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Krauthammer’s Take: ACA Language Is ‘Not Ambiguous At All’



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Charles Krauthammer believes that the language in the Affordable Care Act saying that subsidies are to be provided through state exchanges is unambiguous.

On Tuesday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled that the way the law was written does not allow subsidies to be provided by the federal government.

The language is “not ambiguous at all,” Krauthammer said on Tuesday’s Special Report. But the claim of the government, he explained, is that “it was a drafting error, and what we really intended was it should be for everyone.”

He referred to a point made earlier today on NRO by Andrew McCarthy, who argued that even if you accept the government’s defense that it was indeed a drafting error, Congress is the only instrument in the constitutional system that can change the error.

“It is not in the power of the executive to fix what’s written in the legislation,” Krauthammer said. “It has to be Congress — otherwise it overturns our checks and balances.”

He added that the other issue at hand is the consequence of the decision. “If the D.C. Court is upheld, Obamacare is over,” he said. “It won’t survive.”

Marco Rubio To Take On Abortion and Gay Marriage in Catholic U Speech



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Senator Marco Rubio (R., Fla.) plans to take on social and cultural issues in the latest installment of his policy speeches outlining a new conservative agenda.

“Senator Rubio will discuss the values needed for economic success in the 21st century: values like hard work, discipline, and the importance of family,” an aide to the senator tells National Review Online, previewing his Wednesday speech at the Catholic University of America’s Institute for Policy Research and Catholic Studies.

“No one is born with those values, and reinvigorating them begins with reinvigorating the institutions that teach and reinforce those values,” the aide says. ”While government can’t solve these problems alone, Senator Rubio will propose education reforms, ideas to encourage innovation and job creation, and ensure that government policies do not penalize marriage. And, in addition to doing all that we can to encourage and strengthen marriage, he’ll recognize that we must also do all we can to help children born in broken families overcome their challenges.”

And, as Democrats hope to hold the Senate by elevating contraception into a national political issue, Rubio will offer a defense of conservative views on abortion and marriage.

“Of course, you can’t give a speech on values without discussing controversial issues like gay marriage and abortion,” the aide says. “He will defend states’ right to define marriage as a union between one man and one woman, and explain why he believes that the right to life outweighs the right to choose an abortion.”

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Trolling Stock



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I had always assumed that propaganda trains were a thing of the early Soviet past.

Here’s a description of one from Pravda in 1920:

‘Lenin’s train’ – that is what the peasants and workers call the train. It now carries the name of Lenin and recently returned to Moscow after a trip around the western part of the Soviet Republic. This train consists of 15 cars, decorated with paintings in bright colors, with forceful and unmistakably revolutionary inscriptions. It contains a moving picture apparatus [projector] and screen, a bookshop, and a branch of the telegraph bureau, which posted the latest news at every station and sent out bulletins with the latest telegrams. On this train were representatives of almost all of the People’s Commissariats, and a staff of agitators.

 The train has been in constant service for about two months. It has traveled through the governments of Pskov and Vitebsk, Lettonia, White Russia, Lithuania, and has extended its trips to Kharkov. It has made 25 long stops and covered 3590 versts. Everywhere it passed, tens of thousands of leaflets and revolutionary pamphlets were handed out, socialist and revolutionary literature distributed, with books of all kinds, meetings arranged, lectures held, while propaganda instructed and animated the masses.

 The Commissariat representatives who accompanied the train visited the soviet institutions and informed themselves as to the work of the local organizations, offering suggestions and aid. Around this special train, workers and peasants assembled and meetings took place. The speeches were made from the roofs of the cars, and revolutionary leaflets and pamphlets were scattered from the bookshop like snowflakes.

 During its trip the train circulated books, papers, and pamphlets worth more than a half-million roubles, distributed free more than 150,000 proclamations and leaflets, posted more than 15,000 posters, and supplied 556 organizations with various publications. About 90,000 workers, peasants, and soldiers from the Red Army attended the lectures, meetings, and conferences; about sixty lectures were organized on all sorts of burning questions.

But I was wrong. It turns out that there are propaganda trains still rolling about. And very sinister they are. The Thomas the Tank Engine gang has apparently been poisoning the minds of some of the youngest in the land.

Fortunately, writing in the Guardian, Tracy Van Slyke is on the case:

Thomas and those friends are trains that toil away endlessly on the Isle of Sodor – which seems to be forever caught in British colonial times – and, on its surface, the show seems to impart good moral lessons about hard work and friendship. But if you look through the steam rising up from the coal-powered train stacks, you realize that the pretty puffs of smoke are concealing some pretty twisted, anachronistic messages . . .

There was one particular episode that caused me to put the brakes on Thomas for good. It revolved around James, a red engine who is described in the opening credits as “vain but lots of fun.” (Wait, it’s OK to be vain if you can show others a good time occasionally? Great – that’s going in my Parenting 101 book.) In the episode “Tickled Pink”, poor vain James, is ordered by Topham Hat to get a new coat of paint. But while James has only had an undercoat of pink slathered on, Topham Hatt interrupts and demands that James go pick up Hatt’s granddaughter and deliver her and her friends to a birthday party right now. James is mortified that he has to travel while pink and proceeds to hide from all the other trains along the way. When he’s caught, the other trains – including Thomas – viciously laugh and mock him.

“What are you doing James? You’re a big pink steamie,” says Diesel, the bad-boy engine. (For the record, all the “villains” on Thomas and Friends are the dirty diesel engines. I’d like to think there was a good environmental message in there, but when the good engines pump out white smoke and the bad engines pump out black smoke – and they are all pumping out smoke – it’s not hard to make the leap into the race territory.)

But once James gets back on the rails and picks up Granddaughter Hatt and her friends, all seemingly ends well because the girls love pink. Well guess what? It’s not OK. You think a little boy watching Thomas is going to file away the lesson that pink is OK for boys? No, what kids remember is that James was laughed at, cruelly, over and over again, because he looked different and was clad in a “girly” pink color.

And that’s not even to get started on the female trains. Well, actually it’s hard to get started on them, because they barely exist.

If we are to believe Ms. Van Slyke she has banned her three-and-a-half year old from watching the show (“there was one particular episode that caused me to put the brakes on Thomas for good”), a nasty little preparation, perhaps, of what will await him at university.

I write “if we are to believe,” because Ms. Van Slyke, a fellow at the Opportunity Agenda, “where she researches and writes about the intersection of social justice [giveaway term] and pop culture,” refers in a tweet to “my funny takedown” of Thomas the Tank Engine, leaving the faint hope that her article was either parody (if it was, well played!) or that she intended to package a serious point in joke wrapping. The latter alternative, of course, would still suggest that there is a serious point to be made.

Mind you, she wouldn’t be alone in thinking that there is. Her article also contains this nugget:

Last year, the British Labour shadow Transportation Secretary even called out Thomas for its lack of females, saying that the franchise setting a bad example for girl wannabe train engineers everywhere.

Sigh

Web Briefing: July 25, 2014

Snoop Dogg Claims He Got High at the White House



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Snoop Dogg isn’t shy about his love for smoking weed, and apparently he took that habit all the way to the White House on one occasion. On the rapper’s Internet show titled “Double G News Network,” guest Jimmy Kimmel asked Snoop, who smokes weed throughout the interview, if he had lit up a joint at the White House.

“In the bathroom,” he replied. “Not in the White House, but in the bathroom.”

I said, “May I use your bathroom for a second?” They said “What are you going to do? No. 1 or No. 2?” And I said No. 2. . . So I said, “Hey, when I do the No. 2, I usually, you know, have a cigarette or I light something to get the aroma right.” They said, “You know what, you can light a piece of napkin.” I said, “I’ll do that,” and the napkin was this.

He proceeded to take a few hits off a joint. Snoop couldn’t recall which of “the alphabet boys” he spoke with while at the White House, referring to members of the CIA or FBI. For the entire video, click here.

The Chicago Sun-Times notes that Snoop last visited the White House in 2013 for the Kennedy Center Awards show.

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Forensic Experts: E-mails from Lerner Hard Drive Were Likely Salvageable



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Lois Lerner’s hard drive, and the e-mails contained on it, were likely salvageable, former federal law-enforcement and Department of Defense forensic experts told the House Ways and Means Committee.

Their testimony conflicts with a memo the IRS sent Congress in June, which said that the data on the hard drive was unrecoverable. I reported in mid June that IRS IT officials destroy and discard damaged hard drives as a matter of practice.

The forensic experts interviewed by the committee told investigators Lerner’s hard drive was merely “scratched,” not destroyed, and that that IRS’s in-house technology professionals recommended seek outside help to recover the data.

“It is unbelievable that we cannot get a simple, straight answer from the IRS about this hard drive,” said Ways and Means Committee chairman Dave Camp (R., Mich.) “It is these constant delays and late revelations that have forced this investigation to go on so long. If the IRS would just come clean and tell Congress and the American people what really happened, we could put an end to this. Our investigators will not stop until we find the full truth.”

The House Oversight Committee said on Monday that the attorney who oversees the IRS’s document production to Congress told its investigators that the agency may still have the backup tapes where Lerner’s e-mails were stored, though officials have previously said the data on those tapes was deleted every six months.

Leaflets Left on Chicago Cars Threatening Violence against Jews



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Anti-Jewish pamphlets were found on several cars in Chicago’s Pulaski Park neighborhood over the weekend, the Chicago Tribune reports.

Local residents told authorities that the leaflets threatened violent retaliation against Jewish residents if Israeli forces don’t withdraw from Gaza, where they’re currently engaged in a ground operation. The leaflets were left on six vehicles’ windshields, according to Chicago police officer Jose Estrada.

Large numbers of Chicagoans protested against the conflict in Gaza this past Sunday, ending the march in front of the city’s Israeli consulate, where protesters chants of “Free Palestine!” could be heard.

The Hate Crime unit of the Chicago Police Department is said to be investigating the leaflets

Beretta Moving Out of Maryland



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Per the Nashville Business Journal:

Beretta USA is moving all of its Maryland manufacturing operations to its new production facility in Gallatin, a move that will greatly accelerate the company’s plans to add 300 jobs in Middle Tennessee, the company announced today.

The Italian firearms manufacturer initially planned to use its new $45 million Gallatin facility only for the production of new products and research and development. Jeff Cooper, the general manager for Beretta USA, had expressed concerns over gun legislation in Maryland that led to company to pick a location outside of the state for its new manufacturing plant.

That legislation — and the political climate in general – was squarely blamed for the move. A press release from the company explained:

While we were able in the Maryland House of Delegates to reverse some of those obstructive provisions, the possibility that such restrictions might be reinstated in the future leaves us very worried about the wisdom of maintaining a firearm manufacturing factory in the State,” stated Jeff Cooper, General Manager for Beretta U.S.A. Corp.

The transition of production from Beretta U.S.A.’s Maryland facility to the Tennessee facility will not occur until 2015 and will be managed so as not to disrupt deliveries to Beretta customers. Beretta U.S.A.’s production of the U.S. Armed Forces M9 9mm pistol will continue at the Accokeek, Maryland facility until all current orders from the U.S. Armed Forces have been filled.

“We have not yet begun groundbreaking on the Tennessee facility and we do not anticipate that that building will be completed until the middle part of 2015,” continued Cooper. “That timing, combined with our need to plan an orderly transition of production from one facility to the other so that our delivery obligations to customers are not disrupted, means that no Beretta U.S.A. Maryland employee will be impacted by this news for many months. More importantly, we will use this time to meet with every Beretta U.S.A. employee whose Maryland job might be affected by the move to discuss with them their interest in taking a position at our new facility in Tennessee or, if they are not willing to do so, to lay out a long-term strategy for remaining with the Company while our production in Maryland continues.”

The company hired to build the new facility is from Georgia.

Would More Generous Welfare Benefits Reduce the Abortion Rate?



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Elizabeth Stoker Bruenig has an interesting article in last week’s American Conservative. In it, she argues that pro-life policy efforts center too much around rules and regulations. Instead, she suggests that pro-lifers try to improve the financial situation of women facing unexpected pregnancies. While there are proposals to do this through tax credits, Bruenig dismisses these ideas as too complicated or too stingy to help the poorest women. She suggests instead a no-strings-attached cash allowance for low-income mothers.

Having been involved with research on abortion trends and pro-life laws for over ten years, I have become somewhat cynical about many commentators who argue for more generous public benefits as a strategy to reduce abortion. These arguments are typically put forward during election time and are used to provide political cover for pro-lifers who are supporting candidates who favor legal abortion.

Bruenig, however seems sincere. She is correct that women seeking abortions are disproportionately low income. She is also correct that low-income earners are more likely to identify as “pro-life” than the rest of the population. Furthermore, she cites good research which shows that many women submit to abortions due to financial pressures. There is a good chance that many of these women are not favorably predisposed to abortion — and might have carried their pregnancy to term had their financial situation been stronger.

Overall, pro-lifers are of two minds about welfare benefits. Bruenig is correct that reducing the financial pressures on pregnant women might persuade more of them to carry their pregnancy to term. However, high welfare benefits might also either encourage or enable more single-parent families, and a large number single parent families would further reduce the stigma toward premarital or extramarital sex. This might create a more permissive sexual culture, and one where abortions would happen more often.

Most importantly, there is not one peer-reviewed study which shows that greater spending on welfare or other social programs reduces the abortion rate. Some analysts point to lower abortion rates in European countries which tend to have more generous public benefits for low-income earners. However, the abortion rate in many of these countries is rising, while the abortion rate in the United States has been falling. Pro-lifers should certainly advertise the excellent work pregnancy resource centers are doing in meeting the needs of many women facing unplanned pregnancies. That said, expanding welfare benefits is a strategy that probably will be less successful than advertised.

— Michael J. New is an assistant professor at the University of Michigan – Dearborn and an adjunct scholar at the Charlotte Lozier Institute. Follow him on Twitter @Michael_J_New.

A Halbig Prebuttal



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Emily Bazelon writes in Slate today:

The 4th Circuit has the most plausible, commonsense reading of a badly drafted part of a 2,400-page statute. The alternative is that Congress included in Obamacare the seeds of its own destruction, giving naysaying governors the power to kill it—without ever saying so. The history of passing this law was full of devious twists and turns, but that form of willful self-destruction is not among them.

I wrote in NR a few months ago:

There’s another problem with the contention that Congress could not have intended a policy that would not work. The Obamacare law included something called “the Class Act,” which was supposed to help the disabled pay for long-term care. Critics warned that the program could not be viable as designed, so the law included a provision saying it would have to be projected to be solvent for 75 years to continue. The critics, it turned out, were right: The program could not establish solvency, and the administration had to abandon it and then agree to its formal repeal. In other words: Yes, it is entirely conceivable that Congress would enact a law that would prove unworkable; that it would enact a law that could be predicted to be unworkable; and that a specific provision of a law might doom it.

The AARP brief claims that “it is implausible, to say the least, that Congress intended to allow the entire Act to be cannibalized by a state’s choice not to establish its own Exchange.” All of the pro-IRS briefs say that allowing the states to block tax credits by refusing to establish an exchange would frustrate the law’s main goal of expanding coverage, which would be perverse.

Yet nobody disputes that the law allowed states to refuse to expand Medicaid, which also frustrates that goal. The law as enacted tried to get the states to go along with the expansion by denying all Medicaid funds to holdouts. The Supreme Court ruled that the federal government could not use such a blunt instrument: It could withhold some Medicaid funds but not all of them.

The withholding of tax credits from states without exchanges could similarly have been meant to induce them to establish them. In that case the lawmakers just overestimated how powerful an inducement it would be, and eventually the administration, facing a disaster for its policy and political ambitions, used the IRS to nullify the inducement altogether. The states called the feds’ bluff.

Update: Some speculation about what comes next.

Halbig Is Not About a ‘Drafting Error’



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The Left frequently misreads the public, projecting its attitudes on everyone else. That is the story of the Halbig ruling and the media reaction to it.

Like a number of commentators, I observed (in Faithless Execution) that the president was violating the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) by imposing the Obamacare regime of subsidies and taxes on states that declined to establish health care exchanges. I have to say I “observed” this fact, rather than that I “argued” this point, because it is not a contention. The PPACA makes it crystal clear.

The Left now claims that this was the result of a drafting error. Even if that were true, Obamacare advocates would lose, assuming we are still governed by the rule of law. Only Congress can fix Congress’s drafting errors — judges, much less presidents and executive branch agencies, do not get to do this.

But this was not a drafting error at all. The point was to coerce the states into setting up exchanges, and the Left’s premise in structuring Obamacare as it did was its assessment that Obamacare, and especially its subsidies, would be popular. Obamacare turned out to be unpopular, however, and state governors and legislators did not suffer any political blow-back for refusing to help implement it. There was no ministerial drafting mistake; there was a mistaken assumption that the public would rally behind the policy, creating political pressure on state governments. Because statists think Obamacare is a good idea, they figured everyone would be brought around to that conclusion.

I think this happens a lot. About three weeks ago, the Left made much of the fact that the people of Murrieta, Calif., surrounded and turned back busloads of illegal immigrants that the federal government was attempting to process with an eye toward resettling them in the United States. The point of the media attention was obvious: the Left was offended by the reaction of the Murrieta residents, rather than by the government’s abetting of illegal immigration, and calculated that most other people would share that view. As it happens, most people sympathized with Murrieta. So the coverage of this aspect of the border crisis has stopped. The resettlement project is still ongoing, but it is now happening without much press coverage about the outrage of various American communities.

Wouldn’t it be refreshing it progressives would come clean about the drastic changes they’d make in the Constitution’s procedure for enacting law? Statutes would be sweeping, open-ended licenses to achieve one or more of the Left’s agenda items—e.g., everyone must have health care coverage—and it would then be left to the selfless, professional bureaucratic experts to work out the details. There would be no court review and no need to seek legislative modifications from Congress; everything would be done by administrative regulation and executive discretion … as long as the executive was a bien-pensant lefty like Obama.

We don’t have that system—not yet, anyway. So we’re told Halbig is about a “drafting error” and subjected to similar blather about “ambiguity” (where there is none), “plausible constructions” (that are implausible), etc. Obama partisans will continue trying to snow courts into ruling that the PPACA says something it clearly does not say—blather that may well work in the end since the judiciary, too, has become very politicized and party loyalty often counts for more than what Congress has written.

I’d wager, though, that the Left will fail when the case ultimately ends up in the Supreme Court. On the last Obamacare go-round, Chief Justice Roberts behaved abysmally both in shrinking from the Court’s duty to pronounce that an unconstitutional law is unconstitutional and in upholding that law on a theory — it’s a tax — that President Obama, the law’s principal proponent, had expressly disavowed. There was, however, some appeal in Roberts’s main point: Big policy questions in a democracy should be resolved by the political branches, and courts should bend over backwards to resist finding constitutional flaws that overturn these resolutions.

This time around, the Supremes need only do what they did the last time, and what the D.C. Circuit did today: Uphold the law as Congress has written it and explain that if the public wants it changed, it is for their representatives in Congress to change it.

McCain: ‘Vladimir Putin Is Literally Getting Away with Murder’



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The United States is continuing to give Russian president Vladimir Putin “less than a slap on the wrist” for his country’s alleged role in shooting down a commercial airliner, according to John McCain.

“The point here is that Vladimir Putin is literally getting away with murder,” the Arizona Republican told CNN on Tuesday. “I mean literally, and we are doing very little in response.”

Two hundred ninety eight passengers and crew died when Malaysia Airlines Flight MH 17 was shot down by a surface-to-air missile last week in a part of eastern Ukraine controlled by pro-Russian separatists.

McCain argued that the tepid response by the U.S. and European governments to the tragedy is an extension of the West’s inability to seriously address Russia’s annexation of part of Ukraine, the Crimean peninsula, earlier this year.

“For us not to point the finger of blame exactly where it belongs — there’s ample, overwhelming evidence, and not only because of this particular act, but because of Vladimir Putin’s continued aggression and fomenting of aggression in Ukraine,” he said.

Harry Reid Thinks the Nuclear Option Will Save Obamacare



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Senate majority leader Harry Reid (D., Nev.) believes that a D.C. Circuit Court panel’s invalidation of an IRS regulation that governs Obamacare subsidies vindicates his decision to move forward with the nuclear option, a procedural move that made it easier to confirm President Obama’s judicial nominees.

“I think if you look at simple math, it does,” Reid told reporters Tuesday afternoon. 

Because of the nuclear option — when Reid broke the Senate rules to change the Senate rules pertaining to the filibuster of judicial nominees — Senate Republicans were unable to block three of Obama’s nominees to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals. As a result, Democrats have a 7–4 majority on the court. 

The Justice Department is going to ask the full court to overturn the 2–1 ruling, issued Tuesday morning, which held that people who enrolled in Obamacare through the federal exchange are not eligible for the federal subsidies designed to make Obamacare cost less for individuals.

“If needed further proof that that’s an outlier, all you needed was to wait a couple of hours for the Fourth Circuit — which they decided the exact opposite,” Reid said. “Two activist Republican judges sought to undermine a law that was passed by Congress, upheld by the Supreme Court, and is now benefiting millions of Americans. It seems clear to me that that decision is going to be overturned.”

If the full D.C. Circuit Court overturns the panel’s decision as Reid expects, the case will be appealed to the Supreme Court. If four justices agree that the appeal is worth hearing, the Supreme Court will take the case; if not, the lower court’s ruling will stand.

MSNBC’s Halperin: Hillary ‘Lost Control of Her Public Image’ on Book Tour



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With Hillary Clinton’s declining approval rating and the growing perception that she is out of touch, one MSNBC contributor thinks the potential 2016 presidential candidate probably would have been better off forgoing her book tour.

“She’s lost control of her public image — it’s the worst thing that can happen to somebody running for president,” Mark Halperin said on Tuesday. “Her operation is playing defense on a lot of stories.”

Clinton’s book tour for Hard Choices got off to a rocky start when she told ABC’s Diane Sawyer that she and Bill were “dead broke” upon leaving the White House. The comments directed attention to the Clintons’ multiple homes and lavish lifestyle.

Additionally, her tenure as secretary of state has come under tougher scrutiny in recent weeks because of the book. Her approval rating for her tenure at the State Department has dropped significantly, with a majority of Americans now saying she did not do a good job as secretary of state, compared with 70 percent who said she did a good job a year ago.

“It’s fine, she can recover from it, but right now she’s lost control of how people are thinking about her, about how the media is covering her,” Halperin added.

Obama Hasn’t Talked to Turkey’s Erdogan in Five Months



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In an interview with Time’s Fareed Zakaria in January 2012, President Obama said that he could count Turkish prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan among his closest international friends. How are the duo getting along? The Times of Israel reports:

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said he has stopped talking to US President Barack Obama on the phone, amid growing strains between Ankara and Washington over Syria and the Gaza conflict. . .

The last phone conversation between the two leaders took place on February 20 after which the White House released a statement accusing Erdogan of misrepresenting the content of the conversation.

Erdogan says that communications between the two countries are taking place through their respective diplomats, and that he has been in touch with Vice President Biden. But added to the cooling of German–American relations because of espionage revelations, one gets the impression that Obama’s international gang of pals is not going to be holding a slumber party anytime soon.

From the Vox Parody Account



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IRS: We May Still Have Lerner E-mails



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An IRS official told congressional investigators on Monday that the agency may still have e-mails sent by disgraced official Lois Lerner that the agency previously said were lost in a hard-drive crash.

Thomas Kane, the IRS attorney who oversees the agency’s document production to Congress, told the House Oversight Committee that he doesn’t know whether the back-up tapes that contained Lerner’s e-mails, which were thought to have been destroyed on a six-month schedule, were actually destroyed.

His testimony conflicts with the June 13 memo the IRS sent to the Senate Finance Committee, which stated that “back-up tapes from 2011 no longer exist because they have been recycled.” Kane said that he reviewed the June 13 memo but is nonetheless uncertain and that “it’s an issue that’s being looked at.”

Kane came before investigators after Oversight Committee chairman Darrell Issa (R., Calif.) issued a subpoena for his testimony. Issa said Monday he is “struck by the fact that the IRS attempted to keep a key witness like Mr. Kane away from investigators”

“Finding out that IRS Commissioner Koskinen jumped the gun in reporting to Congress that the IRS ‘confirmed’ all back-up tapes had been destroyed makes me even more suspicious of why he waited months to inform Congress about lost Lois Lerner e-mails,” Issa said. “Commissioner Koskinen has repeatedly blamed the reporting delay on an effort to be sure what he said was correct, we now know that wasn’t the case.”

Rogan: Halbig Ruling Puts Obamacare’s Problems ‘Front and Center’ Again Ahead of Midterms



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Taking Sides



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Many years ago, I decided I was on a side, as between Israel and its enemies. I was not a neutral. I was on a side: Israel’s.

“Evenhandedness” was the great watchword when I was young. It still is, I think. But I reasoned, “If Side 1 is trying to destroy Side 2, and Side 2 is trying to coexist with Side 1, and you decide to be evenhanded between the two, you are really tilting toward Side 1: the side that is interested in destroying, not coexisting.”

I regard myself as on the Palestinians’ side too, frankly: because I wish for them a free and decent life, unlike the life they have been saddled with for lo these many decades.

The highest compliments David Pryce-Jones receives are from Arabs who say to him, “Why do you care about us so much, that you are willing to write candidly and truthfully about us?”

From President Obama, I don’t get the sense that he is on Israel’s side. I don’t get it from Secretary of State John Kerry either. I think they are more like neutrals.

Obama may think something like this: “I don’t go as far as my friends Said and Khalidi. And I certainly don’t go as far as the mad-dog Zionists — the ones who need to do some serious self-reflecting. I am right in the sweet and humane spot.”

If Obama and Kerry are not neutrals, but are rather on a side, I believe they should say so. Now would be a good time.

P.S. The heading over Con Coughlin’s latest blogpost is “Gaza conflict: Israel is winning the military campaign, but losing the propaganda war.” That could be the heading most any month, couldn’t it?

Ben Sasse on Halbig



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The Nebraska Senate candidate just put out this statement:

“No president, Republican or Democrat, can rewrite the laws that Congress has passed,” said Sasse. “Today, the second-highest court in the land reaffirmed this fundamental American belief and struck a blow to executive overreach.”

“Democrats must stop defending an indefensible law and Republicans must start offering real solutions. Washington’s broken tax code has created insurance problems for hard-working families. Obamacare’s command-and-control policies are not working and will never work. Just as the courts upheld their constitutional duty to interpret the law, it’s time for Congress to uphold its duty to legislate. Congress must repeal Obamacare. But repeal is not enough – the Halbig ruling has given Americans an opportunity to start over with real solutions. It’s time for Congress to get to work.”

‘Court Upholds Obamacare; Liberals Hit Hardest’



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That could be the New York Times headline on the Halbig decision. The court didn’t overturn Obamacare in whole or part, but simply re-affirmed the law as written. 

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