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Leah Barkoukis - Must-See Video: Joan Rivers Defends Israel in Epic Rant
Posted: 7/26/2014 9:00:00 AM EST

It’s been infuriating to watch Hollywood elites ignorantly blast out their support for Gaza across social media platforms since the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians escalated this month. Thus, it’s refreshing to see one particularly outspoken celeb passionately stand up for Israel’s right to self-defense.


“If New Jersey were firing rockets into New York, we would wipe ’em out,” she tells the cameraman.

Rivers continues, “I don’t want to hear anymore, ‘Oh, we’ll do a partial truce.’ The Palestinians… you cannot throw rockets, and not expect people to defend themselves.”

Asked about civilian casualties among Palestinians, Rivers fires back, “Then don’t put your goddamn things in private homes! I’m sorry, don’t you dare put weapons stashes in private homes!”

When the cameraman asks Rivers where civilians should go, she replies, “I don’t care! They started it. You’re all insane! They started it!”

Rivers slams media coverage of the conflict, declaring, “The BBC should be ashamed of themselves. And CNN should be ashamed of themselves. And everybody… stop it already.”

When the paparazzo mentions Selena Gomez’s support for Gaza, Rivers sarcastically says, “Oh, Selena Gomez! Oh, yeah, that college grad. Oh, well, if Selena said that… let’s see if she can spell ‘Palestinians.’”

Thank you, Joan Rivers for not being afraid to tell it like it is. If you’re interested in seeing a list of other celebs that have tweeted in support of Israel, check out Twitchy’s list here, although none are quite as colorful as Rivers’ epic rant.

Kevin Glass - Maybe Democrats Should Have Read Obamacare Before They Passed It
Posted: 7/25/2014 6:34:00 PM EST

First, a fact. Obamacare's legislative text reads that tax subsidies administered by the IRS to help Americans pay for health insurance they are federally mandated to purchase reads that those tax subsidies will only apply to people who purchase coverage from insurance exchanges "established by the State." An exchange "established by the State" refers to state-run health insurance exchanges, established in ACA section 1311, as opposed to federally-run exchanges, established in ACA section 1321. The legislative language is pretty clear.

What ACA proponents want to say is that this just amounts to a "drafting error." Congress, of course, intended for the subsidies to apply to the exchanges run by the federal government; they just made a mistake.

It seems odd that we'd be able to divine the "intent" of the general will of 535 people, but some have now fallen back to asking if there was even a single legislator who thought that tax subsidies wouldn't apply to federal exchanges.

This is a good question, because it's unlikely that any legislator thought that would have been a good idea. But this gets to the heart of the problem with ACA: many legislators didn't know what they were crafting and voting on.

In the era of ACA's crafting, Republicans repeatedly brought up the point that legislators couldn't read the bill, because the legislative text hadn't been written. The Senate Finance Committee voted on what's called "conceptual langauge," but did anticipate that some states would not set up their own exchanges. Democrats also insisted that the "conceptual language" was enough to actually understand and vote on the law.

Max Baucus (D-Montana), chair of the Senate Finance Committee through which the health bill flowed, insisted that reading the law wasn't necessary.

“I don’t think you want me to waste my time to read every page of the healthcare bill,” Baucus said, according to the Flathead Beacon. “You know why? It’s statutory language. ... We hire experts.”

So that's what happened: in between the "conceptual language" and the actual legislative text, some experts who were writing the law thought it was a good idea to try to coerce states into creating their own exchanges by withholding tax subsidies from the federal exchanges. The actual legislators who voted on the legislation didn't know how the law would work, but they trusted the experts they hired.

One of the "experts" that helped write the law was Jonathan Gruber, an MIT health expert who also helped write Massachusetts' similar law. Gruber, in 2012, said that it was actually important that subsidies didn't apply to federally-run exchanges - and that it would be an incentive for states to set them up. The New York Times reported that he went to Capitol Hill to "help Congressional staff members draft specifics of the legislation."

Tom Carper (D-Delaware), who also served on the Senate Finance Committee, insisted that the legislative language wasn't important:

"I don't expect to actually read the legislative language, because reading the legislative language is among the more confusing things I've ever read in my life."

So, the Senate Finance Committee voted on "conceptual language" that established subsidies for exchanges without mentioning who those subsidies would apply to. They then hired experts, as Baucus said, who did intend for subsidies not to apply to federal exchanges, and those experts plainly wrote the law in the way that it wouldn't apply to federal exchanges. Democratic leadership then refused to post the legislative text for people to read in an adequate time period before passing the law, and as a result, Congress voted on legislation that was written by people who, yes, intended for tax subsidies only to apply to state-established exchanges.

Greg Hengler - Hamas: A Baby in One Arm, A Kalashnikov In The Other
Posted: 7/25/2014 6:22:00 PM EST

On this week's Townhall Weekend Journal:

Michael Medved’s brother Jonathan, has lived in Israel for over 30 years, and his sons have now been called up. Elliott Abrams, a U.S. foreign policy expert who served under both Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush on Israel. Hugh Hewitt with Noah Pollack who is the executive director of the Emergency Committee for Israel. Bill Bennett turned to healthcare expert James Capretta to sort through the DC Court ruling on O'care. Dennis Prager, upon hearing the President’s response to the ruling, was understandably agitated. Leon de Winter with Prager on Malaysian Flight 17. Hewitt with Daniel Halpern of the Weekly Standard has a new book out: Clinton Inc.: The Audacious Rebuilding of a Political Machine. Prager on the President’s latest speech on the heels of the Hobby Lobby decision.

Guy Benson - Israeli Cabinet Unanimously Rejects Kerry's Temporary Truce Proposal
Posted: 7/25/2014 4:40:00 PM EST


Over the course of the current conflict, Hamas has turned down several ceasefire attempts, while Israel has agreed to the terms. The terrorist organization has conditioned any cessation of its rocketing campaign on Israel lifting its blockade of Gaza -- which was made necessary by previous Hamas attacks, and the purpose of which is to interdict additional weapons to be used in future attacks. Food, clothing, medicine, and other legitimate items are allowed to pass through. This demand is a nonstarter. US Secretary of State John Kerry traveled to the region and proposed a one-week truce that would allow breathing room for a broader deal to take shape. This time, it's Israel that has pre-emptively and decisively rejected the offer. Israel's leaders argue that the 'timeout' would interrupt their hard-fought ground incursion designed to destroy Hamas' so-called "terror tunnels." In short:



Kerry, in face-saving mode:


Former Attorney General Michael Mukasey has explained why the tunnels, not rockets, are Hamas' most lethal tool in their murderous campaign against Israeli civilians. Indeed, heavily-armed Hamas fighters wearing Israeli military uniforms recently emerged from one such tunnel, killing two IDF soldiers. The Washington Post notes that tunnel-based assaults on Israeli neighborhoods are an appalling staple of the Hamas playbook:


Three times in recent days, Hamas fighters emerged from the tunnels in the vicinity of Israeli civilian communities, which they clearly aimed to attack. The ­concrete-lined structures are stocked with materials, such as handcuffs and tranquilizers, that could be used on hostages. Other tunnels in northern Gaza are designed for the storage and firing of missiles at Israeli cities. The resources devoted by Hamas to this project are staggering, particularly in view of Gaza’s extreme poverty. By one Israeli account, the typical tunnel cost $1 million to build over the course of several years, using tons of concrete desperately needed for civilian housing. By design, many of the tunnels have entrances in the heavily populated Shijaiyah district, where the Israeli offensive has been concentrated. One was found underneath al-Wafa hospital, where Hamas also located a command post and stored weapons, according to Israeli officials.

The IDF released aerial footage last week of one such attempted raid, which ended...badly for the terrorists:



Israeli officials say interrogations of captured Hamas militants have revealed plans for a civilian bloodbath scheduled for an upcoming Jewish high holy day:


Hamas had apparently been preparing a murderous assault on Israeli civilian targets for the coming Jewish New Year Holiday, Rosh Hashanah, which begins on September 24, according anonymous sources in the Israeli security services, as reported today by the Israeli daily Maariv. The Hamas plan consisted of what was to be a surprise attack in which 200 fighters would be dispatched through each of dozens of tunnels dug by Hamas under the border from Gaza to Israel, and seize kibbutzim and other communities while killing and kidnapping Israeli civilians. Israeli soldiers already frustrated a surprise assault by Hamas through one tunnel from Gaza into the Eshkol district of Israel on July 19.


Meanwhile, rockets have been discovered in yet another UN-administered Gaza school, while Hamas keeps on doing its craven, disgusting thing:




I'll leave you with this:



But all Israel needs to do to achieve "peace" is end its blockade of Gaza (thus allowing Hamas to resupply its weapons cache), and cut short its mission to destroy the tunnels (which Hamas uses to store munitions and infiltrate Israel). The people who think this is reasonable are the same people who cheered Israel's unilateral and forcible withdrawal from Gaza in 2005 -- a good will gesture for which Israel has been rewarded with the election of Hamas and many thousands of rockets shot at their civilian population centers.


UPDATE - Israel has agreed to a 12-hour ceasefire:


Has Hamas agreed? (UPDATE II: Yes, apparently).

Leah Barkoukis - Administration Considers Giving Honduran Youth Refugee Status
Posted: 7/25/2014 2:35:00 PM EST

At this point in the border crisis, one would think the administration would be doing all it can to actually stem the flow of illegal immigrants from Central America. In reality, however, it seems some of their proposed solutions would do just the opposite.

The New York Times reports:

Hoping to stem the recent surge of migrants at the Southwest border, the Obama administration is considering whether to allow hundreds of minors and young adults from Honduras into the United States without making the dangerous trek through Mexico, according to a draft of the proposal.

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

Yes, you read that correctly. The administration is considering a plan that would allow Hondurans under the age of 21 (and possibly El Salvadorans and Guatemalans) to apply to the program in their own country. And the reason they need refugee status? Because they’re fleeing dangerous street gangs. Question: what can the children in Chicago’s South Side claim to get protection?

But seriously, how exactly will this decrease the number of Central Americans coming into the U.S.? Sure, we would have more control over who may fit the program's criteria, but what's to say those who don't won't try for the amnesty route and make the trek up north anyway? And if the definition of refugee is stretched to include people fleeing 'general crime and violence,' it's safe to say America's doors really are wide open--to untold numbers of people all around the world.

Under American law, refugees are people fleeing their country of origin based on fears of persecution by reason of race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership in a particular social group.

The only category that would seem to apply is “social group,” experts said, but there is disagreement on what that means. Some contend that children could count as a group, but others say the refugee requirements are stricter, and would not apply to people fleeing general crime and violence.

“What is a social group?” said Muzaffar Chishti, director of migration policies for the Migration Policy Institute’s New York office. “This is going to create a huge deal of debate. You will see a lot of law developing on it.”

Mark Krikorian, the executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies, told The New York Times that migrants would need “nothing more than a bus ride to the consulate” to claim to be refugees. “We’re talking about, down the road, an enormous additional flow of people from those countries.”

And guess what? If it doesn't increase the total number of refugees coming into the country, President Obama's pen and phone can make this happen, no congressional approval needed.

Update: Guy Benson weighed in on the issue on Fox News' "America's Newsroom" today.

Guy Benson - Busted: Obamacare Architect Caught in Epic Lie, Confirming Opponents' Argument
Posted: 7/25/2014 2:07:00 PM EST


When a DC Circuit Court of Appeals panel released its Obamacare-related decision earlier this week, the Left's self-appointed "wonk" class kicked into damage control overdrive. The three-judge panel ruled that the 'Affordable' Care Act's explicit language proscribed the distribution of subsidies to anyone who did not enroll through state-based marketplaces. The fallout of this decision, if it's upheld down the line, is that consumers in the 36 states served by the federal exchange are ineligible to receive taxpayer-supported tax credits to offset the law's high premiums. This outcome would wreak havoc on the law's sustainability. Obamacare's text couldn't be clearer on this particular point, as even the Fourth Circuit Court, which reached the opposite ultimate conclusion, admitted; the limitation in question appears repeatedly in the legislative language. Many Obamacare supporters have insisted that this was an oversight. A drafting error. A typo. And conservatives raising this point are off their rockers, they sneer. One of the most influential players in this dispute is Jonathan Gruber, an MIT economist who is considered by many to be the architect of the law, and who told the New York Times, "I know more about this law than any other economist." He's filed amicus briefs in the relevant cases confirming liberals' assertions that it was never anyone's intention that only state-based exchange enrollees are eligible for taxpayer subsidies. Arguments to the contrary, he's said, are "screwy," "nutty," "stupid," and "desperate." In case he wasn't making himself clear, Gruber appeared on MSNBC this week and said this:


“Literally every single person involved in the crafting of this law has said that it`s a typo, that they had no intention of excluding the 'federal' states.”


Literally. He went on to decry suggestions to the contrary as "criminal." QED, right? Let's go to the video tape. Here's Gruber, who "knows more about this law than any other economist," explaining how the law he helped write and promote in 2012. The clip begins with his recent answer transcribed above, followed by his 2012 analysis:



Oops:


"If you're a state and you don't set up an exchange, that means your citizens don't get their tax credits." He affirmed conservatives' argument in 2012 by sharing his own expertise about the law as it's written. Then, when his own explanation became politically problematic, he reversed positions, shamelessly arguing that "literally" nobody had ever intended to make the case that he himself had explicitly laid out. Who's the "criminal," again? The Left, gobsmacked by this discovery, cast about for answers, and Gruber gave them one this morning. It was comically pathetic:


I honestly don’t remember why I said that. I was speaking off-the-cuff. It was just a mistake. People make mistakes. Congress made a mistake drafting the law and I made a mistake talking about it...My subsequent statement was just a speak-o—you know, like a typo.


A "speak-o." That's a new one. He was just confused, you guys. He accidentally said the wrong thing. He was "speaking off the cuff." People make mistakes. But do they make "off the cuff speak-o mistakes" repeatedly, and in prepared remarks? Additional audio from a separate 2012 Gruber speech has surfaced:



"Finally, the third risk, and the one folks aren't talking about, which may be most important of all, is the role of the states...Will people understand that gee, if your governor doesn't set up an exchange, you're losing hundreds of millions of dollars of tax credits to be delivered to your citizens."


Not only did he offer this analysis at least twice, he emphasized the subsidy "risk" as an under-reported, highly important point. This man is a liar. And one of his prominent defenders has also admitted on tape that misleading the public about Obamacare's contents is justified in order to "win." Prominent Democrats agreed. For the humiliated Left, Gruber has gone from the gold standard witness on this question to an afterthought. Goalposts, shifted:



Aside from Sen. Max Baucus' remarks and concerns raised by Texas Democrats about their state rejecting the exchange, this is the best answer to that challenge:



Yep. It was in the bill, for which hundreds of Democrats voted. The House version included broader verbiage, but once Scott Brown got elected, Democrats didn't have the votes to revise their legislation. They had to embrace the Senate-passed bill, which specifically barred subsidies for consumers in states that hadn't set up their own marketplaces. One last point: Philip Klein worries that if the court's decision holds, it will create headaches for Republican governors who will come under intense pressure to set up Obamacare exchanges. You're heartlessly taking away people's healthcare! Ramesh Ponnuru isn't so sure that the politics would cut that way. Democrats are solely responsible for the mess they've made, and bitter attempts to blame Republicans for the law's myriad failures have thus far fallen flat.

Katie Pavlich - Exclusive: Family of Slain Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry Endorses Doug Ducey For Arizona Governor
Posted: 7/25/2014 2:00:00 PM EST

Kelly Terry-Willis, the sister of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry, is endorsing State Treasurer and former Cold Stone Creamery CEO Doug Ducey for Arizona Governor on behalf of her family. Her brother Brian, a highly trained BORTAC agent, was murdered in December 2010 by Mexican bandits carrying weapons from Operation Fast and Furious.

Terry-Willis released a statement supporting Ducey and expressed confidence in his ability to secure the southern border with Mexico.

“Our family understands the dangers of an unsecure border – our Brian died fighting to secure it. Thankfully, Arizona has the chance to elect a governor who also understands the dangers of an unsecure border. Someone who will stand up for what is right and do whatever it takes to get the job done. That next governor is Doug Ducey. My brother was a fighter and so is Doug," Terry-Willis said. “Doug is a strong advocate for a secure border and stands firmly behind every agent who places their life on the line to protect our country. The federal government hurt our family. A state government, led by Doug Ducey, will help yours -- and our out-of-control border. In the years since Brian’s death, my family has sought out strong leaders with sound moral character and the ability to affect change. One of those leaders is Doug Ducey, and my family and I wholeheartedly endorse him as the next governor of Arizona.”

She will also appear in a new video ad for the candidate which will start airing over the weekend in the Grand Canyon State.

“No family should have to endure what the Terry family has been through,” Ducey said in a statement. “I have nothing but respect and gratitude for Kelly and her entire family, and I’m honored and humbled to have their endorsement.”

Ducey is the first political candidate the Terry Family has endorsed since Brian's death. According to Real Clear Politics, Ducey is ahead in the primary by two points against five other Republican candidates.

Conn Carroll - Obama To Go Big on Unilateral Amnesty
Posted: 7/25/2014 12:55:00 PM EST

Despite an ongoing humanitarian crisis at the border, President Obama is set to announce a major expansion of his already liberal executive amnesty program, according to multiple White House friendly sources.

On July 3, National Journal's Major Garrett reported:

Obama told the groups what they had been dying to hear—that he was going to condemn House Republicans for inaction and set the most expansive legal course permissible to beef up border security, slow deportations of noncriminal aliens, and provide legal status to millions of undocumented workers—all by himself. ... Obama made it clear he would press his executive powers to the limit. He gave quiet credence to recommendations from La Raza and other immigration groups that between 5 million to 6 million adult illegal immigrants could be spared deportation under a similar form of deferred adjudication he ordered for the so-called Dreamers in June 2012.

Yesterday, Time Magazine's Alex Altman reported:

When President Obama issues executive orders on immigration in coming weeks, pro-reform activists are expecting something dramatic: temporary relief from deportation and work authorization for perhaps several million undocumented immigrants. ...It’s hard to pin down how many people this would cover; it would depend on how the administration crafts the order. But the numbers are substantial. According to the CBO, there are an estimated 4.7 million undocumented parents with a minor child living in the U.S., and 3.8 million whose children are citizens. Around 1.5 million undocumented immigrants are married to a U.S. citizen or lawful resident, but have been unable to gain legal status themselves.

And Politico's Carrie Budoff Brown adds today:

The president has suggested privately that he would not go as far as extending temporary protections to all 11 million undocumented immigrants who would have qualified under the Senate bill. Instead, he’s weighing how to provide relief to subsets of the population based on family ties, longevity in the country or employment background. It’s unclear where he’ll draw the line, but advocates expect him to go far based on his initial statements that he wants to max out his legal authority.

All of these actions would, of course, be a huge flip-flop for Obama who has been claiming for months that his June 2012 DACA program was the absolute legal limit of how far he could stretch his executive powers.

Of course this would not be the first time Obama flip-flopped on the extent of his executive immigration powers. For the first three years of his presidency he insisted he did not have the legal authority to end deportations unilaterally.

“This notion that somehow I can just change the laws unilaterally is not true,” Obama told Hispanic journalists at a White House roundtable in November 2011. “The fact of the matter is there are laws on the books I have to enforce. And there is a great disservice done to the cause of getting the DREAM Act passed and comprehensive immigration reform passed by perpetuating the notion that somehow by myself I can just go and do these things.”

But Obama's June 2012 DACA order did exactly that: functionally turning the DREAM Act legislation into executive action reality.

Then in 2013, when activists pushed Obama to expand DACA, Obama insisted, "If, in fact, I could solve all these problems without passing laws in Congress, then I would do so. But we’re also a nation of laws. That’s part of our tradition. And so the easy way out is to try to yell and pretend like I can do something by violating our laws."

Why has Obama changed his mind on the limits of his executive power so many times?

Politics.

Time's Altman explained:

Despite the short-term political consequences, in the long run a bold stroke could help cement the Democratic Party’s ties with the vital and fast-growing Hispanic voting bloc. And it would be a legacy for Obama, a cautious chief executive whose presidency has largely been shaped by events outside his control. In the case of immigration, he has the capacity to ease the pain felt by millions with the stroke of a pen.

Damn the rule of law. All glory to Obama's legacy and the Democratic Party's emerging majority.

Christine Rousselle - Pope Francis Reportedly Visiting US in September 2015
Posted: 7/25/2014 11:57:00 AM EST

Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput announced today at a conference in Fargo, North Dakota that Pope Francis has accepted his invitation to come to Philadelphia in September 2015 to attend the World Meeting of Families. Chaput's announcement confirmed rumors that the Supreme Pontiff was coming to the United States. The World Meeting of Families is an event held every three years by the Pontifical Council of the Family.

Vatican spokesman Fr. Federico Lombardi, S.J. confirmed that the Bishop of Rome was indeed coming to Philadelphia for the event, and was also mulling offers to visit other major cities on the East Coast during his trip.

Jesuit Fr. Federico Lombardi, Vatican spokesman, said Friday that Pope Francis has expressed "his willingness to participate in the World Meeting of Families" in Philadelphia, and has received invitations to visit other cities as well, which he is considering. Those invitations include New York, the United Nations and Washington.

The World Meeting of Families drew over a million people in 2012 in Milan, Italy for a Mass celebrated by Pope Benedict XVI. It is likely the crowd in Philadelphia will be even larger, considering Pope Francis' popularity in the United States.

Personally, I'm pretty excited for Pope Francis' first trip to the United States since his election. I'm very curious about what he will have to say at the event, especially considering that this year's theme is the family's intrinsic value for society. In a time of rapidly falling birthrates and marriage rates, I wonder what Pope Francis will suggest as a possible solution.

Cortney O'Brien - Watch: 'Mary Poppins' Sings for Minimum Wage Increase
Posted: 7/25/2014 11:00:00 AM EST

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

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

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

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

"Are you a Republican?"

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

"Cheeky."

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

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

Or how about this little ditty:

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

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

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

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