by Ali Meyer • Washington Free Beacon
Outstanding federal debt is projected to hit $28.2 trillion over the next decade, according to a report from the Congressional Budget Office.
At the end of this year, outstanding federal debt is expected to climb to $19.4 trillion and to rise by $8.8 trillion in the next ten years.
The federal government’s budget deficit, which is the difference between how much money the government spends and how much money it takes in through tax collection, will be $590 billion by the end of 2016, $152 billion more than the previous year. Continue reading
By L. Gordon Crovitz • Wall Street Journal
When the Obama administration announced its plan to give up U.S. protection of the internet, it promised the United Nations would never take control. But because of the administration’s naiveté or arrogance, U.N. control is the likely result if the U.S. gives up internet stewardship as planned at midnight on Sept. 30.
On Friday Americans for Limited Government received a response to its Freedom of Information Act request for “all records relating to legal and policy analysis . . . concerning antitrust issues for the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers” if the U.S. gives up oversight. The administration replied it had “conducted a thorough search for responsive records within its possession and control and found no records responsive to your request.”
It’s shocking the administration admits it has no plan for how Icann retains its antitrust exemption. The reason Icann can operate the entire World Wide Web root zone is that it has the status of a legal monopolist, stemming from its contract with the Commerce Department that makes Icann an “instrumentality” of government. Continue reading
by Glenn Harlan Reynolds • USAToday
Back in July, Democratic presidential nominee and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said, “there is absolutely no connection between anything that I did as secretary of state and the Clinton Foundation.”
On Monday of this week, ABC’s Liz Kreutzer reminded people of that statement, as a new batch of emails reveal that there was a connection, and it was cash. As the emails, recovered by the public-interest law firm Judicial Watch, demonstrate, people who made donations to the Clinton Foundation got preferential treatment, and access, at the State Department when Hillary was Secretary of State:
The Abedin emails reveal that the longtime Clinton aide apparently served as a conduit between Clinton Foundation donors and Hillary Clinton while Clinton served as secretary of state. In more than a dozen email exchanges, Abedin provided expedited, direct access to Clinton for donors who had contributed from $25,000 to $10 million to the Clinton Foundation. Continue reading
by Jed Babbin • The American Spectator
We have become wearily accustomed to the constant flow of lies in the presidential campaign. Some are important but most are not. They have become a tiresome reminder of why so many people have decided to ignore the whole mess.
Lies in a political campaign should matter but those lies that are the basis for national security decisions — lies that are a matter of policy — can create existential dangers. The lies that President Obama has been peddling surrounding his deal with Iran on nuclear weapons are just such a case.
The website PolitiFact has gotten into the habit of naming the Lie of the Year. In 2012, when it gave the shameful title to Obama’s statement on Obamacare that “If you like your healthcare plan, you can keep it,” the label was almost enough to rouse the Republican Party to action. Continue reading
by Abigail Stevenson • CNBC
If politicians don’t fix the Affordable Care Act, then the vulnerable Blue Cross and local HMO plans — which serve as the backbone of Obamacare — must exit, said Robert Laszewski, the President of Health Policy and Strategy Associates.
“What the politicians need to do is to understand they have got about a year to fix this,” he said in an interview with CNBC’s “Closing Bell.”
Republicans do not want to fix the existing flaws for Obamacare, Laszewski said. Instead, they want to repeal and replace it. He added that Democrats are now stating that they would rather go to a single-payer insurance plan or a public option within a government-run plan. Continue reading
More than half of Hillary’s meetings with nongovernmental people were with donors. And foreign government officials who met with Hillary gave more than $170 million to the Clinton Foundation.
By George Landrith • Frontiers of Freedom
The winds of scandal continue to swirl around Hillary Clinton, the Clinton Foundation, and the State Department. Oddly, the State Department has allowed itself to become sucked into defending Hillary and the Foundation despite the unsavory facts. It is highly inappropriate for the State Department to work to tamp down the facts and obfuscate what actually happened. It has no duty to defend Hillary’s private actions. As a result of the State Department’s very odd behavior in trying to hide Hillary’s actions from pubic view, it has made Hillary’s wrongs, its own.
One of the biggest whoppers often told to defend the Clintons and their Foundation is that it is a charity doing lots of good all over the world and thus we should not worry about these details. The Foundation may very well do some good here and there. But the truth is — the Clinton Foundation collects hundreds of millions of dollars from some very curious donors and gives less than 10% in charitable grants.
In 2013, the Clinton Foundation raised $149 million and only distributed charitable grants totaling less than $9 million. That is only about six percent. Continue reading
By Washington Examiner • Washington Examiner
The 4th Circuit Court of Appeals on July 29 struck down North Carolina’s 2013 voting law, which included a voter identification requirement and reduced the the number of days before Election Day on which people could vote.
It is perfectly reasonable for a state to demand that voters show ID at the polls, but the court decision and others recently handed down in other states suggest a systematic campaign is underway to discredit this basic truth. The principal weapon used in this campaign is the Left’s favorite: racial discrimination.
As long as an ID is easy to obtain and those without one may prove their identity later, voting regulations should be left to the states. Heavy-footed interventions of the type we are seeing is a constitutional usurpation against states rights. Continue reading
By Investor's Business Daily • Investor's Business Daily
Aetna’s decision to abandon its ObamaCare expansion plans and rethink its participation altogether came as a surprise to many. It shouldn’t have. Everything that’s happened now was predicted by the law’s critics years ago.
Aetna CEO Mark Bertolini said that this was supposed to be a break-even year for its ObamaCare business. Instead, the company has already lost $200 million, which it expect that to hit $320 million before the year it out. He said the company was abandoning plans to expand into five other states and is reviewing whether to stay in the 15 states where Aetna (AET) current sells ObamaCare plans.
Aetna’s announcement follows UnitedHealth Group’s (UNH) decision to leave most ObamaCare markets, Humana’s (HUM) decision to drop out of some, Blue Cross Blue Shield’s announcement that it was quitting the individual market in Minnesota, Continue reading
Various progressive factions have undertaken an effort to criminalize dissent using the courts and statutory law.
By Daniel Payne • The Federalist
For quite some time the American Left has been busy turning American law into a partisan political weapon. Various progressive factions have undertaken a disparate and uncoordinated but still ideologically homogeneous effort to criminalize dissent using the courts and statutory law.
By most traditional metrics, these efforts have been failures: the liberals have often lost, and the conservative targets have avoided jail time or crippling criminal or civil convictions or penalties. But the weaponization of our legal system should not be judged by traditional metrics. The point is not for liberals to “win” any particular lawsuit or legal enforcement so much as it is to use lawsuits and the law as the weapons in and of themselves. The process is the punishment. And in most of these cases the punishment is very severe. That’s the idea.
In large part this reflects growing liberal opposition to a pluralistic society: not merely opposition to ideas but rather opposition to ideas about ideas, a strong and deliberate enmity towards intellectual diversity and dissenting thought. Continue reading
By Natalie Johnson • Washington Free Beacon
Hillary Clinton vowed to create 200,000 new jobs in Upstate New York during her time as a senator representing the state, but a new report published Monday found that the Democratic nominee’s efforts fell far below projections.
While upstate jobs rose 0.2 percent overall during Clinton’s tenure in the Senate, manufacturing jobs fell nearly 25 percent, the Washington Post reported, citing data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
Analysis of Clinton’s first Senate term revealed that Upstate New York actually lost jobs. The Public Policy Institute in Albany studied BLS data and found that between October 2001 and December 2006, Upstate New York lost more than 31,000 payroll jobs.
The Clinton campaign did not comment on how man jobs were created during Clinton’s tenure but directed the Washington Post to statistics from the New York State Department of Labor showing that Upstate New York had gained 117,000 jobs during the former first lady’s first term. The Post reported it was unable to confirm the number, saying that the state agency doesn’t “use Upstate New York as a specific regional area to measure employment.”
Clinton was reelected for her second term in November 2006 before leaving the Senate in January 2009 to become secretary of state.
The Washington Post reported:
The former first lady was unable to pass the big-ticket legislation she introduced to benefit the upstate economy. She turned to smaller-scale projects, but some of those fell flat after initial glowing headlines … Many promised jobs never materialized and others migrated to other states as she turned to her first presidential run, said former officials who worked with her in New York … In March 2001, she introduced seven bills to stimulate the upstate economy–“part of a larger partnership to spur job creation across our country,’’ Clinton said. None of the measures passed, records show.
Clinton has promised repeatedly on the campaign trail that she would “make the biggest investment in new, good-paying jobs since World War II.”
The new report from the Post could cast a shadow over the Clinton campaign’s focus on her time in the Senate, when she vowed to revive a depressed Upstate New York.
New burdensome regulation issued every 3 days
By Elizabeth Harrington • Washington Free Beacon
The federal government has imposed a new major regulation every three days since President Barack Obama took office, as the administration has shattered the record for implementing regulations costing the economy $100 million or more.
The Obama administration has now issued 600 major regulations, the center-right policy institute the American Action Forum noted in a recent report.
“One year ago, the American Action Forum (AAF) celebrated a regulatory milestone, of sorts: 500 major regulations,” wrote Sam Batkins, director of regulatory policy. “A major regulation has an economic impact of $100 million or more and can significantly affect prices for consumers.” Continue reading
Congress has a duty to bolster the U.S. air defense system
By George Landrith • The Washington Times
Both Iran and North Korea are rogue nations developing and testing new missile technologies at an alarming rate. Iran threatens U.S. forces and has missile technology to carry out those threats. North Korea has successfully tested missiles that can be fired from submarines and is threatening to use them. Years ago, their test failures gave us some sense of breathing room. But recent technological advances, make them dangerous and their threats credible. China has been building a world-class, blue-water navy to challenge the United States and power its aggression in the South China Sea. Russia is flexing its muscles, orchestrating attacks against its neighbors, working to weaken NATO, and advance its global expansion.
The importance of missile defense in this environment is clear. To protect ourselves from these growing threats, the United States must continue to invest in technological improvements to help our combatant commanders and warfighters protect against growing missile threats at home and abroad.
That is why it is critical that we continue to invest in, and modernize, proven upper-tier missile defense systems like the Patriot Missile, a highly mobile integrated air defense system; Terminal High Altitude Air Defense, which protects us from short-, medium- and intermediate-range ballistic missiles; Ground-based Midcourse Defense, which protects the homeland from long-range intercontinental ballistic missiles; and the Aegis Combat and Aegis Ashore systems, which track and guide weapons to destroy enemy targets from the sea and land.
To counter the growing risks we face, and to make upper-tier missile defense a reality, our military must have enough of the right tools for the job. Tools like the SM-3 missile, for example, deliver the effective variant that can accurately intercept a ballistic missile threat. Should our high-tech radars locate an incoming missile, our warfighters will need to have the proper arsenal of SM-3s to ensure they can take on any inbound missile. Without enough SM-3 variants, we leave ourselves open to attack and rogue nations are empowered.
In tight budget times, it has been tempting to cut procurement of missiles here and there. They aren’t sexy and they don’t generally grab headlines. But they will, if we fail to defend ourselves due to a shortage. Without at least another 35 SM-3 missiles, we are putting both the nation and our warfighters at risk.
Congress must provide funding for at least another 35 SM-3 missiles. This ends up being a modest investment of $189 million to insure that we can defend our warfighters who are often closer to rogue nations with missiles, and our homeland from missile attack.
To any normal person, $189 million is a lot of money. But in the big picture of defending this nation, it is an it is an absolute bargain. To this day, it isn’t clear to me what the Department of Labor does to justify spending almost $40 billion annually. But to put the cost of the needed SM-3 rockets into perspective, the cost is less than one-half of 1 percent of the Department of Labor’s annual budget.
Congress must provide our warfighters with the tools they need to defend our nation. The Iranian mullahs recently published a paper outlining plans to launch a nuclear electromagnetic pulse attack to bring us to our knees. To ignore these dangers is insane, if not criminal. Failure to provide our military with the required tools is effectively an invitation to our enemies to attack.
More than 200 years ago, George Washington correctly said, “To be prepared for war is one of the most effectual means of preserving peace.” Congress can preserve peace, in part, by insuring that our defenders are given the necessary amount of SM-3 missiles to keep us safe. Congress must take seriously its obligation to prevent the catastrophic human and economic costs of a nuclear missile attack by consistently making the necessary commitment to missile defense. The headlines make it clear — there is no more time to wait.
George Landrith is president of Frontiers of Freedom.
By Jason Russell • Washington Examiner
On Jan. 23, 2013, Hillary Clinton asked an infamous question about the attack on the United States Consulate in Benghazi, Libya.
“What difference, at this point, does it make?” Clinton said. And Republicans have been attacking her for that line ever since.
“Why didn’t you just pick up the phone and call the survivors?” was the simple question Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., asked Clinton that day. Tuesday night at the Republican National Convention, he finally answered Clinton’s question.
“It made a difference to the young Yazidi woman I met who was captured and brutalized by ISIS barbarians, the joy of life hauntingly absent in her eyes,” Johnson said. “It made a difference to the businessmen traveling through the airports in Brussels and Istanbul, who just wanted to make it home to their family and their friends.
“It made a difference to the ordinary Americans sharing holiday cheer at a Christmas party in San Bernardino. It made a difference to the young men and women dancing on a summer night at a club in Orlando. And it made a difference to the families watching fireworks at a celebration of freedom in Nice.”
Although Johnson spent most of his speech attacking Clinton, he also attacked the Democratic foe running against him in November: former Sen. Russ Feingold.
“Even after 9/11, [Feingold] was the only senator to vote against giving law enforcement the tools they need to help stop international terror. During his 18-year Senate career, he also voted against authorizing our military 11 separate times.” He said the world is too dangerous to elect either Clinton or Feingold.
After formally winning the Republican nomination, it was Donald Trump’s night. But Johnson mentioned him only once, toward the end of his speech. “Donald Trump and Mike Pence understand that these must be America’s top priorities,” Johnson said, referring to defeating the Islamic State. “They will be strong leaders, working with Republicans in the House and Senate to achieve a goal that can unite us all: a safe, prosperous and secure America.”
By Tim Graham • Newsbusters
PBS covered the Republican convention for three hours of prime time on Monday night, in association with its pubcasting buddies at NPR. But they were allergic to showing any Hillary-scandal films that were offered on the convention floor. As a mini-documentary ran about Benghazi, PBS anchors Gwen Ifill and Judy Woodruff clumsily talked over it, and NPR national political correspondent Mara Liasson had a wide-eyed freakout at what she claimed was a historically “intense animus” against an opposing candidate.
GWEN IFILL: Mara Liasson, why is it that this Benghazi episode gets so much attention? Why does it resonate, as it is tonight with the crowd?
MARA LIASSON: This is something that really for a lot of Republicans, and Hillary Clinton opponents, kind of crystallizes the worst thing about her, that she caused the deaths of these, of these soldiers and other personnel. I don’t know if Mark remembers a time when so much intense animus has been directed at the opposing candidate. This strikes me as being pretty intense. Continue reading
By Michael Bastasch • Daily Caller
Attorneys general from a dozen Republican-led states say the Environmental Protection Agency has been dragging its feet since February on their fee waiver requests, adding to a pattern of the agency making it harder for conservatives to obtain government records.
Twelve states with Republican administrations sent a Freedom of Information Act request for records regarding EPA “sue and settle” negotiations with outside environmental groups in lawsuits. These suits led to the agency entering into consent decrees that forced more federal intervention into state environmental plans.
“Oklahoma and other states seek this information out of substantial concern with EPA’s practice because it directly results in minimizing the substantive role of the States in energy, land use and environmental regulatory programs in a manner that is contrary to the cooperative federalism structure set forth in federal law and the United States Constitution,” wrote Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt on behalf of the twelves states. “The EPA must be transparent about its actions.”
The EPA denied fee waiver requests to the twelve attorneys general and the decision was appealed by the states in March. However, the EPA has been dragging its feet, twice asking for more time to consider their appeal.
The states are especially concerned given reports that the EPA has been routinely denying fee waiver requests to conservative groups seeking government records, while granting them to environmental groups that seek to push more federal involvement in state environmental rules.
The free-market Competitive Enterprise Institute obtained documents showing that since January 2012, the EPA granted fee waivers for 92 percent of FOIA requests from major environmental groups, while the agency rejected or ignored 81 percent fee waiver requests from conservative groups.
According to the states’ February FOIA request, the EPA has entered into at least 45 settlements with environmental groups under the Clean Air Act in the last three years, forcing the agency to engage in rulemaking. When this happens, the states — which have to implement the new rules — are kept out of the process.
“Not only does EPA’s action harm and jeopardize the States’ role as a partner with EPA, but it harms the interests of the citizens of the Requesting States,” reads the FOIA request sent by Pruitt and the states in February. The EPA has also disclosed nearly $1 million in attorneys’ fees to these groups.
Earlier this year, seventeen states, including Oklahoma, pushed back against the EPA’s new proposal that would revoke existing state implementation plans that grant exemption to fines for power plants and other emitters that exceed emissions limits during times of startup, shutdown, and malfunction (SSM). The new EPA rule was the result of a legal settlement with the Sierra Club.
If the rule becomes final, emitting facilities could be fined if they have excess emissions during times currently under SSM protection.
“The startling disparity in treatment strongly suggests EPA’s actions are possibly part of a broader effort to collude with groups that share the agency’s political agenda and discriminate against states and conservative organizations,” wrote Republicans including Rep. Darrell Issa and Sens. David Vitter, Chuck Grassley and Jim Inhofe in a letter to the EPA.
“EPA is instead making environmental policy on its own and with special interest groups and then forcing the states to comply with these new policies. This is far from what Congress had in mind,” a conservative environmental lawyer close to the issue told The Daily Caller News Foundation.
In February, twelve states — Oklahoma, Alabama, Arizona, Georgia, Kansas, Michigan, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, Wyoming — requested records pertaining to settlements the EPA entered into with environmental groups over state Regional Haze implementation plans.
The agency denied their request, arguing that the states did not express specific intent to disseminate the information to the public. However, the states did mention in their FOIA request that the information would be disseminated to the public. The states appealed, and the EPA has twice asked for more time to review the appeal.
If the agency doesn’t grant Oklahoma and the other eleven states’ fee waiver request by May 31, the states will act to “compel EPA’s compliance with applicable law.”
Republican senators pressed President Obama’s EPA nominee Gina McCarthy on the issue in the wake of her hearings.
“EPA can only approve State implementation plans that are consistent with the Clean Air Act and our regulations. I am committed to working with States so that more of these plans can be approved and litigation can be avoided,” McCarthy responded to a question regarding states challenging the EPA’s actions on state Regional Haze plans.
The EPA did not respond to The Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.