Vulnerable Senate Democrat who once complained about Washington’s addiction to spending has failed to live up to her rhetoric

Kay Hagan made out of control federal spending and the surge in the national debt an issue during her successful 2008 campaign for U.S. Senate against then-Sen. Elizabeth Dole (R-NC).

“You only need to look at what kind of state senator I’ve been for the last ten years to see what kind of U.S. senator I’ll be,” said Hagan in a 2008 campaign speech, a clip of which was made available on the NRSC Rapid Response YouTube channel. “While Washington spends itself into a hole and mortgages the future for our children and our grandchildren, I’ve produced five balanced budgets,” she adds before the clip cuts away.

The criticism was valid. Dole had largely toed the party line on spending, approving much of then-President George W. Bush’s domestic and foreign policy agenda in her first and only term in the upper chamber.

Here’s your shock story of the day: ISIS fighter killed in Syria worked at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport

Since the disclosures last summer about the National Security Agency’s broad surveillance apparatus, Americans have been endlessly told that federal intelligence and law enforcement agencies need vast and wide-reaching abilities to monitor domestic and foreign terror threats.

Despite claims that these domestic surveillance programs, including the controversial bulk phone metadata collection program, have prevented acts of terrorism, there isn’t much, if any, evidence that backs that up.

In its December report on the NSA programs, the White House Review Group on Intelligence and Communications Technology, for example, noted that bulk metadata program “was not essential to preventing attacks.” A separate report, published by the New American Foundation, explained that the most controversial NSA program had “no discernible impact” in preventing terrorist attacks.

Now, there’s a story from a Fox affiliate in Minnesota about an American supporter of ISIS, one who was killed last week in Syria while fighting for the Islamic militant organization, who worked at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport and had access to airplanes:

Microsoft to the Obama administration: No, you can’t have access to users’ emails stored on servers overseas

A federal judge has ruled that Microsoft must turn over emails stored on a server in Ireland, but the software giant, in the face of a contempt charge, is so far refusing to comply with the order, according to Windows IT Pro, because it infringes on the sovereignty of a foreign country:

Judge Loretta Preska, the chief of the US District Court in Manhattan ruled on July 31 that Microsoft was required to hand over email messages stored in an Ireland data center to US prosecutors investigating a criminal case. But she suspended the order temporarily amid complaints from international companies—and tech companies in the US—that argued that allowing US authorities to search and seize data held internationally was illegal.

On Friday, however, she lifted that suspension after prosecutors successfully convinced her that her order was not appealable. The removal of the suspension legally requires Microsoft to hand over the email immediately.
[…]
In the view of Microsoft and many legal experts, federal authorities have no jurisdiction over data stored outside the country. It says that the court order violates Ireland’s sovereignty and that prosecutors need to seek a legal treaty with Ireland in order to obtain the data they want.

Lois Lerner didn’t really care about Big Labor’s political expenditures, probably because Democrats were the beneficiaries

It’s a well-established fact that Lois Lerner had it out for conservative organizations. Under her leadership, the Internal Revenue Service’s tax-exempt division went out of its way to scrutinize right-leaning groups who were merely seeking to engage in the policy and political discussion. She even tried to coordinate with the Justice Department to prosecute tax-exempt groups that she believed were engaging in political activity. She

But when a complaint was filed in 2007 over the political expenditures of labor unions, Lerner, who called conservative activists “terrorists” and “assholes,” didn’t really seem to care about scrutiny, according to a report from The Daily Caller, despite discrepancies between IRS and Labor Department filings:

Lerner wrote, “We looked at the information you provided regarding organizations that report substantial amounts of political activity and lobbying expenditures on the DOL Form LM-2, but report little to no political expenditures on the Form 990 filed with the IRS.”

Eric Cantor is rewarded by Wall Street cronies: Ex-House leader lands a cushy new job at an investment bank

Don’t you shed a tear for Eric Cantor. The recently defeated and now retired ex-House Majority Leader has, as predicted, landed what sounds like a pretty sweet gig working for Moelis & Company, a Wall Street investment firm:

“Eric has proven himself to be a pro-business advocate and one who will enhance our boardroom discussions with CEOs and senior management as we help them navigate their most important strategic decisions,” the firm’s founder, Ken Moelis said in a statement.

Cantor is signing on with the boutique investment bank as a vice chairman and managing director, the company said. He will also be elected to its board of directors. The firm said Cantor will “provide strategic counsel to the firm’s corporate and institutional clients on key issues. He will play a leading role in client development and advise clients on strategic matters.”

A third way on foreign policy: U.S. needs to be cautious about the prospects of military intervention

Libertarians, generally by definition non-interventionists, have found themselves in a bit of a quandary of late as the debate about ISIS — and how much of a REAL threat it poses to the United States — ramps up and gets the national security wonk tongues wagging. For many libertarians, the debate hinges less on protecting U.S. interests abroad, but in protecting hearth and home. In other words, non-interventionism ends the minute the enemy is at the gate. And since no one seems to know exactly how powerful ISIS is in their ability to cross the ocean, it’s been a fascinating debate to watch.

It’s a mistake to assume libertarians are anti-interventionist because they are afraid of a fight. Many, in fact, are by nature brave enough to stand outside current accepted thoughts and practices — often alone and screaming into the wind. Their preference for staying out of world conflict is born of economic pragmatism and a belief in individual and national self-determinism more than anything else.

So what do they do with an increasingly belligerent world and an enemy that threatened (even though that threat turned out to be hollow. This time.) to raise a flag over the seat of governing power in this country?

In other words, is there, as T. Becket Adams proposes in a recent piece for the Washington Examiner, a “third way”?:

Police should be held to the same standard as citizens: Cop emailing while driving kills cyclist, faces no charges

LA sheriff

In December 2013 a former executive at Napster and A&M Records, Milton Olin, Jr, was cycling in a bike lane in Los Angeles when he was accidentally hit and killed by LA County sheriff’s deputy, Andrew Wood, in his official vehicle. The deputy admitted that at the time he drifted into the bike lane he was replying to a department email on his in-car computer.

In a rational world, this explicit admission of negligence would be followed by an open and shut case against the officer for vehicular manslaughter. Unfortunately, as we all know, we do not live in a rational world, and California is one of the least rational parts of it. It was therefore inevitably decided Wednesday by the Los Angeles County District Attorney that the officer will face no charges for the killing.

In fact, he will face no charges specifically because he was sending an email while driving. California law prohibits texting while driving, but it exempts emergency personnel (law enforcement, fire, EMT) as long as they are in their official vehicle or responding to an emergency. The exemption makes some general sense, but it should not be used as an excuse to clear a cop of a subsequent death. In the aforementioned mythical rational world, the legality of the act the officer was engaged in while he killed someone would be irrelevant…since he killed someone. But this is CaliWTFornia in the United States of Disturbia.

Well, this is an awful idea: There’s a push on the Hill to require Congress to work five days a week

It might sound like a good idea, but the latest call to make Congress work more probably is the most dangerous piece of legislation we’ve seen since the “you’ve got to pass it to know what’s in it” ObamaCare atrocity. Sure, the logic is that the taxpayers are paying lawmakers a (more than) fair amount of money yearly, considering wages, benefits and perks. The problem is that unlike other professions, getting “more bang for the buck” definitely should not include forcing longer work hours, at least not on the Hill.

TheHill.com reports:

Rep. Rick Nolan (D-Minn.) plans to introduce a bill that would require the House and Senate to work five days a week.

Congress is on a five-week August recess, which prevents Nolan from introducing his bill until the House comes back into session on Sept. 8.

The House and Senate rarely work five days a week in Washington. Each chamber typically is only in session for two full days and two half days per week, and lawmakers often spend the remaining half of the week back home in their districts.

Beyond requiring longer working hours, this bill would require open debate on all bills. While that might be a good idea, forcing longer sessions on the Hill definitely wouldn’t be a good idea. Our problem now is that we have far too many laws, so solutions to our problems do not include encouraging lawmakers to create more of them. Otherwise, it’s at least a little amusing to consider the irony that this bill hasn’t been introduced because Congress is in summer recess.

Here’s why Rand Paul’s critics are epically wrong about foreign policy

The reaction to Kentucky Senator Rand Paul’s Wall Street Journal column on Middle East interventionism isn’t surprising. Jennifer Rubin at The Washington Post called Paul “ignorant” and suggests he could be lying about the arguments for and against. Adriana Cohen at the Boston Herald called him “clueless” and someone who should “wake up to reality.” Pema Levy at Newsweek says Paul is just trying to copy a page out of President Barack Obama’s 2008 playbook regarding opposition to the Iraq War. The Democrats called Paul’s foreign policy slogan “Blame America. Retreat from the World.”

This isn’t true at all. He told Breitbart.com on August 27 he was in favor of airstrikes against ISIS, but wanted to talk to Congress first. That’s the Constitutional stance because Congress has to approve war.

Mary Landrieu finds herself in another scandal: Louisiana Democrat claims Washington as her home on federal filings

Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) is under fire yet again. The Louisiana Democrat has been caught up in a scandal involving her use of taxpayer-funded charter flights around the state she represents that also included stops at campaign fundraisers. But she’s now facing accusations that she doesn’t actually live in Louisiana, according to the Washington Post:

In Washington, Sen. Mary Landrieu lives in a stately, $2.5 million brick manse she and her husband built on Capitol Hill.

Here in Louisiana, however, the Democrat does not have a home of her own. She is registered to vote at a large bungalow in New Orleans that her parents have lived in for many decades, according to a Washington Post review of Landrieu’s federal financial disclosures and local property and voting records.

On a statement of candidacy Landrieu filed with the Federal Election Commission in January, she listed her Capitol Hill home as her address. But when qualifying for the ballot in Louisiana last week, she listed the family’s raised-basement home here on South Prieur Street.

 


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