Daily Digest for Wednesday
December 10, 2014 Print
“Driven from every other corner of the earth, freedom of thought and the right of private judgment in matters of conscience direct their course to this happy country as their last asylum.” –Samuel Adams, Speech in Philadelphia, 1776
TOP 5 RIGHT HOOKS
At Eleventh Hour, Congress Agrees to Spend More Money
One day before the deadline to fund the government passes, congressional leaders introduced a 1,603-page spending bill that will allocate $1.01 trillion. Because the House expects Congress to break the Dec. 11 deadline, it plans to pass a temporary measure to keep the government funded so they can read what’s in the bill dicker over what’s in the bill. In a joint statement, Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) and Rep. Hal Rogers (R-KY) said, “While not everyone got everything they wanted, such compromises must be made in a divided government.” The bill seeks to tweak some of the Obama administration’s policies because Congress holds the power of the purse. Most famously, the bill will fund the Department of Homeland Security only until Feb. 27 so the 114th Congress can better attack Barack Obama’s executive action on immigration. The bill also cuts $60 million from the EPA’s budget, and $345.6 million from the IRS — as Republicans seek to reform the organization after it targeted non-profit groups over political beliefs. The bottom line, though, is this is the same as it ever was — spending, spending and more spending. More…
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GOP Mulls Unilateral Disarmament in Senate
Senate Republicans are debating whether to restore the filibuster for presidential nominations. Soon-to-be Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid detonated the so-called “nuclear option” in November 2013 as a means to ram through a few extra of Barack Obama’s nominees — particularly to the DC Circuit Court of Appeals, where many federal regulations and laws are challenged. Now some Republicans, led by Sen. John McCain, think the GOP should do the sportsmanlike thing and restore the filibuster. “I think it’s rank hypocrisy if we don’t,” McCain said. On the other hand, wouldn’t that essentially be agreeing to one set of rules when Democrats are in charge and another when Republicans are? In other words, Democrats need only 51 votes for nominees, while Republicans need 60. Like it or not, that’s now the world Democrats have created. More…
Obama Yelled Profanity at Reporters
Before Ann Compton retired from her position at ABC News, she told C-SPAN that when journalists talked to Barack Obama off the record, he yelled and swore at them for how they covered his administration. “I have seen in the last year Barack Obama really angry twice,” Compton said. “Both were off-the-record times. One, profanity-laced where he thought the press was making too much of scandals that he did not think were scandals. Another where he took us to task for not understanding the limits he has with foreign policy and the way he’s dealing with the Middle East and Iraq, and Afghanistan. And I don’t find him apologetic. But I find him willing to stand up to the press and look them in the eye, even though it was off the record, and just give us hell.” For such a narcissistic control freak, we’re almost surprised Obama didn’t stomp his feet and cry, too. More..
Don’t Say ‘All Lives Matter’ When Only Black Ones Do
Kathleen McCartney, the president of Smith College in Massachusetts, sent an email to students advising them that “all lives matter,” and saying she would lead the college in endeavoring to “teach, learn and share what we know” and to “work for equity and justice.” In a normal world, the story might end there — good lesson learned. But we don’t live in a normal world. The email was sent as a response to the unrest over black deaths at the hands of white police officers, but it was unacceptable to suggest that “all lives matter” when, as one student critic admonished McCartney, “This isn’t about everyone, this is about black lives.” After all, “black lives matter” has become a rallying cry. So, naturally, McCartney apologized, saying, “despite [her] best intentions,” she had been properly corrected by those who shared their “wisdom and wise counsel.” Some of that “wisdom” included this dreck from one sophomore: “It felt like she was invalidating the experience of black lives.” By saying “all lives matter”? It is remarkable how successful race-hustlers have been in undermining culture and education. More…
Bale: You Know, Some People Might Call Moses a Terrorist
Ridley Scott’s epic interpretation of the biblical story of Exodus hits theaters Dec. 12. Scott is agnostic, and this latest Hollywood retelling is unlikely to satisfy Christians. Rebecca Cusey writes that the movie “plays like an atheist manifesto. Moses, a modern skeptic in sheepherder’s clothes, squares off against God, portrayed as a petulant, vengeful, irrational child. The film at time takes the part of the Egyptians, blaming God for devastating plagues striking the populace as Moses takes God to task for His incomprehensible ways.” Sounds like a real box-office smash. But if that’s not enough, Christian Bale, who plays Moses in the film, opined, “If you’re not religious, you can look at it as one man’s freedom fighter is another man’s terrorist. … Moses was a far more human and fallible character than I had imagined before.” The biblical account — written by Moses, we might add — makes no effort to hide his many failings. He was indeed a human in need of a Savior himself. But the story isn’t his, it’s one of God’s justice, holiness, goodness and salvation. If Bale thinks Moses is just “one man’s terrorist,” he may still be stuck in the ninth plague — he’s in the dark. More…
Senate Tortures the Facts
The United States under Barack Obama is the laughingstock of the world. Earlier this year, Obama traded top Taliban terrorists for an Army deserter. Now the administration and Senate Democrats have released a report spanking the CIA for waterboarding terrorists. All because, Obama says, these interrogation techniques are “contrary to who we are.”
Obama then had the gall to say, “One of the things that sets us apart from other countries is when we make mistakes, we admit them.” When has he ever admitted a mistake?
The report was written by Democrat staffers, whose “expert” findings include:
Enhanced interrogation techniques don’t work.
The CIA provided inaccurate information to the Bush administration about its interrogation program.
Management and oversight was negligent.
The program was more brutal than represented.
All horse manure. Brutal is when you saw off the head of a civilian noncombatant captive, as ISIL is fond of doing.
According to former POW Sen. John McCain, “I know from personal experience that the abuse of prisoners will produce more bad than good intelligence.”
First of all, waterboarding is nothing like what McCain endured at the hands of the North Vietnamese. And as several other highly decorated POWs have noted, waterboarding did work in some cases — and they approve. It did produce “good intelligence,” including, according to the CIA, intelligence that helped to disrupt plots, led to the capture of other terrorists, and led to Osama bin Laden’s courier, who ultimately led to bin Laden.
Former CIA Director Michael Haden confirmed, “Enhanced interrogation contributed to the wealth of knowledge that we needed to [get to bin Laden].” Without such techniques, Obama would not have been able to walk to that microphone and say “we got him.”
Jose A. Rodriguez Jr., a 31-year veteran of the CIA, likewise noted that interrogation of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed resulted in more than 2,000 intelligence reports, including contributing info leading to Osama.
And for the record, former CIA directors George Tenet, Porter Goss and Michael Hayden, along with deputy directors John McLaughlin, Albert Calland and Stephen Kappes, recount in The Wall Street Journal many of the CIA’s other numerous successes, as well as criticizing Senate Democrats’ profound errors in producing this one-sided, incomplete and out-of-context report.
No CIA officials were interviewed by the Senate Intelligence Committee because Attorney General Eric Holder refused to coordinate those interviews on the basis that the Justice Department had its own ongoing investigation. (Apparently Rolling Stone followed the Senate Intelligence Committee model by refusing to interview the accused.) Note that the DOJ investigation produced no charges.
The DOJ investigators who reviewed the Senate investigation confirmed they found nothing that would warrant bringing criminal charges against CIA officers and operatives. And that investigation ended two years ago — which is to say Democrats could have called CIA witnesses.
Now Obama administration officials have placed military and law-enforcement personnel on high alert, acknowledging the report may spawn terrorist attacks.
According to Rep. Mike Rogers, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, “We have U.S. personnel, both intelligence officials and military special operators, in harm’s way. Why would we release [this report] now? What did we have to gain? All of this has been debated. All of this has been settled. … Clearly the administration knew it was going to cause trouble as they sent out warnings all across the world.”
Joe Biden insisted it was just the kind of transparency for which this administration is decidedly not known: “We made a mistake. We made a big mistake. … [This report] is a badge of honor.”
On the other hand, George W. Bush’s vice president, Dick Cheney, described the report as “a crock.” Cheney said of intelligence officials, “They deserve a lot of praise. As far as I’m concerned, they ought to be decorated, not criticized.”
Obama’s current CIA director, John Brennan, agreed with Cheney. According to Brennan, the CIA interrogations “did produce intelligence that helped thwart attack plans, capture terrorists and save lives.” That assessment directly challenges the core assertions in the Senate Democrats’ report. Brennan threatened to resign over the report, but we believe he remained in place to defend the agency.
The White House insists that Obama has full confidence in Brennan as CIA director. But the problem is Brennan has little or no confidence in Obama as president and commander in chief — and he is not alone.
Outgoing Sen. Saxby Chambliss said, “The majority side of the intelligence committee has spent the last five years and over $40 million focused on a program that effectively ended over eight years ago, while the world around us burns.”
Chambliss concluded, “It seems as though the study takes every opportunity to unfairly portray the CIA in the worst light possible, presupposing improper motivations and the most detestable behavior at every turn.”
In fact, the CIA briefed Congress on its efforts roughly 30 times along the way. Senate Democrats were last briefed on the CIA’s methods in 2006 and the last interrogations were in 2007. Democrats could have stopped the interrogations then. Notably, Nancy Pelosi was fully briefed on the CIA operation in 2002, despite claiming later she had no knowledge of it (these memory lapses are an issue with Pelosi).
The administration’s chief talking point on this report is that the CIA’s actions were an affront to “American values.” But that ignominious distinction belongs to Obama, Biden, Pelosi and Reid.
And a footnote: United Nations Special Rapporteur on counter terrorism and human rights, Ben Emmerson, issued a statement: “The US Attorney General is under a legal duty to bring criminal charges against those responsible. … [T]he heaviest penalties should be reserved for those most seriously implicated in the planning and purported authorisation of these crimes.”
So should Obama and administration officials be prosecuted for releasing Gitmo prisoners who wound up back on the battlefield killing people? If this report results in the death of Americans, should Obama and Dianne Feinstein be prosecuted?
In conclusion, the group of former CIA directors and deputy directors wrote, “Between 1998 and 2001, the al Qaeda leadership in South Asia attacked two U.S. embassies in East Africa, a U.S. warship in the port of Aden, Yemen, and the American homeland — the most deadly single foreign attack on the U.S. in the country’s history. The al Qaeda leadership has not managed another attack on the homeland in the 13 years since, despite a strong desire to do so. The CIA’s aggressive counterterrorism policies and programs are responsible for that success.”
Congress Grills Gruber for ObamaCare Candor
It’s impossible to guess how much of the fabrication and disinformation the Obama administration crammed into its first six years will ever be discovered. But thanks to the thoughtless blabbering in front of cameras by an arrogant yet fatuous member of the higher education intelligentsia, the soft underbelly of Barack Obama’s only significant achievement is being sliced open, and the fetid tangle of lies and corruption are gradually being pulled apart.
Rep. Darrel Issa (R-CA), chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, and other Republican members had the rare pleasure Tuesday of ripping into Obama apparatchik Jonathan Gruber, the MIT health care wonk who contributed much to the design of ObamaCare. Notwithstanding Gruber’s insistence that “I was not the ‘architect’ of President Obama’s health care plan,” he played an enormous role in its construction and was quite proud of that role until Tuesday.
In numerous venues, Gruber arrogantly told many tales about lies Democrats fed the American people about ObamaCare before its passage. Those comments opened a can of worms Democrats would rather have kept under wraps.
To Congress, Gruber offered an apology for saying “mean and insulting,” and “uninformed and glib” things about the intelligence of American voters: “I knew better. I know better. I’m embarrassed and I’m sorry.” Nevertheless, clinging to his popped balloon, Gruber stressed that “my own inexcusable arrogance is not a flaw in the Affordable Care Act.”
But Issa summed up why this is so critical, telling Gruber, “You made a series of troubling statements that were not only an insult to the American people, but revealed a pattern of intentional misleading [of] the public about the true nature of ObamaCare.”
One of the congressmen angriest with Gruber was Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD). “As far as I can tell,” he growled, “we are here today to beat up on Jonathan Gruber for stupid … comments he made over the last few years. … They were irresponsibly, incredibly disrespectful, and did not reflect reality.” But worse, Cummings complained, “Dr. Gruber’s statements gave Republicans a public relations gift in their relentless political campaign to tear down the ACA and eliminate health care for millions of Americans!” But Cummings disclaimed any responsibility for the Democrats’ scamming the American public. “I was in Congress when this law was debated, and Dr. Gruber does not speak for me. … Never once did I believe or did anyone suggest that we were somehow hiding our goals from the American people!”
I see nothing! I hear nothing! I know nothing! Cummings is only mad because Gruber gave the game away.
Rep. Patrick McHenry told Gruber that, in a sense, at least he appreciated the professor’s honesty about the intentional lack of transparency in planning ObamaCare. “Dr. Gruber … as everyone knows … when the president said if you like your plan you can keep it, it turns out it was the lie of the year. This was a very significant thing. … [A]ccording to the North Carolina Department of insurance, 473,000 lost their health insurance because of ObamaCare. … When I think about my constituents, though, did you think that there would be such a large number of folks that would lose their health insurance?”
Gruber replied, “What I was focused on was the net increase in newly insured we had under the law, which has been quite substantial.” So he wasn’t focused on the “folks” (as Obama likes to call us) but on projected statistics of newly insured — or so he said. And the increase has in fact not been substantial.
McHenry continued, “So it’s not relevant to your calculation that there would be people that would lose their health insurance?”
Gruber admitted, “That was part of the calculation.” When asked if that was part of his conversations at the White House, though, he insisted, “I don’t recall.”
Reportedly, Gruber received $400,000 for his consulting services with the administration, but his total haul for health policy consulting is much higher. When asked for specific figures on his income, he referred an astonished Issa to his counsel.
“We’re going to have to serve a subpoena. … It’s amazing you haven’t given us one number,” Issa said. “Likely, you’re going to be back here again.”
The committee members returned to this question repeatedly throughout the remainder of the meeting, getting the same smug response to refer to Gruber’s counsel. No doubt, Gruber will be on the hot seat again, and let’s hope he squirms the entire time.
Economist Milton Friedman (1912-2006): “A society that puts equality … ahead of freedom will end up with neither equality nor freedom.”
Columnists L. Brent Bozell & Tim Graham: “No parent wants to consider the travesty that when he sends his 18-year-old daughter to college, she could be vulnerable to sexual assault. But in the increasingly punitive atmosphere surrounding sexual-assault allegations, he should also fear sending his 18-year-old son to campus, where he may be falsely accused of rape. The national media are deeply feminist. Their default position is the presumption that ‘the victim’ is the female accuser. Some pundits have even argued in national newspapers that the accuser should be ‘automatically believed.’ This is a serious problem for the left. First, they are the ones who have been exquisitely sensitive about the presumption of innocence for communists, radical Muslim terrorists and violent thugs like Willie Horton. Second, they have forcefully extolled that female accusers of sexual assault are to be automatically disbelieved if they are accusing Bill Clinton or other powerful Democrats. These allegations and any attempt to discuss them or verify them are considered ‘witch hunts’ and ‘McCarthyism.’ … The liberal media never lose their halo as the sympathetic guardians of the public good, no matter how wrong — painfully, harmfully wrong — they are.”
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Columnist Michelle Malkin: “On Wednesday, the White House Summit on Early Education will unveil nearly $1 billion in new ‘investments’ to ‘expand access to high-quality early childhood education to every child in America’ from ‘birth and continuing to age 5.’ It’s a retread of President Obama’s 2013 State of the Union school-spending plan, which was a repackaging of his 2011 Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge program. … Think Obamacare is bad? Well, welcome to TotCare. The goal of the educational central planners, you see, is the elimination of competition. The fact is that the vast majority of Pre-K kids are already happily enrolled in early childhood programs outside of Fed Ed’s clutches. The ‘problem’ isn’t most families’ lack of access to preschool. It’s Washington’s lack of access to your kids for their institutionalized warehousing, data mining and pedagogical propaganda schemes. The Nanny State’s ceaseless quest for control keeps creepily rolling along.”
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Comedian Jimmy Kimmel: “Obama was diagnosed with acid reflux. His approval rating is so low that he’s starting to get pushback from his esophagus. … His doctor said he needs Zantac. Sadly, that’s actually the best news President Obama’s gotten in a very long time. So now, Joe Biden is just a heartburn away from the Oval Office.”
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