Links for 6-29-2016

  • Cause of Action is still digging into the IRS targeting scandal, and they’ve uncovered clear evidence that Lois Lerner violated federal law when she turned taxpayer records over to the Department of Justice. Eliana Johnson writes:

    The transfer of information at Lerner’s request came to light during a congressional investigation in 2014. What we know now, thanks to additional documents unearthed in years-long litigation by the good-government group Cause of Action, is that Lerner almost certainly broke the law when she transferred the documents. That casts a new light on the Justice Department’s decision last year not to prosecute Lerner, who had become the face of the IRS’s ham-handed effort to crack down on right-leaning groups, but against whom a criminal case might have been difficult to build.

  • Stephen Dinan writes that the Benghazi report is an illustration of Congress’ inability to oversee the executive branch:

    Despite repeated subpoenas and official requests for interviews or documents, the committee said the State Department obfuscated, the Defense Department misled, the CIA stalled, and President Obama himself refused to cooperate, prolonging the congressional probe and leaving investigators without the information they needed.

    Officials also repeatedly agreed to turn over information to Congress only if lawmakers treated it as classified, even though the administration had never made a formal determination that the information needed to be kept secret, the probe concluded.

    And there was little Congress could do to press its case, said Republicans on the Select Committee on Benghazi, who said Capitol Hill should change the laws to punish officials who refuse to cooperate with official probes.

  • Darryl Glenn won Colorado’s Republican primary for U.S. Senate; he was endorsed by Ted Cruz and Mike Lee, among others. Glenn will face incumbent Michael Bennet in November.

  • There’s another reason Donald Trump won’t release his tax returns: He has virtually no record of recent charitable giving – other than the $1 million for veterans that the media badgered him into coughing up.

  • Last month a Russian Federal Security Service officer on guard outside the U.S. embassy in Moscow beat up an American diplomat:

    This previously unreported attack occurred just steps from the entrance to the U.S. Embassy complex, which is located in the Presnensky District in Moscow’s city center. After being tackled by the FSB guard, the diplomat suffered a broken shoulder, among other injuries. He was eventually able to enter the embassy and was then flown out of Russia to receive urgent medical attention, administration officials confirmed to me. He remains outside of Russia.

  • Someone – most likely ISIS – detonated a car bomb in the Kurdish-held Syrian town of Tel Abyad, killing at least five people.

  • Marine Le Pen predicts what’s likely to happen after the Brexit vote:

    Brexit may not have been the first cry of hope, but it may be the people’s first real victory. The British have presented the union with a dilemma it will have a hard time getting out of. Either it allows Britain to sail away quietly and thus runs the risk of setting a precedent: The political and economic success of a country that left the European Union would be clear evidence of the union’s noxiousness. Or, like a sore loser, the union makes the British pay for their departure by every means possible and thus exposes the tyrannical nature of its power. Common sense points toward the former option. I have a feeling Brussels will choose the latter.

  • Under a consent decree Volkswagen will spend $10 billion to fix or buy cars with its emissions test-cheating diesel engine. The federal government and California are extracting another $4.7 billion from the company for pet projects:

    Under the Justice Department deal, VW will provide $2 billion over 10 years to fund programs directed by California and EPA to promote construction of electric vehicle charging infrastructure, development of zero-emission ride-sharing fleets and other efforts to boost sales of cars that do not burn petroleum.

    VW also agreed to put up $2.7 billion over three years to enable government and tribal agencies to replace old buses or to fund infrastructure to reduce diesel emissions.

    There’s also a $600 million settlement with 44 other U.S. states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico.

Links for 10-27-2015

  • The latest video from the Center for Medical Progress features a Planned Parenthood doctor from their Austin, Texas affiliate describing what amounts to partial birth abortion, which is illegal:

  • Planned Parenthood’s business model pushes it to maximize the number of abortions it performs, which suggests the federal Title X money allocated to Planned Parenthood would be better spent on community-funded clinics.

  • Some moron at the Republican National Committee decided it would be a good idea to hold a presidential debate on the campus of the University of Colorado at Boulder and make extremely liberal journalist John Harwood the moderator. This debate doesn’t even feature a conservative sidekick for the moderator.

  • The budget and debt ceiling deal reached between President Obama, Mitch McConnell, and John Boehner represents a Republican surrender. Congressman Mark Meadows thinks all candidates for Speaker of the House should reject the deal. Paul Ryan says he doesn’t like how the bill was produced (it was negotiated in secret and dropped on the House around midnight last night), but hasn’t said whether he’ll vote against it. Ryan’s voting record over the past two years is ugly from a conservative prospective, so don’t be surprised if he votes for it:

    Ryan currently receives a “Liberty Score” of just 58 percent from the Conservative Review website, which corresponds to a failing grade of “F.” In the Senate, Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-Texas), the fellow who, under the leadership of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), routinely arm-twists and cajoles his fellow senators into pre-emptive surrender to President Obama and the Democrats, rates 57 percent. On Heritage Action’s scorecard, Ryan rates just 56 percent as of Oct. 22.

  • Sixty-two House Republicans joined 184 Democrats in voting for a successful discharge petition to rescue the Export-Import Bank. A bill to revive ExIm died in committee, but the discharge petition brings it to the floor, bypassing committees and the House leadership. This mechanism was last used 13 years ago.

  • The U.S. Senate passed the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA) on a 74–21 vote. The bill gives companies legal immunity for sharing cybersecurity information with the federal government. The bill’s critics say it doesn’t do enough to protect individual privacy. The House of Representatives passed a similar bill earlier this year and the two bills need to be reconciled.

  • House Republicans filed a resolution to start impeachment proceedings against IRS Commissioner John Koskinen. Koskinen offered false testimony and concealed records related to Lois Lerner.

  • Cleta Mitchell thinks the Department of Justice’s investigation into Lois Lerner’s actions at the IRS was a sham. As far as she knows, DOJ didn’t interview any of the conservative groups targeted by Lerner. DOJ didn’t interview Mitchell until after she testified before the House Oversight Committee, when she also said the investigation was a sham.

  • The troops who called in an AC–130 strike on the Doctors Without Borders hospital in Kandahar believed the Taliban controlled the building.

  • The initial story about Delta Force Master Sgt. Joshua Wheeler’s death in northern Iraq was that he ran to the rescue of Kurdish Peshmerga forces who got caught in a gunfight with the Taliban as they raided a makeshift prison. There’s a new story that Wheeler was on point during the raid.

  • Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter told the Senate Armed Services Committee that American troops will engage directly against ISIS in Iraq and Syria, pointing to the prison raid conducted with the Peshmerga as an example.

  • Northrup Grumman will build the U.S. Air Force’s next bomber.

  • The University of Mississippi refuses to fly the state flag over its campus at Oxford because it includes elements of the Confederate battle flag. Denise McAllister writes:

    If our forefathers who lived closer to the bloodshed that marred our nation’s landscape can evolve and look at the Confederacy and see honor, and if they could give those men their love, we should be able to do the same, with no shame or apologies.

    [President Willliam] McKinley spoke of cordial feelings and unification, but all we hear today is hatred and division. This is coming, not from those honoring the nobility of the past, but from those who want to revive its hostilities. Since those dark days in our nation, blacks and whites have worked to come together. It has been a struggle and, in individual instances, it is still. But as a nation we have been united, serving our country together, even dying together in wars and conflicts—black man and white standing side-by-side against the enemy, protecting our homeland even to their last breaths.

    Will we let the petty politics of division and strife steal that camaraderie from us in the name of tolerance, which isn’t tolerance at all? Will we let those who seek to divide destroy the union we have achieved, or will we stand united against them, honoring our past for what it is—including its valor and its ignominy—and look to the future with the spirit of fraternity fueled by grace that we have gained and shared for so many years?

  • Victor Davis Hanson writes that Western culture – free speech, free markets, the rule of law – is slipping away:

    The one constant in the more recent manifestations of the slipping away of the West is the emergence of a new privileged, mostly white progressive class of plutocrat. A Google exec, an Al Gore, a university president, a diversity czar, a Goldman Sachs progressive, a Clinton Initiative apparatchik, a pajama-boy techie — none of them ever expects the ramifications of his ideology to hit home. They assume that they have the power and influence not only to change the mentalities of the caricatured middle class, but in the process to enjoy their own privilege without either guilt or risk. Opposing charter schools usually means your children are in private schools, just as championing open borders reflects one’s own gated community, just as promoting affirmative action in the abstract suggests recourse to a countervailing old-boy network to gain admissions, internships, and jobs for one’s own offspring. Our progressive elites resemble the opportunists of the French Revolution, who rode the crest of popular revolt — hoping that their calls for enforced egalitarianism and fraternity by any means necessary allowed their ample privilege to be exempt from the disorder they had incited.

  • Cornell University booted a Fox News producer, Jesse Watters, off campus after he started interviewing students, asking them their opinions about the fact that 96% of the political donations from the school’s faculty have gone to Democrats over the past four years.

  • Turkey’s government took over 22 companies associated with Fethullah Gulen, including newspapers and TV stations.

  • More than 60 elephants in Zimbabwe’s Hwange National Park have been poisoned with cyanide over the past month, and at least some of them may have been poisoned by park rangers angry about their pay. The park receives no money from the government, relying instead on fees collected from tourists and hunters. There aren’t many tourists and hunters in the park these days, so the rangers are only sporadically paid.

Links for 10-24-2015

Links for 10-23-2015

Links for 10-18-2015

Links for 8-25-2015

Links for 8-7-2015