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!
That’s what the “mainstream” media are, slowly but surely, realizing about the Obama administration.
Reporters have acted as if they hoped that by publicly loving Obama, refusing to report anything that might damage him, Dear Leader might love them back.
But the press is just a tool to tyrants, and he’s using them just as any dictator would try to use the media.
At the same time, this administration has aggressively sought to attack its perceived media enemies, particularly Fox News and Rush Limbaugh.
Combining the outrageous persecution of Fox News’ James Rosen with the chilling sweep of AP phone records, even media liberals are now waking up to the true nature of this regime.
One of the most sycophantic supporters of the administration has been the Washington Post’s Dana Milbank, which makes his excoriation of Team Obama all the more welcome and important.
From Milbank: “The Rosen affair is as flagrant an assault on civil liberties as anything done by George W. Bush’s administration, and it uses technology to silence critics in a way Richard Nixon could only have dreamed of.”
A new article by Kirsten Powers, one of the most honest liberal reporters I’m aware of, addresses the same point.
Powers’ conclusion: “What all of us in the media need to remember—whatever our politics—is that we need to hold government actions to the same standard, whether they’re aimed at friends or foes. If not, there’s no one but ourselves to blame when the administration takes aim at us.”
The great Joe Curl beat me to it. After my column yesterday on Benghazi laid out the fuller, more focused case on that scandal, I had planned to do a blog post suggesting that the other two “scandals du jour,” important as the are, were timed as they were so as to deliberately distract attention from Benghazi. I was trying to figure out how to make it not sound too conspiratorial. Well, the WashTimes’ Joe Curl beat me to it, with this splendid column.
The whole ham-handed game play is comical. Just as shocking testimony emerged on the Benghazi scandal, the administration rolls out two scandals, with the targets just coincidentally — the media and right-wing conservatives. Absurd. But fairly brilliant. The self-absorbed media predictably swooned over its plight — this is the biggest scandal ever. And the right-wingers grew indignant, finally able to say “We told you so.” Well played, Obama administration.
Curl is correct that there is much more to find out about Benghazi — even as reports are that new bombshells are already in the offing.
The most obvious question, though, is this: If there was nothing to hide, why did the administration engage in such maltreatment of Gregory Hicks, the top diplomat in Tripoli during the Benghazi attack?
I like the bulldoggedness of Congressman Darrell Issa (R-CA). He should have been more of his usual self this morning when IRS official Lois “planted question” Lerner was called to testify before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.
She made a brief statement about having done nothing wrong, then took the Fifth.
Issa excused her, overruling an objection by Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) who said “You don’t get to tell your side of the story and then not stand for cross examination. She waived her right against self-discrimination, she ought to sit here and answer our questions.”
I don’t know if Gowdy was correct on the law or procedure, though his argument makes sense.
However, regardless of Gowdy’s accuracy, Issa should have kept Lerner there, asked her more questions, and made her repeatedly refuse to answer.
The Republicans almost never get a chance at a story where the media might actually be sympathetic to them or their supporters such as Tea Party groups, and they should make the most of it. Few things could annoy the Obama administration more than having a senior IRS official repeatedly taking the fifth in questions about targeting American citizens for their political views.
Darrell Issa is one of the most aggressive, persistent members of Congress in going after Obama administration malfeasance. He should have stuck with those traits today.
When (predictably) asked by socialist Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) about what additional taxes and regulations should be dumped on our nation’s financial system, Fed Chairman Bernanke made a remarkable statement, which flies in the face of current liberal dogma:
“I think Glass-Steagall is not the solution because, as we saw in the crisis, investment banks and commercial banks separately got into trouble.”
Just last week, Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) introduced a bill to bring back Glass-Steagall. I guess The Bernanke just stuck a fork in that one…
Bernanke went on to suggest that a primary way to deal with “too big to fail” is to require higher capital requirements for larger banks.
Lois Lerner, the IRS director of tax exempt groups, said she did nothing wrong in her opening statement before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, before pleading the Fifth and refusing to answer any questions.
Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) asked her to reconsider her decision based on the fact that she offered testimony in her opening statement and confirmed her previous answers to other questions to appear on the record of the hearing.
Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) interrupted, saying that the hearing room should be treated like a courtroom, and that Lerner had already waived her rights by testifying before the committee. “She waived her right to Fifth Amendment privilege. She ought to stay here and answer our questions,” he said. He compared her actions to a a witness offering testimony in a courtroom but not being subject to cross-examination, which is prohibited.
The committee eventually determined that Lerner was not subject to courtroom rules. Issa dismissed her, but the dismissal was subject to recall if it was determined she had indeed waived her Fifth Amendment rights.
At last, the candidate New Yorkers have been waiting for:
New York Times
Wall Street Journal
New York Times
Wall Street Journal
Top Conservative Stories of the Day:
The American Conservative
The Daily Caller
Washington Free Beacon
The Weekly Standard
Top Liberal Stories of the Day:
The Daily Beast
Talking Points Memo
On Tuesday, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney went “birther” on Major Garrett of CBS News.
Garrett was asking Carney to elaborate on Obama Senior Advisor Dan Pfeiffer’s comments over the weekend about Republicans going on “partisan fishing expeditions, trumped up hearings and false allegations.” After going back and forth for a couple of minutes, Garrett brought up HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius soliciting donations from health care companies to implement Obamacare. To which Carney replied, “We could go down the list of questions. We could say what about the president’s birth certificate, was that legitimate?”
Carney’s retort is absolutely specious. Garrett was merely asking a question about Sebelius’ conduct in her official capacity as a cabinet member in the Obama Administration and is well within in his right to do so.
Of course, Carney knows this but he cannot defend Sebelius. So when in doubt bring up something which is entirely irrelevant to the matter at the hand. Usually, race is brought into the discussion. This time it is birtherism. Perhaps next time Carney will ask, “Is the president a Muslim, was that legitimate?”
It’s enough to make me long for Robert Gibbs. Well, almost.
Lois Lerner, the head of the IRS’s tax-exempt-organizations division, will plead the Fifth in a hearing before the House Oversight Committee tomorrow.
Lerner, who has known of the targeting for two years, will not answer questions before the committee according to a letter from her lawyer to committee Chairman Darrell Issa, reported by the Los Angeles Times.
“She has not committed any crime or made any misrepresentation but under the circumstances she has no choice but to take this course,” said a letter by Taylor to committee Chairman Darrell E. Issa, R-Calif. The letter, sent Monday, was obtained Tuesday by the Los Angeles Times.
Taylor, a criminal defense attorney from the Washington firm of Zuckerman Spaeder, said that the Department of Justice has launched a criminal investigation, and that the House committee has asked Lerner to explain why she provided “false or misleading information” to the committee four times last year.
Since Lerner won’t answer questions, Taylor asked that she be excused from appearing, saying that would “have no purpose other than to embarrass or burden her.” There was no immediate word whether the committee will grant her request.
It’s hard to see how this helps Lerner’s case at this point. She’s already become the central figure in this scandal, and for good reason. She tried to claim the targeting came after a huge influx of cases following the 2010 Citizens United decision, but it’s been proven that the influx didn’t happen until long after the targeting process began. She claimed she looked into the targeting after hearing about it in the press, but its been proven that she knew about it at least six months, if not more, before the first press rumblings started.
Essentially, Lerner knows she’s in trouble so she decided to plead the Fifth and avoid answering any questions rather than having to lie or contradict herself under oath.
UPDATE: Lerner is still under subpoena, according to Oversight Committee communications director Ali Ahmad, the Washington Post is reporting:
Ahmad said Lerner, the head of the IRS’s tax-exempt organizations division, would still be required to appear before the committee, which means she will have to plead the Fifth in person and on camera.
“Ms. Lerner remains under subpoena from Chairman Issa to appear at tomorrow’s hearing — the committee has a Constitutional obligation to conduct oversight,” Ahmad said. “Chairman Issa remains hopeful that she will ultimately decide to testify tomorrow about her knowledge of outrageous IRS targeting of Americans for their political beliefs.”
I recently asked a wise friend of mine who lives in Virginia what his take is on the upcoming election for governor between the state’s attorney general, Ken Cuccinelli, and former DNC chairman, Clinton confidante and fund-raiser Terry McAuliffe.
My friend said “At this stage, it’s hard to figure. Cuccinelli is really weak…McAuliffe, on the other hand, has more baggage than a wagon train. I’d say it’s McAuliffe’s to win. He’s a colorful character, if a bit shady. Cuccinelli has a tough race ahead of him…Cuccinelli will have an awful time trying to get anyone beyond the base to vote, far less vote for him… As to Cuccinelli, I still think he and McAuliffe deserve each other and none of us deserves either of them.”
Not living in Virginia, and thus having only limited contact with that state’s politics since George Allen’s disastrous “macaca” moment, I’ve been favorably inclined toward Cuccinelli as one of the leading champions of the legal fights against Obamacare, despite the results due to the treachery of Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts.
Virginia is a very important state, a bellweather of purple states, and potentially critical in a presidential election. Whether the governor is a Democrat or a Republican matters.
I had been hoping that my friend was too pessimistic, though he’s right far more often than wrong, but this weekend’s turn of events at that state’s nominating convention now has me thinking that Virginia will soon have the unbelievable spector of Governor Terry McAuliffe, a nouveau-riche carpet-bagger in perfect Clinton style.
Due, I’m told by a (different) friend who was a the convention, to a rousing speech, brimming with deeply felt conservative principle, the party nominated E. W. Jackson to be Cuccinelli’s running mate, i.e. to run for the office of lieutenant governor.
Unfortunately, Jackson, who is a pastor, along with having a remarkable personal history of serving in the Marine Corps and then earning a law degree at Harvard Law School (items which the media will certainly ignore), has a history of, shall we say, extremely un-PC remarks about homosexuality.
The National Journal suggests that Virginia Republicans are “panicking” over Jackson’s nomination.
In a country that is moving rapidly toward acceptance of gays, connecting homosexuality to pedophilia is political suicide.
There is a lot to recommend Mr. Jackson, from his service to his obvious intelligence to his passion for the things he believes in. And of course, Republicans are always looking to put forward black conservative candidates. But politics is, as much as anything else, about winning.
With the choice of Jackson, Virginia Republicans showed either ignorance of his history (much like the disaster that befell Colorado when Tea Party groups championed the unaccomplished-at-best Dan Maes simply because he wasn’t “establishment”) or of recent political history, where outrageous (both in substance and in political idiocy) statements by Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock not only cost those men their elections but likely cost Republicans control of the Senate.
It appears that even among the most politically active and theoretically well-informed, one can prove the maxim that people get the government they deserve.
Unless Mr. Jackson steps aside, it strikes me as likely that Virginia will face the depressing prospect of Governor Terry McAuliffe. For the good of his state and of the country, I hope Mr. Jackson will consider removing himself from the ticket while there’s still time to find a credible replacement.
Let me put on my big surprise face:
The House committee should not excuse her from showing up. They should make her take the fifth, and get it all over the Internet.
“There’s no shifting going on, that I see at all,” Apple CEO Tim Cook explained to a Senate investigations subcommittee chaired by Carl Levin (D-Mich.), referring to his company’s Irish subsidiary AOI, which has been painted as a tax shelter. It has 4,000 employees, but it also helped Apple avoid roughly $20 billion in U.S. corporate income taxes last year. “I would say that the 30.5% effective tax rate is the relevant comparison,” Cook explained, alluding to domestic income.
Cook was diplomatic but firm, steering the conversation toward tax reform. Ranking member John McCain (R-Ariz.) asked if he felt bullied or harassed by the committee or its members, taking a dig at Senator Rand Paul’s (R-Ky.) scathing rhetoric. The technology leader replied he was happy to participate in the process and contribute to tax reform, later telling Senator Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), “unlike some of my colleagues I am not proposing zero.”
“I think it’s important to tell our story, and I want them to hear it from me,” he told McCain. “So you were not dragged here?” To mild laughter Cook replied, “I was not dragged here, sir.” He did take a stand on the question of income shifting, however, saying, “from what I see AOI does not reduce our taxes at all,” adding, “Sir, I have tremendous respect for you. I see this differently from you, I believe.”
Levin asked if Cook could understand the perception of an unfair advantage. “To be honest, I do not see this as unfair,” was his reply, “I am not an unfair person and I do not see that as unfair.” Apple Head of Tax Operations Phillip Bullock later asserted that “100% of the profits on any sale to a customer in the United States … all of that is fully taxed in the U.S. There are no outbound payments offshore.” Levin was not satisfied, however, telling Cook: “You shifted your crown jewels, the economic rights to your intellectual property to these three Irish companies, the most valuable things you own.” The Apple representatives disputed that representation, with Senior VP & CFO Peter Oppenheimer saying that AOI “fundamentally has not changed” since 1980 when an agreement was formed to handle these properties.
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?