By Joseph Bast • The Federalist
Top officials in the Trump administration apparently are debating whether to withdraw from the Paris Climate Treaty, an agreement negotiated in the waning years of the Obama administration that would commit the United States to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by 26 to 28 percent relative to 2005 levels by the year 2025.
The Heartland Institute has been studying climate change for nearly two decades. Our advice to the Trump administration is simple: Run, don’t walk, away from the Paris Climate Treaty! Here are our reasons for this recommendation. Sources for our statements are readily found here and here.
There Is No Scientific Basis for the Paris Climate Treaty Continue reading
Ali Meyer • Washington Free Beacon
This year, taxpayers will spend 113 days working to pay for the nation’s tax burden, according to a report from the Tax Foundation.
Tax Freedom Day is April 23, 113 days into the year, and falls 5 days after taxes are collected on April 18. Tax Freedom Day would fall roughly two weeks later on May 7 if federal borrowing or future taxes were included.
“Tax Freedom Day takes all federal, state, and local taxes—individual as well as payroll, sales and excise, corporate and property taxes—and divides them by the nation’s income,” the report says.
Americans will spend upward of $5.1 trillion on taxes, which includes $3.5 trillion in federal taxes and $1.6 trillion in state and local taxes, according to the report. Continue reading
By Elizabeth Harrington • Washington Free Beacon
The Environmental Protection Agency has been riddled with employee misconduct, including workers who drink, smoke marijuana, and watch porn on the job.
Inspector general reports over the past few years detailing employee misbehavior could serve as ammunition for EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, who is seeking to eliminate 25 percent of the 15,000 employees at the agency.
Only 6.5 percent of EPA employees are “essential,” according to the government’s own calculations when it faced a shutdown in 2013. At the time, just 1,069 employees were deemed necessary to continue working during the 16 days the government closed. Continue reading
By Jay Sekulow • FoxNews.com
The Trump administration is prompting a lot of change in Washington. Now, there’s a new call to get to the bottom of the corruption inside the Internal Revenue Service’s well- coordinated scheme to target conservative organizations.
House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady and Tax Policy Subcommittee Chairman Peter Roskam have sent a letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions asking the Department of Justice to re-open a probe of the conduct of former top IRS official Lois Lerner, who was at the center of a targeting scandal that discriminated against conservative organizations which had applied for tax-exempt status.
In fact, in this new plea for the Justice Department to get involved, the lawmakers contend there is clear evidence Lerner willfully took part in criminal activity during her tenure as the Exempt Organizations Division director.
In the letter, Representatives Brady and Roskam wrote:
“On April 9, 2014, the House Committee on Ways and Means voted to send a letter to the Department of Justice referring former IRS Exempt Organizations Division Director Lois G. Lerner for criminal prosecution. As indicated in the attached letter, the Committee’s nearly three-year investigation uncovered evidence of willful misconduct on the part of Ms. Lerner. Despite this fact, and for what many believe were purely partisan reasons, the prior Administration refused to review Ms. Lerner’s misconduct.”
The lawmakers urge the Department of Justice to “take a fresh look at the evidence” concerning Lerner’s actions in this matter.
We completely agree. Lois Lerner got off easy. She never faced charges for her role in this scandal. She was never prosecuted. She was permitted to retire – with a tax-payer funded pension.
The Obama administration looked the other way. The Obama Justice Department ignored key evidence that lawmakers point out in their letter to the Attorney General:
“In particular, the Committee found that Ms. Lerner used her position to improperly influence IRS action against conservative organizations, denying these groups due process and protection rights under the law. The Committee also found she impeded official investigations by providing misleading statements in response to questions from the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration. Finally, Lerner risked exposing, and may have actually disclosed, confidential taxpayer information, in apparent violation of Internal Revenue Code section 6103 by using her personal email to conduct official business.”
For years, we’ve been demanding that Lois Lerner and others be held accountable for their roles in this scandal.
We have repeatedly called for the removal of IRS Commissioner John Koskinen and now believe this latest request to get to the bottom of Lois Lerner’s actions is clearly warranted – a request that Attorney General Sessions should not ignore.
We continue to move forward in holding the IRS accountable in federal court. We represent 37 organizations in our ongoing lawsuit. After more than seven long years, one of our clients – the Tri-Cities Tea Party based in Washington State – finally received its tax-exempt status. Another client – the Albuquerque Tea Party – has been waiting for more than seven years, too, but has yet to receive a determination from the IRS.
At the same time, we’re encouraged by a new court order just issued in the case – an order that clears the way for us to discover the IRS’s “past acts of alleged discrimination stemming from the alleged illegal targeting scheme,” as well as “the current status of the [IRS’s] tax-exemption application process,” in order to determine not only the entire scope of the IRS’s discriminatory treatment of these organizations but, more importantly whether discrimination is continuing today.
That means we will be able to obtain critical documents from the IRS – documents that will be instrumental in determining how this scandal unfolded and who was involved.
We continue to do all that we can to root out the culture of corruption inside the IRS. But, as I have said many times, the IRS is incapable of self-correction. That’s why lawsuits like ours and Congressional efforts to request a new probe of Lois Lerner’s actions are so important.
Let’s not forget the words of President Obama in February 2014 – as the Justice Department investigation of the IRS targeting scheme was still underway – who proclaimed there was “not a smidgeon of corruption” at the IRS.
Such an assertion was never based on facts. That’s why it is vitally important for the Trump Justice Department to re-open the Lois Lerner probe, as Representatives Brady and Roskam put it, “to assure the American people that DOJ’s prior investigation was handled fairly and to restore taxpayers’ trust in the IRS.”
By Brent Scher • Washington Free Beacon
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.) failed to acknowledge Equal Pay Day for the first time in her Senate career after it was reported on Tuesday that women working in her Senate office earned just 71 percent of what was earned by men.
Warren has used Equal Pay Day, which fell on April 4 this year, in years past as an opportunity to speak out on the gender pay gap. Last year she took to the Senate floor to call Equal Pay Day a “national day of embarrassment” and pledged to continue her “fight” until the pay gap was erased. She gave similar statements on Equal Pay Day in 2015, 2014, and 2013, her first year in the Senate.
This year, Warren was the only female Democratic senator who ignored Equal Pay Day entirely, and it was not due to a lack of opportunity.
She delivered a nearly 10 minute speech Tuesday afternoon and made no mention of equal pay. The topic of speeches during the session was the Supreme Court nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch, but that didn’t stop fellow Democratic Senators Mazie Hirono (Hawaii), Tammy Duckworth (Ill.), or Kamala Harris (Calif.) from acknowledging Equal Pay Day.
Warren didn’t even bother to send out a tweet recognizing Equal Pay Day—setting her apart from the other 15 Democratic women in the Senate.
California has enacted the country’s most progressive fair pay law. Congress must follow our lead. #EqualPayDay
— Sen Dianne Feinstein (@SenFeinstein) April 4, 2017
While more education can help increase women’s earnings, it still doesn’t close the gender pay gap. #EqualPayDay
— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) April 4, 2017
In North Dakota, women earn 71 cents for every dollar paid to men – 71 CENTS. In 2017. #EqualPayDay pic.twitter.com/QYzrr3Opds
— Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (@SenatorHeitkamp) April 4, 2017
Today is about highlighting the importance of paycheck fairness for women, for families, and for our economy. #EqualPayDay pic.twitter.com/xjAW81GWqx
— Senator Patty Murray (@PattyMurray) April 4, 2017
It’s #EqualPayDay & we’re live on the Senate floor on @GorsuchFacts’ record against women & working families https://t.co/CR7OfAVZdv
— Senator Mazie Hirono (@maziehirono) April 4, 2017
Every single day, women across the US contribute so much to the success of their families, their communities and their country #EqualPayDay
— Tammy Duckworth (@SenDuckworth) April 4, 2017
For #EqualPayDay, remember that pay gap is about income today & tomorrow. Leads to shortfall in retirement – avg of thousands less per year.
— Amy Klobuchar (@amyklobuchar) April 4, 2017
If the pay disparity continues on same path, the #wagegap won’t close until 2059. This is unacceptable. Women are entitled to #EqualPay. pic.twitter.com/uGKfAjFbWK
— Senator Cortez Masto (@SenCortezMasto) April 4, 2017
#EqualPayDay is a reminder to keep fighting for equality & make equal pay a reality. Pay discrimination hurts NH women & their families
— Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (@SenatorShaheen) April 4, 2017
Women have a right to earn an equal paycheck. That’s why I’m cosponsoring the Paycheck Fairness Act #EqualPayDay https://t.co/eubqC2hl2d
— Sen. Maggie Hassan (@SenatorHassan) April 4, 2017
It’s vital that hard work for a good job be rewarded regardless of what you look like, where you live, or what gender you are #EqualPayDay
— Sen. Maria Cantwell (@SenatorCantwell) April 4, 2017
Across America, hardworking women and their families deserve action on equal pay for equal work. #EqualPayDay pic.twitter.com/P8DF3uIy1q
— Sen. Tammy Baldwin (@SenatorBaldwin) April 4, 2017
On #EqualPayDay, Claire calls on @GOP (yet again) to finally pass the #PaycheckFairnessAct. Missouri women deserve a level playing field. pic.twitter.com/V0TDlx12Mu
— McCaskill Office (@McCaskillOffice) April 4, 2017
Put simply, women and men deserve equal pay for equal work. A shame that, in 2017, we’re still not there. #EqualPayDay
— Kirsten Gillibrand (@SenGillibrand) April 4, 2017
On #EqualPayDay women finally catch up to what men earned last year doing the same job. Women deserve equal pay for equal work!
— Sen. Debbie Stabenow (@SenStabenow) April 4, 2017
It wasn’t just a woman thing—Equal Pay Day was recognized by senior congressional Democrats and party leaders as well.
#EqualPayDay is a reminder that there are hugely consequential, tangible barriers that women face every single day that men do not.
— Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) April 4, 2017
The Pay Gap is an affront to women’s contributions to our communities. #EqualPayDay
— Nancy Pelosi (@NancyPelosi) April 4, 2017
Women are making 81% of what men make and for women of color it’s even less. That’s nothing but sexism and discrimination. #EqualPayDay
— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) April 4, 2017
It is unacceptable that a woman in Virginia will lose $482,000 on average over a 40-year career compared to a man #EqualPayDay
— Senator Tim Kaine (@timkaine) April 4, 2017
It’s simple. Women deserve to be paid equally for equal work. #EqualPayDay
— Sen. Al Franken (@SenFranken) April 4, 2017
Check out what @LeanInOrg is doing to celebrate #EqualPayDay.#20PercentCountshttps://t.co/Q2ovXDWNkG
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) April 4, 2017
On #EqualPayDay, we must remember that inequality for women means inequality for everyone. We won’t stop fighting to close the wage gap.
— Tom Perez (@TomPerez) April 4, 2017
It’s #EqualPayDay. Why are women still fighting for wage fairness? Here’s why: pic.twitter.com/P7QeE9REcw
— Rep. Keith Ellison (@keithellison) April 4, 2017
Even Ivanka Trump chimed in to voice her belief that “women deserve equal pay for equal work.”
#EqualPayDay is a reminder that women deserve equal pay for equal work. We must work to close the gender pay gap! https://t.co/CcwsoBXWdF
— Ivanka Trump (@IvankaTrump) April 4, 2017
Warren’s office did not respond to an inquiry into whether it planned to recognize Equal Pay Day before it was reported that the median male salary in her office was over $20,000 greater than the median female salary. The five top earners in Warren’s office were all men.
Warren has yet to comment on the pay gap in her office.
By David French • National Review
When free speech threatens government power, government has a tendency to get curious about the identity and funding of dissenting speakers. This was true in the civil-rights era, when the state of Alabama tried to force the NAACP to divulge its membership lists. It was true during the Obama administration, when the IRS targeted the Tea Party for illegal scrutiny not merely by asking in some cases for donor lists but also by inquiring about the political activities of family members of tea-party leaders and the login information of tea-party websites. And it was certainly true in the state of Wisconsin, when law enforcement used terrifying dawn and pre-dawn raids to gather information about First Amendment–protected issue advocacy about labor-union reform.
But why threaten to batter down a door when you can just pass a law that batters away at the Constitution? Continue reading
by Andrew C McCarthy • National Review
On Tuesday, in a National Review Online column, I contended that the reported involvement of former national-security adviser Susan Rice in the unmasking of Trump officials appears to be a major scandal — it suggests that the Obama White House, of which she was a high-ranking staffer, abused the power to collect intelligence on foreign targets, by using it to spy on the opposition party and its presidential candidate.
It should come as no surprise that the defense Ms. Rice and Obama apologists are mounting is heavily reliant on a fact that is not in dispute: viz., that the intelligence collection at issue was legal.
I anticipated that line of argument a week ago. The issue is not technical legality, it is monumental abuse of power. Continue reading
By Cristina Laila • The Gateway Pundit
Former National Security Advisor to Obama, Susan Rice has recently pivoted from saying she knew nothing about the unmasking of Trump and his associates to saying it’s all part of her job and normal routine.
Ex-officials who have experience in Intelligence operations at this level are saying quite the opposite. A National Security Advisor is in a managerial position and should not have time to be unmasking individuals having conversations. ‘It’s insane. It’s never done.’ Continue reading
By Andrew C McCarthy • National Review
The thing to bear in mind is that the White House does not do investigations. Not criminal investigations, not intelligence investigations.
Why is that so important in the context of explosive revelations that Susan Rice, President Obama’s national-security adviser, confidant, and chief dissembler, called for the “unmasking” of Trump campaign and transition officials whose identities and communications were captured in the collection of U.S. intelligence on foreign targets? Continue reading
By David Harsanyi • The Federalist
It looks like Senate Democrats have the 41 votes they need to block the nomination of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court. This means majority leader Mitch McConnell is almost surely going to use the nuclear option to confirm him. Which is a shame.
We can only assume this is what Chuck Schumer intended. The minority leader knows full well that, one way or another, Gorsuch would be on the court. Perhaps the nuclear option was fait accompli, but with nothing to show for the 2016 election thus far, Republicans need a tangible victory.
Schumer probably also believes Republicans would nuke the judicial filibuster on the next Supreme Court pick, anyway. He’s probably right. So what downside is there for him in forcing the GOP to put the filibuster out of its misery? Continue reading
By Peter Roff • USNews
It’s not clear when the Senate started playing politics with Supreme Court nominations. Some say it’s been that way all along, going back at least as far as the time of Chief Justice John Marshall and Marbury vs. Madison.
Others say the confirmation process only became truly venomous after President Ronald Reagan selected federal judge Robert Bork, a former U.S. solicitor general, to fill a seat that would shift the high court’s delicate balance of power in a rightward direction.
Bork was ultimately defeated, not because he was unqualified for the post – according to the standards in place before he was nominated he could only be described as supremely qualified – but because Senate Democrats feared how he would rule. Continue reading
By Frank Camp • Daily Wire
According to The Washington Free Beacon:
…women working for [Senator] Warren were paid just 71 cents for every dollar paid to men during the 2016 fiscal year…The median annual earnings for women staffers, $52,750, was more than $20,000 less than the median annual earnings for men, $73,750, according to the analysis of publicly available Senate data.
When calculated using average salaries rather than median, the pay gap expands to just over $26,051, or about 31 percent.
As one of the most vocal proponents of equal pay legislation, why would Senator Warren allow her female staffers to be paid significantly less than their male counterparts? Continue reading
By Elizabeth Harrington • Washington Free Beacon
The University of Arizona is encouraging college students to cry “ouch!” when they hear something offensive, make artwork about race relations, have story time, play four corners, and take a “time out” if they feel uncomfortable.
A new guide for faculty on “Diversity and Inclusion in the Classroom” offers tips for “inclusiveness” and how to establish a “safe space” in the classroom. The guidelines are voluntary for faculty and were first reported by the College Fix.
The guidelines offer “Strategies for Engaging Students,” which include the “One Diva, One Mic” rule and allowing 20-year-olds to yell “ouch” and “oops” in class. Continue reading
By Ned Ryun • The Federalist
If there is to be real change in our form of government, the Trump administration needs to avoid the fatal flaw of previous Republican administrations: choosing to play the game by the Left’s rules.
Nearly every Republican administration makes some changes, but mostly lightly exfoliates the elephant of the State. These are temporary gains at best, small pauses in the seemingly inevitable march of government dominance. Most Republicans don’t seem to understand what we are up against, that the game is rigged against smaller government.
We have to view our government through system dynamics, the study of understanding nonlinear behavior in complex systems. Such systems, like vast government bureaucracy, include loops that reinforce certain actions and results. These loops act similarly to compounding interest, starting slowly, over time accelerating, then finally exploding in size, all the while strengthening themselves. Continue reading
By Ronald A Cass • USAToday
Smart people often say stupid things. #MistakesHappen. But it takes a certain special orientation to repeat obviously false and ridiculous statements over and over. That’s a talent peculiar to politicians.
This talent is frequently on display during Supreme Court confirmation fights. Since the 1970s, every nominee from a Republican president has been attacked, among other things, as hostile to women’s rights and civil rights.
That includes Harry Blackmun, John Paul Stevens, Sandra Day O’Connor, Anthony Kennedy and David Souter — justices who often have been as zealous as any in finding, creating and expanding rights for women and minorities. Constantly being wrong, however, doesn’t prevent the same trope being trotted out as soon as the next nominee is announced. Continue reading