Today in Liberty: Remembering the Unknown Rebel, Obama administration fails to win over senators on Taliban deal

“As the tanks neared the Beijing Hotel, the lone young man walked toward the middle of the avenue waving his jacket and shopping bag to stop the tanks. I kept shooting in anticipation of what I felt was his certain doom. But to my amazement, the lead tank stopped, then tried to move around him. But the young man cut it off again. Finally, the [Public Security Bureau] grabbed him and ran away with him.” Charlie Cole

— Remember the Unknown Rebel: Twenty-five years ago today, an unidentified man, thought to be a student, walked in front of a line of tanks on their way to Beijing’s Tiananmen Square, where thousands of students, yearning for freedom, were protesting China’s totalitarian government.

The day before the photo above was taken, the military had stormed Tiananmen Square, killing as many as 1,000 protesters. The famous photo of “tank man” is censored in China, but his stand against an oppressive government is an inspiration to millions. But to show what exactly this brave guy was up against, see below.

— 2.1 million Obamacare “enrollees” have discrepancies: And that could mean that many have to pay Uncle Sam back for the overpayment or lose access to subsidies. Some might even lose the health insurance coverage in which they’d enrolled. “Responding to the document, administration officials expressed confidence that most of the discrepancies can be resolved over the summer. Nonetheless, HHS has set up a system to “turn off” benefits for anyone who is found to be ineligible,” the Associated Press explains. “Updated numbers provided by [an HHS official] indicate that the total number of people affected remains about the same as a month ago. About 1.2 million have discrepancies related to income; 505,000 have issues with immigration data, and 461,000 have conflicts related to citizenship information.” Those who enrolled into health plans on the exchanges have a 90-day window to clear up any issues without facing loss of coverage. The House Energy and Commerce Committee says that there are “at least 4 million recorded inconsistencies in health care applications” in the federal exchange alone.

— Lawmakers miss earmarks because they don’t want to talk about policy: You’ve heard the complaints from pork-loving lawmakers. They miss earmarks because it was an easy way to bribe convince their colleagues to get behind measures they wouldn’t otherwise support. “[W]ithout earmarks,” Tim Carney writes, “lawmakers actually consider a bill’s underlying policy.” It’s a novel concept, right? Congressional leaders don’t like it because it makes their jobs harder, but buying off members to support bad legislation is part of what gave us a $17.5 trillion national debt.

— Ex-Im Bank exaggerating its small business success stories: One of the big arguments that the Export-Import Bank is using in its push for reauthorization is that its helps small businesses, but one of the stories it likes to share has been blown out of proportion. “In a variety of videos, press releases, news accounts and blogs, bank Chairman and President Phil Hochberg extols Ex-Im for transforming Miss Jenny’s Pickles from a small town startup to an international brand. As he said in his remarks to the bank’s 2013 annual convention: ‘Their story is what Ex-Im is all about,’” Diane Katz explains at The Daily Signal. “But Miss Jenny’s export breakthrough actually occurred as a result of the labors and tenacity of Fulton and co-owner Ashlee Furr. Years before they received any assistance from Ex-Im, the women managed to garner shelf space in more than 600 U.S. stores, including Harris-Teeter, Whole Foods, Dean & DeLuca and Williams Sonoma. Even QVC was selling their ‘Frickle Spears’ (fried pickles) at four pounds for $44.86, shipping and handling included. That’s hardly the distribution of a startup.” Miss Jenny’s was also exporting to China before it ever received assistance from the Ex-Im Bank. “Even so,” Katz adds, “it’s hardly the responsibility of taxpayers to make Miss Jenny’s Pickles a more efficient exporter.”

— Senators still skeptical of Bergdahl deal: Obama administration officials briefed senators from both parties on the details of the deal to exchange five senior Taliban officials for Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl. It doesn’t look like the administration convinced anyone that this was a good idea. “Centrist Democrats said after the meeting they still had concerns about the deal and Republicans emerged from the Senate’s sensitive compartmented information facility newly emboldened in their criticisms of Obama,” The Hill notes. “Lawmakers have voiced anger and frustration this week that the administration failed to alert them in advance of the deal despite a requirement in the National Defense Authorization Act specifying thirty days notice.” Democrats closest to President Obama are the only ones expressing any hint of support for the deal. Most, however, are frustrated that the administration was unable to give assurances that the Taliban officials, two of whom are wanted by the U.N. for war crimes, wouldn’t return to terrorism or assisting terrorists.

— White House expected criticism of Bergdahl: And the Saturday press conference with his parents was an attempt to humanize him. “White House aides were aware Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl had been tagged a deserter, and that they would be grilled over not keeping Congress in the loop. But they figured people would be most outraged over the national security implications,” Politico explains. ”That’s not to say aides were surprised by the questions about Bergdahl as a possible deserter, most of which had been in the public and under White House review for a very long time. This was always going to be complicated, but they didn’t think not getting Bergdahl back, no matter the circumstances, was an option.” The White House is now framing the debate by claiming that Republicans just hate President Obama, but that’s a stretch. But Republicans haven’t necessarily flipped on prisoner exchanges. They’re furious about the details of the deal and that they weren’t consulted in accordance with the law. And, based on the Politico story, they probably weren’t consulted because the White House figured the national security hawks would have opposed the deal. Also, if the White House knew that Bergdahl “had been tagged a deserter,” then why would it send National Security Advisor Susan Rice, of Benghazi fame, on Sunday talk shows to claim that Bergdahl “served with the United States with honor and distinction”? The narrative that the White House initially presented to the public was deceitful, and there’s no getting around that.

— A new debate over no-knock warrants: drug raid last week in a north Georgia town has sparked a new push for reform of no-knock warrants. A SWAT team used a flashbang as they entered the home, accidentally throwing it in a playpen in which a toddler was sleeping, badly burning him. Two state senators who tried to place restrictions on no-knock warrants in 2007, after the death of a 92-year-old woman in a similar raid, may revisit the issue. “It looks like that issue needs to be revisited,” state Sen. Jeff Mullis (R-Chickamauga) told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. State Sen. Vincent Fort (D-Atlanta), who teamed up with Mullis in 2007, explained that the “no-knock warrant is becoming a standard, when it should be an exception,” adding that “[w]hen you couple a no-knock warrant with these military-grade weapons, it’s a recipe for disaster.” The push to reform no-knock raids in 2007 was killed in the state House because of opposition from law enforcement officials. The AJC notes, however, that this particular situation has brought together an unlikely “alliance of Georgia’s disparate political factions: rural Republicans and urban blacks, tea partyers and liberal Democrats — all out to rein in the use of ‘no-knock’ search warrants.” Here’s hoping this issue isn’t forgotten when the legislature convenes in January 2015.

— States buck new EPA regs: The push began before the EPA formally rolled out the rules, which mandates carbon emissions reductions by a percentage that varies by state. “In at least eight states, lawmakers have approved symbolic anti-EPA resolutions based on a model approved by the American Legislative Exchange Council,” Politico reports. “Kentucky has gone even further, enacting a law this spring that could block the state from complying with EPA’s rule. West Virginia and Kansas have new laws taking aim at the regulation one way or another, and states like Ohio, Louisiana and Missouri are considering similar measures.”

— Speaking of the EPA regulations: Alison Lundergan Grimes, a Democrat running for U.S. Senate in Kentucky, blasted President Obama in a new radio ad. “Mr. President, Kentucky has lost one-third of our coal jobs in just the last three years. Now your EPA is targeting Kentucky coal with pie-in-the-sky regulations that are impossible to achieve,” Grimes says. “It’s clear you have no idea how this affects Kentucky. Coal supplies 92 percent of our state’s electricity. Your new regulations will lead to severe rate increases, shortages of power and the loss of even more coal jobs.” She also manages to work in a shot on her opponent, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY). Grimes will hold a fundraiser today in D.C. with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), who blocked a move yesterday by McConnell to stop the regulations.

— UAW hikes membership dues: A decline in membership has forced United Auto Workers (UAW), a labor union that failed earlier this year to organize a Tennessee-based Volkswagen plant, to raise its annual dues for the first time in nearly three decades. “UAW delegates passed an increase of 25 percent by voice vote Tuesday during their 36th constitutional convention in Detroit. The hike will cost the average union member an extra $14 a month,” the Washington Examiner reports. “The hike was controversial and only approved by UAW delegates after a two-hour debate at the convention. Notably, the passage was done by voice vote, not recorded vote.” UAW saw its rolls decline from 1.5 million members in 1979 to 391,000 today.

Other items we’re reading this morning:

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