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Matt Vespa - Is The Next Front Of The 'Clinton Wars' Being Waged In Virginia?
Posted: 8/21/2014 7:00:00 PM EST

Are we seriously going back to this drivel? Although, it’s not a national campaign, John Foust, the Democratic candidate in Virginia’s 10th congressional district, recently slammed his Republican opponent, Delegate Barbara Comstock, for not holding a “real job.” Yeah, this lunacy is back (via Ashburn Rising) [emphasis mine]:

While earlier this week in Ashburn, Comstock left much of the harsh rhetoric to her supporters, Foust took the reins of criticism in his own hands during a stop at his new campaign office in Leesburg.

On creating jobs, Foust said, “In her mind that means giving tax benefits to special interests and the super wealthy. I don’t think she’s even had a real job.

Back in 2012, Democratic strategist Hilary Rosen ignited a firestorm when she said that Ann Romney hadn’t worked a day in her life. Pretty much everyone distanced themselves from her comments and called them inappropriate, including President Obama; Rosin later apologized on CNN.

Yet, while being a stay-at-home mom is hard work, Comstock has conquered on both fronts. She’s the mother of three children and was an aide to retiring Rep. Frank Wolf. She later became chief counsel for the House Committee on Government Reform and Oversight.

And, that is why her candidacy possibly reignited the “Clinton Wars.” Foust’s supporters are probably ignorant of the fact that Comstock was the point of the lance, along with the late Barbara Olson, in digging up information about the alleged shady dealings within the Clinton administration. As a result, the Clinton White House named them “Barbarellas” (via Politico):

Comstock’s history with the Clintons dates back to 1993. At the time, she was working as an aide to GOP Rep. Frank Wolf of Virginia when some of his constituents lost their jobs in the White House travel office. Wolf tasked Comstock with finding out why the firings happened and whether the Clintons were trying to make room in the office for their personal allies.

Republicans won the House majority in 1994, and Comstock became the chief counsel on the Committee on Government Reform and Oversight.

Comstock’s legal training prepared her to burrow through mounds of government documents, spotting patterns in discrete facts that eluded others. She deposed countless high-level White House officials and allies, including John Podesta and George Stephanopoulos. When Democratic fundraiser Johnny Chung appeared before the committee in 1999, Comstock did the grilling.

The other trait Comstock’s admirers and critics consistently point to: a work ethic bordering on compulsive.

“Late night calls from Barbara Comstock were not unusual,” David Brock, the onetime conservative opposition researcher and Comstock confidant, wrote in his 2002 book, “Blinded by the Right: The Conscience of an Ex-Conservative.” “She often telephoned with the latest tidbit she had dug up in the thousands and thousands of pages of administration records she pored through frantically, as if she were looking for a winning lottery ticket she had somehow mislaid.”

The late Barbara Olson, Comstock’s co-investigator on the committee, wrote in her own book that the two took extraordinary measures to prevent Clinton backers from sabotaging their work.

“We changed our locks; not even the cleaning crews had access to our tiny room,” Olson wrote in “Hell to Pay: The Unfolding Story of Hillary Rodham Clinton,” published in 1999. “I generally arrived at 6:30 a.m. and tried to leave for home before 8:00 p.m. My colleague Barbara Comstock continued the vigil and wouldn’t leave until 4:00 a.m.”

Foust is quoted in the piece saying he was unaware of the dynamics of the “Clinton Wars” since he was busying getting his law firm off the ground and raising his family.  Nevertheless, the Clinton crew is fearful of Comstock returning to Congress and getting back on the “warpath,” especially with the Benghazi investigation still ongoing.

In the meantime, former Secretary of State Madeline Albright is hosting fundraisers for Foust and Jamie Gorelick, who served as Clinton’s deputy attorney general, gave him a $1,000 donation. She responded to many of Comstock’s subpoenas, according to Politico.

It looks like the Clinton people are out for a little revenge.

Cortney O'Brien - AFP Launches Ad in Alaska Attacking Begich's "Absenteeism"
Posted: 8/21/2014 5:17:00 PM EST

"No excuses. Do what it takes to get the job done." That's the Alaskan way of life, according to Steve Perrins, owner of Rainy Pass Lodge, the oldest hunting lodge in the state. One person who doesn't seem to share this mentality, however, is Senator Mark Begich (D-AK). In a new Americans for Prosperity ad, Perrins questions Begich's absenteeism in the nation's capital:

"I think our state is a little ticked off that our senator, Mark Begich, is not showing up for his job."

Alaskans are being kind on the senator. Last year, Begich missed more votes than 80 percent of all senators.

AFP President Tim Phillips commented on the senator's disappearing act:

"When it comes to critical issues facing Alaskans, Mark Begich seems to have more important things to do than fight for them in the United States Senate. Missed votes means the voices of Alaskans are marginalized and unheard. With one of the worst voting records in the Senate, Begich has failed to represent Alaskans on important issues like government spending, energy regulations and agricultural policy. Unfortunately, Mark Begich just hasn't been showing up for work."

How long, really, does it take to give a 'yea' or 'nay'? Representing his constituents in Congress certainly doesn't appear to be too high on Begich's agenda.

Perrins asked the important question:

"How can we count on Mark Begich to fight for Alaskans when he won't show up to work in Washington, DC?"

Most people who don't show up to work lose their jobs. Alaskans, therefore, have more than a right to fire Begich. 

Watch the entirety of the effective ad  here:

Daniel Doherty - Paul Ryan: Of Course Republicans Won’t Force Another Government Shutdown...
Posted: 8/21/2014 3:45:00 PM EST

...before the 2014 midterm elections, that is. After that all bets are off, it seems, and there are no guarantees.

Inspiring.

And yet public opinion shows pretty convincingly that Republicans were on the losing end politically of last year’s partial-government shutdown. For two weeks, government offices, major tourist attractions, and even the open-air World War II Memorial in D.C. were temporarily closed. And while Republicans did their best to expose the White House’s calculated and incredibly petulant efforts to exploit the crisis, most Americans pinned the blame squarely on congressional Republicans. No surprises there. You might even recall that's exactly what happened the last time congressional lawmakers found themselves negotiating during a government shutdown.

Nonetheless, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) recently told Roll Call that House Republicans have supposedly learned from their past missteps. To that end, he said, they are committed to passing a spending resolution funding the government at least through December:

On a possible government shutdown: In his book, Ryan calls the 2013 shutdown a “suicide mission” for the House GOP, and on Wednesday he told CQ Roll Call he agreed that Republicans were easy to blame for the events that transpired.

But 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.

The last thing the GOP needs, I think, is to be blamed for another government shutdown just before Election Day 2014.

What, if anything, could damage or diminish their electoral prospects more?

Greg Hengler - CNN's Lemon Battles Rapper Over Ferguson--Let's "World Run By White Supremacy" Comment Slide
Posted: 8/21/2014 3:06:00 PM EST

Another example of the "how would this be handled if a Tea Partier were the jerk" question [Please read Mary Katharine Ham's excellent post from yesterday on this]. It sure wouldn't be patience, toleration, extended coverage in order to reconcile matters, and a long-extended bro handshake. G'me a break! Note how the "white supremacy" line is not even noticed by Don Lemon.

Ky Sisson - McCain Calls for More ISIS Airstrikes
Posted: 8/21/2014 3:00:00 PM EST

Senator John McCain (R- Ariz.) expressed his anger with President Obama's reaction to the beheading of American journalist James Foley and called for a dramatic increase of airstrikes to the region. He believes that this tragic incident should be a "turning point" for the president's strategy in defeating the Islamic terror group. 

McCain said to Reuters:

"First of all, you've got to dramatically increase the airstrikes. And those airstrikes have to be devoted to Syria as well...We have to defeat them, not stop them."

McCain's aggressive and passionate denouncement of the ISIS group in light of Foley's murder has been much more than what American's have seen from President Obama. The president eulogized Foley yesterday in a statement, but didn't speak of how America plans to fight what McCain calls "the most vicious terrorist organization that we've ever encountered."

To The Arizona Republic, McCain said:

"This president has ignored the threat for a long period of time, and now we're paying the price."

McCain reports that ISIS is now the world's largest terror organization and has a large inventory of stolen Iraqi military equipment:

"The more he (Obama) delays and the more he acts incrementally, the more ISIS adjusts and the more difficult they will become," McCain said. "And one of the decisions that he has to make is to attack ISIS in Syria because they are moving the captured equipment there and they are fighting there and their enclaves are there. They have erased the border between Iraq and Syria. They are now an enclave larger than Indiana."

Christine Rousselle - Poll: Americans Favor Criminalizing Kids Playing Unsupervised
Posted: 8/21/2014 2:45:00 PM EST

According to a new Reason/Rupe poll, an astounding 68 percent of Americans surveyed said that it should not be legal for children under the age of nine to play outside unsupervised. A smaller, yet still sizable, percentage of people surveyed agreed that 12-year-old children should also not be allowed to be outside unsupervised.

A whopping 68 percent of Americans think there should be a law that prohibits kids 9 and under from playing at the park unsupervised, despite the fact that most of them no doubt grew up doing just that.

What's more: 43 percent feel the same way about 12-year-olds. They would like to criminalize all pre-teenagers playing outside on their own (and, I guess, arrest their no-good parents).

A woman in South Carolina was arrested for letting her nine-year-old play outside at a park while she was at work, and a woman in Connecticut was arrested for leaving her preteen alone in a car.

Growing up in Maine, I spent a decent amount of time outside by myself as a child without parental supervision. I went sledding and ice skating without my mother hovering over me—way before I ever had a cell phone. I biked through the neighborhood without parental guidance. I babysat children starting around age 11. Nobody died.

Parents should be trusted to know what's best for their children. Crime rates are at their lowest in decades, and arresting parents for letting their children play unsupervised is doing nothing but waste valuable police time. Society needs to lighten up a little, and these poll numbers are very troubling.

Cortney O'Brien - Unbiased: 'SNL' Team Calls Sarah Palin 'Ridiculous,' 'Pageant Winner'
Posted: 8/21/2014 2:00:00 PM EST

A new edition of the "Saturday Night Live" oral history reveals what everyone already knew: the show has a liberal bias.

In the 200 new pages of the updated book, which first published in 2002, the writers, the cast and, heck, probably even the light technician, explain their distaste for conservatives and how they looked forward to mocking them on Saturday night. I've included just a taste of their comments.

Cast member Horatio Sanz, who I used to think was funny, explained why he had qualms about Will Ferrell's impression of George W. Bush, but loved Tina Fey’s Palin:

I always kind of felt bad when Will Ferrell did his Bush impression because he was such a good old boy that you really didn't think, "Oh, this evil little rich prick whose dad and his friends got him in office." You thought, "Oh, he's just a good old guy I'd like to drink beer with." As funny as Will's impression was, the audience as a whole, the whole country, would probably see that as, "Oh, I like Bush. Because he's Will." You know, if Will hadn't done that impression, or at least made him likable, it may have tipped it the other way. I honestly think so. We made up for it. I think Tina's impression basically killed Sarah Palin.

Whether or not the show’s interpretation of Palin did play a part in the 2012 presidential election, there’s no denying she was a favorite target at the NBC studio. Take, for instance, writer Paula Pell, who explained her confrontation with the former governor as such (emphasis mine):

I planned that I was going to come up and talk to [Palin] and shake her hand and welcome her and say, "My wife and I are very good people, and we live a very socially conscious life, and we do a lot for our community, and I just want you to know the face of gay couples and gay people," and I had this whole speech planned. Then I just kind of came up to her in the chaos in the hallway and just nodded and said "hi" and walked off. I thought to myself, "I'm such a chickenshit." I was like, "Wow, she's pretty." I just got overwhelmed by the fact that this character who was everywhere on TV was in front of me, and she was real and just ridiculous. So I didn't get my big political moment.

"SNL" Producer Lorne Michaels, who one would hope would stay nonpartisan, offended Palin by insisting he wasn't offending her:

[Palin] has wonderful manners — and I honestly don't mean this in a condescending way — but it's that pageant-winner thing.

Then, of course, we can't forget the woman who started it all. Tina Fey's opinion of the Alaska mom and governor she so hilariously, yet insultingly portrayed can be summed up by Michaels:

Tina was terrified of anything where they would be together looking like an endorsement.

But, as we all know, Palin isn't one to remain silent:

I know that they portrayed me as an idiot, and I hated that, and I wanted to come on the show and counter some of that.

As easy as it seemed to mock conservatives, "SNL" producers shared how hard it was to try and make fun of the current president, who can seemingly do no wrong. Producer-writer James Downey explained the challenge:

If I had to describe Obama as a comedy project, I would say, "Degree of difficulty, 10 point 10." It's like being a rock climber looking up at a thousand-foot-high face of solid obsidian, polished and oiled. There's not a single thing to grab onto — certainly not a flaw or hook that you can caricature. [Al] Gore had these "handles," so did Bush, and Sarah Palin, and even Hillary had them. But with Obama, it was the phenomenon — less about him and more about the effect he had on other people and the way he changed their behavior. So that's the way I wrote him.

In other words, Obama has no flaws. Downey did at least offer a rare glimpse of truth regarding the show’s agenda (emphasis mine):

The last couple seasons of the show were the only two in the show's history where we were totally like every other comedy show: basically, an arm of the Hollywood Democratic establishment. [Jon] Stewart was more nuanced. We just stopped doing anything which could even be misinterpreted as a criticism of Obama.

Downey isn’t alone. Former cast member Chevy Chase admitted to CNN’s Alina Cho he intentionally portrayed President Gerald Ford as a bumbling buffoon in the 1970s because he wanted Jimmy Carter in the White House.

For more proof of how biased the satire show is, read my article from Townhall Magazine, " Saturday Night Lies."

I'm going to give Palin the last word. Unlike the 'SNL' cast, she needs no script to throw a few zingers:

Palin: If I ran into Tina Fey again today, I would say: "You need to at least pay for my kids' braces or something from all the money that you made off of pretending that you're me! My goodness, you capitalized on that! Can't you contribute a little bit? Jeez!"

Greg Hengler - CNN Refuses Anti-Hamas ad
Posted: 8/21/2014 1:55:00 PM EST

Put this in the "you can't make it up department." CNN refused to air an ad condemning Hamas which showcases their disdain for human life. Here is the ad, which Fox News did run, below:

Matt Vespa - The NRA Is Going After Michael Bloomberg
Posted: 8/21/2014 12:40:00 PM EST

President Barack Obama isn’t the most helpful politician to Democrats this election cycle, but there could be another “boogeyman” in this election cycle: Michael Bloomberg. The National Rifle Association launched an offensive against this anti-gun activist earlier this week–and it’s about time (via Washington Post):

The National Rifle Association announced Tuesday that it is kicking off a multimillion-dollar campaign that will extend beyond November to tar the reputation of Michael Bloomberg, perhaps the country's most powerful gun control activist. The NRA launched a TV ad that slams Bloomberg not only on his gun policies, but also over his push as mayor of New York City to ban large sugary beverages.

In other words, they want to give you lots of reasons to dislike the guy.

The NRA is aiming at Bloomberg, not specific candidates, the organization says. But the ad campaign -- which includes both online and television components -- just happens to be headed for some of the biggest battleground states of the 2014 election, like Colorado, North Carolina and Kentucky.

Personality often complements policy in campaigns. The NRA is wagering that by casting Bloomberg as a wealthy Northeastern elitist who wants to tell people how much soda they should have, they'll arouse more anger about his gun control agenda.

With Bloomberg’s defeats in the Colorado recall and most recently in the primary for Milwaukee County Sheriff, the nation’s oldest civil rights organization sees that they can cut the Achilles tendon of the anti-gun left.

Even Milwaukee County Sherriff David A. Clarke Jr. touched upon these points in his op-ed for the Washington Times, slamming Bloomberg for his hubris and having little political acumen when it comes to pushing his agenda via his effete organization [emphasis mine]:

Mr. Bloomberg, the former mayor of New York, made a huge political miscalculation when he sauntered into my territory of Milwaukee County, Wis. — a solid-blue county that overwhelmingly votes Democrat — expecting an easy signature win for his failing crusade to disarm law-abiding Americans.

According to one Democratic Party source, Mr. Bloomberg said of his attempt to knock me off in my re-election primary for sheriff, “This one is personal with me.” That is a sign of desperation. Yes, even billionaires can be greedy. Surely, Mr. Bloomberg saw me as an easy win that he could parade around the country as a warning to other pro-gun candidates to either get in line with his anti-gun movement or face defeat at the polls. He saw picking off a big-city, pro-gun sheriff as a prize worth landing.

This was no ordinary defeat for Mr. Bloomberg’s “Mayors Against the Second Amendment” group. Losing to a local sheriff in a county dominated by Democratic Party voters just might have set his futile movement back to a point of no recovery.

BOOM!

As for Bloomberg’s hubris, it’s almost stomach churning; the guy thinks he’s earned himself a spot in heaven. Yet, the NRA could potentially disseminate a devastating narrative against the pro gun control crowd with this urban/rural dichotomy they’re aiming to highlight.

In December of 2012, then-Mediaite editor Noah Rothman noted that even squishy New York Times Republican David Brooks warned that Bloomberg being at the helm of the anti-gun movement isn't going to work:

One of the problems with this debate; it’s become a values war. It’s perceived as urban versus rural. And, frankly, it’s perceived as an attack on the lifestyle of rural people by urban people. And, I admire Mayor Bloomberg enormously – there’s probably no politician I agree with more – but it’s counterproductive to have him as the spokesperson for the gun law movement. There has to be more respect and more people, frankly, from rural and red America who are participants in this.

Given Second Amendment rights’ success–legally and legislatively–in the past couple of years, Mr. Brooks seems to have hit the bullseye with this prediction.

Sarah Jean Seman - DOJ Launches Criminal Investigation Into Foley's Murder
Posted: 8/21/2014 11:50:00 AM EST

Attorney General Eric Holder announced Thursday that the Justice Department has opened a criminal investigation into the execution of American photojournalist James Wright Foley.

Holder's comments were prompted by a question asked at a press conference in Washington, D.C. where he was discussing the $16.5 billion settlement with the Bank of America Corporation.

“The Justice Department is actively pursuing justice in this case. We have an open criminal investigation....

[T]hose who would perpetrate such acts need to understand something. This Justice Department, this Department of Defense, this nation — we have long memories and our reach is very wide. We will not forget what happened and people will be held accountable, one way or the other.”

In his response, Holder dubbed Foley "a symbol of what’s right about the United States." 

The FBI confirmed Wednesday that the YouTube video showing an ISIL adherent boorishly beheading Foley was authentic. President Obama even took a slight reprieve from his vacation at Martha's Vineyard Wednesday to offer condolences. In a short, but poignant, speech, he vowed that the United States would continue to "confront terrorism" and to protect its "people and timeless values."

Let us hope that the Obama administration breaks character in this situation and acts on its promise to hold this terrorist organization accountable for the barbaric beheading.