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Lois Lerner’s Missing Emails Are Now Subject of Criminal Probe

By Stephen Dinan     •     The Washington Post

Lois Lerner IRSThe IRS’s inspector general confirmed Thursday it is conducting a criminal investigation into how Lois G. Lerner’s emails disappeared, saying it took only two weeks for investigators to find hundreds of tapes the agency’s chief had told Congress were irretrievably destroyed.

Investigators have already scoured 744 backup tapes and gleaned 32,774 unique emails, but just two weeks ago they found an additional 424 tapes that could contain even more Lerner emails, Deputy Inspector General Timothy P. Camus told the House Oversight Committee in a rare late-night hearing meant to look into the status of the investigation.

“There is potential criminal activity,” Mr. Camus said. [Read more...]

Acute Flaccid Myelitis in Children

by Peter Bernad, MD, MPH, FACP

sick-child-vaccines-medicineRecently there have been reports of a “new” condition as reported in various journals and recent publications regarding an outbreak nationwide of acute flaccid myelitis in children.

In the past, this syndrome was invariably caused by an infection of 1 of the 3 types of polio virus. The mere mention of polio virus raises concerns among the American population, as well as physicians who are used to practicing in the 1950s into the 1960s. There are illnesses that clinically resemble polio virus infection that is polio, which may be caused by other Enteroviruses. These include Coxsackie viruses groups A and B, Japanese Encephalitis Virus, West Nile Virus, and now the cases of acute flaccid myelitis seen in children. There have been a number of deaths reported nationwide. This particular illness is thought to be related to an Enterovirus 68. That link is still being confirmed. [Read more...]

The Budget Caps and America’s Security Needs

by Peter Huessy

Income inequality cash moneyThe President’s Fiscal Year 2016 Budget makes a defense spending request that exceeds the Budget Control Act (BCA) spending cap for FY16 by $35 billion with a “base” defense spending request of $534 billion, while also asking Congress for an additional $51 billion for what is known as Overseas Contingency Operations(OCO) that are, under law, not subject to the spending caps.

Of the amount requested by the President, for what is known as the “base” defense budget, $209.8 billion is for operations and maintenance (O&M), $107.7 billion is for procurement, and $69.8 billion for research, development, test, and evaluation (RDT&E).The remaining costs (largely personnel) are exempt from any cuts.

For the OCO accounts, $40.2 billion is for O&M, and $7.3 billion is requested for procurement with half of that for the US Army. [Read more...]

Coalition Letter Opposing Blocking Parental Access to Critical Vaccinations

Coalition

To: Dr. Thomas R. Frieden, Director, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention CC: CDC Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices

Dear Dr. Frieden and CDC Advisory Committee of Immunization Practices Members,

We write to you today in support of a family’s right to access to safe, effective vaccines for their children. Vaccines have saved millions of lives since their invention and near universal vaccination rates have eradicated a number of horrible diseases from small pox to polio. Unfortunately certain diseases like Meningitis B, the cause of 40% of all meningitis cases in 2012, could persist because the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) may opt to block access to life-­‐saving vaccinations.

In late February, your Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) will meet to determine the accessibility of two vaccines the Food and Drug administration recently approved to prevent Meningitis B. ACIP, and therefore CDC, appears poised to recommend its usage only for “high-­‐risk group/outbreaks,” meaning private health insurance will cover the cost of vaccination only after an outbreak of this deadly disease has occurred. [Read more...]

Barack Obama, Corporate Liberal

And secret friend of the one percent.

by Jay Cost     •     The Weekly Standard

Obama-smugIn last week’s State of the Union address, President Barack Obama came across as the ultimate class warrior. His domestic agenda consists of more spending on roads and infrastructure, new entitlement programs for community college and preschool, and tax preferences targeted to low- and middle-income earners. All of this he would pay for with new inheritance taxes on the wealthy, a hike in the capital gains tax, and a special levy on the biggest financial institutions.

But don’t be fooled. Obama may seem like the newest member of Occupy Wall Street—chanting “We are the 99 percent!”—but his record shows him to be a corporate liberal, and a closer look at last week’s proposals confirms it. [Read more...]

Here Comes the Next Obamacare Showdown

by Philip Klein     •     Washington Examiner

obamacare logoIf the U.S. Supreme Court rules in June that health insurance subsidies for millions of Americans are illegal, Republicans better not be caught flat-footed, because President Obama will be ready to pounce, Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., told the Washington Examiner in an interview.

“As the president said to me in the White House [earlier this month], he said, ‘There are five million people [who receive subsidies through the federal exchange] — and I know who they are.’ He spoke like a community organizer who was going to try to use those people that he has actually caused significant damage to by not applying the law,” Barrasso said from his senate office.

The Wyoming senator has of late been something of a Paul Revere of the Republican Senate majority, shouting, “King vs. Burwell is coming! King vs. Burwell is coming!” [Read more...]

The Polarization of the Climate Debate Has Gone Too Far

I have never met a climate sceptic, let alone a lukewarmer, who wants his opponents silenced. I wish I could say the same of those who think climate change is an alarming prospect.

by Matt Ridley     •     rationaloptimist.com

global warning-catastrophic predictions-apocalypticI am a climate lukewarmer. That means I think recent global warming is real, mostly man-made and will continue but I no longer think it is likely to be dangerous and I think its slow and erratic progress so far is what we should expect in the future. That last year was the warmest yet, in some data sets, but only by a smidgen more than 2005, is precisely in line with such lukewarm thinking.

This view annoys some sceptics who think all climate change is natural or imaginary, but it is even more infuriating to most publicly funded scientists and politicians, who insist climate change is a big risk. My middle-of-the-road position is considered not just wrong, but disgraceful, shameful, verging on scandalous. I am subjected to torrents of online abuse for holding it, very little of it from sceptics. [Read more...]

Obama’s Illusory Economic Recovery

Official statistics ignore the real hardships families face.

By Stephen Moore     •     The Washington Times

Jobless RecoveryThe big news from this week’s State of the Union address is that the economic “crisis is over.” Apparently, we’ve been rescued from a second Great Depression and everything this president has done to fix the economy has worked. All that was missing from Mr. Obama’s celebration was the old “Icky Shuffle” end zone dance.

This no doubt came as a bit of a shock to voters since the economy has been sickly for a long, long time. As recently as this fall, half of Americans were saying that the country is still in recession.

Conditions have improved in the last six months for sure, with growth accelerating, inflation low and stable, hiring picking up and gas prices tumbling.

Still, if things are as good as the White House says they are, why do we feel so bad? Why are we collectively so worried about the fragile future of our nation? [Read more...]

The United States of ‘American Sniper’

Liberals’ criticism of my SEAL teammate Chris Kyle has had the ironic effect of honoring him.

By Rorke Denver     •     The Wall Street Journal

1st First Amendment‘American Sniper,” the new movie about Navy SEAL Chris Kyle, has opened to staggering box-office success and garnered multiple Academy Award nominations. But not all the attention has been positive. The most vocal criticism came in the form of disparaging quotes and tweets from actor-director Seth Rogen and documentary-maker Michael Moore . Both have since attempted to qualify their ugly comments, but similarly nasty observations continue to emanate from the left.

The bulk of Chris Kyle’s remarkable exploits took place in the Al Anbar province of Iraq in the summer of 2006. He and I were teammates at SEAL Team Three. Chris had always been a large figure in the SEAL teams. He became a legend before our eyes in Ramadi. [Read more...]

Middle-Class Savings Like Blood In the Water

Obama goes where the money is to pay for ‘free’ education programs – your savings account.

by Glenn Harlan Reynolds     •     USAToday

obama_taxesBank robber Willie Sutton is said to have explained his career this way: “That’s where the money is.” Whether Sutton ever really said that, it’s an aphorism that, according to Bloomberg’s Megan McArdle, explains President Obama’s plans to go after middle class assets like 529 college savings plans and home appreciation.

Though millions of Americans have been putting money into “tax free” 529 plans to save for their children’s increasingly expensive college educations, President Obama would change the law so that withdrawals from the plans to fund college would be taxed as ordinary income. So while you used to be able to get a nice tax benefit by saving for college, now you’ll be shelling out to Uncle Sam every time you withdraw to pay for Junior’s dorm fees.

This doesn’t hurt the very rich — who just pay for college out of pocket — or the poor, who get financial aid, but it’s pretty rough on the middle– and upper–middle class. In a double-whammy, those withdrawals will show up as income on parents’ income tax forms, which are used to calculate financial aid, making them look richer, and hence reducing grants. [Read more...]

Why Netanyahu Is Right to Go Around Obama To Congress

by Marc A. Thiessen     •     The Washington Post Obama 102

Do they talk this way about Iranian President Hassan Rouhani?

After learning that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had accepted an invitation to address a joint session of Congress about the need for new sanctions to stop Iran’s nuclear program, the Obama administration went . . . well, nuclear.

One “senior American official” threatened Netanyahu, telling the Israeli newspaper Haaretz that “Netanyahu ought to remember that President Obama has a year and a half left to his presidency, and that there will be a price.” Meanwhile a “source close to [Secretary of State John] Kerry” told The Post that the “secretary’s patience is not infinite” and that “playing politics with that relationship could blunt Secretary Kerry’s enthusiasm for being Israel’s primary defender.” [Read more...]

Iran, Obama, Boehner and Netanyahu

By Caroline Glick     •     RealClearPolitics

Iran-IsraelIran has apparently produced an intercontinental ballistic missile whose range far exceeds the distance between Iran and Israel, and between Iran and Europe.

On Wednesday night, Channel 2 showed satellite imagery taken by Israel’s Eros-B satellite that was launched last April. The imagery showed new missile-related sites that Iran recently constructed just outside Tehran. One facility is a missile launch site, capable of sending a rocket into space or of firing an ICBM.

On the launch pad was a new 27-meter long missile, never seen before. [Read more...]

Bergdahl to Be Charged With Desertion

In 2009 Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl left his unit without permission and was captured by the Taliban. Bergdahl was held for five years until President Obama traded five high ranking Taliban commanders. Once Bergdahl was back on American soil, the Army conducted an investigation.

That was in October 2014. Three months later, the White House is stonewalling the Army’s charges on Bergdahl of desertion. Ben Rhodes, deputy national security adviser, has been a liaison between the Pentagon and the White House and has led the effort to keep this news from getting out.

Senior ranking military officials said two weeks ago that they would release the ruling soon. Lt. Col. Tony Shaffer referred to the White House’s efforts as a “titanic struggle behind the scenes.”

“As a corporate entity, the Army has decided that they want to pursue Bergdahl for this violation,” Shaffer said.

The delay in releasing the charges against Bergdahl could stem from when the five Taliban members released were never briefed by Army officials. The White House just wants to make the situation to go away.

10 Questions for Loretta Lynch

Members of the Judiciary Committee need to get answers from Obama’s nominee for attorney general.

By Peter Roff     •     U.S.News

Lynch 2This week, Iowa Republican Sen. Charles Grassley will call to order a meeting of the Senate Judiciary Committee for the purpose of considering President Barack Obama’s nomination of Loretta Lynch to be the next attorney general of the United States.

In the main, the nomination is not controversial – though it should be. As my Frontiers of Freedom colleague George Landrith has written in The Washington Times questions, serious questions, have been raised about the conduct of prosecutors working under Lynch in the office of the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York. They should be enough to slow the nomination’s progress until she can explain how and why the rights of crime victims and their ability to apply for restitution as specified in existing federal law were ignored and what steps she has taken to correct these wrongs. [Read more...]

Questions for Loretta Lynch on Secret Dockets

By Frederick M. Oberlander and Richard E. Lerner     •     The Hill

United States Attorney Loretta E. Lynch speaks during an announcement of the arrest of Abraxas J. (When confirmation hearings begin today for Loretta Lynch to replace Eric Holder as U.S. Attorney General, conservatives will seek her views on President Obama’s executive order on immigration and liberals will seek her views on the prison at Guantanamo. We hope at least one member of the Senate Judiciary Committee will seek her views on the parallel, covert judicial system her office runs.

As U.S. Attorney in the Eastern District of New York, Lynch perpetuated the concealment of criminal cases to protect fraudsters who promised cooperation against other criminals. For example, in the Felix Sater case, her office not only hid his victims’ legal rights to seek mandatory restitution, it continues to let him live the high life on his share of the $40 million stolen from the life-savings of his victims. Even more astonishing, this fraudster was allowed to bilk a new generation of victims by falsely presenting himself as a businessman with a clean record, all because his record was kept hidden. [Read more...]