Earlier today, when House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA) allowed IRS scoundrel Lois Lerner to stop testifying after she “took the Fifth,” I said that Issa had made a mistake.
He should have made her stay and answer, even if her answers were continuing to take the Fifth, if only for the political spectacle.
My assertion stood as my opinion even separate from the statement by Congressman Trey Gowdy (R-SC) that by making an opening statement, essentially asserting that she had done nothing wrong, Lerner had waived her Fifth Amendment rights.
No doubt Rep. Issa heard a barrage of similar comments from the political right (and I’d like to hope that his staff saw the Twitter posting related to my opinion.)
Liberal attorney Alan Dershowitz has now opined of Lerner that “She’s in trouble. She can be held in contempt.”
So it is gratifying for multiple reasons that, according to reports, Issa will recall Lerner to testify. She will be told, presumably, that she cannot take the Fifth. My guess is that she will do so anyway, leading to a lawsuit between her lawyers and the Committee’s lawyers. It should be a beautiful thing to watch, making Jay Carney squirm every step of the way.
While Dershowitz seems to agree with Gowdy, other attorneys disagree. Should make for an interesting time in early June.
It would be OK with me if the Committee offers immunity to Lerner if she agrees to testify where the orders to target conservative groups came from, as long as the deal also comes with her losing her job.
Congratulations to Congressman Issa for reconsidering. It takes a big man to admit he was wrong in so public a forum, and then to do the right thing.
I first found out about today’s terrorist attack in London via Ross’ post.
My first thought is that this isn’t the first act of Islamic terrorism in Britain and it won’t be the last.
It has been widely reported that the man who was murdered in broad daylight was a British soldier. Sadly, American soldiers are not unfamiliar with these types of attacks. There was the murder of Private William Long outside a military recruitment center in Arkansas by a Muslim convert in June 2009. Abdulhakim Muhammad (formerly known as Carlos Bledsoe) shouted “Allahu Akbar” as he was led into the courthouse. In March 2011, two U.S. Airmen were shot dead at the Frankfurt Airport by a German born Muslim of Kosovar origin. The gunman shouted, “Allahu Akbar” as he fired.
And lest we forget Fort Hood where Nidal Malik Hassan shouted “Allahu Akbar” as he gunned down 12 military personnel and one civilian.
British Prime Minister David Cameron has said there are “strong indications that this is a terrorist incident.” If this attack had occurred in the United States, President Obama not only would not have described it as a terrorist attack; he would have characterized it as streetplace violence.
Finally, a comment on Ross’ post itself. He concluded the post by writing, “Time to start deporting Muslims from England.”
Unfortunately, it isn’t as simple as all that. At this point, the two men who perpretrated this attack have yet to be identified. When they are don’t be surprised if they were U.K. born and raised. Let us not forget that three of the four men responsible for the London Underground Bombings on July 7, 2005 were born in Britain.
This isn’t to say that unchecked immigration isn’t part of the problem especially with clerics like Abu Qatada spreading jihad to eager audiences in the U.K. The problem is that the U.K. has been trying to deport Qatada without success for seven years. Qatada may soon be deported to Jordan where he faces terrorism charges but that was supposed to happen six years ago. So Lord only knows if that will ever happen.
But even if Qatada is deported, their ideas and influence remain amongst British Muslims regardless of where they were born and regardless if they were born Muslim. The surest way to counter these ideas would be the re-assertion of British values of liberty. The problem is there may not be anyone in Britain willing to re-assert those values.
For the University of Mobile’s Center for Leadership, I put the current media-chilling narrative in broader perspective.
But now it’s not just freedom of the press that seems threatened by a government that some people fear is becoming too powerful. As I’ve written herebefore, freedom of religion also has come increasingly under attack. Fortunately, the federal courts so far seem to be keeping government in its place more often than not - and the Supreme Court in a strong, unanimous decision ruled that churches and faith-based institutions do indeed enjoy First Amendment protections against government interference in their choices of “ministers” (and other employees who perform faith-related functions).
Alas, (moving back to free speech), one Supreme Court Justice actually has written that speech rights are to be “doled out” by government, presumably at the government’s discretion. And a recent Alabama columnist even opined, in admiration but obvious confusion, that “governments g[i]ve … rights and demanded obligations.” This is precisely backwards: The American creed always has been that we already own our rights, and we demand obligations from government to help secure those pre-existing rights from outside attack.
And I didn’t even discuss how the IRS abuses are, in effect, an attack on the freedom of groups to petition their government for redress of grievances…..
Members of both parties expressed a strong interest in protecting constitutional rights while prosecuting the war on terror at a House Judiciary Committee hearing Wednesday.
The sparsely attended event touched on fundamental issues of liberty and security. Chairman Robert Goodlatte (R-Va.) began by singling out the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act, which, along with the original Authorization for Use of Military Force after 9/11, could be interpreted as permitting the indefinite detention of American citizens without trial if they were party to terrorist activity.
“The mere notion that this authority exists is troubling in and of itself,” Goodlatte said, unsatisfied by the Obama administration’s assurance that it would never actually indefinitely detain citizens, “and I believe that this body should make clear that citizens of this nation cannot be detained without receiving all of their due process rights in an Article III court.”
Ranking member John Conyers (D-Mich.) concurred, saying Madison’s warning that war is the greatest threat to liberty has been ignored. The hearing was convened on the matter of U.S. citizens’ constitutional rights, but Conyers proposed to consider non-citizens’ rights as well, and noted that the Constitution protects individuals detained anywhere in the world by the United States. This sentiment was earnestly affirmed by Chairman Goodlatte and undergirded the larger discussion.
Conyers and many other members zeroed in on the Boston Marathon Bombing in discussing the balance between the constitutional right to due process and the public safety interest in extracting information from suspects. Unless they are independently corroborated, a suspect’s statments are only admissible in court if he or she has been Mirandized, informed of the right to remain silent, etc. However, other considerations, such as presentment, also complicate the question of due process vis-a-vis lawful interrogation.
Brookings Institute Senior Fellow Benjamin Wittes encapsulated the fundamental issue: “I think there are things Congress can do to add flexibility on that issue [of presentment], but at the end of the day we are dealing with people’s constitutional rights and sometimes they will assert them,” he said, later adding, “That has consequences and sometimes those consequences are intelligence loss.”
Overall the mood among the assembled witnesses was optimistic. By consensus, robust frameworks have been established since 9/11 to allow the traditional justice system to handle cases with bearing on national security. The key issue moving forward is ensuring that this framework, not a completely novel military detainee paradigm, can function effectively.
A key development today in the evolving story of America’s overseas targeted killing program. The White House has officially acknowledged the killing of four of its own citizens with unmanned aerial systems, popularly known as drones. The New York Times reports:
In a letter to Congressional leaders obtained by The New York Times, Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. disclosed that the administration had deliberately killed Anwar al-Awlaki, a radical Muslim cleric who was killed in a drone strike in September 2011 in Yemen.
Tomorrow President Obama will give a speech about targeted killings, as well as the military detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. These gestures signal a new openness about the drone program; the executive branch only recently began acknowledging its existence.
With the hornets nest of conservative and libertarian anger which Colorado Governor John “I’m a moderate” Hickenlooper stirred up by supporting a raft of anti-gun legislation in this once-red state, I thought there was little chance he would pardon or commute the sentence of Nathan Dunlap. Particularly since Hickenlooper made sure that a bill ending the death penalty in Colorado did not get a vote in the state legislature.
Today, with a “temporary reprieve,” the governor may have just done the politically unthinkable: He has made it possible for a Republican to beat him in 2014.
Nathan Dunlap shot five people, killing four of them, in a Chuck E. Cheese restaurant in Aurora, Colorado in 1993. He later said that killing the people was “better than sex.”
Hickenlooper says that the time since the conviction has given “the benefit of information that exposes an inequitable system.” Whether or not the system is inequitable is not relevant. There is no question as to Dunlap’s guilt. Zero, nada, zilch. He did it, and he was proud of it.
He deserves to die.
George Brauchler, the recently elected District Attorney of the judicial district where Dunlap was convicted, and where the mass-murderer James Holmes is soon to face trial, has argued that “justice demands the death of Nathan Dunlap.” I couldn’t agree more.
The parents of Dunlap’s victims are rightfully furious.
Furthermore, if Dunlap doesn’t deserve death, then what is the purpose of having a death penalty in Colorado?
How about also pardoning the other people on death row here, including one who murdered the son of Colorado State Representative Rhonda Fields?
As usual, Hickenlooper wants to have it both ways: By doing this by executive order, and as reprieve, it means a future governor could undo today’s move and send Nathan Dunlap to his just reward unless Hickenlooper does something more permanent before leaving office.
My prediction: This will make many Coloradoans, not just Republicans, extremely angry. And it will cause several Republican gubernatorial hopefuls who had been on the sidelines because Hickenlooper had seemed extremely difficult to beat now put their hats in the ring. The number one campaign slogan for the eventual Republican nominee: “I promise that Nathan Dunlap will get what he deserves.”
One thing which occurred to me when the anti-gun legislation was being shoved down the throats of unwilling Coloradoans was this: Hickenlooper is aiming to get a high-paying job working for Michael Bloomberg.
Today’s events make me think I may not have been unduly conspiracy-minded after all.
John Hickenlooper just stabbed his state, and the justice system, in the back. Now it’s time to hope that voters do the same to his political career in 18 months, and return this state to some sense of sanity.
There’s a fine line between brave and stupid, and I’m always grateful when the hilarious Steven Crowder gets close to crossing it. (Whether he’s actually crossed it or not is probably up to the viewer, though I imagine certain folks — no description needed — will take this much worse than others.)
But particularly in light of Wednesday’s horrific murder of a British soldier by immigrant Muslims in London, Crowder’s latest video comparing Jesus to Muhammad deserves a viewing (or two or three.)
Opponents of this particular form of satire will not only be working to get the video removed from YouTube, but following a prior “Qur’an Challenge” video (also a great use of a few minutes of your time), Crowder received death threats. The second comment on the YouTube page for the newest video says “i hope you die choking on ur own blood.” (sic)
This is the world we live in today, where our enemies are emboldened by an American president who refuses to name, or even identify, an evil which is intent on destroying modern civilization.
At least, with that sober thought in the background, Steven Crowder can always make us laugh.
One of the fundamental and most memorable lessons in economics, regarding specialization and cooperation, is captured in Leonard Read’s 1958 essay, I, Pencil.
Milton Friedman also popularized the idea and the Competitve Enterprise Institute made a short film of the same name.
Today, my contribution to economic theory, the Kaminsky Corollary to I,Pencil:
No individual person can make a pencil, but a single puppy can destroy them with remarkable efficiency.
(Does this imply that a puppy is more powerful than all of mankind?)
Iranian soldiers are fighting alongside troops supporting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and Hezbollah troops, according to a State Department official.
The Washington Post is reporting:
An unknown number of Iranians are fighting inside Syria, the official said, citing accounts from opposition forces supported by Western and Arab governments. The official spoke on the condition of anonymity to preview a strategy session that Secretary of State John F. Kerry will hold Wednesday with key opposition supporters.
Syrian rebels have claimed for weeks that Iran is sending trained fighters to the Syrian civil war, and Iran-backed Hezbollah has said baldly that it will not let Assad fall.
Obama has already let the Assad regime cross his red line on using chemical weapons, so it’s hard to imagine he’ll care about this.
Someone who might care? Benjamin Netanyahu, the prime minister of Israel. Israel, which shares a border with Syria, has already taken military action there. Earlier this month, the Israelis bombed a Syrian research facility and a missile shipment to Iranian-backed Hezbollah. This week, Israeli troops near the Syrian border faced a direct hit from Syria, one of a number of encounters that have occurred in recent months.
Israel already has well-founded concerns about Iran, so knowledge that Iran has soldiers in a country that Israel borders and with which it has had recent violent conflict is another step in the wrong direction. Israel has shown that it isn’t afraid to take action when it needs to, so this is definitely a situation to watch carefully.
UPDATE: This video purports to be one of the perpetrators:
This horrendous story still developing.
BBC story here
CNN story here
I can only imagine Theo Van Gogh (no longer with us), Ayaan Hirsi Ali, and Geert Wilders saying “Well, what did you expect if you allow massive Muslim immigration and make no real effort to encourage or force assimilation?”
If you want one obvious data point, how about Mohammed being the most common name for boys born in England and Wales?
Time to start deporting Muslims from England.
It took them a while, but it seems like at least some Democrats are realizing just how bad the IRS scandal is.
Yesterday, it seemed like the Democrats on the Senate Finance Committee wanted to complain more about 501(c)(4) groups than the actual, provable targeting of conservatives.
Today, though, at least some of them got it right. Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-Mass.) took the lead on grilling Douglas Shulman, the comissioner of the IRS when the targeting occurred. “Sir, you misled Congress — make no question about it,” he said.
See his full questioning here:
Ranking Democrat on the Committee, Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), also posed important questions to Shulman, asking him why he never told Congress what he knew about the targeting. “That simply isn’t good enough,” he said. “Help us help the taxpayers.”
To be fair, not all Democrats got it right. Rep. Matthew Cartwright (D-Penn.) completely defended the IRS employees responsible for the targeting, saying their actions were only a way to streamline their work after the amount of 501(c)(4) applications doubled in 2010 after the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision.
“Whether or not we know what the cause was, we know that the applications doubled in 2010,” Cartwright said.
The only problem there is that Cartwright is 100% wrong. Applications for 501(c)(4) groups increased, but not until long after the targeting began.
As committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) pointed out, any connection with Citizens United falls on the IRS, not the number of applications. The targeting began two months after Citizens United, but long before the applications increased.
I’ll give some of the Democrats credit for their outrage, but Cartwright should check his facts before he speaks next time.
The Senate’s immigration bill cleared the Judiciary Committee on Tuesday by a vote of 13-5, reports Reuters. Amidst the fireworks of the recent scandal-mania on Capitol Hill, the bill has been quietly edging its way towards the Senate floor for several weeks. Now that it’s cleared the Judiciary Committee, it’s primed for debate on the Senate floor.
Three Republican senators – Orrin Hatch (Utah), Jeff Flake (Arizona), and Lindsey Graham (South Carolina) – voted for the bill, perhaps only because Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont pulled the controversial amendment that would have granted immigration rights to same-sex partners. Leahy said he dropped the amendment “with a heavy heart,” while Graham laid out a clear ultimatum, as reported by the Washington Times:
“You’ve got me on immigration; you don’t have me on marriage,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican and one of the eight senators who wrote the bill and who said he would have had to back out if Mr. Leahy’s proposal had passed. “If you want to keep me on immigration, let’s stay on immigration.”
Unfortunately, this cleared hurdle is a practice run. As much as I applaud good ol’ fashioned compromise, this sweet-smelling flower of bi-partisanship will wither next week when the bill is debated on the Senate floor. The topic of immigration is already heated enough, and only recently has some of the GOP been willing to change their views on immigration. The fate of at least 11 million people living in America, national security concerns (especially after the Boston bombing), and the still-unanswered question about how to control the flow of future immigrants hang in the balance.
Realistically, same-sex marriage/unions are probably inevitable, regardless of what “bigots” like myself and my fellow conservatives believe. Therefore, perhaps Republicans should have let this slide?
Just kidding, we all know neither side will budge. Let the gridlock begin. Viva los Estados Unidos!
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?