Wednesday's HOT MIC

Welcome to HOT MIC, PJ Media's daily liveblog. Join our editors and contributors for news updates and conversation throughout the day, and add your thoughts to the mix in our comments section at the bottom or by clicking on the comment bubbles on individual posts.  Be sure to save this link so you can find HOT MIC every day.

Good Wednesday Morning.

Here is what's on President Trump's agenda today:

  • In the morning, President Donald J. Trump will receive his daily intelligence briefing.
  • The President will then lead a tribal, State, and local energy roundtable.
  • In the afternoon, the President will participate in a meet and greet with the Chicago Cubs.
  • The President will then meet with immigration crime victims to urge passage of House legislation to save American lives.
  • In the evening, the President will depart the White House en route to the Trump International Hotel, where he will give remarks at the Republican National Committee dinner.
  • The President will then return to the White House.

Healthcare vote postponed, lawmakers take field trip to the White House

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced yesterday that the vote on the "replace" version of Obamacare has been delayed. Afterward, Republican lawmakers took a field trip to the White House to talk to President Trump.

Senators expressed concerns about different aspects of the bill, including lawmakers from states expanding Medicaid, conservatives raising concerns about elements of the bill, and others about the tax cuts to the wealthy paired with cuts to Medicaid, a source in the room said.

What needs to be done is to repeal the entire mess and let the free market kick in. If you want health insurance, great, buy it. If you prefer to pay out of pocket because you are young and healthy, go for it. If you only want catastrophic insurance for your family, make that choice.

McConnell's announcement to delay the vote came less than a day after the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office announced that 22 million more Americans would be uninsured over the next decade if the Republican Senate bill passed. That news alone had caused some Republicans to want to take a step back and get more questions answered.

How many of these people would be uninsured willingly? It makes no economic sense for young, healthy people to purchase health insurance, especially at the Obamacare prices. Sadly, the Democrats want younger, healthier people, who are saddled with student loans and possibly a mortgage, to carry the additional burden of inflated health insurance costs to subsidize the system.

One thing is clear: Obamacare is a failure and something has to be done. And that something should be trashing it.

"For the country, we have to have health care and it can't be Obamacare, which is melting down," Trump said before the closed-door session. "This will be great if we get it done, and if we don't get it done it is just going to be something we aren't going to like. And that is OK and I understand that very well."

Sarah Huckabee Sanders under fire at WH presser

The White House held a televised press conference yesterday (paging Jim Acosta) and it got a little heated with Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders.

The feud between the Trump White House and CNN reached a fever pitch Tuesday during a feisty press briefing where Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders slammed “fake news” and said Americans “deserve something better.”

Sanders conducted the first televised briefing in a week, following complaints from the press corps that too many are being held off-camera. She took the podium in place of Press Secretary Sean Spicer, who was on Capitol Hill for a GOP Senate luncheon.

When she was asked about the recent CNN story retraction, just one of many recent embarrassments for CNN, she responded:

“There are multiple instances when that outlet has been wrong—there’s a video circulating now, whether it's accurate or not, not sure—but I encourage everyone to take a look at it. If it is accurate, I think it’s a disgrace to all of media, to all of journalism.”

Huckabee Sanders made a good point: "If we make the slightest mistake, it is an absolute tirade from a lot of people in this room, but news outlets get to go on, day after day, and cite unnamed sources, and use stories without sources.”

And then things turned interesting.

Brian J. Karem, executive editor of The Montgomery County Sentinel, a local newspaper in Maryland, then accused Sanders of being “inflammatory.”

“You’re inflaming everyone here,” Karem said. “We’re here to ask questions, you’re here to provide answers—what you did is inflammatory—everybody in this room is just trying to do their job.”

Sanders fired back and said that the problem is “the dishonesty that often takes place in the news media.”

“It is outrageous to accuse me of inflaming a story when I was trying to answer a question,” Sanders added.

CNN did not get called on during the briefing.

Democrat Dick Durbin's office will not release its emails with failed GOP assassin

Senator Dick Durbin's office says they will not release correspondence with the GOP congressional shooter.

An Associated Press report says, “Hodgkinson also visited the office of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, whose campaign he had worked on as a volunteer, and was in email contact with the two Democratic senators from his home state.”

The “two Democratic senators from his home state” of Illinois would presumably be Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth.

Durbin's office said “Mr. Hodgkinson contacted our office to state his opinion on a variety of legislation over the years. Those emails were all given to USCP and are part of the current investigation.” When asked if they would release the emails to the public, there was no response. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) also refused to respond to the Daily Caller's request.

Sarah Palin sues NYT over Giffords shooting link

Former Veep candidate and Alaska Governor Sarah Palin has filed a defamation suit against the New York Times. The Times ran an editorial linking the 2011 shooting of then-congresswoman Gabby Giffords to Palin following the attempted assassination attempt of GOP congressmen practicing in Virginia for a charity softball game.

The editorial, attributed to the Times' editorial board and titled "America's Lethal Politics," initially linked Palin's rhetoric to the shooting that killed six people and wounded 13 others, including then-Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.

The paper posted a correction the next day admitting that "no such link was established."

This myth was debunked years ago.

The editorial also claimed, incorrectly, that a now-infamous ad from Palin's political action committee put "Giffords and 19 other Democrats under stylized cross hairs[sic]." The Times also corrected that statement, admitting that the crosshairs on the map targeted "electoral districts, not individual Democratic lawmakers."

"The Times used its false assertion about Mrs. Palin as an artifice to exploit the [Scalise] shooting," Palin's attorneys stated in the suit.

"The Times published and promoted its Editorial Board's column despite knowing ... the false assertion that Mrs. Palin incited [Tucson shooter Jared] Loughner to murder six people," the suit added. "In doing so, the Times violated the law and its own policies."

Obama's lavish luxury vacations questioned

I don't care where he spends his own money, I just care when he was spending taxpayer funds.

The Democratic base is growing increasingly frustrated with former President Barack Obama’s actions after leaving office, including a seemingly endless tour of millionaire and billionaire luxury retreats, according to Democrats and activists contacted by Fox News.

There are plenty of elites in the Democratic Party.

“These trips are like the lifestyles of the rich and famous,” said Democratic strategist Pat Caddell. The former adviser to ex-President Jimmy Carter believes that President Obama’s vacations are unprecedented, and a far cry from how Carter spent his first few months out of office.

“I think the Bernie Sanders wing of the party, when they see President Obama, whom they instinctively want to defend being the corporatist president, I think it makes the base uneasy,” said Caddell.

It gets better:

Left-wing activists told Fox News they are troubled by what they see as a trend by Obama to distance himself from the base of the party. It’s not just vacations. The president also has enjoyed hefty fees for speeches to prominent Wall Street firms. It’s all part of a trend, they say, of Obama trying to join the fabled 1 percent.

"Obama is not as wealthy or as conservative as Trump, George W. Bush, or George H.W. Bush, but he enjoys what used to be called ‘the lifestyle of the rich and famous,’” said Dr. David Michael Smith of the Houston Socialist Movement. “I am not surprised by Obama’s several recent foreign vacations. As president, he disappointed millions of supporters who hoped he would be a strong advocate for working-class people."

Even John Oliver chimed in:

“I’ll tell you who should kick back a little less,” said HBO host John Oliver in an interview with Seth Meyers. “This might be controversial – I’m a little sick of seeing photos of President Obama on vacation with Richard Branson. Just tone it down with the kite-surfing pictures. I’m glad he’s having a nice time – America is on fire.”

He's not the president anymore.

Other Morsels:

An ICE agent visited a restaurant. About 30 employees quit the next day, its owner says.

Feds give $20,000 grant to musical about ‘bad hombre’ illegal immigrant and lesbian

Democratic Rep: citing uncomfortable data is white privilege

Innocent man released from jail after drywall was mistaken for cocaine

Teens accused of stealing money for jewelry, cars and teeth

Venezuela's president says police helicopter fired on Supreme Court

At least 1 U.S. nuclear plant's computer system was hacked

Twitter hires new head of diversity

And that's all I've got, now go beat back the angry mob!

Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) made national headlines this week, which *should* be a great opportunity for Missouri newsrooms to write about their gal in Washington.

As PJ Media reported yesterday, McCaskill inserted herself into the Russia affair last March when she tweeted: “I've been on the Armed Services Com for 10 years. No call or meeting w/Russian ambassador. Ever. Ambassadors call members of Foreign [Relations Committee].”

CNN revealed on Monday that McCaskill had indeed attended a black-tie dinner at the Russian ambassador’s Washington residence in November 2015. This was in addition to two earlier encounters she was known to have had with the Russian ambassador.

To state the obvious, the senator's tweet in March looks highly deceptive in light of all of these encounters. But it gets worse.

The Washington Free Beacon further reported on Wednesday that McCaskill used a personal foundation to pay for the dinner with the Russian ambassador, but had failed to disclose her role in the foundation until earlier this month.

McCaskill's attendance at the dinner was accompanied by an $873 payment to the American-Russian Cultural Cooperation Foundation, where Kislyak serves on its board of directors as honorary chairman.

Wowwww.  Move over Jeff Sessions, Paul Manafort and Carter Page. There's a new Kremlin mole in town!

So how is the the Kansas City (Red) Star covering all of these scoops about the former Kansas Citian?

According to the Sentinel's Jack Cashill -- not at all.

Instead, the Star is running wish-fulfillment articles like the one on Monday headlined, “President Jason Kander? He’s making all the early moves.”

Yes, that is a real headline. True, Kander “never held an office higher than secretary of state.” And true, “He narrowly lost a winnable Senate campaign last year.” And true, “He currently holds no political office.”

But what other Missouri Democrat is worth talking about during the party’s dog days? Apparently not Claire McCaskill.

#Sad!

A man screaming "freedom!" crashed his vehicle into Arkansas' new Ten Commandments monument three years after he was arrested for pulling the same stunt by destroying the Ten Commandments statue in Oklahoma.

AP:

The privately funded Arkansas monument had been in place outside the state Capitol in Little Rock for less than 24 hours before it was knocked from its plinth and smashed to pieces.

Michael Tate Reed, 32, of Van Buren, Arkansas, was booked in the Pulaski County jail shortly after 7:30 a.m. on preliminary charges of defacing objects of public interest, criminal trespass and first-degree criminal mischief. An arrest report lists his occupation as "unemployed/disabled."

Authorities did not know whether he had an attorney who could speak on his behalf, and a video arraignment was set for Thursday morning, a Pulaski County sheriff's spokesman said. A call to the number listed for Reed on a police report went straight to voicemail.

Arkansas Secretary of State's Office spokesman Chris Powell said officials believe a Facebook Live video posted on a Michael Reed's account that depicted the destruction is authentic.

In the video, the sky is dark and the Arkansas Capitol's dome is visible. Music is heard followed by a female voice, likely on the radio, saying, "Where do you go when you're faced with adversity and trials and challenges?" The driver is then heard growling, "Oh my goodness. Freedom!" before accelerating into the monument. The vehicle's speedometer is last shown at 21 mph (33 kph) and then a collision can be heard.

The monument fell and broke into multiple pieces as it hit the ground.

Oklahoma County Sheriff's spokesman Mark Opgrande told The Associated Press on Wednesday that Reed was the same man arrested in October 2014 in the destruction of Oklahoma's Ten Commandments monument at the state Capitol.

In a 2015 email to the Tulsa World , Reed apologized for wrecking Oklahoma's monument and said he suffered from mental health issues.

"I am so sorry that this all happening (sic) and wished I could take it all back," Reed said.

Yeah...right. So the guy goes crazy twice? Not likely.

I fail to see the controversy here. No public money was used to build the monuments in Arkansas and Oklahoma. And despite attempts to denigrate them, the Ten Commandments form the basis of Western civilized society. Our body of laws is directly based on the strictures found in the Commandments. Far more than a religious text, the secular application of the Commandments to how we live and interact with one another makes our society possible.

No, we're not perfect and even the Ten Commandments can be a little unyielding on some points. But to take the Commandments as a purely religious expression of God's law is idiotic. They are so much more and nutcases like Reed should be safely locked away and his "mental health issues" dealt with.

But, hey, they get offended if you say they're not real journalists or something.

Real Border Issues

I was back in my native Arizona last week and having discussions with some people about what goes on there as a result of the porous border. The criminals that Trump spoke about when he kicked off his campaign affect Arizona more than any other border state so I wasn't really appalled at his remarks at the time. In fact, one of the most infuriating aspects of most illegal immigration reporting is that criminal activity is almost completely ignored to prop up the false narrative. Yes, there are a lot of people who come to the U.S. from Mexico to just make a better life for themselves but there are also a lot of very dangerous people who enter this country and don't get sent back because we're more concerned with feelings than with safety. Love or hate Trump, there's no denying that he gets this.

Why though? 

Oh. 

Good luck winning Ohio in 2020 with an attitude like that. 

Media buries SPLC-GuideStar "hate group" story.

The Media Research Center is blowing the whistle over the "legacy" media's decision not to cover GuideStar's adoption of the libelous "hate group" labeling of the terror-linked Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC).

The Associated Press (AP) reported on June 8, non-profit-tracking organization Guidestar had added “hate group” tags to 46 non-profit groups’ profiles including The Family Research Council (FRC) and The American Family Association.

The “hate group” tags came directly from the far-left Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), a group that routinely attacks conservatives under the guise of “fighting hate and bigotry.”

Despite the AP story and backlash from conservatives, ABC, CBS and NBC broadcast news shows ignored the controversy between June 8 and June 27. The networks even ignored GuideStar’s June 23, announcement it would remove the designations.

National newspapers also said little. The New York Times published the AP story but did no original reporting. The Washington Post and The Seattle Times reported on it, but not until GuideStar announced it was removing the tags.

Guidestar is a self-described “neutral” organization that “collects, organizes, and presents” data on every non-profit registered with the IRS. However, its website states it is not “a charity evaluator or a watchdog.”

The SPLC’s hate group list ranked conservative groups like the religious liberty organization Alliance Defending Freedom and the pro-life Family Research Council alongside the Black Panthers, the Klu Klux Klan and Nation of Islam.

SPLC’s decision to label conservative groups as “hate” groups inspired a gunman to target the FRC in 2012. The shooter, Floyd Corkins, admitted he chose FRC after finding it on the SPLC website. The SPLC also published a misleading “hate crime” study after President Donald Trump’s election which ignored at least 2,000 attacks against white students.

James Hodgkinson, the man who shot Steve Scalise, "liked" the SPLC on Facebook. The SPLC had repeatedly attacked Scalise.

PJ Media covered the story here, here, and here.

Not even the hallowed grounds of Gettysburg Cemetery are safe from protests these days.

It appears that those who want to erase the Confederacy from American history and those who wish to preserve it are going to be holding protests on the iconic battlefield during the 154th anniversary of the battle from July 1-3. Philly.com reports that Antifa plans to burn Confederate flags and desecrate graves during their protests.

The Sons of Confederate Veterans and  a group called Real 3% Risen have received special use permits for 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday in a special section north of Meade’s Headquarters.

“We make accommodations for people who want to exercise their First Amendment rights,” said Katie Lawhon, a spokeswoman for  Gettysburg National Military Park.

Officials also are aware of plans for other rallies that have been announced on social media but have not obtained permits, and there are unconfirmed reports that anarchists plan to burn Confederate flags during the anniversary of the battle.

Lawhon said the park is working with the U.S. Park Police, the Pennsylvania State Police, and local law enforcement to keep order during the weekend.

“Our goal is to ensure that public safety and visitor safety is number one and that park resources are preserved,” she said.

Besides the two permitted protests, Civil War reenactors from the Maryland Sons of Confederate Veterans also received a permit for a “site specific” march starting at 10 a.m. from the North Carolina Memorial to the Veterans Memorial, where they will hold a ceremony, Lawhon said. Another popular private reenactment festival is also scheduled about two miles from the park, she said.

Reports that the anti-fascist group Antifa plans to burn Confederate flags and desecrate graves have prompted calls on social media for other groups to gather in Gettysburg to counter those protesters.

The anniversary of the battle, which raged from July 1 to July 3, 1863, comes at a time when there is a growing movement to remove Confederate symbols from public spaces.

“There just seems to be a focus on that issue, when there has not been in the past,” Lawhon said.

There are no plans to change any of the 1,300 monuments on the park grounds, she said.

 

Can't we ever just have nice things in this country? 

If he screws up my Amazon Prime (and my ability to tell Alexa to send a crate of toilet paper to my front porch in two days) with an "internet tax," I will be rioting in the streets. With fire.

 

Um...

This Democrat Won A Seat In Congress Weeks Ago. Why Isn’t He In DC Working?

Jazz Shaw has an inquiring mind and wants to know.

This should have been a fairly easy question, but as with all things in California it seems to be needlessly complicated. A few weeks ago, California Democratic state assemblyman Jimmy Gomez easily won election to Congress. Congratulations! But we’re quickly approaching the July 4th congressional recess and Mr. Gomez still hasn’t shown up in Washington to be sworn in and start working. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy is wondering why. (LA Times)

...

The seat in the 34th district has been empty for months now and I’m guessing that the voters there might like to have their voices heard in the many hotly contested debates currently roiling Congress. But Gomez is still interested in hanging around and voting on some cap and trade bill in the state assembly. Where do his priorities lie? McCarthy sent a letter telling him to basically get moving or get out of the way and let someone else have the job.

Why the delay? Gomez told the LA Times that "after the election he would try to delay his Assembly resignation to vote on extending the state’s cap-and-trade program, which requires companies to buy permits to release greenhouse gas."

Because without Gomez's single vote, California's uber-leftwing Assembly could just never pass cap-and-trade?

Sorry, but that answer doesn't pass muster.