Links for 7-24-2015

  • Senator Mitch McConnell filled the amendment tree for the highway bill with one amendment: one that reauthorizes the Export-Import Bank. Ted Cruz let McConnell have it with both barrels in a floor speech, calling him a liar:

  • Brian Darling explains the procedural tactics that Ted Cruz is employing to remove the Export-Import Bank amendment from the highway bill.

  • An illustration of Ted Cruz’s point about the influence of K Street lobbyists: The Chamber of Commerce is planning to primary conservative House incumbents.

  • Somewhat surprising: The New York Times published an exclusive story stating that two inspectors general asked the Department of Justice to initiate an investigation into whether Hillary Clinton mishandled classified information by using a private email server. Not surprising: The New York Times edited the story after its initial publication at the request of Hillary Clinton’s campaign. Clinton’s personal lawyer, David Kendall, reportedly has a flash drive containing 30,000 of Clinton’s emails; presumably these are the same emails Clinton turned over to the State Department – in printed form.

  • Department of Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz says a new DOJ memo blocks inspector general access to sensitive records.

  • A federal appeals court tossed one of two state felony charges against Rick Perry. Special prosecutor Michael McCrum charged Perry with coercion of a public servant by threatening a veto; the federal appeals court ruled that the charge violated Perry’s First Amendment rights.

  • Congressional Democrats are pushing a federal anti-discrimination bill called “The Equality Act.” It amends the 1964 Civil Rights Act to add “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” to the list of protected classes. Andrew Walker writes:

    The bill’s stated intentions and its actual consequences are very different. While the bill purports to protect individuals from discrimination, the Equality Act would discriminate against those who do not agree with a regime of laws premised on sexually permissive understandings of human nature that deny sexual complementarity. It would thus create a new form of discrimination by socially isolating certain beliefs.

    Later:

    To complicate matters, the bill goes out of its way to strip away any notion of religious liberty by audaciously stipulating that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) cannot be appealed to by individuals, businesses, educational institutions, or religious institutions.

    Were this bill to become law, traditional Christian, Jewish, and Muslim sexual morality would immediately be treated as suspect and contrary to federal law. This breathtaking attempt to relocate historic religious belief outside the bounds of polite culture is unacceptable and would have negative consequences for millions of Americans.

  • Matthew Continetti describes the “radical middle” voters who support Donald Trump:

    These voters don’t give a whit about corporate tax reform or TPP or the capital gains rate or the fate of Uber, they make a distinction between deserved benefits like Social Security and Medicare and undeserved ones like welfare and food stamps, their patriotism is real and nationalistic and skeptical of foreign entanglement, they wept on 9/11, they want America to be strong, dominant, confident, the America of their youth, their young adulthood, the America of 40 or 30 or even 20 years ago. They do not speak in the cadences or dialect of New York or Washington, their thoughts can be garbled, easily dismissed, or impugned, they are not members of a designated victim group and thus lack moral standing in the eyes of the media, but still they deserve as much attention and sympathy as any of our fellow citizens, still they vote.

    What the radical middle has seen in recent years has not given them reason to be confident in our government, our political system, our legion of politicians clambering up the professional ladder office to office. Two inconclusive wars, a financial crisis, recession, and weak recovery, government failure from Katrina to the TSA to the launch of Obamacare to the federal background check system, an unelected and unaccountable managerial bureaucracy that targets grassroots organizations and makes law through diktat, race riots and Ebola and judicial overreach. And through it all, as constant as the northern star, a myopic drive on the part of leaders in both parties to enact a “comprehensive immigration reform” that would incentivize illegal immigration and increase legal immigration despite public opposition.

  • The Zetas drug cartel was responsible for forcing down a Border Patrol helicopter last month – cartel members were returning to Mexico after delivering a drug load and shot at the helicopter with automatic weapons after they were discovered.

  • Health insurance company Anthem is acquiring its competitor Cigna for $54.2 billion.

  • Claire Berlinski explains the interplay between Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s ambition, Turkey’s hung government, past secret Turkish aid to ISIS, the failed Kurdish peace process, and new cooperation between the U.S. and Turkey to fight ISIS. Erdoğan is creating circumstances that will enable him to call another general election that he hopes will restore his political party’s majority in parliament.

  • Turkish planes are bombing Iraq – PKK camps in northern Iraq, not ISIS positions.

  • The U.S. killed a senior al Qaeda leader, Abu Khalil al Sudani, in an airstrike in Afghanistan’s Paktia province.