THE DAILY BRIEFING & EDITOR'S NOTES
Recovered Lerner Email Shows IRS Covered Up TEA Party Targeting
The IRS sent one of its intrusive scrutiny letters to a nonprofit group in order to throw up a smokescreen and prevent the group from complaining to Congress about poor treatment, according to one of Lois Lerner's apparently lost emails, which were recovered by auditors and released by Judicial Watch Tuesday. The emails confirm that Ms. Lerner, the central figure in the targeting probe, and her colleagues were aware of the sensitive nature of the cases but appeared to hide details of the massive backlog they were amassing as they held up hundreds of tea party and conservative group applications for nonprofit status.
Local Planned Parenthood Outlet Tries to Intimidate Media
A regional branch of Planned Parenthood warned reporters in a letter Monday against airing recent sting videos that purport to show the abortion provider's employees discussing the sale of aborted fetus parts. KVLY-TV in North Dakota published the letter from Planned Parenthood Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota. The letter was sent one day before the Center for Medical Progress released a third video, appearing to show Planned Parenthood workers standing by dead fetuses while talking about the price "per item."
Pennsylvania Democrat Indicted on Federal Racketeering Charges
Rep. Chaka Fattah (D-PA), has been indicted on dozens of federal charges surrounding his unsuccessful run for Philadelphia mayor in 2007, the DoJ announced Wednesday. The 11-term Democrat and four associates were indicted on 29 federal counts, including bribery, money laundering, falsification of records and multiple counts of bank fraud, among other charges. Fattah faces 16 charges related to conspiracy, mail fraud and falsification of records, each carrying sentences up to 20 years in prison. Another six charges, including bank fraud, carry a combined 100 years in prison if he's convicted.
Jihad Forums Crowdsource Fantasy Assassination List
Military officers, A member of Congress, top executives of defense firms - they're marked for death on an assassinations list that online jihadi forums are compiling. And the best thing you could do for these online braggarts would be to freak out. Participants on Shumukh, an elite, password-protected jihadi forum, have begun threads throwing out suggestions for prominent Americans to murder. It's spread to the more open Ansar al-Mujahideen site. The names of those marked for death by Internet would-be terrorists include politicians, Defense Department officials, military officers, execs at security companies that have done business in Iraq and even a Mideast pundit.
Mind-Blowing Temperature Fraud at NOAA
The measured US temperature data from the United States Historical Climatology Network shows that the US is on a long-term cooling trend. But the reported temperatures from NOAA show a strong warming trend. They accomplish this through a spectacular hockey stick of data tampering, which corrupts the US temperature trend by almost two degrees. The biggest component of this fraud is making up data. Almost half of all reported US temperature data is now fake. They fill in missing rural data with urban data to create the appearance of non-existent US warming.
FBI Emphasizes Speed as ISIS Exhorts Individuals to Attack
American counter-terrorism officials are so concerned about the threat from the Islamic State that in June the FBI had so many people under surveillance in terrorism-related investigations that supervisors reassigned criminal squads to monitor terrorism suspects, according to FBI officials. In recent months, the FBI has apprehended people suspected of being Islamic State sympathizers soon after they came onto the government’s radar. The FBI has arrested and charged at least 25 people in the past three months with having ties to the Islamic State or other terrorist groups, compared with 20 people arrested over the previous year, according to court records.
Chaffetz Asks Obama to Fire IRS Chief Koskinen for 'Obstruction'
Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), chairman of the House Committee on Oversight & Government Affairs, called for the firing of IRS chief John Koskinen in a letter to Pres. Obama Monday, arguing he has repeatedly "obstructed" congressional probes into the agency's political targeting of taxpayers. He added that the president vowed in 2013 to "work hand-in-hand with Congress to fix the problem." Chaffetz argued that Koskinen, during his roughly two-and-a-half-year tenure, has obstructed such efforts by failing to testify truthfully, comply with subpoenas and preserve as many as 24,000 emails related to congressional investigations.
US to Lift Sanctions on Khamenei's Financial Empire
The Obama administration is gearing up to lift economic sanctions on a nearly $100 billion network of organizations belonging to Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, according to the parameters of the recent Iranian nuclear deal. On the day the nuclear deal is implemented, the United States will lift sanctions on Khamenei's financial empire, which comprises a large network of foundations and companies that personally enrich the Islamic Republic's leader. The removal of these sanctions will pump tens of billions of dollars into the supreme leader's personal coffers, helping him secure his grip on the Iranian people.
Top Analyst Says China Market Resembles 1929 US Crash
Chinese stocks will decline by about 14 percent over the next three weeks as the market demonstrates a trading pattern that mirrors the US crash in 1929, according to Tom DeMark, who predicted the bottom of the Shanghai Composite Index in 2013. The Shanghai Composite Index will sink to 3,200 after plunging 8.5% Monday to 3,725.56 in the worst sell-off in eight years, DeMark said. That would extend its decline since a June 12 peak to 38%. The index's moves since March are tracking those of the Dow Jones Industrial Average in 1929 when the gauge lost as much as 48%.
Iran Insists on Taking Own Soil Samples at Alleged Nuke Site
Iran reportedly is insisting that its own officials be able to take soil samples at a suspected nuclear site and may get its way, in the latest complication to raise concerns from Congress as the Obama administration tries to sell the newly struck nuclear deal. The investigation into the Parchin military complex by the International Atomic Energy Agency is part of the overarching nuclear deal reached earlier this month between Iran and six world powers. Iran is accused of experimenting at Parchin with ways to detonate a nuclear weapon.
Technician Details Harvesting Fetal Parts for Planned Parenthood
A technician who said she worked for a company that partnered with Planned Parenthood to harvest fetal tissue said there's "incentive to try and get the hard stuff 'cause you're going to get more money," in the latest undercover video targeting Planned Parenthood. The new, graphic video from the Center for Medical Progress appears to show technicians using tweezers to pick through aborted fetal tissue for baby parts. After one person in the video picks out a pair of intact kidneys someone off-camera laughs and says, "Five stars!"
Senate Votes to Revive Export-Import Bank, Keep Obamacare
In a pair of losses for conservatives, the Senate voted overwhelmingly Sunday to revive the Export-Import Bank while failing to overcome a filibuster of an attempt to repeal Obamacare — with more fireworks to come. The rare Sunday votes set the stage for the Senate to send a long-term highway bill tied to the Ex-Im Bank to the House later this week, but not before facing other gambits by conservatives, including a procedural vote forced by Sen. Ted Cruz regarding the Iran deal and an effort to deploy a maneuver akin to the "nuclear option." The Senate quickly adjourned for the night after holding the series of votes. The Obamacare repeal failed 49-43, well shy of the 60 votes needed.
McConnell Blocks Defunding Planned Parenthood, Kate's Law
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has never been a favorite of conservatives, who see him as a "squishy" compromiser more interested in placating President Barack Obama and K Street lobbyists than the Republican base. He had more fuel tossed on that fire when he blocked amendments to the Highway Bill TEA Party members wholeheartedly support. One amendment would defund Planned Parenthood, which receives more than a half billion dollars in taxpayer subsidies annually. Another promoted Kate's Law, named after Kate Steinle, a 32-year-old woman who was shot and killed in a sanctuary coty by an illegal alien who had seven felony convictions.
Exodus from Puerto Rico Could Upend Florida Vote in 2016
As US citizens, Puerto Ricans are relatively easy to register to vote, and they are attracting unprecedented attention because they could change the political calculus in a state that President Obama won by the thinnest of margins in 2012: 50 percent to 49.1 percent. Puerto Rico's economic crisis meant Jeffrey Rondon, 25, struggled to find even part-time work, so he recently joined the growing exodus from his Caribbean island to Florida. Now he holds a full-time restaurant job. "It's important to vote and be heard — it's a privilege," said Rondon, who is one of thousands of Puerto Ricans who have moved to Florida in the past year.
Social Engineering Is
a Lot Like Socialism
Recently, two articles gave me pause. The first by Alana Semuels, "How Chicago is Trying to Integrate its Suburbs" caught my attention because I spent many formative years in Glenview, the suburb highlighted in the article. Reading about the new low income housing there, a collaboration between the Chicago Housing Authority and Regional Housing Initiative, I recalled a conversation with a long term resident and respected member of the community (prior to the shut-down of the naval air base and subsequent redevelopment), one in which she explained that Glenview, a Chicago suburb, got around a previous Section 8 requirement by building low income senior housing. She had no qualms about the community's position in this matter. Many middle class communities felt this way about Section 8 moving into their neighborhoods. In a SPOA article called The Great Housing Experiment That Failed, the author writes: "Starting back in 1977, families living in housing projects began to be relocated to middle-class suburban neighborhoods with good public schools. If these families could see a different way of life, the middle-class way of life, they could learn to live like the middle class – or so everyone thought...But then the crime rate started to go up in suburbia where they moved. As one former housing project tenant said: 'You move from one place to another and you bring the element with you. You got some [people] trying to make it just like the projects.'" Landlords in more affluent suburbs did not want to rent to Section 8 tenants.
EXTRA: Posse Comitatus
Why are soldiers at recruiting stations unarmed? Here is an analysis put out by Cato Institute that provides some justification for the practice. I believe it is time to reconsider, under the present circumstances. I don't think this is our only concern at this time. We should be worried about Iran, federal overreach, the blurring of powers between the branches, the erosion of our 1st amendment...some would even say this story is serving as a bright shiny thing because it has completely garnered national attention and so we've taken our eye off the other "balls" in the air. In any event, if you want to understand and take a position, at least understand the history.
A Pirate's Life for Me
Do you like Pirates? I know I do. I could watch Pirates of the Caribbean over and over again. Many people who live on the coast have pirate bumper stickers that say Salt Life. But Pirates have bad reputations because they pillaged innocent people, even though we don't normally associate them in that way. Usually, we associate them with island vacations where people let go of their worries and play instead of worrying about work. Still, maybe we ought to ban pirates because they didn't respect the rights of those they pillaged? On second thought, that might make some people very sad. Pirate aficionados derive joy in thinking about living by their own rules and leaving behind their responsibilities. Pirates are so popular among some groups of people that there are toys, flags, clothing, and even a Talk Like A Pirate Day. Besides, just because some people find pirates offensive, the First Amendment protects free speech, so long as it isn't inciting people to violence.
Hillary Clinton's Ridiculous
Hedge on Keystone XL
Here's Hillary Clinton's "answer" to a question about whether she supports or opposes the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline. "If it's undecided when I become president, I will answer your question," Clinton said. "This is President Obama's decision. I'm not going to second-guess him." Er, what? Clinton went on to note that she was in a position unique among the 2016 field due to her time as secretary of state. "I'm in a different position than any other candidate," Clinton said. "I was there. I put this process together. I oversaw it for four years." (Because the pipeline would begin in Canada, its approval - or not - is in the hands of the State Dept.) Uh huh. Look. When you are running for president - whether or not you served in the current administration - you are going to be asked to take positions on issues that the current president is dealing with. As long as we hold elections that begin two years (or more) before the current president is set to leave office, that's going to be a thing candidates need to contend with. If Clinton's position is that she can't take a public stance on any issue that has some sort of pending business before this White House, then she's not going to be able to take a position on, well, anything. And she's already shown that on some issues, she is willing to take a position. Clinton came out in favor of the Iran deal, for example, despite the fact that its fate remains up in the air in Congress. Second, the whole point of a campaign is for voters to get to know the candidates and understand what their respective presidencies might look like. People and reporters and the candidates you are running against ask you questions. You answer them - most of the time. It's what we do. It's how voters can feel as though they are making an informed decision come Election Day.
The Useless Jewish Organization
After the Iran deal, American Jews turned to the "Establishment" of liberal Jewish organizations to whom they had written out so many checks over the years expecting them to do something about it. And the organizations did what they do best. They expressed concern. The ADL was "deeply concerned" about the Iran nuclear deal two years ago. It announced that it now has "cause for concern". It's unknown whether the next ADL boss, Obama crony Jonathan A. Greenblatt, it also concerned, but it doesn't matter since the ADL's concern and five bucks can get you an Iced Cinnamon Dolce Latte at Starbucks. AIPAC is also "deeply concerned" about the deal. So is John Boehner. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon was also "deeply concerned" about Iran's nuclear program eight years ago. The IAEA was "deeply concerned" about it four years ago. And Obama, he's now "deeply concerned" about the Americans held in Iran. The last time he was "deeply concerned" about the subject was two years ago. Expressing concern, deep or otherwise, is a meaningless formula that reassures the people actually upset about an issue that they are being taken seriously, by the organizations otherwise ignoring them. After four years, conservatives have learned that Boehner's concern doesn't amount to much. American Jews are baffled to realize that the organizations they expected to help them are just as worthless. American Jewish liberalism is based on a comforting myth that in times of crisis, its organizations step up to the challenge, rescuing Jews from the Holocaust, saving Soviet Jewry and fighting for Israel. In real life, the establishment has a long history of fighting the "radical" and "extremist" groups that actually did these things, before eventually climbing on the bandwagon and then claiming all the credit.
People who entered the United States illegally may be called "undocumented" in politically correct circles, but what is all too well documented is the utter irresponsibility of both political parties in dealing with immigration issues. Both Democratic and Republican administrations have left the border with Mexico porous for years - porous not just for Mexicans but for anybody else, including terrorists from the Middle East. Two very different issues have gotten jumbled together in the political stew called "comprehensive immigration reform." The first and most fundamental issue is whether we are going to have an immigration policy at all. The second issue is: Just what should that immigration policy be? If we do not control our own border, then we do not have any immigration policy. We may have immigration laws on the books, but if anybody can cross the border that wants to, those laws are just words on paper and a bad joke. Polls showing the surprisingly favorable reactions of some Republican voters to Donald Trump's irresponsible generalities about immigrants probably reflect many people's frustrations with politicians' weasel words on the subject, and politicians' failure to do anything about a festering problem. The recent murder of Kate Steinle in San Francisco by an illegal immigrant with multiple felonies and multiple expulsions, followed by multiple illegal returns to this "sanctuary city," has been galling to many people. One immediate consequence of this outrage has been a drive to pass "Kate's law" prescribing mandatory prison time for anyone who has been expelled from this country and comes back again illegally. That is overdue.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
"It is not the function of our government to keep the citizen from falling into error; it is the function of the citizen to keep the government from falling into error." ~ Robert Jackson