The Patriot Post® · Daily Digest
“[H]onesty will be found on every experiment, to be the best and only true policy; let us then as a nation be just.” –George Washington, Circular letter to the States, 1783
TOP 5 RIGHT HOOKS
Is this any way to run a nascent presidential campaign? It took Hillary Clinton three days to challenge the story that her “personal” emails were deleted without anyone even reading them. Clinton spokesman Nick Merrill released a statement claiming that when they said keyword searches were used to determine which emails to keep it wasn’t the only method they employed. “[I]n wanting the public to understand how robust of a search was conducted, the fact sheet laid out several examples of the methods used by the reviewers to double and triple check they were capturing everything,” he said. “It was not meant to be taken as a list of every approach performed to ensure thoroughness. Those subsequent steps were in addition to reading them all, not in lieu of reading them all. (No different than our explaining such terms were used but not listing every search term used.) We simply took for granted that reading every single email came across as the most important, fundamental and exhaustive step that was performed. The fact sheet should have been clearer every email was read, which we are doing now.” They assumed everyone would trust Hillary’s judgment. But, as the saying goes, you know what you get when you assume… More…
George W. Bush decided that the Office of Administration was exempt from Freedom of Information Act requests, despite the office having abided by the law for 30 years. Barack Obama’s administration has continued the Bush administration’s practice, and, in fact, the White House just made the policy official. USA Today notes, “[T]he timing of the move raised eyebrows among transparency advocates, coming on National Freedom of Information Day and during a national debate over the preservation of Obama administration records. It’s also Sunshine Week, an effort by news organizations and watchdog groups to highlight issues of government transparency.” Not only that, but the Office of Administration handles White House record keeping, including email, making the timing especially ironic during a firestorm surrounding Hillary Clinton’s corrupt email practices. So, once again, it’s plain that The Most Transparent Administration in History™ is about as see-through as a brick wall. More…
Congressional Republicans certainly have their work cut out for them. Today, the House Committee on the Budget, headed by Dr. Tom Price of Georgia, released its proposed budget that sets forth a Republican agenda for how the federal purse is to be spent. The budget, steeped in the fiscal influence of Rep. Paul Ryan, cuts spending by $5.1 trillion and slashes additional debt in 10 years. ObamaCare would be repealed and the caps on defense spending would be lifted. But such a proposal could be controversial even among Republicans because it pits war hawks like Sen. John McCain, who vehemently opposed the sequestration of defense spending, against Republicans who prioritize a tight fiscal policy in all quarters. Last month’s fight to fund the Department of Homeland Security while defunding Barack Obama’s executive actions on immigration showed that congressional Republicans face a double enemy – fratricidal infighting and an authoritarian executive. But a budget is a worthy goal (exactly why Harry Reid blocked one for so many years), and we’re glad to see the Republican majority finally starting to lead. More…
Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush isn’t likely to win over many grassroots conservatives with his stance on immigration. But he knows that and isn’t even bothering to try. He sounded off on what to do with illegals already in the country, saying, “It’s easy to say, ‘Well, anything you propose is amnesty,’ but that’s not a plan. That’s a sentiment; that’s not a plan. I think the best plan, the most realistic plan – the grown-up plan, if you will – is once you control the border and you’re confident it’s not going to be another magnet, is to say, ‘Let’s let these folks achieve earned legal status where they work, where they come out of the shadows.’” He’s right in that dealing with illegals already here is the most difficult part of immigration reform, and there are few, if any, satisfactory plans to do so. We’ll give Bush marks for consistency, but he would do far better to try to win converts than to belittle as children those on his own side who disagree with his approach. That’s what leftists do.
It’s just going to be that much harder to get some authentic Seattle salmon. Due to the city’s minimum wage hike that’s set to slam the city April 1 (April Fools!), Seattle restaurants are closing because they can’t pay workers the $15 an hour minimum wage. Seattle Magazine reports, “Washington Restaurant Association’s [Anthony] Anton puts it this way: ‘It’s not a political problem; it’s a math problem.’ He estimates that a common budget breakdown among sustaining Seattle restaurants so far has been the following: 36 percent of funds are devoted to labor, 30 percent to food costs and 30 percent go to everything else (all other operational costs). The remaining 4 percent has been the profit margin, and as a result, in a $700,000 restaurant, he estimates that the average restaurateur in Seattle has been making $28,000 a year.” While restaurants are not the economic lifeblood of any city, a city without good food is tasteless. This is a tangible example of what’s happening to Seattle’s economy with a government-mandated wage. More…
For more, visit Right Hooks.
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The Justice Department recently announced plans to crack down on campaign finance coordination between candidates and outside groups. Not satisfied with the job the Federal Election Commission is doing to keep candidates from leveraging independent political groups, Justice said it will investigate such cases and “aggressively pursue coordination offenses at every appropriate opportunity.”
The Wall Street Journal explains, “Under federal law, a campaign expenditure is illegally coordinated when it meets certain tests for content and conduct. The content of an ad must either advocate for a candidate or mention the candidate by name in the 60 days before a general election. The conduct amounts to illegal coordination if there is material involvement or substantial discussion between a [political action committee] and a candidate regarding that election-related content.”
Proving coordination can be difficult, but starting an investigation can be alarmingly easy. All that’s needed is an allegation that two people talked who shouldn’t have – then government lawyers can come in and comb through files, computer drives and bank accounts with the full power of the FBI behind them.
Is there really a rash of corrupt coordination taking place between political candidates and PACs? What kind of widespread corruption would warrant the Justice Department taking such sweeping actions? “The opportunity to commit crime has increased dramatically,” said DOJ spokesman Peter Carr. Oh, the opportunity. But what about actual crime?
Well, the total number of such cases DOJ opened since the Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling on campaign finance has plummeted, as has the total amount of fines collected. According to the DOJ’s statist mindset, that could only mean missed opportunities to shakedown political opponents.
GOP members of the FEC claim the lower number of investigations indicates people are following the rules, though Democrat members believe Republicans must be getting away with something. You can imagine which side the DOJ will come down on.
Richard Pilger, head of the DOJ’s Election Crimes Branch, supports pursuing coordination investigations. The outcome of an FEC investigation could lead to fines or even jail time.
Incidentally, Pilger was the DOJ official who in 2010 reached out to the IRS’s Lois Lerner – remember her? – about prosecuting nonprofits that engaged in fraud on their tax returns. Lerner ended up sharing protected taxpayer data on a number of nonprofit groups – coincidentally, all of them supported conservative causes. Talk about coordination.
In fact, Barack Obama’s 2012 election victory could largely be attributable to the IRS’s targeting of his political opponents.
Lerner’s activity and the DOJ’s open-ended persecution of political groups are both far bigger threats to free political speech than any phone call or backroom meeting between a candidate and a PAC. The government, whether it’s through the IRS or the Justice Department, bullies organizations into silence by tangling them in bureaucratic red tape, threatening jail or fines, or simply gumming up the works with extended investigations. And it’s no coincidence that a vast majority of these organizations fall on the opposite side of the political spectrum than the White House, Lerner or Pilger. The Left hates free political speech coming from the Right. And leftists will use any available tool to silence it.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) announced that the Senate will not vote on Barack Obama’s nomination of Loretta Lynch to take over Eric Holder’s position as attorney general until Democrats start cooperating on a human trafficking bill. Your move, Harry Reid.
Senate Democrats are furious over some of the language included in the trafficking bill, claiming they didn’t know it contained the Hyde Amendment, which stipulates the bill may contain no federal funding for abortions. So far, they’ve blocked a vote on it.
They didn’t know it contained this language? That’s a bit absurd considering that the trafficking bill contains the same language that was part of the legislation from the beginning. Furthermore, the Hyde Amendment has been a common addition to spending bills since 1976. Perhaps Democrats decided to read the bill this time – a novel idea for them.
Senate Minority Leader Reid gave his two cents, blustering, “Any attempt to hold a confirmation vote hostage because of this abortion provision is a sham.”
So says the man who spent his entire time as majority leader holding House legislation hostage.
John Cornyn (R-TX) noted, “When we offered them an opportunity to offer an amendment to change [the abortion language], they said: ‘No, we don’t want an amendment. We don’t want to change it by a vote of the Senate. We just want to block the bill.’”
The fact Democrats will not vote for a trafficking bill simply because it includes language blocking federal funding for abortion – language they helped pass before – reveals how twisted their minds are when it comes to the issue of life. Just as revealing of their warped thinking is that they are more concerned about voting on the Lynch nomination than they are about trafficking or protecting life.
And the street doesn’t run both ways. If Republicans were to block a bill on trafficking for any reason, Democrats and their Leftmedia lemmings would quickly label them “pro-trafficking.”
National Review’s Joel Gehrke writes, “[This is] the same tactic that Democrats used to kill the Department of Homeland Security appropriations bill in order to avoid taking a vote on House-passed language targeting President Obama’s executive orders on immigration with a tweak: Democrats allowed the debate on human trafficking to begin, but they won’t offer an amendment during the debate to get rid of language they oppose.” Yet somehow they continue to get away with painting Republicans as the party of “no.”
McConnell is playing his cards right this time. And if he stands firm by holding off the vote on Loretta Lynch until Democrats cooperate and pass the human trafficking bill, then Republicans will have finally stood on principle against Democrats. If McConnell succeeds, then one has to ask, why in the world didn’t he use it on the DHS/executive amnesty bill?
For more, visit Right Analysis.
TOP 5 RIGHT OPINION COLUMNS
- Arnold Ahlert: Some Enemy Lists Are More Equal Than Others
- Michael Barone: 47 Senators State the Obvious: Obama-Iran Deal May Not Last
- Ed Feulner: When Critics Are Viewed as Traitors
- Thomas Sowell: Two Warnings
- William Murchison: Trashing the Academic Mission
For more, visit Right Opinion.
OPINION IN BRIEF
Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965): “The price of greatness is responsibility.”
Columnist Arnold Ahlert: “Anyone still remember the left’s apoplexy when they discovered Richard Nixon had an enemies list? Last week, I named three people I suspected might be on Barack Obama’s equally contemptible equivalent. They were Hillary Clinton, Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. One week later that educated guess is looking like a stone cold winner. … Hillary flounders, Menendez squirms and Netanyahu’s fate may have been sealed by Obama’s campaign allies. And the see-no-Obama-evil American media maintains its calculated disinterest because they are as invested in Obama’s deal with Iran – and the self-aggrandizing nonsense about achieving a ‘historical legacy’ that accompanies it – as the Obama administration itself is. … They will do whatever they want, by any means necessary, and they dare anyone to stop them. Those who try will undoubtedly make themselves as targetable as Clinton, Menendez and Netanyahu. That’s because Barack Obama … is Richard Nixon. On steroids.”
Columnist Michael Barone: “The president has made it clear he won’t submit any agreement [with Iran] to Congress for approval, and his spokesmen have made feints at suggesting he would seek approval, in the hopes of some measure of permanence, by the United Nations Security Council. He is evidently ready to acquiesce to an expansion of Iranian power in the Middle East and a green light for Iran to obtain a bomb in 10 years, on the assumption that the character of the regime has changed sufficiently to render it tolerable. Neither Saudi Arabia and other Arab neighbors nor Israel considers that desirable. Neither do most of members of Congress or, to judge from polls, most American voters. This is not the first time a Congress has been at odds with a president’s foreign policy and has tried to push back. That was the case in back in 2007 and 2008, when most members of the Democratic Congress opposed George W. Bush’s surge strategy in Iraq, which contrary to their predictions, succeeded. Barack Obama threw that victory away and now seems complacent about Iran’s advances beyond its borders. Telling Iran’s leaders that most in Congress and most Americans disagree and that an agreement may not last is just highlighting what should be obvious.”
Fred Thompson: “A new study shows that too much praise can turn your child into a rude narcissist. Giving them a Nobel Peace Prize for no reason doesn’t help any, either.”
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