Clinton Foundation Decides to Keep Appearance of Impropriety + More – Daily Digest

Posted on Thu 04/16/2015 by

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TOP 5 RIGHT HOOKS

Clinton Foundation Decides to Keep Appearance of Impropriety

Once Hillary Clinton made her run for the White House official, the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation had to decide what it was going to do with its finances. Was it going to clamp down on who could donate to it, or keep the status quo? How would the changes affect the appearance of Clinton’s campaign? On Thursday, the board released a new policy that would continue to allow donations from the governments of Canada, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway and the United Kingdom. It would restrict the donations from other foreign governments. Still, if Hillary were to rise in the polls and, say, a Russian oligarch decided he had a change of heart, he could participate in the Clinton Global Initiative. Would Clinton, in turn, have a certain change of heart also? Furthermore, Clinton used the foundation as a way to avoid paying taxes on the fat stacks she received for speaking gigs. As Clinton progresses in her campaign trying to convince “everyday Americans” that she’s their champion, watch as the Clinton Foundation bangs around behind her everywhere she goes. Like a certain email server, the Clinton Foundation illustrates another part of Hillary’s character that makes her a terrible pick for the White House. More…

Only a Leftist Gyrocopter Protest Could Get Positive Reaction

You have to give the Florida mailman credit: Doug Hughes had the creativity and guts to pull off one of the most memorable protests. On April 15, he flew his gyrocopter through restricted airspace, down the Washington Mall, and landed on the west lawn of the U.S. Capitol — catching the Secret Service unawares. He had 535 letters for the lawmakers in Congress demanding campaign finance reform. “I’m demanding reform and declaring a voter’s rebellion in a manner consistent with Jefferson’s description of rights in the Declaration of Independence,” he wrote. “As a member of Congress, you have three options. 1. You may pretend corruption does not exist. 2. You may pretend to oppose corruption while you sabotage reform. 3. You may actively participate in real reform.” Capitol police arrested Hughes and charged him with violating the U.S. code governing transportation — a slap on the wrist considering. If a conservative tried the same stunt, at least one talking head would have drawn the conclusion the person was commemorating the anniversary of the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. But everybody sure loves a quirky leftist and his gyrocopter. More…

Congress to Hillary in 2012: Use Private Email Much?

How much time did Hillary Clinton have to cover up her tracks on her private email server? Quite a bit, according to The New York Times: “Hillary Rodham Clinton was directly asked by congressional investigators in a December 2012 letter whether she had used a private email account while serving as secretary of state, according to letters obtained by The New York Times. But Mrs. Clinton did not reply to the letter. And when the State Department answered in March 2013, nearly two months after she left office, it ignored the question and provided no response.” One letter, from Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, asked pointedly, “Have you or any senior agency official ever used a personal email account to conduct official business? If so, please identify the account used.” So Hillary acted contrary to State Department policy and then ignored Congress’ request for disclosure and transparency. Later, she deleted anything she deemed “personal,” printed the rest for the State Department to review and then wiped the server clean. And yet it seems the only real accountability left for Hillary is for voters to reject her bid for the White House. More…

Long Live the Death Tax?

Benjamin Franklin once wrote, “[I]n this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” In 1916, Congress decided to combine those two unfortunate aspects of the human condition by enacting the modern estate tax, otherwise known as the death tax — a tax on a dead person’s assets above a certain level. The rate and money subject to the tax has changed over the years, but the House is scheduled to vote today on repealing it entirely. That has class-warfare-waging Democrats, who think your money is really theirs, up in arms. They claim all the money collected is put to good use (i.e., redistributed to their constituents), we can’t “afford” the drop in federal revenue, and eliminating the death tax would only help the wealthy. As The Hill explains, “[I]ndividuals with estates valued at less than $5.43 million this year, and married couples with estates worth less than $10.86 million, are exempt.” But the economic price is a steep one. Those estates were already taxed while a person — often a small business owner — was alive, and many family-owned businesses are forced to sell just to cover the death tax bill. Somehow, Sweden, Russia and China all get along with a death tax. It’s time the U.S. did, too.

DOD Course Says Founding Documents Are Sexist

Forgive us for thinking that when a soldier or elected official takes an oath to support and defend the Constitution, they swear to protect the whole Constitution. But a Department of Defense course on sexism classifies that very document as one of the great hindrances to a sexism-free culture — along with the Declaration of Independence and the Bible. The Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute created the sexism-training course. While the course was never required for soldiers, the Pentagon gave its stamp of approval. When the training covered the historical influences that perpetuate sexism, one of the presentation’s slides pegged the problem on Christianity, the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence. “Quotes from The Bible can be misinterpreted as having a sexist influence wen brought out of context and not fully understood,” the slide read. The slide then went on to quote the preambles of the nation’s founding documents as evidence of sexism. Funny because without those documents, the very idea of equality would not have existed and grown to the extent it has today. More…

For more, visit Right Hooks.

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RIGHT ANALYSIS

Are We Doomed to Repeat the Past?

By John J. Bastiat

Seven decades after one of the most embarrassing lessons in modern military history, every nation is now familiar with the infamous promise of British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain when he haplessly enabled Adolf Hitler’s World War II kickoff by appeasing the enemy: “Peace in our time.” Unfortunately, America’s leaders have not learned that lesson because they also failed to internalize the wisdom of 19th-century philosopher George Santayana: “Those who cannot remember the past are doomed to repeat it.”

There are, of course, the standard lessons and adages. These include the lesson of hubris — that is, a leader will unvaryingly become politically blind when arrogance and pride take over — as well as the lesson that nations should measure each other by their actions, not by empty words. And then there’s the truism that a leopard cannot change its spots. All of these are especially applicable, of course, in dealing with Iran.

But by far the most important maxim for the leader of any nation faced with a critical issue is this: “There is wisdom in the counsel of many” (Proverbs 15:22). His Anointedness, Barack Obama, has ignored this time-tested axiom repeatedly since taking office, choosing instead to go it alone in setting national priorities, including national security priorities. While the stakes in these conceits have always been high, they are now, well, thermonuclear hot.

This fact comes glaringly to light in the wake of congressional efforts to rein in President Peace-Deal-at-Any-Price and keep him from giving away the store, essentially allowing Iran to develop and deploy nuclear weapons without any real consequences. The most recent battle climaxed earlier this week when Obama learned he would likely face a swift override of a presidential veto on a bill requiring a Senate vote on any deal with Iran. That resulted in Olympic-level back-peddling by Team Obama, which attempted to recast itself as a staunch supporter of congressional involvement in the nuclear talks process. Uh, sure, we believe you…

Credit goes to Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker (R-TN), who marshaled a 19-zip vote by senators in that committee to approve a compromise bill giving Congress 30 days to review and approve or reject any deal the administration brokers with Iran. Unfortunately, to gain support for the bill, Corker had to add a few warts and flaws. Obama could veto a rejection, for instance, and then both houses of Congress would have to vote to override that veto — something that hasn’t yet happened in either of Obama’s terms. Also, 30 days is half the time originally proposed, compressing the timeline for decision-making and potentially leading to errors or political weakness on the part of congressional members. To be sure, the fact that Democrat leadership is lining up in lockstep behind the compromise bill stands the hair on the back of our necks straight up.

Also troubling is the fact that Obama wants to delegate enforcement responsibility for any nuclear deal we make with Iran to the UN. Still, it’s possible public pressure against a nuclear-tipped Iran will prevail against single-minded visions of winning another Nobel Peace Prize. We should stipulate in passing that we feel a second such prize would be just as richly deserved as the first … (ahem).

Meanwhile, Iran’s nuclear weapons program continues apace. A thousand centrifuges churn out weapons-grade nuclear bomb material day and night, non-stop, at Iran’s Fordow nuclear enrichment facility. North Korea continues to supply Iran with long-range ballistic missiles and missile technology. The latest shipment, in clear violation of UN sanctions on Iran, occurred during nuclear talks with the U.S. and included upgraded, large-diameter engines to power Iran’s long-range missiles even farther. China just agreed to build five new nuclear plants for Iran. Oh yeah, one more: Russian President Vladimir Putin also just authorized the sale of five highly capable S-300 surface-to-air missile squadrons to Iran to help protect nuclear facilities from air strikes.

Here are a few silly questions: If Iran truly seeks only “peaceful uses of nuclear power,” why the ballistic missiles? Why the upgrades? Why the centrifuges? Why more nuke plants? Why the SAMs? And what does it say about Obama’s deal that our adversaries are lining up to take advantage?

In light of the stakes, a closing question: Why, when this agreement looks like, smells like, quacks like and has all the trappings of a treaty, does Congress not treat it as such, and hence mandate a two-thirds-majority treaty ratification vote by the Senate? Requiring such a measure would at the very least kill virtually all of the buffoonery-laden provisions of any deal Team Obama negotiates with Iran.

Perhaps the clowns on the negotiating team have been listening too much to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, who flatly stated, “We are in talks with the major powers and not with the Congress.” But unlike in Iran, the U.S. — despite Obama’s best efforts — does not feature a Supreme Dictator. That said, we suspect the only reason Obama is agreeing to go along with Congress now is so that when it becomes apparent the deal has failed he can blame Republicans.

The ‘Doc Fix’ Will See You Now

By Allyne Caan

In a Congress known for enacting temporary stopgap measures to save face while repeatedly kicking the proverbial can down the road, legislators actually did something permanent this week. Unfortunately, the solution may prove worse than the problem.

On Tuesday, the Senate, by an overwhelming 92-8 vote, passed the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015, a Medicare overhaul bill commonly known as the “doc fix.” The bill, which the House passed last month with 392 votes, will end the annual threats of Medicare-reimbursement cuts to doctors stemming from the 1997 Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) law. Under SGR, Medicare’s budget was calculated by linking Medicare spending to economic growth. This became problematic once health care costs began rising faster than the growth of the economy — meaning, physicians were regularly at risk of Medicare reimbursement cuts. So, 17 times over the last 14 years, Congress passed temporary “doc fixes” to protect physician reimbursements. The new measure eliminates the need for these fixes by repealing the SGR law.

It sounds well and good at first glance — and, indeed, a permanent fix was needed for a flawed system — but beware of bipartisan legislation that sounds well and good. For starters, the bill adds at least $141 billion to the federal deficit over the next 10 years. Remember all those Republican promises of fiscal responsibility? Well, the dodo bird’s got nothing on them.

To his credit, Republican Senator Mike Lee of Utah introduced an amendment removing the bill’s exemption from the 2010 Statutory Pay-As-You-Go Act (PAYGO) — signed, laughably, by Barack Obama — which requires spending increases be offset by savings elsewhere within the same legislative session. The amendment failed 42-58. Additionally, Republican Senator John Cornyn of Texas proposed paying for the bill by repealing ObamaCare’s individual mandate; this amendment, which needed 60 votes to pass, failed 54-45.

So, thanks to the brave Republican majority, the president will soon sign into law a $141 billion increase to our federal deficit.

Sadly, though, this may not be the worst of it. The bill entrenches government even more in the exam room through increased federal controls and a national link-up of patient electronic health records (EHRs).

First, the bill offers physicians two questionable payment models: either a Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS), under which physicians will be paid based on how well they comply with certain federal quality metrics (metrics which, incidentally, have yet to be determined), or an “alternative payment model” in which a group of doctors bands together to receive lump-sum payments to care for patients. If those physicians can deliver the care for less, and, of course, meet those “quality metrics,” then they benefit from some of the leftover funds.

If you liked ObamaCare regulating your insurance options, then you’ll love government rating your doctors.

Second, the bill paves the way and plants flowers alongside the road for mandatory connectivity of patient data nationwide. Section 106(b) states, “Congress declares it a national objective to achieve widespread exchange of health information through interoperable certified EHR technology nationwide by December 31, 2018.” In other words, this doc fix requires EHRs to become “interoperable” so Americans’ private medical information can be shared nationwide. That could improve convenience for referrals, but, given the horrible security performance of Healthcare.gov, it’s not terribly comforting to know medical records could be hacked.

Of course, none of this should be surprising given that the bill was originally brokered by Nancy “You-have-to-pass-the-bill-to-find-out-what’s-in-it” Pelosi and John “How-else-can-we-cave-to-Democrat-demands?” Boehner. Still, the fact that it passed so overwhelmingly in both the House and Senate demonstrates the power rhetoric holds over principle for the vast majority of our nation’s elected officials.

The “fix” may be in, but the cure is worse than the disease.

For more, visit Right Analysis.

TOP 5 RIGHT OPINION COLUMNS

For more, visit Right Opinion.

OPINION IN BRIEF

Scottish philosopher Adam Smith (1723-1790): “Every man is, no doubt, by nature, first and principally recommended to his own care; and as he is fitter to take care of himself than of any other person, it is fit and right that it should be so.”

Columnist George Will: “Syracuse University alumni are new additions to the lengthening list of persons who can stop contributing to their alma maters. The university has succumbed — after, one suspects, not much agonizing — to the temptation to indulge in progressive gestures. It will divest all fossil fuel stocks from its endowment. … The effect of these decisions on consumption of fossil fuels will be nil; the effect on the growth of institutions’ endowments will be negative. The effect on alumni giving should be substantial, because divesting institutions are proclaiming that the goal of expanding educational resources is less important than the striking of righteous poses — if there can be anything righteous about flamboyant futility. … There is a social benefit from the sustainability mania: the further marginalization of academia. It prevents colleges and universities from trading on what they are rapidly forfeiting, their reputations for seriousness. … College tuitions are soaring in tandem with thickening layers of administrative bloat. So here is a proposal: Hundreds of millions could be saved, with no cost to any institution’s core educational mission, by eliminating every position whose title contains the word ‘sustainability’ — and, while we are at it, ‘diversity,’ ‘multicultural’ or ‘inclusivity.’ The result would be higher education higher than the propaganda-saturated version we have, and more sustainable.”

Columnist Tony Perkins: “If this President gets his way, the meek won’t inherit the earth — the U.S. government will! That’s because our current tax code never says die, even when the person it’s taxing does. Thanks to the ‘death tax,’ Americans have been mourning the loss, not just of their loved ones, but of the assets they spent their whole life building. To cushion the blow, the new Republican majority is doing its best to give America some relief by introducing the ‘Death Tax Repeal Act of 2015.’ … Under the current system, the government takes a slice of the money, income, or property when it’s transferred from a deceased family member to the beneficiary. It’s especially outrageous when you consider that this is money that’s already been taxed when it’s earned! … Will Rogers once said, ‘The difference between death and taxes is that death doesn’t get worse every time Congress meets.’ Well, death may not get worse, but it certainly gets more expensive. And it’s time for our leaders to do something about it.”

Fred Thompson: “Fed Chair Janet Yellen said she’d like to see more studies done to answer the question ‘how do some places advance economically?’ Well, for starters, by not blowing money on pointless studies.”

Semper Vigilans Fortis Paratus et Fidelis!
Managing Editor Nate Jackson

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