tipsheet
Matt Vespa - WaPo Flashback: DOJ Probably Does Not Have Enough To File Civil Rights Charges Against Darren Wilson
Posted: 11/26/2014 1:15:00 PM EST

As Katie mentioned yesterday, the Department of Justice is still conducting an ongoing investigation of its own:

While the grand jury proceeding in St. Louis County has concluded, the Justice Department’s investigation into the shooting of Michael Brown remains ongoing. Though we have shared information with local prosecutors during the course of our investigation, the federal inquiry has been independent of the local one from the start, and remains so now. Even at this mature stage of the investigation, we have avoided prejudging any of the evidence. And although federal civil rights law imposes a high legal bar in these types of cases, we have resisted forming premature conclusions," Holder released in a statement.

DOJ is investigating whether Michael Brown’s civil rights were violated and whether there are discriminatory police practices happening in Ferguson.

Yet, on October 31, it was reported that federal officials probably don’t have enough evidence to file civil rights charges against Officer Darren Wilson, but a DOJ spokesperson called such assumptions premature (via WaPo):

Justice Department investigators have all but concluded they do not have a strong enough case to bring civil rights charges against Darren Wilson, the white police officer who shot and killed an unarmed black teenager in Ferguson, Mo., law enforcement officials said.

“The evidence at this point does not support civil rights charges against Officer Wilson,” said one person briefed on the investigation, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the case.

Justice Department officials are loath to acknowledge publicly that their case cannot now meet the high legal threshold for a successful civil rights prosecution.

Justice spokesman Brian Fallon said the case remains open and any discussion of its results is premature. “This is an irresponsible report by The Washington Post that is based on idle speculation,” Fallon said in a statement.

Other law enforcement officials interviewed by The Post said it was not too soon to say how the investigation would end. “The evidence we have makes federal civil rights charges unlikely,” one said.

H/T Dan McLaughlin.
Cortney O'Brien - This Just In: Tesco is Sexist
Posted: 11/26/2014 1:00:00 PM EST

Tesco, a grocery retailer based out of England, has just offended little girls everywhere, according to a slighted mother and her 7-year-old daughter. It's offense? Claiming superhero action figures were "toys for boys."

Karen Cole brought her daughter to Tesco for a routine grocery trip, when her daughter Maggie noticed a sign that said Marvel superheroes were "Fun gifts for boys." Here was Maggie's best Mckayla Maroney-Grumpy Cat-like reaction:

Cole's post got over 10,000 retweets and BuzzFeed decided to run a story on it suggesting that this little girl had "schooled" Tesco. The photo gained more than just social media buzz, however. The picture gained Tesco's attention, prompting the company to remove the "sexist" sign from each of its stores.

In response to her picture going viral, Cole wrote a blog post entitled, "Maggie v. Tesco, our story." In the piece, she explains how she has taught her daughter that toys aren't exclusive to any gender and she was pleasantly surprised that Tesco realized its mistake.

But, was it really a mistake?

John Stossel had a great segment on parents and their decision to raise children in gender neutral homes on his Fox News show which aired Saturday night. During the program, Stossel questioned parents who let their children decide whether they want to be boys or girls. He determined that it was confusing for children, to say the least. 

Christina Hoff Sommers, a scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, also tackled this issue in a piece for The Atlantic in 2012. After speaking with experts and studying research on the subject, here's what she concluded about children's play preferences:

"They are different, and nothing short of radical and sustained behavior modification could significantly change their elemental play preferences. Children, with few exceptions, are powerfully drawn to sex-stereotyped play. David Geary, a developmental psychologist at the University of Missouri, told me in an email this week, "One of the largest and most persistent differences between the sexes are children's play preferences." The female preference for nurturing play and the male propensity for rough-and-tumble hold cross-culturally."

Is it so mind boggling to suggest that boys and girls are programmed differently? Boys tend to want to pretend they're Iron Man, and girls tend to want to braid Elsa's hair. It's not sexist - it's basic science.

Presumably, Tesco also had Barbies or Easy Bake Ovens that were labeled "just for girls." I, for one, don't think the company would have to apologize for assuming that girls like playing with dolls and baking cookies - because they do! 

Instead of teaching our sons and daughters to be offended by false cases of sexism, why not teach them to embrace the differences between boys and girls? That is something to be thankful for.

Katie Pavlich - New York Times Pretty Much Publishes The Address of Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson
Posted: 11/26/2014 1:00:00 PM EST

Yesterday in an attempt to report on the wedding of Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson, the New York Times published the street name and suburb where he owns a home with his pregnant wife outside of St. Louis. Breitbart's John Nolte was the first to report on the publication last night. 

Breitbart News will not link the story or give out the specific information, but the New York Times had no qualms whatsoever about publishing almost all the information needed for Officer Darren Wilson's enemies to track him and his wife down at home:

Officer Wilson and [his wife] own a home together on XXXXXXX Lane in XXXXXXXXXX, Mo., a St. Louis suburb about a half-hour drive from Ferguson.

The NYT published the information after a night of rage and violence across the country as rioters burnt business to the ground, called for Wilson's death, hurled rocks at police, smashed windows, turned over cops cars etc., putting the lives of Wilson and his wife further at risk. To make matters worse, the online publication Slate posted a photo of Wilson's home. 

Meanwhile, here's another egregious example of reckless media: 

Conn Carroll - Confirmed: Congress Can Defund Obama's Amnesty
Posted: 11/26/2014 12:00:00 PM EST

Congress does have the power to defund any federal agency, even an agency funded through fees, the Congressional Research Service determined in a letter released last week.

The letter, requested by a Republican lawmaker, addressed an issue raised by House Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers (R-KY), who has claimed it is impossible for Republicans to defund Obama's amnesty since the agency in charge of issuing the work permits, the United Stated Citizenship and Immigration Services office, is almost entirely funded by user fees.

The CRS found that Rogers' claim was completely false. From the letter:

In light of Congress's constitutional power over the purse, the Supreme Court has recognized that "Congress may always circumscribe agency discretion to allocate resources by putting restrictions in the operative statutes." Where Congress has done so, "an agency is not free simply to disregard statutory responsibilities. Therefore, if a statute were enacted which prohibited appropriated funds from being used for some specified purposes, then the relevant funds would be unavailable to be obligated or expended for those purposes.

A fee-funded agency or activity typically refers to one in which the amounts appropriated by Congress for that agency or activity are derived from fees collected from some external source. Importantly, amounts received as fees by federal agencies must still be appropriated by Congress to that agency in order to be available for obligation or expenditure by the agency. In some cases, this appropriation is provided through the annual appropriations process. In other instances, it is an appropriation that has been enacted independently of the annual appropriations process (such as a permanent appropriation in an authorizing act). In either case, the funds available to the agency through fee collections would be subject to the same potential restrictions imposed by Congress on the use of its appropriations as any other type of appropriated funds.

Incoming-House Budget Committee Chairman Tom Price (R-GA) is already laying the groundwork for Congress to defund Obama's amnesty sometime early next year. House Republicans would pass a long-term funding bill for most of the federal government this December, but would not include agencies that dealt with illegal immigration in that bill. They would then pass a separate bill that funded those agencies, but only on a short-term basis.

This would allow Republicans to fight Obama's amnesty early next year when they have control of both the House and the Senate. 

Christine Rousselle - Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg Undergoes Successful Heart Surgery
Posted: 11/26/2014 11:40:00 AM EST

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg underwent heart surgery early this morning, and had a stent placed in her right coronary artery. She is reportedly doing well after surgery and is expected to be discharged in the next few days.

According to NBC, Ginsburg realized something was amiss during a workout session yesterday evening.

The blockage was discovered after she felt discomfort on Tuesday night, the court said. For the past few years, Ginsburg has been working out with a personal trainer at the Supreme Court gym, and a court official said she was there when she felt the discomfort.

Ginsburg, 81, is the oldest member of the Supreme Court and has been a member since 1993. She is part of the court's liberal wing.

Best wishes to Justice Ginsburg on a full and speedy recovery during the holiday season.

Guy Benson - Schumer: In Retrospect, We Should Have Focused on the Economy, Not Obamacare
Posted: 11/26/2014 11:01:00 AM EST

This from Senate Democrats' top strategist, whose budget-shirking, tough vote-blocking, rules-changing course of action -- carried out by Harry Reid -- still wasn't enough to salvage his party's upper chamber majority, which stood at a robust 20 seats as recently as early 2010.  He's right, of course, and now it can finally be spoken (all videos in this post via the Washington Free Beacon):


"Democrats should have continued to propose middle class-oriented programs, and built on the partial success of the stimulus. But unfortunately, Democrats blew the opportunity that the American people gave them. We took their mandate and put all of our focus on the wrong problem: Healthcare reform…it wasn't the change we were hired to make."

Several interesting bits in that clip -- from the qualified assessment of the wasteful, ineffectual stimulus program (which failed on its own terms), to the the frank admission of misplaced priorities, to the acknowledgement that the general public didn't want Obamacare (despite all of the overwrought promises and lies), to the almost jaw-droppingly candid political calculus about uninsured Americans as a voting bloc.  Also implicit in Schumer's analysis is a concession that Obamacare is not, and never was, the "jobs bill" Democrats spent so much time and effort arguing it was.  Empirical evidence has borne out that fact for years now, but it's rather striking hearing it straight from a ranking Democrat's mouth.  Schumer is obviously grappling with the political facts on the ground, as they actually exist.  President Obama was re-elected despite his signature "accomplishment" (a slim plurality of the electorate that granted him four more years favored repealing the law), and in the two election cycles that sandwiched 2012, Obamacare was a front-and-center issue.  The results horrific for Democrats.

In fact, since the infamous Christmas Eve 2009 Senate vote on the bill that would become Obamacare, 29 of the 60 Democratic Senators who lent decisive 'aye' votes will have left office by the time the new Congress convenes in January.  If I'm reading Philip Klein's rundown properly, Mary Landrieu's likely loss would make it a clean 30.  Fully half of Senate Democrats who passed Obamacare will be gone within five years of casting that vote.  It's true that a fair number of these departures had nothing to do with the law.  A few died, while others were from blue states and were replaced by fellow Democrats.  But roughly half of those who have left or are on their way out were defeated by, or replaced by, Republicans.  Democrats fought the 2010 and 2014 elections with Obamacare serving as a heavy albatross, and they were severely punished by voters who don't buy the feeble  "it's working" propaganda.  I'll leave you with two more excerpts from Schumer's speech at the National Press Club.  The first is his, er,  'solution' to Democrats' woes moving forward: Embracing big government even more.  Yes, really.  The second features his snide dismissal of the Keystone pipeline as a project that would 'only' create thousands of jobs, mostly in red states.  Cynical, cold-blooded calculation, thy name is Charles Schumer:




Ky Sisson - Absolute Chaos: 20 Year-Old Dies, Woman Gets Run Over Among Ferguson Protests
Posted: 11/26/2014 10:05:00 AM EST

There's another family grieving the loss of their son today in Ferguson, Missouri. 

DeAndre Joshua, 20, was found dead Tuesday morning inside a parked car near the same apartment complex where Officer Darren Wilson fatally shot Michael Brown.

Monday night's chaotic demonstration of anarchy and lawlessness that flooded the streets of Ferguson is how family members say Joshua died, but they do not know the specifics. 

Police are investigating the death, but Joshua's grandmother, Renita Towns, said to USA TODAY regarding the investigation, "Police don't care — he's black."

Protests around the country that are meant to show solidarity with Ferguson are demonstrating barbaric and uncivilized behavior as well. 

In Minneapolis, Minnesota, a drive plowed through a crowd of protestors running over one women and hitting several others.

WATCH: 

(She lives.)

In Los Angeles, protestors ran onto the 101 Freeway near Downtown L.A. that blocked traffic and created a nightmare commute. They also threw trash onto the freeway and hit an LAPD officer with a frozen water bottle that was hurled into the air.

One more thing: Protestors were caught burning American flags in our nation's capitol. 

As many around the country act like complete animals burning down buildings, flipping over cars, yelling and screaming at...each other, I guess, I'm not sure, there are people getting hurt and even dying because of the message they are trying to communicate. It is a distortion to our Constitution's sparkling gem, the First Amendment, and I hope that people will take what the Constitution says seriously and peacefully protest until the cows come home (as they say).

Katie Pavlich - PHOTOS: Ferguson Rioters Burn American Flags, Turn Over Cop Cars During Second Night of Violence
Posted: 11/26/2014 8:50:00 AM EST

Protests turned violent again last night as rioters took to the streets burning American flags, shutting down traffic, smashing windows, throwing bottles filled with urine at law enforcement, hurling rocks and setting cop cars on fire in cities across the country. 

Ferguson: 

Washington D.C.: 

Oakland:

New York City: 

There were dozens of arrests and violent incidents across the country in other major cities, these are just a few examples. 

As a reminder, the step father of Michael Brown called for rioters in Ferguson to "burn this b*tch down" two nights ago. They listened. 

Katie Pavlich - Obama to Illegal Immigration Hecklers: Settle Down, "I Just Took Action to Change The Law"
Posted: 11/26/2014 8:15:00 AM EST

Speaking during an event in Chicago last night, President Obama was interrupted by hecklers who yelled at him about illegal immigration. Obama responded by telling them a month ago their concerns would have been justified, but now they're invalid because of his executive action to "change the law" on the issue.

"You're absolutely right that there have been significant numbers of deportations. That's true. But what you are not paying attention to is the fact that I just took an action to change the law," Obama said. 

The White House has repeatedly argued President Obama isn't changing the law, but is instead simply using his executive authority to change prosecutorial discretion and therefore the action is constitutional, legal and valid. 

"We’re not talking about whether or not the President is going to enforce certain laws," White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said Monday at the daily press briefing. "We’re talking about the Department of Homeland Security using prosecutorial discretion to sharpen the focus of enforcement on those who pose a threat to national security, and those who pose a threat to public safety."

Obama has received criticism about changing the law by executive fiat from Republicans and Democrats on Capitol Hill and in the legal field.

Conn Carroll - Schumer: "Democrats Must Embrace Government"
Posted: 11/25/2014 8:00:00 PM EST

Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) called on fellow Democrats to "embrace government; not run away from it" today at a press conference at The National Press Club in Washington, DC.

"As 2014 began," Schumer explained, "the parties were in stalemate. But, when government failed to deliver on a string of non-economic issues– the rollout of the Obamacare exchanges, the mishandling of the surge in border crossers, ineptitude at the VA and the government’s initial handling of the Ebola threat – people lost faith in the government’s ability to work, and then blamed the incumbent governing party, the Democrats, creating a Republican wave."

"In order to win in 2016," Schumer continued, "Democrats must embrace government; not run away from it."

Why is Schumer so sure that more government programs are the best message for Democrats in 2016?

"Ultimately, the public knows in its gut that a strong and active government is the only way to reverse the middle class decline and help revive the American Dream," Schumer claimed.

Unfortunately for Schumer, the exit polls from the last three elections show that a majority of Americans, even the majority of Americans that reelected President Obama in 2012, do not believe that more government is the way to get America back on track.

Yes, in 2008, the electorate that elected Obama in a landslide also said that the federal government should "do more" (51%-43%). But in 2010, 56% of voters said government was "doing too much" and just 38% said it should do more. Voters in 2014 also said government was doing too much by a 54% to 41% margin. Even in 2012, when voters gave Obama a 51% to 47% margin, those very same voters also said government was doing too much 51% to 43%.

There simply is no evidence that the American people's "gut" wants more government.

Instead, after more than six years of relentless government growth under Obama, a full 75% of Americans are "dissatisfied" with "the way things are going in the nation today."

Schumer did get one thing right. 

"One simple fact illustrates how stark this division is today," Schumer said. "The most conservative Senate Democrat, probably Joe Manchin, still believes more in government than the most liberal Senate Republican, Susan Collins. The belief in government – its size, its role, and its possibilities – is really what undergirds our politics and fundamentally divides our parties."

Schumer is right: Democrats want to expand the size and scope of the federal government at every turn, while conservatives want to shrink it.

Schumer believes that there is no agenda capable of both shrinking government and helping average Americans.

He is wrong