Attack Ad on ‘Immigration Amnesty’ Puts Karl Rove in Unexpected Camp

Ken McIntyre /

Karl Rove’s support for what many Americans consider amnesty for illegal immigrants has put the Republican political guru at odds with The Heritage Foundation for a decade.

That’s why observers of current and past incarnations of “immigration reform” were surprised to learn of Rove’s association with a campaign ad drawing attention in a hot U.S. Senate race.

The 30-second ad was paid for by American Crossroads, a political action group largely financed by Rove, best known as chief political aide to President George W. Bush. The ad, which first aired early this month, cites a Heritage Foundation report last year on the fiscal costs of amnesty in attacking the Democratic candidate in Iowa for supporting “immigration amnesty.”

That is, the same Karl Rove who has argued against using the word amnesty to refer to legalizing illegal immigrants. Rove raised funds to pay for the ad that accuses Rep. Bruce Braley, in a tight race with Republican Joni Ernst, of favoring … amnesty.

Dan Holler, communications director for Heritage Action for America, the think tank’s advocacy arm, told The Daily Signal:

 It’s not news that amnesty is bad policy and bad politics—conservatives have been making that case for a decade. Apparently Rove now agrees. So the only question is whether the GOP will govern in 2015 the way they campaigned in 2014.

The think tank’s report documented the hundreds of billions in ever-rising cost to taxpayers of granting citizenship to millions who broke the law to come or stay here.

Rove was among amnesty backers who sought to marginalize the Heritage research paper, published May 6, 2013, which the anti-Braley ad cites.

The American Crossroads ad opens with criticism of Braley’s support for Obamacare, saying the legislation cut “over $700 billion from Medicare” and “caused Iowans to receive insurance cancellation notices.”

At 15 seconds, the narrator asks: “Why does Braley keep voting with Obama and support immigration amnesty giving those lawbreakers access to food stamps and Medicare?”

The citation “The Heritage Foundation, 5/6/13” appears on the screen in small print after the words: “Bruce Braley: Giving Lawbreakers Food Stamps and Medicare.”

Dave Weigel wrote in Bloomberg Politics:

It’s just a little jarring to see this message coming from American Crossroads. Karl Rove, who raises funds for the group, has spent more than a decade telling Republicans that they need to be careful about how they discuss immigration if they want to win Hispanic votes. “It is … important that Republicans avoid calling a pathway to citizenship ‘amnesty,’ ” Rove wrote a year ago [in the Wall Street Journal]. And here’s Crossroads, telling Iowans that any pathway to citizenship is amnesty. It’s a long, long way from the Bush presidential campaigns.

Last year, at the height of the immigration debate, Rove got a rejoinder from Heritage’s Edwin Meese in the Wall Street Journal over what the word “amnesty” meant to President Reagan, whom Meese served as attorney general among other roles.

The Daily Signal was not able to reach Rove for comment on the ad. Paul Lindsay, communications director of American Crossroads, was not immediately available for comment.

Lindsay confirmed to Talking Points Memo, however, that the ad purposefully cited the Heritage report on the costs of granting amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants.

>>> Robert Rector: White House Sells Amnesty With Dubious Economics

Rove has seen eye to eye with The Heritage Foundation on other policy issues over the years. His campaign and White House experience also made him a popular speaker at Heritage membership events after Bush left office.

In 2006, however, during Bush’s second term, Rove also assailed a Heritage paper on the scope and cost of amnesty that ended up torpedoing the immigration reform package supported that year by Bush and key members of Congress.

Robert Rector, Heritage’s senior research fellow in domestic policy, was the main author of both the 2006 and 2013 papers.

Braley’s campaign website, in a write-up on the ad, repeats incorrect assertions by left-leaning media organizations that Heritage disavowed Rector’s 2013 report and that the paper had been “debunked.”

In fact, Rector briefed scores of House and Senate members and their staffers on his findings, as National Journal reported at the time:

[Rector] has tangled with lawmakers, schooled young staffers, and been skewered by opposing policy analysts. And in the process, Rector has become the most influential outside player on what is perhaps the defining issue of the 113th Congress.

‘He’s the guy,’ said one lobbyist who has been involved with immigration negotiations and witnessed Rector’s impact. ‘He’s not afraid to push back on members, he’s not afraid to push back on staff, and he’s not afraid to tell people they’re wrong.’

Rector said of lawmakers in an interview with National Journal in June 2013:

The problem is, they are trying to move the bill so fast that no one can really understand what the issues are. There’s not a lot of understanding of the issues, and what I perceive is kind of  a race to get this bill passed before anyone really understands what its consequences are.

 

Computer Hacks and Screaming Flacks: 5 Startling Anecdotes From Sharyl Attkisson’s New Book - Daily Signal

Computer Hacks and Screaming Flacks: 5 Startling Anecdotes From Sharyl Attkisson’s New Book

Ken McIntyre / Melissa Quinn /

Sharyl Attkisson has been called a “pit bull” by former bosses and “unreasonable” by top Obama administration officials. The veteran investigative reporter isn’t known for backing down from a story — even when faced with hacked computers, screaming flacks and suspicious cables.

Attkisson’s new book, “Stonewalled: My Fight for Truth Against the Forces of Obstruction, Intimidation, and Harassment in Obama’s Washington” (Harper), doesn’t come out until Nov. 4. But tantalizing excerpts obtained by the  Washington Post and New York Post have caused a stir as they make their way around the Washington, D.C., media circuit.

Here are five anecdotes detailing some of the “intimidation, obstruction and harassment” that Attkisson — the former CBS News correspondent who currently is a senior independent contributor to The Daily Signal — encountered on the job.

1. A mysterious computer hacking. Early one morning at a time when Attkisson was reporting on the 2012 terrorist attacks in Benghazi, she woke up to hear her Apple computer making a strange noise. It sounded  like the one made a day earlier by her Toshiba laptop from CBS News.

So she had  the computer checked out by “Number One,” who she describes as a “confidential source inside the government.”

Number One told Attkisson that her computer had been breached. The origin: a “sophisticated entity that used commercial, nonattributable spyware that’s proprietary to a government agency: either the CIA, FBI, the Defense Intelligence Agency or the National Security Agency.”

At one point, an intruder or intruders obtained Attkisson’s Skype handle and password, and activated the audio–making “heavy use of it, presumably as a listening tool.”

Number One also found three classified documents buried on her computer. Attkisson writes that she had no idea they were there.

“Why?” Attkisson asks. “To frame me?”

>>> Journalist: Obama Administration More ‘Restrictive’ and ‘Dangerous’ Than Any in History

Her computer troubles don’t end there. While preparing for an interview with Thomas Pickering, who served as chairman of the Benghazi Accountability Review Board, she watched as data began disappearing before her eyes, “deleted line by line in a split second.”

Don Allison, a security specialist at Kore Logic, examined Attkisson’s iMac and found “key evidence of a government computer connection” to her computer.

2An extra fiber-optic line. Besides the computers, Attkisson ran into problems with her telephones, television and alarm system — all run on Verizon’s FiOS system.

She enlisted the help of “Jeff” to determine what was wrong with her phones and computers. He looked around the outside of her house and something caught his eye: Dangling from the FiOS box affixed to a brick wall was a stray fiber-optic line used to download data and send it away.

Attkisson took a picture of the cable and called Verizon, whose customer service reps said they didn’t install it. Verizon instructed the reporter to report it to police, then called back to tell her they wanted to look themselves.

“That shouldn’t be there,” said the technician who visited Attkisson’s home on New Year’s Day.

>>> Sharyl Attkisson Calls Obama Administration ‘Worst Atmosphere’ for Journalists

Attkisson had the Verizon employee leave the cable on top of the air-conditioning fan. Several days later, she asked her husband to go get it. The cable was gone.

3. CBS News and the Benghazi attacks. The day after the Sept. 11, 2012, attacks on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, CBS News’ “60 Minutes” conducted an interview with President Obama. During the interview, Obama told correspondent Steve Kroft that it was “too early to know” whether it was a terrorist attack.

That part of the exchange, however, aired only days before the November 2012 presidential election.

Before the Oct. 16 presidential debate between Obama and Republican nominee Mitt Romney, the White House worked to convince Americans that the president specifically referred to Benghazi as terrorism.  A White House official called Attkisson to tell her Obama had referred to a “terrorist attack” in his Sept. 12 statement in the Rose Garden — when he did use the phrase “no act of terror.”

“I had no idea that the question of how the administration portrayed the attacks — and whether it was covering up the terrorist ties — would emerge as a touchstone leading up to the election,” Attkisson writes. “But the White House already seemed to know.”

She recalls occasions when CBS officials in New York inserted a line in “CBS Evening News” stories implying that Obama called the events in Benghazi a terrorist attack on Sept. 12.

“It seems as though they’re putting a lot of effort into trying to defend the president on this point,” she writes.

Later, Attkisson learned what the president had told her colleague,  Kroft, during his Sept. 12 “60 Minutes” interview.  The full transcript, however, had been emailed to “CBS Evening News” offices in New York that same day.

“I feared that we’d once again mischaracterized facts in advance of a presidential election to hurt a Republican,” Attkisson writes. “We not only had stood by silently as the media largely sided against Romney, but we’d also taken an active part in steering them in that direction.”

>>> Sharyl Attkisson Sues Federal Government to Obtain Obamacare Documents

4. Ties between CBS and the administration. The White House made it known when it didn’t like Attkisson’s reporting — and often went to the head honcho, CBS News President David Rhodes, the New York Post notes.

Typically, a White House flack upset with her work would  email both Rhodes and his brother, Ben, a top national security adviser to Obama.

Attkisson recalls lining up an exclusive interview with Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, creator of a YouTube video about Islam for which then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton blamed the Benghazi attacks. David Rhodes shot down her idea.

“That’s kind of old news, isn’t it?” he said.

Similarly, Attkisson found stories were watered down or nixed because of potential, even loose, ties to the Obama administration. One story on school-lunch fraud had nothing to do with first lady Michelle Obama, but was ultimately cut. Another report on waste at the Department of Housing and Urban Development turned into a “bland non-story” before it aired.

 5Liberal bias from the mainstream media. During her reporting on Benghazi, Attkisson ran into criticism from high-ranking Obama administration officials. In one exchange with national security spokesman Tommy Vietor, she asked for more information about reinforcements sent to Benghazi.

“I give up, Sharyl,” she says Vietor told her. “I’ll work with more reasonable folks that follow up, I guess.”

Attkisson got a similar response from Eric Schultz, principal deputy press secretary, when she asked him about the “Fast and Furious” scandal.

>>> Journalists Seek a Way to Stop White House Censorship of ‘Pool’ Reports

Schultz cursed at her,  saying:

The Washington Post is reasonable. The LA Times is reasonable. The New York Times is reasonable. You’re the only one who’s not reasonable!

One boss at CBS, she writes, said analysts with a conservative perspective should be labeled as “conservatives.” Liberal analysts, though, were just “analysts.”

Attkisson points to bias in some outlets’ reporting of the number of Americans enrolled in Obamacare:

Many in the media … are wrestling with their own souls. They know that Obamacare is in serious trouble, but they’re conflicted about reporting that. Some worry that the news coverage will hurt a cause that they personally believe in. They’re all too eager to dismiss damaging documentary evidence while embracing, sometimes unquestioningly, the Obama administration’s ever-evolving and unproven explanations.

City Says Ministers Don’t Have to Wed Same-Sex Couples, but Here’s Why It’s Not Over Yet - Daily Signal

City Says Ministers Don’t Have to Wed Same-Sex Couples, but Here’s Why It’s Not Over Yet

Ken McIntyre / Melissa Quinn / Kelsey Harkness /

An Idaho town is not going to force a Christian ministry couple who own a wedding chapel to perform same-sex marriages there, the town’s chief attorney told The Daily Signal.

A lawsuit filed against the town by the ordained ministers to protect themselves from prosecution was based on “a misperception,” City Attorney Michael C. Gridley said, and he had no intentions of “threatening” and “imprisoning” them.

With these conciliatory words, Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, backed off enforcing its nondiscrimination ordinance against the ministers, Donald and Evelyn Knapp. The move would have subjected the couple to thousands of dollars in fines and up to six months behind bars for declining to perform gay and lesbian wedding ceremonies at their Hitching Post Lakeside Wedding Chapel.

Screen Shot 2014-10-29 at 5.35.25 PM

Coeur d’Alene, Idaho is located near the border of Washington state.

In a letter to the Knapps’ lawyer dated Oct. 23,  Gridley sought to “clarify” the town’s earlier stand in response to the couple’s lawsuit and motion for a temporary restraining order. He wrote:

[I]t is my opinion and the city’s position that as currently represented, the conduct by Hitching Post Weddings LLC is exempt from the requirements of the ordinance and would not be subject to prosecution under the ordinance if a complaint was received by the city.

>>> Commentary: Government to Ordained Ministers: Celebrate Same-Sex Weddings or Go to Jail

Don and Lynn Knapp, who are Pentecostal ministers, have been married for 47 years. The couple, who have  owned the Hitching Post chapel in Coeur d’Alene since 1989, say their wedding ceremonies follow the teachings of the Bible, “which makes clear that marriage is between a man and a woman.”

closeupHitchingPost

Hitching Post Lakeside Wedding Chapel has been part of the regional experience since 1919.

The Knapps sued the city on Oct. 17, 10 days after the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals declared gay marriage legal in Idaho.

Already, one same-sex couple had inquired about holding a wedding at their Hitching Post chapel.

Critics called the lawsuit “totally false” and “ridiculous,” saying the Knapps were already exempt from the nondiscrimination law, which states that places of “public accommodation” such as restaurants and hotels must offer services equally regardless of a person’s sexual orientation.

Gridley, the city attorney, now concedes that officials may have sent mixed messages to the Knapps.

How the Story Unfolded

In multiple interviews last spring, another attorney for Coeur d’Alene said the Knapps would be subject to the nondiscrimination law pending an appeal of a federal judge’s ruling against the Idaho law affirming marriage as between a man and  a woman.

>>> Q&A: Couple Look to Paul’s Example in Resisting Order to Perform Gay Marriages

“I would think that the Hitching Post would probably be considered a place of public accommodation that would be subject to the ordinance,” Deputy City Attorney Warren Wilson told The Spokesman-Review newspaper.

In an interview with KXLY, a local ABC television affiliate, Wilson also said:

For-profit wedding chapels are in a position now where last week the ban would have prevented them from performing gay marriages, this week gay marriages are legal, pending an appeal to the 9th Circuit.

He added:

If you turn away a gay couple, refuse to provide services for them, then in theory you violated our code and you’re looking at a potential misdemeanor citation.

If you turn away a gay couple, then in theory you violated our code.–attorney for Coeur d’Alene

So on Oct. 17, when a same-sex couple asked the Knapps about holding their wedding at Hitching Post, the ministers went on the offense.

Of that decision, Don Knapp told The Daily Signal in an interview via email last week:

If someone was told by the government that he or she would be prosecuted and face up to six months in jail and up to $1,000 in fines for exercising their First Amendment rights, they would not wait around to see if the government made good on that threat. They would file a lawsuit to protect their freedom and avoid jail and fines. And that’s what we did here.

Represented by a lawyer associated with Alliance Defending Freedom, the Knapps filed suit to prevent officials of Coeur d’Alene from prosecuting them for declining to violate their religious beliefs about marriage.

The lawsuit follows several cases that have drawn national attention because a government agency moved against a private business owner for acting on their religious beliefs that marriage is the union of a man and woman.

>>> Farmers to Lesbian Couple: ‘We’re Not Hateful People’

Hours after filing suit, the Knapps — ordained by a Pentecostal denomination called the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel — received another request to hold a same-sex ceremony, this time from a couple in Boston.

This put them at risk of being prosecuted over saying no to a second couple, meaning more fines and more jail time, said Jeremy Tedesco, the Knapps’ lawyer with Alliance Defending Freedom.

Lake Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, is one of the most famous summer destinations in the Pacific Northwest.

Lake Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, is a popular summer destination in the Pacific Northwest.

Filing Suit Too Soon?

Tedesco told The Daily Signal that the lawsuit isn’t pre-emptive because the city made clear on three occasions that if the Hitching Post were to decline to perform same-sex weddings, the Knapps would be in violation of the law and subject to criminal prosecution.

The city’s first response was a letter dated  Oct. 20. In it, Gridley writes that the Knapps would be exempt from the law if they were running a nonprofit religious corporation:

If [the Knapps] are operating as a legitimate not-for-profit religious corporation then they are exempt from the ordinance like any other church or religious association. On the other hand, if [the Knapps] are providing services primarily or substantially for profit andthey discriminate in providing those services based on sexual orientation then they would likely be in violation of the ordinance.

Hitching Post has been a for-profit wedding chapel since they opened it 25 years ago, the Knapps say.

The city’s distinction between for-profit and nonprofit distinction “should not come as any surprise,” Tedesco said in an email to The Daily Signal:

The left’s unequivocal (and incorrect) position is that for-profit companies cannot exercise religion, and thus are not entitled to any religious exemptions in these types of nondiscrimination laws. The city consistently expressed this same position before and after we filed suit. But the massive public outcry has pressured the city to alter its position and recognize that people do not abandon their faith when they open a business.

Later in the Oct. 20 letter, Gridley told the Knapps there was another way they could be exempt from the law: the First Amendment.

The city attorney wrote:

[S]ection 9.56.040 of the anti-discrimination ordinance states that the ordinance ‘shall be construed and applied in a manner consistent with the First Amendment jurisprudence regarding the freedom of speech and exercise of religion.’

Amending the Law

Tedesco said he was pleased to see the city backing off enforcement, but its response was insufficient to settle the case.

“To resolve the broader religious freedom problem with the ordinance, the city should amend it so that it is clear that the religious exemption covers for-profits, like the Hitching Post,” he said. “It is a fundamental violation of due process for the city to leave people guessing as to whether they will be subject to the criminal penalties set out in the ordinance.”

Gridley’s follow-up letter Oct. 23, meant to “clarify” the city’s stance, does not say all for-profit religious corporations are protected from prosecution — only Hitching Post.

HitchingPost2

Don and Lynn Knapp are ordained Pentecostal ministers who have been married for 47 years.

In a telephone interview with The Daily Signal late Tuesday, Gridley said town officials are talking about changing language in the law. As written, he said he realized upon review,  it “makes no distinction between profit and not.”

Citing the Supreme Court’s June 20 decision in the Hobby Lobby case, which upheld the religious liberty rights of closely held corporations, Gridley said:

It’s not my place to add that [interpretation regarding for-profit enterprises] onto that ordinance, so that’s why I sent the letter correcting or clarifying … that a religious corporation would be exempt from this ordinance, whether they are for profit or not.

>>> Supreme Court Upholds Religious Freedom in Hobby Lobby Case

Gridley also said town officials were not maliciously targeting the Knapps. He said:

I think there was a misperception that we were threatening the Knapps, that we were imprisoning ministers, and all that kind of stuff, and we’re really not. We have not gone there, we have not threatened anybody.

In the War on Terrorism, We Must Win the War of Ideas - Daily Signal

In the War on Terrorism, We Must Win the War of Ideas

Ken McIntyre / Melissa Quinn / Kelsey Harkness / Helle Dale /

Asked recently by CNN what the United States needs most to fight ISIS on the Internet, James Glassman former under secretary of state for Public Diplomacy under President George W. Bush answered, “A commitment to the war of ideas.”   Fighting the terrorists on the battlefields in Iraq and Syria will not be enough. We need to engage in the ideological war, “just as we did during the battle with Communism.”

On the international scene, the first to boldly advocate this approach was British Prime Minister David Cameron. In remarks to the United Nations on Oct. 3. Cameron called for “defeating the ideology of extremism that is the root cause of this terrorism — so that we win the battle of ideas, not just the battle of military might.”

Glassman speaks with authority on the subject of fighting violent extremism. It was during his tenure at the State Department that the Center for Strategic Counterterrorism Communication was first established, which today takes the lead for the U.S. government on fighting ISIS propaganda and recruitment on the web. It is currently the best weapon we have, but it should not be the only one.

How to we fight this battle? With a two pronged approach, suggests Glassman. One the one hand, says Glassman, we do it by persuading returning foreign fighters to be interviewed and broadcast about their experiences with Islamist extremism, which many find to be a much different reality, more repressive and far more violent, than anything they had been led to believe online. Both the U.S. and European governments are currently grappling with how to deal with returning ISIS fighters.  The effectiveness of testimonials by disaffected fighters, however, has to be measured against the homeland security threat presented by returning foreign fighters to their communities.

Secondly, we need a forceful defense of Western principles based on freedom, justice, peace, tolerance– the principles indeed embraced by most of the world at this point. These universal principles, on which the United States itself was founded, stood up well in the battle against Communism, and would do so again in this battle if openly and forcefully embraced.

Unfortunately, under President Obama, the U.S. has been disarming itself in more ways than one. At the Pentagon, the Office of Strategic Communication has been shut down, and at Voice of America, the leadership bristles at the idea of promoting American values and policies. From the White House, Americans and the world are constantly reminded that the United States “has plenty of problems within its own borders,” as Obama relentlessly stated at the United Nations.  Not even during his U.N. speech, preparing for military action against ISIS, was the president able to refrain from a dig at his own country, suggesting a moral equivalence between the police shooting in Ferguson, Mo., and the massacres of innocent Christians and Muslims committed by ISIS.

The foundational ideas of Western civilization matter today as much as ever. But you have to believe in them to fill the vaccuum of confidence that has developed within our own political culture.

 

Here’s Who Got Obamacare Coverage, Explained in Just 1 Minute - Daily Signal

Here’s Who Got Obamacare Coverage, Explained in Just 1 Minute

Ken McIntyre / Melissa Quinn / Kelsey Harkness / Helle Dale / Ben Howe /

Get ready to be inundated with a fresh round of Obamacare propaganda. President Obama’s health care law will be back in the news next month when open enrollment begins Nov. 15. The government is already gearing up to recruit more enrollees.

But based on what we know already, the Affordable Care Act isn’t panning out exactly as expected. That’s because the vast majority—an estimated 71 percent—of people who gained coverage under Obamacare between January and June did so by qualifying under Medicaid’s loosened eligibility requirements.

Our new video explains the real story in just one minute.

>>> For more information, read Edmund Haislmaier and Drew Gonshorowski’s report, “The Real Story on How Much Obamacare Increased Coverage.”

‘Chickens***’ Slur Doesn’t Faze Israel’s Netanyahu - Daily Signal

‘Chickens***’ Slur Doesn’t Faze Israel’s Netanyahu

Ken McIntyre / Melissa Quinn / Kelsey Harkness / Helle Dale / Ben Howe / Josh Siegel /

Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu fought back at the Obama administration Wednesday, a day after a senior U.S. official was quoted as calling Netanyahu a “chickens— prime minister.”

“Netanyahu will continue to uphold the security interests of Israel and the historical rights of the Jewish people in Jerusalem, and no amount of pressure will change that,” Netanyahu’s office said in response to the remark, which was cited in a report by The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg.

The comments are the latest in a breakdown of U.S.-Israel relations.

“The thing about Bibi is, he’s a chickens—,” the senior Obama administration official was cited as saying, using Netanyahu’s nickname.

Goldberg wrote that Netanyahu has told several people in recent days that he has “written off” the Obama administration, and plans to speak directly to Congress and to the American people should an Iran nuclear deal be reached.

Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has reportedly told advisers that he has “written off” the Obama administration.

The Obama administration has criticized Netanyahu for pursuing settlement policies in the West Bank and apartment-building in East Jerusalem.

“The good thing about Netanyahu is that he’s scared to launch wars,” the U.S. official told Goldberg. “The bad thing about him is that he won’t do anything to reach an accommodation with the Palestinians or with the Sunni Arab states. The only thing he’s interested in is protecting himself from political defeat. He’s not [Yitzhak] Rabin, he’s not [Ariel] Sharon, he’s certainly no [Menachem] Begin. He’s got no guts.”

Today, House Speaker John Boehner released a statement regarding the slur used against Netanyahu. Boehner subtly hinted that he believes Obama should fire the official who made the comment.

Boehner said:

When the president discusses Israel and Iran, it is sometimes hard to tell who he thinks is America’s friend and who he thinks is America’s enemy. Over the last several months, I have watched the administration insult ally after ally. I am tired of the administration’s apology tour. The president sets the tone for his administration. He either condones the profanity and disrespect used by the most senior members of his administration, or he does not. It is time for him to get his house in order and tell the people that can’t muster professionalism that it is time to move on.

Arutz Sheva TV posted a video Wednesday of Netanyahu addressing the “chickens—” comment during a press conference.

Speaking in Hebrew, he said:

When Israel is pressured to make concessions on its security, it’s very easy to give in. As prime minister, I am responsible for Israel’s security. I have been on the battlefield many times. I have risked my life for the country. And I am not prepared to make concessions that will endanger our state. The attack on me comes only because I am defending the state of Israel.

Josh Earnest, the White House press secretary, said today the the “chickens—” comment was “counterproductive” and that the U.S.-Israel relationship is “as strong as ever.”

Latest Reason to Oppose Amnesty? Voter Fraud - Daily Signal

Latest Reason to Oppose Amnesty? Voter Fraud

Ken McIntyre / Melissa Quinn / Kelsey Harkness / Helle Dale / Ben Howe / Josh Siegel / Genevieve Wood /

Are non-citizens potentially voting in Tuesday’s election?

Yes, according to Old Dominion University Professors Jesse Richman and David Earnest, whowrote an article for The Washington Post highlighting their findings:

Most non-citizens do not register, let alone vote. But enough do that their participation can change the outcome of close races.

Because non-citizens tended to favor Democrats (Obama won more than 80 percent of the votes of non-citizens in the 2008 Cooperative Congressional Election Study sample), we find that this participation was large enough to plausibly account for Democratic victories in a few close elections.

Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) won election in 2008 with a victory margin of 312 votes. Votes cast by just 0.65 percent of Minnesota non-citizens could account for this margin. It is also possible that non-citizen votes were responsible for Obama’s 2008 victory in North Carolina. Obama won the state by 14,177 votes, so a turnout by 5.1 percent of North Carolina’s adult non-citizens would have provided this victory margin.

The professors acknowledge that there are “limitations” to their research and that they are “much more confident” non-citizen votes were a factor in Minnesota than they were in North Carolina.  But the overall evidence points to the fact than non-citizens have had an impact on the outcome of some of our elections.

Unfortunately,  President Obama seems poised to give amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants through executive order after the election. It’s hard to imagine how giving legal status to millions of people who are here illegally will not make the problem of voter fraud worse.

There are numerous reasons to be both outraged and concerned about Obama’s plan to go around Congress before year’s end, wielding his phone and pen strategy, to give amnesty.

To start, the fact he isn’t taking action until after the election shows that he is isn’t just bypassing lawmakers, but also the American people.  Obama well knows the majority of Americans oppose amnesty.  Were he to take action now, voters would have the opportunity to show their opposition by voting against members of his party who are up for election.

But snubbing the Constitution and voters is just the beginning.

According to news reports, a draft proposal from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services indicates the agency is looking for a private vendor that has the capacity to produce 30 million work permits and green cards over the next five years–and they’d like them to be ready to produce 9 million such documents in the first year alone.  How much of this “preparation” is needed to fulfill whatever Obama does through an executive order on amnesty is unknown, but we can be fairly sure its part of the calculation.

Such a move is fraught with economic and security concerns.  Is the president, who is so concerned about raising the minimum wage, not the least bit concerned about how a flood of low-skill workers would affect the U.S. economy and many of the very American citizens he says he wants to help move up the economic ladder?  Is he willing to ignore the huge burden amnesty will place on American taxpayers?

And considering we appear to have very little control over our borders, with tens of thousands of people flooding the southern border earlier this year, and that the Obama administration has trouble even deporting criminals who are here illegally, Americans are right to be concerned about their safety and security.

No wonder Obama doesn’t want to talk about any of this prior to next week’s elections.

Heritage Panel Puts Ebola in Context - Daily Signal

Heritage Panel Puts Ebola in Context

Ken McIntyre / Melissa Quinn / Kelsey Harkness / Helle Dale / Ben Howe / Josh Siegel / Genevieve Wood / Ellen Prichard /

“I think the best way to phrase my comments on the Ebola crisis today are to quote the great contemporary philosopher, Yogi Berra, ‘It’s déjà vu all over again,’” said Bob Kadlec as he opened a panel discussion on Ebola at The Heritage Foundation on Monday. The panel, which included Charlotte Florance of The Heritage Foundation, Dr. Revi Tory, and Dr. Tara O’Toole, approached the topic from a historical background and emphasized the need for both governmental and health care preparedness.

The threat of spreading disease will increase in the world, according to O’Toole, but this should not cause alarm. The U.S. Agency for International Development is leading the humanitarian efforts abroad and the U.S.’s state of the art medical facilities can contain the virus in the homeland. While technology increasingly connects the world, it also provides means to control the spread of disease. Kadlec noted, “There is no such thing as just-in-time preparedness.… [Y]ou have to put your mind to it.” Health care providers need to be prepared with training and personal protective equipment for health care workers.

Ebola adds a new layer of problems to the already existing one in western Africa, Charlotte Florance noted. The political and economic instability is heightened by an inadequate infrastructure. Schools have been closed, hospitals have been converted to care exclusively for Ebola patients, and food prices have been steadily rising. This ensures that long after the epidemic has subsided the consequences of a slow response will still be felt.

In his remarks, Dr. Tevi Troy addressed presidential leadership and the historical precedent which showed the need for strong leadership. The 1918 Great Influenza hit the U.S. hard during World War I, and President Wilson failed to act to contain its spread. The epidemic claimed 600,000 lives in the U.S.

The takeaway from the panel is that the U.S. must do a better job handling this crisis as well as preparing for future ones. According to The Heritage Foundation’s James Carafano, President Obama needs to lead efforts on Ebola:

Crisis management is [a] critical task of presidential leadership. For Washington to give the American people the confidence Obama is doing his part, he will have to do more than exhibiting the trappings of leadership we see on TV shows like the West Wing.

These efforts cannot just be domestic and internally focused; it will take international efforts to contain Ebola—but it can be done. The panel agreed that the U.S. must help defeat Ebola in Western Africa or it will become harder to stop in the future.

In spite of initial missteps, the federal government must learn from its mistakes and past history so that it can overcome this current outbreak and prepare for future epidemics.

Ellen Prichard is currently a member of the Young Leaders Program at The Heritage Foundation. For more information on interning at Heritage, please click here.

Why Those Halloween Candy Treats Are So Expensive - Daily Signal

Why Those Halloween Candy Treats Are So Expensive

Ken McIntyre / Melissa Quinn / Kelsey Harkness / Helle Dale / Ben Howe / Josh Siegel / Genevieve Wood / Ellen Prichard / Preston Turner /

Your Halloween candy is costing you more than it should—because of a government program.

For decades, the federal sugar program has artificially kept the price of sugar excessively high. According to the most recent data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, it cost 37.5 cents to buy a pound of wholesale refined beet sugar in the United States, yet it only cost 19.2 cents for a pound of refined sugar on the world market.

Yearly fiscal data tell a similar story. From 2000 to 2014, the average price for a pound of wholesale refined beet sugar in the U.S. was 32.5 cents. The average price for a pound of refined sugar on the world market was just 17.5 cents.

Why does the federal sugar program continue to exist? According to some of the program’s proponents, U.S. federal sugar policy protects jobs that would largely disappear without state intervention. But a study conducted by the U.S. Department of Commerce found that “[f]or each one sugar growing and harvesting job saved through high U.S. sugar prices, nearly three confectionery manufacturing jobs are lost.”

Erin Calvo-Bacci, the owner of a candy store that can turn a few blocks of sugar into practically anything, would likely agree that the high price of sugar eliminates jobs. As the New York Times reported, the success of her business in Reading, Mass. prompted her to expand, and she seems quite set on expanding—to Canada. “We are committed to offering locally made affordable products, but the cost of sugar is driving manufacturers out of the country,” Calvo-Bacci said.

In fact, many other companies have followed suit. Atkinson Candy Co., a peppermint candy manufacturer, and Jelly Belly Candy Co. have both moved large portions of their businesses to Guatemala and Thailand respectively. That same Commerce Department study found that “[f]or the confectionery industry in particular, evidence suggests that sugar costs are a major factor in relocation decisions because high U.S. sugar prices represent a larger share of total production costs than labor.”

The federal government’s current policies benefit a relatively small number of well-connected sugar producers–and that’s one Halloween trick that hurts most of our wallets.

 

EPA’s Southern Discomfort: Kemper Plant Sees Yet Another Delay and More Cost Overruns - Daily Signal

EPA’s Southern Discomfort: Kemper Plant Sees Yet Another Delay and More Cost Overruns

Ken McIntyre / Melissa Quinn / Kelsey Harkness / Helle Dale / Ben Howe / Josh Siegel / Genevieve Wood / Ellen Prichard / Preston Turner / David Kreutzer /

Cheerleading squads don’t have chants with the theme “We’re getting whupped, let’s leave early.” So when an adverse outcome is obvious they either quit cheering or continue with embarrassingly inappropriate chants about the invincibility of their team. That seems to be the situation with the Southern Company’s carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) project in Kemper County, Mississippi.

When combined with earlier ones, the latest delay and cost overrun recently announced by the Southern Company virtually guarantees the project will be a money loser. This is not only bad news for Southern’s stockholders (the ratepayers have, in essence, already met their deductible on this project), but also for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and its cheerleaders who pointed to the uncompleted Kemper plant as the prime example of CCS’s fitness for duty.

CCS’s commercial viability is critical to the EPA rule, due to take effect in January 2015, that effectively bans new coal-fired power plants and promises to drive up energy costs. The Kemper plant and its supposedly imminent success were offered as proof that CCS was ready, even after multiple delays and cost overruns.

Though the EPA and many of its green supporters may have been yelling victory chants, the plant’s owner knew that Kemper was not a viable model on which to base this costly, anti-affordable-energy EPA power plant rule. Southern spokesman Tim Lelejdal wrote, “The Kemper County Energy Facility should not serve as a primary basis for new emissions standards impacting on all new coal-fired power plants.” Lelejdal also noted that “[t]he revised new source performance standards would essentially eliminate coal as a future generation option.”

So, it seems the quarterback knew the score. It’s too bad the cheerleaders in this game are also the referees. They’ve rigged the game against America’s leading source of reliable electric power even though cost-effective technology has cut pollution emissions dramatically over the past 30 years.