tipsheet
Kevin Glass - Report: ISIS Studying Mexican Border
Posted: 8/29/2014 8:47:00 PM EST
A new report obtained by Fox News from the Texas Department of Public Safety indicates that elements of ISIS are interested in the U.S.-Mexico border as a means of entry into the United States.

As Fox News' Jana Winter reports:

“A review of ISIS social media messaging during the week ending August 26 shows that militants are expressing an increased interest in the notion that they could clandestinely infiltrate the southwest border of US, for terror attack,” warns the Texas Department of Public Safety "situational awareness" bulletin, obtained by FoxNews.com.

It notes no known credible homeland threats or specific homeland attack plot has been identified. That assertion was underscored by Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson, who said Friday that DHS and the FBI are "unaware of any specific, credible threat to the U.S. homeland" from Islamic State.

The bulletin details numerous “calls for border infiltration” on social media, including one from a militant confirmed to be in Mosul, Iraq who explicitly beckons the “Islamic State to send a special force to America across the border with Mexico.”

This follows numerous posts on social media accounts of purported ISIS activity in the United States.

As Dan reported for Townhall, threats from ISIS on social media have proliferated recently:

The tweet above was presumably blasted out by an ideological adherent of ISIS living in the U.S.: the photo on the left is the Old Republic Building in the Windy City, the one on the right is clearly the White House. So this begs the question: Is this tweet merely propagandist fodder, meant to deal a psychological blow to the American public and thwart U.S. intelligence officials, or should Americans be genuinely concerned?

This new DPS report from Texas indicates that yes, we should be concerned. The insecure nature of the U.S. southern border should always concern terror analysts, and with the rise of a new transnational well-funded terrorist power, its security becomes even more important.

Kevin Glass - Burger King Wants To Opt Out Of the U.S. Corporate Tax Regime. Good.
Posted: 8/29/2014 5:24:00 PM EST
Burger King has agreed to purchase Tim Hortons, a Canadian food service chain, and has re-ignited the debate over "tax inversions." If Burger King gets its way, it will relocate its global headquarters to Canada for tax reasons.

But it's not necessarily the reason you might think it is. Danny Vinik at The New Republic writes that "Congress needs to close this absurd tax loophole," and that "Burger King will have opted out of the U.S. corporate tax system."

What isn't said in that piece is that it's not merely Canada's tax rate that has attracted Burger King. Statutorily, Canada does indeed have a much lower rate. But after accounting for local laws and code complexity, Burger King and Tim Horton's have very similar rates and by some estimations Tim Horton's tax rate is higher than Burger King's:

Burger King’s overall effective tax rate was 27.5% in 2013, according to its annual report. Tim Horton is expected to book a tax rate of 29% this year.

The U.S. corporate tax system that Burger King wants to opt out of is its odd system of global taxation. That is, Burger King has to pay the U.S. corporate tax on earnings no matter where they are made. So they must pay the U.S. marginal rate on a Whopper sold in Bahamas, where the corporate tax rate is 0%. If they relocate their global HQ to Canada, they don't have to pay U.S. taxes on Whoppers sold in Bermuda.

The U.S. is quite unique in our system of global taxation. As Megan McArdle says:

he U.S., unlike most developed-world governments, insists on taxing the global income of its citizens and corporations that have U.S. headquarters. And because the U.S. has some of the highest tax rates in the world, especially on corporate income, this amounts to demanding that everyone who got their start here owes us taxes, forever, on anything they earn abroad.

Practically speaking, global taxation is hard to enforce and loaded with bad incentives, which is why our fellow members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development have moved away from global taxation of corporate income, and abandoned global taxation of personal income. If anything, the U.S. has gone in the other direction -- by insisting, for instance, that foreign companies report various financial transactions with U.S. citizens to the Internal Revenue Service, and taxing foreign cost of living allowances, which makes it more expensive for companies to employ expats.

Progressives are constantly comparing the U.S. to other countries when it comes to laws and norms. We're the only country that owns guns, for example, and we're the only country with the death penalty. That's used as justification for moving towards what other countries do. Not so for corporate taxes. We're alone in global taxation, yet progressives see no good reason to move in a better direction for it.

This is not to say that other countries' tax regimes is a good reason to move away from a regime of global taxation. We should get rid of our global tax regime because it's a good idea regardless of what other countries do. In an area where the U.S. is an outlier for reasons progressives like though, they don't think the fact that the U.S. hasn't followed a global lead is meaningful.

Guy Benson - Video: DWS Struggles to Explain Why She Trusts Charlie Crist as a Democrat
Posted: 8/29/2014 3:45:00 PM EST

In fairness, Debbie struggles to explain most things, so her stumbling isn't necessarily out of the ordinary here. Still, I figured I'd send you into the holiday weekend with a clip of America's most inept party chairperson lamely embracing America's most pathetic politician:



Allahpundit calls Crist -- a Republican, turned independent, turned Democrat, with all three party switches serving his immediate expedient political needs -- a "soulless careerist." That's being kind.  The dude says and does literally whatever it takes to attain and cling to power.  Politics at its self-interested, power-hungry worst.  Democrats are angry that A Republican organization is using recycled robocalls voiced by...Charlie Crist against Charlie Crist, calling the use of this audio a "dirty trick:"



"Hi, this is Charlie Crist calling to set the record straight. I'm prolife. I oppose amnesty for illegal immigrants, I support traditional marriage, and I have never supported a new tax or big spending program. It's sad that in his fourth try for governor my opponent has resorted to distortions and untruths. … Floridians need a consistent, conservative governor that they can trust. I would appreciate your vote on election day. Thank you so much and God bless you, and God bless Florida. Paid for by Charlie Crist, Republican for Governor."

Sorry guys, it's not a dirty trick to use a shameless person's verbatim recorded words against him. The Left can carp (and sue!) all they want; they're the ones who nominated this fraud as their gubernatorial candidate. Polls remain close, but Republican Rick Scott's standing has improved, and primary voting turnout contained some potentially ominous trends for Florida Democrats.
Matt Vespa - Goodbye, Bro: Democrats Are Hemorrhaging Male Voters
Posted: 8/29/2014 2:15:00 PM EST

We all know Republicans have a woman problem, but let’s focus on the Democrats’ problem with men, specifically white men. Earlier this month, U.S. News and World Report reported that while women outnumber men and vote more than they do, “in a campaign cycle set to see a handful of margin-of-error races that determine U.S. Senate control, it’s an often overlooked and undervalued element of the election.” The story also says that this male voter deficit with Democrats is “more pronounced” than the Republicans problems with single women voters.

The article noted that in races dependent on turnout, men could be the deciding factor. In North Carolina, Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan, who’s fighting for her political life, has a healthy 8-point lead amongst women, but her Republican opponent, Thom Tillis, is dominating with male voters by a 13-point margin.

But some Democrats are indifferent. Joel Benenson, Obama’s pollster, seems to think that liberal efforts to stop the bleeding amongst male voters is unnecessary since you don’t need them to win. “They won men in the presidential election and they lost,” he says. “They win white voters in the presidential election and they lost. There’s no absolute rule that you have to win this group or that group.”

That pretty much captures how male voters felt in the 1980s, as they felt the Democratic Party abandoned them. Thus, the Reagan Democrats were born. Yet, the bleeding began during the Johnson administration (via NYT) [emphasis mine]:

No Democratic presidential candidate has won a majority of white men since Lyndon B. Johnson in 1964. Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama all prevailed with support of the so-called rising electorate of women, especially single women, and minorities. But fewer of those voters typically participate in midterm elections, making the votes of white men more potent and the struggle of Democrats for 2014 clear.

Realistically, winning votes from working-class white men has just been a very tough political challenge for Democrats,” said Geoff Garin, a Democratic pollster. With demographic trends favoring Democrats nationally and in many states, strategists say it makes sense to concentrate resources on mobilizing women, young people, Hispanics, blacks and other minority voters.

Democrats generally win the votes of fewer than four in 10 white men. But they win eight of 10 minority voters and a majority of women, who have been a majority of the national electorate since 1984, while white men have shrunk to a third, and are still shrinking.

As the Times noted, Democrats have been able to get some traction with single, gay, nonreligious, and college educated men, whereas the white working class bloc is the hardest to reach, which could spell doom for Democrats this year.

If you look at how the working-class votes over the past decade, you’ll see a trend that’s determined elections consistently in that time period. In a previous post, I mentioned a piece by the Atlantic’s Molly Ball showing how the differences in the the share of the vote Democrats win with Americans making under $50,000 a year has determined where the nation has tilted that year. Given today's political climate, even the AFL-CIO political director is saying that 2014 could be a powerful year for the GOP:

Republicans consistently win voters making $50,000 or more, approximately the U.S. median income. The margin doesn't vary too much: In 2012, Mitt Romney got 53 percent of this group's vote; in 2010, Republican House candidates got 55 percent. And Democrats consistently win voters making less than the median—but the margin varies widely. In fact, whether Democrats win these voters by a 10-point or a 20-point margin tells you who won every national election for the past decade.

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.

In a new Pew survey released Thursday, 45 percent of Republican voters said they were unusually excited to vote this year, compared to 37 percent of Democratic supporters. Gridlock in Washington prevents Congress from doing anything to help those struggling economically, while giving Republicans more to blame Obama and Democrats for. Similarly, chaos around the world obscures Democrats' economic message while dragging down the president's image.

The Pew report didn't include a breakdown based on the $50,000 threshold, so I asked Pew to crunch the numbers for me. The result: 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.

There are some silver linings. As Democratic pollster John Anzalone said, “In some ways, men dig in. You see it in the numbers where generically they’re just much more Republican and they dig in.” Women are more open to ideas and exchanges between members from both parties; that means we can be competitive with them if we message our brand correctly. We don’t have to win women, although they should be our mindset, but settling for being competitive is fine with me, as it’ll yield electoral dividends.

Case in point, John Kerry beat George W. Bush amongst women in 2004, but only by 3-points (51/48). Kerry and Bush virtually split down the middle with women who have children (49/50), but 43 dominated, as usual, with married women (55/44) over Kerry. The exit poll lists Kerry and Bush almost virtually tied with “other” women (50/49), I don’t know what other means, but the overall split is something Republicans need to replicate in 2016.

Bush also won a solid 44 percent of the Hispanic vote, but that’s a post for another time.

Democrats have a huge advantage with women voters, who potentially aren’t as reliably Democratic if someone doesn’t come up with something better. Women can become a shiftable voting bloc–we saw this with Bush in 2004–but Republicans need to market themselves without tripping over their shoelaces, which they often do.

With men, they’re not budging towards the Democrats and Republicans have a lock on their votes.  Democrats don't seem to have a strategy for stopping the bleeding other than minimum wage hike proposals which polls well with everyone.  Even left-leaning think tanks, like John Podesta's Center for American Progress, thinks that the white male deficit shouldn't be ignored even if their share of the vote is declining: 

“You can’t just give Republicans a clear field to play for the votes of white working-class men without putting up some sort of a fight because that just allows them to run the table with these voters, thereby potentially offsetting your burgeoning advantage among minorities, single women, millennials,” said Ruy Teixeira, an analyst at the left-leaning Center for American Progress.

“I just think Democrats are having a hard time figuring out how to effectively pursue it,” he added.

Demography isn’t destiny. Both sides have talked about permanent majorities in government and got rude awakenings in 2006 and 2010 respectively. Demography isn’t destiny. So, fear not my conservative friends, there are many ways to maneuver through an electorate to win elections.

Cortney O'Brien - Hey Obama, David Cameron Has a Strategy
Posted: 8/29/2014 1:30:00 PM EST

Unlike someone we know, it sounds like United Kingdom Prime Minister David Cameron has a strategy for defeating Islamic extremists. At a press conference today on the growing threat of ISIS, Cameron offered a passionate speech with plans to disrupt the terror group. Just a glimpse at his comments proves he knows exactly who we’re dealing with:

“The threat we face today comes from the poisonous narrative of Islamist extremism.”

“The terrorist threat was not created by the Iraq war ten years ago. It existed even before the horrific attacks on 9/11." 

“This threat cannot be solved simply by dealing with the perceived grievances over Western foreign policy."

"We cannot appease this ideology. We have to confront it at home and abroad."

Thankfully, Cameron is more than a speech maker. In addition to announcing the UK was raising the terror threat level from “substantial” to “severe," Cameron said they will introduce new laws to fights terrorists and seize passports from terror suspects. He plans to offer more details on the UK's plans in a few days:

The prime minister's comments were a clear contrast from our commander-in-chief’s response to the growing threat of ISIS militants at a Thursday press conference. President Obama acknowledged the threat of the extremist group, yet stated the US does not yet have a strategy to confront it. Numerous lawmakers and analysts criticized his comments as weak. Following Cameron’s speech, however, a number of pundits were clearly impressed:

Personal favorite:

You know it's a good speech when people are talking more about the content of his speech than his tan suit. While Obama seems more interested in golfing, Cameron is taking serious steps to combat this very dangerous organization. 

Leah Barkoukis - Photo of the Day: Someone in Ferguson Actually Wore This Shirt
Posted: 8/29/2014 12:35:00 PM EST

So this shirt was spotted in Ferguson, Missouri earlier this week. 

It’s notable for three reasons:

  • 1) Poor grammar: “I rather get stopped by ISIS terrorist than Ferguson PD.” It hurts to read that, doesn’t it?
  • 2) The message on the shirt shows a profound level of ignorance by suggesting that the Ferguson Police Department is more unjust/brutal (take your pick) than ISIS, the terrorist army that is raping and killing its way through Iraq and Syria, and posting its murdering sprees on YouTube and Twitter.
  • 3) This guy can vote.

Head meet desk. 

H/T: WeaselZippers 

Guy Benson - Uh Oh: Mary Landrieu Doesn't Own a Home in Louisiana
Posted: 8/29/2014 11:30:00 AM EST

This is…not what embattled "Louisiana" Democrat Sen. Mary Landrieu wanted to read in the Washington Post -- which, as it turns out, is her hometown paper:


In Washington, Sen. Mary Landrieu lives in a stately, $2.5 million brick manse she and her husband built on Capitol Hill. Here in Louisiana, however, the Democrat does not have a home of her own. She is registered to vote at a large bungalow in New Orleans that her parents have lived in for many decades, according to a Washington Post review of Landrieu’s federal financial disclosures and local property and voting records. On a statement of candidacy Landrieu filed with the Federal Election Commission in January, she listed her Capitol Hill home as her address. But when qualifying for the ballot in Louisiana last week, she listed the family’s raised-basement home here on South Prieur Street. The New Orleans house, which Landrieu claims as her primary residence, is a new flash point in one of the most closely contested Senate races in the country. Republicans are considering taking legal action to question Landrieu’s residency in the state, arguing that since winning her seat in 1996 she has become a creature of Washington. For Landrieu, there are hazardous parallels to other recent cases in which residency questions have dogged incumbents. Former senator Richard Lugar (R-Ind.) lost reelection in 2012 after reports that he stayed in hotels when he returned to Indiana, while Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) is drawing flack this year for not having a home of his own in Kansas and listing a donor’s house as his voting address.


Lugar was dumped by primary voters last cycle (before the GOP frittered away the seat he vacated), and Roberts is only leading by high single digits in the ruby red state of Kansas.  Landrieu is one of the most endangered Senate Democrats in the country, representing a state -- from afar -- that Barack Obama lost by 17 points in 2012.  Landrieu has gone 'full Beltway.'  She lives in her multimillion-dollar DC mansion (remember this tax-related flap?), not in the state she ostensibly serves.  The Senator claims that she lives at her parents' house when she's in town, but neighbors, including some of her supporters, aren't so sure:


“I don’t think she lives there,” said Fontaine Wells, 65, pointing at the Landrieu home. “She might come visit, but come on now — she lives in D.C. I don’t think I’ve ever seen her.” … Michael Fitzgerald, 61, has lived around the corner from the Landrieus for three decades. He said he sees Moon and Verna Landrieu regularly, as well as Mitch Landrieu, Mary’s younger brother and the city’s current mayor, who lives in a home he owns nearby.  “On Election Day, [Mary] is seen at our polling place accompanying her parents.” He added, “I have not seen her lately... She’s been in the Senate for — I’ve lost count — 16 years? 18 years?

Landrieu votes with Barack Obama 97 percent of the time, according to Congressional Quarterly.  The president and his signature legislative item, Obamacare, are hugely unpopular in Louisiana.  Landrieu cast the deciding vote for that law, attacking critics for "lying" about its now-evident effects.  At the time, she pledged to take '100 percent' responsibility for Obamacare's outcomes.  Like these ones.  Whether or not the incumbent Senator faces any serious eligibility issues remains to be seen, but the optics are bad.  The "out of touch" attacks will only intensify, especially in light of the recent revelation that Landrieu inappropriately used taxpayer dollars to fund private jet trips for campaign events.  To that end, I'll leave you with this clever bit of in-person trolling from a Republican group last week:


Cortney O'Brien - Benham Brothers Challenge Sen. Kay Hagan at Pro-life Rally
Posted: 8/29/2014 10:30:00 AM EST

HGTV may have fired the Benham brothers for their religious beliefs, but that’s not stopping them from voicing and standing up for their pro-life ideals. At a "Summer of Life" rally organized in North Carolina on Wednesday, David and Jason Benham spoke outside of Senator Kay Hagan's (D) office to challenge her pro-abortion agenda. In particular, they criticized the senator for opposing the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, a bill that would ban abortion after 20 weeks - the point when unborn babies can feel pain.

In addition to taking Hagan to task for her anti-life behavior, the Christian brothers also shared how their pro-abortion critics often sound irrational, one even calling them "anti-woman":

“I was sitting there thinking and I looked at my wife and said, ‘Anti-women? Well, the last I checked, I really love women. I love my daughters, I love my wife, and I’m willing to stand up and lay my life down for those women that are in a very difficult situation and think that abortion is their only choice.”

The twin brothers were set to host a new show called "Flip it Forward" on HGTV, but in May were let go after the network discovered they were pro-life. As we have witnessed so far, the incident has only made them more outspoken in their fight for life. 

The Benhams may have lost their jobs, but they've gained an important presence in the pro-life movement. Watch more of their passionate speech here:

Conn Carroll - Have Republicans Already Caved on Obama's Executive Amnesty?
Posted: 8/29/2014 10:00:00 AM EST

President Obama, The Week's Marc Ambinder reports, is considering announcing a temporary executive amnesty for up to 8 million illegal immigrants sometime around mid-September. The timing, Ambinder reports, is in part designed to provoke Republicans into initiating another government shutdown, which could help Democrats at the polls this November. Ambinder writes:

The Democratic scenario has Republicans underestimating the price of such a move. Indeed, Democratic focus groups consistently show that the most unpopular thing the GOP can do, the one thing that will make people who are too disgusted to vote, vote, or who are capable of changing their vote to change their vote to the other side, is to shut down the government again. It is that unpopular.
...
So: Go big on immigration. Wait for the GOP counter-reaction. Quietly pray for the government to get shut down. Use it like a cattle prod to wake voters up just before the midterms.

That's the last, best hope for Democrats.

But Republicans seem to be on to Obama's game. And they are making it perfectly clear that there will be no government shutdown before the elections. Roll Call reports:

House Republicans won’t repeat that mistake this September, Ryan predicted: “We will pass a clean [continuing resolution], and if for some reason the Democrats don’t take that, then they will clearly have shut the government down … it will be patently obvious … that they are playing politics with this, and trying to trigger a shutdown so they can blame us, but we’re really blameless in this particular situation.”

Ryan’s confidence that his conference will cooperate in passing a stop-gap spending bill free of controversial policy riders — "until Dec. 11 is what we’re thinking,” said Ryan — contradicts Democrats’ cries over the past few days that the GOP is spoiling for another shutdown that could cost them the election in November.

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) aide Alex Conant outlined a similar timeline for The Washington Examiner's Byron York:

Rubio's office says there's nothing to it. "We're not going to shut down the government," spokesman Alex Conant told me. "Ultimately, Republicans will need to win control of the Senate to reverse an executive action. We would be interested in having a vote on it in the context of the budget debate, but we are not going to shut down the government."

So does this mean Republicans will just roll over if Obama grants executive amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants? Not at all. Look at the bolded portions of the Ryan and Conant quotes. Both suggest that Republicans are planing to attach specific language forbidding Obama from spending money administering his new amnesty program, just not before the November election. 

And this is the smart strategy to pursue. Republicans have a very good chance of taking control of the Senate this November. And it is much easier to force policy concessions from the White House when you control both the House and Senate as opposed to just the House.

Democrats seem to be realizing that Republicans will not make the same mistake two years in a row, and it is now looking like Obama will wait till after the election before moving on amnesty.

Leah Barkoukis - Adult Illegal Immigrants Registering as Minors to Attend Public School
Posted: 8/29/2014 9:00:00 AM EST

Earlier this month we reported that schools across the nation were bracing for the influx of up to 50,000 unaccompanied minors entering the public education system. Teachers and administrators alike expressed concern over not knowing the educational background of students, operational issues that could arise and increase costs, and new students not speaking English.

Now that school has started, however, there’s also another significant problem. CNS News reports:

The mayor of Lynn, Mass. says that some of the illegal aliens from Guatemala who are enrolled in her city’s public schools are adults with graying hair and “more wrinkles than I have.”

“They are not all children,” Judith Flanagan Kennedy told reporters at a press conference at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday.

“One of the things that we did notice when we were processing some of these students coming in was that they were adults,” she said.

Kennedy said that the majority of those from Guatemala who are enrolling in theLynn Public Schoolsclaim to be between 14 and 17 years of age.

“But there were people with graying temples, hair around the temples,” said Kennedy, adding that although she did not see these individuals in person, she saw photographs of them in registration paperwork. “There were people with more wrinkles than I have around their eyes.”

Because of a DOJ directive, however, the school is not allowed to question or verify the ages of students enrolling.