The post Top 5 Reports of the Week appeared first on The Foundry: Conservative Policy News Blog from The Heritage Foundation.
**Written by Doug Powers
The first of today’s Dueling Headlines comes to us by way of The Hill and is about the advice Michelle Obama gave to graduates at Bowie State University yesterday:
Dueling with that is this headline from the Daily Caller:
And while we’re at it we might as well throw a few more headlines from the past weeks and months into the mix to prove that when FLOTUS warns against jumping on the celebrity worship bandwagon, the First Couple leads by example:
Dueling Headlines archive here.
Update: A response via Twitter:
@thepowersthatbe you’re missing that the celebrities are worshiping The One, not the other way around.
— Paul Stagg (@Paul_Stagg) May 18, 2013
I think worship is mutual in many cases.
**Written by Doug Powers
IRS management has painted a picture
of misguided underlings who acted “inappropriately” by writing up
watch lists, targeting conservative agencies, and stalling their
applications for tax-exempt status. But as M.D. Kittle reports, the
scandal is far bigger than just that.
It has been over three years since Obamacare became law. This week, the House voted again to completely repeal it.
There are plenty of reasons to repeal Obamacare, especially before its most egregious provisions begin next year, and just this week a few more were added to the list:
- Small businesses really don’t like it. A Gallup poll showed that 48 percent of small business owners surveyed expect Obamacare to have a negative impact on their business, with only 9 percent expecting it to be good for business. Worse, a majority of respondents expect their health care quality to decrease and their costs to increase. The opinion of small businesses matters greatly, because as the White House website states, “[s]mall businesses are the engines of job creation and essential to strengthening our national economy.”
- Huge premium increases projected. The House Energy and Commerce Committee on Monday released a report that cites analyses from the nation’s largest insurance companies showing significant premium increases for those who purchase coverage in the individual market and small group market next year. The report reveals, “One national insurer predicts a 96 percent average increase for new customers in the individual market; another predicts that small businesses in ‘nearly all states will see premium increases’ in the small group market.”
- Parts of the law are already failing. Enrollment in Obamacare’s Pre-existing Condition Insurance Plan (PCIP) remains at less than 30 percent of original projections, but costs for this population have been 2.5 times greater than the Administration anticipated. Because the PCIP program was allotted only $5 billion, the excessive costs have caused enrollment to be suspended for both federal and state-based PCIPs, not allowing any new enrollees to gain coverage. As funding continues to dwindle, the Administration has recently proposed a new contract with state-run plans, asking them to put a ceiling on their costs for the remainder of the year. As for now, it is unclear what will happen to the state-run plans.
- Unrealistic funding promises. One of two primary ways Obamacare expands insurance coverage is through the failing Medicaid program. The federal government fully funds Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion for three years and at least 90 percent of the cost thereafter, costing the federal government $710 billion from 2014 to 2023. But as fiscal pressure from the nation’s budget deficits and $16 trillion in debt builds in Washington, those funding promises are unlikely to hold. This week, Republican Senators introduced a bill (similar to one introduced by Representative Matt Salmon [R–AZ] in the House) that would repeal Obamacare’s enhanced funding for Medicaid expansion. As Senator Tom Coburn (R–OK) said, “This bill sends a basic message to governors and state legislatures considering expansion: don’t count on the enhanced federal funding for Medicaid expansions, because Congress has overpromised what it cannot deliver. Realistically, the funding will not be there and the check will bounce.”
The post This Week’s Reasons to Repeal Obamacare appeared first on The Foundry: Conservative Policy News Blog from The Heritage Foundation.
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On May 8, I appeared on Fox News' Red Eye with Greg Gutfeld to
talk about President Obama's pitch to college grads that they
should trust the government more, what 3D-printed guns mean for
centralized power, whether Facebook is creating a generation of
psychotics, and much more. Other guests included novelist and
commentator Imogen Weber and Maxim editor Dan Bova, along with
regulars Bill Schulz and Andy Levy.
About 40 minutes. Watch by clicking above. Click below to go to
full article page for downloadable versions, more vids, and
We know the feds are perfectly capable of
losing track of terrorism suspects. With competence an open
question, how legit are their other terrorism busts, such as that
Russian-speaking truck driver in Idaho? And, while the feds are
eager to gather up plenty of data for the national security state,
what in hell can they do with all of that information once their
hard drives are stuffed fuller than President Obama's box o'
Discussion of that last point made it through the editing
process and into video posted online. Check me out at about the
2:45 mark as I suggest that massive databases are more trouble than
they're worth, and that maintaining an open society requires that
we take a few risks.
In case you were wondering what’s happening in New London,
Connecticut, proud home to the nation's most famous dump, the
answer is still a whole lot of nothing. In 2005, the U.S. Supreme
Court allowed New London officials to seize an entire neighborhood
via eminent domain on the basis that the city had a "carefully
considered" plan to boost economic development.
After the initial plan—a corporate campus with hotels, condos,
and office space—fell apart, officials selected a new developer to
build an apartment complex on a portion of the razed neighborhood,
Fort Trumbull, in 2010. Yesterday, the developer missed a second
deadline to show they had secured financing.
David Collins at The
Day has details on the deal:
On deck to take the land for free, and then not pay taxes on it,
is a father-and-son development team from Fairfield County and New
York City, Irwin and Robert Stillman.
In return for the free land, the Stillmans, according to the
development agreement they signed 2½ years ago, are supposed to
prove they are going to build a big apartment complex and have the
financing to finish it.
That proof was lacking, so officials axed Monday's planned
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More from David Collins:
In opening the annual meeting of the New London Development
Corp. [last month], agency President Michael Joplin made what
seemed intended as a joke, saying people might have seen him
earlier down on his knees in front of the mayor….
No one laughed.
In fact, I saw a lot of puzzled faces and nervous squirming in
the room, as people seemed to wonder if they had heard right.
One possible scenario Joplin was suggesting is that he was down
on his knees begging the mayor to let him stay on as NLDC
president. But he needn't have bothered.
The mayor, who vigorously campaigned on the promise that he
would abolish the much-hated NLDC, which famously destroyed a city
neighborhood after taking the homes by eminent domain, simply
changed the name instead last year and said Joplin would go as
Well, Joplin was re-elected president ... in a strange meeting
in which other principal officers were also returned to office,
even though some of them didn't bother to attend.
Nice to know that some in law enforcement will not bow to the pressure and will support the 2nd Amendment Rights of law abiding citizens
(Fox News) Colorado sheriffs upset with gun restrictions adopted in the aftermath of last year’s mass shootings filed a federal lawsuit Friday, challenging the regulations as unconstitutional.
The lawsuit involves sheriffs from 54 of Colorado’s 64 counties, most representing rural, gun-friendly areas of the state.
The sheriffs say the new state laws violate Second Amendment protections that guarantee the right to keep and bear arms. Opponents are criticizing ...
I highly doubt whether anyone will obtain information linking Obama to either the IRS or phone records scandal. Say what you will about his “governance” style, but the man is able to keep his hands clean. Surely no emails, phone records, or paper records will link him, nor will anyone say “yup, Obama (or one of his advisors) ordered this”. What Obama does is create an atmosphere as the Executive Branch head of underlings doing what they want and thinking that it is A-OK to do things like target political ...
Over the past week, the Obama Administration has been hit with scandal after scandal. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) apologized for targeting conservative organizations, the State Department covered up its reaction to Benghazi, the Department of Justice (DOJ) secretly seized phone records of AP reporters, and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) asked health industry officials for contributions to implement the Affordable Care Act.
With these scandals arising, the question becomes, “Is President Obama responsible?” As of right now, there has been no link identified between the White House and these situations, nor is there evidence that Obama had any direct knowledge of the alleged wrongdoing. Does this mean that he is not responsible?
Nobody is remotely suggesting that, absent his direct involvement, the President should be prosecuted for the misdeeds of those who work in the executive branch. It is interesting to note, however — by way of analogy only — that under the DOJ’s standard of “responsibility,” if President Obama were the head of a corporation, he would be responsible and could be prosecuted.
The Responsible Corporate Officer Doctrine allows federal prosecutors to criminally prosecute business owners and officers for the criminal activity of their businesses, regardless of whether they had knowledge of the illegal activity. The only requirement for criminal liability is “some relationship between the executive’s supervisory responsibilities and the underlying misconduct.” Put another way, in order to obtain a conviction, the government need only prove (1) illegal conduct occurred, and (2) the corporate officer had authority to exercise control over the activity.
The DOJ has used the Responsible Corporate Officer Doctrine to make criminals out of many well-meaning business people. In United States v. Park, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) prosecuted the president of a corporation under the theory that his subordinates committed violations of the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act that the president had the ability to prevent or correct. Park, the company president, had delegated responsibility to correct the violations to one of his employees, who, regrettably for Park, did not follow through on his responsibilities. Park was convicted for FDA violations that he did not commit, order committed, or conspire to commit.
Just to be clear, there is no evidence in the recent Obama Administration scandals that criminal behavior took place, but the executive branch should stick to one definition of “responsible.” The DOJ definition of “responsible” is especially troubling in the context of a criminal prosecution where a person’s individual liberty is at stake—not just news stories that make the President look bad.
As Paul J. Larkin Jr. has written:
The point is not that courts should be eager to hold senior federal officials vicariously liable for the criminal actions of subordinates.… Courts should refuse to adopt novel readings of criminal statutes which expand criminal liability to reach conduct that they find immoral or unethical and that they fear otherwise will go unpunished. Courts might be willing to hesitate before expanding the breadth of federal criminal laws, and to force Congress to define crimes with precision and specificity, if they looked at the issue from the perspective of the government officials’ own liability. After all, sauce for the goose should be sauce for the gander.
The Responsible Corporate Officer Doctrine turns our notion of fairness on its head. People should be liable for crimes they commit—not crimes committed by others without their knowledge. The Responsible Corporate Officer Doctrine and thousands of criminal statutes and regulations are turning ordinary citizens into criminals.
If the President is not responsible for the wrongdoings of executive branch employees because the federal government is “too vast” for him to know everything that goes on in the various agencies, business owners and officers should be afforded the same excuse in criminal prosecutions.
Laws meant to crack down on farm whistleblowers,
commonly referred to as “ag gag” laws, have been drawing fire
around the country from various quarters—from animal rights
activists to free speech advocates. Detractors often refer to “ag
gag” laws as such because these laws serve to gag or stifle the
speech of persons who cry foul over some facets of animal
agriculture. While momentum appeared to favor ag gag laws this past
autumn, writes Baylen Linnekin, two recent decisions have dealt a
serious blow to that support.
The IRS scandal around targeting tax-status
applications for Tea Party groups is centered around the actions of
the Cincinnati branch office. So what's local news saying? Here's a
report from the local Fox 19 station.
What about those local employees? Remember, [outgoing
acting IRS director] Steven Miller claims that the targeting of
conservative groups happened at the hands of low level Cincinnati
employees who had gone "rogue" and were "off the reservation" and
have already been "disciplined."
Have any of these four IRS agents, Mitchell Steele, Carly Young,
Joseph Herr or Stephen Seok been disciplined? We don't
know. But each one of these IRS employees could possibly face
federal charges according to Speaker of the House John
Boehner spoke to reporters Thursday stating that federal law on
this issue is clear.
"Section 7214 of the title 26 of the U.S. code states very
clearly, 'any officer or employee of the united states acting in
connection with any revenue law of the united states who is guilty
of extortion or willful oppression under the color of law shall be
dismissed from office and if convicted be fined up to 10,000
dollars and spend five years in jail'. said Speaker
A source tells Fox 19 that these agents say they were only
doing what they were told. If they face 5 years in prison,
how long might it be before they say who was reportedly giving them
As it turns out, a fifth employee has been
added to the list and all will be interviewed
in a closed-door meeting of the Oversight Committee in
Note that the word coming out of Cincinnati is directly at
odds with what came out of yesterday's IRS hearings, where the
Washington players continued to blame locals. From
The hearing put a harsh spotlight on a plot twist that was
already uncovered in the inspector general report: The Cincinnati
crew had to be told to change their screening terms not once, but
In January 2012, the report found, the Cincinnati employees
changed their search terms again — without telling management —
after Lerner reined them in. This time, the search terms weren’t as
specific as “tea party” and “9/12,” but they still focused on
political positions like “limiting/expanding government” and
“social economic reform/movement.”
Once again, top IRS officials had to step in and broaden the
screening terms — and this time, the employees got a memo saying
any other changes had better be approved by IRS management.
[Republican Michigan Rep. Sander] Levin used much of his
questioning time to emphasize that lower level IRS employees
actually went out of their way to continue targeting conservative
groups — even after their superiors told them their searches were
“[Lerner] ordered they be changed, is that correct?” Levin asked
Miller, noting that the inspector general report says the head
director of exempt organizations told them to scratch the words
like “tea party” and “Patriot” from their searches as soon as she
learned they were being used in July 2011.
Miller responded yes.
“This change was again made without executive approval. Is that
correct?” Levin continued. Miller again answered yes.
The inspector general report says the specialists reinstated,
and even expanded, the politically sensitive criteria to target
conservative groups in January 2012 without approval from their
bosses because “they believed the July 2011 criteria were too
With the threat of jail time hanging over their heads, it's
likely the Cinncinnati people will either cough up names or be
forced to admit that they were indeed freelancing. Neither outcome
changes the fact that the IRS was abusing its power, though if it
was a local operation, that obviously limits the political damage
for the Obama administration.
If you've ever dreamed of flying in space - and have about
$95,000 in mad money stashed away - you've got a ticket to
On May 16, Reason's Brian Doherty talked with XCOR co-founder
Doug Jones about the future of spaceflight in the latest Reason
webcast streamed live from our Los Angeles studios.
Click above to watch now or click below to go to the full
article page, featuring links, downloadable versions of videos, and
a full playlist of past Reason TV webcasts featuring the likes of
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My latest Townhall column is called, 20 Reasons To Dislike The Democrat Party. Here’s an excerpt from the column.
1) Ted Kennedy. Barney Frank. Rod Blagojevich. Eric Massa. Marion Barry. Dan Rostenkowski. Eliot Spitzer. John Murtha. Alcee Hastings. Anthony Weiner. James Traficant. Sandy Berger. Gerry Studds. Robert Byrd. Mel Reynolds. James McGreevey. Jesse Jackson, Jr. Robert Torricelli. Gary Condit. Bill Clinton. John Edwards. And those are JUST SOME OF THE ONES that got caught.
2) The estimated number of people killed in the Holocaust? 11 million. The estimated number of people ...
Not even Barack Obama can defy the laws of physics.
Certain things are absolute. As Newton said, what goes up must come down. The wrinkles you see staring back at you in the mirror validate the second law of thermodynamics: eventually things fall apart. And, as any farmer will tell you, if you plant cucumbers in the spring, no matter how hard you try, you will never reap watermelons in the summer.
It’s the same with deeds; good and bad, we reap what we sow. From the onset, the Obama administration has ...
For three more weeks, the Senate Judiciary Committee will debate the Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Act, S. 744. During the 45 years I’ve studied Washington politics, including 25 years of editorializing on the dreary subject, I can say without hesitation that no more anti-American legislation has ever been introduced.
I’ve watched most of the committee’s hearings and listened to its members as well as its supporters lie-sorry, no softer, politically correct synonym applies-about the bill’s devastating consequences to Americans.
Most know the broad strokes. Eleven million aliens would ...