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  • Remember the à la Mode: Texas lawmaker looks to end federal rules limiting school bake sales
    Posted September 9, 2014 at 3:16 pm by Pete Kasperowicz

    Comments (1)

    Rep. Ted Poe (R-Texas) proposed legislation Tuesday that would strike down a federal rule that puts limits on the sale of baked goods, sweets and other non-healthy foods during the school day to raise money for sports, band and other activities.

    “Turn off the ovens, the school bake sales are over,” Poe declared on the House floor Tuesday. Poe said bake sales had been used by parents, teachers and students to help fund a range of activities.

    (more…)

  • GOP senator: No buying pot with federal welfare benefits
    Posted September 9, 2014 at 1:43 pm by Pete Kasperowicz

    Comments (12)

    Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) said Tuesday he would soon introduce legislation that would prohibit people from using their federal welfare benefits at marijuana dispensaries.

    Sessions said his decision was prompted by a late July letter he received from Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell, who said HHS currently has no authority to stop people from using their Electronic Benefit Transfer cards in stores that sell pot. (more…)

  • Most transparent administration in history? Justice Department’s own watchdog says department is obstructing its work
    Posted September 9, 2014 at 11:05 am by Pete Kasperowicz

    Comments (3)

    The Justice Department’s Office of Inspector General testified Tuesday that senior-level officials at the department are preventing the OIG from accessing documents and other information, which is stopping it from conducting proper oversight under the Inspector General Act.

    “The FBI and some other Department components have not read Section 6(a) of the IG Act as giving my office access to all records in their possession and therefore have refused our requests for various types of Department records,” Inspector General Michael Horowitz testified in his prepared remarks. “As a result, a number of our reviews have been significantly impeded.”

    Image source: AP/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, File

    The Justice Department, run by Attorney General Eric Holder, is blocking its own internal watchdog group from accessing certain documents. AP/Pablo Martinez Monsivais

    (more…)

  • Some pundits are now suggesting just printing money and giving it away
    Posted September 9, 2014 at 10:55 am by Benjamin Weingarten

    Comments (45)

    Vox, the explanatory journalism site with a particularly leftist bent, has an article out endorsing the idea that the Federal Reserve literally print cash and send it to Americans to stimulate the economy.

    The idea was initially proposed in an article in Foreign Affairs, published by the prominent Council on Foreign Relations and written by Mark Blyth, a professor at Brown University and Eric Lonergan, a London-based hedge fund manager.

    Image source: ShutterStock.com

    (Image source: ShutterStock.com)

    As Blyth and Lonergan put it, the Federal Reserve’s policies to date

    have only fed a damaging cycle of booms and busts, warping incentives and distorting asset prices, and now economic growth is stagnating while inequality gets worse. It’s well past time, then, for U.S. policymakers — as well as their counterparts in other developed countries — to consider a version of [Milton] Friedman’s helicopter drops [of money to the public]. In the short term, such cash transfers could jump-start the economy. Over the long term, they could reduce dependence on the banking system for growth and reverse the trend of rising inequality. The transfers wouldn’t cause damaging inflation, and few doubt that they would work. The only real question is why no government has tried them.

    They continue:

    In practice, this policy could take the form of giving central banks the ability to hand their countries’ tax-paying households a certain amount of money. The government could distribute cash equally to all households or, even better, aim for the bottom 80 percent of households in terms of income. Targeting those who earn the least would have two primary benefits. For one thing, lower-income households are more prone to consume, so they would provide a greater boost to spending. For another, the policy would offset rising income inequality.

    We could raise a number of objections that sound money proponents and free marketeers more broadly would have to such a policy.

    But perhaps the simplest and most fundamental question that needs to be considered in connection with such a scheme is that of what the purpose of money is. As Steve Forbes, with whom we recently spoke, writes in his new book, “Money“:

    “[M]oney is not wealth. It is like a scale or a ruler–a measure of value.”
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    [M]oney is not wealth. It is like a scale or a ruler–a measure of value.

    …Money is a standard of measurement, like a ruler or a clock, but instead of measuring inches or time, it measures what something is worth.

    As Henry Hazlitt argued in his essential “Economics In One Lesson,” published in 1946 in anticipation of ideas put forth like those proffered by Blyth and Londergan:

    Economics in One Lesson2

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    In our own day the most persistent argument put forward for inflation is that it will “get the wheels of industry turning” that it will save us from the irretrievable losses of stagnation and idleness and bring “full employment.” This argument in its cruder form rests on the immemorial confusion between money and real wealth. It assumes that new “purchasing power” is being brought into existence, and that the effects of this new purchasing power multiply themselves in ever-widening circles, like the ripples caused by a stone thrown into a pond. The real purchasing power for goods, however, as we have seen, consists of other goods. It cannot be wondrously increased merely by printing more pieces of paper called dollars. Fundamentally what happens in an exchange economy is that the things that A produces are exchanged for the things that B produces.

    What inflation really does is to change the relationships of prices and costs.

    Hazlitt concludes chapter 22 of his book, “The Mirage of Inflation,” which we recommend be read in full, holding no punches when it comes to his sentiments on inflation:

    Like every other tax, inflation acts to determine the individual and business policies we are all forced to follow. It discourages all prudence and thrift. It encourages squandering, gambling, reckless waste of all kinds. It often makes it more profitable to speculate than to produce. It tears apart the whole fabric of stable economic relationships. Its inexcusable injustices drive men toward desperate remedies. It plants the seeds of fascism and communism. It leads men to demand totalitarian controls. It ends invariably in bitter disillusion and collapse.

    “[I]nflation…plants the seeds of fascism and communism”
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    Jumping back to Forbes’ “Money”:

    The great periods of job creation and growth throughout history were not responses to changes in currency values. They were the work of entrepreneurs responding to real-world needs by coming up with innovations, from the invention of the steam engine to the creation of the personal computers…one of the most creative periods of technological innovation, the late nineteenth century, occurred during a rare interlude of stable money and unimpeded capital creation, the era of the classical gold standard.

    For our money, perhaps most telling is what the founders themselves felt about currency and its debasement. This was perhaps best illustrated in section 19 of the Coinage Act of 1792, which established the U.S. Mint and regulated the coins of the United States. It reads as follows:

    And be it further enacted, That if any of the gold or silver coins which shall be struck or coined at the said Mint shall be debased or made worse as to the proportion of fine gold or fine silver therein contained, or shall be of less weight or value than the same ought to be pursuant to connivance of any of the officers or persons who shall be employed at the said Mint, for the purpose of profit or gain, officers or persons shall embezzle any of the metals which shall at any time be committed to their charge for the purpose of being coined at the said Mint, every such officer or person who shall commit any or either of the said offences, shall be deemed guilty of felony, and shall suffer death.

     

    Note: The link to the books in this post will give you an option to elect to donate a percentage of the proceeds from the sale to a charity of your choice. Mercury One, the charity founded by TheBlaze’s Glenn Beck, is one of the options. Donations to Mercury One go towards efforts such as disaster relief, support for education, support for Israel and support for veterans and our military. You can read more about Amazon Smile and Mercury One here.

    Follow Ben Weingarten (@bhweingarten) and TheBlazeBooks on Twitter and Facebook.

    You can find all of our Blaze Books interviews on Soundcloud and Stitcher, and subscribe to our podcast automatically via iTunes.

  • Homeland Security wants $1.2 billion for ongoing border enforcement efforts
    Posted September 9, 2014 at 9:07 am by Pete Kasperowicz

    Comments (3)

    The Department of Homeland Security is asking Congress to approve a $1.2 billion supplemental spending bill to cover the costs of increased border enforcement efforts, and its decision to take money from other government functions to deal with the crisis at the southern U.S. border.

    DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson said Monday that while the crisis seems to have abated, efforts over the past several months have drained DHS’s coffers, and said Congress needs to pay up for an emergency it has yet to fund.

    Jeh Johnson is President Barack Obama's nominee to be Homeland Security secretary. (Getty Images)

    Secretary of State Jeh Johnson is asking Congress to approve a $1.2 billion spending bill to fund ongoing border operations. (Getty Images)

    (more…)

  • Senate advances Dem bill to amend the Constitution, but the proposal is still fated to die later
    Posted September 8, 2014 at 7:17 pm by Pete Kasperowicz

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    The Senate on Monday evening advanced a controversial Democratic bill to amend the Constitution so Congress would have the authority to regulate political speech by corporations and other groups, an idea most Republicans are calling a dangerous plan to weaken the First Amendment.

    The bill was able to move ahead only with the help of several GOP senators, but Senate aides said Republicans only did this to keep alive a debate they believe they are winning. With the Monday night vote, the GOP will get to argue for a few more days that Democrats are looking to undermine the cherished free-speech Amendment, and then move to kill the bill.

    Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nev., walks to the microphones to speak to reporters following a Democratic luncheon on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, July 8, 2014. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh) AP Photo/Susan Walsh

    Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is spending several days on controversial legislation that is fated to die by the end of the week. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

    GOP aides also said allowing the doomed bill to advance for now will stop Democrats from calling up other ideas, and effectively force Democrats to use up the week on one bill that’s going nowhere.

    Democrats called up their language in a procedural vote to officially start debating the bill, and needed a handful of Republicans to get there. More than 20 Republicans obliged, and the Democratic language advanced in a 79-18 vote.

    But the next vote to end debate on the bill, likely to take place Thursday, is expected to be blocked by Republicans.

    Democrats have spent weeks talking about the need to amend the Constitution because of two Supreme Court rulings. One of these, Citizens United vs. the Federal Election Commission, said the government has no right to limit spending on politics-related communications.

    The other, McCutcheon vs. FEC, said the government can’t set aggregate limits on the amount of money that people contribute to various campaigns.

    Democrats say these rulings have led to a flood of unregulated money that needs to be stopped, lest corporations use their access to millions of dollars unfairly blast ads that favor them across the country. In floor debate Monday, Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said it’s unfair that one of his Senate colleagues has been subjected to hundreds of negative ads in her district.

    Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) made the seemingly contradictory argument that the Democratic effort to put limits on political speech is needed to protect the right to free speech.

    “Their constitutional amendment is about restoring freedom of speech for everyone in America, whether you’re a billionaire, a millionaire, upper middle class, middle class, lower middle class, poor, homeless,” Reid said of the Democratic proposal.

    But Republicans roundly rejected the idea as a detestable attempt to change the First Amendment in an effort to secure political gains in elections. Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) said the point of the First Amendment is to protect all speech, and not to allow exceptions for speech that politicians oppose.

    “These efforts should not only be not supported, they should be repudiated, firmly, loudly and unapologetically,” he said.

    “As written, the First Amendment does not permit regulation of the sort the majority wishes to impose,” added Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.). “So they have decided to re-write it. This is incredible… and a sad demonstration of the lengths to which this majority is willing to go in its quest to retain power.”

  • The Ohio State University marching band is back with a brilliant halftime show
    Posted September 8, 2014 at 5:28 pm by Mike Opelka

    Comments (1)

    Football is back! With the return of football also comes the return of the halftime show. One of the most anticipated halftime performances happens at home games for the Ohio State University Buckeyes.

    This past weekend, the Buckeyes played a home again against Virginia Tech. As the first half of play ended, the OSU band stormed the field and formed two classic television sets, complete with “rabbit ears” antennas.

    Image: YouTube

    Image: YouTube

    The entire performance featured theme songs from classic TV shows as the band formed some very intricate patterns on the field — some that moved across the gridiron as they continued playing music.

    The nine-minute musical montage showcased the band playing snippets of the theme songs from TV shows that spanned four decades.

    However, the music just part of the show. The OSU band also manages to execute a series of complicated formations as they play the TV themes.

    Image: YouTube

    Image: YouTube

    The Batmobile (above) — complete with smoke from the tail pipe — was there.

    Bart Simpson skateboarded across the field.

    And the entire Brady Bunch waved to the crowd from inside their iconic show opening boxes.

    Watch the entire performance and see how many songs you recognize:

    _

    Follow Mike Opelka (@Stuntbrain) on Twitter.

  • Team Obama, wrongly breathing a sigh of relief at Russia’s agreeing to ceasefire with Ukraine
    Posted September 8, 2014 at 4:02 pm by Chris Salcedo

    Comments (1)

    Given the childish behavior of team Obama when it comes to foreign policy, it’s understandable that the liberals in the White House are once again breathing a sigh of relief as Russia seems to be pulling Obama’s fat from the fire.

    Who can forget Obama dodging accountability for his infamous “red line” on chemical weapons use in Syria? An off-the-cuff comment by  Secretary of State John Kerry and voila: Vladimir Putin swept in and made Obama look a fool in front of the entire world.

    Once again Russia appears to be solving another crisis that the unqualified and feckless Obama is ill-equipped to handle. On the show this weekend, Michael Rubin of the American Enterprise Institute said Obama shouldn’t pop the champagne corks just yet.  It turns out that Putin isn’t done having his way with Obama.

    Additionally, Staff Sergeant Michael Golembeskyan eight year vet with the U.S. Marine Corps, talked about his new book, Level Zero Heroes. We also talked politics with Florida talk show host Ed Dean.

    Cue to the 1:55:20 mark:

    As a side note, the Chris Salcedo Show is in the middle of a two week celebration of our one year anniversary!

  • New excuses from global warming alarmists
    Posted September 8, 2014 at 3:46 pm by Stu Burguiere

    Comments (2)

    Have you heard a lot of excuses coming from the left as to why global warming has “stopped” taking place? Today on Pat & Stu we went through the “29 excuses” for the 18 year “pause” in global warming.

    Take a listen at the 1:05:35 mark:

  • Harry Reid says amending the Constitution to regulate political speech is really about ‘restoring freedom of speech’
    Posted September 8, 2014 at 3:03 pm by Pete Kasperowicz

    Comments (48)

    Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) argued Monday that the Democratic effort to amend the Constitution so Congress can impose limits on political spending by companies is really about “restoring freedom of speech for everyone in America.”

    Reid, on his first day back in the Senate after a five week recess, said the Democratic proposal is aimed at reversing two Supreme Court decisions, which said the government has no authority to limit certain political communications from companies, or to limit aggregate spending on campaigns by individuals.

    Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nev., speaks to reporters following a Democratic luncheon on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, July 8, 2014. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh) AP Photo/Susan Walsh

    Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Monday that the Democratic effort to restrict political speech is really an effort to restore freedom of speech. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

    (more…)

  • This is the kid everyone wants on a wedding reception dance floor
    Posted September 8, 2014 at 2:22 pm by Liz Klimas

    Comments (7)

    Children on the dance floor are the highlight of many wedding receptions, and this one is no exception.

    “Look at this kid go. Yes, he is fabulous,” Brian Weir, who posted the video on YouTube recently, said as commentary to a little boy cutting a rug.

    Image source: YouTube

    Image source: YouTube

    Watch the kid’s moves:

    Weir didn’t provide other details about the wedding.

    (H/T Gawker)

  • Democrat asks NFL to rethink penalty against Ray Rice
    Posted September 8, 2014 at 1:43 pm by Pete Kasperowicz

    Comments (4)

    Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) on Monday called on the National Football League to reconsider the two-game suspension it gave to Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice for domestic violence, after a new video was released showing the violent altercation between the two.

    The video shows Rice and his then-fiance Janay Palmer entering an elevator in an Atlantic City casino. Rice hit Palmer in the elevator twice — the second hit forced her off her feet, and she hit her head on a railing on the way down.

    Janay Rice, back left, looks on as her husband, Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice, speaks during an NFL football news conference, Friday, May 23, 2014, at the team's practice facility in Owings Mills, Md. Ray Rice spoke to the media for the first time since his arrest for assaulting his fiance, now his wife, at a casino in Atlantic City, N.J.  (AP/Patrick Semansky)

    A Senate Democrat is asking the NFL to impose a tougher penalty against Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice, after a new video shows him punching his then-fiancee in a casino elevator. (AP/Patrick Semansky)

    (more…)

  • Conservative groups say Export-Import Bank a key test of GOP principles
    Posted September 8, 2014 at 10:22 am by Pete Kasperowicz

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    Two major conservative groups are pushing House GOP leaders to terminate the Export-Import Bank this month, and letting the Bank expire is a key test of whether Republicans are serious about advancing conservative principles.

    “The Export-Import Bank is a small thing, this we know,” the Club for Growth and Heritage Action for America wrote Monday to House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.). “But Leader McCarthy, if you can’t start with the Export-Import Bank, then how can Americans trust the Republican Party to tackle the big challenges our nation faces after six years of President Obama and his failed policies?”

    House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy of Calif., arrives for GOP leadership elections, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, June 19, 2014. House Republicans elected McCarthy as majority leader, party's No. 2 post. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite) AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

    Rep. Kevin McCarthy of Calif. is being asked by conservatives to allow the Export-Import Bank to expire this month, which is posing an early dilemma for the new Majority Leader. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

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  • Ted Cruz says it’s ‘unacceptable’ for Obama to proceed against Islamic State without Congress
    Posted September 8, 2014 at 9:22 am by Pete Kasperowicz

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    Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) on Sunday insisted that President Barack Obama must coordinate with Congress on a stately for protecting U.S. national security interests from the Islamic State.

    Cruz was reacting to Obama’s televised statement on Sunday, which Cruz said shows Obama still has no plan for dealing with the terrorist group even after the beheading of two U.S. journalists.

    Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas speaks at the Faith and Freedom Coalition's Road to Majority event in Washington, Thursday, June 19, 2014. Some of the Republican Party's most ambitious leaders are courting religious conservatives as evangelical Christians claim new momentum in their fight for the GOP's soul. (AP Photo/Molly Riley) AP Photo/Molly Riley

    Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) says President Obama must consult with and get approval from Congress before launching a strategy against the Islamic State. (AP Photo/Molly Riley)

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  • Doctor: Ebola virus cases may be underreported by as much ‘double or triple’
    Posted September 7, 2014 at 8:41 am by Mike Opelka

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    Despite knowing that he had symptoms of the Ebola virus, a Nigerian diplomat boards a plane in Liberia and flies from that small country to his nation’s capital city of Lagos, a city with 21 million people. The man was fleeing a quarantine meant to contain the Ebola virus. Instead, his body — now a host for the disease — was transporting the highly contagious and deadly, single-strand virus to Nigeria’s largest city.

    Image: CELLOU BINANI/AFP/Getty Images

    Image: CELLOU BINANI/AFP/Getty Images

    It sounds like a plot from a medical sci-fi thriller, but it is not fiction.

    This is quite real.

    The diplomat was treated by a doctor and appears to have survived. However, the doctor was not so fortunate. He died less than three weeks after the encounter.

    The Nigerian doctor who visited the diplomat in his hotel room and became infected with Ebola also saw hundreds of patients — operating on at least two of them before he ultimately passed away from the disease.

    Nigeria’s government acted quickly to try to stop the outbreak from engulfing the region. However, with hundreds of people who had close contact with the now-deceased doctor and several others who were infected, it may be a losing battle.

    According to a recent ABC News report, the World Health Organization (WHO) claims this latest Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Nigeria has killed nearly 2,000 people and infected just over 3,600.

    With the possibility of the Ebola outbreak widening in the region and eventually spanning the globe, this writer reached out to Board Certified Internal Medicine specialist Dr. Jorge Rodriguez for more information.

    During an interview on Saturday’s “Pure Opelka” radio program, Rodriguez, the show’s frequent medical contributor, shared some of his concerns about the latest news in the Ebola story.

    “What’s scary is, it’s now in Nigeria, a country whose capital city has over ten million people,” he said. “And this was all caused by a person that landed there from Liberia.”

    In the brief discussion about the mysterious disease, Rodriguez shared some startling information, including, ”This thing is a lot more contagious than we’re being given…or we’re being told about.”

    “What scares me the most, and I think I mentioned this before, doctors and nurses are the ones getting this, dying from it and transmitting it,” Rodriguez added. “So, I think there’s a lot more about Ebola and how it’s transmitted that we don’t know.”

    When Opelka asked “Dr. Jorge” about the numbers of patients who have contracted Ebola, his response could easily be cause for alarm.

    “The head of the CDC said, ‘It’s much worse than what’s being reported.’” He clarified his statement by adding, “The countries there have very poor medical facilities and reporting facilities. I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s double or triple what we’re told.”

    Dr. Jorge’s segment starts at the 10:30 mark of the recording.


    __

    Follow Mike Opelka (@Stuntbrain) on Twitter.

  • House looking to stop EPA’s overreach on water regulation
    Posted September 5, 2014 at 3:58 pm by Pete Kasperowicz

    Comments (20)

    The House next week is expected to pass legislation that would prevent the Environmental Protection Agency from rewriting Clean Water Act rules without permission from Congress.

    GOP leaders are expected to bring up the Waters of the United States Regulatory Overreach Protection Act. The bill, which has five Democratic cosponsors, is a reaction to a rule from the EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers from expanding federal regulation over a broader range of U.S. waters.

    WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 23: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Gina McCarthy testifies before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee on Capitol Hill, July 23, 2014 in Washington, DC. The committee heard testimony on EPA's proposed carbon pollution standards for existing power plants. Mark Wilson/Getty Images

    The Environmental Protection Agency, run by Administrator Gina McCarthy, has proposed a rule that would expand the EPA’s authority over water. House Republicans are hoping to stop that rule. Mark Wilson/Getty Images

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  • Cruz says Americans fighting with Islamic State should no longer be U.S. citizens
    Posted September 5, 2014 at 2:37 pm by Pete Kasperowicz

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    Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) next week will introduce legislation that would treat Americans as non-citizens if they decide to leave the country to fight alongside the Islamic State, or any other foreign entity designated as a terrorist group.

    Cruz’s Expatriate Terrorist Act is a response to reports that dozens of Americans have left to fight with the Islamic State, and that some have even been allowed to return home.

    Image source: YouTube

    Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) will soon propose a bill stripping people’s U.S. citizenship if they leave the country to fight with the Islamic State. Image source: YouTube

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  • Senate to vote next week on Dem proposal for amending the Constitution
    Posted September 5, 2014 at 1:46 pm by Pete Kasperowicz

    Comments (164)

    The Senate is scheduled to hold a procedural vote next week on amending the Constitution to let Congress regulate campaign spending.

    Sen. Tom Udall (D-N.M.) proposed a resolution to amend the Constitution in the wake of two recent Supreme Court decisions that Democrats opposed.

    Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nev. speaks with reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, April 1, 2014, following a Senate Policy Luncheon. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen) AP Photo/Cliff Owen

    Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) plans to hold a vote Monday on a Democratic plan to amend the Constitution. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)

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  • While the world focuses elsewhere, is China tightening its grip on Hong Kong?
    Posted September 5, 2014 at 11:46 am by Benjamin Weingarten

    Comments (1)

    Recently we have been pouring over “Reagan, In His Own Hand: The Writings of Ronald Reagan that Reveal His Revolutionary Vision for America,” a collection of numerous speeches written by Reagan primarily in the years leading up to his 1980 run for the presidency.

    One such speech on treaties — and how frequently throughout history they have been broken — is ringing particularly timely, not just in light of the ongoing Iranian nuclear negotiations or Russia’s eastward march, but in context of two recent stories out of Hong Kong, where as the New York Times writes, “Pro-democracy advocates…are girding for what some predict will be a tense final showdown with the Chinese government over whether Beijing will permit genuine democracy…in the former British colony.”

    Pro-democracy lawmakers display placards against Li Fei, deputy secretary general of the National People’s Congress' Standing Committee, during a briefing session in Hong Kong Monday, Sept. 1, 2014. Hong Kong pro-democracy legislators have disrupted the Beijing official’s speech as he sought to explain a decision to tightly limit voting reforms for the southern Chinese financial hub. The placards read "Break a promise" and "Shameful."  (Image Source: AP Photo/Kin Cheung)

    Pro-democracy lawmakers display placards against Li Fei, deputy secretary general of the National People’s Congress’ Standing Committee, during a briefing session in Hong Kong Monday, September 1, 2014. Hong Kong pro-democracy legislators have disrupted the Beijing official’s speech as he sought to explain a decision to tightly limit voting reforms for the southern Chinese financial hub. The placards read “Break a promise” and “Shameful.” (Image Source: AP Photo/Kin Cheung)

    In the first story, Michael Auslin of National Review tells us:

    [J]ust 17 years after the British pulled down their flag in Hong Kong, Beijing has revealed its true intentions and the worthlessness of its international agreements. Last week, China’s rubberstamp parliament, the National People’s Congress, overturned the core of the 1984 agreement by reneging on its promise that the 2017 election for Hong Kong’s chief executive will be a free and open affair. Instead, Hong Kong voters will be able to choose only from candidates approved by a Beijing-dominated nominating committee, and only two or three will be allowed on the ballot.

    The 1984 Sino-British Joint Declaration between China’s prime minister Zhao Zhiyang and British prime minister Margaret Thatcher was to ensure “the famous “one country, two systems” formulation in which Hong Kong’s way of life was guaranteed to remain inviolable for 50 years, until 2047. Central to the agreement was an assurance by China that Hong Kong (now to be a special administrative region) would have a high degree of autonomy, except in foreign and defense affairs.”

    Under the 1984 agreement, the basic rules of governance in Hong Kong that were to take effect in 1997 when the territory was to be transferred to China were enumerated in the constitution of Hong Kong, known as Hong Kong Basic Law, which states explicitly in Chapter 1, Article 5:

    The socialist system and policies shall not be practised in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, and the previous capitalist system and way of life shall remain unchanged for 50 years.

    It is hard to see how Chinese policy comports with the Hong Kong Basic Law.

    In the second story of China’s creeping influence in Hong Kong, Bill McGurn of the New York Post reports that Chinese authorities have recently raided the homes of two friends and a local legislator, as McGurn puts it for the “high crime of believing that Hong Kong ought to be a society of, by and for the people.” He tells us, ominously:

    Just before he died, newspaperman Tsang Ki-fan put it this way: “This is the only Chinese society that, for a brief span of 100 years, lived through an ideal never realized at any time in the history of Chinese societies — a time when no man had to live in fear of the midnight knock on the door.”

    These words come back to me as Mark Simon, an American expat working in Hong Kong, calls to report that authorities had raided his apartment and seized a computer from his 10-year-old daughter. The same day, the same police raided the homes of his boss, media owner Jimmy Lai, and a local legislator, Lee Cheuk-yan.

    The knock has come. (more…)

  • Boehner: Jobs report shows economic weakness, Senate must act on House jobs bills
    Posted September 5, 2014 at 10:57 am by Pete Kasperowicz

    Comments (2)

    House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said Friday that the August jobs report shows a lingering “pattern of weakness” in the economy, and is a sign that Congress still needs to eliminate some of the federal regulations that are preventing strong job growth.

    Boehner also blamed the Senate for failing to act on hundreds of jobs bills the House has passed over the last 20 months.

    WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 24: U.S. Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) answers questions during a press conference at the U.S. Capitol July 24, 2014 in Washington, DC. Boehner answered questions on a pending bill to address the problems with the Veterans Affairs administration and also issues related to immigration. Win McNamee/Getty Images

    Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-Ohio) says the latest jobs report shows Congress’s work isn’t done. Win McNamee/Getty Images

    (more…)

  • Issa demands administration testimony over hacked Obamacare website
    Posted September 5, 2014 at 9:24 am by Pete Kasperowicz

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    The chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee is demanding that a senior Obama administration official testify later this month on reports that the Obamacare website was hacked.

    Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) said he insists that Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Marilyn Tavenner testify on September 18 about those reports.

    House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif. listens to testimony regarding social security and disability benefits, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, June 10, 2014. Four Social Security judges are facing accusations they rubber-stamped claims for disability benefits, approving billions of dollars in payments from the cash-strapped program. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak) AP Photo/Charles Dharapak

    House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., is demanding that a top administration official testify in September over the hacked Obamacare website. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

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  • Steve Forbes says America’s economy is in a ‘new abnormal’ — here’s why he thinks we’re poised to ‘emerge strong again’
    Posted September 5, 2014 at 8:55 am by Benjamin Weingarten

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    With the rise of Islamic supremacism in the Middle East, a revanchist Russia, and the weak U.S. economic recovery, to go along with hyper-regulation in the wake of the 2008-2009 financial crisis, quantitative easing of the Federal Reserve and the implementation of Obamacare, you might think that Steve Forbes would look on at America’s position with pessimism.

    But if you thought that, you would be wrong.

    Steve Forbes speaking at FreedomFest in 2013. (Image Source: Wikipedia/Gage Skidmore)

    Steve Forbes speaking at FreedomFest in 2013. (Image Source: Wikipedia/Gage Skidmore)

    In a wide-ranging interview with TheBlaze Books in connection with his new book, “Money: How the Destruction of the Dollar Threatens the Global Economy — and What We Can Do About It,” the chairman and editor-in-chief of Forbes Media — publisher of the popular Forbes magazine — sounded an optimistic note, arguing that America’s apparent malaise is more cyclical than secular, a temporary decline from which we will bounce back stronger.

    Responding to the a question about the recent bearish comments of several high-profile investors, Forbes told us:

    [W]hat we’re experiencing now is not a new normal, but an abnormal — new abnormal. It’s a detour. It’s not the new direction. And we’re going to emerge strong again, just as we did in the ’80s and ’90s.

    Forbes believes that the political reforms coming down the pike with respect to economic and monetary policy, presumably to be advanced by conservatives, will pave the way for a return to prosperity:

    “American[s]…instinctively understand that you cannot have a strong country with a weak currency”
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    I think the elections this November…especially the elections in 2016, you’re gonna see emerge a mandate for making a radical change in our tax code. I know of several potential candidates who are coming up with proposals on that. And I think you’re gonna start to see a real discussion to lay the foundations for restoring integrity and strength to the dollar.

    And I think the American people instinctively understand that you cannot have a strong country with a weak currency — a weak dollar.

    I think you’re gonna start to see the groundwork laid for the strengthening of the dollar, a simpler tax code — a radically simplified one, and a new healthcare system emerging where the patient is in charge.

    You can listen to more of Forbes’ forecast on the future of America’s economy beginning around 21:57 below. (more…)

  • Al Sharpton vs. The Teleprompter…yet again
    Posted September 4, 2014 at 7:26 pm by Stu Burguiere

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    Wow, is Al Sharpton impossible to watch or listen to. That being said, today on Pat & Stu we enjoyed his recent battles versus the English language. (Listen at the 13:15 mark)

  • House to condemn Obama for illegal Bergdahl prisoner swap
    Posted September 4, 2014 at 5:02 pm by Pete Kasperowicz

    Comments (4)

    The House next week will pass a non-binding resolution that condemns the Obama administration for releasing five Taliban soldiers from Guatanamo Bay without following a federal law that requires proper notification of Congress.

    The vote will come just a few weeks after the Government Accountability Office found that the administration didn’t give Congress the required 30-day notice before transferring anyone out of Guantanamo Bay.

     (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

    President Obama approved a prisoner swap earlier this year that appears to be illegal, and the House is expected to formally condemn that swap next week. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

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  • Debbie Wasserman Schultz takes back tough words, but says Gov. Scott Walker still ‘bad for Wisconsin women’
    Posted September 4, 2014 at 4:23 pm by Pete Kasperowicz

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    Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) on Thursday took back her words but stopped short of an apology for saying Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) is giving women “the back of his hand,” and still insisted that Walker is promoting policies that are “bad for Wisconsin women.”

    “I shouldn’t have used the words I used,” Wasserman Schultz said. “But that shouldn’t detract from the broader point that I was making that Scott Walker’s policies have been bad for Wisconsin women, whether it’s mandating ultrasounds, repealing an equal pay law, or rejecting federal funding for preventative health care, Walker’s record speaks for itself.”

    FILE - This Aug. 23, 2013 file photo shows Democratic National Committee chair, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Florida, speaks to party members during their summer meetings in Scottsdale, Ariz. Millionaires and billionaires are increasing their influence in federal elections, forcing the parties to play more limited roles, and raising questions about who sets the agenda in campaigns. In a handful of key Senate races, the biggest and loudest players so far are well-funded groups that don’t answer to any candidate or political party-such as the conservative billionaire Koch brothers. Some veteran lawmakers worry about the clout of the Republican and Democratic parties, which have dominated U.S. politics since the Civil War. The recent Supreme Court ruling appears unlikely to reduce the role that outside groups are playing. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File) AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File

    Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) said she should not have used tough words against Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, but said nonetheless that Walker pursues anti-woman policies. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File)

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