies — Obamacare, the EPA, radicalism on abortion, all of it. Why won’t she be seen with him?

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Report: US to Let Spy Go Free In Swap for Palestinian Terrorists

Thursday, April 10th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Sen. John McCain and Secretary of State John Kerry got into a heated stare-off over the apparent death of the Israel-Palestinian peace talks earlier this week. Kerry blamed the Israelis for, essentially, the Palestinian desire to destroy their country.

If reports coming out of Israel are true, today, Kerry has sweetened the pot and struck a deal. But it’s a deal that would set some bad precedents.

As teams met in Jerusalem, source tells Al Arabiya Israel agrees to free prisoners, freeze West Bank construction, while Palestinian will backtrack UN bid and US will release Pollard in final bid to save peace talks. US, Palestinians, Israel sources claim report ‘premature’.

An unnamed source told Al Arabiya that a deal has been reached to extend peace talks, but all three parties have since downplayed the claim as premature, but the US did say “gaps were narrowing” in talks.

Jonathan Pollard was convicted of spying on the US and sentence to life in prison. He has served 27 years of that sentence. He was spying for the Israelis, and has remained a sore spot in US-Israel relations ever since. Releasing him would ignite a firestorm in Congress. If Kerry thought McCain gave him the hair-dryer treatment earlier, he hasn’t seen anything yet.

The firestorm may not come, though. Politico says that the State Department is quashing the exchange story.

Administration officials moved quickly Thursday to shoot down reports that a deal had been struck to keep open negotiations over a framework for Israeli-Palestinian peace talks that would include releasing the former Navy intelligence officer and convicted spy from a North Carolina prison.

“Nothing has changed. No decision has been made about Jonathan Pollard,” said State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki.

Special envoy Martin Indyk, who remained in the region meeting with Israeli and Palestinian officials after a frustrated Secretary of State John Kerry left last week, ended his talks Thursday without a deal.

“There is no breakthrough. All of the current rumors that a deal has been reached are false,” a senior administration official said.

That’s pretty definitive.

Releasing Pollard in exchange for promises and an extended talks deadline could put a whole lot of people who are currently held in US prisons in play in Israel-Palestinian negotiations. First among them, the Blind Sheikh who masterminded the 1993 attack on the World Trade Center. It was actually a demand to release Omar Abdel-Rahman, not a YouTube movie, that sparked the Cairo riot in September 2011 that culminated with terrorists jumping the walls of the US embassy there and replacing the American flag with the black flag of Islam. It’s unwise for the US to put anyone in our prisons in play.

What Kerry stands to gain by releasing Pollard is, from the Israelis, the release of over 100 Palestinians along with a halt to settlement construction, and from the Palestinians, a promise not to engage in the unilateral statehood moves that they’re not supposed to be involved in anyway, and from both, an extension in the talks.

Is that enough to set such a dangerous precedent?

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IRS Employee Busted for Pro-Obama Chant

Thursday, April 10th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

According to the Office of Special Counsel, an IRS employee may face “significant disciplinary action” for promoting the re-election of Barack Obama on work time. The employee is accused of “repeatedly greeting taxpayers calling a help-line with a chant urging President Barack Obama’s re-election in 2012.”

The IRS employee is not named in the compliant.

Other IRS employees are attracting scrutiny for their pro-Obama activism at work. One faced a 14-day suspension for telling a taxpayer she assisted that “Republicans already [sic] trying to cap my pension and…they’re going to take women back 40 years.”

The employee knew that what she was doing was wrong and illegal at the time: She told the taxpayer “I’m not supposed to voice my opinion, so you didn’t hear me saying that.” The employee had been briefed on the Hatch Act, which forbids federal employees from politicking on the job, just weeks before she violated it.

The OSC has also looked into complaints that the Dallas IRS office had staff who made pro-Obama stickers, screensavers and other political imagery and speech “commonplace.”

Former IRS official Lois Lerner, who is now on track to be held in contempt of Congress and possibly jailed for refusing to answer question regarding the agency’s abuse of Tea Party and conservative groups, said in an email released this week that she wanted to leave the agency and work for Obama’s campaign group, Organizing for Action.

All of these complaints feature IRS agents promoting the Democratic Party or its presidential candidate.

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CBS Reveals that Stephen Colbert Will Replace Letterman

Thursday, April 10th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

It’s an odd choice, but CBS has made it official: Stephen Colbert will replace David Letterman as host of The Late Show once Letterman retires.

I say it’s an odd choice because Colbert plays a character on his Comedy Central show. He’s parodying Bill O’Reilly. Does he bring that schtick to a full talk show at CBS, or does he leave it behind and re-invent himself?

The safe bet would be to stick with what brought him success so far, but the safe bet would not have been to bring Colbert to The Late Show in the first place. Craig Ferguson would have made a good replacement, as he already has a talk show on CBS. He just would have had to move forward an hour, and probably polish up a thing or two. His show carries forward with the wackiness that Letterman had, a long time ago.

Colbert…I don’t know.

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When Even Ruth Marcus is Slamming the Democrats’ ‘Equal Pay Demagoguery’…

Thursday, April 10th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

…you know that the Democrats have stirred up a backlash.

Here’s a radical notion: It is simultaneously possible to believe that women are entitled to equal pay and to not support the Paycheck Fairness Act.

Not that you’d know it from the rhetoric President Obama and fellow Democrat are happily flinging at Republicans who dare to oppose the measure.

“I don’t know why you would resist the idea that women should be paid the same as men and then deny that that’s not always happening out there,” Obama said Tuesday. “If Republicans in Congress… want to show that they do care about women being paid the same as men, then show me…They can join us, in this, the 21st century and vote yes on the Paycheck Fairness Act.”

Oh come on.

Before you start checking the byline at the top of this piece and emailing the editor that there’s been a terrible mistake, let me be clear: I support ensuring that women receive equal pay for equal work — I have a bit of a vested stake in that issue myself. Unequal pay remains a problem, although not at the women-earn-77-cents-on-the-dollar level of Democrats’ sloganeering. Most relevantly, I’d vote for the Paycheck Fairness Act in the unlikely event that someone elected me to Congress.

Marcus, unlike any Democrat in Congress, allows that there are problems with the Democrats’ “Paycheck Fairness” gambit. It’s a purely cynical political ploy, and as policy it’s more of a gift to trial lawyers than an actual equal pay measure. Marcus also calls Obama and the Democrats out for being the shameless shills that they have become. It really is shocking that the party of Jefferson has become the intellectual wasteland that it is now.

And then there’s the shameless hypocrisy. Every Democrat office that has been checked — Barack Obama’s, Wendy Davis’, Mark Begich’s, Mary Landrieu’s, all of them — show pay gaps for women too. There’s an old saying that applies here — if you want to change the world, start with changing yourself.

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Turkey to Make Dramatic Foreign Policy Move as Russia Rises

Thursday, April 10th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Turkey used to be a reliable NATO member and ally of Israel. But the Islamist government of Recep Tayyip Erdogan is taking Turkey far away from all of that. Turkey prolonged the Iraq war by not allowing US troops to move in through Turkish territory or use Turkish bases. Turkey has also agitated against Israel and in favor of the Palestinians over the past few years.

Today, one of Erdogan’s closest advisers is signalling that the West is about to lose one of its most strategic allies.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s chief economic advisor Yiğit Bulut has claimed that Turkey will no longer need Europe, stating that the “new West” solely comprises the US.

Bulut maintained that under the new world order, Europe will no longer be a relevant power, predicting that Turkey will cut off its relations with Europe at once.

According to Erdoğan’s aide, the new world will be shaped by the US and the axes of Turkey-Russia-Eurasia-the Middle East and China-India-Iran.

Get that? Turkey is switching sides.

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What’s Hillary Clinton’s Great Achievement as Secretary of State? MSNBC: Gwarble Gwarble Gwarble

Thursday, April 10th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Bill Kristol, you mischievous hooligan you. Kristol appeared on MSNBC’s Morning Joe today and asked a straightforward question: What makes Hillary Clinton so qualified to be president? Specifically, what did she achieve as Secretary of State that earned her the White House.

And…none of the liberals on the panel has an answer. So they toss to Democrat apologist Chuck Todd, and the best he can come up with is that she isn’t John Kerry, or something.

Benghazi comes up at the end, before one of the panelists touts Clinton’s ability to park herself in airplanes to fly around the world on the taxpayer’s dime. Impressive!

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For what it’s worth, no one on the panel managed to make the most obvious point. While it’s nice that such a debate occurred, and it’s nice that someone even on the left is thinking about qualifications for the presidency, the very idea that one needs actual qualifications before becoming president went out the window with Barack Obama. He admitted that he wasn’t even qualified to run, then he ran, and he won. Twice. His wins strongly suggest that a majority of voters don’t even glance at candidate résumés anymore, and neither does the media. Hillary Clinton’s lack of achievement in any field won’t hurt her. Her coldness and inability to connect will, though.

h/t Grabien and Ace

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Desperate Democrats Sign Letter Urging Obama to Approve the Keystone

Thursday, April 10th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

It’s a Hail Mary

Nearly a dozen Senate Democrats, including five up for re-election this year, are pressing President Barack Obama to approve the Keystone XL pipeline, and they say they want a decision by the end of next month.

Most Republicans support the pipeline, but the 11 Democrats who wrote a letter to Mr. Obama urging him to approve the project deliberately made it a one party-effort. While a set of bipartisan signatures can be a powerful thing in the art of Washington letter-writing, these lawmakers clearly want to accentuate the pressure Mr. Obama faces from his own party on this issue.

“It’s really to turn up the pressure on the president,” said a Senate Democratic aide on the condition of anonymity. “We know where the Republicans are on this issue.”

Democratic Sens. Kay Hagan of North Carolina, Mark Warner of Virginia, Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, Mark Pryor of Arkansas and Mark Begich of Alaska, who all face tight races this November, signed the letter, which urges Mr. Obama to put in place an explicit timeline to decide on the project and to make a final decision by May 31. The party’s quest to keep control of the Senate could hinge on the races of these five Democrats, who have previously expressed support for the project. Many of them come from fossil-fuel rich states.

I have to be honest: The way I’m reading the electorate this year, four of those senators are probably toast. Warner is the only one who stands in a strong position and is running in a bluish state. Hagan and Pryor are already polling behind their opponents and they’re in red states. Landrieu has been in a downward spiral but is still hanging on. Once she faces the actual GOP nominee, her trouble begins. Louisiana has changed dramatically under her feet. Begich fell behind last month.

Still, it’s nice to see some Democrats track right for a change. The vast majority of the American people support the Keystone, but President Obama is showing his radical left roots in standing in the way. Odds are, he relents closer to the election, to give vulnerable Democrats a positive talking point.

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Do They Really ‘Regret the Error?’

Thursday, April 10th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Erik Wemple at the WaPo noticed a curious thing: From the New York Times to Talking Points Memo and beyond, media outlets took a Sen. Mitch McConnell quote about one thing, and turned it into a quote about another thing — and that error just happened to help Democrats.

When the New York Times issues a correction, the New York Times issues a correction. The text attached to this Tuesday story by New York Times reporter Jonathan Weisman is unequivocal. A mistake had occurred, it reported, in characterizing some quotes by Sen. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. Here’s how the Times correction reads:

Correction: April 9, 2014

An earlier version of this article misidentified the target of criticism by Senator Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky, as the Senate prepared to vote on legislation meant to close the pay gap between men and women. When he referred to “the left’s latest bizarre obsession,” he was criticizing Democrats’ attacks on David H. and Charles G. Koch, conservative billionaires whose political organizations have spent more than $30 million on ads so far to help Republicans win control of the Senate. He was not referring to the pay-equity issue.

That’s just one sample of a flurry of corrective — and somewhat less corrective — steps taken by news organizations over this very issue. At 1:40 p.m. yesterday, Sahil Kapur of TPM published a piece on this very matter, one that prompted a lot of aggregation around the Internet. It carries this note at bottom, which leaves room for more interpretation than does the New York Times’s treatment:

Clarification: This article initially attributed McConnell’s remarks to Democrats’ push on pay equity. His office contends that they were in reference to Reid’s comments about the Koch brothers. Reid discussed both pay equity and the Kochs in the floor speech McConnell was referring to.

And on and on.

I’ve been doing this too long to believe the media on much of anything anymore. They keep making the same smeary “errors” over and over again, and only issue corrections when they have no other choice. They “regret the error” until they make an identical error at some point in the not too distant future.

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Lois Lerner Wanted to Work for Obama’s Activist Army, OFA

Wednesday, April 9th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Check this out.

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That’s one of the emails that the House Oversight Committee released today. It lays Lois Lerner’s politics out pretty plain, dontcha think?

At the same time, she was also trying to find a way to deny Karl Rove’s Crossroads GPS group tax-exempt status.

Lois Lerner needs to be compelled to testify, and a special counsel has to be appointed to investigate Cummings — and whether any other Democrats were involved.

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Bombshell: Emails Show Democrat on Oversight Committee was Working With Lois Lerner to Target True the Vote (Update: Engelbrecht Reacts)

Wednesday, April 9th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Emails released today by the House Government Oversight and Reform Committee show that Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) has some explaining to do. The emails show that Cummings and the IRS were asking for nearly identical information from election integrity watchdog True the Vote. Further, the emails show communication as Lerner was feeding information to Cummings and his staff.

The communication occurred in 2012, before the public was ever aware of the ongoing and widespread IRS abuse of Tea Party and conservative groups. In a press release detailing the newly delivered emails, committee Chairman Darrell Issa asks Cummings to answer for himself.

“Although you have previously denied that your staff made inquiries to the IRS about conservative organization True the Vote that may have led to additional agency scrutiny, communication records between your staff and IRS officials – which you did not disclose to Majority Members or staff – indicates otherwise,” wrote the Chairman and five Subcommittee Chairmen of the Oversight Committee.  “As the Committee is scheduled to consider a resolution holding Ms. Lerner, a participant in responding to your communications that you failed to disclose, in contempt of Congress, you have an obligation to fully explain your staff’s undisclosed contacts with the IRS.”

Cummings has stonewalled the investigation throughout, while President Obama has claimed that there wasn’t even a “smidgen of corruption” in it.

The communication between Lerner and Cummings and his staff shows that the IRS and Cummings made numerous requests for virtually identical information from True the Vote, the Houston-based group dedicated to improving election integrity and rooting out election fraud. That Cummings and the IRS sought nearly identical information raises the strong probability of collusion between the government agency and the Democrats on the House Government Oversight and Reform Committee.

  • Five days after Cummings contacted True the Vote seeking “copies of all training materials used for volunteers, affiliates, or other entities,” the IRS sent True the Vote a letter requesting True the Vote provide “a copy of [True the Vote’s] volunteer registration form,” “…the process you use to assign volunteers,” “how you keep your volunteers in teams,” and “how your volunteers are deployed … following the training they receive by you.”
  • On or before January 25, 2013, Cummings’ staff requested more information from the IRS about True the Vote.  The head of the IRS Legislative Affairs office e-mailed several IRS officials, including former Exempt Organizations Director Lois Lerner, that “House Oversight Committee Minority staff” sought information about True the Vote.  On Monday, January 28, Lerner wrote to her deputy Holly Paz: “Did we find anything?”  When Paz informed her minutes later that she had not heard back about True the Vote’s information, Lerner replied: “thanks – check tomorrow please.”
  • On January 31, 2013, Paz attached True the Vote’s form 990s, which she authorized the IRS to share with the Minority staff.  Neither Cummings nor the IRS shared these requested documents with the Oversight Majority.  None of the Minority’s communications about True the Vote with the IRS were shared with the Committee Majority even though Ranking Member Cummings frequently complains about the Committee Majority contacting individuals on official matters without the involvement of Minority staff.
  • Cummings denied that his staff, “might have been involved in putting True the Vote on the radar screen of some of these Federal agencies” at a February 6, 2014, Subcommittee hearing:

Ms. Mitchell:                      We want to get to the bottom of how these coincidences happened, and we’re going to try to figure out whether any – if there was any staff of this committee that might have been involved in putting True the Vote on the radar screen of some of these Federal agencies.  We don’t know that, but we – we’re going to do everything we can do to try to get to the bottom of how did this all happen.

Mr. Cummings.                 Will the gentleman yield?

Mr. Meadows.                                Yes.

Mr. Cummings.                 I want to thank the gentleman for his courtesy.  What she just said is absolutely incorrect and not true.

Did Rep. Cummings lie during the committee hearings?

Update: True the Vote president Catherine Engelbrecht reacts in a press statement:

“Elijah Cummings has blocked the IRS abuse investigation all along. We now see clearly that two branches of government have colluded to target and silence private citizens.

“America has come to a tipping point,” Engelbrecht said. “No more lies. No more cover-ups. No more collusion. Enough is enough. Finally, we have a chance for the rule of law to be re-established, thanks to the bold efforts of Chairman Issa and Rep. Jordan.”

Engelbrecht added, “We filed an ethics complaint against Rep. Cummings in February. Today we’re amending that filing to include this latest revelation. As I have said in my testimony before Congress; I will not retreat, I will not surrender, I will not be intimidated. I will not ask Rep. Cummings, Lois Lerner, Barack Obama, or anyone else, for permission to exercise my constitutional rights.”

 

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I Guess I’m Supposed to Care About Another Stupid Rolling Stone Cover

Wednesday, April 9th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Rolling Stone’s next issue — which hardly anyone will read — has Julia Louis-Dreyfus on the cover. She’s naked long past her Seinfeld days and has a big mistake tattooed on her photoshopped back. If that’s even her back.

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The big mistake is the text. It’s neither the US Constitution nor the Declaration of Independence. It begins as the Constitution, but ends with John Hancock’s flamboyant signature. But Hancock didn’t sign the Constitution. He signed the Declaration, and that’s where his famous sig became famous. In case you flunked history, as RS‘ editors and the “First Lady of Comedy” evidently did, lemme catch you up: The Constitution and the Declaration are not the same thing.

And Idiocracy wasn’t supposed to be a documentary. Way to go, Rolling Stone.

As for JLD, she’s now achieved the same status as the Boston bomber. She should be so proud…

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Kickstarter Bullied Conservatives, Too

Wednesday, April 9th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Kirsten Powers’ USA Today column today is a must-read:

Kickstarter, the nation’s biggest crowd-funding site,refused to accept a film about convicted abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell unless descriptions of his crimes were removed.

After producers Phelim McAleer and his wife, Ann McElhinney, complained publicly, embarrassed Kickstarter CEO Yancey Strickler claimed on Twitter that the allegation was false. Strickler released an e-mail accepting the Gosnell film, but failed to mention that it was accepted only after the filmmakers withdrew in frustration. The producers released e-mails from Kickstarter demanding that references to stabbing babies and “similar language” be removed. The “acceptance letter” came March 28, the day after the producers withdrew their proposal.

Kickstarter explained its reasoning for blocking the movie by writing, “We understand your convictions … however … our Community Guidelines outline that we encourage and enforce a culture of respect and consideration, and we ask that that language specifically be modified.”

Somehow, making a movie recounting the crimes of a convicted abortion doctor is disrespectful and inconsiderate. Kickstarter would only speak off the record, but its explanations were dissembling and contradictory. That might be because Kickstarter’s standards aren’t exactly rigorously enforced. An album titled Incest is the Highest Form of Flattery was fine. The movie Die Sluts Die telling “the story of … sex crazed friends … murdered in unusual and creative ways,” ditto.

Read the rest.

Progressives censor and bully conservatives in the name of tolerance or whatever other weapon happens to be at hand, then lie about it. Sun rises in the east, sets in the west.

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‘Praise Jesus!’ MSNBC Gets Religious Over Obama’s ‘Equal Pay’ Gig

Wednesday, April 9th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

I’ve often described MSNBC as a religious broadcaster. It doesn’t do news, it doesn’t allow any fact to challenge its dogma. It just sings hymns and broadcasts sermons to worship its god.

Mika Brzezinski attended President Obama’s “Equal Pay Day” event Tuesday. She was enraptured.

SCARBOROUGH: “Speaking of women, yesterday, big event at the White House. You were there along with Valerie. And a lot of other people. And of course, the president. Tell us about the event.”

BRZEZINSKI: “So this is the east room of the White House. And it was sort of like a church revival. I’m telling you, every time the president made a comment about why women should be paid equally to men. Equal pay for equal work, talking about the same jobs. You’d hear like ‘okay.’ Clapping, and almost like ‘praise Jesus.’ It was fun.”

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Eric Holder Suggests that Racism is Behind Republicans’ Tough Questioning Of Him

Wednesday, April 9th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Attorney General Eric “My people” Holder went to speak at racist Al Sharpton’s National Action Network event today, and to the shock of no one, he played the race card.

Before Sharpton was a power broker in the Democratic Party and a host on MSNBC, he rose to power by instigating violent race riots.

Holder said, “I am pleased to note that the last five years have been defined by significant strides, and by lasting reforms. Even in the face…even in the face…of unprecedented, unwarranted, ugly and divisive adversity.”

The audience applauded.

Holder continued: “Forget about me. You look at the way the Attorney General of the United States was treated yesterday by a House committee. Had nothing to do with me. Forget that. What attorney general has ever had that kind of treatment?”

Holder is referring to his exchange with Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX). Gohmert and other Republicans were trying to pin down when Holder’s Department of Justice would fulfill a promise that Holder had made to deliver documents. Holder refused to answer forthrightly. Gohmert called him out, to which Holder replied “You don’t want to go there, buddy!”

Holder continued: “What president has ever had to deal with that kind of treatment?”

The audience applauded all of Holder’s claims.

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Hey Look! CNN Is Covering the Leland Yee Scandal!

Wednesday, April 9th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

The incredible scandal of CA state Sen. Leland Yee, Democrat, broke on March 27. The story had just about everything from a hypocritical politician to a Russian arms dealer to Islamic terrorists, a guy named “Shrimp Boy” and even a massage parlor scene. It’s basically Sleeping Dogs II: Sacramento Boogaloo. Yet CNN declined to cover it (as did most of the national media).

Some bloggers tried to get CNN to explain itself, and CNN replied that Yee is a mere state senator. Beneath the network’s gaze.

Problem with that argument: CNN has produced many stories about another state senator, Democrat Wendy Davis. That was back on April 1.

Here we are at April 9, and CNN has finally decided that Yee is worth a story. But get a look at how CNN packs its story with excuses for his alleged crimes. This is CNN’s lead.

First, the ambitious California state senator had to fund his 2011 race for mayor of San Francisco. When he came in fifth, he was stuck with $70,000 in campaign debt that he had to retire before he could mount his next run, for secretary of state — a costly statewide venture.

And that’s how prosecutors say Yee ended up sitting across from an undercover federal agent in a coffee shop in early March, brokering what he was told was a $2 million arms deal that would include the purchase of shoulder-fired missiles from Islamic rebels in the Philippines.

“Do I think we can make some money? I think we can make some money,” Yee told the agent in a conversation recounted in a 137-page arrest affidavit. “Do I think we can get the goods? I think we can get the goods.”

Shorter CNN: Campaign finance laws turned Yee to the Chinese mob and gun-running.

CNN doesn’t get around to identifying Yee’s party affiliation until the fourth paragraph, and even then, they modify it with “veteran” to give him a bit more gravitas.

You can’t make this stuff up.

You can’t make up Willie Brown’s defense of Yee, either.

“That’s why it’s such a shock to me,” said Brown, who once endorsed and later fired the aspiring politico. From a “practical, intellectual standpoint,” he said, “You don’t bribe or you don’t launder money or you don’t do things with people who can’t deliver on public policy.”

He sounds like he’s speaking from direct experience.

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OkCupid’s Sam Yagan Breaks His Silence

Wednesday, April 9th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

OkCupid and its co-founder Sam Yagan have gone silent on Twitter ever since they succeeded in getting Brendan Eich ousted from Mozilla. In the week since then, we and others have taken a look at OkCupid’s board members’ political donations. It turns out that Yagan himself donated to Republican Rep. Chris Cannon of Utah. Cannon had consistently voted against gay marriage at the time — as had most members of Congress, in both parties. Support for gay marriage is a relatively recent development, so recent that President Barack Obama didn’t even evolve on the issue until 2012, at a time when he needed to shore up his party’s leftwing base so that could be re-elected. In 2008, when Obama sought a broader electoral coalition and wanted to present himself as a moderate, he clearly told Pastor Rick Warren that he opposed gay marriage.

Yagan had donated money to Obama and the Democrats as well, both of which were opposed to gay marriage at the time he made the donations.

Yagan has broken his silence, in a statement that he emailed to the Huffington Post. He claims ignorance over the Cannon donation.

A decade ago, I made a contribution to Representative Chris Cannon because he was the ranking Republican on the House subcommittee that oversaw the Internet and Intellectual Property, matters important to my business and our industry. I accept responsibility for not knowing where he stood on gay rights in particular; I unequivocally support marriage equality and I would not make that contribution again today. However, a contribution made to a candidate with views on hundreds of issues has no equivalence to a contribution supporting Prop 8, a single issue that has no purpose other than to affirmatively prohibit gay marriage, which I believe is a basic civil right.

Yagan remains unapologetic about harassing a man out of a job because that man held a majority view a few years ago, and a view that still commands around half support in polls, and still wins outright when put to a vote, and has been around for thousands of years. Yagan remains unapologetic about launching a lynch mob action.

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MSNBC Hack Brzezinsky: Republican Women are Just ‘Hostages’

Wednesday, April 9th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Proof that Republicans will never ever get a fair shake on MSNBC. On Tuesday, President Obama launched his dishonest “Equal Pay Day” play despite the fact that his own White House doesn’t pay women and men equally. Obama’s move forced the Republicans to respond, which is why he made the move in the first place, and it was only natural that elected Republican women would lead the charge. They see the cynicism and hypocrisy of a White House that is so desperate that it will exploit women and try making victims of them.

On Morning Joe today, they played a sequence of those women speaking out against Obama. These are women who hold elected positions in Congress. Mika Brzezinsky, given a network job because she is the daughter of a famous Democrat, calls those independently elected Republican women “hostages.”

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Brandeis University Rescinds Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s Honorary Degree Because She Criticized Islam

Wednesday, April 9th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

The students, faculty and staff of Brandeis University have submitted themselves to dhimmitude.

Brandeis University in Massachusetts announced Tuesday that it had withdrawn the planned awarding of an honorary degree to Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a staunch critic of Islam and its treatment of women, after protests from students and faculty.

The university said in a statement posted online that the decision had been made after a discussion between Ali and university President Frederick Lawrence.

“She is a compelling public figure and advocate for women’s rights, and we respect and appreciate her work to protect and defend the rights of women and girls throughout the world,” said the university’s statement. “That said, we cannot overlook certain of her past statements that are inconsistent with Brandeis University’s core values.”

Ali, a member of the Dutch Parliament from 2003 to 2006, has been quoted as making comments critical of Islam. That includes a 2007 interview with Reason Magazine in which she said of the religion, “Once it’s defeated, it can mutate into something peaceful. It’s very difficult to even talk about peace now. They’re not interested in peace. I think that we are at war with Islam. And there’s no middle ground in wars.”

Ali knows well of what she speaks. She was raised Muslim in Somalia, survived female genital mutilation, escaped Somalia’s civil war and became a member of the Dutch parliament. But Islam followed her, and credibly threatened her life. She and Theo Van Gogh produced a short film critical of Islam’s treatment of women, called Submission. A Muslim murdered Van Goch on an Amsterdam street in 2004. His killer used a knife to pin a note to Van Gogh’s body, and in that note he threatened Ali.

The threats became too much, and Ali was once again forced to move, this time to the United States.

So she knows very well what she is criticizing and why she criticizes it. Shame on Brandeis. The university probably thinks it is making a statement for tolerance, but in rescinding Ali’s honor, it is making a very different statement.

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Democrat Kathleen Kane Needs to Name Names — Or Fess Up to Lying

Wednesday, April 9th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

PA Attorney General Kathleen Kane, Democrat, scuttled a major corruption investigation soon after she took office. That investigation had snared a handful of Democrat officeholders accepting bribes. Kane smeared the investigation, claiming it was racist. When the Philly Inquirer reported on her actions, Kane pulled a Wendy Davis move and threatened to sue the newspaper. That threat is still in play.

Kane has added to her racism smear, claiming that federal investigators had concluded that the investigation was too weak to prosecute. She and her staff even gamed the situation by prepping a case file for a Republican to review, a case file apparently stacked to make the case look impossible to prosecute.

Now Kane is being called out on claiming that prosecutors believed that the case was too weak, too. This is another Inquirer story; perhaps Kane will add it to the lawsuit she is threatening to bring against the paper.

Federal prosecutors in Philadelphia never deemed a sting operation that targeted public corruption as too weak to prosecute, according to District Attorney Seth Williams and law enforcement sources familiar with the brief federal review of the investigation.

The sources and Williams say the prosecutors never came to a judgment about the investigation one way or another before the state attorney general asked them to halt their review.

Their statements echo a declaration by the Philadelphia office of the FBI, which said it made no judgment about whether the case was suitable for prosecution.

Kane’s response: “Did too!” But she hasn’t named a single name.

Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen G. Kane has said “federal authorities” endorsed her view that the sting was fatally damaged. She has declined to identity the federal officials involved, saying they had asked for anonymity.

Much more at the link. The Inquirer contacted many of the officials who would have made the judgement that Kane is claiming, and none of them agree with her at all.

Kane will have to name a name. But it’s likely that there is no name to name. All the available evidence strongly suggests that Kane killed the investigation for purely partisan reasons. The investigation targeted Republicans and Democrats, but only Democrats were caught on tape accepting the bribes. The process of prosecuting them could damage the Democrat Party in Pennsylvania for years to come, turning a swing state at least a light shade of red. Kane could have mitigated that damage by standing up for the rule of law, and presiding over a fair prosecution of her fellow Democrats. But that isn’t the choice that Kane has made.

h/t First Street Journal

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Cheerleading for Obama ‘Commonplace’ In the IRS

Wednesday, April 9th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Drudge is fronting this shocking Washington Times story about the Internal Revenue Service.

Even as the IRS faces growing heat over Lois G. Lerner and the tea party targeting scandal, a government watchdog said Wednesday it’s pursuing cases against three other tax agency employees and offices suspected of illegal political activity in support of President Obama and fellow Democrats.

In one case the Office of Special Counsel, which investigates federal employees who conduct politics on government time, said it was “commonplace” in a Dallas IRS office for employees to have pro-Obama screensavers on their computers, and to have campaign-style buttons and stickers at their office.

Another IRS employee in Kentucky has agreed to serve a 14-day suspension for blasting Republicans in a conversation with a taxpayer.

“They’re going to take women back 40 years,” the IRS employee said in a conversation that was recorded. The employee also said that “if you vote for a Republican, the rich are going to get richer and the poor are going to get poorer.”

That employee went on to tell the taxpayer she knew she wasn’t supposed to be voicing her political opinions, and asked the taxpayer not to say anything.

More at the link.

I used to see and hear some of this sort of thing when I worked at NASA, but in those cases nearly all of the workers involved were contractors, and NASA is a very different animal from the IRS. You’d see a sea of Howard Dean stickers on the cars in the parking lot outside some agency buildings, you’d hear the occasional political diatribe against Republicans by high-ranking officials now and then, and James Hansen’s constant politicking from his agency perch speaks for itself. But within NASA you could at least debate things, and NASA cannot ruin people’s lives the way that the IRS can.

That the IRS has apparently morphed into another arm of the Democratic National Committee is dangerous and deeply depressing. It suggests that while Lois Lerner probably was working with Obama administration officials above her in the food chain, she and many many other agency officials may not have even needed specific orders to act upon. They knew what to do, and more importantly, they knew that the Obama administration was extremely unlikely to punish them.

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SecState Kerry Blames Collapse of ‘Peace Process’ on Israel

Wednesday, April 9th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

The Palestinians elected terrorist group Hamas to lead them. That group espouses the total destruction of Israel. Palestinians teach their children to hate and want to kill Jews. Hamas and Hizballah regularly stage deliberate attacks on Israeli civilian targets. The Palestinians do not truly believe in a “two state solution,” they believe in a one state solution that does not include the continued existence of Israel.

Yet to Secretary of State John Kerry, none of that matters as much as a few Israeli gestures.

“Both sides wound out in a position of unhelpful moves,” Kerry said at a hearing of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, delineating what he said led to the current impasse.

“The prisoners were not released by Israel on the day they were supposed to be released and then another day passed and another day, and then 700 units were approved in Jerusalem and then poof — that was sort of the moment,” Kerry said.

The secretary of state was referring to the planned fourth release of Palestinian security prisoners, which was originally slated for March 29. Israel did not proceed with the release on time, with Jerusalem saying that it was delayed because the Palestinian Authority had demanded that Israeli Arabs be among those freed and was unwilling to commit to extend peace talks beyond their April 29 deadline.

On April 1, the Israel Lands Authority reissued a call for tenders for 708 homes in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Gilo, which is located beyond the 1967 lines and was annexed by Israel.

Later that same day, PA President Mahmoud Abbas signed 15 letters of accession to multilateral treaties and conventions, in what Israel said was a clear breach of Ramallah’s commitment not to take unilateral steps to advance their statehood bid so long as the talks were ongoing.

The Palestinians repeatedly broke their word, as they always do. The most that Kerry could say about that, about the PA’s open defiance on statehood, was that it was “unhelpful.”

There isn’t a whole lot that one can say to someone like Kerry. Sen. John McCain scolded him in that hearing, but it’s very unlikely that Kerry learned anything. If he doesn’t have a clue by now — and he doesn’t — it’s unlikely that he ever will. But he’s only a symptom of the problem. The Democrats as a whole have mostly turned against Israel, or at least see it as being on the same moral plane as Hamas. The average American voter doesn’t pay enough attention to foreign policy to realize the danger of electing any Democrat administration. The “free stuff” coalition has the upper hand in that party.

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Obama’s ‘War on Women’ Devolves into a Squabble Over Dry Cleaning Costs

Tuesday, April 8th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

The formerly* most powerful man in the world, the President of the United States of America, said this today.

POTUS said, “[I] know it’s equal pay and not Obamacare day, but I do want to point out that the affordable care act guarantees free preventive care like mammograms and contraceptive care and ends the days when you can be charged more for being a woman when it comes to your health insurance. That’s true for everybody. That’s just one more place where things were not fair. We’ll talk about dry cleaners next, right? I know that — I don’t know why it cost more for Michelle’s blouse than my shirt.”

If he really doesn’t know, it’s probably because he never held a real job in his life. Or, he just isn’t very smart.

That remark prompted the Washington Post’s Juliet Epstein and Kate Zezima to study up and write a post about — I’m not making this up — why it costs women more than men to get dry cleaning.

They note that there is no federal law against charging women more. They noted that Obama isn’t even the first Democrat to bring this vital issue to our nation’s attention.

They fail to note that women’s clothes tend to be tailored more than men’s, and that women tend to wear more delicate fabrics than men. The Post’s two writers on this one story failed to even take any of that into consideration, even though it’s blindingly obvious. They note all of the politics, but none of the relevant facts.

A female commenter on the story sets them straight.

I was born in the dry cleaning business. My parents have been in the business for 18+ years.
That being said, I would like to say dry cleaners are not trying to be discriminatory. It’s business.

1.) Men’s shirts are dry cleaner’s loss leaders. We hate people who bring 10+ shirts without any dry cleaning because we make no profit.

2.) Dry cleaners have men’s shirts machines. These machines are fit for men’s shirts.
See link: http://www.mymartinizing.com/files/shirts/sankosha…

3.) Women’s clothing are more complex than men’s clothing. This article talks about cleaning a women’s blouse versus a man’s shirt, but what about pressing a blouse, dress or skirt?

4.) Think about the lines of a woman’s figure and the way that clothes are designed to contour this figure. Now think about a man’s body. It’s more boxy. No machines are manufactured that could form the many types of women’s blouses. See link above.

5.) Women’s blouses are usually more versatile in style, fabric material, and embellishments. If a woman brought in a silk shirt, a dry cleaner would not wash it. It must be dry cleaned. The cost of chemicals and pressing is more expensive. Thus, her blouse is more costly.

Overview: The time and effort that goes into cleaning women’s clothing is more labor intensive as well as time intensive. This is why Michelle’s blouse is more expensive than Obama’s shirt.

Thank you, Pres. Obama, for considering the discrimination of women in the area of dry cleaning. However, you spoke too soon.

*Barack Obama has devalued the US presidency to the extent that he is no longer the most powerful man in the world. Vladimir Putin might be, China’s president might be, George Soros might be…but Barack Obama is not.

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‘Come on, really?’ CNN Anchor Mocks White House Over ‘Equal Pay’ Gambit

Tuesday, April 8th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

So this happened on CNN this afternoon. The network took a break from its search for the missing airplane long enough to whack the White House over its ridiculous “equal pay” rollout.

That’s Carol Costello exploding in mockery after WH spokesman Jay Carney essentially debunks his own talking point. Enjoy.

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If the Obama White House has lost CNN…well, it still has the bitter enders at MSNBC.

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Holder Scolds Congressman over Contempt: ‘You don’t want to go there, buddy!’

Tuesday, April 8th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

During a House committee hearing today, Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) suggested that Attorney General Eric Holder did not mind it when Congress held him in contempt over the Fast and Furious investigation. That sparked a bitter response from Holder.

Holder was promising the committee staff to provide it with requested documents, and Gohmert replied that the Justice Department’s response so far had been “inadequate.”

“And I realize that contempt is not a big deal to our attorney general, but it is important we have proper oversight,” Gohmert said, referring to the 2012 vote that held Holder in contempt. President Obama eventually buried that scandal by invoking executive privilege.

Holder fired back at Gohmert: “You don’t want to go there buddy. You don’t want to go there.”

Gohmert: “I don’t want to go there?”

Holder: “No.”

Gohmert: “About the contempt?”

Holder: “You should not assume that that is not a big deal to me. I think it was inappropriate and it was unjust. But never think that that was not a big deal to me. Don’t ever think that.”

Gohmert: “Well, I’m just looking for evidence and normally we’re known by our fruits. And there have no indications that it was a big deal because your department has still not been forthcoming in producing the documents that were the subject of the contempt.”

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