Conn Carroll - White House Still Undecided On Emergency Appeal For Amnesty Injunction
Posted: 2/18/2015 3:45:00 PM EST

Despite reportedly expecting United Stated District Court Judge Andrew Hanen to rule against President Obama's Deferred Action for Parental Accountability program for weeks, the White House still has no idea how it will handle the injunction Hanen issued late Monday.

Asked Wednesday whether or not the Department of Justice will seek an emergency stay from the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals that would allow Obama's amnesty program to go forward, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said no decision had been made.

"Our legal strategy going forward is something that is going to be determined by the Department of Justice," Earnest said, "and they have indicated that in the next couple of days they will have more information about how we will pursue that strategy, but that strategy will certainly include an appeal of this ruling because we don't believe that it is a fair or accurate reading of the law." 

Obama's hesitance in seeking an emergency stay is well founded. Not only were almost two-thirds of all the judges in the 5th Circuit appointed by Republican presidents (15 of 23), but appeals courts rarely overturn most temporary injunctions, instead deferring to the judgment of the trial court. ABC News reported later Tuesday that the DOJ was in fact leaning towards not seeking an emergency stay.

Without such a stay, it is almost certain that Obama's DAPA amnesty program will never be implemented. First, a three-judge panel of the 5th Circuit would have to rule on the injunction, then an en banc panel of the 5th Circuit, and then the Supreme Court would have to elect to hear the case, hear the case, and then issue an opinion. 

At the very earliest, this would delay implementation of Obama's DAPA program until June or July of 2016, and that is assuming everything else goes right for Obama.

Katie Pavlich - NYT Journalist James Risen Rips Holder: He's Sent a Message to Dictators That It's Okay To Jail Journalists
Posted: 2/18/2015 1:30:00 PM EST

New York Times investigative reporter James Risen has been embroiled in an ugly court battle with the Department of Justice for years (including prior to the Obama administration). DOJ and Attorney General Eric Holder have been fighting with the power of the federal government to get him thrown in jail and have gone to extensive lengths to find out who his sources are. 

Yesterday, Holder attended a free press event at the National Press Club in Washington D.C. where he claimed to know the importance of a free press in a properly functioning democracy and that the administration has gone easy on whistleblowers and leakers. The opposite is true. 

Risen took to Twitter to respond to Holder's remarks, saying the Obama administration has essentially eliminated the First Amendment and press freedom. 

Just two weeks ago Reporters Without Borders published its latest press freedom index. The United States has dropped to 43rd, down 29 spots since 2010. 

Daniel Doherty - Walker Responds: Only Elitists Say a College Degree Is Necessary for Success
Posted: 2/18/2015 12:30:00 PM EST

Howard Dean’s snobbery was on full display last week when he questioned Gov. Scott Walker's (R-WI) intelligence on national television for dropping out of college shortly before graduation. Ironically, such condescension was coming from an Ivy Leaguer who once defended the proposition that ISIS terrorists are as Islamic as he is. For a man so well educated, perhaps he should edify himself before making such uninformed and dangerous declarations.

Nevertheless, his hypothesis that Walker is somehow “unknowledgeable” and thus could not possibly be a good president is an article of faith on the American Left. On The Kelly File Tuesday night, however, he had a chance to respond publicly to his supposed intellectual betters—and he didn’t squander the opportunity.

“That’s kind of the elitist, government-knows-best top-down approach from Washington we’ve heard for years,” he told host Megyn Kelly after she replayed Dean’s derisive comments for him. “We’ve had an Ivy League-trained lawyer in the White House for the last six years—who is pretty good at reading off a teleprompter—but done a pretty lousy job leading this country.”

“I'd rather have fighter who’s actually proven he can take on the big government special interests and win,” he continued. “I think there’s a lot of Americans out there that scratch their heads and say we have people who helped found Microsoft, Apple, Facebook—plenty of other successful businesses and enterprises across this country—that did exactly the same sort of thing I did.”

He went on to explain that he obviously isn’t anti-college, either. Far from it. But because a job opportunity opened up at the American Red Cross when he was a few credits shy of graduating, he took it and never looked back.

“I have two sons in college," he said. "I hope they finish—I expect that—my wife and I are helping to fund their pathway along with the hard work they put in. So we value college for those who pursue that career. But in the end you don’t have to have [a college degree] to be successful like many Americans have [proven] over the years.”

Watch the full clip below:

Conn Carroll - Obama's Midnight Basketball Counterterrorism Strategy
Posted: 2/18/2015 12:30:00 PM EST

President Obama isn't scheduled to address the White House Summit on Countering Violent Extremism till Wednesday evening, but he previewed his remarks in The Los Angeles Times op-ed page this morning: 

We know from experience that the best way to protect people, especially young people, from falling into the grip of violent extremists is the support of their family, friends, teachers and faith leaders. At this week's summit, community leaders from Los Angeles, Minneapolis and Boston will highlight innovative partnerships in their cities that are helping empower communities to protect their loved ones from extremist ideologies.

And what exactly do these "partnerships" do? The Associated Press reports:

Minnesota's program gets its formal launch next month. Luger told The Associated Press that key elements developed with Somali community leaders include more youth programming, more mentors, expanded job opportunities and job training, more dialogue between youth and religious leaders, and help affording college.

If this sounds a lot like President Clinton's "midnight basketball" strategy for fighting gang violence in the 90s, that is because it is. As Obama explicitly told earlier this month, he views his job of protecting Americans from terrorism as similar to "the same way a big city mayor's got to cut the crime rate down if he wants that city to thrive."

Is this big-city-crime/jobs-for-at-risk-youth the right approach to counterterrorism?

Or, as Guy Benson notes here, do the roots of Islamic violence go much deeper.

Katie Pavlich - Obama: Extremists Have "Legitimate Grievances"
Posted: 2/18/2015 12:00:00 PM EST

As the White House kicks off day-two of a summit on combating generic violent extremism, President Obama has published an op-ed in the Los Angeles Times titled, "Our fight against violent extremism." While the administration has overtly refused to specifically name "Islamic" terror, the piece finally acknowledges (albeit inadvertently) the regular existence of violence inside Islam. Still, Islamic extremism isn't specifically named and won't be during the three-day conference at the White House this week. 

The United States has made significant gains against terrorism. We've decimated the core al Qaeda leadership, strengthened homeland security and worked to prevent another large-scale attack like 9/11.

At the same time, the threat has evolved. The al Qaeda affiliate in Yemen actively plots against us. Since 9/11, terrorists have murdered U.S. citizens overseas, including in the attacks in Benghazi, Libya. Here in the United States, Americans have been killed at Ft. Hood and during the Boston Marathon.

Groups like al Qaeda and ISIL promote a twisted interpretation of religion that is rejected by the overwhelming majority of the world's Muslims. The world must continue to lift up the voices of Muslim clerics and scholars who teach the true peaceful nature of Islam. We can echo the testimonies of former extremists who know how terrorists betray Islam. We can help Muslim entrepreneurs and youths work with the private sector to develop social media tools to counter extremist narratives on the Internet.

Claiming "core Al-Qaeda has been decimated" is extremely misleading. While former leaders like Osama bin Laden are dead, Al Qaeda has not been decimated. In fact, it's grown or "evolved" as Obama argues and recent attacks in western cities like Paris and Copenhagen display their comeback. 

But the President touting a victory about core Al Qaeda isn't the most bizarre part of the piece. Further down, Obama claims those engaging in violent extremism have "legitimate grievances" that must be addressed. 

Governments that deny human rights play into the hands of extremists who claim that violence is the only way to achieve change. Efforts to counter violent extremism will only succeed if citizens can address legitimate grievances through the democratic process and express themselves through strong civil societies.

What, exactly, does Obama mean when he says "legitimate grievances"? The grievances Al Qaeda and ISIS hold are against infidels and Muslims who don't go far enough to wage jihad on the West. These "grievances" aren't economic, despite what the State Department would like us to believe. 

And finally, despite admitting he isn't aware of all the facts, President Obama implies that the three Muslim students shot dead in Chapel Hill last week were killed as a result of their faith. The killer was an atheist who was enraged over a parking dispute.

We do not yet know why three young people, who were Muslim Americans, were brutally killed in Chapel Hill, N.C. But we know that many Muslim Americans across our country are worried and afraid.

The summit on generic violent extremism kicked off yesterday and will continue throughout the week at the White House. 

This post has been updated with an additional block quote.

Guy Benson - Are You Ready for...Senator Debbie Wasserman Schultz?
Posted: 2/18/2015 10:33:00 AM EST

Yes, that would be the very same Debbie Wasserman Schultz who's best known for her habitualflagrant lying, ham-handed "war on women" demagoguery, ludicrous scare tactics on conservative policy reforms (absent any solutions of her own, of course), hilarious mispronunciations of common words, selective civility policing, and deer-in-the-headlights denialism when confronted with unhelpful realities.  Those delightful traits have characterized her tenures as a Congresswoman and DNC Chair, and now she's reportedly in the mood for a promotion:

Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the Democratic National Committee chairwoman, is strongly considering a bid for U.S. Senate, calculating that having Hillary Clinton at the top of the 2016 ticket would help lift her candidacy in a year-of-the-woman campaign. Driving Wasserman Schultz’s interest: the increasing likelihood that Sen. Marco Rubio will run for the White House and that he ultimately won’t seek reelection in 2016, Democratic insiders familiar with her thinking say. Her office wouldn’t discuss her interest in the Senate...Some Democrats are salivating at the prospect of a history-making, two-woman top-of-the-ticket race in Florida. They also hope a female Senate candidate would attract unmarried female voters, who tend to vote Democrat but disproportionately avoid voting in Florida midterms along with African-Americans and Hispanics.

That bolded bit goes to the point that I've made several times regarding Rubio's presidential gamble: By seeking the Oval Office, the relatively popular incumbent Senator is putting a key Senate seat up for grabs in a presidential year in which Democrats are licking their chops over a number of pick-up opportunities (see, for instance, this brand new -- super early -- poll out of New Hampshire).  Anyway, weren't there a few stories circulating a few months back about how widely disliked DWS is within Democratic circles these days, particularly at the White House?  There sure were, with this one being by far the most brutal. One choice anecdote:

Obama and Wasserman Schultz have rarely even talked since 2011. They don’t meet about strategy or messaging. They don’t talk much on the phone. Instead, the DNC chairwoman stakes out the president of the United States at the end of photo lines at events and fundraisers. “You need another picture, Debbie?” Obama tends to say, according to people who’ve been there for the encounters.

Cold. The question is, if Team O can't stand her and Team Hillary is likely angling to "engineer her ouster" at the DNC, according to that same story, why would anyone back her for the US Senate?  The answers are threefold:  First, as Allahpundit says, she can raise lots of money (read the cutting hit job all the way through for an uniquely hilarious DWS lie about the nature of her DWS PAC).  Second, as the first story excerpted above notes, Democrats are going to be all about "Women!" (conservatives need not apply) in 2016.  Finally, there's this quickie analysis from the same report:

For years, anonymous Democrats in Congress, the DNC and Obama’s election machine have trashed the sometimes-acerbic congresswoman in publications like POLITICO and BuzzFeed. “Nancy Pelosi views Debbie as a threat,” said one Democratic politician familiar with the dynamics in the U.S. House. “So perhaps they’ll all pitch in together to get her out of the DNC and out of the House and into the Senate where no one can really do anything.

Let's make this woman a partisan rubber-stamp, do-nothing Senator to get her our of all of our hair!  What a rallying cry. Either way, the 2016 Florida Senate Democratic primary is shaping up to be a doozy. Guess who else is sniffing around?  Hoo boy:

Also expressing some interest behind the scenes: former Gov. Charlie Crist, who has lost his past two elections...Crist, who couldn’t be reached, would be far less likely to run for the Senate again if he had to run against an incumbent Rubio.

DWS vs. Charlie Crist: Whom does one root against harder?  And is the prospect of a Sen. DWS or a Sen. Crist horrific enough to compel Rubio to take one for the team and delay his White House ambitions?  I'll let you answer those question for yourselves; wouldn't want anyone to feel, uh, "myzled:" 

Leah Barkoukis - Have You Met ... Rep. Ron DeSantis
Posted: 2/18/2015 10:04:00 AM EST

Washington needs to change. The gridlock seems never ending, the ruling-class mentality is ubiquitous, and Americans’ contempt for Congress continues to soar. Enter: Rep. Ron DeSantis, R-Fla., who in his two short years as representative for Florida’s 6th Congressional District has made it his mission to bring about reform in our nation’s capital. But landing a seat in Congress was never something he had his sights set on.

Growing up, DeSantis always knew that working hard was the key to success in all aspects of life. Excelling at baseball opened the door to the Ivy Leagues for this self-described blue-collar kid, who, after graduating from Yale went on to pursue a law degree from Harvard. But it wasn’t until after his time in the U.S. Navy where he served as a military prosecutor that he began to think about running for Congress.

“When President Obama took office I was transitioning out of the military and just seeing that he was taking the country in a direction that I didn’t think was consistent with the Founding Fathers and with our constitutional roots,” he tells Townhall. “Having served in Iraq and having seen in Guantanamo Bay some of the stuff first hand, I thought he was approaching it the wrong way and our party was in need of younger leaders, particularly veterans who would be able to carry a Reaganesque message going forward.”

From day one, that’s exactly what DeSantis has been working to do.

As a freshman, he sought to prevent members of Congress and their staffers from receiving an exemption from Obamacare, thereby forcing them to abide by the same laws imposed on everyone else. While the effort did not succeed, it did go further than he imagined, he says.

Now, his focus has shifted to ending pensions for future lawmakers and those currently in office who are not vested into the congressional retirement plan. “There are hardly any private sector employees who get both a 401k and a pension,” DeSantis explains. “There’s just no need that Congress should get both.”

The road to reforming Washington is a long one, to be sure, and DeSantis is just beginning. In the future he hopes to offer ways forward on items such as term limits and a balanced budget amendment, to name just a couple. But how will he get others on board?

“The key is to focus on some of the younger generation, people who have not been in Washington for 20 or 30 years,” he says, “because they can see more clearly the gap that has grown between the American people and what goes on inside the beltway, and I think that if they understand that, ideas like ending pensions in Congress ... click."

Given the congressman’s determination to affect change in Washington, it should come as no surprise that he was one of nine founding members of the House Freedom Caucus, an invitation-only group that “gives a voice to countless Americans who feel that Washington does not represent them,” its mission statement reads.

DeSantis hopes to use the group as a repository for reform ideas based on limited government principles.

“One of the things that was missing from the 2014 election was a contract with America type of platform,” he says. “There’s a few things we know we’re against but I don’t think … party leadership has put forward a really coherent, positive agenda that reflects limited government principles, so I’m going to be using that to get some like-minded people together and start turning out ideas.”

Because Obama’s policies have failed, the new group will have plenty of opportunities to address budget and spending issues, the rising costs of higher education, devolving transportation and highway spending to the state, and other important matters, he explains.

But that’s not all this Florida congressman is focused on. As the Chairman of the Subcommittee on National Security, protecting the American people and holding the country’s national security agencies accountable are also top priorities.

Even when he’s away from Washington, however, DeSantis says he spends most of his time reading up on issues and different bills they’re considering for the committees he’s on.

Serving the American people is a 24-7 job, but one DeSantis is proud to do.  

Katie Pavlich - Scott Walker Talks About Union Members Protesting His 70-Year-Old Parents
Posted: 2/18/2015 8:00:00 AM EST

It's come to this: Wisconsin labor unions protesting at the home of Governor Scott Walker's 70-year-old parents. 

Over the weekend, labor unions organized in an effort to protest the new GOP lead budget in the badger state. There's just one problem: They sent protestors to the wrong house.

"My dad said this morning when I talked to him said he turned his hearing aid down a little bit. My mom, my mom is so wonderful she was actually half-tempted to send them some chocolate chip cookies outside. She sends those to our neighbors all the time," Walker said last night on The Kelly File. "I just think in the end it backfires because good people, at least in the Midwest, realize you can have your disagreements but taking it out in front of someone's home, particularly with elderly parents, that's a little too much."

Not surprisingly, the union responsible for the protest hasn't apologized.

Katie Pavlich - Eric Holder Annoyed Fox News is Talking About Islamic Terrorism Being Islamic
Posted: 2/18/2015 7:40:00 AM EST

Speaking during a National Press Club event yesterday, Attorney General Eric Holder was asked why the Obama administration is still refusing to call ISIS and other Islamic terror groups, Islamic. The question prompted Holder to openly sneer and take a shot at Fox News, claiming if the network wasn't talking about Islamic terror, they'd have "nothing to talk about." 

"We spend more time, more time, talking about what you call it, as opposed to what to do about it. You know? I mean really. If Fox didn't talk about this they'd have nothing else to talk about," Holder said. "You know, radical Islam, Islamic extremism, you know, um, I'm not sure an awful lot is gained by saying it."

Top military commanders, both current and retired, have criticized the administration for failing to properly distinguish the enemy. In fact, they don't believe you can win a war without thoroughly accepting who the enemy is, which includes calling the enemy what it is: Islamic. 

Former Defense Intelligence Agency Chief Lt. Michael Flynn testified in front of Congress last week about the importance of clearly defining what the United States is up against and recently made an appearance on Fox News Sunday to further make the point.

The White House kicked off a three-day generic "extremism" summit Tuesday and will not specifically address the issue of Islamic extremism, despite recent attacks in Canada, Paris, Libya, Iraq, Denmark etc. The Obama administration refuses to define extremism as Islamic not because it doesn't matter, but because they're not interested for politically correct reasons.

Matt Vespa -  X-Files: John Podesta Regrets Not Telling Us About Aliens
Posted: 2/17/2015 9:10:00 PM EST

Call Dana Scully and Fox Mulder: former White House Chief of Staff and senior Obama adviser John Podesta regrets not being more transparent about UFOs. That’s right. Podesta listed this as his biggest regret for 2014 (via Yahoo! News):

Podesta’s longtime fascination with UFOs is well-documented, as his brief political hiatus following four years as President Bill Clinton’s chief of staff freed him up to pursue his otherworldly passion.

At a 2002 press conference organized by the Coalition for Freedom of Information, Podesta spoke on the importance of disclosing government UFO investigations to the public.

“It’s time to find out what the truth really is that’s out there,” he said. “We ought to do it, really, because it’s right. We ought to do it, quite frankly, because the American people can handle the truth. And we ought to do it because it’s the law.”

Following Podesta’s tweet, Friday, the Washington Post recalled an exchange one of its reporters had with Podesta in 2007. Karen Tumulty had asked Podesta about reports that the Clinton Library in Little Rock, Arkansas, had been bombarded with Freedom of Information Act Requests specifically seeking email correspondence to and from the former chief of staff including terms like “X-Files” and “Area 51.” Podesta’s response, through a spokesperson, was “The truth is out there,” the tagline for the TV show “The X-Files” of which Podesta was known to be a fan.

I want to believe.

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