Jason Pye

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Well…bye: Eric Holder reportedly leaving the Obama administration

There’s some big news, though not entirely unsurprising news developing this morning. The Associated Press is reporting that Attorney General Eric Holder will announce his resignation today and leave Obama administration once his successor has been confirmed by the Senate:

Two sources familiar with the decision tell NPR that Holder, 63, intends to leave the Justice Department as soon as his successor is confirmed, a process that could run through 2014 and even into next year. A former U.S. government official says Holder has been increasingly “adamant” about his desire to leave soon for fear he otherwise could be locked in to stay for much of the rest of President Obama’s second term.

Holder already is one of the longest serving members of the Obama cabinet and ranks as the fourth longest tenured AG in history. Hundreds of employees waited in lines, stacked three rows deep, for his return in early February 2009 to the Justice Department, where he previously worked as a young corruption prosecutor and as deputy attorney general — the second in command — during the Clinton administration.

It had been rumored for some time that Holder, who has earned the ire of congressional Republicans over Operation Fast and Furious and other issues, wanted out of the administration. Holder telegraphed this to The New Yorker’s Jeffrey Tobin back in February, saying that he planned to stick around “well into” 2014. The Justice Department, however, denied that the Attorney General indicated he would resign.

Thought police: Global warming alarmist wants laws on the books to punish skeptics

Robert F. Kennedy, Jr

Don’t you dare deny that climate change exists, says Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. Forget about the First Amendment and free speech, the climate alarmist wants to use the power of the federal government to punish climate skeptics who voice their opinions:

Robert F. Kennedy Jr., one of climate change’s loudest activists, said there should be a law that lets authorities punish skeptics and deniers - those who engage in “selling out the public trust,” he said, in an interview with Climate Depot during New York City’s recent People’s Climate March.

“I wish there were a law you could punish them with,” he said, in the videotaped interview. “I don’t think there is a law that you can punish these politicians under … [and skeptical politicians are] selling out the public trust.”

Kennedy also believes that CEOs of big corporations should be sent to the Hague like war criminals. He added that he believes that Charles and David Koch, the libertarian brothers who give to freedom-minded causes, should be tried for “reckless endangerment”.

Here’s the video:

A small victory for the Second Amendment in Washington: D.C. Council votes approve concealed carry

District of Columbia

Gun owners who live in the District of Columbia may soon be carry a firearm for self-defense, provided. The he D.C. Council voted on Tuesday to allow concealed carry of firearms in the city, provided the applicant meets some stringent requirements:

Members of the D.C. Council begrudgingly, but unanimously, voted for a bill that would allow individuals to carry the firearms if they meet a number of requirements.

“I don’t believe in guns. I don’t believe in carrying guns,” said council member Marion Barry, Ward 8 Democrat and a former four-term mayor. “I think the public ought to understand that all of us here are doing something we really don’t want to do.”
[…]
Under the new legislation, the city’s police chief would determine who has a valid reason for carrying a concealed weapon. The open brandishing of firearms will continue to be illegal.

Other requirements to qualify for a concealed carry permit include registration of the gun with the police department, 16 hours of safety training and two hours of range training, as well as a determination that the person has not suffered from a mental illness or condition that puts them at risk of being a danger to others.

Ben Carson says the “chances are reasonably good” that he’ll run for the president

There’s been a lot of focus on potential 2016 Republican presidential contenders in the last several months as commentators and pundits watch closely the moves they’re making ahead of the mid-term election.

Thus far, the talk is focused on a handful of names, including Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX), and former Gov. Jeb Bush (R-FL). But Ben Carson, a former neurosurgeon at Johns Hopkins University and darling of the conservative movement, is seriously considering a bid of his own:

“Unless the American people indicate in November that they like Big Government intervention in every part of their lives, I think the likelihood is strong,” Carson said Monday night on “The Hugh Hewitt Show,” according to a show transcript, when asked about the chances of a presidential run.

Carson, who was given the Presidential Medal of Freedom by former President George W. Bush, said that he will be waiting for “a few more months” before making any definite decisions, and predicted that he will make a formal announcement in May of next year.

“I think the chances are reasonably good of that happening,” Carson said. “I want to make sure that it’s clearly something my fellow Americans want me to do. And I’m also waiting to see what the results are in November, because if the people indicate that they truly do want a nation that is for, of and by the people, then I, along with I hope many other people, would be willing to give it everything we possibly have.”

Obama is now at war in Syria: Illegal bombing campaign begins

The Obama administration is finally doing what it wanted to do last year: bomb Syria. The airstrike campaign against the Islamic State in Syria began on Monday evening with the support of some Middle Eastern allies:

U.S. Central Command said the strikes were conducted with a mix of fighters, bombers, drones and Tomahawk missiles.
[…]
Bahrain, Jordan, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia joined in or supported the strikes, according to Central Command.

The strikes targeted ISIS training areas, command and control centers, storage facilities and a finance center, Central Command said.

It also announced that the strikes hit not only ISIS but a separate terror group, Khorasan.

Central Command said the group is “a network of seasoned al-Qa’ida veterans - sometimes referred to as the Khorasan Group - who have established a safe haven in Syria to develop external attacks, construct and test improvised explosive devices and recruit Westerners to conduct operations.”

There are a few things to weigh when thinking at the bombing campaign against the Islamic State in Syria. First, as Jim Antle points out, there is “no legal basis” for this war. President Barack Obama has a responsibility to go to Congress to seek authorization. He failed to do, and, in fact, has openly flaunted his decision to, once again, bypass the Constitution.

Obamacare’s employer mandate is hurting workers and businesses, and Harry Reid is stalling on a legislative fix

A little than a month after the Internal Revenue Service released guidance on Obamacare’s employer mandate, after prolonged delays unilaterally enacted by the administration, a coalition of business groups have launched a new campaign against the provision. The Hill explained the details in its “Overnight Regulation” newsletter at the end of last week:

A coalition of industry groups on Friday will announce a fresh attack on the Affordable Care Act’s definition of full-time employment. The campaign takes aim at the 30-hour threshold set out in ObamaCare’s employer mandate.

The provision has roiled businesses and congressional Republicans who say the standard defies the conventional view that 40 hours on the job constitutes full-time work. Further, they charge, the looming rules have led employers to switch full-time workers to part-time schedules in order to avoid the cost of providing health insurance.

The employer mandate, which generally requires businesses to offer health coverage, has been the subject of multiple delays. It will take effect in January for larger firms and a year later for more medium-sized companies – unless its opponents have their way.

The employer mandate is a provision of Obamacare that originally required businesses with 50 or more full-time employees, defined as someone who works at least 30 hours a week, to offer health insurance benefits or face a punitive per worker tax.

Seriously?: Vulnerable Senate Democrat refuses to debate foreign policy with Republican opponent

It’s stories like these where you wish you could have been a fly on the wall in the room while this decision was made. Apparently, Sen. Mark Pryor (D-AR) refused to talk about foreign policy in an upcoming debate with his Republican opponent, Rep. Tom Cotton (R-AR). Well, not only did Pryor’s campaign refuse, they lied about, to boot:

Senator Mark Pryor (D., Ark.) declined to debate foreign-policy issues with Representative Tom Cotton (R., Ark.) when they meet next month.

“The campaign for Democratic U.S. Sen. Mark Pryor said last week that it had not rejected any topics from being included in the only debate agreed to so far by the senator and his Republican challenger, U.S. Rep. Tom Cotton,” a local media outlet reports. “But an email obtained by the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette on Tuesday showed that Pryor’s campaign had rejected the inclusion of foreign policy in the debate sponsored by the Fayetteville Chamber of Commerce.”

In the e-mail, the debate moderator tells the Cotton campaign that “Pryor folks rejected adding ‘foreign policy’ to the list of topics for the Fayetteville Chamber debate.”

There are a couple reasons why Pryor is probably skittish on the issue. First, the mid-term election is shaping up to be focused on foreign policy, given the tensions with Russia, the deteriorating situation in Libya, and the rise of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. There’s also the administration’s ongoing training and armament of Syrian rebels who are involved in a bloody civil war against Bashar al-Assad’s regime.

Democrats have found their scapegoat, and it’s not Barack Obama

Debbie Wasserman Schultz

President Barack Obama’s approval rating is falling faster than Usain Bolt can run. The latest poll from The New York Times and CBS News shows his foreign policy numbers in the tank, dropping to the lowest point of his presidency. His numbers on the economy haven’t really moved much this year, either. Meanwhile, the GOP’s favorability rating — once in the cellar — has almost pulled even with Democrats.

Yet, Democrats seem to be looking for a scapegoat who isn’t named Barack Obama. Sure, many party faithful will concede that this White House is a drag on Democratic House and Senate candidates. And they acknowledge that President Obama’s approval ratings could cost them control of the upper chamber.

But, in politics, everything rolls down hill. And, according to a recent report from Politico, it appears that a scapegoat has been identified in Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL), who has led the Democratic National Committee since May 2011:

Senate Democrats are going to wait until after the election to authorize military action against the Islamic State

Senate Democratic leaders

Senate Democrats have decided to punt on a resolution authorizing military force against the ISIS until after the mid-term election, handing a blank check to President Barack Obama to act unilaterally in the interim:

“We’re going to take up the construction of a new authorization for the use of military force. It’s long overdue,” said Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.).

The authorization would focus narrowly on ISIS, likely bar the deployment of ground troops and set a one-year time limit on military action.

The plan to vote on a resolution specifically authorizing strikes against the extremist Sunni group could help reassure liberal Democrats nervous about supporting a measure that authorizes President Obama to train and equip moderate rebels in Syria.

Durbin announced the roadmap at a Democratic leadership press conference shortly before the chamber was scheduled to vote on a government funding measure that included the so-called Title 10 authority to train the rebels.

Why are Senate Democrats waiting until after the election? Well, they don’t want to do anything to upset their base, some of whom could stay at home because of dissatisfaction with what they could see as the party getting the United States into another Middle Eastern quagmire. If some leftist Democrats stay home, it could further endanger the party’s already slim chances of holding onto the upper chamber.

It’s time for some accountability: House of Representatives passes Audit the Fed bill

The House of Representatives passed, by an overwhelming margin, the Federal Reserve Transparency Act (H.R. 24), a measure that would require a meaningful audit of the United States’ central bank.

There was some question whether House Republican leaders would bring the measure to the floor for a vote, but, thanks to grassroots efforts to encourage members to cosponsor the bill, its popularity couldn’t be ignored. The Federal Reserve Transparency Act, which had gained more than 218 cosponsors, passed the lower chamber in a 333 to 92 vote.

“For the past 100 years, the Federal Reserve, a quasi-government agency, has acted under a veil of secrecy – controlling our monetary policy and thus, our economy. While in recent years, the Fed has been granted a greater role in overseeing the regulation of our financial system, current law specifically prohibits audits of the Federal Reserve’s deliberations, decisions, or actions on monetary policy,” said Rep. Paul Broun (R-GA), who introduced the measure in January 2013. “This lack of accountability and transparency has led to grievous consequences — and it must end.”

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