Close Your Eyes and Swallow

Congress Spends $1.1 Trillion

The Senate passed the $1.1 trillion spending bill Thursday by a vote of 72-26, following the House’s 359-67 vote Wednesday. Republicans supplied virtually all the opposition. The measure heads to the White House and eliminates any threat of another dreaded government “shutdown” — at least until Oct. 1. The omnibus funds every government agency, as well as ObamaCare, funding for which sparked the October shutdown. Typical of the way things are now done, when Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) was asked if he read the 1,528-page bill before voting, he replied, “Nobody did!” You have to pass it to find out what’s in it.

Healthcare.gov Security Questions

Security expert Kevin Johnson has reviewed hacker testing of Healthcare.gov and finds that the site “remains fundamentally flawed in ways that make it dangerous to people who use it.” One security vulnerability is that, allegedly, hackers can access users’ computers remotely via a worm upload. But another expert warned, “We don’t know how bad it is because they [the White House] don’t have to tell us.” Rest assured, they won’t tell us, just as they aren’t likely to divulge any successful hacks. Any such admissions would politically damage December’s “We Fixed It” message. Indeed, a CMS official told Congress just this week that Healthcare.gov has passed an “end-to-end test” and has “met all industry standards.” Anybody believe that?

Running Against ObamaCare

Arizona Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick has a new campaign ad out boasting of how she “blew the whistle” on the disastrous launch of Healthcare.gov. But that’s amusing on a couple of levels. First, Kirkpatrick is a Democrat who voted for ObamaCare in 2010 and has opposed every attempt at repeal. Second, she “blew the whistle” with a mild hand slap in a press release six weeks after the website’s launch, long after Healthcare.gov had become a late-night laughingstock. Third, DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz has repeatedly sworn that every Democrat will run on ObamaCare in 2014, not away from it. If this keeps up, it could be a very entertaining campaign season.

Amazon Workers Reject Big Labor

The only thing declining faster than labor force participation is union membership. Indeed, growing skepticism toward Big Labor resulted in this week’s decision by a group of Amazon warehouse workers based in Middletown, Delaware, to overwhelmingly reject joining the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAMAW). The 21-6 vote means that, for now, the team of 27 technicians at the facility are free from the detrimental effects of union representation. “That number is a clear reflection that the tactics Amazon and their law firm employed were very effective,” complained IAMAW spokesman John Carr. “Under the intense pressures these workers faced on the shop floor, it was an uphill battle all the way.” Or maybe the majority simply didn’t feel like being coerced by union heads pursuing a political agenda.

If It Weren’t for Double Standards…

Shortly after the massacre at Sandy Hook elementary in December 2012, NBC’s “Meet the Press” host, David Gregory, took to the air waving around a standard capacity 30-round AR-15 magazine. His agenda, of course, was to exploit Sandy Hook and scare people into supporting “reasonable” gun control. However, possession of such a magazine is illegal in DC, where the show was filmed. NBC even ignored a warning by the DC Metropolitan Police Department beforehand. Yet to this day, nothing has been done to prosecute Gregory for his horrific crime. Meanwhile, Maryland police recently stopped and harassed a Florida gun owner traveling through the state — even though he was unarmed at the time. One set of rules for the media elite, another for the “hoi polloi.”

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Senate Report: Benghazi Attack Was Preventable

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The Senate Intelligence Committee has released its 85-page report determining that the attack on U.S. facilities in Benghazi, Libya, on Sept. 11, 2012, could have been prevented. The report calls into question the State Department’s handling of security in the months leading up to the attack and its subsequent failure to adequately investigate what went wrong. The report also documents numerous events that should have prompted State to increase security at the facility, including two prior attacks in 2012, the deteriorating security situation in the area, the presence of at least 10 al-Qaida training camps in Benghazi, and the fact that several other nations had closed their own diplomatic facilities earlier in the year for security reasons.

The report doesn’t break a lot of new ground because the details of the attack have been known for some time. But the fact that it was crafted with bipartisan support raises the hope that Senate Democrats will concede to a more thorough investigation instead of falling for Barack Obama’s lame excuse that Benghazi is a “phony scandal” ginned up by Republicans. The State Department and the White House have done everything in their power to keep the Benghazi attack out of the national conversation, stonewalling investigations and concocting the campaign lie that the attack was a spontaneous protest of an obscure YouTube video despite knowing within minutes that it was a deliberate terrorist attack.

Though the report does not reveal just who came up with that sorry protest story in the weeks leading up to the 2012 presidential election, it does put to rest any notion that Benghazi was anything short of a coordinated, planned terrorist attack. Now, congressional leaders should continue to push for the truth behind the post-attack politicizing of the narrative, because we’ll never get it from the Obama White House. Holding a person or persons accountable and not just faceless bureaucracies is paramount. Then again, in the immortal words of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, “What difference … does it make?”

Holder the Shakedown Artist

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Attorney General Eric Holder has long made an issue of race, obviously carrying a chip on his shoulder that dictates how he does his job. The latest affront to Rule of Law is that he and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (another bureaucracy created by the Dodd-Frank financial “reform” bill) have announced a $100 million settlement with Ally Bank for “discrimination” in making auto loans. It’s the largest-ever such settlement against the auto industry, and the third largest overall. So far, Holder’s Justice Department has extorted $810 million from the financial industry over so-called discriminatory lending practices.

But let’s look at the facts — crazy talk, we know. The Justice Department accused Ally of “charg[ing] African-American borrowers more than white borrowers in interest-rate markups not based on creditworthiness or other objective criteria related to borrower risk.” However, Justice didn’t have the pertinent data to make such a claim. Unlike the mortgage industry, the auto industry doesn’t track a buyer’s race, so Holder and Co. had to guess based on Census data for the racial composition of a buyer’s neighborhood. Justice didn’t bother looking at creditworthiness of the buyers, either — regardless of the supposed race — so how would they know Ally didn’t assess it before making the loans?

The bottom line is that the Justice Department had nothing to go on and pushed forward with these trumped-up charges anyway. Ally caved rather than fight the inevitable Leftmedia PR battle. The Obama administration is far more concerned with its beloved but discredited “disparate impact” theory than upholding fair business practices, and the media will always dutifully fall in line.

Holder once accused the American people of being “essentially a nation of cowards” when it comes to race, while demanding a “national conversation” on the topic. It’s time he participated in the conversation already happening instead of making up lies to persecute political opponents and the free market.

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