Eyeglasses with newspaper and coffee cup


Republican Presidential Hopefuls Gather In South Carolina (TPP sponsored event)

“Citizens United and Republican Rep. Jeff Duncan are welcoming GOP presidential candidates and likely candidates to the South Carolina Freedom Summit Saturday to give remarks to grassroots activists from across the Palmetto State. Republicans making remarks at the Freedom Summit include: Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, Former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, former Sen. Rick Santorum, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, and Dr. Ben Carson. “Well you know I’m not endorsing anyone. This is a great event. We got so many different speakers. I’m as a voter looking forward to hearing their vision because I’ve got to make my mind up,” Rep. Duncan told The Daily Caller. “To put this event on and get this opportunity for people in South Carolina being a first in the south primary state is so important that I think this is the kick off event for the primary. So I’m excited and I’m looking forward to hearing these candidates.” Certain presidential candidates and others who are expected to jump into the race are noticeably absent from the agenda. Chris Christie, Jeb Bush, Rand Paul, and South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham are not listed as confirmed speakers at the Freedom Summit….”


Watch Live: GOP Hopefuls at South Carolina Freedom Summit (TPP sponsored event)

“GOP presidential hopefuls were slated to speak at the Citizens United’s South Carolina Freedom Summit Saturday. Speakers include Ben Carson, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, former executive Carly Fiorina and businessman Donald Trump. Watch live below:..”


South Carolina was the center of the GOP presidential universe this weekend. Here are the five biggest takeaways. (TPP sponsored event)


Watch Live: South Carolina Freedom Summit from the Peace Center

“…Rick Perry 11:35AM-11:55AM

Intro to Marsha Blackburn (Bossie)11:55AM-11:59AM

Marsha Blackburn11:59AM-12:19PM

Jenny Beth Martin (Bossie)12:19PM-12:21PM…”



ObamaCare’s Big Dig

The Massachusetts exchange is under federal investigation.

“The catastrophic ObamaCare rollout merely two years ago has disappeared into the distant political past, forgotten, with zero accountability for the taxpayer waste and disruption to individuals and business. Massachusetts may prove to be an exception. Late last week the administration of Republican Governor Charlie Baker confirmed that the FBI and U.S. Attorney for Boston have subpoenaed records related to the commonwealth’s “connector” dating to 2010. This insurance clearinghouse was Mitt Romney’s 2006 beta version for…”



Former chief of surgeons’ group warns ‘the whole system’s going to collapse’

“Obamacare already has been blamed for the cancellation of millions of health policies that didn’t meet the government’s requirements and for raising the cost of medical care. Now it appears to be sending more people to hospital emergency rooms. A poll shows three of four ER physicians is seeing an increase in traffic, some by significant numbers. Supporters had claimed that more people would be covered with insurance, so they would be seeing their own doctors and not showing up as often at the ER. But there is new evidence that emergency room visits have gone up nationwide under Obamacare, because it’s not just having a health policy that matters, it’s what kind of coverage it provides. Dr. Lee Hieb, past president of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, explained. Read the instruction manual for living through Obamacare, in “Surviving the Medical Meltdown.” “It’s a joke, because here’s what they did – they expanded Medicaid,” Hieb told WND. “Now, Medicaid isn’t really insurance. They pretend that’s insurance. Medicaid is bad coverage that doesn’t pay doctors and hospitals enough to take care of you. So if fewer doctors take Medicaid, people then go into the emergency room.” A poll released May 4 by the American College of Emergency Physicians found 28 percent of ER physicians have seen large increases in patient volume since Obamacare took effect Jan. 1, 2014, while 47 percent have seen slight increases. Only 5 percent had seen a slight decrease in patient volume, and none had seen a large decrease. The poll collected responses from 2,099 emergency room doctors and included representatives from all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Tellingly, the poll also revealed 56 percent of ER doctors had seen an increase in Medicaid patients since Obamacare took effect. Only 1 percent reported any kind of decrease in Medicaid traffic. Hieb, author of “Surviving the Medical Meltdown: Your Guide to Living Through the Disaster of Obamacare,” said the reason is simple: Medicaid doesn’t reimburse doctors and hospitals as well as private insurance does, so many primary care physicians have stopped accepting Medicaid patients.


As Karl Rove Waves White Flag On Obamacare, So Do GOP Governors

“News that former George W. Bush White House advisor Karl Rove urged his fellow Republicans to abandon attempts to repeal the Affordable Care Act and focus on a replacement plan come as thousands of Americans sign up for the law’s expanded Medicaid benefits for the poor thanks to changing hearts of GOP governors. Rove told Fox News last week that any effort to repeal the health law would be met with President Obama’s veto and wouldn’t work politically. So Rove said the GOP Congress instead should come up with alternatives should the U.S. Supreme Court rule against the White House in the King v. Burwell case. The high court will decide next month whether 8 million Americans will lose subsidies for private coverage essentially because they bought private coverage on a federal marketplace rather than state-run exchanges. But neither King v. Burwell nor Rove’s plea, also outlined in the Wall Street Journal, takes into consideration increasing GOP support for expanded Medicaid coverage gaining popularity among millions of Americans. Although Medicaid expansion ideas vary, more Republican leaders in states are embracing the idea than two years ago and the popularity can be seen in health plan enrollment reports for the first quarter. A snapshot of Medicaid growth from Republican-led states could be heard in last week’s first-quarter earnings call from Dr. Mario Molina, chairman of Molina Healthcare (MOH), which is seeing unprecedented growth in its health plans from people signing up for coverage under the health law…”


The Marketplace


Repealing Obamacare: Just a Start towards a Balanced Budget

“For the first time in more than five years, Congress has passed a budget plan. The plan would balance the budget by 2024—but only if Congress were to enact additional enabling legislation that would actually accomplish the savings included in their budget. That’s a huge “if.” This is one of Washington’s dirty secrets. Members of Congress get to claim credit for passing a budget that balances without being held to the task of actually accomplishing this feat. Congress’ budget plan merely establishes a blueprint for balancing the budget. Without separate legislation to implement the reforms and spending cuts it calls for, the plan is simply a collection of non-binding messages about policy priorities—nothing more.  A balanced budget remains elusive. What, then, did the congressional budget resolution accomplish? It set the total level of discretionary funding for fiscal year 2016, which begins on October 1, 2015. Discretionary spending encompasses about one-third of the budget and funds most government agencies and the salaries of federal workers.  Discretionary spending for defense and nondefense programs (transportation, housing, education, and so on) is governed by the spending caps established in the Budget Control Act of 2011. Congress adopted the same level of spending as allowed by the Budget Control Act. But Congress also did more harm by opening the gates for loopholes that allow lawmakers to get around those spending caps. The budget allows lawmakers to allocate $38 billion more than requested by the president to the Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) account. While the account was originally set up to finance operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, it has since developed into a well-known slush fund for the base defense budget. The budget also allows for $19 billion in spending through changes in mandatory program spending (CHIMPS). By limiting or delaying mandatory spending, lawmakers claim phony savings on paper that are unlikely to ever materialize. Together these gimmicks add up to at least $57 billion in additional deficit-spending. What’s a five-percent spending increase using loopholes among friends?…”


Few believe high court will rule fairly on Obamacare

“Very few people believe the Supreme Court will rule fairly in the latest case that could jeopardize Obamacare, according to a new poll.  Only one person in 10 is highly confident in the court’s objectivity on King v. Burwell, while 48 percent say they are not confident the justices will put aside personal opinions, the survey by the Associated Press found. The figures reveal a measure of disillusionment in the public’s view of the justices on this case, which could cancel health insurance for 8 to 9 million people if the plaintiffs succeed. Interestingly, a majority of opponents of the healthcare law (60 percent) said they were not confident in the court’s objectivity. The Supreme Court currently has a conservative majority. In contrast, 44 percent of people who support Obamacare were concerned about the justices’ impartiality. After hearing oral arguments in March, the Supreme Court is now in the process of drafting opinions about whether eligible people in states that failed to set up their own health insurance exchanges are permitted to receive subsidies. Plaintiffs in King say the letter of the law bars this outcome, while the federal government say this interpretation misreads the law in part and as a whole. A majority of the public (56 percent) agrees with the Obama administration and wants subsidies to continue to be available to eligible people in states whose exchanges are run by the Department of Health and Human Services. Thirty-nine percent, meanwhile, say the benefits should be limited to states that run their own marketplaces. While the case dominates discussion in healthcare circles, it is not on the minds of very few people. Only 13 percent are closely following the developments in the case, the poll found…”




“Lawyers for the Obama Administration have been forced to admit that the federal government has violated a court order by implementing President Obama’s executive amnesty program. Governor Greg Abbott and Attorney General Ken Paxton say that the Obama Administration continues to show a blatant disregard for the law. Governor Greg Abbott released the following statement to Breitbart Texas: After months of obfuscation and stall tactics by the Obama Administration, the President’s lawyers have been forced to admit that they acted outside the law by implementing President’s executive amnesty – even after a federal judge had ordered them to stop. Not only did President Obama’s executive action violate the U.S. Constitution; his lawyers’ actions show a blatant disregard for the Rule of Law that has become typical of this Administration and directly violates one of the fundamental principles upon which our nation was founded. Breitbart Texas reported that lawyers for the Department of Justice (DOJ) had committed a “brazen disregard for a legal order” in the case filed against President Obama’s November 2014 executive amnesty plan. Judge Andrew Hanen of Brownsville, Texas has issued a scathing written rebuke and ordered the Federal Government to produce documents showing who was responsible for making misrepresentations to the Court during the litigation. The rebuke was directed at the representatives of the DOJ and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS)…”



Immigration debate roils GOP

“A group of dissident Republicans in the House are clashing with their colleagues on President Obama’s deferred deportation program for illegal immigrants. Led by Rep. Jeff Denham (R-Calif.), the band of lawmakers hailing from Hispanic-heavy districts are becoming increasingly vocal about their dissatisfaction with the party’s refusal to accept some type of legal status for people who were brought to the country as children. The dissidents say the so-called “Dreamers” should be eligible for military service, and succeeded in adding language to the defense bill slated for the floor this week calling for the Pentagon to review the possibility.

Conservatives are vowing to ensure those provisions are stripped out, setting up a fight that could create a war of words between the two sides. Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.) has submitted an amendment to the defense authorization bill that would eliminate language establishing a sense of Congress that the Secretary of Defense should consider allowing recipients of President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program to enlist. Separately, Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) has filed an amendment to strike a provision that now directs the Pentagon to evaluate how DACA recipients could expand the pool of recruits and impact military readiness. Many of the Republicans who support the “Dreamers” say the option of military service would be a critical step toward reforming the system in the absence of a larger immigration overhaul. “While I prefer broader action on immigration reform, this is a positive step forward to help those who want to protect our sacred liberties,” Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R-Fla.), who hails from a Hispanic-heavy district and is one of the top Democratic targets in the next election cycle, said in a statement to The Hill. Curbelo has co-sponsored a bill authored by Denham that would allow illegal immigrants to serve in the military in exchange for legal status. Denham is pushing for a vote on his proposal in the form of an amendment to the defense authorization bill. House GOP leaders denied a vote on Denham’s amendment to the Pentagon policy bill last year, and appear likely to do so again. But even if Denham is denied a vote, GOP leaders have to decide whether the immigration provisions already in the defense bill will be taken out….”


Laura Ingraham & Panel: Should The U.S. Ban Immigration From “Unstable” Countries?

“LAURA INGRAHAM: Knowing what problems the FBI is having now tracking people, is this really the time to continue this massive level of legal immigration into the country from these troubled areas, Muslim countries? … We have an enormous number of people coming into this country illegally we know, all across our southern border which is another set of problems. But now, legally? Isn’t it time to call into question these immigration policies when we do not know how to track people who are legally here because they are going dark…”


Chris Wallace Slams White House for Sending DHS Secretary on ‘Another Sunday Show,’ but ‘Excluding’ Fox News

“Fox News anchor Chris Wallace slammed the White House on Sunday for sending Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson on another Sunday show, but rejecting Fox News’ invitation amid the increasing threat of the Islamic State. “We wanted to ask Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson about the terror threat, but while the White House put him on another Sunday show they declined to make him available to Fox viewers,” Wallace said. Johnson appeared Sunday on ABC’s “This Week.” The “Fox News Sunday” host pointed out that the White House has sent “a number of guests”  to the other four news networks and cable outlets this year while largely “excluding” Fox News from its TV appearance schedule. Wallace acknowledged that White House chief of staff Denis McDonough and Johnson have both appeared on his show this year, but also appeared on other networks the same days…”


‘We Are Getting Creamed’: Senator Says Republican Party Has a Huge Race Problem, and If He Were President He’d Push Immigration Reform

““We are getting creamed with non-white voters.” So spoke Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) as he talked about the 2016 presidential election — a race he’s “98.6 percent sure” he’ll join — and the GOP’s struggle to appeal to minority voters with USA Today this week. “I mean, we’ve got a big hole we’ve dug with Hispanics,” he said. “We’ve gone from 44 percent of the Hispanic vote [in the 2004 presidential election] to 27 percent [in 2012].” He continued, “You’ll never convince me [the sagging popularity with Hispanics is] not because of the immigration debate.” Graham’s solution: “If I were president of the United States, I would veto any bill that did not have a pathway to citizenship. You would have a long, hard path to citizenship … but I want to create that path because I don’t like the idea of millions of people living in America for the rest of their lives being the hired help. That’s not who we are.” Watch Graham’s interview below:…”


Hillary’s immigration move has risks, rewards

“Hillary Clinton has thrilled immigration activists with her embrace of a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants. It’s also thrilled Democrats, who think Clinton has taken a smart political step to solidifying support among Hispanics for their party in next year’s presidential election. They argue the GOP’s restrained response to Clinton shows Republicans are worried about the issue, particularly given the nation’s rising Hispanic population. “It’s definitely a very aggressive approach in attempting to court the Hispanic vote,” said Mercedes Viana Schlapp, who served as a Spanish-language spokesperson for President George W. Bush. In part because they have backed immigration reform in the past, Republicans hope former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and Sen. Marco Rubio (Fla.) could make inroads with Hispanics. But even some GOP critics of Clinton such as Schlapp acknowledge that Clinton may have made the party’s task more difficult. Clinton’s comments amounted to a taunt against Bush and Rubio, whose support for legal status for undocumented workers falls short of Clinton’s new demands. She said their position “is code for second-class status.” “We are very happy with what she said,” said Lynn Tramonte, deputy director of America’s Voice, a left-leaning immigration advocacy group. “I don’t think she would make all these commitments if she wasn’t going to follow up on them. She knows we are going to hold her accountable.” The risks for Clinton are mostly long-term, and will only be an issue if she achieves her goal of reaching the White House. Some Democrats privately fear Clinton may have promised too much….”


Hillary Clinton’s views on immigration are entirely mainstream

“Hillary Rodham Clinton took a stand on immigration policy when she sat down with a group of students in Las Vegas on Tuesday. She aligned herself with President Obama’s controversial executive actions on immigration. She signaled that she would go beyond to “fight for comprehensive immigration reform and a path to citizenship.” She suggested that Republican candidates who are proposing anything short of a “full and equal” path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants are talking about “second-class status.” Here is how media headlines characterized Clinton’s statements. Vox led with “Hillary just took a stunningly aggressive stance on immigration reform.” The National Journal’s headline stated that “Hillary Clinton Just told immigration Activists What they Want to Hear.” And Politico characterized her speech as a “pivot to the left.” The reality is much different.  Far from being aggressive, liberal and aligned with immigration activists, Clinton’s views are fairly mainstream. Dramatic shifts in public opinion over the past two decades suggest a real readiness for immigration reform…”


GOP Will Lose In 2016 Without Sensible Immigration Reform (continuation of previous article)

“If the GOP doesn’t put together a sensible immigration policy it will lose the 2016 presidential election. When Obama beat Romney in 2012, with the former Massachusetts governor attracting only 27 percent of the Hispanic vote with his self-deportation argument, Republicans across the map decided they must develop an immigration-reform policy with an outreach approach to minority groups. According to the Republican National Committee, the days of harsh language and punitive legislation must end. In its place, the GOP must reconstruct the Ronald Reagan/Jack Kemp “big tent” theory of politics, where there is plenty of room for all groups — blacks, Hispanics, Asians, Millennials, women, and gays. As Reagan put it, if you and I agree 80 percent of the time and disagree 20 percent, we are not enemies….”


Jeb Bush: We Need Policy That ‘Shows Respect’ For Illegal Immigrants [VIDEO]

“Likely Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush said the United States needs an immigration policy that shows respect for some illegal immigrants currently in the country in an upcoming interview on “The Kelly File.” “There’s got to be a point where we fix this system so that legal immigration is easier than illegal immigration, and show some respect for people, a kid that might have been here 10 years, that might have been valedictorian of their high school, to say ‘No, no, no, you’re not allowed to go to college?’” Bush said. “I just think there’s a point past which we’re over the line.” “You know that there is a core wing of the party for whom this will be a deal-breaker,” host Megyn Kelly pointed out.  “I don’t know that,” Bush said. “I’ve been traveling over the last three months, and I get a sense that a lot of people can be persuaded, to be honest with you.”…”




Immigration Reform News: Jeb Bush Believes ‘People Can Be Persuaded’ on Immigration Reform [Video]



“Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), a probable GOP presidential candidate, said in order to win the 2016 elections, Republicans need to gain Hispanic voters by pushing a “long, hard path to citizenship” reports the Washington Times. “If I were president of the United States, I would veto any bill that did not have a pathway to citizenship,” Graham said. Graham said he believes immigration is a key issue that will make or break the 2016 election. “I mean, we’ve got a big hole we’ve dug with Hispanics. We’ve gone from 44 percent of the Hispanic vote (in the 2004 presidential election) to 27 percent (in 2012). You’ll never convince me… It’s not because of the immigration debate,” Graham said to USA Today. Graham is expected to give a formal presidential announcement in the upcoming weeks…”



This Taxpayer-Funded Video Tribute to Eric Holder Brought to You by the DOJ

“When Attorney General Eric Holder’s reign at the Justice Department ended earlier this month, readers of National Review probably hoped it would mean the end of stories about Holder’s seemingly inexhaustible misbehavior and legal shenanigans. But apparently he could not leave without one last abuse of taxpayer funds. Holder is the only attorney general in history to be held in contempt of Congress. But that didn’t stop the Justice Department from releasing a nine-minute paean to him, which paints him as a cross between Martin Luther King Jr. and Mother Theresa. It’s entitled “Attorney General Eric Holder: The People’s Lawyer.” We’re not kidding about the MLK Jr. comparison. The video is full of images — like this one, which has him standing in MLK’s shadow — obviously intended to claim that Holder is a modern-day Martin Luther King:..”


Summer spending fight looms

“Congress faces rough waters ahead on government spending, with less than five months before the annual deadline to pass a full slate of appropriations bills for the next fiscal year.  For the first time in a decade, Republicans last week adopted a bicameral budget blueprint. But that was the easy part compared to the looming spending fight. House Republicans have already started shuffling through a few of the dozen spending bills, which have already received veto threats from the White House. Senate Democrats have also threatened to block spending bills from ever reaching the floor because Republicans are sticking to sequestration budget ceilings that are set to take effect when fiscal 2016 begins on Oct. 1. The split between the two parties over spending could lead to another crisis this fall. Like previous years, lawmakers will have few options: find a bipartisan compromise, extend this year’s funding levels with a continuing resolution (CR), or allow another government shutdown. And the partisan finger pointing has already begun.  “CRs and shutdowns will be caused by the Republican majority. I would hope that we can move forward with our appropriations bills, but the ridiculous Republican budget makes it almost impossible,” Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.), ranking member on the Senate Appropriations Committee, told The Hill. Democrats and the Obama administration want Congress to replicate a deal Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) reached in the last Congress, relieving sequestration pressures for two years. That deal expires in October. It emerged in December 2013 after a bruising spending fight led to a 16-day government shutdown just a few months earlier. Republicans took a hit the polls, though they came out victorious in the midterm elections a year later…”


GOP’s Tom McClintock: I don’t trust Obama. That’s why I support TPA

“Hi, I’m Congressman Tom McClintock from California. Right now, Congress is considering important legislation to help create more jobs and prosperity for the American people. It’s called ‘Trade Promotion Authority,’ and I’d like to visit with you about it. Trade means prosperity. More markets for American products means more jobs and higher wages for American workers. More products entering our economy means more consumer choices and lower prices. But here’s the problem: unfair trade regulations, labor standards, high taxes and foreign subsidies often put American workers at a real disadvantage. To remove these barriers, we have to negotiate trade agreements to put Americans back in the game under fair and equal rules. We haven’t done that recently because the legal authority to effectively negotiate these agreements expired years ago, and we’re seeing the result. Since 2000, there have been 48 trade agreements among Asian nations, and Americans were part of only two of them. China is writing the rules while we’re left behind. That’s why Trade Promotion Authority is so important. It’s the key to restarting America’s trade engine. Here’s how it works. Congress sets 150 objectives that our negotiators have to advance — fair rules that both sides have to follow — everything from food safety and labor standards to rules for trading on the Internet.

If these objectives aren’t met, the deal’s off. End of discussion. If they are met, then the agreement’s published in full for 60 days so the American people can weigh in, and only then will Congress vote to approve it or reject it. This process gives our negotiating partners the confidence that the concessions that they make won’t be endlessly altered once the agreement gets to Congress. It’ll either be voted up or voted down. That assures our negotiators will bring back to Congress the very best offer from our trading partners without their holding anything back. We’ve negotiated trade agreements this way generally since the 1930’s, and very much like this since the 1970’s. But now, in some quarters it’s become controversial. Some on the left oppose it because of pressure from protectionist special interests. Well, they’ve forgotten the painful lessons of history. Protectionism is the fastest way to destroy an economy, as this nation has learned repeatedly, going back as far as Jefferson’s time…”


Obama: Warren’s critique of free trade bill ‘doesn’t make any sense

“President Obama made his case for his free trade pact with Asia by directing some tough words at a traditional ally: Sen. Elizabeth Warren. “She’s absolutely wrong,” Obama said of the Democratic senator from Massachusetts in an interview with Yahoo News that was posted Saturday. Warren, who has strong support among liberal, pro-labor Democrats, suggested last week that a bill granting Obama fast-track negotiating authority to complete a 12-country free trade bill could weaken U.S. financial regulations that the president championed and helped put in place after the last deep recession. She called the deal “an overlooked threat to the safety of our financial markets.” Obama suggested that Warren’s critique was driven by politics and her desire to promote her populist brand. “Think about the logic of that,” the president said of the senator’s criticism. “The notion that I had this massive fight with Wall Street to make sure that we don’t repeat what happened in 2007 and 2008. And then I sign a provision that would unravel it? I’d have to be pretty stupid. And it doesn’t make any sense.”…”


Obama rebukes ‘politician’ Warren as trade feud escalates

“A growing feud between President Obama and Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren kicked up a notch Saturday, with the president rejecting her recent warnings about a long-sought trade deal and saying in an interview, “Elizabeth is a politician just like everybody else.” The president and the liberal Massachusetts senator have been sparring amid an internal Democratic battle over Obama’s trade push. The administration wants Congress to give the president so-called “fast-track” authority, which would ease the ability of the president to secure trade pacts – in this case, a major agreement with Pacific nations called the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Most recently, Warren has argued that giving Obama the new authority could open the door for a future administration to strike a deal rolling back provisions of the landmark 2010 financial industry regulatory overhaul. The president, in an interview with Yahoo News, said that’s “wrong.” He challenged the notion that he would have had “this massive fight with Wall Street” and then sign a provision to undo that legislation.  “I’d have to be pretty stupid and it doesn’t make any sense,” Obama said. “There is no evidence that could ever be used in this way. This is pure speculation. She and I both taught law school and one of the things you do as a law professor is you spin out hypotheticals and this is all hypothetical, speculative.”…”


Obama’s growing frustration with Elizabeth Warren

“For weeks, the White House has been fending off attacks from Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren on trade negotiations, and now the president seems to be growing more impatient, dismissing one of her objections as “pure speculation.” Warren argued this week that giving the president trade promotion authority could “dismantle” the Wall Street overhaul law known as Dodd-Frank, which was proposed by the president and then passed by Congress in 2010 as a response to the 2008 financial crisis. The authority would give the president the ability to negotiate trade deals and then send them to Congress for an up-or-down vote that would not be subject to amendments or filibusters. In a speech Tuesday at the Institute for New Economic Thinking, Warren said, “After fighting hard to protect Dodd-Frank for years, Democrats in the next few weeks could give Republicans the very tool they need to dismantle Dodd-Frank.” Asked about this in an interview with Yahoo’s Matt Bai Friday, President Obama retorted, “She’s absolutely wrong. And think about the logic of that, right? The notion that I had this massive fight with Wall Street to make sure that we don’t repeat what happened in 2007, 2008. And then I sign a provision that would unravel it? I’d have to be pretty stupid.”…”


Obama: Elizabeth Warren is ‘absolutely wrong’

“President Obama slammed Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s comments that a free-trade deal the president is negotiating would roll back Wall Street regulations, saying the Massachusetts Democrat is “absolutely wrong” and that “her arguments don’t stand the test of fact and scrutiny.” Obama, who made the comments to Yahoo News, is fighting resistance from the Democratic Party’s progressive wing over the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a free-trade agreement the United States is working on with Japan, Australia and nine other nations. Warren has claimed Obama might use the trade agreement to undo the so-called Dodd-Frank regulations on banks and financial institutions. But Obama called the accusation ludicrous, saying the 2010 law is one of the top achievements of his presidency…”


Obama rebukes ‘politician’ Warren as trade feud escalates

“A growing feud between President Obama and Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren kicked up a notch Saturday, with the president rejecting her recent warnings about a long-sought trade deal and saying in an interview, “Elizabeth is a politician just like everybody else.” The president and the liberal Massachusetts senator have been sparring amid an internal Democratic battle over Obama’s trade push. The administration wants Congress to give the president so-called “fast-track” authority, which would ease the ability of the president to secure trade pacts – in this case, a major agreement with Pacific nations called the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Most recently, Warren has argued that giving Obama the new authority could open the door for a future administration to strike a deal rolling back provisions of the landmark 2010 financial industry regulatory overhaul. The president, in an interview with Yahoo News, said that’s “wrong.” He challenged the notion that he would have had “this massive fight with Wall Street” and then sign a provision to undo that legislation. “I’d have to be pretty stupid and it doesn’t make any sense,” Obama said. “There is no evidence that could ever be used in this way. This is pure speculation. She and I both taught law school and one of the things you do as a law professor is you spin out hypotheticals and this is all hypothetical, speculative.” Asked if this is personal, Obama said, “You know the truth of the matter is … Elizabeth is a politician just like everybody else, and she has a voice that she wants to get out there and I understand that, and on most issues she and I deeply agree. On this one, though, her arguments don’t stand the test of fact and scrutiny.”…”


Obama accuses Elizabeth Warren of being a politician

“Oh no you didn’t! Earlier this week, Ed asked whether or not Barack Obama was ready to go to war with Elizabeth Warren over the pending Pacific trade deal. Well, wonder no more, Ed. Sure, the President can get away with a few veiled jabs in the name of a spirited internal debate among the Democrats and still avoid going full scorched earth on her. He can say that she’s absolutely wrong. He can casually lump her in with “other liberal critics.” (Which is pretty hilarious if you think about it for more than a millisecond.) In fact, the President can counter her claims in all sorts of ways while smiling, nodding and insisting that shes’ still wonderful and touting how many other things they agree on. That’s all part of the normal ebb and flow of politics. But given the national approval rating of Washington denizens, it’s probably a very large step too far to call her a politician. A growing feud between President Obama and Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren kicked up a notch Saturday, with the president rejecting her recent warnings about a long-sought trade deal and saying in an interview, “Elizabeth is a politician just like everybody else.” The president and the liberal Massachusetts senator have been sparring amid an internal Democratic battle over Obama’s trade push… The president, in an interview with Yahoo News, said that’s “wrong.”…”


Obama hits Elizabeth Warren on trade as Senate debate opens

“As the Senate prepares to debate his trade agenda, President Barack Obama is sharpening his criticisms of a vocal opponent on the left. In a weekend interview with Yahoo Politics, the president said Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts is factually wrong and politically motivated in fighting his efforts to obtain “fast track” authority to negotiate trade agreements that Congress can accept or reject but not change. “Elizabeth is, you know, a politician like everybody else,” Obama said. “She’s got a voice that she wants to get out there. And I understand that. And on most issues, she and I deeply agree. On this one, though, her arguments don’t stand the test of fact and scrutiny.” Obama didn’t suggest that he’s not a politician also. But his comments may have been aimed at liberal activists who tend to see Warren as a crusader for the working class, and somewhat above politics. She entered the Senate at age 63 after years of battling for consumers and criticizing Wall Street abuses. The Senate faces a key procedural vote Tuesday, and full debate on trade can’t proceed unless 60 of the 100 members agree to it. Obama said Warren is particularly wrong in criticizing an element of trade deals called investor-state dispute settlement, or ISDS. The process allows foreign companies to sue national governments in special tribunals if the companies feel they were harmed by violations of free-trade agreements. Warren and others say ISDS can let multinational corporations seek huge payments from countries while sidestepping traditional courts…”


Key Dem urges piecemeal approach on trade

“The top Democrat on the trade-focused House Ways and Means Committee wants lawmakers to consider a group of pending trade bills individually.  Rep. Sander Levin (D-Mich.) said he opposes a push by Senate Democrats to wrap trade promotion authority (TPA) into a four-bill package because each measure has “to be evaluated on its own and voted on its own.” Levin, who is one of the authors of the Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) bill, a measure heavily supported by Democrats, said that measure shouldn’t be used as a “sweetener” to get more votes for TPA or “fast-track” legislation, he said in an interview for C-SPAN’s Newsmakers. “Fast track has to stand on its own, so does Trade Adjustment Assistance,” he said.  Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.), who supported the measure in the Senate Finance Committee, said Thursday that he isn’t sure how much combining all the bills would change the votes, even with TAA as a clear Democratic priority.  “If it’s not in there it could change the votes,” he said. “I don’t think we’re going to get a lot more votes because it’s packaged together I think you could lose votes if it’s not packaged together. Besides fast-track and TAA, which helps workers displaced by trade, there is the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), which gives trade preferences to developing nations and faces little to no opposition, and a long-awaited customs enforcement measure to consider….”


Obama’s Big Speech At Nike Asks Critics To Take His Word On TPP

“President Obama gave a speech at Nike headquarters Friday touting the job gains he expects to result from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, but not everyone is convinced. “What this trade agreement would do is open the doors to the higher-skill, higher-wage jobs of the future—jobs that we excel at,” Obama said. Predictions that the TPP will cost American jobs, he explained, are based on flaws in previous free trade agreements, which he assured the audience would not be present in the TPP. “I’ve run my last election, and the only reason I do something is because I think it’s good for American workers and the American people and the American economy,” Obama asserted. The TPP is a draft agreement among 12 Pacific countries—including the U.S., Japan, and Australia—that calls for eliminating tariffs and other trade barriers, as well as cooperating to create legal and regulatory coherence that would make trade more efficient…”


How Lower Tariffs Under TPP Could Send More Nike Jobs To Vietnam — And Harm The Company

“Let me be clear from the beginning. I agree, in principle, with President Obama that the new Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) he is promoting will be beneficial for the American economy, and the economies participating in it. In theory, trade accords remove market barriers and foster economic growth and new job opportunities, as they help market participants allocate their resources efficiently and effectively. But in practice, trade accords have winners and losers. That’s why they are so politicized. So there is one thing hard to understand: how removing US tariffs of footwear and apparel made in Vietnam will induce producers of such products as Nike Inc (NYSE:NKE) to make them here rather than there. Actually, the argument can be made that now it will be more profitable for Nike to raise production in Vietnam, as the cost differential between US and Vietnam becomes even more favorable for Vietnam! Simply put, tariff elimination under TPP may provide Nike an opportunity to outsource more jobs to Vietnam, not less, unless I missing something here. Of course, there is the argument that the money saved in tariffs could be plowed back to R&D to strengthen Nike’s competitive advantage. But Nike is a highly profitable company, so it has plenty of funds to plow into R&D, if that’s a strategic choice…”


Oregon industry wants in on Obama’s trade agreement

“Oregon’s wine industry has come into its own in recent years, spurring the growth of wineries and newly planted acres of vineyards from the California border to the Columbia River. Now the wine industry wants in the trans-Pacific trade agreement that President Barack Obama came to Oregon to promote. Vineyard owners and wine makers say the trade deal would help open up foreign markets and increase job growth in Oregon. “It’s a big world out there, and there (are) a lot of thirsty people,” said Alex Sokol of Sokol Blosser Winery. “Wine is a heavily regulated thing. But if tariffs drop, it will be that much easier and will make us more competitive.” Obama gave a shout-out to the Dayton-based winery in his speech Friday at Nike’s Beaverton headquarters – spelling out how the trade deal would cut tariffs in Japan, Sokol Blosser’s top export market, and increase sales. The industry has grown substantially in recent years. Planted vineyard acreage in Oregon doubled in the last 10 years to 25,000 acres. According to a study released earlier this year, Oregon’s wine industry now has a $3.3 billion economic impact on the state, including crop values, jobs, services and sales. Wine-related jobs total about 17,000 in the state. That includes direct employment in vineyards, wineries, distribution, retail and restaurants, as well as indirect jobs in production, marketing and distribution…”


Republicans make their own pitch on free trade

“Just a day after President Obama pushed a controversial free trade deal at the Oregon headquarters of athletic manufacturer Nike, Republicans made their own pitch on free trade. “Trade means prosperity. More markets for American products means more jobs and higher wages for American workers,” Rep. Tom McClintock, R-California, said Saturday in a video, introducing the benefits of Trade Promotion Authority (TPA). TPA legislation that “fast-tracks” international trade deals through Congress will soon be up for a vote in the deliberative body, and several legislators in both parties are rooting for its swift passage. The Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities and Accountability Act allows Congress to give an up-or-down vote on any trade deal the White House negotiates but prohibits lawmakers from adding amendments. TPA also gives Congress the ability to set objectives for any future international deals, including target goals for safety and labor standards. The California Republican added that this congressional power is “the key to restarting America’s free trade engine.”…”


GOP frames trade bill as win for Congress

“House Republicans called top-priority trade legislation the “key to restarting America’s trade engine” in a weekly address designed to allay concerns about the measure.  Rep. Tom McClintock (R-Calif.), delivering the GOP’s weekly address, framed the measure as a win for Congress in an explicit rebuke of President Obama. “Some of the right oppose [this bill] because they don’t trust the president and his history of executive overreach,” McClintock said.  “Well, I don’t trust him either. That’s why I support this bill. Without it, he can negotiate anything he wants. Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) binds him to the will of Congress before the agreement is reached.”  The bipartisan legislation would bar lawmakers from amending trade deals by giving Obama fast-track authority. This move, supported by both top Republicans and the White House, is seen as crucial for completing the Trans-Pacific Partnership between the U.S., Japan and 10 other Asian economies.  But Democrats and conservatives have big concerns. GOP leaders are intent on changing minds, and have chosen to focus three consecutive weekly addresses on TPA. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) spoke about trade in previous weeks…”


Obama’s Pacific Trade Push Faces a Senate Vote This Week

“President Obama’s most aggressive and sustained legislative push since the Affordable Care Act faces a crucial first test this week when a divided Senate considers a bill that would grant him accelerated power to complete a massive trade accord with 11 nations across the Pacific Rim. But after lobbying members of Congress in a campaign that has included rides on Air Force One, meetings in the West Wing, private vows of political support and public attacks on critics in his own party, Mr. Obama’s top legislative priority remains at risk. A vote scheduled for Tuesday on legislation that would grant him trade promotion authority, also known as “fast track,” has become mired in a procedural thicket, with Democrats — many of them loyal to labor unions bent on killing the bill — vowing to oppose it. Once Congress grants a president trade promotion authority, lawmakers have the ability to vote up or down on a final trade agreement, but they forfeit the right to amend the deal or filibuster it. The bill before the Senate adds a new twist: If lawmakers decide a final trade accord falls short of their standards, Congress can vote to revoke the president’s authority and then try to amend the deal. It will get only more difficult for the president as the debate moves from the Senate to the House. Republicans on whom Mr. Obama is relying to provide the bulk of the votes for the trade measure are finding their colleagues — many aligned with the Tea Party — reluctant to hand the president a victory. Leaders have warned the White House that they may not be able to supply enough votes to compensate for balky members of the president’s own party…”


Jindal: ‘I don’t trust’ Obama with trade deal powers

“Gov. Bobby Jindal opposes granting President Obama enhanced powers to negotiate trade deals and in an interview rejected a major trade deal with key U.S. allies in Asia. The Louisiana Republican and likely candidate for president in 2016 has previously supported free trade deals and fast-track negotiating authority for presidents. In an interview with the Washington Examiner, Jindal said he hasn’t changed position on these issues but that he cannot support the Trade Promotion Authority legislation currently pending in Congress, and the Trans-Pacific Partnership, an expansive trade agreement that could strengthen bonds between the U.S. and allies in Asia, because he does not trust Obama. “I’m in favor of trade. I’ve been in favor of giving presidents fast-track authority. I’m not in favor of giving this president fast-track authority,” Jindal said. “I don’t trust him to use that authority. This is a president that has broken the law.”…”


Carly Fiorina breaks with GOP on trade deal

“Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina on Sunday came out in opposition to giving President Obama the authority to fast track a massive trade deal with Pacific Rim countries, breaking with the GOP’s free-trade agenda. Mrs. Fiorina, a former chief executive officer of Hewlett Packard, insisted that she supports free trade but said she doesn’t trust Mr. Obama to make a good deal for American workers and businesses. “The devil is usually in the details, and that is particularly true with this president. The truth is we don’t know what’s in this deal,” she said on NBC”s “Meet the Press.” “This administration unfortunately has a track record of burying things in fine print … that turn out to be very different from their selling points,” said Mrs. Fiorina, who announced her White House bid last week. The Senate this week is scheduled to take the first votes on fast-track authority, or trade promotion authority, which would make it much easier for the president to pass the 12-country Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal. The TPP is one of the few areas of agreement between the White House and the Republican-run Congress. But the deal is in jeopardy due to opposition by many Democrats who say it will result in more American jobs shipped overseas and undermine U.S. environmental laws…”


Just enough good economic news for Obama, Fed

“There’s enough encouraging data, barely, to convince top officials in the Obama administration and the Federal Reserve that the recovery remains intact, despite a range of disappointing news in recent weeks. Friday’s jobs report contained just enough positive details to allay fears that the economy is at risk of a serious slowdown. The survey of businesses showed payroll employment growing by 223,000 in April, up from a weak 85,000 in March’s revised numbers. Meanwhile, the survey of households found that employment edged up enough to lower the unemployment rate from 5.5 percent to 5.4 percent, the lowest since May 2008. Outside of job growth, the economic data has been much less encouraging. The gross domestic product grew at just a 0.2 percent rate in the first quarter, the Bureau of Economic Analysis reported in its first estimate. That number may slip into negative territory following this week’s report that the trade deficit for March rose unexpectedly to more than $50 billion. Retail sales, manufacturing and other economic indicators also disappointed throughout the winter….”


Is This Why People Aren’t Spending Their Gas Windfall?

“As soon as gas prices began their descent last year, speculations began about what people would do with the extra money they were pocketing. Spend it eating out? Going shopping? On a gas-guzzling car? While consumers have put their extra discretionary income toward all manner of things, the most common thing they’ve done is not spend it. More than two thirds of consumers say they’ve used their gas windfall to pad their savings account or pay down debt, according to Visa, while only 30% say they’ve spent it. Why? Perhaps because they aren’t sure cheap gas will last. “What drives consumer spending are expectations of future gas prices, not prices today,” says Visa’s chief economist Wayne Best. Gas prices have certainly ticked up this year, with the average cost of a gallon of gas hovering around $2.66 now, above its January low of $2.09. Perhaps unsurprisingly, some 70% of people expect gas prices to rise over the next three months, says Visa. This has impacted the way people are treating the extra jangle in their wallets. Watching gas prices rise has caused consumers “to spend more cautiously and pocket much of the savings from lower prices at the pump,” notes Best…”



Flip-Flop-A-Bee? A Quick Look At Huckabee’s Common Core Evolution

“Mike Huckabee has thrown himself into the presidential race, and he’s eager for the world to know: He despises Common Core, and thinks it must be destroyed. However, the former Arkansas governor’s own past statements reveal that this firm conviction is also a relatively new one, and raise the question of whether his new position is more about political opportunism than true convictions. “[I] oppose Common Core and believe we should abolish the federal department of education. We must kill Common Core and restore common sense,” Huckabee says on his newly-launched presidential campaign website. The page touts Huckabee’s actions as governor of Arkansas, when he “fought for parents, students and local control.” Meanwhile, in a recent tweet (which was later deleted for unknown reasons), the candidate suggests he opposes Common Core for enmeshing the federal government in education….”



“GOP 2016 candidate Mike Huckabee’s photo appears among a list of political, education and business leaders who support the Common Core standards in a book provided to state lawmakers by the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry (LABI). Recently, Huckabee has distanced himself from the controversial education initiative. But some pro-Common Core groups are still including the former Arkansas governor among the supporters of the reform. According to parent activist Caryn Jenkins and other Breitbart News sources in Louisiana, a book titled Common Sense About Common Core was delivered to the state’s legislators this past week by Lane Grigsby, founder and chairman of Cajun Industries and chair of LABI’s Education & Workforce Development Council. The book included a photo of Huckabee, citing his as a Common Core supporter…”



Two years later, IRS probes drag on

“Exactly two years after the IRS first admitted improperly scrutinizing Tea Party groups, congressional investigations into the tax agency show no sign of drawing to a close anytime soon. Congressional Republicans say they are deeply irritated that they haven’t finished off the investigations launched after Lois Lerner apologized for the IRS on May 10, 2013, and insist that President Obama’s Justice Department has stonewalled their efforts. Top lawmakers like Senate Finance Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) note that they’ve only just received thousands of emails to and from Lerner that the IRS said were unrecoverable close to a year ago. Hatch recently said he hoped a bipartisan Finance report, which members once thought could be released more than a year ago, could come out by the end of June. But congressional investigators maintain that they’ll need to make sure they have a fuller accounting of Lerner’s email trail before any reports are circulated. Asked about the repeated delays, Hatch said simply: “Every time we turn around we get more emails.” Congressional committees have received about 5,000 of the roughly 6,400 newly recovered Lerner emails they expect from Treasury’s inspector general for tax administration, a GOP aide said Friday. The aide said that there appears to be little new in the emails, and that the inspector general is expected to issue a broader report on the emails in the coming weeks. Hatch is far from the only GOP lawmakers fuming about the status of the IRS investigation. “That’s so egregious, for the tax collection agency of the United States to be in that kind of shape,” said Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.). “They have nobody to blame but themselves. I’d just like to see some accountability, you know?” But even some Republicans acknowledge that the IRS controversy wasn’t quite the slam dunk case they thought it was two years ago, and House Republicans at least have seemed to put more emphasis on their investigation into the Benghazi attacks over the last year. Still, Republicans aren’t the only group frustrated by the IRS investigations – underscoring that the partisan divisions marking the inquiries aren’t going away, and that controversy will linger long after any reports are issued. Tea Party groups say some organizations are still facing delays from the IRS, and that they believe Lerner and other agency officials are getting off easy….”


Obama’s climate cred: “I’m not a scientist, but I know a lot of scientists.”

“The President took time out of his busy schedule of politicking this week to do some more politicking at a big DNC fundraiser in Portland. During his remarks, President Obama simply couldn’t resist trotting out one of his go to applause lines on climate change when he chose to poke fun at Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) because he brought a snowball to the chamber floor earlier this year. Inhofe had been trying to make a point about how believers in anthropogenic global warming (and the need for the government to regulate us into the ground over it) will use any dramatic weather event to bolster their claims. Their approach, as the Senator notes, is rather humorous since most of those same people scoff if skeptics point to a particularly cold winter or any other personal observations to make arguments to the contrary. The President was jumping into the same trap, though, when he decided to rev up the crowd with a few zingers. Bridget Johnson at PJ Media picked up the details. After flying out to the ballroom of about 300 people paying $33,400 each, Obama took a dig at Inhofe. “We’re going to have to tackle climate change. We’ve got some folks in the center right now who think because we get a snowy day, they bring in snowballs into the chambers and think that’s science,” he quipped as the audience laughed. “I’m not a scientist, but I know a lot of scientists. I can understand science. And what the science says is that our planet is warming in such a way that it is going to increase drought, and it is going to increase wildfires, and it is going to displace millions of people around this planet, and increase the severity of floods and hurricanes, and it will cost lives and it will cost our way of life, and it could affect the incredible natural bounty that Oregon represents. And that’s not the kind of America I want to pass on to our kids and our grandkids.” “That’s why we’re taking actions through the EPA to make sure that we cut carbon pollution that’s produced from power plants. It’s the right thing do.” I have to wonder if there is nobody on the President’s staff who ever pulls him aside after an event to say, “Um… sir? Do you realize that you just accused people of doing something and then turned around and did the exact same thing yourself in the next sentence?” Probably not…”



Tech Crowd Likes Rand Paul’s Stance Against NSA Data Collection. But Net Neutrality? Not So Much.

“Republican presidential candidate Rand Paul sparked applause from a tech-heavy audience Saturday when he criticized the government’s bulk collection of data but drew a more tepid response for his opposition to so-called net neutrality. Appearing at a tech start-up office space in the South of Mission district, Paul reiterated his stance against the National Security Agency collecting and storing data on nearly every American’s phone calls. The practice, aimed at preventing terrorism, has divided Republican presidential candidates…”


TSA managers latest to claim retaliation as whistleblower complaints soar under Obama

Allege punishment after exposing security lapses at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport

“As whistleblower complaints in the Obama administration soar to record levels, one of the latest actions involves a federal agency intervening on behalf of two Transportation Security Administration managers who say they were punished after exposing major security problems at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. The Office of Special Counsel is investigating the complaints of assistant federal security directors Andrew Rhoades and Becky Roering, who say they faced retaliation from supervisors after blowing the whistle on airport security lapses such as improperly handled ammunition found at TSA checkpoints and inadequate background checks on certain travelers. Mr. Rhoades even contends that TSA workers routinely manipulate wait times for passengers shuffling through airport security lines, to make it appear that agents are screening travelers faster than they really are. After their complaints went public, Mr. Rhoades said, he was punished by the top TSA official at the Minneapolis-St. Paul airport, Federal Security Director Cliff VanLeuven, who ordered him to be transferred to Tampa, Florida. “It was a total shock,” Mr. Rhoades said in an interview. “They couldn’t get me on a performance issue, so they reassigned me to try to get me to resign.” Ms. Roering was suspended twice after raising her concerns about security….”


Hillary Clinton email case reopened by federal judge

Joint request to turn over messages agreed upon

“A federal judge has reopened an open-records case trying to pry loose some of former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton’s emails, marking the first time a court has taken action on the email scandal. Judge Reggie B. Walton agreed Friday to a joint request by the State Department and Judicial Watch, which sued in 2012 to get a look at some of Mrs. Clinton’s documents concerning a public relations push. Both sides agreed that the revelation that Mrs. Clinton had kept her own email server separate from the government, and exclusively used her own email account created on that server, meant that she had shielded her messages from valid open-records requests. Now that she has belatedly turned some emails over, the government offered — and Judge Walton confirmed in his ruling — that the agency should search them all to see whether any should have been released to Judicial Watch. “This is the first case that’s been reopened,” Tom Fitton, president of Judicial Watch, said Friday. “It’s a significant development. It points to the fraud by this administration and Mrs. Clinton.” Judicial Watch has filed a series of open-records requests seeking State Department emails and, when the administration failed to comply, has gone to court to force them. Just last week Judicial Watch filed a new batch of eight lawsuits trying to shake loose some of the secret emails, and said that was just the first round…”


Presidential Hopeful Says ‘The American Dream Is Out of Reach’ — and Not Because of Wall Street

“Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker says: “The American dream is out of reach.” In his comments Saturday, he was trumpeting a theme he’s touched on during his earlier visits to South Carolina. Walker said: “It’s not out of reach because of Wall Street. It’s out of reach because of K Street” The “K Street” reference was shorthand for lobbyists in Washington. He said government needs to get of the way and power needs to be put back in the hands of the American people. Walker hasn’t yet declared his candidacy for president in 2016, but with an active political organization and repeated visits to the early voting states, he’s all but sure to get into the race later this year. He’s already a popular figure among many in South Carolina for his efforts as governor to weaken Wisconsin’s public employee unions. This state’s GOP governor, Nikki Haley, has been a fierce critic of organized labor during her efforts to recruit major manufacturing plants from the automobile and aeronautics industry to South Carolina. Walker planned to leave from South Carolina for what he described as “an educational trip” to Israel. He will be there until Thursday…”


Bush knocks White House over religious freedom

“Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush attacked the White House for what he characterized as an “aggressive stance against” religious freedom during a commencement address at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia. “As usual, the present administration is supporting the use of coercive federal power,” Bush, who is weighing a White House bid in 2016, told Liberty’s graduating class Saturday. “What should be easy calls, in favor of religious freedom, have instead become an aggressive stance against it.” In a speech peppered with calls to bring back the “Christian voice” to the world, where it “sometimes isn’t heard enough,” Bush also lobbed specific attacks at White House policies. The likely Republican presidential candidate made a scathing reference to President Obama’s Affordable Care Act (ACA) when listing modern attacks against members of the Christian faith….”


Bush: Obama administration using ‘coercive federal power’ to curb religious freedom

“Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush on Saturday condemned the Obama administration’s use of “coercive federal power” to limit religious freedom as he courted Christian conservatives at a Liberty University commencement ahead of a likely presidential run.  Charging that “the Christian voice” isn’t heard enough in the world, the Republican White House prospect lashed out at the Democratic president’s administration for “demanding obedience in complete disregard of religious conscience.”  “The present administration is supporting the use of coercive federal power. What should be easy calls in favor of religious freedom have instead become an aggressive stance against it,” Bush told an estimated 34,000 gathered for a graduation ceremony.  “Somebody here is being small-minded and intolerant, and it sure isn’t the nuns, ministers, and laymen and women who ask only to live and practice their faith,” he said. Bush was speaking inside a packed football stadium at Liberty University, an institution founded by the late conservative culture warrior, Rev. Jerry Falwell.  Bush, a converted Catholic, is preparing to enter a Republican primary contest that includes Republican competitors considered far more popular with the GOP’s religious right. Texas Sen. Ted Cruz formally announced his presidential campaign at Liberty University last month. Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, a Baptist pastor, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and former Texas Gov. Rick Perry have all made their Christian faith a centerpiece of prospective campaigns…”


Jeb blasts Obama on religious freedom: ‘Somebody here is being small-minded’

“Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush blasted the Obama administration on Saturday for limiting religious freedom. He added that “the Christian voice” isn’t heard enough in the world during his commencement speech at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia. The likely 2016 GOP candidate condemned President Obama during his commencement speech at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia for using “coercive federal power” to squash religious freedom and accused the administration of “demanding obedience in complete disregard of religious conscience,” The Associated Press reported. “Somebody here is being small-minded and intolerant, and it sure isn’t the nuns, ministers, and laymen and women who ask only to live and practice their faith,” Mr. Bush said to an estimated 34,000 gathered for the graduation ceremony at the university’s football stadium…”



“Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) will reportedly formally enter the 2016 presidential race in June, according to reports. Politico reported that Graham has been “telling donors that June 1 is the likely date for his presidential announcement,” which would likely take place “near his home base of Seneca,” South Carolina. Graham has vowed to highlight his hawkish foreign policy views and national security credentials in a campaign. He was also a member of the Senate’s Gang of Eight that pushed for comprehensive amnesty legislation last year and has said he would veto any bill that does not give full citizenship to illegal immigrants. “If I were president of the United States, I would veto any bill that did not have a pathway to citizenship,” Graham, one of the most vocal pro-amnesty Republicans, recently told USA Today. Graham was in fourth place in a recent Winthrop University South Carolina primary poll, getting 7.6% support. But more than six in 10 Evangelicals in the Palmetto State said they “cannot see themselves supporting Graham.” Just 58.2% of South Carolinians approved of Graham’s job performance compared to 79% for Gov. Nikki Haley (R) and 83% for Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) 88%.”


New Hampshire Poll: Republican Field Tightens, Hillary Clinton Still Out in Front Among Democrats


Julian Castro ‘only’ veep prospect for top Clintonians, says source

“Top members of Team Hillary are already pushing Julian Castro as her vice presidential nominee, with one source telling me last week that right now, there isn’t even a second choice. “There’s only one person the top guys are looking at right now, and that’s Julian,” said the source, who is close to top Clinton officials. “They know the Republicans are making a big push this cycle for the Hispanic vote, so that makes Castro an easy pick — and an obvious pick.” The source said the Clintons still remember that Julian Castro, along with his brother, Joaquin, were early backers of Mrs. Clinton in her 2008 run, and the Clintons are known to pay back their friends, just as they do their foes. Although Mrs. Clinton is far from clinching the Democratic nomination for president, her path is fairly uncluttered. So far, she faces a 73-year-old senator from Vermont and a one-time governor of Maryland. But the former is a socialist who longs for redistribution of wealth and the latter was once mayor of Baltimore, which imploded in race riots. Neither is seen as a serious threat. Also in the wings is Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, but the Clinton source said the odds of Mrs. Clinton picking another woman for the ticket are “zero.” The source said that also likely eliminates Wendy Davis, the liberal darling of Texas Democrats….”



“At the South Carolina Freedom Summit on Saturday, former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton said that Hillary Clinton was not fit to be president of the United States because she did not take necessary steps to protect Americans in Libya. On the day that Ambassador Christopher Stevens, along with three other brave Americans, was killed in Benghazi, Bolton said that “not only was nothing done, the response of the administration was to go home. The president left the Oval office in the situation room to go to the residence. Hillary Clinton left the State Department to go home.” Not once did Clinton call the secretary of defense to see what the status of the embassy was at that time. “She didn’t stay in a way the six secretaries of state that  I worked for would have stayed. They would have stayed there all night to protect our people in danger overseas. Hillary Clinton went home. That act alone disqualifies her from being president of the United States,” Bolton exhorted. Bolton expressed his anger that, after the entire sordid Benghazi affair, the U.S. government arrested just one of the people responsible and brought them back for a full due process criminal trial. The ambassador asked, “What lesson does that send to the terrorists all around the world? What lessons does it send to the state sponsors of terrorism all around the world who arm and equip them and finance them? I’ll tell you what it says. It says an American ambassador, who is the personal representative of the president of the United States overseas, can be murdered by a group of terrorists with complete impunity.”…”


Bernie Sanders’s presidential candidacy four decades in the making

Since his first bid for Senate in 1974, Bernie Sanders’s message has remained the same: Too much of the America’s wealth has gone to the top.

“Once a democratic socialist, always a democratic socialist. Once a scold of big money in politics, still a scold. No one can accuse Sen. Bernie Sanders of flip-flopping over his four decades in public life. Rock steady, he’s inhabited the same ideological corner on the left from which he now takes on Hillary Rodham Clinton in an improbable quest for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2016. Here he is in 1974, as the 32-year-old candidate for U.S. Senate of a fledgling leftist party in Vermont called Liberty Union: “A handful of banks and billionaires control the economic and political life of America. … America is becoming less and less of a democracy and more and more of an oligarchy.”…”


Sanders: I’m ‘most progressive’ member of Congress


Age counts: 92 percent of Americans prefer a presidential candidate under 60

“How old is too old to run for president? Americans have an age range in mind. Consider that the current crop of presidential hopefuls ranges in age from 43 to 75 – and in the middle is Gov. Scott Walker checking in at 47, Sen. Rand Paul at 52, Martin O’Malley at 53, Jeb Bush at 63, Hillary Clinton at 67. Too name a few. But now there’s a YouGov poll revealing what age Americans actually prefer. Less than 1 percent look to anyone over 70. And the rest of the numbers: 8 percent prefer a candidate from 60-69 years old, 9 percent want someone under 40, 38 percent preferred a candidate between 40 and 49 and 44 percent went for the 50-59 set. Analyst William Jordan did the basic math here and reports that, essentially, 92 percent of the nation would like somebody under 60 on the ballot. The survey also revealed that 47 percent say “strength and experience” is more important for a presidential candidate than “new direction and new ideas,” preferred by 39 percent. Mr. Jordan cited Ronald Reagan as a prime example of someone who handled his age very well. In 1984, the 73-year old Gipper effectively neutralized it during the second debate with 56-year old Walter Mondale, Mr. Jordan notes. “I want you to know that also I will not make age an issue of this campaign,” Reagan told his opponent. “I am not going to exploit, for political purposes, my opponent’s youth and inexperience.”…”


Huckabee: ‘We are at war with radical Islam’

“Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (R) on Sunday said the U.S. is at war with “radical Islam.” “We are at war with jihadism,” Huckabee told host Bob Schieffer on CBS’s “Face the Nation.”

“The people who believe that their purpose on Earth is to kill everybody who doesn’t … agree with them religiously, yes, we’re at war with that,” he said. “We are not at war with Islam,” he added. Huckabee also argued that President Obama’s hesitancy to admit the existence of Islamic extremism endangered American lives. “You can’t beat an enemy if you don’t define it,” he said. “The sooner we accept that, the sooner we can fight it, surround it and ultimately defeat it,” the 2016 GOP presidential candidate added of radical Islam. Huckabee said that if elected president he would tighten border security to prevent possible infiltration of terrorists. “Locally and here in our own country, we need to have some control of our own borders,” he said. Huckabee additionally said he would refocus U.S intelligence priorities on actual terrorist threats rather than average Americans…”


Report: Obama lied about bin Laden raid

“An expose published on Sunday alleges that President Obama deceived Americans with his narrative of the 2011 assassination of Osama bin Laden. Author Seymour M. Hersh accuses Obama of rushing to take credit for the al Qaeda leader’s death. This decision, Hersh argues in the London Review of Books, forced the military and intelligence communities to scramble and then corroborate the president’s version of events. “High-level lying nonetheless remains the modus operandi of U.S. policy, along with secret prisons, drone attacks, Special Forces night raids, bypassing the chain of command, and cutting out those who might say no,” Hersh wrote of the Obama administration’s counterterrorism policies. Hersh based his report on a single, anonymous source. This individual, he said, is a “retired senior intelligence official who was knowledgeable about the initial intelligence about bin Laden’s presence in Abottabad.” Hersh’s source alleged that the Pakistani government had an active role in approving and implementing the raid on bin Laden’s compound. In addition, the source said that the Obama administration originally agreed to announce bin Laden had been killed in a drone strike rather than shot during an active Special Forces mission. “Obama’s speech was put together in a rush,” Hersh wrote of Obama’s announcement of Operation Neptune Spear to Americans…”


Obama Administration Defends Guantanamo Transfers

GOP lawmaker suggests move of detainees to Uruguay fell short of security standards

“The Obama administration defended its December transfer of six Guantanamo Bay detainees to Uruguay, rejecting suggestions by a senior House Republican that the resettlement fell short of security standards Congress imposed on releases from the offshore prison. In a Friday letter to House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R., Calif.), Assistant Secretary of State Julia Frifield said the U.S. and Uruguayan governments are “fully committed to mitigating the potential threat” the former detainees pose, “as it is strongly in our mutual interest.” She said those measures previously were explained in classified documents and briefings for committee staff, the most recent on April 28. While most Guantanamo Bay transfers are arranged in great secrecy, the Uruguay deal has unfolded in the public spotlight. Then-President José Mujica announced his willingness to accept detainees early last year, but months of wrangling over security details, as well as political considerations in the South American nation, delayed the transfer. For their part, the ex-detainees have hardly melted into obscurity. Four have been camping in a park across from the American Embassy in the capital of Montevideo, to underscore their demands for compensation from the U.S. for more than 12 years imprisonment without trial. In interviews with The Wall Street Journal and other news organizations, the former prisoners—three Syrians and one Tunisian—have complained about the difficulty of adjusting to a country where they don’t speak Spanish and have neither family connections nor career opportunities. The publicity has damped the interest of other countries in the region to accept transfers from the prison at the U.S. military base in Cuba, a U.S. official said, and already led one government to back away from a deal. Nevertheless, the official said that as many as eight detainees could be transferred as early as June, following a 30-day advance notice to Congress. That notice requirement is among the less severe restrictions that Congress imposed on transfers from the prison after President Barack Obama took office. Those rules were loosened in 2013, helping the administration expedite several transfers and cutting the number of detainees cleared for release to the current 57. Even more would have been discharged, but discord between the Defense and State departments has interfered with the release of some detainees for whom repatriation or resettlement arrangements have been made…”


First DHS secretary: Today’s threats worse than post-9/11

“The first Department of Homeland Security (DHS) secretary said Sunday that the threats from abroad are worse today than what the United States faced immediately following the 9/11 attacks. Tom Ridge, who served as DHS secretary from 2003 to 2005, painted a bleak picture of the dangers posed by groups like the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS). “The threats are much more serious and much more complicated than on Sept. 12, 2001,” he told CNN’s “State of the Union,” adding that law enforcement is overwhelmed by the possibility of a domestic, lone-wolf attack. The comments came during a segment on the ISIS threat in the wake of an attempted attack on a Prophet Muhammad cartoon contest in a Dallas suburb. ISIS has claimed responsibility for the assault, though law enforcement say ties to the terrorist group have not been verified. Brett McGurk, U.S. envoy for Iraq and Iran, emphasized repeatedly in an interview that defeating ISIS is going to take years. “We’ve been clear from day one … it is going to take a very long time to defeat [them],” he told CNN….”


DHS secretary: Lone-wolf attackers could ‘strike at any moment’