Harry Reid is a jackass (in case you didn’t already know that)

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) escalated his verbal attacks on people who are supporting the Bundy family in their dispute with the federal Bureau of Land Management. In an event sponsored by the Las Vegas Journal-Review, Reid said that protesters who stood up to federal agents are “domestic terrorists”:

“Those people who hold themselves out to be patriots are not. They’re nothing more than domestic terrorists,” Reid said during an appearance at a Las Vegas Review-Journal “Hashtags & Headlines” event at the Paris. “… I repeat: what went on up there was domestic terrorism.”
[…]
Reid, the Senate majority leader who is in Las Vegas during Congress’ Easter recess, is known for not pulling punches. The senator said he talked last week with federal, state and local officials about Bundy as well as the Nevada Cattlemen’s Association, which has not backed Bundy’s personal battle but has expressed concerns about access to public land.

The senator said he spoke with Attorney General Eric Holder, FBI leaders and Clark County Sheriff Doug Gillespie. Reid said he understands there’s a task force being set up to deal with Bundy, and Gillespie is involved as well.

“It is an issue that we cannot let go, just walk away from,” Reid said.
[…]
“There were hundreds — hundreds of people from around the country — that came there,” Reid said. “They had sniper rifles on the freeway. They had assault weapons. They had automatic weapons.”

Also, “domestic terrorists”? Seriously? That’s the worse Reid uses to describe Bundy’s supporters? The Bundy family and their supporters don’t want violence, they just want the federal government to leave them alone.

House Intel member: Two flags flew at Benghazi — al-Qaeda and the U.S.

Lynn Westmoreland

The House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI) held a hearing earlier this month on the controversial Benghazi talking points. Members took turns questioning former CIA Deputy Director Mike Morell about the edits made to the document, including the removal of references to al-Qaeda, the false narrative that the attack was a protest to a YouTube video gone awry.

Morell insisted that there was no cover-up of the talking points, telling members of the committee that that neither he “nor anyone else at the agency, deliberately misled anyone in Congress about any aspect of the tragedy in Benghazi.” But some, including Rep. Lynn Westmoreland (R-GA), aren’t so sure.

Westmoreland is a member of HPSCI and, like others on the committee, posed some tough questions to Morell about the talking points, which, he notes, gave the impression that the attack was a protest. The Georgia Republican, however, wasn’t satisfied with the answers, and he’s moving forward

United Liberty spoke with Westmoreland on Thursday about the HPSCI hearing with Morell. He explained why he has doubts about the former CIA official’s testimony and how he and others House Republicans moving forward to examine testimony and interviews of witnesses in their search for answers. (You can read our story on that here.)

Will Obama mandate biometrics for new guns?

Attorney General Eric Holder’s recent testimony touting biometric technology, like bracelets and fingerprint identification systems, as “common sense” gun control measures has some Republicans concerned about the prospect of yet another executive order from President Obama:

Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) is warning the Obama administration to not issue an executive order requiring that all new guns be made with biometric technology, such as finger-print recognition or bracelets.
[…]
“Your testimony has raised serious concerns for my constituents given President Obama’s track-record of acting beyond the scope of his legal authority and your hostility to the individual right to self-defense under the Second Amendment,” Cornyn wrote. “Is the Obama administration currently exploring the possibility of an executive order requiring all firearms to possess the technology capabilities you referenced in your testimony?”

Cornyn also asked Holder if the administration has any legal standing to make such a requirement on gun features, and expressed concern about how biometric guns could make it easier for the federal government to create a national gun owner database — something Cornyn said would violate privacy rights

Will you assure my constituents and me that, under your supervision, the Department of Justice will not issue regulations requiring law-abiding citizens to equip their firearms with fingerprint-reading technology, or to link them to biometric bracelets?” Cornyn wrote.

Colorado Senate Democrats Want to Protect Reproductive Choice From Future Regulations

The Colorado Senate has just delayed S.B. 175; a bill that is being sold as a  measure that would not only prevent cities, counties, and other legal jurisdictions within Colorado from restricting reproductive choice (up to and including abortion) but also prevent future legislatures from doing so.

This current state legislature is to determine this issue once and for all. The only reason the bill wasn’t put up for a vote to decide this issue once and for all was because one Democrat senator was absent on the day of the vote (Democrats have a 1 seat majority in the Colorado Senate).

Though I am personally pro-choice and am quite wary of all the attempts from the anti-choice side to pass “personhood” bills, the idea that one state legislature could decide any political issue for all time is troubling. It’s even more troubling to think that such a law could be passed by a one vote majority. Is it even possible to write such a law that can never, ever be changed?

If these people were really serious, they would take the steps necessary to amend the state’s constitution (of course doing so requires much more than a simple majority in the Legislature; not something that is likely to happen in such a purple state). An amendment to the constitution is really the closest to a permanent, unchangeable law there is.

Hey, Jay Carney, communism isn’t cool

Soviet dictator Josef Stalin is responsible for the deaths of at least 20 million people — through purges, famine, and other government policies — during his 30-year communist regime. The death toll on his watch put him behind only Mao Zedong as the most murderous dictator in history.

Despite the death toll under communist regimes, which were responsible for the deaths of 94 million people in the 20th Century, the ideology has been embraced, so to speak, in pop culture. Because cool, or something.

You’ve no doubt seen people wearing t-shirts featuring Che Guevara’s likeness. Known as the “Butcher of La Cabana,” this murderous thug oversaw the execution of some 2,000 people.

This author saw a tourist sporting apparel with a Soviet hammer and sickle outside the White House just this past weekend. You can even buy clothing with Mao’s image, lest you be without a shirt featuring a dictator whose regime killed 45 million people.

CBO sees a bigger river of red ink under Obama’s budget

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projects that budget deficits will be nearly $1.7 trillion greater under President Barack Obama’s budget than the estimates released last month by the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB).

The two agencies frequently conflict on budget projections. The OMB sort of takes a guess on what economic growth will look like over a 10-year period and scores a president’s tax and spending agenda based on those estimates. The CBO, however, is more restrained in its approach.

The discrepancy between the two reports is due to the CBO’s assumption that current law remains largely unchanged. The nonpartisan fiscal research agency also believes that tax revenues will be $1.8 trillion lower than the OMB, which is due to less rosy economic projections over the next 10 years (2015-2024).

President Obama’s budget estimates that budget deficits over the next decade will come in at approximately $4.93 trillion (Table S-1 of the OMB report). But the CBO estimates that deficits will be significantly higher, at $6.56 trillion (Table 1 of the CBO report), or $1.64 trillion greater than the administration’s estimate.

Here’s a look at the year-by-year differences:

Two-thirds of voters want Congress to continue IRS investigation

Americans aren’t satisfied with overtures from President Barack Obama that there isn’t a “smidgen” of corruption at the Internal Revenue Service. A Fox News poll released yesterday found that two-thirds of voters want Congress to keep digging until there is accountability for the targeting of conservative groups:

The latest Fox News poll also finds 69 percent don’t feel President Obama has followed through on his vow to “find out exactly what happened on this.”

By a 49-41 percent margin, voters believe the Obama administration “intentionally had the IRS target conservative political groups.” That includes 26 percent of Democrats, 52 percent of independents and 71 percent of Republicans.

Meanwhile, 67 percent of voters want Congress to keep investigating the IRS until “someone is held accountable.” An all-time high of 78 percent thought lawmakers should investigate the IRS in early June.

The poll shows agreement across party lines: Majorities of Republicans (77 percent), independents (67 percent) and Democrats (57 percent) favor Congress continuing to investigate until “someone is held accountable.”

Good luck with that. President Obama and congressional Democrats have no desire to cooperate with inquiries into the IRS’s actions, despite the fact that conservative groups were explicitly singled out for scrutiny.

Lois Lerner, the disgraced ex-IRS official at the center of congressional inquiries, is the obvious person who could be held accountable, but she’s refused to testify at committee hearings.

House Republicans move forward on Benghazi, analyzing testimony for contradictions

A group of House Republicans are reviewing testimony provided by witnesses who have testified in front of congressional committees looking into the 2012 attack on the American compound in Benghazi which claimed the lives of four Americans.

In an interview with United Liberty on Thursday afternoon, Rep. Lynn Westmoreland (R-GA), a member of the House Intelligence Committee, explained that he and several other House Republicans have been reviewing testimony from congressional witnesses to look for contradictory statements.

Westmoreland said that he went to Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) approximately six weeks ago to get his blessing to form a group consisting of members of three key House committees — Oversight and Government Reform, Armed Services, and Foreign Affairs. He wanted members with prosecutorial experience to build a potential case.

“We would look at the testimony, we would look at a list of witnesses that have testified in front of Government Oversight and Foreign Affairs,” Westmoreland told United Liberty. “And we would look at them, and we would look at their testimony and see if there [were] any contradictions in testimonies that may have been presented by somebody else at another committee.”

Boehner’s staff contacted Westmoreland two weeks later, offering staff support to assist the group as it reviews some 50,000 pages of testimony and interviews.

“[I]t’s a small group,” said Westmoreland. “We don’t want any big committee chairs, we wanted the average run-of-the-mill kind of guy that could look at this and not be on TV every night, or be doing interviews and trying to make a lot of gain out of it, because the American people, they want to know the truth, and that’s what we’re doing our best.”

Today in Liberty: IRS tracking license plates, Amash outraises primary opponent

“People acting in their own self-interest is the fuel for all the discovery, innovation, and prosperity that powers the world.” — John Stossel

— IRS among agencies using license plate-tracking: Several federal agencies, including the IRS, have contracted with vendors to use license plate-tracking technology. “Bloomberg News reported that the IRS and other government agencies awarded about $415,000 in contracts to Livermore, Calif.-based Vigilant Solutions before the Department of Homeland Security dropped a plan for similar work after privacy concerns were raised,” Fox News reports. “The Justice Department’s Drug Enforcement Administration, FBI, DHS and U.S. Marshals Service have also awarded contracts to Vigilant for access to its records or tracking tools, according to the report.” There are obviously some big issues with this. “These systems treat every single person in an area as if they’re under investigation for a crime,” said Jennifer Lynch, a staff attorney with EFF, “that is not the way our criminal justice system was set up or the way things work in a democratic society.”

Paul Krugman offered $25,000 a month to rail against income inequality

When he’s not talking fondly of the economic stimulus effects of natural and unnatural disasters, Paul Krugman likes to complain about income inequality. The Nobel laureate’s columns are frequently filled with class warfare rhetoric, what he sees as the “rising inequality on middle-class Americans.”

Krugman, however, has been offered a cushy part-time gig at the City University of New York’s (CUNY) Luxembourg Income Study Center, according information obtained by Gawker through an open records request.

The offer letter to Krugman states that he’ll earn $225,000 over nine months ($25,000/month), though he “will not be expected to teach or supervise students” in his first year. He will, however, be expected to “contribute to [the] build-up of LIS and the inequality initiative” as well as “play a modest role in public events.”

In addition to the $225,000 salary, what the school referred to as a “relatively comfortable perch,” Krugman will also receive $10,000 annually for research and travel as well as a graduate assistant who will work 15 hours per week. He’ll also be reimbursed for moving expenses up to $10,000.

 
 


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