By Glenn Kessler • Washington Post
“The average tax refund is down about $170 compared to last year. Let’s call the President’s tax cut what it is: a middle-class tax hike to line the pockets of already wealthy corporations and the 1%.”
— Sen. Kamala D. Harris (D-Calif.), in a tweet, Feb. 11, 2019
Harris, who is running for president in 2020, attacked President Trump’s tax law after the Internal Revenue Service reported that preliminary data shows that the average tax refund check is down 8 percent ($170) this year compared with last year.
Boy, talk about a non sequitur that turns out to be nonsensical and misleading. Let’s take a look.
The average tax refund is down, at least according to very preliminary data for returns processed through Feb. 1. (That’s essentially one week of filing data.) But the size of a refund tells you nothing about a person’s tax bill. Continue reading
By Glenn Kessler • The Washington Post
“On average, middle class families earning less than $86,000 would see a tax increase under the Republican ‘tax reform’ plan.”
— Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), in a tweet, Oct. 27
“The average tax increase on families nationwide earning up to $86,100 would be $794.00”
— Sen. Robert P. Casey Jr. (D-Pa.), in a tweet, Oct. 24
“Under GOP plan, U.S. families making ~$86k see avg tax increase of $794.”
— Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), in a tweet, Oct. 24 Continue reading
By Bre Payton • The Federalist
Former President Obama’s attorney general, Loretta Lynch, used a fake name to cover up an investigation into Hillary Clinton’s email server, indicates an admission from Lynch’s attorney.
Lynch was caught conducting a secret meeting with Bill Clinton aboard a private plane on a tarmac in Phoenix last year as Clinton’s wife pursued the presidency and amid an ongoing investigation into Hillary Clinton’s private, unsecured email server, which she illegally used during her tenure as secretary of State. Soon afterward, the former attorney general reportedly used a pseudonym to coordinate a narrative about the meeting with Department of Justice officials, Chuck Ross at The Daily Caller reports.
Also shortly after the private plane meeting, former FBI director James Comey announced that agency would not pursue a case against Clinton, despite admitting he had enough evidence to do so. Continue reading
By Stephen Moore • Washington Post
The danger of a Republican bailout of Obamacare is mounting with every passing day. A group of “moderate” Republicans calling themselves the Problem Solvers Caucus is quietly negotiating with Democratic leaders Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer to throw a multi-billion dollar life line to the Obamacare insurance exchanges.
This bailout, of course, would be an epic betrayal by a Republican Party which has promised to repeal and replace the financially crumbling Obama health law.
Republicans who are “negotiating” this bipartisan deal, such as Sen. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, object to the term “bailout” for this rescue package. The left prefers the euphemism “stabilizing the insurance market.” Continue reading
By Brian Frankie • The Federalist
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA, a.k.a. Obamacare) has been an utter mess. From passage in 2010 with procedural gimmicks to implementation in 2013 with unworkable software, from the loss of doctors and health plans millions wanted to keep to escalating premiums and insurers dropping out of the market, Obamacare has fallen short of nearly every conceivable goal of health-care reform.
There’s one single exception: Obamacare has dramatically expanded health insurance coverage. This single remaining reason explains why it retains the support of progressives and a significant chunk of the electorate. All other considerations are secondary, if not irrelevant. More people have health insurance, so more people are benefitting from improved health outcomes and access to care.
There is only one simple flaw in this reasoning. It does not appear to be true. Continue reading
In January 2016, the Obama administration released seven Iranian-born prisoners in what President Barack Obama called a “one-time” “humanitarian gesture” intended to sweeten the nuclear deal hammered out between Washington, D.C., and Tehran. The prisoners — who Josh Earnest insisted were guilty only of “sanctions violations or violations of the trade embargo” — were exchanged for five Americans, unjustly held by Iran since as early as 2011. In fact, some of the Iranian prisoners were national-security threats, and it wasn’t a straight prisoner swap: The Wall Street Journal revealed that on the day of the exchange the U.S. flew $400 million in cash on an unmarked cargo plane to Iran.
When it came to its negotiations with Iran, duplicity was the hallmark of the previous administration’s public statements. (Sanctimonious preening was a close second.) But supporters assured skeptics that the administration was acting in the country’s best national-security interests. Now comes a new bombshell investigation that shows the lengths to which the previous administration went to secure Iranian cooperation, even when it meant putting American security at risk. Continue reading
by Morgan Chalfant • Washington Free Beacon
The FBI on Friday publicly released files from its investigation into Hillary Clinton’s private email server, including a summary of the bureau’s interview with Clinton in July.
The documents undermine Clinton’s claims that she used her personal email for official business out of the convenience of carrying only one device.
According to the documents, the FBI identified 13 different mobile devices associated with Clinton’s two known phone numbers that could have been used to send or receive emails on her personal system. Investigators found that Clinton used 11 different BlackBerry devices “in succession,” eight of them during her tenure at the State Department. Continue reading
By Aaron David Miller • Wall Street Journal
It’s not clear how much worse things will get for the Obama administration over its $400 million payment to Iran in January, but the cash-for-prisoners scandal may end up being the least of U.S. concerns in all this.
I write that knowing that Congress plans to hold hearings in September. I also know that so close to Election Day, this issue is likely to remain a highly politicized he-said/she-said among Republicans eager to take aim, an administration on the defensive, and a Democratic nominee in an increasingly difficult position because of the optics: a choreographed and sequenced transaction in which cash was delivered after U.S. prisoners were released, regardless of whether you consider it ransom.
Here’s the larger and more potentially damaging perception beyond the general embarrassment: In the Middle East, strength and negotiating acumen are prized; they demonstrate power and credibility. 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
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.
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
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.
By Keely Herring, Louis Jacobson
After a gunman shot and killed nine worshippers in a historic African-American church in Charleston, S.C., President Barack Obama took to the White House podium the next day to “express our deep sorrow over the senseless murders.”
In his June 18, 2015, remarks from the White House, Obama said, “Now is the time for mourning and for healing. But let’s be clear: At some point, we as a country will have to reckon with the fact that this type of mass violence does not happen in other advanced countries. It doesn’t happen in other places with this kind of frequency. And it is in our power to do something about it.”
A flurry of PolitiFact readers — some of them prompted by articles objecting to Obama’s claim — wrote to us to ask us to check it, so we did. Continue reading
By T. Becket Adams • Washington Examiner
Charlie Rose and a trio of former Obama speechwriters laughed it up this week at the mention of the president’s infamous promise that that under the Affordable Care Act, “if you like your healthcare plan, you can keep your healthcare plan.”
The moment occurred during the Monday edition of “Charlie Rose: The Week,” as the host and former speechwriters Jon Lovett, Jon Favreau and David Litt discussed the president’s writing abilities and his gift for oration.
Lovett mentioned that he was most proud of the president’s more serious speeches on the economy and healthcare, and that’s when Favreau ribbed him for the “you can keep your plan” line.
“My point is, do you have equal impact on serious speeches? Because it’s about style, use of language, etc.?” Rose asked. Continue reading
Brazilian president praised by Clinton for fighting corruption now faces impeachment
by Brent Scher • Washington Free Beacon
Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, whom Hillary Clinton praised for “setting a global standard” on how to fight corruption, now has protestors calling for her impeachment thanks to her own alleged corruption.
The New York Times reported that this month’s protests calling for Dilma Rousseff’s ouster, including a 500,000-person gathering in São Paulo, were the largest since the protests that toppled Brazil’s military dictatorship in the 1980s. Recent polling shows that 68 percent of Brazilians want the legislature to impeach Rousseff, who has made clear she will not step down and plans to fight the charges against her.
Clinton praised Rousseff in Brazil in 2012 at the first meeting of the Open Government Partnership, an international initiative co-chaired by Brazil and the United States aimed at fighting corruption. Continue reading
Aides shouldn’t take the fall for her self-serving actions.
Hillary Clinton’s Super Tuesday victory gives her a clear path to the Democratic presidential nomination, but Bernie Sanders has never been her biggest obstacle to the White House. Her real liability is an email scandal that has put her in legal jeopardy.
Camp Clinton is arguing that the State Department’s Monday release of the final batch of emails ends the controversy over her private server. Yet that release is merely the end of one judicially mandated exercise overseen by a bureaucracy friendly to the former Secretary of State. The real action is in the courts, the FBI and Justice Department.
But even the friendly State Department review has been damaging. Of 30,000 emails Mrs. Clinton turned over to State, we now know that 2,093 were classified as “confidential” or “secret.” Another 22 were classified “top secret”—and State withheld their contents from public release. Mrs. Clinton keeps claiming these were “retroactively” classified, but that’s been vigorously disputed by intelligence community members, who note that at least some of the top-secret emails refer to intelligence projects classified from the beginning. Continue reading