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[VIDEO] WSJ’s Strassel: ‘I Don’t Remember Protests, Lawsuits, when Obama Paused Iraqi Immigration to U.S. in 2011’

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Trent Baker reports: On Sunday’s “Meet the Press” on NBC, Wall Street Journal columnist Kimberley Strassel reminded viewers that nobody protested or filed lawsuits in 2011 when former President Barack Obama suspended Iraqi refugees from entering the United States for six months over terrorism fears, although President Donald Trump has received much criticism for temporarily suspending visas for “immigrants and non-immigrants” from Syria, Somalia, Sudan, Libya, Yemen, Iran and Iraq.

“Look, this is also not unprecedented, by the way,” Strassel said. “I mean, Barack Obama put a pause for six months on refugees coming from Iraq back in 2011. I don’t remember protestors and I don’t remember lawsuits. So I think the bigger question if this is a temporary pause, which is designed for us to improve and look at our vetting processes, and indeed temporary, I don’t necessarily think that’s an outrageous idea. Read the rest of this entry »

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[BOOKS] The Silencers 

The Intimidation Game: How the Left is Silencing Free Speech, by Kimberly Strassel (Twelve Press, 396 pp., $30)

I Find that Offensive!, by Claire Fox (Biteback Publishing, 179 pp., $14.95)

Fred Siegel writes: 

…Strassel’s chapters on the politicization of the IRS in Obama’s hands make for a striking summary of Chicago skullduggery. In 2012, an election year, the IRS, led by liberal operative Lois Lerner, systematically sidelined conservative (often Tea Party) organizations. The broadest and deepest scandal in IRS history is more than three years old, but there is little chance that Obama’s Chicago-ized Justice Department will hold anyone accountable. Strassel also discusses the attempts led by Senators Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island and Dick Durbin of Illinois to criminalize criticism of the standard-issue UN position on Unknownclimate change. The senators insist that manmade climate change is a matter of “settled science.” But climate is always changing, and science is never settled.

[Order Kimberly Strassel’s book  “The Intimidation Game: How the Left is Silencing Free Speech from Amazon.com]

In late 2008, after Democrats took control of all three branches of government, the Left realized, writes Strassel, that it could use the federal bureaucracy to deploy campaign finance laws selectively against its opponents. The Left could also call upon “the extraordinary new power of the Internet and social media” to convince “a credulous public” that its assaults on opposition political activity “were aimed at ‘cleaner’ and ‘more open’ elections.” This dynamic constitutes what Strassel calls “the modern intimidation game” that “now defines American politics.”

[Read the full review here, at City Journal]

In Wisconsin, Democrats enraged by Governor Scott Walker’s successful effort to limit the collective bargaining rights of public employees played the intimidation game even while out of power. The state’s Progressive-era laws, designed to ensure fair elections, and its unique Government Accountability Board were turned against conservative activists who supported Walker. Democratic Party county prosecutors pressed an array of lawsuits and used armed sheriffs’ deputies to stage early-morning raids, guns drawn, on the homes of conservative activists suspected of having marginally violated state campaign finance laws—in this case, the heinous crime of having outside committees coordinate campaign expenditures with Governor Walker’s cover_9781849549813electoral efforts. Further, the accused were forbidden by state law of telling anyone, except their lawyers, about the raids. Most of this, as Strassel accurately notes, was “simple harassment.”

[Order Claire Fox’s bookI Find that Offensive!from Amazon.com]

As for real wrongdoing, the Obama administration, as Strassel explains, has slow-walked documents required for the investigation into the IRS scandals and the Justice Department’s Fast and Furious fiasco, in which the federal government inadvertently armed Mexican drug cartels. Moreover, the House committee examining the Benghazi debacle still doesn’t have tens of thousands of Hillary Clinton emails. But the investigation did inadvertently expose the former secretary of state’s home-brewed email server. Read the rest of this entry »


The EPA’s Own Email Problem

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Kimberley A. Strasselrenocol_KimStrassel writes: When a government official (think Hillary Clinton) uses a private email account for government work (think Hillary Clinton) and then doesn’t turn over records (think Hillary Clinton), the public has to wonder why. For an example of that why, consider Thursday’s federal-court subpoena of Phillip North.

“Government workers don’t use private email because it is ‘convenient.’ They use private email to engage in practices that may be unsavory, or embarrassing, or even illegal.”

The North story hasn’t gotten a lot of attention, but it is a useful tale for clarifying exactly why we have federal records and sunshine laws. You see, government workers don’t use private email because it is “convenient.” They use private email to engage in practices that may be unsavory, or embarrassing, or even illegal. Let’s be clear about that.

“Records show that EPA officials, including Mr. North, had no intention of letting the process get that far. They set about to ‘pre-emptively’ veto the mine, before Pebble could even file for permits.”

Mr. North was, until a few years ago, a biologist at the Environmental Protection Agency, based in Alaska. Around 2005 he became enmeshed in reviewing the Pebble Partnership’s proposal to develop a mine there. Mr. North has openly admitted that he was opposed to this idea early on, and he is entitled to his opinion. Still, as a government employee his first duty is to follow the law.

“But for the EPA to so flagrantly insert itself into the process, it needed cause. This is where Mr. North and his private email come in.”

[Read the full text here, at WSJ]

In the normal course of law, Pebble would file for permits and the Army Corps of Engineers would get the first say over approval. The EPA has a secondary role. But records show that EPA officials, including Mr. North, had no intention of letting the process get that far. They set about to “pre-emptively” veto the mine, before Pebble could even file for permits. But for the EPA to so flagrantly insert itself into the process, it needed cause. This is where Mr. North and his private email come in. Read the rest of this entry »


Kimberly Strassel: Congress’s Entire Benghazi Investigation, We Now Know, Was Based On an Incomplete Record

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Hillary’s Email Escapade

Mrs. Clinton is the sole arbiter here of what is ‘preserved,’ made public, or available to freedom of information requests or to congressional overseers. Don’t think any of this was by accident

Kimberley A. Strasselrenocol_KimStrassel writes: Hillary Clinton has made some disingenuous statements over her political career, but none remotely compare to the tweet she issued Wednesday night: “I want the public to see my email,” she said. This requires—how to say it—a willing suspension of disbelief.

[Read the full text here, at the Wall Street Journal]

Mrs. Clinton was referring to the gracious permission she had just bestowed upon the State Department to release her email correspondence as the nation’s former top diplomat. She’s only in a position to grant such favors because it turns out all of her correspondence as Secretary of State was conducted on private email, run out of a server she alone controlled. The Clinton camp has spent this week explaining that none of this was untoward, that no laws were broken, and that she’s being transparent.

 “The beauty of the Clinton home-brew system is that it puts her in total control. She runs the Clinton email cloud. She alone decides what documents to hand to State. This is why her agreement to allow State to release the 55,000 pages she has now sent it is hilariously hollow; she’s agreeing only to the release of emails she’s selectively provided.”

Were you just awakening from a 40-year coma and still a bit fuzzy, this might strike you as remotely plausible. For everyone else who has lived through the Bill and Hill years, this email caper is pure Clinton.

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First, historical context. There are few politicians alive today who have a better understanding than the Clintons of the perils of paper trails—and the benefits of not having them. It really wasn’t all that long ago that Mrs. Clinton was failing to answer questions about how her Rose Law firm billing records vanished. Or using executive privilege to sit on documents that showed her involvement in the Travel Office firings. Or grappling with testimony from a Secret Service agent who said Mrs. Clinton’s top aide had removed files from Vince Foster ’s office. Or explaining her connection to Sandy Berger, who was prosecuted for stealing Clinton-related National Archives records.

“The chairman of the House Select Committee on Benghazi, South Carolina Rep. Trey Gowdy, claims to have evidence of a second Clinton email account. Her team says that’s not true. There’s no way to find out.”

If you don’t think all this wasn’t informing Mrs. Clinton’s decision—on the day of her first confirmation hearing—to register clintonemail.com, you aren’t thinking.

Mrs. Clinton’s decision to ignore records laws also has to be viewed in the context of what she knew. In recent years she served as a senator and secretary of state, where she’d have been through rounds of ethics training. She was working for an Obama administration that had issued guidance requiring employees to use official email accounts. Read the rest of this entry »