As Netroots Nation Drinks Up Democrat Kool-Aid, AFL-CIO Warns This Could Be A 'Powerful' GOP Year

As Katie Glueck of Politico wrote last Sunday, the faithful liberals who attended Netroots Nation last week are eating up the messaging national Democrats are spewing into the airwaves:

Party leaders have been pushing messages about economic fairness as they look ahead to what will drive midterm turnout — and with this crowd, at least, it’s resonating.

Issues such as raising the minimum wage, ensuring “equal pay” for women and, more broadly, reducing income inequality all played well here.

In an interview, Mary Burke, who is running for governor against Scott Walker in Wisconsin, also pointed to reproductive and voting rights as issues that could drive Democrats to the polls in an off-year. Perhaps the biggest applause line in Warren’s speech came when she melded anti-Wall Street talk with blasting the Supreme Court’s recent decision on the Hobby Lobby case, which will allow some private companies to opt out of covering birth control.

Of course, they did. Netroots is the liberal equivalent to our Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC). Yet, let’s focus on the Burke part for a second.

Hot Air’s Noah Rothman aptly noted the role single women could play in the midterm elections; these ladies could seriously ruin GOP plans to retake the Senate. Then again, the projected turnout rate for unmarried women isn’t good; a one-third drop from 2012 levels.

Wisconsin is one gubernatorial race where single women could deliver the deathblow to incumbent Republican Governor Scott Walker, who’s trying to recover from a ludicrous witch-hunt regarding his campaign finance operations during his 2012 recall election that has since been squashed by the courts.

But what about the working class vote? In fact, this bloc of voters has just as much sway, if not more so, than single women in national elections. Molly Ball of the Atlantic wrote yesterday that, “for the past decade, the working-class vote has determined whether the country swung toward Democrats or Republicans.”

It seems even the unions aren’t too optimistic about this year’s midterm elections. Ball spoke with AFL-CIO political director Mike Podhorzer, who compiled the data with working class voters and found that the GOP wins voters making over $50,000 frequently, while Democrats have a lock on voters making under $50,000. But, the margin of victory is volatile with this bloc of Democratic voters, where a victory by a 10-point or 20-point margin dictates how elections are won, according to Ball:

In 2004, Democrats won the working-class vote by 11 points; George W. Bush was reelected. In 2006, Democrats won the working-class vote by 22 points and took the House and Senate. In 2008, Democrats won by 22 points again, and President Obama was elected. In 2010, the margin narrowed to 11 points, and Republicans took the House back. In 2012, Obama was reelected—on the strength of another 22-point margin among voters making under $50,000.

So, how are things looking this year? Even union man Podhorzer acknowledges that this year will be friendly to elephants.

51 percent of voters making less than $50,000 plan to vote for Democrats, while 40 percent plan to vote Republican. (The rest are undecided, and the GOP wins the more-than-$50,000 vote 49-44.) That's exactly the same 11-point margin that has meant Democratic doom in every election since 2004.

Democrats, Podhorzer said, still need to find a way to frame the election in terms of "who's on your side." They haven't done it so far. If they can't, Podhorzer said, "This is going to be another Republican year, in a powerful way."

By powerful, we can assume he’s envisioning – to his horror –Republicans taking the Senate and increasing their majority in the House. With ISIS wreaking havoc in Iraq, Israel duking it out with Hamas (again), Ukrainian separatists allegedly shooting commercial airliners out of the sky, and the media reporting how Romney was right about Russia back in 2012, it’s looking more likely that this effort to get messaging on track isn’t going to happen soon.

Plus, the Obama administration has to deal with legal challenges to Obamacare, which conservatives have been successful in slowly chipping away key portions of the law in the courts; the latest victory being Halbig v. Burwell.

Oh, and the health insurance premium figures are to be released in the fall of this year, in the days leading up to Election Day.

Watch: 'Mary Poppins' Sings for Minimum Wage Increase

Kristen Bell, known for her roles in the television series “Veronica Mars” and for voicing Anna in last year’s smash hit “Frozen,” teamed up with FunnyorDie.com to film a Mary Poppins spoof about increasing the minimum wage. Instead of the joyful nanny we all know and love, this Poppins is a disgruntled employee who demands a raise - or she'll fly back from where she came.

Singing to the tune of “Spoonful of Sugar,” Bell changed the lyrics a bit:

“Just a three dollar increase can make a living wage…I don’t get these birds for free.”

Then she had this exchange with her reflection, which seemed to be against a wage increase:

"Are you a Republican?"

"Well, I do like a good tea party."

"Cheeky."

Although this politically active Poppins thinks she is fighting for workers’ rights, a few inconvenient verses she left out go something like this:

“Small businesses are the least able to absorb such a dramatic increase in their labor costs...These proposals do not incentivize growth or hiring – they make it nearly impossible."

Or how about this little ditty:

“Raising the minimum wage raises the hurdle a worker must cross to justify being hired.”

Long story short: This Mary Poppins needs a Spoonful of Reality.

This isn't the first time "Funny or Die" has used celebrities and "humor" to espouse a liberal message. In September of last year, Jennifer Hudson filmed a parody of the TV show "Scandal" about Obamacare called "Scandalous," in which she concluded that all of her clients' issues could be solved by the president's health care law.

Watch their latest unfunny video below. Please excuse the language at the very end:

Netroots Nation: Transgender Equality In The Military Gets Cool Reception

Last week, I ventured into a sea of liberalism at Netroots Nation, which was held at the Cobo Center in Detroit, Michigan. It was a buffet of liberal issues: LGBT issues, workers rights, water rights, social justice, abortion, single-payer healthcare, and many more that would drive ordinary conservatives insane.

Yet, on the issue of transgender rights, especially the right for them to serve in our military openly, the conference was less than enthusiastic as proven by the scarce attendance at this panel.

In the program given to us at the registration desk, this panel is described as such:

Today, it is outdated military policies – not the law – that ban transgender people from serving and forces their discharge if they are found out. Despite changes to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, which removed “gender identity disorder” as a mental illness, the U.S. military has not updated their policies. Service members are still discharged with this discredited diagnosis. Drawing on lessons learned from the campaign to repeal [Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell] DADT, and the model for open transgender service in other counties, this session will explore the path toward full equality.

So, why do transgender Americans want to serve (quietly) in an institution hostile to them?

Allyson Robinson, a transgender veteran and LGBT activist, noted that the military is still a great opportunity. It provides health care, housing, and a chance to serve one’s country. It’s a great job. She also said that good job opportunities are two to five times harder for transgender Americans to find.

The other reason transgender Americans join the military is family tradition. Robinson alluded that this was her reason for signing up, as her family had a long history of serving in the military that dates back to the Revolutionary War.

Kayla Williams, a cisgender veteran, or someone who associates with the gender assigned at birth, served in Iraq described the “austere” conditions she lived in at times during her deployment. She said she took hormonal birth control to regulate her menstrual cycle.

“No one wants to see a woman change her tampon in a sandstorm,” she said. Williams added that the military was accommodating and capable to handle her needs.

Fiona Dawson, host and producer of Transmilitary; a show about transgender military lives, served as the panel’s moderator and asked another transgender veteran, Landon Wilson, who was born female, but transitioned to male, about the military providing treatment for his needs.

“A hormone is a hormone is a hormone, alright,” he said. “When you break it down really and – trans-hormones are no different than non trans-hormones so if we have a guy in the military who was born male, lives as male, and his testosterone is low; what’s the difference in somebody who is a trans-man who’s testosterone is really low who needs that same hormone? There isn’t one.”

Dawson asked if these treatments could be taken into – and administered in – austere environments, Wilson said absolutely.

I had to leave the room due to an emergency phone call, but I was able to catch Williams declaring that “this is an incredibly important human rights issue and it’s time for everyone in the progressive community and national security community to come out and speak out on full equality for trans-personnel.”

But, as Robinson noted, this fight is different; there needs to be more awareness. She recollects how in the fight to repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, Congressman, Senators, and their staffs count the number of postcards, phone calls, and constituent visits they receive on issues. But, at the Pentagon, they couldn’t care less about constituent services.

Nevertheless, Robinson told the audience that contacting their representatives is key, as is sharing, liking, and retweeting what she, and other organizations devoted to this cause, disseminate on social media. It’s to build awareness.

“I don’t know about you, I’m constantly hearing big applause from the room across the hall, right? There’s a lot of people in that room – um, look around [observing the virtually empty room]; this is the situation that we deal with,” said Robinson.

Sue Fulton, an army veteran who graduated West Point in 1980, is also fighting to make the U.S. Military more LGBT-friendly at an organization called SPART*A. She said networking with fellow members in this community is essential. It offers a base of support, but more importantly; allows this movement to obtain facts on the ground. It allows them to get the stories and bring them – anonymously – to the people who make the decisions.

Fulton acknowledged that she was a little surprised by the amount of transgender Americans serving in the military who are coming out to their fellow comrades and commanding officers and not experiencing harsh resistance.

“There’s surprisingly less resistance – in general – than we may have expected a few years ago…there’s a growing understanding of what this is about,” she said.

The panel ended with something that has always plagued progressive/Democratic politics since George McGovern’s 1972 presidential bid; the accusation that left-wingers are anti-military and soft on defense.

Well, some things never change.

Dawson noted how groups advocating for open trans-service in the military are met with anti-military and anti-war comments from transgender Americans on social media.

Robinson declared she is a proud progressive, but said, “We assume that we all think exactly the same on every issue, right? And, the fact is, of course, we don’t…I think that if we’re going to be about anything it shouldn’t be about marginalizing people, right? If we’re going to be a movement about anything, we should be a movement about – where everyone is free to talk about what they believe and to be part of what we’re doing where we have agreement.”

This may come as a shock to these folks, but conservatives are also for not marginalizing people and we love debate.

Robinson claims there are 15,000 transgender Americans serving in the U.S. Military.

Israeli Ambassador Slams CNN's Biased Reporting Of Gaza Conflict

In the wake of the tragic shelling of a UN school that left fifteen people dead, Ron Dermer, Israeli Ambassador to the United States, went on Erin Burnett's show on CNN last night to remind the rest of the mainstream media – and the world – that the UN Secretary General mentioned that these schools are being used by Hamas to store rockets, thus becoming "potential military targets" and placing UN personnel and innocent Palestinians in harm's way.

He slammed CNN for omitting this aspect in their reporting of the conflict saying, "I've been listening for two hours of reports on CNN. I've seen split screens, horrible pictures, horrible pictures that any decent human being would be horrified by – I have not heard a single person say what I just said to you now. And, I think that that does a disservice to your viewers to not give them the context they need to make these judgments. Hamas is placing missile batteries in schools, in hospitals, in mosques – and there must be outrage by the world at Hamas to end this."

H/T (Washington Free Beacon)

CNN Poll: 35 Percent Want Obama Impeached

According to a new CNN poll, more than one-third of American voters want to see President Obama impeached. In 2006, just 30 percent of voters wanted to see President George W. Bush impeached.

35% want Obama impeached, with nearly two-thirds saying the President should not be removed from office.

There's an obvious partisan divide, with 57% of Republicans but only 35% of independents and 13% of Democrats backing a move to impeach Obama.

The poll's release came one day after the House Rules Committee approved – along a party line vote – a resolution authorizing Speaker John Boehner's lawsuit against the President. The GOP controlled House is expected approve it next week.

Boehner and House Republicans plan to sue Obama over his health care law. They claim he violated the Constitution by circumventing Congress and changing the law's employer mandate on his own.

By a 57%-41% margin, Americans say House Republicans shouldn't file the suit. As with the question on impeachment, there's a wide partisan divide over the lawsuit.

The majority of voters disagree with calls from people like Sarah Palin for President Obama to be removed from the Oval Office.

One of the most important numbers in the poll has to do with President Obama's executive overreach as 45 percent say he has gone too far.

When it comes to expanding the power of the presidency, has Obama gone too far? Forty-five percent say yes, with three in 10 saying the President's actions have been about right, and 22% saying he hasn't gone far enough.

You can see the entire poll here.

WATCH: Christian in Iraq Talks About Persecution From Terrorist Group ISIS

As the terrorist group ISIS continues its brutal takeover of Iraq, Christians have been given an ultimatum: convert to Islam or be killed.

Iraqi Christians are begging for help from the civilized world after Mosul, the northern city where they have lived and worshiped for 2,000 years, was purged of non-Muslims by ISIS, the jihadist terror group that claims to have established its own nation in the region.

"By 12 noon on Saturday, the Christians -- all of them -- left the city," Yousif Habash, an Iraqi-born bishop of the Syriac Catholic Church, told FoxNews.com.

Mosul, Iraq's second-largest city, included 60,000 Christians in 2003. By last month, the number had dwindled to just 35,000. It now stands at zero, according to Ignatius Yousef Younan III, patriarch of the Syrian Catholic Church.

Thousands of Christians have fleed and the situation is being described as a genocide and ethnic cleansing.

Last night Fox News' Sean Hannity interviewed Christian Kaldo Oganna, who is living in Iraq.

"Our people are under the threat of killing, ethnic cleansing," he said. "We are all in fear. The Jihadis are going to attack."

Oganna begged for condemnation of the violence and begged the United States to stop ISIS before things get worse. The entire interview is worth your time.

The White House response to the persecution and genocide of Christians in Iraq, and in the Middle East as a whole, has been nothing short of pathetic and unacceptable.

New Obama Executive Action Plan on Amnesty: Bring Kids to U.S. Directly From Central America

With no plans to secure the border, President Obama is considering executive action without Congress to grant Hondurans amnesty and to set up a program to screen "refugees" in the country before green lighting them into the United States, cutting out the process of trekking through Mexico. From the New York Times:

The Obama administration is considering whether to allow hundreds of minors and young adults from Honduras into the United States without making the dangerous trek through Mexico, according to a draft of the proposal.

If approved, the plan would direct the government to screen thousands of children and youths in Honduras to see if they can enter the United States as refugees or on emergency humanitarian grounds. It would be the first American refugee effort in a nation reachable by land to the United States, the White House said, putting the violence in Honduras on the level of humanitarian emergencies in Haiti and Vietnam, where such programs have been conducted in the past amid war and major crises.

Critics of the plan were quick to pounce, saying it appeared to redefine the legal definition of a refugee and would only increase the flow of migration to the United States. Administration officials said they believed the plan could be enacted through executive action, without congressional approval, as long as it did not increase the total number of refugees coming into the country.

This plan contradicts initial claims by the administration children in the United States illegally will be sent back. Not only is the White House not stopping the flow of illegal alien children, they're planning to increase the number of unaccompanied children in the U.S. with President Obama's pen.

Last night Senators Jeff Sessions and Ted Cruz ripped the administration's plan on the Senate floor.

"Know that we are facing an exceedingly grave threat of an unbelievable expansion of his unilateral executive orders of amnesty that go beyond anything we've ever seen in this country and threatens the very constitutional framework of our republic and the very ability of this nation to even have borders," Sessions said.

“The current situation in the Rio Grande Valley is a humanitarian crisis of this Administration’s making. President Obama set the stage for this crisis by refusing to live up to his most basic responsibility to secure our border, imposing huge human and financial costs on border communities and on immigrants who come here illegally,” Sen. Cruz said in a statement. “He has also sent a message to the world that the United States is not serious about enforcing its immigration laws by lawlessly granting amnesty through the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program. To solve this problem, we must put a stop to President Obama’s amnesty and give governors all options possible to mitigate this crisis in light of the federal government’s inaction.”

Cruz has introduced legislation , the Protect Children and Families Through the Rule of Law Act, in order to "stop President Obama’s amnesty, reform the William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Act, and empower governors to utilize the National Guard to address this specific crisis at federal expense, including authority to arrest violators of federal immigration, drug trafficking, human trafficking, and terrorism laws."

Meanwhile, leaders from Central American countries are meeting at the White House today to discuss the ongoing crisis.

President Barack Obama is summoning Central American leaders to the White House to discuss the influx of young immigrants from their countries to the U.S., hoping to show presidential action even as Congress remains deeply split over proposals to stem the crisis on the border.

The meeting comes as the administration is considering creating a pilot program giving refugee status to young people from Honduras, White House officials said Thursday. The plan would involve screening youths in their home country to determine whether they qualify for refugee status. The program would be limited and would start in Honduras but could be expanded to include other Central American countries.

Earlier this week, Speaker John Boehner sent a letter to President Obama threatening funding if border security is not taken seriously.

Cruz on Meriam Ibrahim’s Release: “Truly the Lord Works in Mysterious Ways”

Indeed He does.

And yet, after refusing to renounce her Christian-faith, Meriam Ibrahim showed herself to be, among other things, a woman of remarkable courage and conviction. She was presented with a choice, a choice no one should ever have to make: renounce your faith, or suffer martyrdom. (The punishment in Sudan for the “crime” of apostasy is death by hanging). She refused, knowing full well the risks she was taking. But I can only speculate that her abiding sense of faith, and her trust in the Lord, are what sustained her. And sustain her still.

To his credit, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), among other members of Congress, made her plight a top priority. Religious liberty is a human right, he argued, not one that is conditional or can be taken away. He therefore released this statement on Thursday, rejoicing she had been “brought out of the darkness.” He also praised government and religious leaders from around the world. Without them, Ms. Ibrahim's liberation would have been impossible:

“We rejoice today that our sister, Meriam Ibrahim, has been brought out of the darkness of persecution and into the light of liberty where she can worship freely and fully,” Sen. Cruz said.

“Great thanks are due to the government of Italy, which, not taking no for an answer, exerted the strongest diplomatic pressure to resolve Ms. Ibrahim’s case. Prime Minister Matteo Renzi publicly raised Ms. Ibrahim’s plight in recent weeks, and Foreign Minister Federica Mogherini has taken a personal interest in the case.

“Pope Francis has been a tireless advocate for Ms. Ibrahim through prayer, and their combined and sustained efforts have brought Ms. Ibrahim and her family to safety.

“Truly the Lord works in mysterious ways. Ms. Ibrahim’s long trial seemed at times hopeless, as a powerless woman was victimized by a brutal government that would torture and kill its own citizens for their faith. But its beautiful conclusion today when Pope Francis laid his hands on her in blessing reminds us of the boundless power of pure faith to lift up and preserve the weak and oppressed.

“It is also a call to action for all Christians around the globe to redouble our efforts to draw attention to the plight of the many Christians still suffering cruel and unjust imprisonment, including Pastor Saeed Abedini in Iran and Kenneth Bae in North Korea.

“The vicious persecution of the Christians of Iraq, especially Mosul, also commands our urgent attention. We prayerfully urge our government to engage fully in their cases.”

Hillary: No, Seriously, Our Russian 'Reset' Worked


Hillary Clinton and her supporters have famously struggled to identify her major, tangible accomplishments as Secretary of State. Perhaps she's finally settled on an answer, and it's a doozy:



Engineering a blossoming restoration of US-Russia relations is a major achievement, and Hillary would like American voters to know that she pulled it off, or something. Her timing is impeccable. Over the last few years, Moscow has complicated our efforts to halt Iran's nuclear march, ignored us completely on human rights, ostentatiously harbored a treacherous American fugitive, invaded (another) bordering country, and helped Kremlin-aligned rebels blow an airliner out of the sky. With international pressure mounting, Vladimir Putin's allies are escalating their hostilities, not backing down -- while the Russian government spins wild and debunked conspiracies about the Malaysian Airlines attack. With that spiraling catastrophe as her backdrop, Her Majesty has decided to pronounce her "reset" charm offensive a success. If you find yourself laughing incredulously, we've officially come full circle. That policy began with a hearty chortle, too:



Russian media have been poking fun at the US secretary of state over a translation error on a gift she presented to her Russian counterpart. Hillary Clinton gave Sergei Lavrov a mock "reset" button, symbolising US hopes to mend frayed ties with Moscow. But he said the word the Americans chose, "peregruzka", meant "overloaded" or "overcharged", rather than "reset".


Smart power. Allahpundit explains how the Clinton spinmeisters are trying to play this, deliberately using the past tense to frame things in a Hillary-friendly manner. Good luck:


The only way to do it is to argue that it was a success but that, through no fault of Hillary’s own, of course, it collapsed in a heap. Officially, she’s going to blame the failure of the reset on Putin re-assuming the presidency after four years of Medvedev, but that makes no sense. As Hillary herself concedes (“of course Putin still pulled the strings”), Putin was calling the shots as prime minister during Obama’s first term while Medvedev kept his presidential seat warm. Russian law forbids more than two consecutive terms as president — for now — so Czar Vladimir temporarily stepped aside for a catspaw. She’s drawing a lame distinction between Medvedev and Putin simply as an excuse for why her biggest initiative as Secretary of State now lies in ruins. Unofficially, of course, she’s also drawing a tacit contrast between herself and Obama: Things with Russia were fine during his first term but once she left State, everything went to hell. If having Putin as president of Russia is the key to all this, I’m not sure why we should expect different foreign policy results from President Hillary; after all, Putin will still be czar or king or emperor two years from now. But you’re not supposed to think too hard about this.


"Don't think too hard" might as well be an early frontrunner for her 2016 campaign-in-waiting's slogan. She's going to ask voters to give her political credit for all of the good things that happened during her husband's presidency and the Obama administration, while absolving her of the negative developments. She'll cherry-pick all day and all night. Clinton economy? Let's bring it back. The Obamacare mess? I would have done it more effectively. Etc, etc. But until she formally throws her hat in the ring, we'll have to endure an exhausting parade of coy hints, and an increasingly steady diet of the 'First Woman President' narrative.

TMZ "Reporters" Call Sarah Palin a "Bad Mom" and "Dumb" After Receiving Speeding Ticket

In case you didn't know, TMZ is a paparazzi entertainment show that follows celebrities as they walk out of restaurants, get into their cars, or buy a cup of coffee. It is not a real news source. Case in point, on Wednesday these "reporters" proved just how sad their profession is. After airing a segment that showed footage of former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin getting a speeding ticket in Wasilla, Alaska, the TMZ staff started demeaning her for no reason, according to Breitbart:

But then it quickly turned ugly, when, without justification, the staffers launched into a nasty, random, name-calling attack. One staff member exclaimed out of nowhere, "She's a bitch." Another chimed in, saying, "She's a really bad mom," while another added, "She's a horrible mom."

A third concluded, "She's not evil. She's too dumb to be good or evil."

The immature behavior continues on TMZ's website, where they again show the former governor no respect:

Sarah Palin may be conservative, but her driving is unabashedly radical ... giving TMZ an epic rationalization for speeding in her pick up truck in Alaska.

The former guv was stopped in her hometown of Wasilla last Wednesday for going 63 in a 45 MPH zone in her Toyota Tundra. The cop wrote her up and she was on her way.

Governor Palin has does nothing to suggest she is a bad mom or a "bitch," yet she has been the media's favorite target since the 2008 election.

These charges aren't only false, they're downright cruel. But, I guess the "war on women" is sanctioned when it's being waged on conservative women.

US Official: ISIL Is 'No Longer a Terrorist Organization--It's a Full-Blown Army'

By now, we all know how wrong President Obama was when he repeatedly said on the campaign trail in 2012 that al Qaeda is on the path to defeat. Indeed, it seems like we’ve got a much bigger problem on our hands. According to top U.S. officials, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant is “worse than al Qaeda.”

Via The Hill (emphasis mine):

"It is al Qaeda in its doctrine, ambition and increasingly, in its threat to U.S. interests," Brett McGurk, deputy assistant secretary of state, told lawmakers at a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing. "In fact, it is worse than al Qaeda."

McGurk said the group, which splintered off from its parent, al Qaeda in Iraq, had strengthened its capabilities and was “no longer a terrorist organization. It is a full-blown army.”
Elissa Slotkin, acting principal deputy undersecretary of Defense for policy, added that the group has threatened: "We're coming for you, Barack Obama."

ISIS has captured huge parts of both countries and threatened to move on Baghdad last month, leading President Obama to authorize deploying nearly 750 troops to Iraq.

Over the weekend, Attorney General Eric Holder said the threat of ISIS fighters infiltrating into the U.S. was "more frightening than anything I think I've seen as attorney general."

Former Defense Secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge told The Hill Wednesday that the threat from ISIS has been "blinking red a long time."

"It's been blinking red but now it's flashing more frequently and is a lot brighter," he said.

"They've got a lot of fighters who are from European countries that are visa waiver countries, which means all they have to do is shave their beards and look like normal responsible civilians and walk into the United States of America without a visa."

"So it's a real challenge for our intelligence community to identify them and get their names on a watch list," he said.

Publicly, the administration says it has no plans for a U.S. military intervention to stop the extremist group, but Iraq’s request for U.S. airstrikes is “still under active consideration.”

“There is no exclusively military solution to the threats posed by ISIL in Iraq,” the Pentagon’s Elissa Slotkin said. “DoD remains postured should the president decide to use military force as part of a broader strategy. Our immediate goals … are to protect our people and property in Iraq; gain a better understanding of how we might best train, advise and support the Iraqi Security Forces [ISF] capabilities should we decide to support the ISF going forward … and expand our understanding — particularly via intelligence — of ISIL.”

Don't Expand Government, Cut the Payroll Tax Instead

The Earned Income Tax Credit is one of the federal government's most successful anti-poverty programs. As House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) notes in his newly released anti-poverty plan today, it "makes low-income families more likely to work by increasing work's rewards" and "encourages households to enter the labor force."

However, the EITC is also far from perfect. Which is why it was disappointing to see Ryan ignore some of the program's biggest shortcomings.

To his credit, Ryan does note that the EITC's "complexity requires low-income individuals to either negotiate a complex maze of rules and forms" or "to pay tax preparers to file the necessary paperwork with the IRS to receive the credit."

"The IRS instructions run 39 pages, involve 15 'rules' and includes 12 separate forms that could apply in filing for the EITC," Ryan's report continues. "The credit is received as much as 15 months after the individual earned his or her pay. ... Its complexity also contributes to high error rates for the EITC. In many cases people just don't know whether they qualify or not."

What Ryan fails to mention here is just how hight the "error rate" for the EITC actually is. According to the latest Treasury Department Inspector General's report, the IRS made up to $15.6 billion in "improper" ETIC payments in 2013. That comes to 26 percent of all EITC spending.

Ryan's plan does call for EITC reform. But Congress has ordered the IRS to eliminate improper payments before. And the IRS has simply failed to do so (imagine that). Why on earth should conservatives expand a program with a 25 percent error rate before IRS cleans up the existing program?

Especially considering that there is an easy way to both fight poverty and cut government at the same time: just cut the payroll tax!

Cutting the payroll tax would put more money in the hands of the working poor, encourage more poor people to work, and create more jobs. No 39 pages of IRS instructions or 15 month delays needed. Working Americans would just immediately see more money in each of their paychecks.

And all this could be done without raising the deficit. Whatever money Ryan was going to use to pay for his EITC expansion by cutting other ineffective programs, could also be easily funneled into the Social Security system to replace the revenue lost by the payroll tax cut.

Conservatives can fight poverty and shrink the government at the same time. Expanding the EITC is not the way to do that.

Video: Israeli Spokesman Schools MSNBC Host


Via Noah Rothman, an excruciating interview between MSNBC's Joy Reid and Israeli spokesman Mark Regev. To clarify, Reid's questions make this interaction an excruciating spectacle for informed viewers. Regev's patient and thorough answers are a model of of effective professionalism. Skip ahead to 1:45 and soak it in. Brief commentary to follow:




Reid's questions are laden with faulty premises, with the most obvious error being her assertion that Gaza is "occupied" by Israel. In fact, Israel unilaterally ended its occupation of Gaza in 2005 as a gesture of good faith, forcibly uprooting settlements and withdrawing entirely from the territory. That olive branch was greeted with violent madness, as the local population promptly and decisively elected a terrorist organization -- Hamas -- to represent them. Hamas then overthrew the Palestinian Authority in Gaza, leading to Israel's blockade. Israel's generosity has been repaid with the firing of thousands of rockets at its civilians over nearly a decade, including the bombardment that served as the catalyst for the current conflict. Reid presses Regev on why Israel is attacking hospitals and bulldozing private homes. He responds with the depressing truth: The IDF is forced to use surgical strikes against non-traditional targets because Hamas is using those locations as staging grounds for their terrorist activities. And they're using their civilians as human shields, urging them to disregard Israel's humanitarian pre-attack warnings, which sometimes even entail leaflets with maps identifying safe zones.

Reid demands to know where displaced Palestinians should go, and who is responsible for their fate. Hamas is responsible for their fate. Hamas started this war. Hamas shoots rockets at civilians from clinics and schools. Hamas puts children in harm's way to protect their stockpiles and leaders. Hamas inculcates its population with hateful bigotry from the earliest age. Yet every accusatory question from the MSNBC host is premised on Israel's culpability. What happens to the people who live in houses above the terror tunnels Israel destroys? There may not be a great answer to that challenge, but the cause of that dilemma is, you know, the terror tunnels -- which Hamas builds to smuggle weapons and surreptitiously enter Israeli territory, often with murderous intentions (see below). What is Israel supposed to do? Not attack the enemies who are trying to kill their civilians? Not destroy the tunnel network? It's a cliche at this point, but it's true: If Palestinians renounced violence and laid down their arms tomorrow, they would have their own state, and achieve peace. If Israel did the same, she would be annihilated.

The Los Angeles Times has a front page story today positing that the present Gaza blockade is causing and fomenting terrorism. Actually, the blockade was only imposed when Hamas proved itself to be unable to resist terrorism. Its purpose is not to cut off humanitarian supplies or legitimate commerce -- both are permitted to pass through -- but to interdict munitions re-supply shipments from sources like Iran. People got excited yesterday when a Hamas leader said his group was open to a truce. The problem is that his peace offer came with strings attached, the primary one being the lifting of the anti-weapons blockade. Hamas wants Israel to lunge for a temporary quiet at the price of allowing terrorists to re-arm. Such a concession would be counter-productive and short-sighted, and Israel realizes this. The Washington Post editorial board can't understand why many of their media brethren stubbornly refuse to cover the Israel-Palestinian struggle based on a fair assessment of the parties' morals and motives:


Hamas’s offensive tunnels should not be confused with the burrows it has dug under Gaza’s border with Egypt to smuggle money, consumer goods and military equipment. The newly discovered structures have only one conceivable purpose: to launch attacks inside Israel. Three times in recent days, Hamas fighters emerged from the tunnels in the vicinity of Israeli civilian communities, which they clearly aimed to attack. The ­concrete-lined structures are stocked with materials, such as handcuffs and tranquilizers, that could be used on hostages. Other tunnels in northern Gaza are designed for the storage and firing of missiles at Israeli cities. The resources devoted by Hamas to this project are staggering, particularly in view of Gaza’s extreme poverty. By one Israeli account, the typical tunnel cost $1 million to build over the course of several years, using tons of concrete desperately needed for civilian housing.

By design, many of the tunnels have entrances in the heavily populated Shijaiyah district, where the Israeli offensive has been concentrated. One was found underneath al-Wafa hospital, where Hamas also located a command post and stored weapons, according to Israeli officials.
The depravity of Hamas’s strategy seems lost on much of the outside world, which — following the terrorists’ script — blames Israel for the civilian casualties it inflicts while attempting to destroy the tunnels. While children die in strikes against the military infrastructure that Hamas’s leaders deliberately placed in and among homes, those leaders remain safe in their own tunnels. There they continue to reject cease-fire proposals, instead outlining a long list of unacceptable demands.


Exactly. 'Blame Israel First' agitators are either ignorant of these facts, or they don't care to know them. And far too many of them simply hate Jews, which no amount of empirical evidence will reverse.

Exclusive Photos: Drug Mules Easily Smuggle Narcotics Into U.S. as Border Patrol Remains Overwhelmed

The flood of illegal immigrants on our southern border shows no signs of stopping and drug mule and cartel operations aren't slowing down either. These exclusive photos were taken yesterday, July 22, 2014 in southeast Arizona just north of the U.S. southern border with Mexico. Each pack of narcotics being smuggled weighs 50-60 pounds.


Despite claims from President Obama and Majority Leader Harry Reid, the border is anything but secure.


Darth Vader Polling Higher Than Every Potential 2016 Candidate

A poll released yesterday on the blog FiveThirtyEight shows that Star Wars villain Darth Vader is currently polling at a higher favorability rating than any of the potential candidates for the 2016 presidential election. Additionally, Jar Jar Binks, the near universally-despised character from Episodes I, II, and III, has a higher favorability rating than many high-profile members of Congress as well as "Congress" as a whole.

On the other hand, with a net favorability of -8, Jar Jar is considerably more popular than the U.S. Congress, which currently enjoys a net favorability rating of -65. In fact, the last time congressional net favorability was above that was February 2005. Incidentally this was just before the release date of "Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith," which marked Jar Jar's last appearance on the big screen.

[...]

None of the 2016 hopefuls is polling higher than Darth Vader. You'll recall that Vader chopped off his son's arm and blew up an entire planet, but evidently in the eyes of the American public these are minor sins compared to Benghazi, Bridgegate and Gov. Rick Perry's hipster glasses. These numbers suggest that if "Star Wars" were real and Darth Vader decided to enter the 2016 presidential race, he'd be the immediate front-runner.

The chart compiled by Washington Post comparing favorability rankings between the fictional characters of the Star Wars universe and the real-life "characters" of Congress is pretty jaw-dropping, yet somewhat amusing:


This shows how cynical Americans have become towards mainstream politicians. Americans, at least those polled, are just not enthusiastic about...really anyone, apparently - unless they happen to live in a galaxy far, far away.

"One Word That Explains The Loss of Innocent Life: HAMAS," says...Schumer

SCHUMER: We are frustrated with the media's "double standard."

President Who Learns Everything Bad From The News Says He Doesn't Watch The News

In an effort to impress fundraisers about how incredibly smart he is, President Obama recently told a group of rich California liberals this week that he doesn't watch the news because he already knows all about what's being reported. Interestingly, Obama claims to know nothing about the numerous scandals plaguing his legacy until of course...he learned it on the news.

I could list examples of former White House Press Secretary Jay Carney and Obama himself citing news reports as the administration's first time finding out about a particularly unpleasant issue, but I'll hand it over to Greg Gutfeld instead.

How Paul Ryan's Poverty Plan Will Weaken States and Empower Presidents

House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) released a "discussion draft" today outlining a "Agenda for New Opportunity" designed to "make federal aid more accountable and more effective."

The centerpiece of Ryan's proposal is a new "Opportunity Grant" pilot program which would allow states to consolidate a slew of federal welfare programs into one coordinated plan.

To qualify for an Opportunity Grant, states would have to submit "a concrete plan to develop a new aid program" to the federal government.

The federal government would then have the power to approve or deny states plans based on four criteria, including: 1) "the plan must demonstrate how the funds would be used to move people out of poverty and into independence"; 2) the plan "would have to require all able-bodied recipients work or engage in work-related activities"; 3) the plan "would need to use some funds from the consolidated programs to encourage new approaches by innovative groups as well as non-governmental organizations"; and 4) "the state and federal government would have to agree on measures of success and evaluation by a third party."

These all sound like fabulous good government requirements. And as long as someone both slept through the Obama presidency and knows nothing about how administrative law works, they might sound like a basis for conservative reform.

Unfortunately, however, we live in a world where presidents use and abuse every grant of power from Congress to control and weaken states. And the Ryan plan would only make it easier for future presidents to do that.

True, Ryan's Opportunity Grant program would be voluntary... at first, but so was Medicaid. Eventually all the states signed up for that program and the federal government has been using it as leverage ever since.

The same would happen with the Opportunity Grant program. Let's say Texas got an Opportunity Grant program approved in year one. Well, eventually that plan would need to be renewed, but only after Texas had reorganized its entire social safety net delivery system.

Now the next president would have Texas dead to rights. He (or probably she) could demand Opportunity Grant funding go to progressive activist groups like La Raza or Casa de Maryland. The president could gut the program's work requirements or change the definition of "work-related activities." Or the president could insist on hostile third party evaluators who would push for more progressive big government solutions.

We've seen President Obama do something very similar with the No Child Left Behind law. He has used that programs waiver process in an unprecedented way to force big government Common Core curriculum and conservative states that don't want it.

Ryan's Opportunity Grants would eventually be used by progressive presidents in the exact same way.

Anti-Israel Protesters Ask: What If The IDF Bombed Rockville, Maryland?

As Israel continues its air and ground offensive in Gaza to protect itself, MRCTV’s Dan Joseph encountered an anti-Israel protest earlier this week outside the DC Convention Center where Christians United For Israel is having their annual summit.

One protestor said “Israel has a right to defend themselves if there is an equal army.” Joseph aptly noted the irrationality of her point since that’s not how war works. Things got even hazier when this person asked “but would it be ok for Israel to come in and bomb Rockville, Maryland?” She added, “Rockville doesn’t have a military.”

Actually, Rockville does; it’s part of the United States, therefore, protected by the most powerful and technologically sophisticated military in the world. Moreover, if the imaginary Democratic People’s Republic of Rockville existed, they didn’t fire rockets into Gaza! So, where is this narrative going?

An older protestor took a more conspiratorial tone saying, “ I say the government set it up and I don’t now if they were serving the United States.” Joseph pressed her asking, “you think the Israeli government set it up?”

“Yeah, I do,” she said.

Also, another gentleman claimed the United States is the biggest terrorist organization.

Oh, and the claim that Hamas is using innocent Palestinians as human shields is a lie, or something.

Paul Ryan Proposal Conflates Anti-Poverty Programs, Returns Power to States

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) studied a blend of politics and economics at his Ohio alma mater and he has continually made this fusion a priority in Washington. The House Budget Committee Chairman proposed a pilot program to consolidate 11 federal anti-poverty programs into one fund which would stream directly to states which opted-in. This conflation would, in theory, allow more flexibility for states to create aid options based on the unique struggles of its impoverished residents.

Ryan explained his plan in a USA Today op-ed Thursday:

Here's how the program would work: Each state that wanted to participate would submit a plan to the federal government. That plan would lay out in detail the state's proposed alternative. If everything passed muster, the federal government would give the green light. And the state would get more flexibility to combine things such as food stamps, housing subsidies, child care assistance and cash welfare. This simpler Opportunity Grant would include the same money as current law.

Plans would be approved on four conditions: The state would have to spend all funding on people in need. Second, the state would have to hold people accountable through work requirements and time limits for every able-bodied recipient just as there are for cash welfare today.

Third, the state would have to offer at least two service providers. The state welfare agency couldn't be the only game in town. And fourth, the state would have to measure progress through a neutral third party to keep track of key metrics.

The House Budget Committee defined federal anti-poverty programs as “duplicative and complex” in a 205-page analysis of the War on Poverty in March. The government spent $799 billion on the programs in 2012, the report found.

The new program would give families choices between approved non-profits, for-profits, or community groups, removing the monopoly of state agencies. According to Ryan, the scheme, dubbed the “Opportunity Grant,” would create more accountability and could be more closely eyed for results rather than sums.

Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) claimed Democrats would welcome any programs that would “create pathways to the middle class,” however, he was wary that the term "reform" might actually be a clever attempt to cut “vital safety-net programs.”

Rejoice: Meriam Ibrahim and Family Escape Sudan, Arrive in Italy

Sentenced to death for apostasy and confined to a prison cell for months (where she delivered her second child) Meriam Ibrahim fully expected to die a martyr's death. But now, it can be said, her harrowing experience is finally over.

And Thank God.

To recap, she was initially granted a pardon and freed after Sudan’s government overturned her death sentence for apostasy when international lobbying efforts from humanitarian groups and Western governments proved successful, only to be detained at the airport for “falsifying” her travel documents. Her entire family was apprehended, too, and after some scary bumps in the road, was finally granted refuge at the US embassy in Khartoum -- where she’s languished for about a month. Today, however, with the help of the Vatican and the Italian government, and in conjunction with the US State Department, she and her family arrived safely in Italy this morning:

Meriam Ibrahim, the Christian woman who was spared a death sentence for apostasy and then barred from leaving Sudan, met Pope Francis on Thursday after arriving in Rome to jubilant scenes following intense international efforts to free her.

Ms Ibrahim and her husband Daniel Wani thanked the pontiff for his support and he in turn thanked her for staying true to her Christian faith despite the threat of execution if she did not recant.

The 27-year-old was flown to Italy in a government aircraft and landed at Rome’s Ciampino airport accompanied by her family and Italy's deputy minister for foreign affairs, Lapo Pistelli, who flew to Sudan to collect her late on Wednesday

She was released after intense diplomatic negotiations from the Italian government and the Vatican ended an ordeal that lasted almost a year.

So what role did Italy and the Vatican play in securing Ibrahim, and her family’s, release? An indispensable one, it would seem:

[Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Lapo Pistelli] said Italy had become involved in the case because, as a Catholic country, it was very moved by Ibrahim's story and wanted to help.

Italy has good relations with Khartoum and offered to help the U.S. Embassy there to speed up the process of getting U.S. passports for Ibrahim and her family to leave the country, the minister said.

They succeeded, and now one of the most infamous cases of Christian persecution in recent memory can be laid to rest. Pope Francis, meanwhile, welcomed Meriam Ibrahim to the Vatican with open arms upon her arrival. The photograph taken of them, I believe, serves as a fitting and joyous conclusion to an otherwise traumatic and enervating world-event:

Ibrahim, her husband, and their two children are expected to fly to the US in a few days.

Local News Station Exposes How DC Will Collect $61 Million in Parking Tickets Next Year

If the increased metro fare in Washington, DC doesn't consume commuters' paychecks, the parking tickets certainly will. Emily Miller, author of "Emily Gets Her Gun," is the chief investigative reporter for Fox 5. Wednesday night, the local DC-based news station aired her latest report in which she exposed how the local government is finding any excuse to dole out those unpopular pink slips to unsuspecting drivers.

During her investigation, Miller abided by the law, using a Parkmobile app to pay for parking. Yet, upon her return from her yoga class, found a neatly placed ticket on her dashboard, informing her she received a fine for not placing a paper receipt on her car. How many other people, she wondered, were losing money paying with the app?

But, the most ridiculous ticket she received, involved the condition of her city-provided registration.

Apparently, Miller's registration had become unglued while parked and she had "failed to properly affix sticker."

However, she showed viewers a picture of the evidence that suggests otherwise:

"You can clearly see all the information on my registration sticker."

In court, the hearing examiner offered her a deal for half off. Miller still wasn’t buying it:

"I just paid $125 for this sticker a month ago. Now I want to pay $25 more?"

She claimed that the meter maid's photo showed that the sticker was originally put below the black defrost line, which is absurd.

Miller went through the rest of the court process and found she had the option to appeal her case, yet she'd have to pay the initial fine, plus an appeal fine.

Miller summed up the injustice:

"The government is buying cheap tickets and faulting us."

In another instance of the government benefiting from its own mistake, Miller explained how one person supposedly ended up with a poor credit score because of a ticket that never got sent to his house.

Miller interviewed a bank employee who claims to know victims of bad credit score in consequence of a parking violation:

“I actually work at a bank and some people will have mortgages years later, and because of a D.C. parking ticket that never got sent to their house, they can't get a loan, they can't get a mortgage, everything is in trouble,” said Sonia Benjelloun.

Miller tried to request a FOIA from the Department of Motor Vehicles seeking an explanation for these questionable fines. Their response? "The DMV is not required to answer questions."

As Miller asked, "What does that even mean?"

Miller wasn't the only one to call foul on the city’s eagerness to hand out parking tickets. Fox 5 Anchor Tony Perkins also chastised the local government for being too obsessed with "little nitpicky things like this, it's ridiculous."

Thanks to all these nitpicky violations, the city council expects to pocket $61 million next year from parking fines. That is $100 a year for every man, woman and child in the city, according to Fox 5.

I think it’s inevitable that anyone living in the Beltway knows someone who has been victim to the local government’s iffy parking laws. My roommate's friend got a ticket for not backing into spot. My other friend got a ticket for an expired meter, even though she says the meter itself was malfunctioning. She entered a month-long battle in which she had to write the government a letter and print out copies of receipts at the restaurants she went to while she was parked. She ended up not having to pay because her ticket had not even been entered in the system. As you know now, others are not so lucky.

Many drivers consider it more of a hassle to fight the system than to pay the fine. Here were a few of the common complaints Miller found on the street:

"Seems like it would take half a day or more and it’s just such a hassle."

“Just the idea of going to traffic court and the possible hours it would take – it just sounds terrible.”

Can we still criticize the government if we don't voice our frustrations?

Thankfully, more people are speaking up. Immediately after Fox aired Miller's segment, local drivers sped to their phones.

Drivers shouldn't have to be victims. With the revelation that the DC government is raking in millions of dollars off commuters, residents may soon take another look at walking to work - or moving somewhere else.

Watch the full report here:

DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Flashback: WH, Dems Killed Bill to Strengthen Obamacare Eligibility Verification


In light of the Government Accountability Office's eye-opening investigation into Obamacare's virtually nonexistent fraud protection safeguards, it's worth revisiting some recent history. Prior to last year's government shutdown, House Republicans passed a series of Obamacare-related bills over the adamant objections of most Democrats. One bill, called the 'No Subsidies Without Verification Act,' sailed through the House 235-191, with every single 'no' vote being furnished by Democrats. Only five members of President Obama's party backed this common-sense measure -- which, needless to say, died in Harry Reid's Senate. The impetus behind the legislation was the White House's announcement last summer that it would at least initially rely on the honor system in dispersing the law's subsidies to a subset of the population, wherein enrollees would self-report their income and insurance status. Administration officials had little choice but to pull this trigger, for two reasons: They'd already delayed the employer mandate (complicating the eligibility verification process), and the back end payment systems of Healthcare.gov weren't going to be completed on time (they are under construction to this day, and won't be ready until 2015). Conservatives decried the move as a reckless invitation to fraud and proposed mitigating solutions, resulting in the aforementioned legislation. As I mentioned earlier, 191 members of Nancy Pelosi's caucus voted to defeat anti-fraud protections that would have delayed the flow of taxpayer-funded subsidies until a basic verification regime was up and running. The White House immediately slapped the idea down:

Like dozens of other bills from the House meant to tweak or repeal ObamaCare, this one also seems likely to go nowhere in the Senate. The White House has said the bill is unnecessary, and President Obama would veto it if it were presented for his signature.

He never followed through on that threat because the bill never reached his desk. Flash forward to mid-October, when the partial government shutdown finally drew to a close. The GOP had been routed, and the only "concession" they won was a requirement that HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius certify that Obamacare subsidy eligibility verification procedures had been faithfully carried out prior to the awarding of subsidies. She did so in a letter to Vice President Biden dated January 1, 2014:


"I certify that the American Health Benefit Exchanges (Marketplaces) verify that applicants for advance payments of the premium tax credit and cost-sharing reductions are eligible for such payments and reductions, consistent with the requirements of section 1411 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act…the Marketplace verifies application information provided by the consumer when making an eligibility determination. The Department of Health and Human Services has issued regulations that detail these procedures, and the Marketplaces have implemented numerous systems and processes to carry out these verifications."


Seven months later, the GAO has revealed that "the federal marketplace approved coverage for 11 of our 12 fictitious applicants who initially applied online, or by telephone," with these fake applicants securing approval for $30,000 in taxpayer-funded annual subsidies. Beyond that, "as of July 17, two of the fake applicants were told their citizenship had been verified." The verification process, certified as adequate and thorough by the Obama administration, confirmed the citizenship of two non-existent people. One final background note: When critics of the "honor system" gambit raised their concerns, the administration dismissed the issue as impacting very few consumers, stating that the newly-granted "flexibility" regulations only applied to states running their own exchanges. The implication was that the federal exchange was all squared away. But the coverage approval for those 11 fictional enrollees all came through the federal marketplace, according to GAO.

House Democrats were irresponsible to vote against the 'No Subsidies Without Verification' Act. Senate Democrats were derelict in obstructing its passage by refusing to bring it to a vote. The White House was wrong to shrug the proposal off as "unnecessary." President Obama was myopic and foolish to threaten a veto. And Kathleen Sebelius was negligent in rubber-stamping a system that clearly was not up to the task. Taxpayers have every reason to worry how their hard-earned money is being dispensed through Obamacare, and genuine program enrollees -- who've turned over a great deal of sensitive information -- have every reason to wonder what other Healthcare.gov safeguards are woefully inadequate. I'll leave you with the GAO director
declining to say whether he believes the Obama administration will have its act together before the next open enrollment period in November:


Gowdy Destroys IRS Commissioner Over Non-Compliance With Investigation Into Tea Party Targeting

Yesterday IRS Commissioner John Koskinen testified on Capitol Hill after news surfaced Lois Lerner's hard drive was scratched and that data Koskinen said was lost, may not be lost at all. Considering how difficult it is to access an internal hard drive on a computer, scratching is very suspicious.

Republicans on the House Ways and Means Committee say that their investigators have learned that the hard drive belonging to former IRS official Lois Lerner was "scratched" and that data was recoverable, according to a release from the committee. The release says that it's unclear if the scratch was put there deliberately or accidentally. Republicans are now accusing the IRS of not being forthcoming after they said in court filings that the data on Lerner's hard drive was unrecoverable....Whether Lois Lerner's emails and data were lost has become the most recent focus in Republicans' investigation into the targeting of conservative groups by the tax-exempt office of the IRS. Lerner pled the fifth during two appearances before the House Oversight Committee, which called her to testify about that targeting.

Since testifying in front of Congress last month, Koskinen has changed his testimony and story about "lost" IRS emails multiple times. Yesterday Rep. Trey Gowdy took him to task over inconsistent statements and slow walking the investigation into IRS targeting of conservative groups. Koskinen argued that he is not asking questions or investigating because the Inspector General has opened an investigation he doesn't want to compromise.

"Our policy is that if the IG starts an investigation, the agency will not themselves run a competing investigation to try to get there first,” Koskinen said.

In the Obama administration, non-investigation is just the latest cover-up and delay tactic being used to avoid the truth about what really happened.

Non-Border State Governors Demanding Answers From Obama on Illegal Immigrant Crisis

The illegal immigration crisis on the border is showing no signs of stopping and the problem has spread well beyond states sitting side-by-side with Mexico. The Obama administration has been shipping unaccompanied minors to family members living illegally in the United States for months. Illegal aliens under the age of 18 have been shipped to states as far away as New York and Massachusetts, prompting non-border state governors to demand answers from the White House about what the President is planning to do to stop the crisis.

In an interview with Fox News' Greta Van Susteren last night, Utah Governor Gary Herbert detailed a letter sent to President Obama by Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, Alabama Governor Robert Bentley, North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory, Kansas Governor Sam Brownback and Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett, and himself expressing illegal immigration concerns.

"This is about America. We are not a border state but a lot of undocumented immigrants come up to Utah," Herbert said. "Why we're incenting families and parents to send their young people to our borders on the hope they'll get inside America really is puzzling in many ways and certainly not a very good, healthy immigration policy for America."

Herbert also criticized President Obama for his lack of leadership on the crisis.

"Nothing is really happening in Washington D.C., there's a dearth of leadership. The President won't even go down to the border to look and see first hand what is taking place. He needs to come up with a plan of first securing the border. I think that's something everybody agrees with. Why can we at not least take that first step," Herbert said. "We are being ignored and quite frankly the governors are tired of it. We've tried to do some things in our own states but we've been told very directly by the courts, 'this is a federal issue.' Okay, we'll back off, but we expect the federal government to do something. The President's got to lead."

President Obama has requested nearly $4 billion to throw at the problem, none of that money bolsters border security.