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Harry Reid’s anti-Koch crusade eats up precious Senate time

by Byron York     •     Washington Examiner

Harry ReidIf you’re sick of cynicism in politics, you might want to avert your eyes from the Senate for the next few weeks.

There’s a lot lawmakers need to do when the Senate returns from its August recess Sept. 9. To take just one example, the government is set to run out of money by the end of the month, and senators must pass a measure to keep funding going and avoid a shutdown.

But the Senate will have almost no time to do anything. “Following the August recess, we’re going to be here for two weeks and two days,” Majority Leader Harry Reid told colleagues before the break, according to an account in The Hill. “That’s not a lot of time for the workload we have to do.” [Read more...]

The President Who Is Uninterested in Other People

by Michael Barone     •     RealClearPolitics

Obama SmirkSome time ago I contrasted the reaction a conservative would get if he were in the same room with the two most consequential politicians of the 1990s, Bill Clinton and Rudy Giuliani.

If you were in a room with Bill Clinton, he would discover the one issue out of 100 on which you agreed; he would probe you with questions, comments, suggestions; and he would tell you that you enabled him to understand it far better than he ever had before.

If you were in a room with Rudy Giuliani, he would discover the one issue out of 100 on which you disagreed; he would ask pointed questions and pepper you with objections; he would tell you that you are wrong on the facts and wrong on the law, and that you needed to admit you were utterly mistaken. [Read more...]

Coverup: More IRS & Administration Lies

New York Post Editorial Board

IRS scandal_lost emails_lois lernerSome 15 months after Americans learned about the IRS’ targeting of conservative groups, we still have no clue how such an abuse was allowed to happen. And every day, the story only gets murkier.

This week, for instance, a government watchdog group, Judicial Watch, said administration officials admitted that all the “missing” e-mails belonging to Lois Lerner (the woman at the heart of the scandal) had been backed up after all — as part of a practice to back up all the government’s e-mails.

No government official had said anything like that before.

As House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., describes it, these reports are another part of “what’s emerging to be just an amazing sequence of cover-up, delay, denial. ” [Read more...]

Constitutional chutzpah

by Seth Lipsky     •     New York Post

barack_obamaThere are three ways something can become what the US Constitution calls the “supreme law of the land.” It can be made part of the Constitution by amendment, it can be passed by Congress as a law or it can be ratified by the Senate as a treaty.

President Obama can’t get his climate-change agreement made supreme law of the land by any of those constitutional routes. Not even close. The Republican House doesn’t want it. The Democratic Senate won’t act.

That’s because the people don’t want it. They’re no dummies. Even in drought-stricken California, the Hill newspaper reports, Democratic candidates for Congress avoid the climate-change issue.

This is driving Obama crazy. [Read more...]

Will IRS’s Strategy of Destroying Evidence Succeed?

by Seth Mandel     •     Commentary 

Hen House IRS DOJ Scandal CorruptionIf the latest revelations about the IRS are correct, then its officials have approached the abuse-of-power scandal with a clear strategy, pretty much from the beginning. They have been betting that, since their illegal targeting campaign against those who disagree with President Obama has had the backing of Democrats in Congress, they needed only a media strategy, not a political one. And that media strategy appears to have been: conceal or destroy potential (and actual) evidence, and assume that this activity will be less damaging than whatever is in the files they’ve worked to hide.

It’s a direct challenge to the media, in other words. [Read more...]

The Idiocy of Modern American Politics

U.S. President Barack Obama delivers the State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washingtonby Dr. Miklós K. Radványi

Politics, with its ambition for boundless expansion into the lives of individuals and societies, is a human activity that overwhelmingly attracts narcissists of all types from the most intelligent to the completely idiotic. The difference between these two opposites resides in their mentality and modus operandi. While the intelligent politician strives to build support for his ideas through rational persuasion, the idiot relies on the coercive apparatus of the state to enforce his or her policies that in the greatest number of cases are unrealistic and even destructive. In reality, the idiot is a person with an exclusive and thus extremely narrow-minded ideology that prevents him or her from seeing reality. Thus, when reality threatens ideology, such a person is predisposed to destroy reality, because it poses a mortal danger to his or her ideology. In this manner, the idiot condemns himself or herself to live in a vacuum of lies that, in turn, keeps him or her from acting rationally. [Read more...]

How Repealing And Replacing Obamacare Would Help Restore Booming Economic Growth

ObamaCare Launchby Peter Ferrara   •    Forbes

One of the biggest drags on economic growth under President Obama has been Obamacare, enacted on a strictly partisan basis in 2010. That drag has come primarily from the sweeping overregulation of Obamacare.

The biggest culprit has been the employer mandate, which requires all employers of 50 or more full time workers to buy them health insurance with the terms and benefits as specified by the federal government. That is effectively a tax on employment of well over $10,000 a year per worker for family coverage.

Even for employers that already provide health insurance, the employer mandate will likely be a big tax increase on employment. That is because the mandated health insurance will most likely cost more than what the employer is already providing. That results first because the government responds to political pressure to require generous benefits most people will think the employer is paying for, to be include in the mandated health insurance. That drives up the cost of the mandatory health insurance. [Read more...]

Feds: Obama Broke Law with Bergdahl Swap

GAO Government Accountability Office

by Chuck Vinch    •    Army Times

The Defense Department broke the law when it transferred five Taliban detainees from the prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to Qatar in exchange for former prisoner of war Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, the Government Accountability Office said Thursday.

In a seven-page opinion, the GAO said a provision of the 2014 Defense Appropriations Act bars defense officials from using taxpayer funds to transfer any prisoner from Guantanamo unless the secretary of defense gives Congress at least 30 days’ advance notice. [Read more...]

More Bad News for Obamacare

ObamaCare Cancelled Policiesby Megan McArdle    •    Bloomberg

Last Monday, Jed Graham of Investor’s Business Daily reported that insurers say Affordable Care Act enrollment is shrinking, and it is expected to shrink further. Some of those who signed up for insurance on the exchanges never paid; others paid, then stopped paying. Insurers are undoubtedly picking up some new customers who lost jobs or had another “qualifying life event” since open enrollment closed. But on net, they expect enrollment to shrink from their March numbers by a substantial amount — as much as 30 percent at Aetna Inc., for example. [Read more...]

Inverted Logic

Money Hole Taxby Las Vegas Review-Journal

President Barack Obama says it’s “not fair” and “not right” for U.S. companies to set up overseas to avoid taxes. Except when it benefits him politically.

The president calls these companies “corporate deserters.” He says they are “still using all the services and all the benefits of effectively being a U.S. corporation,” but have “just decided” to go through the “paper exercise” of corporate inversion, in which U.S. companies with foreign subsidiaries can reduce their tax bill by becoming foreign companies with U.S. subsidiaries.

“I think it’s something that would really bother the average American,” he said recently, “the idea that somebody renounces their citizenship but continues to entirely benefit from operating in the United States of America just to avoid paying a whole bunch of taxes.”

Many companies are planning to flee the country because the United States of America has the highest corporate tax rate — 35 percent — in the developed world. It simply makes sense for them to do so. They are obligated to shareholders to be as competitive and profitable as possible. [Read more...]

White House Systematically Delaying FOIA Requests

foia transperancy opennessby CJ Ciaramella     •     Free Beacon 

A government watchdog group announced Monday that it is suing a dozen federal agencies for improperly delaying Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests for White House review.

Cause of Action is suing 10 cabinet agencies, as well as the Internal Revenue Service and White House Office of Management and Budget, for failing to release documents regarding how the White House reviews agency FOIA requests.

Cause of Action uncovered an April 2009 White House memo that instructed federal agencies to consult with White House Office of General Counsel on “all document requests that may involve documents with White House equities.”

Seeking more information, the watchdog group filed FOIA requests with numerous federal agencies for their policies on White House equities. The agencies named in the lawsuit delayed responding to the watchdog by eight months—and some as long as 14 months—according to the lawsuit.

Cause of Action alleges that the White House review amounts to an improper effort to block and delay FOIA requests. [Read more...]

Judge Demands Answers after IRS Contradicts Sworn Testimony on Lerner’s Scratched Hard Drive

IRS scandal_lost emails_lois lernerby Patrick Howley     •     Daily Caller

U.S. District Court Judge Emmet Sullivan Thursday ordered the Internal Revenue Service to come up with new answers after IRS employees contradicted sworn testimony about damage to Lois Lerner’s hard drive.

Sullivan ruled that “the IRS is hereby ORDERED to file a sworn Declaration, by an official with the authority to speak under oath for the Agency, by no later than August 22, 2014″ on four issues: the IRS’ attempted recovery of Lerner’s lost emails after her computer allegedly crashed, bar codes that could have been on the hard drive, IRS policies on hard drive destruction, and information about an outside vendor who worked on IRS hard drives.

Recent documents from nonprofit group Judicial Watch’s Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against the IRS, which Sullivan is presiding over, showed that IRS technology officials contradicted sworn testimony about damage to Lerner’s hard drive. [Read more...]

Congress Isn’t Alone in Struggling to Obtain Obamacare Records

by Jillian Kay Melchior     •     National Review Online

accountability_corruption_mediaAs news breaks about the Department of Health and Human Services’ missing HealthCare.gov e-mails, it’s pertinent to note how difficult it has been to obtain records in general about Obamacare, as I’ve learned personally over the past many months.

In Nevada, National Review had to sue the state health exchange before we were able to obtain records about how many Obamacare navigators had criminal backgrounds, despite the fact that they were handling consumers’ private information. (As it turned out, at least eight did.) [Read more...]

Obama Attacks For-Profit Colleges For Teacher Unions

by Kerri Toloczko     •      Investor’s Business Daily

EducationIn a fit of political pique and campaign considerations, President Obama’s Department of Education is proposing higher education regulations that would deny access to degree programs to nontraditional, low-income and minority students attending for-profit colleges and universities during a time of job scarcity.

The administration has been swinging a sword at this sector since Obama took office, striking through “Gainful Employment” regulations restricting federal student loans based on arbitrary post-graduation employment rates only at private-sector institutions. In 2010, the department proposed similar severe funding restrictions for students attending career colleges and technical schools such as Strayer University, ITT Tech, Kaplan College and University of Phoenix. [Read more...]

Is Thinking Obsolete?

by Thomas Sowell     •      RealClearPolitics

ThinkingSome have said that we are living in a post-industrial era, while others have said that we are living in a post-racial era. But growing evidence suggests that we are living in a post-thinking era.

Many people in Europe and the Western Hemisphere are staging angry protests against Israel’s military action in Gaza.

One of the talking points against Israel is that far more Palestinian civilians have been killed by Israeli military attacks than the number of Israeli civilians killed by the Hamas rocket attacks on Israel that started this latest military conflict. [Read more...]