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The Left’s Ridiculous Double Standard on Spilling Secrets 

This occurred over what the Washington Post and the New York Times suggest was President Trump’s inadvertent disclosure of highly classified intelligence from Israel in the Oval Office when Trump received Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

The disclosure, the Times quoted American officials as representing, “could expose the source of the information and the manner in which it was collected.” At one moment Wednesday, the Times had on its home page something like 18 pieces on this or related scandals.

What a contrast to, say, 2006. That’s when the Gray Lady thumbed its nose for news at President George W. Bush’s pleadings that the paper refrain from disclosing how the government, in its hunt for terrorists, was mining data of the Swift banking consortium.

The Bush administration had begged the Times not to proceed. Yet it did so. Bush called it “disgraceful,” adding that the “fact that a newspaper disclosed it makes it harder to win this war on terror.” Treasury said it would hamper the pursuit of terrorists.

Such a hullabaloo arose from long-suffering Times readers that the paper’s executive editor, then Bill Keller, issued a 1,400-word “personal response.” In it, he suggested that if conservative bloggers were so worried, they should stop calling attention to it. Read the rest of this entry »

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Majority Whip Displays Impaled Senator Outside Capitol Building As Warning To All Who Cross Party Lines

WASHINGTON—Instructing his colleagues to take a good, long look at what happens to consensus seekers, Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-TX) publicly displayed the impaled body of a fellow senator at the entrance to the Capitol building Thursday as a warning to anyone thinking about crossing party lines….(read more)

 


THE SLIMY HAND: Zombie Patriot Act Will Keep U.S. Spying—Even if the Original Dies

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Forget the White House’s doomsday talk about American intelligence going blind. Thanks to backdoor provisions and alternate collection schemes, U.S. spies will keep on snooping.

Shane Harris writes: President Obama and his top national-security officials spent the past few days warning that once intelligence-gathering authorities in the Patriot Act expired just after midnight Sunday, the United States would face a greater risk of a terrorist attack.

“I don’t want us to be in a situation in which for a certain period of time those authorities go away and suddenly we’re dark, and heaven forbid we’ve got a problem where we could’ve prevented a terrorist attack or apprehended someone who was engaged in dangerous activity.”

— President Obama, to reporters on Friday

That argument is highly debatable—at least, in the short term. Not only does the U.S. government have all sorts of other ways to collect the same kind of intelligence outlined in the Patriot Act, but there’s also a little-noticed back door in the act that allows U.S. spy agencies to gather information in pretty much the same ways they did before.

Zombie-Killing

“It does seem to me at least reckless to not allow at least a temporary continuation of the bill while we have this debate. But that’s not the way it’s working, and unfortunately I think it’s part of the presidential campaign, and I think people have to judge it for themselves.”

— Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX)

In other words, there’s a zombie Patriot Act—one that lives on, though the existing version is dead.

On Sunday night, senators voted overwhelmingly to end debate on a measure passed in the House, the USA Freedom Act, which will leave most surveillance authorities in the Patriot Act intact. But some of those powers zombiehandwon’t expire at least until Tuesday and possibly Wednesday. Administration officials had warned that even a momentary interruption posed a grave risk.

“I don’t want us to be in a situation in which for a certain period of time those authorities go away and suddenly we’re dark, and heaven forbid we’ve got a problem where we could’ve prevented a terrorist attack or apprehended someone who was engaged in dangerous activity,” Obama told reporters at the White House on Friday. On Sunday, CIA Director John Brennan said on CBS’s Face the Nation that there’d “been a little too much political grandstanding and crusading for ideological causes that have skewed the debate on this issue,” an apparent reference to Sen. Rand Paul, a Republican presidential candidate, and his promise to force the law to expire, “but these tools are important to American lives.”

[Read the full text here, at The Daily Beast]

They may be. But they are far from the only tools in the counterterrorism arsenal, and though they are no longer law as of Monday, the United States still has plenty of authority to collect intelligence on jihadis and foreign spies.

For starters, there will be what’s left of the Patriot Act itself. Read the rest of this entry »


Democrats Are the New party of No

Democrats

It’s depressingly clear that what Democrats aren’t thinking about was the needs of vulnerable people, mostly young women and girls, who are the victims of sex trafficking

Democrats who have been filibustering the Senate’s consideration of legislation to combat human trafficking cited concerns with language they claimed would greatly expand the reach of Hyde Amendment restrictions on abortion. But when John Cornyn (R-Tex.), chief sponsor of the trafficking bill and Senate majority whipoffered a compromise that would seem to answer their stated objections, it was rejected out of hand. Perhaps Democrats thought they could score political points, or maybe they didn’t want to anger their traditional allies in the abortion rights lobby.

[Also see Harry Reid Filibusters on Behalf of Slaveholders – by Kevin D. Williamson]

Either way, it became depressingly clear that what they weren’t thinking about was the needs of vulnerable people, mostly young women and girls, who are the victims of sex trafficking.

No

“The answer was no. Democrats unfortunately seem to believe that response is in their political interest.”

The stalemate over the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act of 2015 has now occupied two weeks, and with the Senate next set to take up the budget, it’s unclear when — or how — the impasse will be resolved. At issue in the legislation, which had been expected to glide through the Senate with bipartisan support, is a provision — backed by Republicans and initially overlooked by Democrats — that would prohibit a new trafficking-victims compensation fund from being used for abortions save for exceptions covered by the Hyde Amendment. Democrats didn’t like the application of Hyde restrictions to funds that are not taxpayer dollars — the compensation fund was to be drawn from criminal fines — and they objected to the anti-abortion provision being in place for five years.

neon-NO

Mr. Cornyn responded by offering to create the compensation fund with an annual congressional appropriation drawing on the fines. Since all such appropriations are already covered by the Hyde Amendment, there would be no change in the political status quo on abortion. “Can they take yes for an answer?” asked Mr. Cornyn on Thursday, contending, “We’ve made a proposal to them to give them what they’ve asked for.” The answer was no. Read the rest of this entry »


Washington Post Profile of Megyn Kelly Makes it Exactly Nine Words Before Saying ‘Eyelash Extensions’

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This is a bizarre profile. It starts with four paragraphs of fetishistic narrative of Kelly’s pre-show cosmetic work. Of course. Why not begin the story by treating her like a model rather than a journalist? This is the Washington Post. Even more unsettling, Dan Zak indulges in writerly self-reflection, interrupting his profile of Kelly with a surreal inner dialogue, writing about writing about his subject. Is he writing about himself? Or his subject?

Is it in part to excuse his shallow observations? Or these stylistic flourishes are meant to help sell the story? Or he had trouble during the deadline, and lost his way? Or because Megyn Kelly‘s overpowering personality and rapid success unnerved him?  Part of me hopes it’s the latter.

 (I have a few more comments at the end of the profile, after the jump, about the media’s earth-shattering Megyn Kelly trumped-up ‘Santa Claus’ controversy.)

Megyn Kelly is a force of nature, that’s for sure. Actually it’s not a bad profile. Maybe this is how Dan Zak writes all the time. I’ll let the reader decide. He begins with cosmetics, cosmetics, cosmetics, but ends  up with an engaging profile that’s fair and fun to read.  How many words before he mentions eyelash extensions? I count nine. 

Megyn Kelly, who started her career as a lawyer, is now the host of “The Kelly File.” The show debuted just over two months ago…now she’s the # 2 person on cable news’s # 1 channel.

Dan Zak writes: The anchor who might beat Bill O’Reilly gets her eyelash extensions applied one at a time, with tweezers and dabs of glue, about 90 minutes before showtime, right after a motorized gun sprays foundation over her face, neck, shoulders, collarbone and sternum, wiping out a galaxy of light freckles that spreads across her —

Would you write this way about a man?

About O’Reilly himself?

At least that’s what Megyn Kelly might ask at this point. Kelly, 43, is the host of “The Kelly File,” a live TV program that airs weeknights at 9 p.m. on the Fox News Channel, where she interrupts and challenges guests whenever they resort to talking points or petty distractions. It debuted just over two months ago, and so far its ratings among 25-to-54-year-olds have exceeded those of The O’Reilly Factor six times. In November, her first full month in prime time after years in daytime, Kelly was second only to O’Reilly in the overall ratings, which means she’s the No. 2 person on cable news’s No. 1 channel.

“It’s like working on a supermodel every day — a brilliant supermodel,” says makeup artist Maureen Walsh, as she air-brushes Kelly’s skin from milky white to Technicolor.

The small makeup room is hot from the blow dryer. Pen in hand, Kelly, a former corporate lawyer, reads an article headlined “For Democrats in 2014, the Web site is still the problem,” her eyes zipping over text as Maureen smudges heavy plum-colored eye shadow on her lids.

Read the rest of this entry »


Washington at war: Political animosity reaches new, personal level

Speaker of the House John Boehner arrives at the Capitol in Washington, Saturday. There has been no sign of progress toward ending the government shutdown that has idled 800,000 federal workers and curbed services around the country. J. Scott Applewhite/AP

Speaker of the House John Boehner arrives at the Capitol in Washington, Saturday. There has been no sign of progress toward ending the government shutdown that has idled 800,000 federal workers and curbed services around the country. J. Scott Applewhite/AP

With no end in sight for the government shutdown, the partisan animosity has gotten unusually bitter and personal, even for Washington. Americans are angry too.

Everybody knows that “politics ain’t beanbag,” as American humorist Finley Peter Dunne’s “Mr. Dooley” put it more than a century ago.

But the partisan animosity over the government shutdown has gotten unusually bitter and personal, even for Washington.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is quoted calling House Speaker John Boehner “a coward.” Mr. Boehner’s reported characterization of Democratic leaders in Congress – questioning the circumstances of their birth, to put it politely – is no less insulting. Read the rest of this entry »


Reid apologizes for nasty tone on Senate floor

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., tells reporters that Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio, and House Republicans are the obstacle to ending the government shutdown crisis, at the Capitol in Washington, Thursday, Oct. 3, 2013. President Barack Obama brought congressional leaders to the White House on Wednesday for the first time since a partial government shutdown began, but there was no sign of progress toward ending an impasse that has idled 800,000 federal workers and curbed services around the country. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, tells reporters that Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio, and House Republicans are the obstacle to ending the government shutdown crisis, at the Capitol in Washington, Thursday, Oct. 3, 2013. President Barack Obama brought congressional leaders to the White House on Wednesday for the first time since a partial government shutdown began, but there was no sign of progress toward ending an impasse that has idled federal workers and curbed services around the country. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Stephen Dinan reports: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid delivered a striking mea culpa on the Senate floor Friday as he opened the chamber, saying he and his colleagues have simply gotten too personal and nasty in their floor debates.

A day earlier Sen. John Cornyn, Texas Republican, had scolded Mr. Reid for attacking Sen. Ted Cruz, another Texas Republican, by name as they debated the government shutdown. Mr. Cornyn read directly from the Senate Rules that prohibit members from impugning each other’s motives or conduct.

Mr. Reid on Friday said it was a lesson all senators, including himself, should learn. Read the rest of this entry »


Meltdown: Senators flooded with demands to support Obamacare defunding

imagesGarth Kant reports: Following the epic, 21-hour speech by Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, supporting the defunding of Obamacare, either voters made so many calls to establishment Republicans that their phone lines melted, or those GOP leaders took their phones off the hook.

Even in this age of digital wizardry and limitless voicemail, callers could not get through at all to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.

A message said the senator was experiencing a high volume of calls and directed members of the public to call back later or visit his website.

It was the same story with the man who was the face of the GOP in the 2008 elections, former GOP presidential candidate Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz.

His phone was off the hook, too. Callers got a message stating his voicemail box was full. Read the rest of this entry »