U.S.—Democratic leaders consoled themselves from their failure to stop Brett Kavanaugh from assuming a seat on the Supreme Court Monday by reminding the nation that although they lost the SCOTUS seat, they were able to keep their dignity.
As liberal protesters banged on the doors of the Supreme Court and attempted to claw them open, Senate Democrats calmed their constituents by pointing out that they were able to be the bigger person in all this. Read the rest of this entry »
Jazz Shaw reports: The fallout on the left from Senator Chuck Schumer’s astute deal-making abilities is continuing into day three. Ed Morrissey broke down the reaction from liberal media outlets yesterday, but a significant number of progressive activists weren’t satisfied with leaving the job to the press. They showed up last night outside the Senator’s Brooklyn apartments for the traditional airing of grievances and indicated that if he wasn’t going to take a stand for the Dreamers, they were going to make sure he didn’t get any sleep …
… While all of this may seem amusing if you’re just looking for a reason to munch popcorn, the pressure on Schumer right now could spell trouble over the next couple of weeks. If he’s really feeling the heat, he’ll probably be more inclined to try to take a hard line on immigration reform negotiations just to prove to his base that he’s not going soft. Read the rest of this entry »
Replacing Scalia, a conservative icon, the ideological tilt of the bench is not likely to shift. He will restore a 5-4 majority that Republican appointees have held on the court for years.
Lisa Mascaro and David G. Savage report: President Trump’s nominee, Judge Neil M. Gorsuch, was confirmed Friday for a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court, filling a 14-month vacancy after a dramatic Senate showdown that risked long-lasting repercussions to both institutions.
The confirmation will deliver a much needed political victory to Trump, whose administration is struggling in its first 100 days to make progress on many campaign promises amid infighting in the White House and on Capitol Hill.
The Senate confirmed Gorsuch, 54-45, for the seat that had been vacant since the 2016 death of Justice Antonin Scalia. The Republican-led Senate had refused last year to consider President Obama’s nominee, Judge Merrick Garland, fueling partisan rancor and Democratic opposition to Gorsuch.
Only three Democrats joined Republicans in voting to confirm Gorsuch. Sen. Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.), Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.) and Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) all represent conservative-leaning red states that Trump won in the election. Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), who is recovering from surgery, was absent.
It was the narrowest approval of a Supreme Court nominee since the 52-48 confirmation of Clarence Thomas in 1991.
Vice President Mike Pence presided over the vote as Republicans sat in their seats and onlookers, including conservative legal activists, filled the visitor galleries. But Friday’s vote, arguably Trump’s most enduring achievement to date, was largely upstaged by the U.S. airstrikes in Syria, which dominated news coverage.
The 49-year-old Gorsuch, who is expected to be sworn in on Monday, is a respected conservative who has worked for years on the U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver. He is expected to bring a “textualist” approach to the court, relying on an exact reading of legal language.
Since he is replacing Scalia, a conservative icon, the ideological tilt of the bench is not likely to shift. He will restore a 5-4 majority that Republican appointees have held on the court for years.
“He’s going to make an incredible addition to the court,” said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.). “He’s going to make the American people proud.”
Democrats had staged a highly unusual filibuster to block the nominee. Republicans responded by changing long-standing Senate rules to allow filibusters of Supreme Court nominees to be broken with 51 votes rather than the previous 60.
Now Trump and future presidents will find it easier to choose Supreme Court nominees without needing much consent from the minority, opening the door to more ideological and partisan appointments. Read the rest of this entry »
…The same forces that opposed Trump during the Republican primary and general election are trying to break his presidency before it is a month old. At issue is the philosophy of nation-state populism that drove his insurgent campaign. It is so at variance with the ideologies of conservatism and liberalism predominant in the capital that Washington is experiencing something like an allergic reaction.
“The message this establishment is sending to Trump? Conform or be destroyed. The outrage at the president’s executive order on refugees and travel was a sample of what is coming. Trump is used to fighting the media and campaign opponents, but he has little experience with the professional and supposedly nonpartisan bureaucracy.”
Nation-state populism diverges from Beltway conservatism on trade, immigration, entitlements, and infrastructure, and from liberalism on sovereignty, nationalism, identity politics, and political correctness. Its combative style and heightened rhetoric offend the sensibilities of career-minded Washingtonians of both parties, who are schooled in deference, diplomacy, being nice to teacher, and the ancient arts of CYA.
“Not only are there two Americas. There are two governments: one elected and one not, one that alternates between Republicans and Democrats and one that remains, decade after decade, stubbornly liberal, contemptuous of Congress, and resistant to change. It is this second government and its allies in the media and the Democratic Party that are after President Trump, that want him driven from office before his term is complete.”
The message this establishment is sending to Trump? Conform or be destroyed. The outrage at the president’s executive order on refugees and travel was a sample of what is coming. Trump is used to fighting the media and campaign opponents, but he has little experience with the professional and supposedly nonpartisan bureaucracy. That is why his firing of acting attorney general Sally Yates was so important. She ordered her department not to defend an executive order that had been cleared by the White House counsel and her own Office of Legal Counsel. For Trump to have delayed or done nothing would have been an invitation to further subversion. He let Yates go within hours.
The blasé manner in which the media describes opposition to Trump from within the bureaucracy is stunning. “Federal workers turn to encryption to thwart Trump,” read one Politico headline. “An anti-Trump resistance movement is growing within the U.S. government,” says Vanity Fair. “Federal workers are in regular consultation with recently departed Obama-era political appointees about what they can do to push back against the new president’s initiatives,” reports the Washington Post. Read the rest of this entry »
He guaranteed Neil Gorsuch elevation to the Supreme Court.
…Donald Trump for winning the election. Hillary Clinton for losing it. Mitch McConnell for holding open the high court seat through 2016, resolute and immovable against furious (and hypocritical) opposition from Democrats and media. And, of course, Harry Reid.
God bless Harry Reid. It’s because of him that Gorsuch is guaranteed elevation to the court. In 2013, as Senate majority leader, Reid blew up the joint. He abolished the filibuster for federal appointments both executive (such as Cabinet) and judicial, for all district and circuit court judgeships (excluding only the Supreme Court). Thus unencumbered, the Democratic-controlled Senate packed the lower courts with Obama nominees.
Reid was warned that the day would come when Republicans would be in the majority and would exploit the new rules to equal and opposite effect. That day is here.
The result is striking. Trump’s Cabinet appointments are essentially unstoppable because Republicans need only 51 votes and they have 52. They have no need to reach 60, the number required to overcome a filibuster. Democrats are powerless to stop anyone on their own.
And equally powerless to stop Gorsuch. But isn’t the filibuster for Supreme Court nominees still standing? Yes, but if the Democrats dare try it, everyone knows that Majority Leader McConnell will do exactly what Reid did and invoke the nuclear option — filibuster abolition — for the Supreme Court, too.
Reid never fully appreciated the magnitude of his crime against the Senate. As I wrote at the time, the offense was not abolishing the filibuster — you can argue that issue either way — but that he did it by simple majority. Read the rest of this entry »
John O. McGinniswrites: President Trump’s pick for the Supreme Court, Judge Neil Gorsuch, meets the most important criterion for the successor to Justice Antonin Scalia—that he be an articulate exponent of originalism. Scalia was the most consequential justice in the last half-century because he had the intellect to forge a consistent jurisprudence and the pen to make it widely known. When he arrived on the Court in 1986, originalism had no influence in the legal academy. Today, even among liberals, it is the jurisprudential theory to beat. He not only changed the law but the legal culture as well. Changing the legal culture is as important as making the right decisions in individual cases, because only a good culture will preserve those decisions for tomorrow. Read the rest of this entry »
Mattis initially faced a hurdle to becoming the new Pentagon chief, needing a waiver from Congress to assume the role despite having been less than seven years from active military duty. Upon being sworn in Friday, Trump signed the passed waiver into law, clearing the way for Mattis’ confirmation.
Guy Benson writes: President Obama huddled with Congressional Democrats on Wednesday to discuss best practices for fending off Republican efforts to repeal and replace his failingsignature domestic legislation once Donald Trump is sworn into office. Mike Pence, meanwhile, has met with Republicans on the Hill to plot the path forward to repeal. Both discussions were closed-door, but details quickly leaked out — and this one made me literally laugh out loud:
McCaskill said Obama “took responsibility for some of the failures to make sure people understood the changes in the health care system”
Heavens, how could anyone have possibly “misunderstood” the degree to which there would be unwelcome changes to the healthcare system under Obamacare? Might it have anything to do with this very same president repeatedly and brazenly lying, assuring everyone that their satisfactory arrangements wouldn’t change at all, and that all other conceivable changes for everyone else would be universally positive? Virtually every single promise he made, and certainly all the big ones, have been violated.
Wonder Land columnist Daniel Henninger writes that Abbie Hoffman wrote ‘Steal This Book.’ Democrats are doing the 2016 update.
Daniel Henninger writes: A serious person might ask: Why did John Podesta, the Democratic Party, and various of its media affiliates head into the fever swamps after Donald Trump won the election?
“Something in the post-1968 Democratic genetic code is always on the brink of tipping into anarchy. Most American voters become uncomfortable when they see an Abbie Hoffman or Michael Moore cavorting in the streets with the country’s politics. Almost always, voters make Democrats pay a price for conducting politics by extra-political means.”
We knew months ago that the Trump phenomenon could drive women mad and make grown men weep, but how to explain the adoption of a Tom Clancy conspiracy, to wit: Vladimir Putin, using hacker slaves in a Kremlin basement, stole the election for Mr. Trump? Therefore let’s sequester the 538 folks from the Electoral College in a safe house for a CIA briefing before they vote to validate the results of the 2016 election.
“For Democrats of that generation—which is the Podesta and Hillary and Bernie generation—Abbie Hoffman was their Michael Moore. Abbie summed up his view of politics with a book titled, “Steal This Book.” Many did.”
Several explanations press into view, the simplest being . . . embarrassment.
Mr. Podesta and his associates lost the election, or at least the one that has been deciding U.S. presidential results since George Washington carried the Electoral College vote in 1789. (Gen. Washington got 69 votes, John Adams 34.)
“Now Michael Moore is exhorting thousands of bereaved and angry Democrats to descend on Washington next month to ‘disrupt the Inauguration.’ All I can say is: Do it!”
This year’s loss happened in large part because the Hillary campaign ignored Bill Clinton’s advice to pursue the blue-collar vote that won him the presidency. The Clinton campaign thought Barack Obama’s “coalition of the ascendant” would win a third straight time. Staring out across the U.S. political map today, they look now like the coalition of the descendant.
Why this? Why are the Democrats resorting to the goofball gambit of asking Electoral College electors to steal the election for Hillary Clinton? The answer is because that’s how this wing of the Democratic Party does politics.
Little surprise that the people responsible for this debacle are filling the skies with Putin-elected-Trump flak to divert eyes from why they lost states they should have won.
“The progressive Democratic demonstrators that filled Fifth Avenue in front of Trump Tower after they lost is the same party wing that rioted in 1968 in Chicago outside their own party’s convention.”
Another, more plausible explanation would be the belief among Democrats that the Trump victory is a temporary political bubble.
Mr. Trump won by gaining the support of les deplorables who formerly voted Democrat or who had stopped voting altogether after losing faith in the system. That is a thin, volatile presidential base.
“If Mr. Trump consolidates his election support with material progress, Republicans could have a governing coalition for many election cycles. One of the election’s most intriguing footnotes is that Mr. Trump increased support among blacks and Hispanics over the 2012 result by 2% each. That wasn’t supposed to happen.”
If President Trump doesn’t deliver prosperity that satisfies these new voters in Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin, they’ll abandon the Trump Republicans. Then, like Silly Putty, the Democrats’ Blue Wall of electoral-vote states will reform in 2020. Read the rest of this entry »
“We’re hoping to make up the ground we lost with white working-class voters and union members who once made up our base with a new 10-part hip-hop musical set in rural Wisconsin, featuring a down-on-her-luck manufacturing worker played by Lena Dunham.”
WASHINGTON—Saying the new effort would help them make critical inroads with low-income rural voters following a stunning election loss last week, the Democratic National Committee announced the launch of a new Hamilton-inspired web series Tuesday starring Lena Dunham intended to connect with working-class Americans and address their most pressing concerns.
“We are confident that with the help of Josh Gad, Debra Messing, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, and the creative team behind The Mindy Project, we can bring Americans who feel like they have been left behind by globalization back to the Democratic Party.”
“We’re hoping to make up the ground we lost with white working-class voters and union members who once made up our base with a new 10-part hip-hop musical set in rural Wisconsin, featuring a down-on-her-luck manufacturing worker played by Lena Dunham,” said DNC interim chair Donna Brazile, who added that, in an effort to appeal to economically distressed voters, each episode would see the protagonists tackle a different theme, such as taxes or free trade, through the choreography of five-time Tony winner Susan Stroman. Read the rest of this entry »
Betsy McCaughey writes: Hillary Clinton chose Minneapolis — with its growing enclave of fundamentalist Muslim refugees — to announce her plan to combat terrorism on Tuesday. That’s like choosing Baskin-Robbins to announce your weight-loss plans.
Clinton offered little more than platitudes like: “We have to do more to address the challenge of radicalization.” Meanwhile, that challenge was right under her nose.
“Clinton saved her scorn for Americans, saying they should be ashamed for demonizing Muslims here. She called for ’empowering Muslim-American communities.’ But which Muslim-Americans is she talking about? Some Muslims are our friends, but others want to kill us. That’s true here — and worldwide.”
The city’s huge Somali refugee population makes it a symbol of the problem, not the solution. Some 30,000 have been placed there by the federal government. Many of them say they would rather live under Islamic religious law — Sharia — than American law, and resist adapting to American ways. Their ideology makes them ripe for jihadization.
Democratic presidential candidates Hillary Rodham Clinton, Bernie Sanders and Martin O’Malley take the stage during a Democratic presidential primary debate, Saturday, Nov. 14, 2015, in Des Moines, Iowa. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)
“Moderate Muslims here are not a problem. But fundamentalist Muslims pose a high risk. Hillary cheerfully overlooked this distinction.”
Indeed, dozens of young men from this Muslim enclave have left to fight with radical Islamists in Somalia and Syria. “We have a terror recruiting problem in Minnesota,” reports Andy Luger, a federal prosecutor there.
The key to Hillary’s anti-terrorism plan is the empty hope that Muslims in America will self-police. “They are the best positioned to block anything going forward.” Don’t count on it. As the ongoing San Bernardino shooting investigation shows, even Muslims who aren’t stockpiling AK-47s can’t be counted on to report what their family members or acquaintances are doing.
Clinton saved her scorn for Americans, saying they should be ashamed for demonizing Muslims here. She called for “empowering Muslim-American communities.” But which Muslim-Americans is she talking about? Some Muslims are our friends, but others want to kill us. That’s true here — and worldwide.
“A Pew Research report tells us where the danger spots are. A shocking 99 percent of Afghanistan’s Muslims, 91 percent of Iraqi Muslims and 84 percent of Pakistani Muslims identify themselves as fundamentalists who favor Sharia law.”
Clinton took aim at Donald Trump’s proposal to suspend all Muslims from coming to the United States. But Trump’s idea is not as dangerous as Hillary’s insistence that anti-Muslim rhetoric is what incites Muslims to terrorism. That’s delusional.
“Equally jaw-dropping, 39 percent of Afghanistan’s Muslims say they consider violent acts such as suicide bombings always or sometimes justified ‘in defense of Islam.'”
Moderate Muslims here are not a problem. But fundamentalist Muslims pose a high risk. Hillary cheerfully overlooked this distinction. Read the rest of this entry »
Jeff Poor reports: Sunday immediately following President Barack Obama’s address to the nation responding to last week’s terror attacks in San Bernardino, CA, Washington Post columnist Charles Krauthammer offered his reaction on the Fox News Channel and gave Obama’s effort very low marks.
“Woody Allen said that showing up is 80 percent of life. So, in that sense, he showed up. Finally appeared to address the issue. I think that counts for something. As to the substance and tone, I think it’s a complete failure. The substance, he announced nothing new on strategy on the ground, except he argued against ground troops, which is a political point. But as to anything he’s adding to his strategy, there was nothing to encourage any sense that we’re going to do any better.”
“This idea that this distraction into gun control I think is really cynical. The idea that the no-fly zone is an important issue. Look, anything that will keep a gun out of the hands of Steve Hayes I think is useful. But these two assailants were not on any list. They were completely under the radar. They live in the state with the strongest gun control probably in the country. Assault weapon bans, magazine limits, and universal background checks. And they were entirely undetected. This is a way to change the subject…”
“I expect this from Harry Reid. I expect this from Chuck Schumer. But from the president, who is supposed to be everybody’s leader? Outrageous. The president likes to say that we are attacked because we’re tolerant and free, and then he suggests that we indulge intolerance and make ourselves less free. This proposal had no place in his speech tonight. That he included it was a disgrace.”
“…he looked tired and frustrated. Gone was the usual confidence and oratorical ability, and in its place was ennui. TelePrompTer jokes to one side, he really did seem to be reading this. Eventually, it happens to all presidents. Obama is done.”
Rallying around three theatrical ‘principles of action,’ the group proposed laws to close imaginary ‘loopholes’, try to expand invasive background databases to create additional burdens for understaffed law enforcement agencies, ignore meaningful mental health legislation reform, and try to think up new ways to harass law-abiding citizens with pointless regulatory efforts that they admit has no hope of saving lives, or surviving challenges in the courts, but is aimed at pacifying their base of control-craving, gun-hating, feeble-minded, anti-democratic, highly-emotional low-information voters.
Philip Wegmann reports: In the week after the mass shooting in Roseburg, Ore., Senate Democrats gathered on the steps of the U.S. Capitol to demand stricter gun control and unveil their comprehensive policy package to achieve it.
“If Obama and gun control advocates were serious, they would address the underlying issue of America’s broken mental health system,” Cox said in a statement. “Instead, they push gun control initiatives that would not have prevented any of the tragedies they seek to exploit.”
Frustrated by the inaction of Republicans and hamstrung by a lack of votes, the group of more than two dozen Senate Democrats sought to spark debate by appealing directly to the public.
“The roll call of American gun tragedies is already far too long,” said Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore. “The victims and their families deserve better than a Congress that shrugs its shoulder and waits for the next tragedy.”
Rallying around three “principles of action,” the group proposed laws to close background check loopholes, expand background databases, and crack down on illegal gun sales.
Numerically virtually impossible to pass in the Republican-controlled House, gun control legislation also faces an uphill battle in the Senate. Read the rest of this entry »
Congress to take up Iran nuke deal disapproval resolution
Paul Alster writes:Even as President Obama was securing the Senate support necessary to assure passage of the nuclear deal with Iran, Tehran’s top defense officials were scoffing at U.S. claims the pact will restrict the Islamic Republic’s military ambitions.
The president has been twisting arms and Secretary of State John Kerry reassuring lawmakers that the deal between Iran and the P5 +1 – members of the UN Security Council plus Germany – will ensure international inspections and bar Iran from ever developing nuclear weapons. This week, Sen. Barbara Mikulski, D-Md., became the 34th member of the Senate to back the controversial and unpopular deal, meaning that if it is defeated in a vote as expected, Obama will have enough support to sustain his certain veto. But Iran’s military brass has answered the U.S. nose-counting by thumbing their nose at America.
“Iran does not plan to issue permission for the [International Atomic Energy Agency] to inspect every site,” Iranian Defense Minister Brig. Gen. Hossein Dehqan told Al Mayadeen News Wednesday. “U.S. officials make boastful remarks and imagine that they can impose anything on the Iranian nation because they lack a proper knowledge of the Iranian nation.”
“U.S. officials make boastful remarks and imagine that they can impose anything on the Iranian nation because they lack a proper knowledge of the Iranian nation.”
– Iranian Defense Minister Brig. Gen. Hossein Dehqan
Iran’s official FARS news agency added that “Dehqan had earlier underlined that Tehran would not allow any foreigner to discover Iran’s defensive and missile capabilities by inspecting the country’s military sites.”
On the same day, a top Iranian general told troops preparing for a massive military drill involving up to 250,000 men that “the U.S. and the Zionists should know that the Islamic Revolution will continue enhancing its preparedness until it overthrows Israel and liberates Palestine.”
The bluster from Iran is in sharp contrast to the message Obama and Kerry conveyed to lawmakers to line up support for the deal, which lifts international sanctions and frees up $150 billion in Iranian funds frozen when the Islamic Republic took 52 Americans hostage for 444 days beginning in 1979. Over the following three decades, Iran has, according to U.S. officials, been the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism while constantly calling for war with Israel and America. In return, Iran agreed to allow international inspectors to monitor its facilities and ensure that it did not build nuclear weapons. But troubling conditions have emerged, including that Iran will not allow Americans to take part in the inspections and will conduct its own monitoring of the key Parchin military site and turn over findings to international inspectors. Read the rest of this entry »
Senator Schumer: Public Enemy No. 1 for Liberal Activists
Julian Hattem reports: Liberals are livid at Sen. Charles Schumer’s (D-N.Y.) decision to oppose the White House’s nuclear deal with Iran, and have threatened to launch a full-scale war as retribution.
Activists and former top officials within the Obama administration are openly contemplating whether Schumer’s stance disqualifies him from serving as the next Senate Democratic leader — which he is primed to do — and seeking to temporarily cut off money to Democrats in the upper chamber.
“No real Democratic leader does this. If this is what counts as ‘leadership’ among Democrats in the Senate, Senate Democrats should be prepared to find a new leader or few followers.”
— MoveOn.org political action executive director Ilya Sheyman
It’s unclear whether Schumer’s announcement will have a devastating effect on the White House’s efforts to prevent Democrats from killing the deal when it comes up for a vote in Congress next month.
“This is a real and serious backlash, one that comes from deep within the Democratic Party’s base, and I think we’re only going to see it grow.”
— Becky Bond, the political director for Credo Action
But it’s clear that he will be Public Enemy No. 1 for liberal activists throughout the August recess, as they aim to rally support from Democrats on the agreement.
“This is a real and serious backlash, one that comes from deep within the Democratic Party’s base, and I think we’re only going to see it grow,” said Becky Bond, the political director for Credo Action.
Liberal groups including Credo, MoveOn.org and Democracy for America are rallying supporters to flood congressional mailboxes and town halls over the course of the next month to demand lawmakers support the agreement. On Friday, they launched a new website, 60DaysToStopAWar.com, to list upcoming town halls and aid in the push.
Late on Thursday evening, Schumer upended the congressional debate over the Iran agreement by announcing in a lengthy statement that he “must oppose the agreement” and “will vote yes on a motion of disapproval” when it comes up for a vote in September.
He also will vote to override President Obama’s veto of legislation to kill the deal, Schumer’s office confirmed.
The move puts Schumer at odds on the most significant foreign policy issue of the year with both Obama and Hillary Clinton, the front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination.
That left many liberals furious, and stunned at how the presumptive next Senate Democratic leader could break with virtually every other leader of their party.
Even though the No. 3 Senate Democrat released his statement in the middle of the first GOP presidential debate — practically ensuring it would be buried in the media — activist groups including MoveOn and Credo pounced within moments. Read the rest of this entry »
“I was doing exercises that I’ve been doing for many years with those large rubber bands and one of them broke and spun me around and I crashed into these cabinets and injured my eye,” (emphasis added) Reid said at a press conference on January 22.
(You can see the video of that press conference here.)
But now, in an interview conducted by Fusion (a joint venture between ABC and Univision), excerpts of which have been released today, Reid tellsUnivision anchor Jorge Ramos that the exercise band “slipped,” rather than “broke.”
“Now, however, Reid tells Ramos a different story. The exercise band was not attached to the shower door in his bathroom, Reid says, but was instead attached to ‘a big metal hook that came out from the wall’ in an unspecified room in his new Nevada home.”
“[T]he [elastic band] strap had no handle on it, slipped, spun me around, uh, about, oh I guess four feet (Reid points with his right hand to the wall of the interview room) and so I smashed my face into a cabinet,” Reid tells Ramos.
Reid’s latest version of the incident, as told to Ramos, differs from previous versions advanced by his team in another very significant way.
“Sources familiar with the incident said Reid was exercising in his bathroom, with the exercise band attached to the shower door,” Politicoreported on January 22. (emphasis added)
As Breitbart Newsreported previously, that version of the story, almost certainly told to Politico by Reid’s staffers with his approval, is not credible.
Now, however, Reid tells Ramos a different story. The exercise band was not attached to the shower door in his bathroom, Reid says, but was instead attached to “a big metal hook that came out from the wall” in an unspecified room in his new Nevada home.
Watch the full video of the excerpts of the Fusion interview here:
Here’s a partial transcript of the excerpt of the interview released by Fusion:
Ramos: You said recently that the accident had nothing to do with your decision to retire.
However, we are seeing the consequences of what happened.
“It’s no accident the Founders decided to put the free practice of religion first… and this Congress should do the same…It was the genius of our framers…that we were not to leave minority religious practices to the…majority…If there is a shared American value, it is a commitment to religious liberty.”
“It’s no accident the Founders decided to put the free practice of religion first… and this Congress should do the same…It was the genius of our framers…that we were not to leave minority religious practices to the…majority…If there is a shared American value, it is a commitment to religious liberty.”
Indiana isn’t targeting gays. Liberals are targeting religion
In the increasingly bitter battle between religious liberty and the liberal political agenda, religion is losing. Witness the media and political wrath raining down upon Indiana because the state dared to pass an allegedly anti-gay Religious Freedom Restoration Act. The question fair-minded Americans should ask before casting the first stone is who is really being intolerant.
The Indiana law is a version of the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) that passed 97-3 in the Senate and that Bill Clinton signed in 1993. Both the federal and Indiana laws require courts to administer a balancing test when reviewing cases that implicate the free exercise of religion.
“The paradox is that even as America has become more tolerant of gays, many activists and liberals have become ever-more intolerant of anyone who might hold more traditional cultural or religious views.”
To wit: Individuals must show that their religious liberty has been “substantially burdened,” and the government must demonstrate its actions represent the least restrictive means to achieve a “compelling” state interest. Indiana’s law adds a provision that offers a potential religious defense in private disputes, but then four federal appellate circuits have also interpreted the federal statute to apply to private disputes.
“Part of the new liberal intolerance is rooted in the identity politics that dominates today’s Democratic Party. That’s the only way to explain the born-again opportunism of Hillary Clinton, who tweeted: ‘Sad this new Indiana law can happen in America today. We shouldn’t discriminate against ppl bc of who they love.'”
The federal RFRA followed the Supreme Court’s Employment Division v. Smith ruling in 1990 that abandoned its 30-year precedent of reviewing religious liberty cases under strict scrutiny. Congress responded with RFRA, which merely reasserted longstanding First Amendment protections.
“By that standard, Mrs. Clinton discriminated against gays because she opposed gay marriage until March 2013. But now she wants to be seen as leading the new culture war against the intolerant right whose views she recently held.”
In 1997 the Supreme Court limited RFRA’s scope to federal actions. So 19 states including such cultural backwaters as Connecticut, Rhode Island and Illinois followed with copy-cat legislation, and Indiana is the 20th. Courts in 11 states have extended equally vigorous protections.
Indiana was an outlier before the new law because neither its laws nor courts unambiguously protected religious liberty. Amish horse-drawn buggies could be required to abide by local traffic regulations. Read the rest of this entry »
“I do think he was a disgrace to his own institution because he emasculated it in the name of protecting the president and trying to re-elect Democrats. He didn’t succeed because he essentially shut down the Senate as soon as Republicans took the House in 2010.”
“Harry, we hardly knew ye, and what we did know we didn’t like,” Krauthammer said on Special Report…(read more)
Senator Harry Reid, the tough tactician who has led Senate Democrats since 2005, will not seek re-election next year, bringing an end to a three-decade congressional career that culminated with his push of President Obama’s ambitious agenda against fierce Republican resistance.
Mr. Reid, 75, who suffered serious eye and facial injuries in a Jan. 1 exercise accident at his Las Vegas home, said he had been contemplating retiring from the Senate for months. He said his decision was not attributable either to the accident or to his demotion to minority leader after Democrats lost the majority in November’s midterm elections.
“I understand this place,” Mr. Reid said. “I have quite a bit of power as minority leader.”
“On the verge of losing his own election and after losing the majority, Senator Harry Reid has decided to hang up his rusty spurs. Not only does Reid instantly become irrelevant and a lame duck, his retirement signals that there is no hope for the Democrats to regain control of the Senate. With the exception of Reid, every elected statewide official in Nevada is Republican and this race is the top pickup opportunity for the GOP.”
“…The contrast of Reid’s obstructionism on budgets through most of his reign and the easy way in which Republicans settled back into normal order would have proved embarrassing when the GOP used it on the campaign trail next year, and Reid would have become the poster boy for the kind of dysfunction voters would get if they chose Democrats in Senate races.
Senate Majority leader Harry Reid, nearing retirement, is reportedly using LSD regularly. Pictured here is one of Reid’s drug-inspired pause to study his own hand during a floor speech
Now, after announcing his retirement, Reid’s clout will recede even further. A Minority Leader who doesn’t plan on running again will hold fewer cards for whipping his caucus into line. Other Democrats will look to those who will control committee assignments in future sessions, and the jockeying for leadership slots will necessarily push Reid to the sidelines. Procedurally, Reid might be able to cause some problems, but the more he does that the more he damages Democrats in the next election cycle, especially to the extent that it’s seen as running interference for a lame-duck President who suffered two successive midterm disasters. Read the rest of this entry »
In 1985, Barack Obama had just arrived in Chicago for his new job as a community organizer when he headed to Smitty’s Barbershop, a tiny storefront on the South Side. As Smitty cut his hair, Obama listened to the men in the shop talk politics and racial grievance. When the barber finished, he handed Obama a mirror and said, “Haircuts ten dollars. What’s your name, anyway?”
“Barack, huh,” Smitty responded. “You a Muslim?”
“Grandfather was,” Obama said, according to his memoir Dreams From My Father.
Smitty’s question, which Obama didn’t exactly answer, prefigured a controversy that continues to this day…
Byron York writes: Fresh from a controversy over his views on evolution, Wisconsin Republican Gov. Scott Walker is now involved in a controversy over his views, or lack of them, on President Obama’s religion. On Saturday, two Washington Post reporters asked Walker, in the nation’s capital for a governor’s meeting, whether Obama is a Christian. Walker said he didn’t know.
Informed by the reporters that Obama is in fact a Christian, Walker replied, “I’ve actually never talked about it or I haven’t read about that,” protesting that the president’s religion is not a topic of great interest to voters. “I would defy you to come to Wisconsin. You could ask 100 people, and not one of them would say that this is a significant issue,” Walker told the Post.
“In August, 2010, a Pew poll made news when it found that 18 percent of those surveyed believed Obama is a Muslim. But just as notably, 43 percent of respondents in that survey told Pew they didn’t know Obama’s religion. Among those who said they didn’t know were 41 percent of Democrats.”
Nevertheless, the story created at least a minor explosion in the political press, and Democrats quickly used it to attack a Republican who has recently risen to the top tier of the GOP 2016 presidential field.
But when it comes to confusion, or wrong information, about Obama’s religion, Scott Walker is far from alone. Polls have long shown many Americans know little about the president’s faith.
“One notable suggestion in the Pew survey was that in Obama’s first couple of years in office, as Americans became more familiar with him as president, they became less sure of his religious faith. In March 2009, shortly after Obama entered the White House, 34 percent said they did not know his religion, while 48 percent identified him as a Christian.”
In June, 2012, Gallup asked, “Do you happen to know the religious faith of Barack Obama?” Forty-four percent said they did not know, while 36 percent said he is a Christian, 11 percent said he is a Muslim, and eight percent said he has no religion. The “don’t know” group included 36 percent of Democrats. (A larger number of Republicans, 47 percent, said they didn’t know Obama’s religion, as did 46 percent of independents.)
“By August 2010, the number of Americans who said they did not know Obama’s religion had grown to 43 percent, while the number who identified him as Christian fell to 34 percent. The trend was true not just of the president’s political opponents but of his supporters as well.”
In August, 2010, a Pew poll made news when it found that 18 percent of those surveyed believed Obama is a Muslim. But just as notably, 43 percent of respondents in that survey told Pew they didn’t know Obama’s religion. Among those who said they didn’t know were 41 percent of Democrats.
One notable suggestion in the Pew survey was that in Obama’s first couple of years in office, as Americans became more familiar with him as president, they became less sure of his religious faith. In March 2009, shortly after Obama entered the White House, 34 percent said they did not know his religion, while 48 percent identified him as a Christian. By August 2010, the number of Americans who said they did not know Obama’s religion had grown to 43 percent, while the number who identified him as Christian fell to 34 percent. The trend was true not just of the president’s political opponents but of his supporters as well. “Even among Democrats, fewer than half (46 percent) now identify his religion as Christian, down from 55 percent last year,” Pew wrote in 2010. Read the rest of this entry »
Chairman Issa, Ranking Member Cummings, and Distinguished Members of the Committee, thank you for the opportunity to testify voluntarily today. I am pleased to be able to address some statements I have made regarding the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and the reactions to and interpretations of those statements.
I am a Professor of Economics at MIT. I am not a political advisor nor a politician. Over the past decade I have used a complex economic microsimulation model to help a number of states and the federal government assess the impact that various legislative options for health care reform might have on the state and federal health care systems, government budgets, and overall economies. I have had the privilege of working for both Democratic and Republican administrations on health care reform efforts. For example, I worked extensively with Governor Romney’s Administration and the Massachusetts legislature to model the impact of Governor Romney’s landmark health reform legislation. I later served as a technical consultant to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and provided similar support to both the Administration and Congress through economic microsimulation modeling of the Affordable Care Act.
I did not draft Governor Romney’s health care plan, and I was not the “architect” of President Obama’s health care plan. I ran microsimulation models to help those in the state and federal executive and legislative branches better assess the likely outcomes of various possible policy choices.
After the passage of the ACA, I made a series of speeches around the nation endeavoring to explain the law’s implications for the U.S. health care system from the perspective of a trained economist. Many of these speeches were to technical audiences at economic and academic conferences.
Over the past weeks a number of videos have emerged from these appearances. In excerpts of these videos I am shown making a series of glib, thoughtless, and sometimes downright insulting comments. I apologized for the first of these videos earlier. But the ongoing attention paid to these videos has made me realize that a fuller accounting is necessary.
I would like to begin by apologizing sincerely for the offending comments that I made. In some cases I made uninformed and glib comments about the political process behind health care reform. I am not an expert on politics and my tone implied that I was, which is wrong. In other cases I simply made insulting and mean comments that are totally uncalled for in any situation. I sincerely apologize both for conjecturing with a tone of expertise and for doing so in such a disparaging fashion. It is never appropriate to try to make oneself seem more important or smarter by demeaning others. I know better. I knew better. I am embarrassed, and I am sorry.
In addition to apologizing for my unacceptable remarks, I would like to clarify some misconceptions about the content and context of my comments. Let me be very clear: I do not think that the Affordable Care Act was passed in a non-transparent fashion. The issues I raised in my comments, such as redistribution of risk through insurance market reform and the structure of the Cadillac tax, were roundly debated throughout 2009 and early 2010 before the law was passed. Reasonable people can disagree about the merits of these policies, but it is completely clear that these issues were debated thoroughly during the drafting and passage of the ACA. Read the rest of this entry »
I offer this for two reasons. One, because I’ve never read anything by Kevin D. Williamson that I didn’t like and want everyone to read. And two, because there’s this very disturbing photo of Paul Krugman that I’ve been dying to get off my desk. Now you can have nightmares about Krugman’s face, staring scoldingly into the abyss. And I can go back to my usual nightmares about Obama cutting a nuke deal with Iran in order to speed up the coming global apocalypse. Which reminds me. Do you have Williamson’s book yet? I think everyone should read that, too. See the full text of Williamson’s article here.
“…if your assumption here is that this is about redistribution, then you should want the billionaires’ incomes to go up, not down: The more money they make, the more taxes they pay, and the more money you have to give to the people you want to give money to, e.g., overpaid, lazy, porn-addicted bureaucrats…”
I am going to go out on a limb and predict that the Barack Obama years will not match that record; the number of employed Americans is lower today than it was when he took office, and household income is down. Grover Cleveland is looking like a genius in comparison.
“…poor people are not poor because rich people are rich, nor vice versa. Very poor people are generally poor because they do not have jobs, and taking away Thurston Howell III’s second yacht is not going to secure work for them…”
The inequality-based critique of the American economy is a fundamentally dishonest one, for a half a dozen or so reasons at least. Claims that the (wicked, wicked) “1 percent” saw their incomes go up by such and such an amount over the past decade or two ignore the fact that different people compose the 1 percent every year, and that 75 percent of the super-rich households in 1995 were in a lower income group by 2005.
“The 3 million highest-paying jobs in America paid a lot more in 2005 than did the 3 million highest-paying jobs in 1995” is a very different and considerably less dramatic claim than “The top 1 percent of earners in 1995 saw their household incomes go up radically by 2005.” But the former claim is true and the latter is not.
Paul Krugman, who persists in Dickensian poverty, barely making ends meet between six-figure sinecures, is a particularly energetic scourge of the rich, and he is worried about conspicuous consumption: “For many of the rich, flaunting is what it’s all about. Read the rest of this entry »
That’s Show Business: Harry’s Cynical plot to keep the Senate
Everything you’ll see from the Senate in the next few weeks will be complete bullshit. POLITICOgrinds out the story on the Senate leaders’familiar playbook.Here’s the money quote:
Reid has scheduled votes on a politically populist agenda devised by Schumer aimed at forcing Republicans to block bills aimed at wooing students, women, seniors and the middle class. Democrats have repeatedly put forth bills that have little chance of passing — like on increasing the minimum wage, gender pay equity, contraception access and student loan assistance. And even when there are efforts they actually support — such as Obama’s executive action on immigration — Democratic leaders have lobbied the White House to punt on the issue to avoid hurting their vulnerable incumbents and candidates in red states.Read the rest of this entry »
Brat’s stunning landslide win over Cantor in the June 10 primary gives Republicans the opportunity to change from being the party of Blackstone to the party of Baugh.
“Cantor’s closeness to Wall Street was supposed to be a strength. It proved a liability. This is true for the GOP as a whole.”
Brat beat Cantor, despite being outspent $5.5 million to $250,000, by running against corporate welfare. “I will fight to end crony capitalist programs that benefit the rich and powerful,” Brat said in his victory speech Tuesday night.
“Cantor’s defeat is the opportunity for the Republican Party to declare independence from Wall Street. Let the bankers flock to Hillary Clinton and Schumer.”
Brat explained on the trail that he’s pro-business, but “I’m against Big Business in bed with Big Government.”
“I think if Thomas Jefferson were looking down, the author of the Bill of Rights, on what’s being proposed here, he’d agree with it. He would agree that the First Amendment cannot be absolute.”
– Harvard graduate, Senator Charles E. Schumer
While Jefferson is deemed the principal author of the Declaration of Independence, he was not intimately involved in the writing of the Constitution or the Bill of Rights, which is the first 10 amendments to that founding document.
Indeed, Jefferson was out of the country, serving as minister to France at the time of both the Constitution convention and the congressional debate over the Bill of Rights. Read the rest of this entry »
For Commentary Magazine, Seth Mandel writes: A common pattern in American political discourse is for conservatives to accuse liberals of some statist extremism, liberals to insist the complaint has no merit whatsoever, and then when it’s clear conservatives are on to something liberals lament, more in sorrow than in anger, that conservatives had a point but took it way too far. How vindicated conservatives then feel if information comes to light to back up their warnings about the slippery slope of state power.
“I’m not sure how many times the White House and Democratic congressional leadership can hope to get their party to vote for abusive federal power grabs that are openly hostile to public opinion and individual rights.”
The evolution of the Democrats’ deranged attacks on the Koch brothers and political participation in general has followed precisely this pattern. The trickle of mentions of the Kochs turned into a flood, as Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid became thoroughly incapable of discussing any topic–campaign finance, Ukraine, the minimum wage–without calling out the libertarian philanthropists. He called their participation in the political process “un-American” in an ever-escalating crusade to declare them former people and seek to pressure the judiciary into permitting limitations on free speech rights.
“Schumer has proposed a solution: no need to change the policies to adhere to public opinion if you can just restrict the public’s ability to express that opinion.”
Conservatives warned that high-profile Democrats’ hostility to the First Amendment was liable to result in the curbing of Americans’ constitutional rights. Liberals scoffed. Yet now, the Hill reports, Democrats–who haven’t exactly been models of subtlety, but who at least permitted liberals some plausible deniability–are through beating around the bush. Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer has announced his party’s newest midterm election strategy: amend the Constitution to rein in its free speech protections. Read the rest of this entry »
For Hot Air, Ed Morrissey writes: Yesterday, Ted Cruz had his first authored bill get signed into law, but the freshman Senator from Texas probably didn’t too excited by the victory. Despite unanimous support in both chambers of Congress for the new law, President Barack Obama sounded less than enthusiastic about enforcing the bill he signed yesterday that would block the proposed Iranian envoy to the UN from receiving an entry visa to the US:
It’s the oddest of legislative couples: President Obama and one of his biggest critics, Ted Cruz.
Obama on Friday signed a Cruz-backed bill aimed at blocking Iran’s appointed ambassador to the United Nations because of evidence linking him to the 1979 takeover of the American embassy in Tehran.
Technically, the law bars individuals from entering the U.S. as U.N. ambassadors if they are “found to have been engaged in espionage or terrorist activity directed against the United States or its allies.”
In reality, the bill targets a specific Iranian individual: Hamid Aboutalebi, who has been refused a visa by the administration.
Aboutalebi was a member of the student group that led the 1979 seizure of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran.
According to the Washington Post, this news story isn’t about Hamid Aboutalebi, it’s about Senator Ted Cruz. Aboutalebi’s name doesn’t appear in the body copy until the end of the second paragraph. Cruz’s name is in the first paragraph. Ted Cruz’s name appear as the first words in (the Washington Post‘s version of) the headline. Aboutalebi isn’t mentioned in the headline.
That said, I’m impressed that it takes a whole 23 words before this Washington Post news story turns into a stealth Op-Ed. Note in the story’s opening paragraph this morsel of sarcastic editorializing: “rare legislative victory for its lead sponsor, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.)”.
Does any literate person in America really have any uncertainty about which political party Cruz belongs to, or what state he represents? Does anyone outside Washington D.C. keep Senatorial legislative record scorecards? Just asking. Even the choice of the photo (of Cruz) and its tag (see below) are a form of editorializing. I replaced the photo with what should normally be the subject of the article, Iran’s U.N. Envoy Hamid Aboutalebi. But hey, that’s just me, why bury the lede?
For the Washington Post, Ed O’Keefe and Robert Costa report: A measure that would bar Iran’s recently appointed ambassador to the United Nations from entering the United States easily passed the Senate on Monday, delivering a rare legislative victory for its lead sponsor, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.).
(this is where The Post felt compelled to add “a first-term senator who is considering a run for president in 2016”. Seriously?The Washington Post wants to remind you, not of the bill being sponsored, or why it’s being sponsored, but of their view of the career aspirations of the Texas Senator sponsoring it. Got the message yet?)
…has spent the last several days railing against Iran’s appointment of Hamid Aboutalebi (Finally! They can say his name. Bravo, Washington Post!) as its new top envoy to the United Nations in New York.
Note: the unaltered photo above, by Scott Applewhite, included in its metadata this file description, “2016_Presidential_Checklist_Cruz“. How’s that for a revealing bit of inside commentary by the Washington Post? If you’re in D.C., and you’re hip, you know Cruz ‘s motive for sponsoring this bill has nothing to do with Iran, U.S. foreign policy, or the U.N. He’s posturing, folks, it’s just an item on his “presidential checklist”.
Aboutalebi was a member of the student group that led the 1979 seizure of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran. He has acknowledged that he worked with the organization that took over the embassy, but has played down his role in the crisis.
“It is unconscionable that in the name of international diplomatic protocol the United States would be forced to host a foreign national who showed a brutal disregard of the status of diplomats when they were stationed in his country. This person is an acknowledged terrorist.”
— Senator Ted Cruz
Aboutalebi’s appointment by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has been criticized by the Obama administration, which called the nomination “extremely troubling.” In recent months, Aboutalebi’s visa application to enter the United States as a diplomat has been stalled. As host nation of the United Nations’ headquarters, the United States generally admits the chosen representatives of U.N. members, with limited exceptions.