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Why Didn’t ObamaCare Make Us Healthier? 

Bernie Sanders inadvertently raises a critical question as Republicans pursue reform.

writes: Vermont Socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders deplored the actions of his former campaign volunteer James T. Hodgkinson, who was killed after opening fire on participants at a congressional baseball practice for Republicans on June 14. More recently, Mr. Sanders has been accusing his Republican colleagues of hatching a plan that will result in thousands of deaths.

The anti-Trump ”resistance,” still smarting from its recent loss in a Georgia House race, has apparently decided that it needs someone more radical than Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) to lead the opposition to GOP health care reforms. So the organization MoveOn.org has been staging a multi-state tour with Mr. Sanders as the headliner.

The basic Sanders argument, which he has been articulating in various fora in recent days, is that fewer people on government insurance plans will mean more people dying. It seems likely that any health reform plan that makes it to the President’s desk will no longer force people to buy ObamaCare plans, and will give states at least some flexibility in choosing not to provide insurance to people who aren’t sick, aren’t poor and don’t have children.

But will fewer people on government-mandated insurance plans automatically make them less healthy? Mr. Sanders appears to be convinced. He tweeted on Friday: “Let us be clear and this is not trying to be overly dramatic: Thousands of people will die if the Republican health care bill becomes law.” Asked to defend such remarks on NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday, Mr. Sanders said:

I wish I didn’t have to say it. This is not me. This is study after study making this point. It is common sense. If you have cancer and your insurance is taken away from you, there is a likelihood you will die and certainly a likelihood that you will become much sicker than you are today. That’s the fact. Unpleasant, but it’s true.

Speaking of studies, all of America has been participating in an experiment since 2010 to see if a federal effort to extend government-mandated insurance coverage to millions more people can improve our lives. Read the rest of this entry »

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[VIDEO] Gorsuch Finds Himself in the Middle of a Senate Showdown 

A growing number of Democrats say they will not support the Supreme Court nominee, while GOP leaders are coy on plans to use the nuclear option; Shannon Bream provides insight on ‘Special Report’


[VIDEO] Krauthammer: Schumer Throwing the Kitchen Sink at Trump Discredits Valid Criticism of Him 

Charles Krauthammer said that Trump’s tax-return reveal was only favorable for him, and went on to argue that Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer hurt his own cause by stridently criticizing the president.

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Trump Short Circuits Washington

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The blasé manner in which the media describes opposition to Trump from within the bureaucracy is stunning.

Matthew Continetti writes:

…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.

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“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.

[Read the full story here, at freebeacon.com]

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 PostRead the rest of this entry »


Charles Krauthammer’s Religious Epiphany

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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.

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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.

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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.

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The result is striking. Trump’s Cabinet appointments are essentially unstoppable because Republicans need HarryReidClockonly 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.

[Read the full story here, at The Washington Post]

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 »


BREAKING: Senate Confirms General James Mattis as Secretary of Defense

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It’s official. ‘Mad Dog’ is defense secretary.

Joe Perticone reports: The Senate confirmed President Donald Trump’s nominee for secretary of defense on Friday evening.

Shortly after the Inaugural ceremonies concluded, the Senate convened to vote on the confirmation of retired U.S. Marine Corps General James Mattis to helm the Pentagon.

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Mattis was viewed as a non-controversial pick by Trump, prompting Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer to go along with having their confirmation votes.

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.

Image Credit: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Image Credit: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) was the only member of the Senatorial committee to vote against confirming Mattis as defense secretary. Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) had previously voted against the waiver, but ultimately supported Mattis’ confirmation. Read the rest of this entry »


Schumer Accidentally Tweets ‘Don’t Make America Great Again’ 

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Caitlin Yilek reports: Democratic Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer accidentally tweeted “Don’t Make America Great Again” on Monday.

[Read more at the Washington Examiner]

The New York senator was promoting the Democrats’ fight to protect Obamacare, calling on his followers to add the Senate Democrats account on Snapchat to follow along.

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“Starting tonight, @SenateDems are on @Snapchat. Add to hear more on our fight to protect healthcare & tell GOP: Don’t #MakeAmericaGreatAgain,” Schumer tweeted, then deleted.

Joe Perticone, a congressional reporter for the Independent Journal Review, made a screenshot of the tweet before it was deleted. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Five Republicans Liberals May Grow to Love in the Trump Era 

Ever since the election, many Democrats have been desperately wondering how to slam the brakes on the Trump train. Well, one good way to start is by getting to know the conservatives who will be allies in that fight.

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Here’s a list of five longtime Republicans liberals may grow to love in the Trump Era.

 

 


[VIDEO] Q&A with Fred Smith: ‘The Alternative To Innovation Is Not Stability. It’s Stagnation’

“The alternative to innovation is not stability,” says Fred L. Smith, who founded the influential and controversial Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) in 1984. “It’s stagnation.”

In 2014, after almost 30 years as CEI’s president, Smith became director of the group’s Center for the Advancement of Capitalism, which champions free markets as the best means to create a fair, prosperous, and future-oriented society. Libertarians, says the one-time federal bureaucrat, have always had a difficulty communicating their ideas to a wider public, even to the entrepreneurs and business leaders who radically improve our lives on a daily basis by providing better and better goods and services at lower and lower prices. “We need to re-calibrate our arguments so they reach the people we need to have as allies. That means businessmen.”

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Reason‘s Nick Gillespie sat down with Smith to talk about the liberating history of capitalism, the regulatory war on innovation, whether millennials are socialists or capitalists, and the morality of market exchanges. “The market not only creates a web of voluntary economic interactions,” says Smith. “It is the best facilitator for creating the social networks that encompass the modern world.” Read the rest of this entry »


Cheer Up, Obama’s Legacy Can Be Erased

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The White House rammed through an agenda that could be quickly undone by a Republican president.

Phil Gramm and Michael Solon write: President Obama seems to aspire to join Franklin Roosevelt and Ronald Reagan as one of the three most transformative presidents of the past hundred years, and by all outward signs he has achieved that goal. But while Roosevelt and Reagan sold their programs to the American people and enacted them with bipartisan support, Mr. Obama jammed his partisan agenda down the public’s throat. The Obama legacy is built on executive orders, regulations and agency actions that can be overturned using the same authority Mr. Obama employed to put them in place.

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“If the new president proves as committed to overturning these regulations as Mr. Obama was to implementing them, these rules could be amended or overturned. And because Senate Democrats “nuked” the right of the minority to filibuster administration nominees, the new president’s appointees could not be blocked by Democrats if Republicans retain control of the Senate.”

An array of President Obama’s policies—changing immigration law, blocking the Keystone XL pipeline, the Iranian nuclear agreement and the normalization of relations with Cuba, among others—were implemented exclusively through executive action.

[Read the full story here, at WSJ

Because any president is free “to revoke, modify or supersede his own orders or those issued by a predecessor,” as the Congressional Research Service puts it, a Republican president could overturn every Obama executive action the moment after taking the oath of office.

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“To accelerate this process, the new president should name cabinet and agency appointees before the 115th Congress begins. He could declare an economic emergency and ask the agencies to initiate the rule-making process promptly. On the first day in the Oval Office the president could order federal agencies to halt consideration of all pending regulations—precisely as President Obama did.”

At the beginning of the inaugural address, the new president could sign an executive order rescinding all of Mr. Obama’s executive orders deemed harmful to economic growth or constitutionally suspect. The new president could then establish a blue-ribbon commission to review all other Obama executive orders. Any order not reissued or amended in 60 days could be automatically rescinded.

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“The Affordable Care Act also grants substantial flexibility in its implementation, a feature Mr. Obama has repeatedly exploited. The new president could suspend penalties for individuals and employers, enforce income-verification requirements, ease the premium shock on young enrollees by adjusting the community rating system, allow different pricing structures inside the exchanges and alter provider compensation.”

Then there’s the trove of regulations used largely to push through policies that could have never passed Congress. For example, when President Obama in 2010 couldn’t ram through his climate-change legislation in a Democratic
ovalofficeSenate, he used decades-old regulatory authority to inflict the green agenda on power plants and the auto industry.

“These actions could begin dismantling the most pernicious parts of ObamaCare and prevent its roots from deepening as Congress debates its repeal and replacement.”

This is far from the only example: Labor Department rules on fiduciary standards; the National Labor Relations Board’s ruling that franchisees are joint employers; the Environmental Protection Agency’s power grab over water ways; the Federal Communications Commission’s attempt to regulate the Internet as a 1930s telephone monopoly. All are illustrations of how President Obama has used rule-making not to carry out congressional intent but to circumvent it. Read the rest of this entry »


On Morning Joe, Charles Koch Slams Harry Reid’s ‘Vitriol,’ ‘Dishonest Attacks’ 

In an interview with MSNBC’s Morning Joe, billionaire Charles Koch went after Democratic Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid for his nonstop and occasionally personal attacks on him and his brother.

“I’m kind of like Martin Luther when he was on trial, and he said, ‘Here I stand. I can do no other.’ I mean, I dedicated my life to this,” Koch said. “The ideas we’ve been talking about transformed my life, and so it’s my mission. I feel a moral obligation to help other people learn these and transform their lives.”

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“It’s frightening for the future of the country to have these public officials try to hurt and destroy private citizens who oppose what they’re doing rather than have a conversation and maybe find, as we’ve done with the White House, find areas where we can work together on things we agree to make the country better instead of this vitriol and these dishonest attacks.”

Read more at The Corner


Harry Reid to Sue Exercise Equipment Firm Over Eye Injury

Reid, D-Nev., conducts his first news conference in the Capitol, January 22, 2015, since injuring himself in a exercise accident. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Reid conducts his first news conference in the Capitol on Jan. 22 after injuring himself in a exercise accident. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Reid conducts his first news conference in the Capitol on Jan. 22 after injuring himself in a exercise accident. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid and his wife, Landra, are suing the manufacturer of the exercise band that slipped or snapped, leading to the Nevada Democrat’s eye injury.

According to court documents filed in Clark County, Nev., Reid alleges that the injury resulted from a faulty exercise resistance band, causing more than $50,000 in damages. Read the rest of this entry »


Michael Barone: How Effective Was John Boehner As Speaker? 

Michael BaroneBarone-3 writes: Sean Trende of RealClearPolitics provides more detail and argument in support of the proposition, advanced in my own initial reflections, that John Boehner was an effective speaker of the House — from a conservative boehner-verticalpoint of view. First, Trende shows that federal spending has been held down more sharply during Boehner’s tenure as speaker than at just about any other time since World War II. That five-year tenure included five years of a Democratic president and four years of a Democratic-majority Senate.

Second, Trende shows that the October 2013 government shutdown, a model admired by many and perhaps all of Boehner’s critics, was electorally disastrous for Republicans.

I suspect many of Boehner’s critics are simply unfamiliar with these numbers, just like the great majority of citizens. The hold-down of federal spending was accomplished by the sequester procedure which has stayed in place now for four years. It’s not the optimal way to form a budget. But if your goal is holding down spending — and reducing spending from 25 percent of GDP to 20 percent — then the sequester has been very effective, and so has Boehner.

[Read the full text here, at the Washington Examiner]

In listening to Boehner critics, I have the sense they do not understand or appreciate this at all. Similarly, on the shutdown I hear from them a bland assurance that Republicans won a House majority in November 2014, so the shutdown in October 2013 was not a political liability. Take a look at the chart Trende presents, and see if you don’t conclude, as I do, that that’s political wishful thinking. Read the rest of this entry »


Ted Cruz Zings Outgoing John Boehner Over ‘Early Reports’ That He ‘Cut a Deal’ With Nancy Pelosi Before Resigning 

“I will say, the early reports are discouraging. If it is correct that the speaker, before he resigns, has cut a deal with Nancy Pelosi to fund the Obama administration for the rest of its tenure, to fund Obamacare, to fund executive amnesty, to fund Planned Parenthood, to fund implementation of this Iran deal — and then, presumably, to land in a cushy K Street job after joining with the Democrats to implement all of President Obama’s priorities, that is not the behavior one would expect of a Republican speaker of the House.”

Cruz told reporters at the conservative Values Voter Summit in Washington.

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The unconfirmed report came from conservative news site Breitbart. The speaker’s office did not immediately respond to an inquiry from TheBlaze about Cruz’s charge….(read more)

Source: TheBlaze.com


White Flag: Boehner Resigning in October 

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Joel Gehrke reports: House Speaker John Boehner (R., Ohio) announced today that he is resigning at the end of next month.

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“Boehner resigning at end of October,” a Republican representative texted National Review from the House conference meeting. A second congressman confirmed the news.

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Boehner has been under pressure from a group of rank-and-file conservatives for months, culminating in the House Freedom Caucus vowing not to vote for any continuing resolution to fund the government that contains money for Planned Parenthood. That pledge came after an HFC member, North Carolina Representative Mark Meadows, filed a motion to vacate the chair — that is, depose the speaker — in August.

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Boehner considered holding a vote on the motion, according to one House Republican familiar with his thinking, but did not do so out of concern that he would not have the support needed to defeat the motion outright.

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Boehner intended to resign at the end of the last Congress, but changed plans after then-House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R., Va.) lost his primary. Read the rest of this entry »


War on The Left, War on The Right! Fight Fight Fight! Fuming Fury of Left Falls on Schumer

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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 liberal-huhstance 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.

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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 »


Escalating Panic Over Increasingly Unpopular Trade Deal Consumes White House

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Edward-Isaac Dovere writes: President Barack Obama and his aides launched a full-court press to save his trade package on Thursday, as House Democrats’ internal struggles pushed Obama’s top legislative priority perilously close to defeat.

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As Obama made phone calls to reluctant Democrats from the White House, Chief of Staff Denis McDonough, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew and Labor Secretary Tom Perez went face-to-face with trade opponents including AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka in a testy closed meeting on Capitol Hill…(read more)

POLITICO


Congress Passes NSA Phone-Records Bill

 

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The final vote divided Senate Republicans, with 23 voting ‘yes’ and 30 voting ‘no,’ and senators seeking re-election in 2016 split on the issue

WASHINGTON (AP) — Congress approved sweeping changes Tuesday to surveillance laws enacted after the Sept. 11 attacks, eliminating the National Security Agency’s disputed bulk phone-records collection program and replacing it with a more restrictive measure to keep the records in phone companies’ hands.

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“This is a step in the wrong direction…does not enhance the privacy protections of American citizens. And it surely undermines American security by taking one more tool form our warfighters at exactly the wrong time.”

— Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell

Two days after Congress let the phone-records and several other anti-terror programs expire, the Senate’s 67-32 vote sent the legislation to President Barack Obama, who said he would sign it promptly.

“This legislation will strengthen civil liberty safeguards and provide greater public confidence in these programs,” Obama said in a statement. The bill signing could happen late Tuesday or early Wednesday, but officials said it could take at least several days to restart the collection.

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The legislation will revive most of the programs the Senate had allowed to lapse in a dizzying collision of presidential politics and national security policy. But the authorization will undergo major changes, the legacy of agency contractor Edward Snowden‘s explosive revelations two years ago about domestic spying by the government.panic-betty

“I applaud the Senate for renewing our nation’s foreign intelligence capabilities, and I’m pleased this measure will now head to the president’s desk for his signature.”

— House Speaker John Boehner

In an unusual shifting of alliances, the legislation passed with the support of Obama and House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, but over the strong opposition of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. McConnell failed to persuade the Senate to extend the current law unchanged, and came up short in a last-ditch effort Tuesday to amend the House version, as nearly a dozen of his own Republicans abandoned him in a series of votes.

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“This is a step in the wrong direction,” a frustrated McConnell said on the Senate floor ahead of the Senate’s final vote to approve the House version, dubbed the USA Freedom Act. He said the legislation “does not enhance the privacy protections of American citizens. And it surely undermines American security by taking obamaorwellone more tool form our warfighters at exactly the wrong time.”

“Power is not a means, it is an end. One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship.”

— George Orwell

The legislation remakes the most controversial aspect of the USA Patriot Act — the once-secret bulk collection program that allows the National Security Agency to sweep up Americans’ phone records and comb through them for ties to international terrorists. Over six months the NSA would lose the power to collect and store those records, but the government still could gain court orders to obtain data connected to specific numbers from the phone companies, which typically store them for 18 months.

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It would also continue other post-9/11 surveillance provisions that lapsed Sunday night, and which are considered more effective than the phone-data collection program. These include the FBI’s authority to gather business records in terrorism and espionage investigations and to more easily eavesdrop on suspects who are discarding cellphones to avoid surveillance.

In order to restart collection of phone records, the Justice Department will need to obtain a new order from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. Read the rest of this entry »


BREAKING: Deal to Save NSA Surveillance Programs Senate Deadline Panic FUBAR

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Key Patriot Act provisions will expire at midnight

In addition to the bulk phone collections provision, the two lesser-known Patriot Act provisions that also lapse at midnight were one, so far unused, to helps track “lone wolf” terrorism suspects unconnected to a foreign power; the second allows the government to eavesdrop on suspects who continually discard their cellphones.

The Senate failed Sunday to strike a deal to extend the NSA’s phone surveillance program before the midnight deadline.

Members of the GOP-controlled chamber returned Sunday to Capitol Hill in a last-ditch effort to extend the National Security Agency’s authority to collect Americans’ phone records in bulk to search for terror connections and to authorize two other programs under the post-9/11 Patriot Act.

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“Heaven forbid we’ve got a problem where we could have prevented a terrorist attack or apprehended someone who is engaged in dangerous activity, but we didn’t do so simply because of inaction in the Senate.”

— President Obama

The Senate attempted to either pass a House bill that would have altered the collections of the so-called phone call metadata or simply extend the program.

The 100-member chamber passed the first of two procedure hurdles, known as cloture, to proceed with the House bill. The vote was 77 to 17.

“The sky is not going to fall.”

— Anthony Romero, American Civil Liberties Union executive director

But no final action was expected before Sunday’s midnight deadline after Kentucky GOP Sen. Rand Paul served notice that he would assert his prerogatives under Senate rules to delay a final vote for several days.

“The people who argue that the world will come to an end and we will be over by jihadists (by not passing the bill) are using fear,” Paul, a 2016 presidential candidate, said on the Senate floor.

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Still, the program is all but certain to be revived in a matter of days, although it also looks certain to be completely overhauled under the House-passed legislation that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell reluctantly blessed in an about-face Sunday evening.

With most senators opposed to extending current law unchanged, even for a short time, McConnell said the House bill was the only option left other than letting the program die off entirely. The Kentucky Republican preferred extending the current law. Read the rest of this entry »


BREAKING: Senate Blocks House Bill on NSA Surveillance, 2-Month Extension

NSA headquarters. Image: Wikimedia Commons

BREAKING NEWS –  The Republican-led Senate blocked a House bill early Saturday that would have ended the National Security Agency’s bulk of collection on domestic phone records.

The vote was 57-42, short of the 60-vote threshold to move ahead. It leaves the fate of the key provisions in the Patriot Act in doubt with a June 1 deadline less than two weeks away.

Francisco Seco/AP - In this October 2013 file photo, a man looks at his cellphone as he walks on the street in downtown Madrid. The NSA’s ability to crack cellphone encryption used by the majority of cellphones in the world offers it wide-ranging powers to listen in on private conversations.

The Senate also failed to advance a two-month extension of NSA programs as well. The vote also needed 60 votes to get to the Senate floor. The vote was defeated 54-45…(read more)

developing…

Fox News

 

 


[VIDEO] Reid Bemoans Lack of Dem ‘All-Stars’: ‘We Have Hillary Clinton. And That’s It.’

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Harry Reid doesn’t sound as enthusiastic about 2016 as he was about 2008, talking to MSNBC’s José Díaz-Balart today about the lack of Democratic “all-stars” this time around.

 


Remember Gridlock? What Was That About?

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Read more…. New York Post


[VIDEO] Harry Reid: ‘I think a lot of people, as I read, they kinda don’t like me as a person, and I think that’s unfortunate’

Reid Denies He Got Beat Up By The Mob

Al Weaver reports: Harry Reid denied fabricating the explanation for his eye injury in an interview with CNBC’s John Harwood.

“Why in the world would I come up with some story that I got hurt in my own bathroom with my wife standing there? How could anyone say anything like that?”

“In the last few days, a bunch of people are saying, ‘Reid, he didn’t have an exercise accident. He got beaten up by the mob,’” Harwood said.

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) (R) talks to the media, after a weekly Senate party caucus luncheon on Capitol Hill in Washington, Feb. 24, 2015. (REUTERS/Yuri Gripas)

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) (R) talks to the media, after a weekly Senate party caucus luncheon on Capitol Hill in Washington, Feb. 24, 2015. (REUTERS/Yuri Gripas)

“You know, I don’t really care. I think they’re all losers.”

“It shows the credibility of Rush Limbaugh. He’s the guy who got that started,” Reid responded. “Why in the world would I come up with some story that I got hurt in my own bathroom with my wife standing there? How could anyone say anything like that?”

[TREACHER: Why Isn’t Harry Reid Suing The Manufacturer Of That Exercise Band?]

“I think a lot of people, as I read, they kinda don’t like me as a person, and I think that’s unfortunate,” he added.”

Reid also called Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell a “lump of coal” and remarked that all the Republican candidates for 2016 are “losers.” Read the rest of this entry »


Harry Reid Changes His Story On How He Sustained New Year’s Day Injuries

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Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid is changing the story about how he sustained those gruesome New Year’s Day injuries that have left him blind in one eye

Michael Patrick Leahy reports:

…Previously, Reid claimed that an exercise band he was using “broke.”

“Sources familiar with the incident said Reid was exercising in his bathroom, with the exercise band attached to the shower door.”

— Politico reported on January 22.

“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 tells Univision anchor Jorge Ramos that the exercise band “slipped,” rather than “broke.”

Drudge-Reid-face

“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,” Politico reported on January 22. (emphasis added)

As Breitbart News reported previously, that version of the story, almost certainly told to Politico by Reid’s staffers with his approval, is not credible.

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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.

What really happened?

Was it really with an elastic band? Read the rest of this entry »


Emission Cuts Ordered By Obama Probably Won’t Survive Beyond End Of His Presidency

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…In its written pledge, known to climate negotiators as an Intended Nationally Determined Contribution, the U.S. did not offer an exact formula for how it would achieve the remaining reductions. Yet it pointed to an array of steps Obama has taken or is taking to curb emissions. Obama has ordered higher fuel efficiency standards for cars and trucks, methane limits for energy production, cuts in federal government emissions and unprecedented pollution rules for new and existing power plants.

Many of those steps have drawn the ire of some Democrats and almost all Republicans — not to mention the energy industry. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has been urging U.S. states not to comply with Obama’s power plant rules, and argued that the U.S. could never meet Obama’s target even if those rules do survive.

“Considering that two-thirds of the U.S. federal government hasn’t even signed off on the Clean Power Plan and 13 states have already pledged to fight it, our international partners should proceed with caution before entering into a binding, unattainable deal,” McConnell said… Read the rest of this entry »


Breaking: Harry Reid Trips Out

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From this morning’s New York Times:

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.

drudge-reid

“I understand this place,” Mr. Reid said. “I have quite a bit of power as minority leader.”

The National Republican Senatorial Committee responds to Harry Reid’s retirement:

“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.”

Hot Air‘s Ed Morrissey comments:

“…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

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 »


[VIDEO] Reid’s Obstructionist-Era Senate Ends, McConnell Era Begins : Already More Amendments Voted On Than All Of 2014

The Senate reached a milestone this week.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell took the time to point out that in three short weeks there have been more votes done this year than in all of 2014 when Senator Harry Reid and the Democrats had control…(more)

Washington Free Beacon


Franklin’s Warning ‘Whoever would overthrow the liberty of a nation must begin by subduing the freeness of speech,’ California Style

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By Tim Phillips and David Spady

Benjamin Franklin’s warning is perhaps more apt today than at any point in American history. In the past four years, the Democratic Party and the progressive movement have been dealt devastating losses at the ballot box, in large part becauseEverett Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790), portrait by David Martin, 1767 voters rejected their policies as violations of fundamental liberties.

Yet rather than debate the merits of their policies, many on the left responded with a coordinated campaign to suppress free speech—primarily by intimidating, demonizing and silencing the people who opposed and defeated them. Examples include the Internal Revenue Services’ targeting of conservative nonprofit groups, Senate Democrats’ recent attempt to write a new constitutional amendment that would gut the First Amendment, and a host of other anti-free-speech efforts at both the state and federal level.

Our organizations, Americans for Prosperity, a nonprofit advocacy group that mobilizes grass-roots activists to support or oppose specific legislation and hold lawmakers accountable, and Americans for Prosperity Foundation, which educates citizens about the benefits of free-market policies, have been among the left’s primary targets. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Highlight Reel: Presidential Case Against Executive Amnesty, Rinse, Repeat

“I’m the president of the United States, I’m not the emperor of the United States. My job is to execute laws that are passed.”

At The Corner, Brendan Bordelon writes: President Obama is planning to enact executive amnesty any day, despite a chorus of voices urging him to reconsider. House Speaker John Boehner warns that the White House will “poison the well,” while incoming Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell cautions against “waving a red flag in front of a bull.” Liberal law professor Jonathan Turley even laments that the move will “tear the very fabric of our Constitution.”

But perhaps the most convincing statements against the legalization of millions without congressional action? They’ve come from the president himself. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Boehner Ammunition in White House Amnesty Fight Includes Nails and Teeth

Brendan Bordelon writes:  House majority leader John Boehner struck his most aggressive tone yet against President Obama’s promised executive amnesty for illegal immigrants, vowing to fight the White House “tooth and nail” and threatening to throw a wrench in the president’s plans for the next two years.

“I’ll just say this. We are going to fight the president tooth and nail if he continues down this path. This is the wrong way to govern. This is exactly what the American people said on Election Day they didn’t want!”

Boehner couldn’t say how congressional Republicans will fight the expected executive actions, but promised that “all actions are on the table…(read more)

National Review Online


Dan Henninger: It Wasn’t Just Obama

donkeys

Democrats’ policies have been pillaging their own political base

Daniel Henninger writes: The Democrats who were caught standing on the beach last week when the GOP’s 40-foot wave washed over them are now explaining why it wasn’t their fault.hillary-eyes

valerieJNo. 1: It’s not us; it’s what’s his name, the unpopular president. (And that awful Valerie Jarrett. )

No. 2: It was a midterm election with a bad map; we’ll be back in 2016. Hillary to the rescue.

Official Obama Explanation : My ideas and policies are fine; I just have a messaging problem.

USS Democrat Captain Nancy Pelosi : “There was an ebbing, an ebb tide, for us.”

This all reminds me of the classic film satire, “I’m All Right, Jack,” about the dying days of the British trade-union movement. When an idealistic young factory worker shows the efficiency gains possible from actually using a forklift, the union steward calls a strike. Three guesses which Democrats in the U.S. version would play the roles of Peter Sellers, Terry-Thomas and Margaret Rutherford.donkey-250x279

“The Democratic Party has become the Nickel-and-Dime Empire. Their compulsion to chisel money out of the population is collapsing the empire from within.”

A few Democratic voices, mostly party professionals whose job is winning elections, have said the donkey herd that just ran off the cliff needs to rethink its sense of direction. No one is listening to them. Most Democrats, especially the left that took control of the party in 2008, deny any problem. And well they might. There is no Plan B.

The Democrats’ standard political model is generally attributed to FDR confidante Harry Hopkins : “We will spend and spend, and tax and tax, and elect and elect.” Hopkins denied ever using these words, but the formula lived on.

Tax, spend and elect just slammed into the mountain.

In Wisconsin, the party’s armies not only lost to Scott Walker (twice!) but watched Republicans gain the most seats in the state’s legislature in 50 years. Read the rest of this entry »


Ed Rogers: ‘Let the Payback Begin’

APTOPIX White House Sunrise

Reid, Pelosi and Obama couldn’t work together in the majority; does anyone think they are going to pull together in the minority? 

“Was the media duped or compliant in not blowing the whistle on this? How were we this blind to the Democratic infighting? Evidently, the entire Democratic establishment, from the time the president was inaugurated to his second term in 2013 until now, had become nothing but a scheming, tactical political operation, bickering over money and positioning, with no particular interest in governing.”

For The Washington Post, Ed Rogers writes: The fog of the battle has lifted, and it is clear who won and who lost in the 2014 midterm elections. So now it is time for one of Washington’s favorite pastimes: finger-pointing, assigning blame and pursuing retribution. Losses get worse before they get better. The Democrats’ disappointment will set in, discouragement will Senate-race-Landrieufollow and the beating they took Tuesday will seem much worse 60 days from now than it does today.

That said, Democrats are off to a quick start in getting at each other’s throats.  With lightning speed, soon-to-be Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has sought to air his grievances and presumably shift much of the blame to President Obama for the Democrats’ loss of his chamber. In a remarkably candid exercise, Reid’s chief of staff, David Krone, hmidler-tweetas matter-of-factly supplied the media with time lines, quotes and precise accounts of the animosity that existed between the Democratic Senate and the White House during Campaign 2014.  In a must-read, vivid piece from The Post’s Philip Rucker and Robert Costa, Krone is quoted as saying that they were “never going to get on the same page” and revealed that, after one meeting with the president, the Reid forces were left “beating our heads against the wall.”

“Do Democrats think the president is going to do much to help candidates who will serve only after he leaves office? Does anyone think Obama is going to suddenly care about the DNC and make it an effective force? It is not unreasonable to think he couldn’t care less.”

The president’s news conference yesterday did nothing to soothe the Democrats’ disappointment or prepare them for the slump that is to come. He hasn’t supplied them with a shoulder to cry on, nor has he exhibited any regret or taken responsibility, as a leader normally would. As a result, the president may be the easiest target for the losers as they collect their thoughts, become more bitter and start to lash out. Read the rest of this entry »


Heartache: Poll Finds Harry Reid’s Approval Rating At All-Time Low, 21%


Kurt Schlichter: ‘What you call ‘privilege’ is just me being better than you…’

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For TownHall.comKurt Schlichter  writes:  Liberals have a new word for what normal people call “success.” They call it “privilege,” as if a happy, prosperous life is the result of some magic process related to where your great-great-great-grandfather came from.

It’s the latest leftist argument tactic, which means it is a tactic designed to preventany argument and to beat you into rhetorical submission. Conservatives, don’t play their game.

Call: “Check your privilege!”

Response: “What you call ‘privilege’ is just me being better than you.”

It’s easy to see that this notion that accomplishment comes not from hard work but from some mysterious force, operating out there in the ether, is essential to liberal thought. To excuse the dole-devouring layabouts who form so much of the Democrat voting base, it is critical that they undermine the achievements of those who support themselves. We can’t have the American people thinking that hard work leads to success; people might start asking why liberal constituencies don’t just work harder instead of demanding more money from those who actually produce something.

“Don’t worry about not making sense. They’re college students. They are used to not understanding what people smarter than they are tell them.”

This “Check your privilege” meme is the newest trump card du jour on college campuses and in other domains of progressive tyranny. It morphed into existence from the “You racist!” wolf-cry that is now so discredited that it produces little but snickers even among liberal fellow travelers. After all, if everyone is racist – and to the progressives, everyone is except themselves – then no one is really racist. And it’s kind of hard to take seriously being called “racist” by adherents of a political party that made a KKK kleagle its Senate majority leader.

So how do we deal with this idiocy? Read the rest of this entry »


Condolences to Harry Reid

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“The Editors would like to extend our condolences to Senator Harry Reid and his family as they go through this difficult time. While we can only guess at the exact nature of the psychiatric or neurological trauma the Senate majority leader has suffered, we assume that it is severe, judging by his symptoms, the most prominent of which is his new habit of taking to the Senate floor to deliver speeches that sound like they ought to be coming from a man wearing a bathrobe in front of a liquor store in Cleveland…”

(read more)

National Review Online


Reid: Koch Brothers One of the Main Causes of Climate Change

“I know it sounds absurd, but it’s true.”

Senator Harry Reid has found something else to blame on the Koch brothers: climate change. Taking to the Senate floor, the majority leader called the philanthropic businessmen “one of the main causes” of the phenomenon.

“While the Koch brothers admit to not being experts on the matter, these billionaire oil tycoons are certainly experts at contributing to climate change — that’s what they do very well. They are one of the main causes of this — not a cause, one of the main causes.”

Reid went on to claim the brothers were the “biggest air and water polluters period” and were “waging a war against anything that protects the environment.” “I know it sounds absurd, but it’s true,” he said…(read more)

Read the rest of this entry »


Fund: Reid Calling Bundy Supporters ‘Domestic Terrorists’ Part of Democrat’s Effort to Rally the Base

See John Fund‘s most recent piece: “The United States of SWAT?

AP Photo / J. Scott Applewhite

AP Photo / J. Scott Applewhite

 National Review Online

Read the rest of this entry »


Memo to Reid: Pack It Up Harry, It’s Over

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Senator Reid on Cattle Battle: “It’s Not Over.”  Harry, It’s Over

RENO, Nev. (MyNews4.com & KRNV) — Senate majority leader Harry Reid hasn’t been very vocal about the cattle battle showdown in recent days, but says “it’s not over.”

Harry? we talked about this. It’s over.

Reid tells News4’s Samantha Boatman his take on the so-called cattle battle in southern Las Vegas. “Well, it’s not over.

Well, yeah it is, Reid. It’s over. 

“We can’t have an American people that violate the law and then just walk away from it. So it’s not over,” Reid said.

Harry, you represent a Federal government that violates the law every day, and walks away from it. You’re in the worst possible position to make statements like that anywhere near a live microphone. Sit down, shut up. 

 My News 4 – KRNV, Reno, NV


[VIDEO] ‘Groundhog Day’ Alzheimer’s Remix: All 134 Times Harry Reid Has Mentioned the Koch Brothers on the Senate Floor

For the Washington Free Beacon writes:  Harry Reid (D., Nev.) has a big problem. Or an infatuation, depending on how you look at it.

The Senate Majority Leader has gone to incredible lengths to demonize a pair of anti-cancer philanthropist brothers named Charles and David Koch, to the extent that he’s mentioned them 134 times in a series of strange diatribes on the Senate floor.

Nearly all of those mentions have occurred since Feb. 26, when he first went off on the Kochs as an unsubtle means of rallying support for the flailing Democratic Party’s hopes to retain a majority.

Read the rest of this entry »


Memo to Harry Reid: Cameras Record Senate Speeches, Anyone Can Replay Them

74-year-old Senate Majority Leader Apparently Unaware of Internet

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)

(AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

…It All Comes Back to How Evil You Are for Disagreeing with Them

From Jim Geraghty’s Morning Jolt: After a surprising comment from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, America Rising put together a short video of Reid on the floor of the U.S. Senate insisting,

“The junior senator from Wyoming has come to the floor recently, talking about examples that he and other Republicans have given, dealing with Obamacare, examples that they think are bad, I have called lies; Mr. President, it is simply untrue, I never come to the floor, to my recollection, and said a word about the examples Republicans were giving regarding Obamacare and how it’s not very good.”

… roughly a month after he said, on the floor of the U.S. Senate, that stories of “the lives [Obamacare] is ruining” were “tales, stories made up from whole cloth, lies…”

Watch the video:

In his second appearance, Reid said,

“I have never come to the floor, to my recollection, and never said a word about any of the examples Republicans have given, and how it’s not very good.”

Now, there are two possibilities here. The first is that Reid is lying through his teeth. (Quite a bit of evidence to support that assessment.) But the second is that Reid is telling the truth, and that he genuinely doesn’t recall saying anything like that, even though he did say it, to a quite vocal reaction, standing in the exact same spot roughly a month earlier…

YouTube – National Review Online