News/Politics 6-29-15

What’s interesting in the news today?

Open Thread

1. The Resistance begins……

From TheChristianPost  “At a press conference in Memphis, Tennessee, members of the Coalition of African-American Pastors joined Christian ministers at the Church of God in Christ’s historic Mason Temple to warn the Obama administration to prepare for massive civil disobedience among pastors and clergy if state bans on gay marriage are deemed unconstitutional.

“If they rule for same-sex marriage, then we’re going to do the same thing we did for the civil rights movement,” said Rev. Bill Owens, president and founder of CAAP. “We will not obey an unjust law.”

“The politicians and courts have tried to take God out of this country,” continued Owens. “This country was founded on Godly principles. We will not stand back.”

Rev. David Welch, president of the Pastor’s Council in Houston, Texas, spoke out at the conference explaining the lengths people of faith might go to resist gay marriage.

“God created marriage between a man and woman and no Supreme Court jurisdiction can define this,” said Welch. “We stand clearly saying we will acknowledge God’s law no matter what the cost, no matter what the price. If they want to fill jails with pastors across the nation of every color, denomination and every size who will stand for the laws of God and His truths.””

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2. Texas isn’t having it. 

From TribuneNewsService/MSN  “Conservatives responded forcefully to the Supreme Court decision legalizing gay marriage, but nowhere more so than in Texas, which openly defied the ruling.

“No Texan is required by the Supreme Court’s decision to act contrary to his or her religious beliefs regarding marriage,” said Texas Republican Gov. Greg Abbott.

Resistance to the ruling was deep-felt across the conservative spectrum and in many of the 14 states, including Texas, Mississippi and Louisiana, which have had laws forbidding same sex marriage. To opponents of gay marriage, religious liberty trumps the Supreme Court.

“No court can overturn natural law. Nature and Nature’s God, hailed by the signers of our Declaration of Independence as the very source of law, cannot be usurped by the edict of a court, even the United States Supreme Court,” said Frank Perkins, president of the Family Research Council.”

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More here, from TheStatesman  “County clerks can refuse to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples based on religious objections to gay marriage, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said Sunday.

Paxton noted that clerks who refuse to issue licenses can expect to be sued, but added that “numerous lawyers stand ready to assist clerks defending their religious beliefs,” in many cases without charge.

The formal opinion did not specify what constitutes a sincerely held religious belief, noting that “the strength of any such claim depends on the particular facts of each case.”

Paxton said Friday’s “flawed” opinion from the U.S. Supreme Court, which overturned bans against same-sex marriage in Texas and other states, placed religious people in conflict between following their faith and the U.S. Constitution.

“Friday, the United States Supreme Court again ignored the text and spirit of the Constitution to manufacture a right that simply does not exist. In so doing, the court weakened itself and weakened the rule of law, but did nothing to weaken our resolve to protect religious liberty and return to democratic self-government in the face of judicial activists attempting to tell us how to live,” Paxton said.

Paxton’s opinion also noted that judges and justices of the peace can refuse to perform same-sex marriages.”

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3. The Democrats are gettin’ their crazy on. 

From Powerline  “The floodgates are open, and craziness is pouring out. The Democrats’ Confederate flag victory has them lusting for more. Hillary Clinton says South Carolina is only the beginning:

“It shouldn’t fly there. It shouldn’t fly anywhere,” Mrs. Clinton said of South Carolina….

In her discussion Tuesday with community leaders at Christ the King United Church of Christ in Florissant, Mo., Mrs. Clinton said the flag’s removal would be “just the beginning of what we have to do” to combat racism.

Of course it is. Everywhere, people preemptively abandoned the Stars and Bars. Alabama’s governor directed that it be taken down from that states’s capitol grounds. Amazon, Walmart, eBay and Sears all dropped the flag like a hot potato. Flag manufacturers terminated their Stars and Bars products. One leftist wrote Pope Francis to request that he denounce the use of St. Andrew’s Cross on the Confederate flag:

Doesn’t the fact that Saint Andrew’s cross appears on this evil symbol serve as an insult to the Catholic church which you lead?

But of course, it’s not just the flag. Shouldn’t every reminder of the Confederacy be eradicated? The New York Times headlines: “Calls to Drop Confederate Emblems Spread Nationwide.””

“It isn’t just the states who are participating in this historical cleansing:

Democratic Senators are reviewing the inventory of 100 statues and a few flags in the U.S. Capitol to identify and remove anything representing the Confederacy, in the wake of the Charleston, S.C. shootings in an historic black church.”

Some Democrats even want to dig up the dead over it. 

From FoxNewsRadio  “Memphis Mayor A.C. Wharton wants to dig up the bodies of Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest and his wife and remove them from a city park in the latest and perhaps most despicable example of the anti-Southern cleansing spreading across the nation.

“Which African-American wants to have a picnic in the shadow of Nathan Bedford Forrest?” Wharton said in a Thursday press briefing.

In addition to desecrating the graves, Wharton wants to tear down a massive statue honoring the Confederate general who was involved in organizing the Ku Klux Klan. The bodies of Forrest and his wife would be relocated to a cemetery.

Memphis city officials have been waging a fierce and unrelenting war on southern heritage.  In 2013, the city council changed the name of Forrest Park to Health Sciences Park. They also changed the names of Jefferson Davis Park and Confederate Park.

So now they want to disinter the dead? What in God’s name is wrong with the mayor? What kind of sick, twisted person wants to dig up dead people?

No word yet on how they plan on getting around the Tennessee’s Landmark Protections Act of 2013, which prohibits exactly what he’s proposing. But hey, when have Democrats ever let the law stop them?

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4. How republics die. 

From PJMedia  “Eight hundred years and 11 days after the stamping of the Magna Carta, it’s been an appalling week at the Supreme Court for the Constitution and the rule of law. Today’s ruling is, in a sense, the Roe v. Wade of our generation. And I would think that even if I were gay and wanted to marry.

As I noted on Twitter yesterday, it is entirely possible to like the outcome of a court ruling (or legislation) while being appalled at the process by which it was achieved. For instance, one can be both pro-choice and still believe (as in factRuth Bader Ginsburg does) that Roe v. Wade was wrongly decided.

But too many people (including, apparently and sadly, many of the justices themselves, perhaps even including the chief justice) think that the purpose of the Supreme Court is to give them things they like, like subsidies for health care, or the right to marry someone of the same sex. They care only about the results, and are utterly indifferent to the process (as we saw with the way the PPACA was passed). They believe that the ends, if sufficiently desirable,always justify the means. But the means matter.

If, as Chief Justice Roberts implied yesterday, ambiguous laws can  be changed by judges per their divination of legislative intent, then there is no law except what the judges think it is. (I would note that in fact his reasoning was fundamentally flawed by his statement that it was Congress’s goal to simply “improve insurance markets.” I think their intent was to increase their control over our health providers, and ultimately lead us down a path to single payer. But neither of us knows.) This was not judicial activism — it was judicial nihilism.

Similarly, if the Fourteenth Amendment contains a hitherto unknown right to marry someone of the same sex, then it contains multitudes of rights that will be discovered in the future by more “enlightened” judges.”

“When we ignore and side step the Constitutional and legal process to achieve a desired end, the bedrock starts to turn to sand. When the laws are ignored by those who have sworn to uphold or review them, the rule of law itself disintegrates. When the public doesn’t care, or understand the role of the branches of government, but votes anyway for people who tell them they’ll just give them stuff they like, that is how republics are lost.”

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News/Politics 11-7-14

What’s interesting in the news today?

1. Of course they are. That’s exactly what I would expect sore losers to do. I hope Harry doesn’t get too crazy. After all, whatever he does with 51 votes, can be undone with 51 votes, thanks to his nuclear option.

From TheWashingtonPost  “Before ceding full control of Congress to the GOP in January, Senate Democrats are planning to rush a host of critical measures to President Obama’s desk, including bills to revive dozens of expired tax breaks and avoid a government shutdown for another year.

Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) is also aiming to chip away at a backlog of presidential nominations to the federal bench and the State Department over the next month, although Democratic aides say they will be unable to process all of the hundreds of pending appointments before turning the chamber over to Republicans.

Republican leaders, too, are inclined to clear the legislative decks of must-pass bills so they can start fresh in January, when they will have control of both chambers of Congress for the first time in eight years. Leaders from both parties are due at the White House for a lunch Friday to begin discussing the parameters of the possible in a new era of Republican domination.

At his first news conference since the GOP landslide at the polls this week, House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) on Thursday warned Obama to abandon his “go-it-alone” strategy of governing by executive order and to begin looking for areas of compromise with Congress.”

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2. Everything is bigger in Texas…. including Wendy Davis’ loss. 🙂

From NationalReview  “Wendy, we barely knew ye! Actually, that’s not true. We knew Wendy Davis well — too well. It is difficult to think of a more overexposed candidate in the 2014 election cycle.

We knew (from the get-go) that she was a publicity-stunt actress with show-stopping athletic shoes made famous when she spoke for eleven hours in favor of a woman’s “right” to kill her unborn child. We knew that she was the type of woman who leaves her husband and children in Texas to attend Harvard Law School, then divorces said husband the day after he pays her final law-school bill. And we found that she had — like many another brand-name politician — a politically convenient memory of myriad personal details. Of course, her memory was infallible when it came to the memoir she released less than two months before the election.

In case that was not enough, we found out, too, that she was not suited to running for homecoming queen, let alone governor of a state with an economy the size of two Switzerlands, about the functioning of which she seemed to be perilously confused. And if she was not on the campaign trail failing Civics 101, she was excelling in Advanced Mudslinging, accusing her wheelchair-bound opponent of exploiting his disability for votes, or of threatening to rescind the right to interracial marriage — despite the fact that he is married to a Hispanic woman.

As I wrote in my pre-mortem postmortem of the Wendy Davis campaign two weeks ago, Davis’s candidacy will never rise to the levels of infamy achieved by Todd Akin and Christine O’Donnell, because she had the benefit of a “D” next to her name. But Davis was a worse candidate than either, victimized not by a single foolish comment, but by managing to step on more rakes than Sideshow Bob. Adding to that was her determination to double down on those mistakes, so that she often looked not just bumbling, but mean.”

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3. They never learn. 

From AOL.com  “One of the longest-held prisoners at the U.S. detention center at Guantanamo Bay was sent home to Kuwait on Wednesday, the first release based on the determination of a review panel that has been re-evaluating some men previously classified as too dangerous to release.

Fawzi al-Odah had been told his release was imminent but didn’t know the date until shortly before he boarded the flight back to his country from the base in southeast Cuba, his lawyer, Eric Lewis, said.

The 37-year-old al-Odah had been the focus of an arduous battle to secure his release that had the support of his government. Lewis, who spoke to him about a week before the departure, said the prisoner just wanted to get on with life.”

“The release of al-Odah was criticized by U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee and a chief proponent of keeping the prison open. The New Hampshire Republican called it “yet another dangerous example of the Obama administration’s misguided motivation to empty and then close Guantanamo rather than protect the national security interests of the United States.””

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4. Huh. The mainstream press appears to have missed this story. I wonder why….? 🙄

Are they afraid to arrest her because they fear more riots? They’re gonna happen either way.

From TheDailyMail Michael Brown’s mother has been named as one of the ‘attackers’ who assaulted and robbed vendors selling t-shirts commemorating the youngster’s death.

A report from Ferguson police identified Lesley McSpadden, 34, as one of a group of up to 30 people that ran into the tent and ransacked the stall in the Missouri city on Saturday October 18. 

Pearlie Gordon, 54, Brown’s mother-in-law, and two men were selling ‘Justice for Mike Brown’ merchandise when the subjects ‘jumped out of vehicles and rushed them’ during what police are classifying as an armed robbery.”

“More than $1500 in merchandise and $400 in cash ‘was stolen by unknown subjects’ who managed to escape before police arrived.”

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More here, from TheSmokingGun  “A police report detailing a fight last month between members of Michael Brown’s family over the sale of commemorative t-shirts identifies the late teenager’s mother as one of the “attackers” who beat and robbed vendors selling the merchandise from a tent in a Ferguson, Missouri parking lot.

A copy of the Ferguson Police Department report was provided yesterday by city attorney Stephanie Karr. When TSG requested the document two weeks ago, Karr noted that Brown’s mother, Lesley McSpadden, was “described in the report” and had “specifically requested that the report be withheld from the media.”

McSpadden’s mother, Desureia Harris, began to rip down t-shirts hanging on a line, Gordon told officers. Then, she added, other members of the group began “tearing her booth apart.” Gordon (seen at left) said that during the melee she was repeatedly struck in the head and knocked to the ground.

At one point, Gordon recalled, she heard McSpadden “yell to an unknown subject, ‘That’s Calvina’s mom, get her @#%.” [Calvina is the first name of Michael Brown Sr.’s wife.] “McSpadden then ran up and punched Gordon,” according to the report.

Gordon’s male associates were also beaten–reportedly with a pipe–during the confrontation, and one of the men was transported by EMS workers to a local hospital for treatment of “injuries sustained during the assault.”

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News/Politics 11-6-14

What’s interesting in the news today?

1. The voters have spoken and he doesn’t like what they said.

From TheAP  “For anyone expecting postelection contrition at the White House or vows to change course after a disastrous election for Democrats, President Barack Obama had one message Wednesday: Think again.

A day after Democrats lost control of the Senate and suffered big losses in House and governors’ races across the country, Obama struck a defiant tone. He defended his policies, stood by his staff and showed few signs of changing an approach to dealing with congressional Republicans that has generated little more than gridlock in recent years.

Rather than accept the election results as a repudiation of his own administration, the president said voters were disenchanted with Washington as a whole. And rather than offering dour assessments of his party’s electoral thrashing, as he did after the 2010 midterms, the president insisted repeatedly that he was optimistic about the country’s future.”

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2. And speaking of defiant….

From TheCharlotteObserver  “Two weeks after he lost his right to vote, former Charlotte mayor and convicted felon Patrick Cannon apparently cast a ballot.

That vote, which was officially challenged Tuesday night, would violate Cannon’s bond and could put him back before a judge, said Greg Forrest, chief of the U.S. Probation Office in Charlotte.

It may even mean the 47-year-old Democrat goes to prison sooner.

“Let’s cut to the chase: He shouldn’t have done that, and we’re going to talk to him tomorrow (Wednesday),” Forrest told the Observer.”

Lock him up and add a new charge.

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3. 5 Democrat myths have been exposed as false.

From TheWashingtonExaminer  “As Democratic losses mounted in Senate races across the country on election night, some liberal commentators clung to the idea that dissatisfied voters were sending a generally anti-incumbent message, and not specifically repudiating Democratic officeholders. But the facts of the election just don’t support that story.

Voters replaced Democratic senators with Republicans in Arkansas, Colorado, Iowa, North Carolina, Montana, South Dakota, West Virginia and likely in Alaska, and appear on track to do so in a runoff next month in Louisiana. At the same time, voters kept Republicans in GOP seats in heavily contested races in Georgia, Kansas and Kentucky. That is at least 10, and as many as a dozen, tough races, without a single Republican seat changing hands. Tuesday’s voting was a wave alright — a very anti-Democratic wave.

In addition to demolishing the claim of bipartisan anti-incumbent sentiment, voters also exposed as myths five other ideas dear to the hearts of Democrats in the last few months:

1) The election wouldn’t be a referendum on President Obama.”

“4) Women would save Democrats.”

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4. How do you know they’re missing if you never looked for them?

From JudicialWatch  “Judicial Watch announced today that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) admitted to the court that it failed to search any of the IRS standard computer systems for the “missing” emails of Lois Lerner and other IRS officials. The admission appears in an IRS legal brief opposing the Judicial Watch request that a federal court judge allow discovery into how “lost and/or destroyed” IRS records relating to the targeting of conservative groups may be retrieved. The IRS is fighting Judicial Watch’s efforts to force testimony and document production about the IRS’ loss of records in Judicial Watch’s Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) litigation about the IRS targeting of Tea Party and other opponents of President Obama(Judicial Watch v. IRS (No. 1:13-cv-1559)).  The lawsuit is before U.S. District Court Judge Emmett G. Sullivan.

In its September 17 Motion for Limited Discovery, Judicial Watch argues that, despite two orders, the IRS had consistently failed to provide information detailing how “the missing emails could be retrieved from other sources and produced to Judicial Watch.” On October 17, IRS attorneys asked the court to deny the Judicial Watch request, even while admitting that additional Congressional requests “could result in additional documents being located ….”

In its October 27 Reply in Support of Motion for Limited Discovery, Judicial Watch argued that declarations submitted by the IRS in response to the Judge Sullivan’s orders “fail to answer important questions about the missing emails:”

[I]t has become apparent that the IRS did not undertake any significant efforts to obtain the emails from alternative sources following the discovery that the emails were missing. The emails are potentially responsive to Plaintiff’s FOIA requests, and the IRS’s failure to search for them in other recordkeeping systems raises material questions of fact about whether the agency has conducted a reasonable search.

Judicial Watch lawyers reviewed the IRS court filings and concluded that the agency “did not undertake any significant efforts to obtain the emails.””

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5. As Democrats now call for bi-partisanship (which they never get around to when they run things), here’s something for the Republicans to keep on mind.

From WeaselZippers  “Last night, the talking points were already under way from Democrats on how now we must all work together, the time for partisanship is past.

No no, my dear Democrats. Given this election is a very specific and direct rejection of the policies that you and President Obama have espoused(in his own words), now is the time to work nonstop and eliminate those same policies in accordance with the will of the people.

Republicans, Conservatives. Please do remember as you are urged to act in a ‘bipartisan way’, what you have been called.”

“Enemy, paranoid, greedy, Bible-thumping, gun-toting, fear-mongering, racist, sexist, bigot, birther, redneck, homophobic, xenophobic, global-warming denialists, anti-science, Neanderthal, barbarian, terrorist, hobbits, member of the Flat Earth Society, Nazi, bully, Yosemite Sam hillbilly, beer-toting, pot belly, church going, small-minded, whack-job, Evangelical, gun nuts, wing nut, knuckle-dragger, clueless, Teabaggers, narrow-minded, evil, redneck freaks, judgmental, backwards, sick, anti-intellectualist, slut-shaming, slimebuckets, forced-birther, neocons, Zionist, neo-Confederate, wild nasty hard-right fringe, extremist, sewer rats, wacko birds, bitter clingers, misogynist, you suck, Obamaphobic, chirper, white nativist, crazies,”

And that’s not even a third of the list.

Don’t fall for it. Don’t let Lucy do it to you again Charlie Brown.

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News/Politics 11-5-14

What’s interesting in the news today?

1. Ride the Wave.

From TheAP  ” Riding a powerful wave of voter discontent, resurgent Republicans captured control of the Senate and tightened their grip on the House Tuesday night in elections certain to complicate President Barack Obama’s final two years in office.

Republican Mitch McConnell led the way to a new Senate majority, dispatching Democratic challenger Alison Lundergan Grimes in Kentucky after a $78 million campaign of unrelieved negativity. Voters are “hungry for new leadership. They want a reason to be hopeful,” said the man now in line to become majority leader and set the Senate agenda.

Two-term incumbent Mark Pryor of Arkansas was the first Democrat to fall, defeated by freshman Rep. Tom Cotton. Sen. Mark Udall of Colorado was next, defeated by Rep. Cory Gardner. Sen. Kay Hagan also lost, in North Carolina, to Thom Tillis, the speaker of the state House.

Republicans also picked up seats in Iowa, West Virginia, South Dakota and Montana, all states where Democrats retired. They had needed a net gain of six seats to end a Democratic majority in place since 2006.

In the House, with dozens of races uncalled, Republicans had picked up 11 seats that had been in Democratic hands, and given up only one.”

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2. I’m kind of glad she won because she has some explaining to do.

From FoxNews  “Democratic New Hampshire Sen. Jeanne Shaheen was looped in on a plan with Lois Lerner and President Barack Obama’s political appointee at the IRS to lead a program of harassment against conservative nonprofit groups during the 2012 election, according to letters exclusively obtained by The Daily Caller.

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) did not want to publicly release 2012 correspondences exchanged between the IRS and Jeanne Shaheen at her personal Washington office: the agency delayed releasing the information to a major conservative super PAC multiple times, even threatening to see the super PAC in court, according to emails.

But the letter in question comes out now, on the eve of Jeanne Shaheen’s bid for re-election to the United States Senate.

“The IRS is aware of the current public interest in this issue,” IRS chief counsel William J. Wilkins, a White House visitor described by insiders as “The President’s Man at the IRS,” personally wrote in a hand-stamped memo to “Senator Shaheen” on official Department of the Treasury letterhead on April 25, 2012.”

This proves that it was a lie that this was just rogue agents in Cincinnati. Democrats and the White House orchestrated it.

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3. And in other election eve/night news dumps….

From NationalReview  “Justice Department officials provided House investigators with thousands of documents related to Operation Fast and Furious that President Obama had previously claimed were exempt from congressional review.

In an “election eve dump,” as House Oversight and Government Reform Committee chairman Darrell Issa (R., Calif.) put it, DOJ handed over 64,280 pages of documents, a release that is still only a partial fulfillment of the committee’s request.

“This production is nonetheless a victory for the legislative branch, a victory for transparency, and a victory for efforts to check Executive Branch power,” Issa said of the release.”

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4. Now maybe some of those House passed bills will see the light of day in the Senate. Harry being bounced is an extra bonus.

From Politico Chuck Todd seems to believe that Harry Reid’s days as the top Senate Democrat are through.

“I don’t think — I will be surprised if Democrats keep Harry Reid,” Todd, the moderator of NBC’s “Meet The Press,” said late Tuesday night. “I think this is going to be an open question inside the Senate Democratic Caucus.”

Todd’s remark, made during a late night NBC News livestream, was among the boldest calls made by a member of the media on Tuesday, and certainly the most dire for the current Majority Leader. It’s not an unfair projection, either. As Nevada’s Jon Ralson recently reported, Reid’s “vaunted political machine” failed to drive Democrats to the polls this year, and Reid’s poor Senate stewardship has “induced senators and candidates he has helped to muse openly about not voting for him as leader.”

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News/Politics 11-3-14

What’s interesting in the news today?

1. Let’s hope they’re accurate.

From FoxNews Republican Senate candidates are pulling away in the final days of key races, according to polls released this weekend.

Republicans are either leading in Georgia, Kentucky and Louisiana or will likely win runoff elections, according to a NBC/Marist poll released Sunday.

In addition, the Republican nominee in Iowa, Joni Ernst, now has a 7-point lead over Democratic challenger Rep. Bruce Braley, according to a Des Moines Register poll released Saturday.

Most polls have shown until now that the four races have essentially been deadlocked in the closing weeks.”

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2. The govt. made 20 billion in purchases this year that it’s allowed to keep secret from taxpayers.

From NBC/Washington  “The federal government has spent at least $20 billion in taxpayer money this year on items and services that it is permitted to keep secret from the public, according to an investigation by the News4 I-Team.

The purchases, known among federal employees as “micropurchases,” are made by some of the thousands of agency employees who are issued taxpayer-funded purchase cards. The purchases, in most cases, remain confidential and are not publicly disclosed by the agencies. A sampling of those purchases, obtained by the I-Team via the Freedom of Information Act, reveals at least one agency used those cards to buy $30,000 in Starbucks Coffee drinks and products in one year without having to disclose or detail the purchases to the public.

A series of other recent purchases, reviewed by internal government auditors, include wasteful and inappropriate purchases by government employees — including a gym membership and JC Penney clothing — that were not detected or stopped until after the purchase was completed.

The I-Team’s findings have been the subject of a Congressional hearing and created scrutiny from taxpayer watchdogs for the Department of Homeland Security, which made the Starbucks purchases and declines to publicly detail them.”

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3. Here’s more waste, fraud, and abuse of taxpayer money.

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4. Not shocking to anyone who’s been connecting the dots.

From TheDailyCaller  “The deadly EV-D68 enterovirus epidemic, which struck thousands of kids this fall, was likely propelled through America by President Barack Obama’s decision to allow tens of thousands of Central Americans across the Texas border, according to a growing body of genetic and statistical evidence.

The evidence includes admissions from top health officials that the epidemic included multiple strains of the virus, and that it appeared simultaneously in multiple independent locations.

The question can be settled if federal researchers study the genetic fingerprint of the EV-D68 viruses that first hit kids in Colorado, Missouri and Illinois to see if they are close relatives to the EV-D68 viruses found in Central America.”

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5. This is how not to do it. Let people with no military experience micromanage military decisions.

From TheDailyBeast Top military leaders in the Pentagon and in the field are growing increasingly frustrated by the tight constraints the White House has placed on the plans to fight ISIS and train a new Syrian rebel army.

As the American-led battle against ISIS stretches into its fourth month, the generals and Pentagon officials leading the air campaign and preparing to train Syrian rebels are working under strict White House orders to keep the war contained within policy limits. The National Security Council has given precise instructions on which rebels can be engaged, who can be trained, and what exactly those fighters will do when they return to Syria. Most of the rebels to be trained by the U.S. will never be sent to fight against ISIS.

Making matters worse, military officers and civilian Pentagon leaders tell The Daily Beast, is the ISIS war’s decision-making process, run by National Security Adviser Susan Rice. It’s been manic and obsessed with the tiniest of details. Officials talk of sudden and frequent meetings of the National Security Council and the so-called Principals Committee of top defense, intelligence, and foreign policy officials (an NSC and three PCs in one week this month); a barrage of questions from the NSC to the agencies that create mountains of paperwork for overworked staffers; and NSC insistence on deciding minor issues even at the operational level.

“We are getting a lot of micromanagement from the White House. Basic decisions that should take hours are taking days sometimes,” one senior defense official told The Daily Beast.”

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News/Politics 10-9-14

What’s interesting in the news today?

1. Fuzzy Math.

Or if you prefer an alternate headline, Census Helping Cook the Unemployment Books.

From TheNTPost  “A field supervisor in the Census Bureau’s Denver region has informed her organization’s higher-ups, the head of the Commerce Department and congressional investigators that she believes economic data collected by her office is being falsified.

And this whistleblower — who asked that I not identify her — said her bosses in Denver ignored her warnings even after she provided details of wrongdoing by three different survey takers. The three continued to collect data even after she reported them.

When I spoke with this whistleblower earlier this year as part of my investigation of Census, she told me that hundreds of interviews that go into the Labor Department’s unemployment rate and inflation surveys would miraculously be completed just hours before deadline.”

“The Denver whistleblower also provided to the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform the names of other Census workers who can spill the beans about data fraud in other regions.”

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2. An update on the story from the other day about the electronic records problems in the Texas Ebola case. Another flawed product from another Obama donor and bundler, just like with ObamaCare’s website.

From NationalReview  “Here’s what I can tell you for sure: Texas Health contracts with Epic Systems for its electronic-medical-records system — and the Dallas hospital isn’t the only client that has complained about its costly information-sharing flaws and interoperability failures.

Epic was founded by billionaire Judy Faulkner, a top Obama donor whose company is the dominant EMR player in the U.S. health-care market. As I reported last year, Epic employees donated nearly $1 million to political parties and candidates between 1995 and 2012 — 82 percent of it to Democrats. The company’s top ten PAC recipients are all Democratic or left-wing outfits, from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (nearly $230,000) to the DNC Services Corporation (nearly $175,000) and the America’s Families First Action Fund super PAC ($150,000).

Faulkner, an influential Obama campaign-finance bundler, served as an adviser to David Blumenthal. He’s the White House health-information-technology guru in charge of dispensing the federal electronic-medical-records subsidies that Faulkner pushed President Obama to adopt. Faulkner also served on the same committee Blumenthal chaired.”

“Epic and other large firms lobbied aggressively for nearly $30 billion in federal subsidies for their companies under the 2009 Obama stimulus package. The law penalizes medical providers that fail to comply with the one-size-fits-all mandate. Obama claimed that the new rules would cut costs and reduce errors. But health-care analysts at the RAND Corporation admitted last year that their cost-savings predictions of $81 billion a year were vastly inflated.

Epic has been the subject of rising industry and provider complaints about its antiquated closed-end system — so much so that when Texas Health released its first statement about the software glitch in the Ebola case, Jack Shaffer, a health-care IT guru and top official at KRM Associates, immediately snarked on Twitter: “Guess Epic can’t share data even with itself!”

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3. And since we’re on the subject of Obama’s billionaire buddies…

Only someone completely tone-deaf, or a serial liar, can pull this off with a straight face while in the home of a billionaire named Rich Richman. I kid you not. 😆

From TheDailyMail  “President Barack Obama chided the Republican Party for catering to the ‘interests of billionaires’ in an email to supporters on Tuesday, then attended a series of high-dollar fundraisers, including one at real estate mogul Rich Richman’s house.

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee fundraiser at Richman’s house in Greenwich, Connecticut, cost as much as $32,400 a person, according to the White House. 

The other two events, held in New York and sponsored by the Democratic National Committee, cost between $1,000 and $32,400 to attend.”

“As Obama was yucking it up with wealthy Democratic donors, he sent out a fundraising email slamming the GOP for being in the pocket of billionaires, the Washington Times reports.

‘If the Republicans win, we know who they’ll be fighting for,’ Obama allegedly wrote. ‘Once again, the interests of billionaires will come before the needs of the middle class.'”

They must think their supporters are total morons.

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4. Stop me if you’ve heard this one before….

From TheWashingtonTimes The EPA is poised to “do an IRS” — similar to what the tax agency had to do with dismissed top official Lois G. Lerner — and officially notify the National Archives that it may have lost key electronic records, according to a think tank that’s suing to get text messages under an open-records request.

Justice Department lawyers told a federal court on Tuesday that the alert will be coming soon, in a case that’s shaping up as a significant battle over whether government agencies are required to keep cellphone text messages as “official” records.

An EPA spokeswoman said agency officials have acknowledged to the court and to the National Archives that the agency doesn’t have the text messages, but they contend the messages never had to be stored in the first place, since they were personal in nature and aren’t required to be preserved under open-records laws, nor turned over under the Freedom of Information Act.

“EPA is not aware of any evidence that federal records have been unlawfully destroyed,” said Liz Purchia, the EPA spokeswoman.”

Nothin’ to see here folks. Again.

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5. Thoughts?

From HotAir  “Putting the paddles on the chest of a divisive issue with absolutely no hope of the outcome he promises is a hallmark of Ted Cruz,” says GOP consultant Rick Wilson acidly, the memory of last year’s doomed “defund” effort firmly in mind. Okay, but the fine print on what Cruz wants to do is interesting. Typically when social conservatives start talking up amendments aimed at gay marriage, they’re thinking of a substantive change — namely, a new law of the land that says marriage involves one man and one woman and no other combination. Once that’s in the Constitution, even courts can’t mess with it. (I think!) As The Atlantic notes, though, Cruz’s proposed amendment isn’t substantive. It’s procedural.

“It is beyond dispute that when the 14th Amendment was adopted 146 years ago, as a necessary post-Civil War era reform, it was not imagined to also mandate same-sex marriage, but that is what the Supreme Court is implying today. The Court is making the preposterous assumption that the People of the United States somehow silently redefined marriage in 1868 when they ratified the 14th Amendment.

“Nothing in the text, logic, structure, or original understanding of the 14th Amendment or any other constitutional provision authorizes judges to redefine marriage for the Nation. It is for the elected representatives of the People to make the laws of marriage, acting on the basis of their own constitutional authority, and protecting it, if necessary, from usurpation by the courts.

“Marriage is a question for the States. That is why I have introduced legislation, S. 2024, to protect the authority of state legislatures to define marriage. And that is why, when Congress returns to session, I will be introducing a constitutional amendment to prevent the federal government or the courts from attacking or striking down state marriage laws.”

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6. How tolerant… 🙄

From FoxNews  “The Human Rights Commission in Lexington, Kentucky has a chilling message for Christian business owners who refuse service to LGBT organizations: leave your religion at home.”

“On Tuesday, a Lexington Human Rights Commission hearing examiner issued a recommended ruling that the owner of a T-shirt company violated a local ordinance against sexual-orientation discrimination.”

The hearing examiner recommended the following punishment:

First, Hands On Originals cannot discriminate against individuals because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. In other words, the T-shirt company must service LGBT customers – no questions asked. The examiner also ordered Adamson to attend “diversity training” conducted by – wait for it – the Lexington Human Rights Commission.

“Take just a moment and let that sink in – a Christian business owner is being ordered to attend diversity training – because of his religious beliefs. That’s a pretty frightening concept and a mighty dangerous precedent.”

And I must say, I’m impressed with the updated terminology used. After all, “diversity training” sounds so much nicer than “re-education camp.”

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7. Reason number 6,453,627 not to use the public school system. PC stupidity run amok.

From NationalReview  “A Nebraska school district has instructed its teachers to stop referring to students by “gendered expressions” such as “boys and girls,” and use “gender inclusive” ones such as “purple penguins” instead.

“Don’t use phrases such as ‘boys and girls,’ ‘you guys,’ ‘ladies and gentlemen,’ and similarly gendered expressions to get kids’ attention,” instructs a training document given to middle-school teachers at the Lincoln Public Schools.

“Create classroom names and then ask all of the ‘purple penguins’ to meet on the rug,” it advises.

The document also warns against asking students to “line up as boys or girls,” and suggests asking them to line up by whether they prefer “skateboards or bikes/milk or juice/dogs or cats/summer or winter/talking or listening.”

“Always ask yourself . . . ‘Will this configuration create a gendered space?’” the document says.”

A better question for parents is to always ask yourself, “Do I want a wussified kid, that’s totally confused about gender and the differences between boys and girls, because everyone is treated as unisex now?” And if the answer is no, you don’t, then maybe you should find a better schooling option.

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