While she’s now on the speaking circuit making around $200,000 per speech, Hillary Clinton is taking blame for the security failures at the American consulate that resulted in the deaths of four United States citizens, including Ambassador Christopher Stevens.
There has already been some analysis of the events that led up to the terrorist attack. A report by an independent panel faulted the State Department for the “inadequate” security at the consulate. This report led to three officials being relieved of their duties. Clinton, who was then-serving as Secretary of State, stepped down at the beginning of the year, though her resignation was not connected to Benghazi.
House Republicans have further investigated the incident and released a “progress report” which highlights the various things that went wrong before, during, and after the terrorist attack. The scathing report, which was pieced together by five high-ranking House Republicans, slammed Clinton for her role in the failures that led up to the attack and the subsequent cover-up:
The report, compiled by five House panels after a seven-month investigation, said Clinton approved reductions in security levels prior to the Sept. 11, 2012, attack, contradicting Clinton’s testimony before the House Foreign Affairs Committee on Jan. 23.
After RNC Chairman Reince Priebus unveiled the Republican Party’s Growth and Opportunity Project last month, conservatives were hopeful this marked a fundamental change in the direction of the party. The 100-page document’s emphasis on engaging the grassroots and broadening party appeal seemed to indicate GOP leaders were looking to make amends with their base. Less than a month later however, the RNC renounced these claims and once again revealed the greatest hindrance to the GOP’s success: the party itself.
Many Republicans were aghast to witness the blatant political theater that took place last year during the Republican National Convention. Not only were controversial rules changes ushered in by Romney supporters and the establishment but video was released shortly thereafter revealing that the votes were rigged.
As an attempt to quell the growing animosity among grassroots conservatives, the RNC launched the Growth and Opportunity Project and offered to further discuss the rules changes at the RNC’s Spring Meeting.
Initially, it was believed the RNC was sincere in their efforts to overturn the recent powergrabs that rendered delegates nothing more than pawns being used in a chess match that had long been decided without them. As FreedomWorks New Media Director Kristina Ribali noted however, this was hardly the case:
Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT), who has served in the upper chamber since 1978, announced yesterday that he won’t seek a seventh term in office in the 2014 mid-term election:
Longtime Sen. Max Baucus, D-Montana, will not seek re-election next year, he said in a statement Tuesday.
“After much consideration and many conversations with my wife Mel and our family, I have decided not to seek reelection in 2014. I will serve out my term, and then it will be time to go home to Montana,” he said.
During the remainder of term, Baucus pledged to fight the nation’s fiscal issues and work for highway and farm bill that will support jobs in his state.
The announcement comes a week after Baucus, who chairs the Senate Finance Committee, told DHHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius that the administration’s implementation of ObamaCare, a law he helped write and usher through the Senate, could become a “train wreck.” Republicans have seized on the comments and used them to further criticize the controversial, unpopular law.
Baucus was considered vulnerable in 2014. According to a survey released in February by Public Policy Polling, Baucus could have faced a tough race against a strong Republican candidate. His approval rating with Montana voters was also underwater, at 45/48. An approval rating below 50% is generally considered a red flag for an incumbent.
Last month, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) made an impressive, 13-hour stand against the Obama Administration’s domestic drones policy. The Department of Justice had made a tepid legal case for drone strikes against American citizens who are merely suspected of being a terrorist. Attorney General Eric Holder later said that a president could conduct drone strikes on American citizens suspected of terrorist activities inside the United States.
Paul objected to the notion. “I rise today for the principle,” Paul said during the filibuster. “The principle is one that as Americans we have fought long and hard for and to give up on that principle, to give up on the Bill of Rights, to give up on the Fifth Amendment protection that says that no person shall be held without due process, that no person shall be held for a capital offense without being indicted.”
Holder eventually relented his comments, acknowledging that a president doesn’t have the authority to kill an American citizen on American soil, and the coverage of the filibuster boosted Paul’s profile and added to the speculation that he would seek the Republican nomination in 2016. He would go on to win the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) straw poll just days after giving a dynamic speech in which he essentially laid out a platform for the future of the Republican Party.
It’s clear that President Barack Obama and Senate Democrats will continue to push tax hikes on hard-working Americans. But Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is throwing coldwater on their plans.
President Obama managed to get higher taxes rates on Americans earning more than $400,000 per year, which hit many small businesses. But in an interview with FreeEnterprise.com, the official blog of the United States Chamber of Commerce, McConnell stated very pointedly that there will be no more votes on tax hikes in the Senate.
“[At] the end of [last] year, and unfortunately, a lot of small businesses already got a tax increase,” McConnell noted to FreeEnterprise.com. “S-Corps and LLCs were hit with a tax increase from 35% to 39.5%. That’s more than enough. They shouldn’t have gotten that in the first place, and we’re not going to be voting for anymore tax increases.”
McConnell also noted that the Obama Administration is trying to “create a nanny state” with ObamaCare. Noting the 7-foot tall, 20,000-page stack of regulations that have come with the healthcare law, McConnell said, “It’s no wonder we’re having a tepid growth-rate, the government itself is responsible for this slow recovery we’ve had after a big recession.
In the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombing, there are new calls from a host of politicians who want Americans to give up their liberties. Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and John McCain (R-AZ) were among the first to say that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the alleged bomber who was apprehended on Friday night, should be held as an “enemy combatant” and thus denied his constitutional right to due process.
Michael Bloomberg agrees. During a press conference on Monday, the New York City Mayor said that Americans should be willing to sacrifice their liberties — including their privacy — on the alter of security:
In the wake of the Boston Marathon bombings, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said Monday the country’s interpretation of the Constitution will “have to change” to allow for greater security to stave off future attacks.
“The people who are worried about privacy have a legitimate worry,” Mr. Bloomberg said during a press conference in Midtown. “But we live in a complex word where you’re going to have to have a level of security greater than you did back in the olden days, if you will. And our laws and our interpretation of the Constitution, I think, have to change.”
“Look, we live in a very dangerous world. We know there are people who want to take away our freedoms. New Yorkers probably know that as much if not more than anybody else after the terrible tragedy of 9/11,” he said.
“We have to understand that in the world going forward, we’re going to have more cameras and that kind of stuff. That’s good in some sense, but it’s different from what we are used to,” he said.
President Barack Obama missed his golden moment on guns. Despite what the talking heads on CNN may believe, the president wanted this moment. He was desperate for it. Early in his first campaign, he commented that he wouldn’t go after guns because he knew he didn’t have the votes for it.
It’s amazing what a few years can change when it comes to an attitude. He went after the guns, starting with background checks and assault weapons. After coming up with a goose egg on background checks, he proceeded to call the gun lobby liars. He’s one to talk.
Here’s part of my piece over at TheBlaze:
President Barack Obama stood outside the White House last week and lamented the defeat of the expanded background check bill in the Senate. He stood there, repeating over and over how 90 percent of all Americans wanted such a law and how it wouldn’t have infringed on the rights of a single American. He called the pro-gun lobby lairs for calling it registration.
Mr. President, you are the liar!
Obama can say that the bill outlawed a registry, but to what effect? Congress passes and overrides laws all the time. He knows this. Anyone with a single course in civics knows this as well. To tout this as proof that there will never be a registry is disingenuous at best…and with this president, I don’t see the best.
Head on over to read the rest.
In his latest budget, President Barack Obama called for the elimination of tax deductions for oil and gas companies. This industry has been a constant target of the administration over the last four-plus years, so it’s not surprising that the White House would, once again, resort to the same old attacks.
While Americans may not understand the economics of this particular proposal and the impact it would have on them at the gas pump, showing how susceptible they are to the rhetoric of President Obama, they are clearly opposed to raising the gas tax at the state-level.
Maryland recently passed an increase in its gas tax, which will hit drivers with anywhere from a 13- to 20-cent increase in gas prices over the next three years. Other state legislatures may eventually try to pass increases of their own.
But according to a new Gallup poll, Americans are overwhelmingly opposed to gas tax increases in their states that could be used to finance road projects and expand mass transit options:
Two-thirds of Americans would oppose a law in their state that would increase the gas tax to help pay for road and bridge repairs, according to a new national poll.
I have reached the conclusion that Americans have enjoyed so much freedom and prosperity for so many years that they have come to take it for granted, and not only fail to see such circumstances as unique in the history of mankind, but as commonplace. And because they assume such has always been the norm, they fail to realize that such prosperity and freedom must be nurtured, cultivated, and defended.
How else can you explain the re-election of Barack Obama, who added more debt in his first three years than the first forty-one presidents combined, and more debt in four years than George W. Bush (not exactly a fiscal conservative) accumulated in eight years? How else to explain the seeming indifference to stratospheric debt levels that keep rising by more than $4 billion per day? We seem to think that America, because it has been the richest and most powerful nation in our lifetimes, will always be such.
Likewise, while the world around us seems in constant turmoil, until the attacks of 9/11 (2001, not the Benghazi attacks that we still have no answers for), Americans felt safe and secure on our homeland, buffered from the violence in Europe, Asia, and the rest of the world that fills our nightly news. But on that day we had our nose bloodied, and we felt vulnerable. Yet for the next eight years under Bush, we had no more attacks on American soil, and we once again slipped back in complacency.
Now, violent attacks are the steady diet of our news media. The Boston Marathon bombing. The ricin letters. Sandy Hook. Aurora. Virginia Tech. Columbine. The Underwear Bomber. The Shoe Bomber. The Times Square Bomber. The Giffords shooting. Suddenly we seem vulnerable again, and in that vulnerability we seek safety and security.
Power-hungry states are one step closer to being able to tax Internet purchases. Late yesterday afternoon, the United States Senate cleared a procedural hurdle that would allow state governments to tax online retailers, essentially making them tax collectors, even if they don’t have a presence in their borders.
The Senate overwhelmingly voted to limit debate on the so-called “Marketplace Fairness Act,” sponsored by Sen. Mike Enzi (R-WY), setting up a final vote on the measure in the chamber within the next few weeks. Many states want the extra revenue to spend on pet-projects and vote-buying schems. President Barack Obama has, unsurprisingly, also endorsed the online sales tax.
The Wall Street Journal notes that the Marketplace Fairness Act, which was never the subject of a committee hearing, “discriminates against Internet-based businesses by imposing burdens that it does not apply to brick-and-mortar companies.” The Wall Street Journal also points out that the driving force behind the bill is traditional brick-and-mortar retailers.