Over The Edge

I know that there are some rational Democrats out there. Alan Dershowitz is one, and I am sure there are a few others. However, there are enough nuts running around out there to keep a colony of squirrels fed for a million winters!

Katie Pavlich posted an article at Townhall today about some events at a recent townhall meeting held by Michigan Democratic Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib. I realize that Congresswoman Tlaib may not fully understand how our government works, but I think what went on at that meeting was unacceptable.

The article reports:

During a town hall meeting with constituents in Michigan this week, Democratic Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib agreed that U.S. Marshals should “hunt down” White House officials and remove them from office if they “refuse to leave power.” This includes President Trump.

The idea was suggested by a man questioning Tlaib, who nodded in agreement, and then admitted Democrats on Capitol Hill have been having a discussion about who can arrest administration officials and where they could be held.

“This is the last caucus conversation we’ve had. Did you know this is really unprecedented? This is the worst time we’ve ever had a situation like this. They’re trying to figure out, no joke, is it the DC police that goes and gets them?” Tlaib said. “Where do we hold them? Like, I’m not in those kinds of conversations but I’m asking, what happens?”

“I’m telling you, they’re trying to be like, ‘Well where are we going put them? Where are we going to hold…'” she continued, suggesting they can be held in Detroit. “What happens when they don’t comply? The fact of the matter is we held Barr and Secretary Ross from Commerce, the Secretary of Commerce, in contempt. Well, what happens if they continue to not comply?”

Note that there is no description of whatever it is these people have done to deserve arrest. Also note that there never seems to be a definitive list of crimes that President Trump is supposed to have committed. Have we reached the point where if you disagree with me and I am in power I can have you arrested? This is frightening.

Nothing To See Here–Keep Moving

Yesterday The Daily Caller posted an article about the House Democratic Caucus’s server. It seems that the server went missing soon after it became evidence in a cybersecurity probe. Wow. What a coincidence. A newly obtained secret memo also said more than “40 House offices may have been victims of IT security violations.”

The article reports:

In the memo, Congress’s top law enforcement official, Sergeant-at-Arms Paul Irving, along with Chief Administrative Officer Phil Kiko, wrote, “We have concluded that the employees [Democratic systems administrator Imran Awan and his family] are an ongoing and serious risk to the House of Representatives, possibly threatening the integrity of our information systems and thereby members’ capacity to serve constituents.”

The memo, addressed to the Committee on House Administration (CHA) and dated Feb. 3, 2017, was recently reviewed and transcribed by The Daily Caller News Foundation. The letter bolsters TheDCNF’s previous reporting about the missing server and evidence of fraud on Capitol Hill.

It details how the caucus server, run by then-caucus Chairman Rep. Xavier Becerra, was secretly copied by authorities after the House Inspector General (IG) identified suspicious activity on it, but the Awans’ physical access was not blocked.

…Rep. Louie Gohmert — a Texas Republican on the House Committee on the Judiciary who has done oversight work on the case — said the missing server contained copies of Congress members’ emails.

“They put 40 members of Congress’s data on one server … That server, with that serial number, has disappeared,” he said.

The article concludes:

A Democratic IT aide who alleged that Imran solicited a bribe from him told TheDCNF he believes members of Congress are playing dumb and covering the matter up. Wendy Anderson, a former chief of staff to New York Rep. Yvette Clarke, told House investigators that she suspected that her predecessor, Shelley Davis, was working with Abid on a theft scheme, but Clarke refused to fire Abid until outside investigators got involved, TheDCNF reported.

Eighteen months after the evidence was recounted in the urgent memo, prosecution appears to have stalled for reasons not publicly explained. Imran is in court July 3 for a possible plea deal in the bank fraud case. Gohmert said the FBI has refused to accept evidence demonstrating alleged House misconduct, and some witnesses with first-hand knowledge say the bureau has not interviewed them.a

I will admit that over the years of writing this blog I have become somewhat cynical–with that in mind, I am convinced that there is someone or some people walking around Washington that have a lot of pictures showing many of our Congressmen that the Congressmen do not want revealed. I suspect those pictures and information will eventually come out. My suspicion is based on a public, but unique, internet source that I will not name. It is possible that the July 3 court date could take an interesting turn. Stay tuned. This story is totally underreported by the mainstream media, but The Daily Caller has followed it from the beginning.

One Way To Save Taxpayers Money

Yesterday Roll Call posted an article stating that the House of Representatives has paid out more than $15 million over the last decade to settle harassment cases, though that number also includes discrimination claims. There has been no information released as to exactly why the payments were made or exactly which members of Congress were involved.

The article reports:

Speier’s (Representative Jackie Speier) office clarified Wednesday that the Office of Compliance, which handles workplace and accessibility issues on Capitol Hill, does not provide a breakdown for the type of discrimination payments made.

The OOC’s $15 million figure covered more than 200 payouts made from fiscal years 1997 to 2016 for all claims the office covered, such as racial and religious discrimination cases, discrimination against people with disabilities and sexual harassment, a Speier staffer said.

Why were the taxpayers paying out this money instead of the people involved?

It seems as if sexual harassment has become the issue of the day. I find this a bit disingenuous. In addition to the pass given to Bill Clinton, where was this issue when Ted Kennedy and Chris Dodd were in Congress? There is a danger of a witch hunt here. There is also a danger that because of the political divide in the country right now, the investigation of sexual harassment in Congress will turn into a very ugly political process.

 

Why Congressional Investigations Can Take A Long Time

It seems that there have been so many scandals involving the Obama Administration and Hillary Clinton that it is hard to keep track. After a while it seems as if the investigations never seem to end. Well, there’s a reason the investigations seem to drag on–sometimes the information needed to conduct the investigation can be hard to get.

The Hill reported yesterday that thousands of emails from Lois Lerner have magically appeared.

The article reports:

The Treasury inspector general for tax administration (TIGTA) said it found roughly 6,400 emails either to or from Lerner sent between 2004 and 2013 that it didn’t think the IRS had turned over to lawmakers, the panels said. The committees have yet to examine the emails, according to Capitol Hill aides.

…But a spokesman for Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) said the committee hoped the new emails would bring the panel closer to releasing the findings of its IRS investigation. Committee aides have said the panel was close to finishing its report when the IRS said it couldn’t locate the Lerner emails last year.

“These emails will be carefully examined as part of the committee’s bipartisan IRS investigation,” the spokesman said. “After TIGTA produces their report regarding the missing data later this year, the Committee hopes to follow suit and move forward with the release of its bipartisan report on this issue.” 

If the IRS had produced the emails when they were originally asked to, the investigation would be over. I also can’t help wondering if the emails have been tampered with in any way.

Does Integrity Matter?

Should a government official lose his job for doing something that is routinely done in bars all over America every night of the week? That is one way to look at the situation surrounding Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald. This is actually a really sad story. In an effort to relate to a homeless veteran, Secretary McDonald stated that he had served in the Special Forces. Unfortunately the moment was caught on camera. The sad part of this story is that Secretary McDonald is a military veteran (despite the fact that he was not in the Special Forces) and obviously has compassion for military veterans. The fact is that he lied. The question is, “How significant is that?” Actually, I think it is rather significant–if I were in the Special Forces and had seen action, I would resent someone who hadn’t served there claiming he had.

Yesterday The Washington Examiner posted an article noting the news coverage of this incident.

The article states:

A majority of headlines this week have characterized Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald’s claim that he served in the Army’s Special Forces as a “misstatement” and a “false claim.” Very few have referred to his admitted fabrication as a “lie.”

McDonald, who qualified but never served as a Ranger and did not serve in Special Forces, apologized this week for the falsehood.

Headlines from the Huffington Post, the Washington Free Beacon, the Washington Examiner, the Hill and Military Times have used variations of “falsely claimed” in headlines regarding McDonald’s fabrication.

I hate to be difficult, but I can’t help but wonder if this event would have been reported differently if a Republican were in the White House.

Bias? What Bias?

Brent Bozell posted an article at Townhall.com today contrasting the reporting on Ted Cruz and Elizabeth Warren during the Senate budget debate. The contrast is amazing.

The article reports:

Sen. Ted Cruz and Sen. Elizabeth Warren are polar opposites, a Tea Party conservative and an Occupy Wall Street socialist. Then there are the similarities: Both were elected in 2012, both have Harvard on their resume and both are mentioned as presidential material. But the media’s read of the two demonstrates an unquestionable slant.

Both senators have shaken up the Senate over heavy spending and regulation. When Warren does it, she’s promoted as a profile in courage, standing up for fairness. When Cruz does it, he’s a selfish brat causing meltdowns.

The article reminds us to look for this type of reporting as the 2016 Presidential campaign begins.

The article cites an example of bias in The Hill:

William Jacobson at the blog Legal Insurrection found another example in The Hill newspaper, reflecting the Capitol’s own tilt like a funhouse mirror. His examples were less than 24 hours apart. Warren drew the Dec. 12 headline “Warren makes her mark,” and on Dec. 13, the headline was “Cruz center of Senate meltdown.” The articles even had the same author, a hack named Alexander Bolton.

The article concludes:

All this provides a precise GPS location for our liberal media. To them, Ted Cruz is a dangerous extremist, but Warren is their heroine — compassionate, professorial and politically and economically correct. Anyone who expects objectivity from the press is badly out of touch.

Look for this pattern throughout the 2016 campaign.

Further Information On The Internal Revenue Service Court Appearance

Yesterday the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) appeared in Federal Court to explain why Lois Lerner’s emails are missing (see rightwinggranny.com). Fox News reported on the results of that hearing.

The article reports:

A federal judge has ordered the IRS to explain “under oath” how the agency lost a trove of emails from the official at the heart of the Tea Party targeting scandal. 

U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan gave the tax agency 30 days to file a declaration by an “appropriate official” to address the computer issues with ex-official Lois Lerner. 

The decision came Thursday as part of a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit by conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch, which along with GOP lawmakers on Capitol Hill has questioned how the IRS lost the emails and, in some cases, had no apparent way to retrieve them. 

The IRS first acknowledged it lost the emails in a letter to senators last month.

It was revealed during that hearing that a Treasury Department inspector general is looking into the matter.

The article reports:

The lawyer representing the IRS, Geoffrey Klimas, argued that any further discovery in this case might impede the IG‘s investigation. 

Sullivan seemed leery of that argument and also asked that the IRS official speak to that subject in the explanation the agency submits. 

Further, Sullivan ordered that the IRS official explain how Lerner’s files may be recovered through “other sources.”

It is interesting to me that the lawyer representing the IRS would cite the IG’s investigation as a reason to stop the discovery aspect of this case from proceeding. This excuse has been used before by the Obama Administration to block investigations of misdeeds by the Administration.

 

The Rug And The Camel

Recently Shoshana Bryen, Senior Director of the Jewish Policy Center; former Senior Director for Security Policy, Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA) spoke to the Center for Security Policy’s National Security Group Lunch on Capitol Hill regarding the Iran Deal and its outlook for Israel and US-Israel Relations. She offered a lot of insight into the recent negotiations between the United States and Iran:

Here is her speech (taken from YouTube):

I realize this is not a short video, but it is well-worth listening to.

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An Invitation To Identity Theft

ObamaCare could have a very negative affect on my life in the coming months. My husband and I will be losing our health insurance on January 1. The questions is, “Do we go to the ObamaCare website and risk having our identity stolen, or do we go without health insurance?” How dangerous is it to type your personal information into the ObamaCare website? Well, an article posted at the CNBC website last Monday provides answers to that question.

The article reports:

It could take a year to secure the risk of “high exposures” of personal information on the federal Obamacare online exchange, a cybersecurity expert told CNBC on Monday.

“When you develop a website, you develop it with security in mind. And it doesn’t appear to have happened this time,” said David Kennedy, a so-called “white hat” hacker who tests online security by breaching websites. He testified on Capitol Hill about the flaws of HealthCare.gov last week.

“It’s really hard to go back and fix the security around it because security wasn’t built into it,” said Kennedy, chief executive of TrustedSec. “We’re talking multiple months to over a year to at least address some of the critical-to-high exposures on the website itself.”

This is not encouraging. Another online security expert stated that the ObamaCare website needs to be torn down and rebuilt from scratch.

The article further reports:

Last month, a Sept. 27 government memorandum surfaced in which two HHS officials said the security of the site had not been properly tested before it opened, creating “a high risk.”

HHS had explained then that steps were taken to ease security concerns after the memo was written, and that consumer information was secure. Technicians fixed a security bug in the password reset function in late October, the agency said.

But on CNBC, Kennedy disputed those claims, saying vulnerabilities remain on “everything from hacking someone’s computer so when you visit the website it actually tries to hack your computer back, all the way to being able to extract email addresses, users names—first name, last name—[and] locations.”

It really is time for Plan B.

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The Empty Chair In The Oval Office

Bret Stephens posted an article at the Wall Street Journal yesterday  about the leadership style of President Obama. The article is titled, “The Unbearable Lightness of Obama.” Mr. Stephens points out that the President says that he was briefed on NSA eavesdropping in general, but never told the specifics of listening in on foreign leaders. In terms of ObamaCare there was no person with the right technology experience involved in launching the website.

Some other observations in the article:

Besides the Syrian government‘s gains, there was mounting evidence that Mr. Assad’s troops had repeatedly used chemical weapons against civilians.

“Even as the debate about arming the rebels took on a new urgency, Mr. Obama rarely voiced strong opinions during senior staff meetings. But current and former officials said his body language was telling: he often appeared impatient and disengaged while listening to the debate, sometimes scrolling through messages on his BlackBerry or slouching and chewing gum.”

…”On Saturday, as the shutdown drama played out on Capitol Hill, President Obama played golf at Fort Belvoir in Virginia.”

…”In polo shirt, shorts and sandals, President Obama headed to the golf course Friday morning with a couple of old friends, then flew to Camp David for a long weekend. Secretary of State John Kerry was relaxing at his vacation home in Nantucket.

“Aides said both men were updated as increasingly bloody clashes left dozens dead in Egypt, but from outward appearances they gave little sense that the Obama administration viewed the broader crisis in Cairo with great alarm.”

Please follow the link above to the article to see further examples. The article concludes:

Call Mr. Obama’s style indifferent, aloof or irresponsible, but a president who governs like this reaps the whirlwind—if not for himself, then for his country.

I don’t think this is the kind of leadership America wants, but since the majority of Americans voted for this man, they got what they asked for.

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Rewriting Recent History When Convenient

Ed Morrissey at Hot Air posted an article today about a recent chyron on MSNBC. Just in case you are not a news junkie, the chyron is the group of words at the bottom on the screen that either gives the latest headlines or adds to the discussion taking place on the screen. In this case, the chyron read, “GOP flubs Obamacare launch.” Wow. I wasn’t even aware that the GOP were the ones who had launched ObamaCare. The real GOP flub in the launch of ObamaCare was allowing it to go forward with a broken website and exemptions for Congress and big business and not for average Americans, but that wasn’t a flub–that was just the make-up of Congress.

Mr. Morrissey comments:

Ironically, the entire segment demonstrates why the chyron would be inaccurate in any context — and why the tactical retreat on the shutdown might turn out to be a strategic victory for Republicans in the long run.  Without the breathless minute-by-minute updates from Capitol Hill on the shutdown, the biggest national story and shared experience is the disastrous ObamaCare rollout, which is so bad and so big that even MSNBC can’t ignore it.

Stay tuned. I’m sure there is more to come. I want to see if MSNBC and their cohorts can successfully convince the American public that the Republicans are actually responsible for the botched roll-out of ObamaCare. If they can, we are in more trouble than I thought.

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Laws For Thee But Not For Me

Hot Air is reporting today that President Obama has found a solution to the high cost of ObamaCare for some Americans. Strangely enough, those Americans are the Americans involved in the government on Capitol Hill. When ObamaCare was passed, Senator Chuck Grassley put an item in the bill that requires that both members and their aides must be covered by plans “created” by the law or “offered through an exchange” — in other words, if Congress was going to vote this thing in, then they were going to have to live with it, too. Congress panicked when its members realized how much the price of their health insurance was going to increase under ObamaCare.

Hot Air quotes Politico on the solution to the problem:

Lawmakers and staff can breathe easy — their health care tab is not going to soar next year.

The Office of Personnel Management, under heavy pressure from Capitol Hill, will issue a ruling that says the government can continue to make a contribution to the health care premiums of members of Congress and their aides, according to several Hill sources. …

Just Wednesday, POLITICO reported that President Barack Obama told Democratic senators that he was personally involved in finding a solution. …

Obama’s involvement in solving this impasse was unusual, to say the least. But it came after serious griping from both sides of the aisle about the potential of a “brain drain.” The fear, as told by sources in both parties, was that aides would head for more lucrative jobs, spooked by the potential for spiking health premiums.

The bottom line–taxpayers will be paying for Congress’s ObamaCare expenses. No one will be paying for the taxpayer’s ObamaCare expenses.

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Fireworks on Morning Joe

The Daily Caller reported today on Jay Carney‘s appearance on the Morning Joe Show with Joe Scarborough. Evidently Joe Scarborough was actually looking for information from Jay Carney, and Jay Carney was not willing to be forthcoming.

The article at the Daily Caller posted some of the exchange between the two men:

“At the beginning, you said it was just the Cincinnati office,” Scarborough said. “And then we find out more people in Washington are involved. And then this past week we found out, despite what any of us think of the investigations on Capitol Hill — and I see you smiling, I don’t know that there’s anything to smile about, that it wasn’t a couple of crazy people in Cincinnati, that this information actually went up to the Chief Counsel of the IRS, which was one of two political appointees by the president of the United States and the entire IRS. So it doesn’t sound phony to me, Jay.”

CARNEY: I greatly appreciate that that is the line pushed by Republicans who want Washington to be focused on scandals instead of the economy —
SCARBOROUGH: No, no, no, no, no, no, Jay — is that the truth or not? Don’t give me talking points! That doesn’t work on this show. So answer my question, and then let’s talk about the economy.
CARNEY: When you get to the question I’ll answer it—

Looks like some of the Jay Carney charm took a slight vacation. The only involvement by the Republicans in the IRS scandal is that they were the targets of the illegal activity.

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When Government Becomes A Bully

Today is the day that the House of Representatives Committee on Oversight and Government Reform holds hearings to try to find the root of the problems at the Internal Revenue Service. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is supposed to be a non-political organization that collects taxes from Americans. Unfortunately under President Obama, it seems that the IRS has become a political organization used to silence political opponents.

The Weekly Standard posted an article today listing some of the problems within the IRS and the Obama Administration that have recently been revealed.

The article reports:

Career IRS employees have testified on Capitol Hill that the federal agency’s chief counsel played a part in the scandal of targeting conseratives, the House Ways and Means Committee announced today in a press release. As a result, House Ways and Means Committee chair Dave Camp, House Oversight and Government Reform Committee chair Darrell Issa, Ways and Means Subcommittee chair Charles Boustany Jr, and Oversight Subcommittee chair Jim Jordan have sent a letter to the IRS requesting “new documents related to IRS employee discussions about the 2010 election, the Citizens United Supreme Court decision, and the tax-exempt status of Tea Party groups,” a press release announces.

The Citizens United Supreme Court decision essentially leveled the playing field in terms of funding political campaigns. Before that decision, the unions had pretty much provided an unmatched, never-ending flow of money into Democrat campaign coffers. The blocking of Tea Party tax-exempt applications limited the amount of money the Tea Party would be able to put into the campaigns of conservative candidates. The Obama political machine needed to prevent the Tea Party from funding candidates that would not be in line with the objectives of the Obama Administration.

The politicization of the IRS is a danger to our representative republic. If the group in power can limit the funds available to their opponents, they can stay in power. Whether we like it or not, money is a very important part of American elections. Money pays for the advertisements that explain the views of the candidates on various issues. If you cut the funds of one candidate, you limit his ability to get his message out.

Hopefully, at the end of these hearings, those people responsible for the mistreatment of conservative organizations will face the full legal consequences of their actions.

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Will Congress Ever Have The Integrity To Pass A Law Requiring Its Members To Live Under The Laws It Passes?

When America was founded, the idea was that average Americans would go to Washington to serve in government for one or two terms and then return to private life, living under the laws they had passed while in Washington. Unfortunately, that principle has gone the way of corsets and hoop skirts.

Yesterday Politico posted an article with the headline, “Lawmakers, aides may get Obamacare exemption.” Really? If it isn’t good enough for Congress, let’s repeal it on the spot. There is no reason to keep a law in place if Congress does not want to live under it.

The article reports:

Congressional leaders in both parties are engaged in high-level, confidential talks about exempting lawmakers and Capitol Hill aides from the insurance exchanges they are mandated to join as part of President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul, sources in both parties said.

It is becoming very obvious that Obamacare is a mess. It is unfortunate that the Republicans have not come up with an alternative they could bring to the floor and pass to replace it.

The article reports:

Republicans, though, haven’t been able to coalesce around a legislative health care plan of their own, either. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) pushed a bill this week that would shift funds from a health care prevention fund to create a high-risk pool for sick Americans. That bill couldn’t even get a vote on the House floor as conservatives revolted, embarrassing Cantor and his leadership team. GOP leadership pulled the bill.

Is there anyone in Washington who has a clue?

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About Those Budget Cuts…

Yesterday I posted an article (rightwinggranny.com) about the three White House calligraphers with a total salary of $277,050. Their jobs are not impacted in any way by the sequester budget cuts. Today White House Dossier is reporting that stopping tours of the White House saves about $18,000 per week.

The article reports:

ABC calculates that the White House is open for visits for about 20 hours per week and the tours require around 30 Secret Service agents at $30 per hour.

ABC White House correspondent Jonathan Karl, who filed the report, ran into House Speaker John Boehner on Capitol Hill. Boehner commented, “We’re open.”

Does anyone doubt that the choice of where to make these budget cuts is political?

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Exciting News For The Students Of Today

The Washington Post reported on December 7th that the new Common Core standards for Curriculum, which will be put in place in 46 states, will require that by graduation in 2014, 70 percent of all books studied have to be nonfiction.

The article reports:

Some suggested texts include “FedViews” by the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, the EPA’s “Recommended Levels of Insulation,” and “Invasive Plant Inventory” by California’s Invasive Plant Council.

Wow. Won’t that encourage our children to read.

The article further reports:

The people behind the core have sought to defend it, saying that this was not meant to supplant literature. This increased emphasis on nonfiction would not be a concern if the core worked the way it was supposed to, with teachers in other disciplines like math and science assigning the hard technical texts that went along with their subjects. But teachers worry that this will not happen. Principals seem to be having trouble comprehending the requirement themselves. Besides, the other teachers are too busy, well, teaching their subjects to inflict technical manuals on their students too, and  they may expect the English department to pick up the slack. And hence the great Purge of Literature.

What kind of children are we planning on raising? Anyone can order a government pamphlet and read it. There is no reason to waste time in high school reading how to insulate a house (unless you are training for construction). Reading literature helps students understand the challenges of those who have gone before them. It also (possibly) gives them an appreciation of the ease of the lives they live.

My favorite talk show host is Bill Bennett. I enjoy listening to him because he is the product of a Classical Catholic education. He talks as easily about Shakespeare as he does about recent events on Capitol Hill. His perspective is framed by his education in the classics of literature–not by what plants he can bring into California.

The Common Core Standards is one of the dumbest ideas to come along in  a long time. I hope teachers will reject it quickly so that the students can actually learn to appreciate literature.

NOTE: I posted a similar article on December 7th. I am posting this article because I think it contains more detail on what is actually planned.

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