Jason Pye

Recent Posts From Jason Pye

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.

Amateur hour at the White House continues: Obama says he has no strategy to deal with ISIS

The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, commonly known as ISIL or ISIS, has been a threat in the Middle East for some time, but you wouldn’t know that from the reaction of President Barack Obama and administration officials.

The Islamic militant group’s bloody and violent rise in Iraq, which came into focus for the United States in June, appeared to catch the White House by complete surprise. Nearly three months later, President Obama has yet to form a coherent strategy to deal with ISIL, something to which he owned up on Thursday afternoon:

“I don’t want to put the cart before the horse, we don’t have a strategy yet,” Obama said in a press conference Thursday of seeking congressional approval for additional airstrikes in the Middle East.

Obama has been under pressure to expand U.S. bombings from Iraq to Syria, but his advisers remain divided about the prospect of military intervention there.

For his part, the president seemed to suggest Thursday that he was less interested in using military action in Syria than Iraq.

“My priority at this point,” Obama said, “is to make sure the gains that [ISIS] made in Iraq are rolled back.”

Elizabeth Warren’s hypocrisy exposed: She hates corporate welfare, except for when she doesn’t

Elizabeth Warren

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) is the darling of the political left. They can’t get enough of her. The Massachusetts Democrat’s willingness to take on corporate special interests, especially Wall Street and big banks.

But Warren’s anti-big business populism only goes so far. She recently came out in support of the reauthorization of the Export Import Bank, the controversial New Deal-era agency known for issuing taxpayer-backed loans to politically-connected big businesses. Unlike Warren, it’s conservatives that are trying to end the Bank’s brand of cronyism.

The Club for Growth released a nearly 3-minute video this week exposing Warren’s hypocrisy, pointing out that Ex-Im represents is exactly the type of corporate welfare that the Massachusetts Democrat should be against:

Obama is trying get around the Senate to enact a U.N. climate deal

There’s no ambiguity about the process by which the United States can enter into a treaty. The Constitution, in Article II, Section 2, states that a president “shall have power, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, to make treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur.”

The ratification process is a very specific limitation on presidential power, one that provides a legislative check on the executive branch. But President Barack Obama can’t be bothered by the constitutional process. The New York Times reports that, in his latest move to get around Congress, President Obama’s State Department is negotiating a climate deal at the United Nations to update a 1992 treaty with new emission reduction targets (emphasis added):

Lawmakers in both parties on Capitol Hill say there is no chance that the currently gridlocked Senate will ratify a climate change treaty in the near future, especially in a political environment where many Republican lawmakers remain skeptical of the established science of human-caused global warming.
[…]
American negotiators are instead homing in on a hybrid agreement — a proposal to blend legally binding conditions from an existing 1992 treaty with new voluntary pledges. The mix would create a deal that would update the treaty, and thus, negotiators say, not require a new vote of ratification.

River of red ink continues: CBO says the budget deficit will top $500 billion this year

Although Washington isn’t running $1+ trillion budget deficits — like taxpayers saw from fiscal years 2009 to 2012 — the river of red ink is still flowing rapidly. In fact, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released a new report this morning in which it revised upward the budget deficit for the current fiscal year (emphasis added):

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) on Wednesday raised its projection for this year’s federal deficit to $506 billion.

The budget office’s last report in April had projected the deficit for fiscal 2014 would top out at $492 billion on Sept. 30.

But the CBO said it is increasing the deficit figure now, in part, because receipts from corporate income taxes are turning out to be $37 billion less than expected.

This year’s deficit projection represents a major drop from the other years of the Obama presidency. Last year’s deficit was $680 billion, compared to the $1.1 trillion deficit the government racked up during Obama’s first year in the White House in 2009.

The CBO says the budget deficit will fall to $469 billion in FY 2015 before it slowly begins to tick back upward again. As you can see in the chart below, the budget deficit will approach $1 trillion by the end of the 10-year budget window:

Here’s more evidence the IRS really doesn’t want Congress to know what Lois Lerner may have been doing

Judicial Watch just keeps on uncovering more information about the Internal Revenue Service’s actions both before and after its targeting of conservative groups became public knowledge.

The conservative watchdog group managed to get the Justice Department to admit that the missing emails, including those of Lois Lerner, still exist on a backup system. Now, via National Review, Judicial Watch has discovered that the IRS destroyed Lerner’s Blackberry, after — yes, after — Congress began looking into the targeting scandal, and didn’t bother to save any of the information on it:

According to the second round of IRS affidavits submitted to U.S. district court judge Emmett Sullivan, who is presiding over the lawsuit brought against the nation’s tax agency by watchdog group Judicial Watch, Inc., IRS technical analysts did not search Lois Lerner’s Blackberry for her allegedly “lost” e-mails — and the smartphone was destroyed after congressional investigation had begun.

Justice Department confirms the Lois Lerner emails still exist, proving that IRS officials are a pack of liars

Well, look at that. The Justice Department has confirmed to the conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch that the emails of several IRS officials, including those of Lois Lerner, still exist, despite claims that they’d been lost due to hard drive crashes and destroyed backup tapes:

Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said Justice Department lawyers informed him that the federal government keeps a back-up copy of every email and record in the event of a government-wide catastrophe.

The back-up system includes the IRS emails, too.

“So, the emails may inconvenient to access, but they are not gone with the [broken] hard drive,” Judicial Watch spokeswoman Jill Farrell told the Washington Examiner.

Judicial Watch is now seeking the release of the emails, which Justice Department lawyers say would be hard to find because of the significant size of the backup system.

Yeah, Judicial Watch is probably the least of the Justice Department and IRS’s concerns. The House Oversight and Government Reform and House Ways and Means committees, both of which are investigating the IRS’s targeting of conservative groups, aren’t going to care how difficult of a task it will be to recover these emails.

Yes, guns are a crime deterrent: Chicago sees crime rates fall after Illinois began issuing concealed carry permits

Don’t look now. Chicago may be beginning to shed its reputation as one of the most violent cities in the United States, though it has a long way to go. (Sorry, Rahm Emanuel.) The Washington Times reports that the Windy City has seen its crime rate fall by a noticeable margin, which, gun rights supporters note, came after Illinois began issuing concealed carry permits:

Since Illinois started granting concealed carry permits this year, the number of robberies that have led to arrests in Chicago has declined 20 percent from last year, according to police department statistics. Reports of burglary and motor vehicle theft are down 20 percent and 26 percent, respectively. In the first quarter, the city’s homicide rate was at a 56-year low.

“It isn’t any coincidence crime rates started to go down when concealed carry was permitted. Just the idea that the criminals don’t know who’s armed and who isn’t has a deterrence effect,” said Richard Pearson, executive director of the Illinois State Rifle Association. “The police department hasn’t changed a single tactic — they haven’t announced a shift in policy or of course — and yet you have these incredible numbers.”

As of July 29 the state had 83,183 applications for concealed carry and had issued 68,549 licenses. By the end of the year, Mr. Pearson estimates, 100,000 Illinois citizens will be packing. When Illinois began processing requests in January, gun training and shooting classes — which are required for the application — were filling up before the rifle association was able to schedule them, Mr. Pearson said.

Chicago Cubs already awful season made even worse by Obamacare

Wrigley Field

The Chicago Cubs are having a pretty awful season. Well, they’ve had a string of pretty awful seasons, actually. The Cubs are staring down their fifth consecutive losing season. They’re currently in last place in the National League’s Central Division. Oh, and they haven’t won a pennant since 1908 — since Theodore Roosevelt was president.

The good news for Cubs’ fans is that their farm system is probably one of the best in baseball, and team’s future does look bright, though that isn’t going to help this season. But the Cubs still have some problems, and not all of them are related to the team they’re putting on diamond in the friendly confines of Wrigley Field.

On Tuesday, Major League Baseball was forced to suspend the game between the Cubs and the San Francisco Giants before the bottom half of the 5th inning due to a torrential downpour made worse by grounds crew that had a difficult time covering the field with the tarp in a timely fashion.

The Cubs had a 2-run lead when the game was delayed, and won the game when it was completed the following day. But, as you can see in the video below, the grounds crew struggled to cover the field, making it completely unplayable:

Flip-flopper-in-chief: Barack Obama was against the crony Ex-Im Bank before he lobbied for its reauthorization

President Barack Obama used his weekly address to make a sales pitch for the Export-Import Bank, the New Deal-era agency that has come under fire from conservatives in Congress because of its taxpayer-backed loan guarantees to large corporations. Congress will take up the reauthorization of the Bank at some point next month, which could lead to a showdown between conservatives and the Washington political establishment:

President Barack Obama urged the owners and employees of businesses that rely on Export-Import Bank financing to tell members of Congress to “quit treating your business like it’s expendable” in his Saturday morning address.
[…]
Obama took aim at that characterization of the bank on Saturday.

“Its sole mission is to create American jobs. That’s it,” Obama said. “It helps many American entrepreneurs take that next step and take their small business global.”

The bank has been reauthorized 16 times before, “always with support from both parties” and under both Republican and Democratic presidents, the president said.

“This time around shouldn’t be any different,” he said. “Because the bank works. It’s independent. It pays for itself. But if Congress fails to act, thousands of businesses, large and small, that sell their products abroad will take a completely unnecessary hit.”

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