Good News: IRS Pays $1 Million in Bonuses to Employees Who Owe Back Taxes


Americans have no shortage of reasons to resent the Internal Revenue Service. The agency is responsible for confiscating an annual percentage of each citizen's earned wealth on behalf of the state (and it's never a bad time to reiterate this point about "fair shares"). It is now tasked with enforcing Obamacare's hated individual mandate tax -- although with blanket exceptions like this, it's unclear what there is to enforce at this stage. And it has been embroiled in a high-profile targeting scandal, in which agency higher-ups exploited their power to deliberately harass and abuse organizations opposed to the government's ruling party. The scandal has flared up again in recent weeks, as the House of Representatives weighs contempt charges for Lois Lerner amid additional developments coming to light regarding the IRS' internal culture, Lerner's political biases, and possible collusion from the Justice Department and Congressional Democrats. Against that sordid backdrop, we have this:

The Internal Revenue Service has paid more than $2.8 million in bonuses to employees with recent disciplinary problems, including $1 million to workers who owed back taxes, a government investigator said Tuesday. More than 2,800 workers got bonuses despite facing a disciplinary action in the previous year, including 1,150 who owed back taxes, said a report by J. Russell George, the Treasury inspector general for tax administration. The bonuses were awarded from October 2010 through December 2012. George's report said the bonus program doesn't violate federal regulations, but it's inconsistent with the IRS mission to enforce tax laws.


So while the IRS was slow-rolling and auditing conservative groups, it was bestowing generous, taxpayer-funded bonuses upon employees who'd been flagged for disciplinary issues, including more than 1,100 who owed back taxes. How many ordinary Americans have received any form of bonus during this "recovery," which has been so tepid that Democrats are being urged not to mention it? How many taxpayers would earn "performance" bonuses after getting into trouble at work, or openly violating core tenets of their company's mission? Perhaps most galling is the fact that these unwarranted bonuses don't violate any federal regulations. An incredulous Mary Katharine Ham floats a modest proposal:


Surely in the untold reams of regulations, they could codify that they shouldn’t give piles of money to people charged with collecting your piles of money who then neglect to pay the proper piles of money to the organization for whom they’re charged with collecting piles of money! Lord knows they can’t use common sense, so it must be a law. Pretty sure they could find my lawnmower gas tank in violation of some federal regulation if they tried, but this? No prob, moving on.


Will this public embarrassment -- at a moment where the public is even more suspicious of the IRS than usual -- trigger some painfully obvious reforms within the agency? Perhaps, but never underestimate the power of bureaucratic inertia to do the wrong thing.

Poll: Cotton Trails by 10 in AR?

What to make of this poll jointly conducted by the New York Times and the Kaiser Family Foundation? After crosschecking other surveys at RCP, my colleague Ed Morrissey (who first flagged this story, by the way) concludes this poll is almost certainly an outlier. I tend to agree with him. After all, Sen. Mark Pryor (D-AR) is perhaps the number one Republican target running for re-election in the upper chamber. How on earth, then, is he leading Tom Cotton by double-digits in a state the president lost by 24 percentage points in 2012? Doesn’t make that much sense:

Senator Mark Pryor of Arkansas, a two-term incumbent who has been considered perhaps the most imperiled Democratic senator in the country, holds a 10-point lead over his Republican opponent, Representative Tom Cotton. Mr. Pryor, the son of a former senator, has an approval rating of 47 percent, with 38 percent of Arkansas voters disapproving of him.

Top line numbers are utterly meaningless, although still attention-grabbing, if the sample is skewed. And that’s apparently what’s going on here. The big take-away Senate Democrats will shout from the rooftops is that a race that was once deemed "competitive" is moving into safer Democratic waters. But that’s nonsense. The Weekly Standard’s Bill Kristol explains:

[The] Times and Kaiser have produced a sample in Arkansas that reports they voted in 2012 for Romney over Obama--by one point. But Romney carried Arkansas in 2012 by 24 points. Similarly, the Kentucky sample is +3 Romney when reality was +23. The Louisiana sample is +3 Obama in a state Obama lost by 17, and the North Carolina sample is +7 Obama in a state he lost by 3.

The whole point of question 12 is to provide a reality test for the sample. That's why they ask that question--we know what happened in 2012, so the only thing to be learned by asking the 2012 question of the sample is to ensure that it's a reasonably accurate snapshot of voters in the state. Of course there'll always be some variance between reality and the sample's report of its vote a year and a half ago--but not a 23 point variance.

A reputable news organization would have looked at question 12 and thrown the poll out. But then again, it was the New York Times.

Kristol argues the contest in Arkansas is exceedingly close. But at the same time, concedes after a barrage of anti-Cotton attack ads, Pryor "is probably now ahead by a point or two.” Still, “a point or two” is nowhere near the double-digit lead the New York Times claims Pryor now enjoys. He doesn't.

Low-information voters, I assume, will take these top-line numbers at face value. But they shouldn’t, of course -- and neither should anyone else.

ECSU Prof Apologizes for Slurring Republicans in Lecture

Professor Brent Terry has apologized for slamming the GOP during a creative writing class lecture at Eastern Connecticut State University earlier this week. During the four-minute rant, captured by one student on audio tape, the professor claimed Republicans do not want Latinos, blacks, young people, or old people to vote. He also warned colleges would start closing if the GOP takes control of both the House and Senate in November.

State GOP Rep. Leader Larry Cafero (R-Norwalk) demanded Terry apologize for his offensive harangue “as a point of personal privilege.” Only an hour after Cafero made the request on the House floor, Terry released a statement:

During my creative writing class yesterday, I allowed my own political opinions to color the discussion. I regret the language I used, and I apologize to any students in the room who were offended. As a liberal arts university, Eastern is known for encouraging debate and discussion about a host of social and political issues.

My role in my own classroom is to keep the debate lively yet respectful. I did not meet that standard yesterday, and for that I am truly sorry.

Read more about Terry’s initial comments here.

America: We Support Building Keystone

Last week on Good Friday, the White House announced yet another delay for the Keystone XL pipeline until after the 2014 midterm elections. The White House cited the project needing "further review" before approval and DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz says the move was not political. The bright side is labor unions called the delay "gutless," a “low blow to the working men and women of our country," and a "cold, hard slap in the face for hard working Americans who are literally waiting for President Obama's approval and the tens of thousands of jobs it will generate."

A new poll from Rasmussen Reports shows 61 percent of Americans support the approval of Keystone, a new high.

The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 61% of Likely U.S. Voters now at least somewhat favor building the major oil pipeline from Canada to Texas, while just 27% are opposed. This includes 37% who Strongly Favor the project and 10% who Strongly Oppose it. Thirteen percent (13%) are undecided.


It has already been proven through multiple studies, including those from the State Department, that the Keystone pipeline is a safe, efficient way to transport oil. In fact, studies have shown that other methods of transportation are more dangerous and produce a bigger carbon footprint.

Despite Gun Sales Being Banned in Chicago, Police Superintendent Still Blaming Lack of Gun Control For Violence

Last night on The Kelly File, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul discussed the recent and ongoing rash of violence in the Windy City. Paul, who was in town for a school choice event, explained that the violence problem in Chicago goes far beyond guns and comes from a lack of leadership, education and guidance for young people in certain parts of the city. Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel (like Barack Obama) is an opponent of school choice, which allows kids to get out of miserable, failing schools in violent neighborhoods. But thanks to Emanuel's solid support for teacher's unions, instead of being able to pursue a future through educational choice, teenagers are trapped in worthless, hopeless schools. Due to a lack of opportunity, they join gangs.

Gang initiations typically require a violent act. Those violent acts usually involve guns that were purchased or stolen illegally by gang members and then are used in crimes (again illegal). When guns aren't purchased illegally on the street, they're brought into the city illegally. As Megyn Kelly points out in her introduction, all gun sales in Chicago are already banned, yet the Superintendent of Police Garry McCarthy (and Emanuel) is still blaming a lack of gun control for the violence. He admits murders by gunshot wound are higher in Chicago than the national average, but fails to acknowledge that the rest of the country has less stringent gun control laws. In fact, states and cities with fewer gun control laws and more concealed carry permit holders have lower crime rates.


But not only are McCarthy and Emanuel's calls for more gun control unproductive, they're also out of touch with the people who live in the communities being affected the most. Since the ban on concealed carry in Illinois was struck down in December 2012, residents from Chicago's south side have been flocking to classes to learn about how to protect themselves. The Reader recently did a feature story, Dismantling the Stigma of Guns, profiling Gerald Vernon, a long time Second Amendment advocate and firearms instructor living in Chicago's south side.

Gerald Vernon believes conceal-and-carry laws and responsible firearm owners are crucial to keeping people safe—especially in the communities hit hardest by crime.

The first lesson Gerald Vernon shared with his conceal-and-carry class is, to him, the most fundamental: "The only thing that stops bad people with guns is good people with guns."
His ten students—eight men and two women, all African-Americans—were listening intently. They had gathered in a meeting room at a south-side social service center to learn about gun ownership and self-defense from Vernon, a veteran firearms instructor who was seated at the front of the room next to a table set with an array of revolvers and semiautomatic handguns from his collection.
The students didn't appear to need any convincing. "I'm interested in protection," explained Thomas Brandon, 57, when it was his turn to introduce himself. The others said they were there for the same reason.

Last week, Chicago Magazine published an investigative story alleging McCarthy and Emanuel were cooking the books on "decreasing" crime rates.

Independents Overwhelmingly Lean Towards anti-Obamacare Candidates, Poll Finds

“The bases have already been rallied,” Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) asserted this month on the Fox News Channel before boldly repudiating Democrats’ latest gambit to retain their Senate majority. But where does this leave independents and non-affiliated voters? Ultimately, they will exert enormous influence in swing districts and hotly contested congressional races this fall. Thus their voting preferences matter, and on one issue in particular, Democrats find themselves deeply underwater.

According to a recent Fox News poll, independents overwhelmingly prefer anti-Obamacare candidates to pro-Obamacare candidates -- that is, if Obamacare is the only issue in which both candidates stand in disagreement. Consequently, this underscores just how "unpalatable" the president’s signature domestic achievement has become, and gives us yet another reason why Democrats continue to run from it (via the Washington Times):

The Fox News poll showed that if the only difference between two candidates running for Congress this year was their position on the Affordable Care Act, then independents would support the candidate that fights against the health care law by a 54- to 29-percent margin.

This may not bode well for Democrats as they look to defend their Senate majority.

To be fair, most independents will evaluate office seekers on a whole host of issues, and vote for the candidate who they feel most aligns with their values. But make no mistake: this is another bump in the road for Congressional Democrats -- and they know it.

Inevitable: Worried Democrats Resurrect 'Birth Control Ban' Attacks


Democratic messaging gurus and pollsters have warned embattled incumbents not to defend Obamacare. It's too toxic. They've also admonished their party against touting the economic recovery. It's too weak; the idea that America's economy is roaring back to life isn't resonating with voters. Democrats have virtually zero chance of winning back the House, so their primary concern is retaining the Senate -- which the GOP can reclaim by netting six seats in November. Some losses are expected, but Team Blue believes it can use political triage to save their majority. In order to do so, they'll need relatively strong turnout from the voting blocs that were instrumental to re-electing President Obama in 2012, so strategists are dialing up every play in the book to galvanize specific constituencies. Colorado Senator Mark Udall's first ad of the cycle hews to this strategy. It attacks Udall's Republican opponent -- Rep. Cory Gardner -- for wanting to "outlaw" birth control, an outlandish claim:



A friend snarks that Udall's facial expression near the end of the spot is eerily reminiscent of "blue steel." As preposterous as the attack seems, setting the record straight on this sort of issue is important. So important, in fact, that I'd recommend that Gardner push back forcefully in an on-air ad of his own. Democrats got a lot of mileage out of the "Republicans want to take away your birth control" garbage in the 2012 cycle, and Terry McAuliffe used the issue to define Ken Cuccinelli early in last year's gubernatorial race in Virginia. Cuccinelli ended up closing a large gap because of Obamacare, but fell short. Perhaps the biggest reason? Unmarried women, who overwhelmingly backed McAuliffe. This narrative needs to be nipped in the bud -- or else, like a mendacious weed, it could take root with just enough potential voters to make a difference.

And while I'm dishing out unsolicited advice, I'd urge Team Gardner to be highly prepared to push back on the abortion attack, too. Two Republican candidates fumbled the "rape exception" question last cycle, arguably costing them Senate seats. Out of curiosity, Does Mark Udall support his party's extremist position of taxpayer-funded, late-term abortion on demand? Does he agree with the strong majority of American women that abortion shouldn't be allowed in most cases? Of course, Udall is frantic to distract from his own record on other issues, which includes reciting his party's "keep your plan" lie of the year to Colorado healthcare consumers. He's so anxious about this issue, in fact, that his office pressured a state agency to cook the books on cancellation notices, a nakedly political attempt to minimize the fallout from his broken pledge. Recent polling shows a close race -- with Udall's numbers looking shaky, and Obama's popularity in the toilet. Unfortunately for Udall, his pro-Obama voting record is among the most slavish in the entire Senate. He's sided with Obama line 99 percent of the time. The numbers, unlike certain Senators, don't lie:



Also of note is the fact that Udall's signature was conspicuously absent from that letter sent by red and purple state Democrats urging the Obama administration to approve the wildly popular Keystone pipeline. Those ineffectual Senators were ignored, of course, but at least they made an attempt. Mark Udall evidently believes that he has too much at stake with deep-pocketed environmentalists (he is a Tom Steyer beneficiary) to go to bat for a broadly-supported, job-creating infrastructure and energy project. Thousands of American jobs can wait, it seems. Gardner is hitting Udall over the issue:



To recap, the Republican in this race is talking about job creation. The Democrats is fear-mongering about birth control.

Cheerleaders Sue Buffalo Bills For Failing to Meet Minimum Wage

In upstate New York, becoming a Buffalo Jill is almost as impressive as becoming a New York City Rockette. But, as the following young women will tell you, being a Buffalo cheerleader is not so glamorous as it seems. Tuesday, five former Jills announced they are suing the football team and its managers for withholding wages and for forcing them to endure degrading treatment. WBEN.com reports:

The five former Jills claim the team, Stejon Productions, the current manager, and Citadel Communications, the former manager, failed to pay the minimum wage for extensive game day work as well as community event appearances. The hundreds of hours of work did not meet the minimum wage standard of $8 per hour in New York State.

Here's a few more details from the testy lawsuit:

"In flagrant violation of numerous laws of the State of New York, exploited plaintiffs, who worked for them as members of the Bills’ cheerleading squad, by failing to pay them for all hours they worked each season. The Bills, Citadel and Stejon also failed to reimburse the Jills for certain business expenses, failed to pay them in a timely manner, took unlawful deductions and kick-backs from the Jills wages, unlawfully took gratuities paid to the Jills, failed to adhere to the notice and record keeping requirements of the Wage Theft Prevention Act, and were unjustly enriched as a result of the Jills’ work."

In addition to not receiving compensation for their appearances at football games or practices, these former cheerleaders claim they were also subjected to mandatory and embarrassing public appearances, such as the Jills Annual Gold Tournament, where they had to dress in bikinis and then step into a dunk tank.

No offense to these ladies, but how many want to be a cheerleader because of the great salary? It's more about the status and name recognition, is it not?

The Oakland Raiders and Cincinnati Bengals are currently facing similar lawsuits. I guess these Buffalo Jills just have nothing to cheer about.

Obama's America: Temporary Jobs Become Permanent Jobs

Earlier this week the Los Angeles Times ran a story about 50 and 60-year-old adults being forced to move back in with their parents in order to survive Obama's economy. Yesterday, NBC published a story about how a record number of Americans are working in temporary jobs that have become permanent or as part-time workers.

For Americans who can’t find jobs, the booming demand for temp workers has been a path out of unemployment, but now many fear it’s a dead-end route.

With full-time work hard to find, these workers have built temping into a de facto career, minus vacation, sick days or insurance. The assignments might be temporary — a few months here, a year there — but labor economists warn that companies’ growing hunger for a workforce they can switch on and off could do permanent damage to these workers’ career trajectories and retirement plans.

“It seems to be the new norm in the working world,” said Kelly Sibla, 54. The computer systems engineer has been looking for a full-time job for four years now, but the Amherst, Ohio, resident said she has to take whatever she can find.

“I know a lot of people who are doing this temping. It seems to be the way this is going,” she said.

What didn't the NBC report discuss? The reason behind a record number of part time jobs: Obamacare. Conservatives and labor union leaders have been loudly warning for years about how Obamacare will (and already has) destroy the traditional work week in America thanks to overreaching mandates requiring employers to provide health insurance for employees above a certain threshold in work hours. As a result, we've seen millions of Americans unable to find full-time work, not to mention a career, leaving them without a health plan or retirement through one solid employer.

Here's a flashback from last summer:

When you and the President sought our support for the Affordable Care Act (ACA), you pledged that if we liked the health plans we have now, we could keep them. Sadly, that promise is under threat. Right now, unless you and the Obama Administration enact an equitable fix, the ACA will shatter not only our hard-earned health benefits, but destroy the foundation of the 40 hour work week that is the backbone of the American middle class.

Like millions of other Americans, our members are front-line workers in the American economy. We have been strong supporters of the notion that all Americans should have access to quality, affordable health care. We have also been strong supporters of you. In campaign after campaign we have put boots on the ground, gone door-to-door to get out the vote, run phone banks and raised money to secure this vision.

Now this vision has come back to haunt us.

President Obama, who claims to be a crusader for the middle class and working Americans, has successfully destroyed both in addition to the American economy as a whole. "Recovery summer" 6.0 is about to start will tens-of-millions of Americans out of work and in the food stamp line.

Surprise: Efforts to Ban Horse-Drawn Carriages in New York City Not Going So Well

As it turns out, most residents of the Big Apple appreciate tradition and opportunities to ride horse-drawn carriages around places like Central Park -- a practice that has been a staple of New York City for some 150 years. Even so, that must come as quite the shock to newly elected Democratic Mayor Bill de Blasio -- who, of course, tried (unsuccessfully) to eliminate the industry altogether after taking the oath of office.

Funded by animal rights activists and aided by PETA, his ongoing efforts to kick horses out of New York City for “humanitarian purposes” have met staunch resistance. The AP reports:

Mayor Bill de Blasio is pulling back the reins on his plans to quickly get rid of New York City's horse-drawn carriage industry, stung by a recent outpouring of support for the colorful coaches that have clip-clopped their way through Central Park for more than 150 years.

A campaign pledge to take on the horses during his first week as mayor was eclipsed by other issues. And as he nears his fourth month in office, he has encountered enough resistance from the usually compliant City Council to slow his plans again, now saying an industry he calls cruel and inhumane will be gone by year's end.

Why the pushback? Two reasons: an effective lobbying campaign to save the industry and…unions?

For one, a media blitz led by actor Liam Neeson has portrayed the horse-drawn carriage industry as an iconic, romantic part of New York that provides about 400 jobs, many to Irish immigrants. In a series of editorials and TV interviews, he has said the operators treat their 200 working horses like their own children.

"I can appreciate a happy and well-cared-for horse when I see one," Neeson wrote in an op-ed piece in The New York Times. "It has been my experience, always, that horses, much like humans, are at their happiest and healthiest when working."

The next blow came when a series of city unions — who usually are de Blasio's staunchest allies — broke with the mayor, urging him to reconsider his decision in order to save not only the industry's hundreds of jobs but a profitable source of tourism.

Mayor de Blasio hopes to soften the blow by replacing horses (he defines their treatment as “inhumane”) with old fashioned-looking electric cars -- a pledge he actually made during the last election.

But perhaps that's a mistake; after all, his most recent (unpopular) crusade is hellbent on crushing an industry many people like, including his union buddies.

C'mon: Hagan Falsely Accuses GOP Opponent of...Praising Obamacare


North Carolina Senator Kay Hagan's -- shall we say -- issues defending her voting record have been well-documented, so it's no surprise that she's turning to dishonest commercials in a flailing effort to save her political hide. But I'm not sure that anyone expected her to lean on a line of attack quite this ridiculous, via the Free Beacon:


Tillis has attacked Hagan for her support of Obamacare, but the ad suggests these attacks are hypocritical because Tillis once described Obamacare as “a great idea.” “Politicians, these days you’ve gotta watch ‘em close—real close,” says the narrator in Hagan’s ad, before playing a clip of Tillis saying “it’s a great idea” in reference to Obamacare. “That’s right. Thom Tillis called Obamacare ‘a great idea,’” the narrator continues. “So Thom Tillis thinks he can attack Kay Hagan over something he calls ‘a great idea’? Watch close, seems Thom Tillis wants it both ways.”


And now, the context:


The Tillis quote was taken from his February 6 appearance on the Bill LuMaye radio show. You can check out the full audio here. The quote in question takes place around the 9-minute mark. Here’s what Tillis said, in the context of broader GOP efforts to repeal Obamacare: “The majority of the stuff that is in Obamacare is bad, because it’s not fiscally sustainable. It’s a great idea that can’t be paid for.” He went on to describe Obamacare as a “policy that’s creating as many problems as it fixes in terms of healthcare,” and “creating the most devastating problem of a deficit that we can’t afford.”

Tillis is clearly an Obamacare opponent -- unlike Hagan, who voted for the law, repeated its false promises, and-- like a trained partisan automaton -- opposed Republican attempts to restore those pledges. So within the last few days, we've seen one Democrat fretting that some of Obamacare's least attractive qualities have yet to "hit the fan," while another laughably tries to beat up on her Republican competitor over...a sentence fragment quasi-praising the disastrous law she's supported at every turn. Allahpundit snarks: "Essentially, she’s trying to maneuver Tillis around into being the pro-ObamaCare candidate so that she can posture as a quasi-anti one. Democrats promised us that O-Care would turn the world upside down, and so it has." Here's the ad. Feel free to point and laugh at Kay Hagan:


MSNBC Host: "You Can't Keep Your Crappy Plan! Just Deal With That!"


MSNBC host and renowned deep thinker Melissa Harris-Perry has a solution to Democrats' Obamacare woes. Why are the law's supporters constantly walk on eggshells, she wonders, when they can simply assert their "swagger" by angrily berating victims of President Obama's lie of the year? Brilliant stuff. I hope Democrats are taking notes (via MKH):



Virtuosic messaging. Own the lie, while reminding betrayed consumers that their canceled plans were "crappy" anyway. People who liked their existing (and often less expensive) plans that covered their medications and preferred doctors are a bunch of rubes. MHP -- a great fan of the ultimate "junk coverage," by the way -- is here to set 'em straight. Alas, it seems that many Democrats are foolishly rejecting her sound advice. The New York Times reports:


President Obama’s Affordable Care Act, the $1.4 trillion effort to extend health insurance to all Americans, is challenging the traditional calculus about government benefits and political impact. Even as Mr. Obama announced that eight million Americans had enrolled in the program and urged Democrats to embrace the law, those in his party are running from it rather than on it, while Republicans are prospering by demanding its repeal.


Maybe they're running because they know that pro-Obamacare "swagger" is a big political loser. The president says the debate is over, casting opponents of the law as heartless, spiteful know-nothings. Fresh polling once again confirms that this may not be the wisest approach:



Clearly unpersuaded by the president, one Massachusetts Democrat isn't sugarcoating the predicament in which his party finds itself. Kudos to Mediaite's Noah Rothman for flagging this:


Speaking to Boston Herald Radio last week, the only member of Massachusetts’ all-Democrat congressional delegation to vote against the 2010 health care reform law, Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-MA), warned that the Obamacare — well, you know — is about to “hit the fan.” ... “There are parts of Obamacare, or the Affordable Care Act, that were postponed because they are unpalatable,” Lynch observed. “As these provisions come into effect, the administration thus far is saying, ‘Gee, we really can’t handle this right now so we’re going to delay it.’” ... “We will lose seats in the House,” the Bay State congressman confessed when pressed on the likely political impact of the ACA. “I am fairly certain of that based on the poll numbers that are coming out from the more experienced pollsters down there. And I think we may lose the Senate.” Lynch did not mince words when he said that the Democrats’ dire political straits are “primarily because of health care.”


In short, some of the worst is yet to come -- and we're going to pay a price. But remember, the debate is over because Obamacare is on a "winning streak."

Dem Rep. Discussing Obamacare: “It’s Going to Hit the Fan”

Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-MA) was one of the few House Democrats to vote against the Affordable Care Act. This of course gives him a certain degree of latitude to speak objectively about its shortcomings as federal law. And so during an interview with the Boston Herald last week, Rep. Lynch did just that, describing provisions in "the law of the land" as “unpalatable.” Furthermore, he predicted Americans can look forward to more tax hikes coming down the pike -- especially those with ‘cadillac’ plans -- reminding listeners that Obamacare for the first time ever made it a taxable offense to forgo health insurance.

He also raised doubts about the debunked promise peddled again and again by the White House that the government could deliver better health care outcomes -- and insure more people -- while at the same time bringing down overall costs. This was never going to happen.

“I think that’s a very tough promise to live up to under this system,” he intoned. Take a look (via The Right Scoop):

Prof Calls Republicans Racist and Misogynist, Warns They Will Close Colleges

Update: Terry released a statement apologizing for the rant.

Imagine walking into a college class Monday morning and finding the professor ranting against those 'racist, misogynist, money-grubbing people' known as Republicans. Welcome to intro to creative writing at Eastern Connecticut State University (ECSU).

If the GOP takes control of the House and the Senate in 2014, Professor Brent Terry warned, ‘colleges will start closing up’ and America could very well revert back not to 1955, but to 1855:'

There are a lot of people out there that do not want black people to vote, do not want Latinos to vote. Do not want old people to vote, or young people to vote. Because generally, people like you are liberal.

You want equality. You want racial equality. You want financial equality. You want to be able to use your education and go out into the world and make it better, but you’d also like to be able to get a job. All these things point toward being liberal.

Never ever in the history of the United States has it been so important to vote….

It's absolutely possible that the Republicans will take over the Senate as well as the House. And we will live in a very, very, very different kind of country if that happens. I mean, colleges will start closing up if they, if these people have their way. They don't think money should go to giving you people dangerous ideas about how the world should be run.

The professor stated maybe one true fact: Republicans do have a very good chance of maintaining control of the House and additionally winning the Senate. Perhaps this one truth fueled the frenzy of lies embedded in the rest of his lecture.

Terry referenced a study conducted by Princeton and Northwestern universities which claimed that the United States has turned from a democracy to an oligarchy:

The central point that emerges from our research is that economic elites and organized groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on U.S. government policy, while mass-based interest groups and average citizens have little or no independent influence.

Special interest groups lobby for both Democrat and Republican policies. The study even used the example of "pharmaceutical, hospital, insurance, and medical organizations" lobbying and spending money on health care issues. Rather than show all the facts accurately, the professor used the empirical data to target the GOP.

According to Campus Reform, an ECSU official said the issue is “not a university matter” since faculty have academic freedom to conduct their classes at will.

Fortunately for the future of America, at least one student identified the ignorant accusations being made and recorded the lecture.

Four Counties in Alabama Have More Registered Voters than Adult Residents

Four counties in Alabama have more registered and active voters than the number of voting-age adults in the county. An active voter means the person has voted within the last four years.

As of March, Greene, Hale, Lowndes and Macon counties had more active, registered voters than what the census estimated as their 18-and-older population in 2012.

Active voters are those who have not been placed on inactive status. That happens when the periodic update cards from county boards are returned as undeliverable, or if they don’t vote for four years (two federal election cycles).

Each county has a three-person team that is supposed to ensure the integrity of the voter rolls—e.g. removing names when a person has died or moved out of the county. The discrepancy is being explained as "under-counting" by the U.S. Census, as some people are hesitant to talk to a census worker. Other names may be duplicates.

All four counties voted heavily for President Obama in the 2012 election. Alabama's new voter identification law goes into effect for the June 3 primary.

Nevada GOP Dropped Platforms Against Abortion and Marriage Equality

Last week, the Nevada Republican Party had a convention to approve their party platform and endorse a candidate for governor. After much debate, the party conventioneers decided to strip opposition to gay marriage and abortion from the party platform, while they also endorsed Gov. Brian Sandoval for re-election. Sue Lowden was also backed for the seat of lieutenant governor over Mark Hutchison, who was endorsed by Sandoval.

The new party platform was proposed by a separate committee and was then approved by a show of hands by convention-goers. There were 520 delegates in attendance, but less than half of them were present at the time of the vote on the platform.

The party chairman stated it was a successful convention. He said, “I think it was about inclusion, not exclusion…This is where the party is going.” Those members of the committee who proposed this new platform said they decided not to deal with social issues this year because the U.S. Supreme Court and lower courts had already weighed in and it didn’t make sense to have the party of “personal freedom” to have the government get involved in peoples’ personal lives.

The state party platform had previously defined marriage as “between a man and a woman” and described the party as “pro-life,” but that’s no longer in there.

What seemed to be most controversial during the convention was the decision to endorse a candidate before the primary. Many were worried that this would create a rift in the party and unnecessarily pitted some members against one another.

It will be interesting to see how the decision to remove the right to life and the current definition of marriage from the party platform will affect other states. Perhaps others will follow considering the most recent polls, especially concerning marriage. And will this then come up at our next national convention? I guess we will just have to stay tuned.

Corrupt as Chicago: Judicial Watch Sues HHS for Obamacare Navigator Records

Government watchdog Judicial Watch announced a lawsuit Tuesday morning against the Department of Health and Human Services after officials failed to comply with a November 8, 2013 Freedom of Information Act Request about Obamacare navigators. The suit was filed on March 27, 2014, but was publicly revealed today.

According to Health and Human Services 50,000 people have been hired as navigators to help Americans enroll in Obamacare through federal or state exchanges. Since navigators were hired, HHS has failed to provide a concrete record of what processes navigators must go through before being qualified to handle sensitive information of potential Obamacare enrollees. Judicial Watch is suing for information about navigator qualifications, background checks and records about the navigator program. From the November FOIA:

-Any and all records concerning, regarding, or related to contracts awarded to private entities to provide navigators to assist individuals obtaining health insurance under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act; and
-Any and all records concerning, regarding, or related to federal requirements for the above-mentioned navigators, including but not limited to background checks and qualifications.


“The Obamacare navigator program seems as corrupt as any Chicago patronage operation – and is a danger to the privacy of millions of Americans who are participating in Obamacare,” Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said in a statement. “The use of Obamacare navigators and the Healthcare.gov web site should come with consumer warnings. The Obama administration’s illegal secrecy about these Obamacare navigators should make Americans very nervous."

During a Senate Judiciary hearing last year, former Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius admitted Obamacare navigators could in fact be felons. In California alone, at least 43 convicted criminals have worked as navigators and handling sensitive information of private citizens.



It has also been documented that people formerly part of ACORN, a group that was stripped of its federal funding in 2009 for alleged illegal activity like promoting underage prostitution and tax fraud, have been brought in to run Obamacare navigator programs. Further, government officials on both sides of the political aisle have learned about the potential for fraud and criminal activity in the navigator program.

Sick: British Model Getting An Abortion to Become More Famous

Josie Cunningham is already an infamous figure in England. Brits won't soon forget how she used NHS funds to pay for a boob job. Now, she's making a decision that is much more tragic: she is getting an abortion in order to appear on a reality show.

The model was set to appear on Britain's version of "Big Brother," until producers found out she was pregnant, Cunningham told The Mirror:

Puffing on a cigarette and rubbing her baby bump, the controversial model and call girl – who will have her abortion at a clinic this week – said: “I’m finally on the verge of becoming famous and I’m not going to ruin it now.

An abortion will further my career. This time next year I won’t have a baby. Instead, I’ll be famous, driving a bright pink Range Rover and buying a big house. Nothing will get in my way.”

How tragic that Cunningham views a child as "ruining her life" or "getting in her way" of appearing on an inconsequential reality show. Someone needs to open her eyes and plead with her that this is a serious life or death decision. It's not cosmetic surgery, it's a life-ending procedure. No TV show is worth sacrificing a child.

I hope her extra 15 minutes of fame are worth it.

Update: It looks like Big Brother has rejected Cunningham's participation in the show in light of her recent interview.

State Department: By the Way, It Looks Like Syria Used Chemical Weapons Again


Syria's horrific civil war rages on, with the (unofficial) death toll rising by the day. The Obama administration's formal position on the conflict was that the "Assad must go," but that the US would not intervene unless the regime in Damascus crossed a "red line" by using chemical weapons against its people. Assad just that, a fact on the ground confirmed and acknowledged by our government, pushing America's armed forces to the precipice of a strike. With public opinion calcifying against US military involvement, the president equivocated on whether to seek Congressional authorization for an attack. On that question, 'no' gave way to 'yes,' which then evolved into 'uh oh,' as informal whip counts on the Hill looked bleak. On the brink of an enormous geopolitical humiliation, a cornered Obama had little choice but to latch onto a farcical "deal" offered by Assad and his Russian benefactor, Vladimir Putin, who managed to exploit a gaffe by Secretary of State John Kerry by turning it into official policy. The agreement called for the Assad regime to renounce and turn over the entirety of its chemical weapons stockpile on a strict timeline, supervised by the international community. The logistical chances of this task being carried out on schedule were virtually nil to begin with. The likelihood that Assad's murderous, Iran-backed government would faithfully execute its role as a partner for peace was always zero. And thus, to the surprise of no one, Kerry was forced to admit that the administration's Syria policy was a complete failure earlier this year. The White House wasn't sure it agreed with its State Department's assessment, but the results spoke for themselves:


Syria on Wednesday missed a deadline to hand over all the toxic materials it declared to the world's chemical weapons watchdog, putting the programme several weeks behind schedule and jeopardizing a final June 30 deadline. At the same time, opposition activists say the Syrian air force is attacking the country's biggest city, Aleppo, with barrel bombs, forcing many to flee. Turkey was turning away some of those refugees because camps were now full. Under a deal reached in October between Russia and the United States, which helped avert a U.S.-led missile strike against the government of President Bashar al-Assad, Syria agreed to give up its entire stockpile of chemical weapons by February 5. Russia said on Tuesday its ally Damascus would ship more chemicals soon, but Western diplomats said they saw no indications that further shipments were pending.


Assad had crossed the American president's red line, bamboozled the West into accepting a sham "solution," and appeared to have gotten away with it. Indeed, US intelligence sources warned that the Obama/Putin/Assad deal had only strengthened Damascus. And now, new evidence indicates that the Assad regime may have once again employed the very weapons of which they were obligated to have rid themselves under the terms of this useless agreement:


The Obama administration said Monday it has "indications" chemical weapons were used in Syria earlier this month, and is investigating whether the Assad regime might have been responsible. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki discussed the allegations a day after French President Francois Hollande said France also had indications the regime is still using chemical weapons. Bashar Assad's government last year agreed to ship chemical weapons out of his country following a sarin gas attack, as part of a deal to de-escalate tensions with the United States and its allies. President Obama had declared the use of chemical weapons a "red line," but backed off threats of military force following the agreement. The latest attack in question allegedly occurred April 11 in the rebel-held village of Kfar Zeita....Both sides in Syria's civil war blamed each other for the attack in Kfar Zeita....The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an activist group that relies on a network of on-the-ground volunteers, said the gas attack happened during air raids that left heavy smoke over the area.


The French believe this latest outrage lands squarely on Assad's doorstep. State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki, who plied her trade with the Obama campaign, would prefer not to speculate, thank you:



I understand proceeding with caution. Fog of war, etc. But let's say it's definitively proven that the regime once again crossed the chemical weapons red line -- what then? It's bad enough that they're shirking their disarmament responsibilities; vowing to meet those conditions was ostensibly the only thing that spared them a punishing "unbelievably small" US reprisal. So actually unleashing the banned WMDs again would be truly brazen. Is the Obama administration prepared to do anything? Would any potential action be put before Congress? Are there repercussions for defying unambiguous threats from the President of the United States? And would a post-Assad Syria be measurably preferable to the horrible status quo? Obama has no political appetite for any of this, of course, but he may recognize that taking some action (even if it's unpopular) may not be materially worse than telegraphic more rudderless non-leadership to the American people and the world. Stay tuned. Meanwhile, you'll be pleased to know that the United States has unfrozen more than $1 billion in additional cash assets for Iran, in accordance with the interim deal the Obama administration struck with the anti-American fanatics in Tehran. Since that agreement was forged and hailed as a breakthrough by the "smart power" crowd, the Iranian regime has (a) defiantly insisted that they didn't agree to dismantle any element of their nuclear program, (b) been accused of attempting to obtain banned nuclear components, and (c) nominated this man as its ambassador to the United Nations. Terrific. I'll leave you with this:


GOP Senate Candidate: I Think I Know More About Women Than My Democratic Male Opponent

Former Michigan Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land is running for the U.S. Senate as a Republican and shockingly, her Democratic opponent Rep. Gary Peters is accusing her of waging a war on women (Democrats are being really original with their attack strategy this year). Now, Land is taking on the issue directly with her first campaign ad openly mocking Peters for accusing her, a woman, of waging a war on women.

"I'm Terri Lynn Land and I approve this message because as a woman, I might know a little bit more about women than Gary Peters."


The ad is actually really good. Instead of being defensive about why she doesn't hate women, Land simply allows Peters' ridiculous accusations stand and fall all on their own, putting her immediately back on offense while quickly addressing the issue.

Recent polling shows Lynn slightly leading Peters and she's also been beating him in the fundraising department.

Duck Commander's Willie Robertson Visits Sean Hannity's Show

Today is Willie Robertson's birthday and last night he celebrated by stopping by to talk with Fox News' Sean Hannity. Sean bought Willie a cake and made fun of the grey coming in on his beard. Willie stripped Sean's man card because of the tassels on his shoes. It's a hilarious interview and worth your time if you need a good laugh.

Just a few months ago Hannity and Robertson were in Washington D.C. for President Obama's State of the Union address. After the speech they went to dinner with a few other friends, including Mark Levin and Ted Cruz, and left a $5000 tip for their waiter. Class acts and two great guys.

Poll: College Cost Increasingly Seen as Top Financial Challenge

An increasing number of Americans are citing college expenses as their top financial challenge, according to a Gallup poll released Monday.

More than one in five young adults (18 to 29) dubbed the cost of college as their top financial concern. College costs also tied as the primary concern for 30 to 49-year-olds. As Katie noted earlier, financial hardships have caused a growing number of older adults to move back in with their aging parents.


The average college debt for students in the class of 2013 was $29,400.

Court Rules U.S. Government Must Release Paperwork Concerning Legality of Drone Strikes

The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York ruled on the controversial drone strikes today. The court decided in a Freedom of Information Act case brought by the ACLU that the U.S. government must publicly disclose, in redacted form, secret papers describing its legal justification for using drones to kill citizens suspected of terrorism abroad. The court ruled in this way because of the fact that President Obama and senior government officials have commented on the subject.

The ACLU together with two reporters from The New York Times brought the case against the government after they requested documents from the Department of Justice in 2011 that concerned the “targeted-killing” program.

The case was originally passed on by a U.S. District Court Judge who ruled that she had no authority to order documents to be disclosed. But at the time of that decision she also made sure to give the President some harsh words for refusing to release them.

This type of government transparency has long been an issue of debate, but it seems the courts have at least decided the American people deserve to know more about the government’s drone program. The only caveat here really is that the documents are allowed to be redacted, which could really prevent us from knowing much. The people who fall more on the side of government secrecy will think the redaction is a good idea because it still leaves something private.

All we know for now is that this is court ordered, but we are not so sure what we will find. Americans may be hearing a lot more about the drone program in the Middle East, real soon.

Blue on Blue: Labor Unions Slam 'Gutless' WH on Keystone Delay


Allow me to say right off the bat that I was wrong. Mea culpa. I predicted that the Obama administration would finally approve the Keystone pipeline project sometime this fall, tossing a political bone to vulnerable Democratic Senators who've been begging the president to stop dragging his feet. As we learned over the holiday weekend, Mary Landrieu and friends won't get their wish. The White House is again hunkering down and postponing a decision until early 2015, and possibly beyond -- leaving thousands of American workers in the lurch. During his obnoxious Obamacare press conference last week, the president said that Washington must stop debating the health law, and move on to more pressing matters like jobs and the economy (fronts on which Obamacare is inflicting damage, incidentally). He even called for additional "investments" in American infrastructure, which he said would "improve our economy for the long term." Literally the next day, he swatted down a hugely popular job-creating infrastructure project. As Dan wrote earlier, MSNBC's Morning Joe crew seemed perplexed by the move, which liberal host Mika Brzezinski called "hard to defend." The Wall Street Journal's editors agree, but they aren't puzzling over what happened. Follow the money:


The Koch brothers may get the media attention, but the billionaire getting the most political bang for his buck is Tom Steyer. The hedge-fund politico has pledged to raise $100 million to help Democrats keep the Senate, and on Friday he received a major return on his investment when the State Department again delayed its decision on the Keystone XL pipeline ... The real reason for the delay is Democratic politics. Mr. Steyer and the party's liberal financiers are climate-change absolutists who have made killing Keystone a non-negotiable demand. But the White House doesn't want to reject the pipeline before November because several Senate Democrats running for re-election claim to favor it. We say "claim" because Louisiana's Mary Landrieu and others can't even get Majority Leader Harry Reid to give them a vote on the floor.


After the decision was announced, Steyer danced in the endzone over the politicized, anti-jobs victory he purchased. Obama extended a middle finger to Senate Democrats who back the pipeline, although he's providing them the "delay" fig leaf, allowing them to continue campaigning in favor of the popular idea. But America Rising has it exactly right:



The White House's actions, and Harry Reid's obedient obstruction of votes on the question, expose Landrieu, Pryor, Begich, Hagan et al as powerless within their own party. The party's liberals can count on the votes of these self-stylized "moderates" when they're really needed (see: Obamacare), but will blithely ignore the blue dogs when they decline to toe the Obama line. These Senators can brag about "standing up to the White House" on Keystone back home, but the proof is in the pudding. They're Obama rubber stamps when it counts, and wield precious little influence on important issues like Keystone -- to the point that they can't even persuade their own leadership to schedule votes. It also goes without saying that although they'll profess to be angry and disappointed about the recent delay, these incumbents will be more than happy to take campaign cash from the Steyers of the world. Democrats love their "out of state billionaires." In any case, the American people strongly support construction of the pipeline, as do prominent labor unions whose members want work. Several unions are pounding away at the White House, recognizing that they've been demoted on the totem pole of liberal special interests:


A top labor union blasted the Obama administration on Friday over what it described as a nakedly political decision to once again delay a decision on the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline. Terry O’Sullivan, general president of the Laborers International Union of America (LIUNA), called the move “gutless” and a “low blow to the working men and women of our country.” The State Department announced on Friday that it would push back its decision on the pipeline until after the midterm elections in November.


Another:


“The actions by the Obama Administration to further extend the review process for the Keystone XL pipeline is a cold, hard slap in the face for hard working Americans who are literally waiting for President Obama's approval and the tens of thousands of jobs it will generate. Despite this administration’s own findings that the Keystone project will result in significant economic benefits to our country, President Obama has placed politics over substantive policy that only serves to advance the agenda of well funded radical environmentalists....It's ironic that at the same time billionaire conservatives are coming under increasing scrutiny and criticism by the left for their involvement in politics, there is nary a word about the political spending by liberal billionaires that negatively impact the job prospects and livelihoods of working class Americans.”


That last line is an surprisingly overt jab at Harry Reid. I'll leave you with remarkably lifelike talking points robot Debbie Wasserman Schultz insisting that the president's Keystone punt had nothing at all to do with politics, followed by John Hardwood of CNBC and the New York Times asserting precisely the opposite:



White House Gives Non-Answer to "Deport Justin Bieber" Petition

According to the White House's own rules, once a petition on WeThePeople crosses 100,000 signatures in 30 days, the government will issue a response. This has led to some quasi-hilarious statements (such as the "no" response to building a Death Star), but also some serious responses. This past weekend, a petition requesting that Canadian pop singer Justin Bieber be deported and banned from the USA crossed that threshold, and the government issued a response...sort-of.

The petition read:

We the people of the United States feel that we are being wrongly represented in the world of pop culture. We would like to see the dangerous, reckless, destructive, and drug abusing, Justin Bieber deported and his green card revoked. He is not only threatening the safety of our people but he is also a terrible influence on our nations youth. We the people would like to remove Justin Bieber from our society.

Over 200,000 people have signed the petition requesting that the 20 year old be removed from the country due to his repeated run-ins with the law. The White House declined to comment specifically on Bieber's case, yet instead went on a tangent decrying the current immigration system.

So we'll leave it to others to comment on Mr. Bieber’s case, but we’re glad you care about immigration issues. Because our current system is broken. Too many employers game the system by hiring undocumented workers, and 11 million people are living in the shadows.

That status quo isn’t good for our economy or our country. We need common-sense immigration reform to make sure everyone plays by the same set of rules.

I guess this means we're stuck with the Biebs until further notice.