Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) wasn’t impressed by National Security Advisor Susan Rice’s defense of the narrative that the White House tried to create immediately after the 2012 Benghazi terrorist attack.
In the days after the attack, the White House and other senior administration officials, including then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and then-U.N. Ambassador Rice, tried to spin the attack as a spontaneous protest to an anti-Muslim YouTube video that went awry. But that narrative was false.
Gowdy, who has been a critic of the administration’s handling of Benghazi, leveled Rice during an appearance on Fox News on Monday, telling host Greta Van Susteren that the National Security Advisor’s comments this weekend on Meet the Press were “stunningly arrogant.”
“There was no evidence to support that false narrative of a video, not a scintilla of evidence. All of the evidence pointed exactly to what she claimed it wasn’t, a pre-planned, coordinated attack,” Gowdy told Van Susteren. “She was fabulously wrong when she said it the first time, and stunningly arrogant in her refusal to express any regret for lying to our fellow citizens.”
Gowdy said that he “would love the chance to ask follow-up questions” to Rice, adding that Meet the Press host David Gregory “apparently did not avail himself of that opportunity.”
“Greta, I just listened to the clip,” Gowdy said, “I get tougher questions in the Bojangles drive-through than he asked her.”
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) has fired off a letter to IRS Commissioner John Koskinen urging him to kill proposed regulations that will stifle free speech and, instead, rely on Federal Election Commission rules that define political activity related to outside organizations.
“It is disturbing that the IRS is proposing new rules that would attempt to further limit the free speech rights of Americans, while the IRS and the Department of Justice still refuse to provide the American people with all the facts surrounding the IRS’s targeting of certain organizations based on their political activity,” Cruz wrote in the letter (embedded below).
“The IRS’s proposed rules would stifle political activity by preventing 501(c)(4) groups from engaging in political speech and voter registration that these groups have been engaged in for decades,” he continues. “Given the IR’s recent targeting of conservative groups based on their political activity, these rules would only further politicize an already trouble agency.”
The rules include the basic tenets of the DISCLOSE Act, a measure pushed by Democrats since the 2010 Supreme Court ruling in Citizens United, which was a landmark victory for free speech.
The rules would have the effect of silencing outside groups, preventing them from participating in the public policy process. By requiring outside groups to disclose contributions, it will give those who oppose them the ability to bully their donors.
Sen. Kay Hagan (D-NC) filed paperwork on Monday to seek reelection, in what is expected to be one of the most interesting and consequential races of the 2014 mid-term election, and like most politicians who formally file to run for office, she held a press conference.
But Hagan’s press conference got entertaining. As she was exiting an elections office, the North Carolina Democrat was asked canceled health plans caused by Obamacare, at which point she began running away:
Like President Barack Obama, Hagan said the Affordable Care Act would allow North Carolinians to keep their existing insurance plans if they liked them. The pledge proved false – and earned Obama PolitiFact’s Lie of the Year honors.
Pressed on the question two more times as reporters followed her outside to the parking lot, Hagan did not answer. She offered this explanation without further details: “it wasn’t clear that insurance companies were selling substandard policies.”
Blue Cross Blue Shield, the state’s largest insurer, responded by saying Hagan’s comments “are simply not true and she should know better.” Company spokesman Lew Borman said the insurer notified customers that they could keep a grandfathered plan. Customers were also given an opportunity to return to a grandfathered plan, Borman said.
Today in Liberty: CBO on employer mandate, religious liberty and business owners, CPAC boots atheist group
“A good measure of how serious Republicans are on cutting spending is how they react when the tiniest Pentagon spending cuts are proposed.” — Coalition to Reduce Spending
— CBO report on employer mandate measure: House Republicans may have received a bit of set back yesterday on a measure that would change the definition of a full-time employee from 30 hours per week, as set under the employer mandate, to 40 hours. The Save American Workers Act would reduce the number of people receiving employer-based coverage by 1 million, according to the Congressional Budget Office, and increase budget deficits by $73.7 billion in the net 10 years. Republicans plan to bring the measure to the floor some time next month. The Obama administration has delayed the mandate for small and medium-sized businesses until 2016. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and many other organizations back the Save American Workers Act.
— Tea Party Express likely to endorse in Kansas GOP Senate race: Though she didn’t outright say that they were endorsing Milton Wolf, Amy Kremer, chair of the Tea Party Express, intimated that in a tweet this morning. “Headed to Kansas today for a big announcement tomorrow,” Kremer tweeted. “Looking forward to seeing my friend @miltonwolfmd!”
It’s only mentioned in passing under the Gun Report blog at The New York Times, but apparently the Ukraine Gun Owners Association is drawing up plans in an effort to include something like a Second Amendment to their constitution following the ousting of President Viktor Yanukovich.
After violence erupted in Kiev on Feb. 18th, over 70 people died, many shot by government snipers. As both the Times and Breitbart report, the citizens and gun rights groups in Ukraine seem to believe they are held nearly captive to a government that retains 7 million weapons, while the citizenry has only 3 million, many of those illegally (compare that to the US where citizens privately hold 310 million firearms and police and military hold slightly less at 3.85 million).
What’s interesting about this is that in an effort to frame the disparity of gun ownership in Ukraine as somehow negligible, and simultaneously suggest that US gun rights groups are “pouncing” on the Ukraine uprising to push their pet cause, the more liberal pundits are capable only of offering a pretty good defence of increased gun ownership and the Second Amendment in general.
The actuary of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services predicts that Obamacare will lead to higher health insurance premiums for 65% of small businesses, affecting some 11 million employees:
The report, from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Office of the Actuary, is the latest piece of bad news for the president’s signature domestic achievement. While the law was designed to curb rising health costs, some consumers have seen their premiums or other out-of-pocket costs increase this year, or had their plans canceled altogether.
The report analyzed employers with 50 or fewer full-time employees that buy outside insurance policies for workers, a group it estimated at 17 million people in 2012. It focused on a piece of the 2010 law that prevents insurance companies from pricing policies based on customers’ health status.
The report concluded that about 65% of small businesses, or plans covering 11 million people, would see an increase in insurance premiums under these so-called community-rating provisions of the health law. About 35% of employers would see a decrease for plans covering six million people. These employers aren’t required to pay a penalty under the federal health law if they don’t insure workers.
These premium hikes have been mostly tied to the individual market, but most don’t realize that small-to-large businesses as well as their employees are also going to be hit with higher costs.
In an interview last week on MSNBC, Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL) rejected the notion that he is the Democratic Party’s version of Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX).
In fact, Grayson is so disgusted at the suggestion that said Cruz is “trying to hasten the apocalypse” and compared him to Jim Jones, a religious cult leader responsible for the deaths of 909 people.
“Ted Cruz represents the element of the Republican Party that’s trying to hasten the apocalypse,” Grayston told MSNBC host Richard Lui. “These are people who think that Obamcare is helping to save lives, and they want to destroy it anyway. These are people who understand a government shutdown causes chaos to the economy, and they want to do it anyway. These are people who understand defaulting on the national debt would drive unemployment sky high, and they want to do it anyway.”
Lui noted that Cruz was recently given the “Statesman of the Year” award by the Sarasota County (FL) Republican Party, despite criticism from prominent Republicans. The host asked how Grayson dealt with criticism from his own party.
“Well, I haven’t gotten that kind of criticism from my own party. But, in any event, calling [Cruz] the ‘Statesman of the Year’ would be like calling Jim Jones the ‘Religious Leader of the Year,’ for much the same reason,” Grayson said. “He’s trying to create sort of a mass suicide cult called the Tea Party and lead it. I don’t think I can be accused of anything similar to that.”
Citizens United, the conservative organization that challenged and won a legal battle against onerous, free speech infringing campaign finance regulations at the Supreme Court, is preparing for another fight, this time over the Internal Revenue Service’s proposed guidance for tax-exempt groups:
The conservative nonprofit advocacy group Citizens United plans to sue the IRS over the agency’s stringent new regulations on 501(c)(4) nonprofit groups.
“I can commit with certitude that Citizens United will not sit by while any government agency tries to violate our 1st Amendment rights,” Citizens United president David Bossie told the Center for Public Integrity. “We have a proven track record of winning, and we’re not afraid to take the fight to them. You’ll see a Citizens United v. IRS.”
Bossie said that it is “too early” to get into the details of his legal strategy, but that his group plans to “pull out all the stops.”
If you haven’t heard yet, college football star Michael Sam has publicly come out of the closet and announced he’s gay. In a sane society, this wouldn’t be a big deal. Sam wouldn’t have to make this announcement as if it’s some kind of divine revelation, and the rest of America would continue watching football and drinking bad beer without worrying about with whom Sam chooses to spend his free time.
But, of course, we’re not that country anymore. We’re not a nation that considers one’s sexual orientation a matter of a person’s personal life. Those on the left are treating Sam like a national hero who personally climbed the walls of the compound at Abbottabod and killed Usama bin Ladin. Those on the right, are of course, scrambling to pass laws to ensure Sam will not be allowed to play professional football.
You read that correctly. At a time when we are facing an incredibly volatile world environment, riots in the Ukraine, strained tensions with Russia, a civil war in Syria and demonstrations in Venezuela, just to name a few, coupled with a sluggish economy at home…
…some in Washington are busy trying to legislate Teh Ghey™ out of existence.
According to the Hill newspaper, Washington lobbyist Jack Burkman says he’s preparing a bill that would ban gay athletes from joining the NFL, and that he’s got political support for the bill.
No, this is not The Onion. This is The Hill.
And this is not a joke. This is Congress.
Oh, pardon me. It’s the same thing.
Even the those who are beholden to President Barack Obama and Democrats have occasional moments of clarity, right? That’s the only possible explanation for Chris Matthews comments this weekend on Meet the Press, when he acknowledged that Democrats could lose as many as 10 seats in the Senate.
“To the Democrats this election, a rosy scenario is to lose five Senate seats, not six,” Matthews said. “They could lose 10, and what they’ve said is if we’re going to lose 10 seats potentially, and they could well do that, a big sweep, they’re going to their battle stations,” pointing to the minimum wage as the big issue for Democrats in 2014.
It’s the smartest thing Matthews has said since knocked President Obama for his lack of leadership when the IRS targeting of conservative and Tea Party groups first came to light. But even then he loathed the notion that the leadership failure could help Republicans in the 2014 mid-term election.