Links for 7-29-2015

  • In one night the mainstream media’s evening news broadcasts devoted more time to the demise of one lion in Zimbabwe than they’ve spent covering the Planned Parenthood videos from the Center for Medical Progress since the videos started appearing on July 14.

  • Abby Johnson told the Texas Senate’s Committee on Health and Human Services that Planned Parenthood of Houston makes $120,000 a month selling baby parts.

  • Katie Geary explains how Planned Parenthood may have violated federal law when it collected and sold baby parts.

  • Secretary of State John Kerry told the House Foreign Affairs Committee that the Obama administration won’t submit the Iranian nuclear deal to the Senate as a treaty because “you can’t pass a treaty anymore,” which is telling.

  • “The Iran deal is Obama’s Yalta.”

  • There’s a two month gap in the Hillary Clinton emails produced thus far by the State Department – May and June of 2012, which corresponds to a time of increasing violence in Libya. This period also coincides with a special arrangement where Huma Abedin worked simultaneously for the State Department and the Clinton Foundation.

  • Democrat Congressman Chaka Fattah (D-PA) and four of his close associates were indicted on federal racketeering charges: “The charges covered several schemes to conceal payments to various sources by allegedly creating sham contracts, passing money through other companies and, in one case, disguising a lobbyist’s bribe as payment for a car he never sold. In another case, Fattah allegedly settled a campaign debt by trying to help a consultant win millions in federal aid.”

  • A federal district court judge threatened to hold the Commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service and Department of Justice attorneys in contempt for failing to provide status reports about the recovery of Lois Lerner’s emails. The IRS was supposed to start delivering Lerner’s emails on a weekly basis beginning on July 1, but only started delivering those emails on July 15.

  • Ben Domenech wrote a long indictment of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell:

    Let’s rewind to contrast the approaches used by McConnell and by the leader of the conservative faction, Mike Lee. This session has been a revelation for Lee’s approach, as the lone Tea Party Senator actually interested in being a Senator, and he followed up rolling McConnell over the USA Freedom Act with a doozy of an inside game maneuver. It was Lee who noticed that McConnell bungled his procedural step in filling the tree on the Highway Bill, and had the ingenuity to decide to make McConnell’s fake show vote on Obamacare repeal – a shiny object so bright it would turn you blind if you looked directly at it – into a real honest to goodness Obamacare repeal vote. Lee has been pressing for this 51-threshold vote on Obamacare for months, with the argument that Republicans campaigned on it and voters expect it, and Republican Senators were promised it when they voted for the budget resolution. This was awfully inconvenient.


    The really disturbing part of this whole story is asking the question: Why? What was the point of all of this? This was a fight of McConnell’s choosing, not of the conservative faction of the Senate. By his own decision to resurrect ExIm and fill the tree on his misbegotten Highway Bill, he plunged the conference into a week of hell. And what did he get for it? He alienated the fiscal conservative base on ExIm, invited the scorching Cruz speech, bungled the procedural process creating Lee’s opportunity, tried to use a mild email from a female staffer to claim this was another show fight, and then in the last instant caved utterly, acquiescing to Lee’s demand… all for what? To jam the House with a Highway Bill that the body has treated like a bevy of Calvins urinating on the back windows of so many pickup trucks.

    Later still:

    What’s worse still is that McConnell doesn’t appear to have learned any lessons from this fight about the danger of show votes on issues people actually care about – such as the Planned Parenthood issue. If Republican leadership believes that a show vote is going to preclude a continuing resolution fight on Planned Parenthood funding, they are out of their minds. The politics of the Planned Parenthood videos – footage that has been shown unblurred all day on Fox News, footage of dismembered hands and limbs and bits of babies being discussed like a widget – are going to totally overwhelm any legislative strategy. The demand from pro-life groups is going to be simple and clear: will you vote for a CR that continues to fund Planned Parenthood, or not? To get a CR through that affirmatively funds Planned Parenthood for the next fiscal year, McConnell will have to get to 60 – he will have to find sixteen Republican Senators willing to fund Planned Parenthood. Maybe it would’ve been smarter to have that fight over, say, a Highway Bill versus a government shutdown? But no.

    At a time like this, Republicans could use someone in leadership that knows how to turn the base’s rage into something productive. Mitch McConnell just proved he’s not that person, and he never will be. And that is going to make this coming CR fight all the more difficult.

  • John Boehner won’t allow a floor vote on the Mark Meadows’ resolution to oust him as Speaker of the House. Apparently Boehner has been taking tyranny lessons from the White House.

  • The Koch brothers are refusing to give Donald Trump’s campaign access to voter data and analytics services from their company, i360. Trump is a friend of David Koch and many of Trump’s campaign employees formerly worked for Koch organizations, but the brothers apparently decided Trump will not be the Republican candidate for president if they have anything to say about it. i360’s voter databases are widely believed to be better than the Republican party’s databases, so this is a real problem for Trump if he’s going to win.

  • Former Virginia Governor Jim Gilmore is the 17th Republican candidate for president.

  • Richard Samuelson writes that “Toleration is Postmodern-Speak for Bigotry”: “As the scope of American law has grown, the areas of conflict between the rights of conscience and the demands of law have increased considerably… Meanwhile, the percentage of Americans, particularly in our elite and governing classes, who hold that religions (perhaps only non-Progressive religions) are a barbarous relic of a bygone age has increased considerably. Hence they refuse to recognize the rights of conscience. What is called a ‘culture war’ might be better understood as the problems that come with the creation of a postmodern religious establishment. Seen from this angle, we can recognize that what is called a ”culture war“ might be better understood as the problems that come with the creation of a postmodern religious establishment—an establishment that takes on most of the roles of the old establishments, yet defines its beliefs, conveniently, as ”not religion.“ The result is that it feels free to impinge on the rights of conscience in the name of ”toleration“ and ”diversity.“ Meanwhile, since national government has taken up the police power (the authority to regulate health, safety, and morals), a power that even Alexander Hamilton denied belonged to the federal government, it exacerbates the conflict.”

  • The city of Los Angeles banned possession of gun magazines capable of holding more than 10 rounds.

  • Afghanistan’s main intelligence agency claims that the head of the Afghan Taliban, Mullah Omar, died in a Karachi hospital in April 2013. Mullah Omar has been declared dead on several previous occasions, so there’s room for doubt. If Mullah Omar is dead, it could be a boon for ISIS.

  • An Israeli air strike in the Golan Heights killed a Hezbollah member, Samir Kuntar, who was infamous for beating a four year old Israeli to death during a raid.