Hillary Can’t Remember A Single Accomplishment From Her State Department Tenure

In an effort to answer a simple question Thursday about her accomplishments as Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton stammered her way into one of the great non-answers for which she’s famous.

Speaking with an interviewer at the Women of the World Summit in New York, Clinton was asked:

“When you look at your time as Secretary of State, what are you most proud of? And what do you feel was unfinished, and maybe have another crack at one day?”

Her answer was lengthy, but it did not contain one word that acknowledged the question set before her:

Well, I really see — that was good — that’s why he wins prizes. Look, I really see my role as Secretary, in fact leadership in general in a democracy, as a relay race. When you run the best race you can run, you hand off the baton. Some of what hasn’t been finished may go on to be finished, so when President Obama asked me to be Secretary of State I agreed.

…We had the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, we had two wars. We had continuing threats from all kinds of corners around the world that we had to deal with. So it was a perilous time frankly. What he said to me was, ‘Look, I have to be dealing with the economic crisis, I want you to go out and represent us around the world.’ And it was a good division of labor because we needed to make it clear to the rest of the world, that we were going to get our house in order. We were going to stimulate, and grow, and get back to positive growth and work with our friends and partners.

 

EPA Conducted Toxin Tests On Human Subjects Without Disclosing The Health Risks

Reports emerged Wednesday that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has, in recent years, carried out tests of dangerous pollutants on human subjects without fully disclosing the risks — even as it sought “informed” consent from the participants.

According to The Daily Caller News Foundation, the EPA conducted a series of experiments in 2010 and 2011 intended to assess how exposure to particulate matter from diesel exhaust affected human health. But the agency did not consistently disclose the risks associated with exposure to diesel particulate matter (PM), even though some test subjects came into the test with respiratory illnesses like asthma and heart disease.

The Daily Caller’s report drew information from a copy of the EPA Inspector General’s report on human testing practices, which The Daily Caller obtained last week:

These experiments exposed people, including those with asthma and heart problems, to dangerously high levels of toxic pollutants, including diesel fumes… The EPA also exposed people with health issues to levels of pollutants up to 50 times greater than the agency says is safe for humans.

The EPA conducted five experiments in 2010 and 2011 to look at the health effects of particulate matter, or PM, and diesel exhaust on humans. The IG’s report found that the EPA did get consent forms from 81 people in five studies. But the IG also found that “exposure risks were not always consistently represented.”

“Further, the EPA did not include information on long-term cancer risks in its diesel exhaust studies’ consent forms,” the IG’s report noted. “An EPA manager considered these long-term risks minimal for short-term study exposures” but “human subjects were not informed of this risk in the consent form.”

According to the IG’s report, “only one of five studies’ consent forms provided the subject with information on the upper range of the pollutant” they would be exposed to, but even more alarming is that only “two of five alerted study subjects to the risk of death for older individuals with cardiovascular disease.”

Crucially, the Inspector General’s report also observed the inherent hypocrisy in the EPA’s unethical use of human subjects without informing them of the health-related risks they’d be facing. “This lack of warning about PM is also different from the EPA’s public image about PM,” the document states.

And how’s this for understatement:

The EPA’s diesel exhaust studies did not include language about the long-term cancer risks of diesel exhaust… [E]vidence suggests that at least some human study subjects would like to know if a study involves risk of death, even if the risk is very small.

What does the “P” in “EPA” stand for again?

Charles Koch Doesn’t Sound Like A Guy Who’s Playing Defense

After weeks of flogging from the progressive left, and with months more to come, libertarian oil mogul Charles Koch poked his head out of the ground yesterday to pen an opinion column for The Wall Street Journal. He struck a tone that didn’t sound defensive, nor did it sound particularly aggressive. It simply sounded like the opinion of a man who’s confident in his beliefs.

Despite daily beratings from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), who in recent weeks has developed a near-fetishistic public enthrallment with the evil Koch brothers, Koch’s piece focuses less on self-defense and more on explaining why hand-holding government (Koch repeatedly refers to our present government as “collectivists”) has positioned itself as the average American’s chief obstruction to prosperity and self-determination.

Koch never mentions Reid, or any of his other progressive critics, by name. He doesn’t mention President Barack Obama, either — and the tone of his piece implies that his concern over the present state of American politics transcends whoever’s in the Oval Office at the moment.

Instead, Koch contrasts the nanny-state government we have with a government that serves to foster individual liberty. And he explains that he’s only recently seen a need to expand on Koch Industries’ long history of funding educational outreach by throwing his money into the political sphere.

Here are some highlights:

Unfortunately, the fundamental concepts of dignity, respect, equality before the law and personal freedom are under attack by the nation’s own government. That’s why, if we want to restore a free society and create greater well-being and opportunity for all Americans, we have no choice but to fight for those principles. I have been doing so for more than 50 years, primarily through educational efforts. It was only in the past decade that I realized the need to also engage in the political process.

… The central belief and fatal conceit of the current administration is that you are incapable of running your own life, but those in power are capable of running it for you. This is the essence of big government and collectivism.

More than 200 years ago, Thomas Jefferson warned that this could happen… Collectivists…promise heaven but deliver hell. For them, the promised end justifies the means.

…[Character assassination] is the approach that Arthur Schopenhauer described in the 19th century, that Saul Alinsky famously advocated in the 20th, and that so many despots have infamously practiced. Such tactics are the antithesis of what is required for a free society — and a telltale sign that the collectivists do not have good answers.

… Rather than try to understand my vision for a free society or accurately report the facts about Koch Industries, our critics would have you believe we’re “un-American” and trying to “rig the system,” that we’re against “environmental protection” or eager to “end workplace safety standards.” These falsehoods remind me of the late Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan’s observation, “Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not to his own facts.”

Koch goes on to list many of the benefits to society a well-run capitalist enterprise, operating on free-market principles, can produce. Most of those highlights focus not on his or his brother’s (or their father’s) personal achievements. Rather, Koch talks about the diversity of his 60,000-member workforce (one-third of the company’s U.S. employees are union members!) and how he tries to apply his own principles in the operation of his company — even when declining a government handout affects the bottom line.

“Far from trying to rig the system, I have spent decades opposing cronyism and all political favors, including mandates, subsidies and protective tariffs — even when we benefit from them. I believe that cronyism is nothing more than welfare for the rich and powerful, and should be abolished,” he wrote.

“If more businesses (and elected officials) were to embrace a vision of creating real value for people in a principled way, our nation would be far better off — not just today, but for generations to come. I’m dedicated to fighting for that vision. I’m convinced most Americans believe it’s worth fighting for, too.”

Texas Man Freed After Video Evidence Shows Arresting Cop Lied To Secure Jail Time

Ronald Jones, a Dallas man caught between a malicious police officer and his destination one December night in 2009, went to jail for more than a year after Dallas cop Matthew Antkowiak fabricated a story that seemed to support an aggravated assault charge.

Now Jones is free, and $1.1 million richer, after settling a lawsuit against the city in which video evidence taken from the police cruiser – evidence which wasn’t presented at the time of Jones’ incarceration – shows that every word of Antkowiak’s allegation against the 62 year-old man was false.

Jones, who is black, was set to face trial for allegedly attacking Antkowiak and possessing a crack pipe after the officer, en route to an unrelated call involving two white suspects, spotted him on foot and stopped him. But it was Antkowiak who not only attacked Jones, but also apparently arranged to have the cruiser’s camera turned off long enough to obscure discovery of the alleged crack pipe.

Jones was obviously a confused pedestrian who never saw any of it coming.

According to WFAA in Dallas, Jones’ attorney requested the dash cam footage and revealed its contents only a day before Jones was set to face trial:

“Mr. Jones is walking down the street. Doesn’t fit the description at all,” said his attorney, Don Tittle.

The officer claimed Jones was throwing beer cans, so he pulled him over to arrest him.

“From there, he pulls one of Mr. Jones’ arms up very aggressively and Mr. Jones turns around to see what is going on and why was he being placed under arrest, and from there it goes,” Tittle said.

The officer took Jones to the ground and hit him a few times. The two struggled as more officers arrived.

Two dash camera videos obtained by News 8 show multiple officers on top of Jones; one officer is seen kicking him several times.

Jones’ attorney [said] the 62-year-old client was crying for help.

In his report, Officer Antkowiak stated that Jones “…took his right hand and grabbed the officer by his throat, choking him and lifting him off the ground.”

But take a closer look at the dash camera video; it’s Antkowiak who is on top of Jones, choking him.

In his official report, Officer Antkowiak also claimed that Jones “kicked him in the testicles and groin area, while still choking him.”

But that never happens on video.

Jones’ attorney says on the second dash camera video, the officer is asked to turn off the camera. Then the officers said they found a crack pipe and claimed Jones was intoxicated.

The city awarded Jones the $1.1 million settlement in late March.  On the strength of the video evidence, which came to light in 2011, the DA dropped all charges against Jones. Antkowiak resigned in disgrace, but no other officers were disciplined. According to WFAA, police chief David Brown said the city agreed to settle with Jones only because “focus groups told them they would lose the case” in the resulting lawsuit.

House Oversight Committee To Hold Contempt Vote For Lerner

House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) said Thursday the Committee will hold a vote next week to determine whether to hold Lois Lerner in contempt for refusing to share what she knows about the IRS political discrimination scandal that came to light last year.

The contempt vote is scheduled for Thursday of next week.

Issa, who has pursued the IRS scandal without heed for critics who claim his motives proceed from party politics, flatly described Lerner Thursday as a willing participant in the IRS’ discriminatory stonewalling of competing conservative nonprofit groups during President Barack Obama’s reelection campaign.

“Ms. Lerner’s involvement in wrongdoing and refusal to meet her legal obligations has left the Committee with no alternative but to consider a contempt finding,” he said.

Lerner, a former IRS employee who oversaw the agency’s exempt organizations division until she resigned in disgrace, has steadfastly maintained she is protected under the 5th Amendment, even though she gave an opening statement in which she declared innocence of wrongdoing in her first appearance before the committee.

Last month, it appeared that Lerner was close to an agreement in which she might receive immunity in exchange for her testimony. But her attorney squelched the idea only a day before she was set to face the Committee again.

If the Oversight Committee does vote to find Lerner in contempt for refusing to testify, the Committee’s finding will proceed to the full House. If Lerner is found to be in contempt of Congress, she faces a misdemeanor charge that carries possible fines of up to $100,000 and possible jail time ranging from a month up to a year.

How Do You Deny Saying Something When It’s On Video? Ask Harry Reid

To every observer but the Senate Majority Leader himself, last week was a bad one for Harry Reid (D-Nev.). Already attempting to quiet allegations of malfeasance in a Las Vegas land deal involving his son’s law firm, Reid face a fresh round of controversy after news broke last week that his campaign had given $17,000 to his granddaughter for “holiday gifts.”

That story was later updated to reveal Reid had actually given his granddaughter nearly double that amount over the past two years, and that he’d conveniently decided to reimburse the missing campaign funds only one hour after independent Nevada journalist Jon Ralston first posted the story to his website.

Reid also warmed the hearts of Obamacare holdouts everywhere last week when he insinuated that enrollment numbers were lagging because people — particularly elderly ones — aren’t competent Internet users.

Against that general backdrop, Reid, whose public non sequiturs have grown more agitated than usual of late, took to the Senate floor to shake his fist at empirical truth.

Some of Reid’s Republican adversaries had begun to question him over a particular tactic he’d used to defend Obamacare in late February: telling his Senate peers that Obamacare “horror” stories of denied care and spiked premiums were made-up, false, phony, baseless, politically motivated lies.

Of course, Reid used the two best examples he could find — cases featured in TV ads funded by the evil, very bad Koch brothers — while neglecting the many legitimate examples of Obamacare “horror” stories in heavy rotation on local television stations and in newspapers across the country.

The Republicans questioned why Reid would accuse them of lying about events that are well documented.

Reid said… well, he said he never said any of that.

“I have never come to the floor — to my recollection, I’ve never said a word about examples that Republicans have given regarding Obamacare and how it’s not very good,” he said Wednesday from the Senate floor (where he’d originally said exactly what he was attempting to deny).

“Mr. President, the junior Senator from Wyoming has come to the floor several times recently, talking about the fact that examples that he and others Republicans have given dealing with Obamacare — examples that are bad — I’ve called ‘lies.’ Mr. President, that is simply untrue.”

Well, here y’go:

Here are Reid’s transcribed remarks from Feb. 26 — one month before his adamant denial — taken straight from the Congressional Record:

… [T]here are plenty of horror stories being told. All of them are untrue, but they are being told all over America.

The leukemia patient whose insurance policy was canceled and would die without her medication — Mr. President, that is an ad being paid for by two billionaire brothers that is absolutely false; or the woman whose insurance policy went up $700 a month — ads paid for around America by the multibillionaire Koch brothers, and the ad is false.

We heard about the evils of Obamacare, about the lives it is ruining in the Republican stump speeches and in ads paid for by oil magnates, the Koch brothers.

But those tales turned out to be just that — tales, stories made up from whole cloth, lies, distorted by the Republicans to grab headlines or make political advertisements.

EBONY Apologizes For Editor’s Racist Tweets

Yesterday, EBONY magazine’s senior editor initiated a race skirmish against Republican National Committee deputy press secretary Rafi Williams, son of liberal political analyst Juan Williams, and threw fuel on the fire by mistaking him for a white man.

The whole thing was ignorant, intolerant and, loathe though we are to admit it, likely a huge (if perverse) publicity boost for Jamilah Lemieux, the EBONY editor who lit up twitter by comparing Williams and other conservatives to hungry cockroaches.

If you aren’t aware of all that, here’s our article, which includes all of Lemieux’s race-baiting tweets.

Thankfully, her employers at EBONY didn’t double down to defend her debate-stifling prejudices. Instead, they issued an apology that pulls no punches on where the magazine stands when it comes to free discourse.

Here’s their statement, which you can also read at EBONY’s website.

EBONY founder John H. Johnson once said that he created EBONY magazine with the intention to affirm a certain sense of “somebodiness” for African Americans. Nearly 70 years ago the magazine began on the principle that, as Black people, we are all somebody — we all count.

Yesterday, the spirit of this mission was disregarded by EBONY.com Senior Editor Jamilah Lemieux in a personal Twitter exchange between herself and RNC Deputy Press Secretary Raffi Williams. In part of the exchange, Lemieux responded to an attempt at discourse from Williams with words that curtly dismissed him and his suggestion that she be interested in the “diversity of thought.” She also misidentified him, unintentionally, as White. Williams is Black.

EBONY strongly believes in the marketplace of ideas. As the magazine of record for the African American community, Lemieux’s tweets in question do not represent our journalistic standard, tradition or practice of celebrating diverse Black thought.

In a letter to EBONY from RNC President Reince Priebus, he suggests, “that we can use this unfortunate episode as a catalyst for greater understanding between the Republican Party and the black community.”

EBONY acknowledges Senior Editor Jamilah Lemieux’s lack of judgment on her personal Twitter account and apologizes to Raffi Williams and the Black Republican community.

Bill Authorizing Government To Define Legitimate Journalism A Political Albatross For RINOs, Democrats

Another attempt from Congressional Democrats to define the media faces a shaky future. If Senator John Cornyn (R-Texas) is right, the so-called media “shield law” bill, which essentially segments application of the 1st Amendment to lock out citizen journalists while favoring members of the media establishment, will never see a floor vote – even though it has been awaiting action since last September.

The Free Flow of Information Act, which in its original version died in the 110th Congress, is designed to codify who is (and who isn’t) protected from subpoenas, as well as who can be compelled to reveal their sources in court. Supported by media companies and opposed by bloggers, the bill seeks, for the first time, to augment 1st Amendment guarantees of free speech by affording card-carrying journalists the right to refuse to testify against sources, while denying independent reporters from all walks of life that same protection.

The bill is co-authored by Senators Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Lindesey Graham (R-S.C.), which probably tells you all you need to know. Schumer said last week the measure could come up for a Senate vote at any time, boasting that “we have the 60 votes” needed for passage.

Cornyn scoffed at that assertion this week, telling Breitbart Schumer doesn’t have that kind of support for the vote – and he knows it:

He’s bluffing, Cornyn retorts.

“If he had the votes to pass it, it already would have been passed,” Cornyn says, adding, “This isn’t about passing legislation, this is about distracting the public’s attention and changing the subject from the failed policies of this administration. I think you could put this in that same category.”

“…They want to pick and choose which journalists are covered,” the Texan Republican told Breitbart News. “In other words, if you’re a blogger they might not cover you, but if you work for the New York Times they might. Given the changes in the way we get information and the way we consume news, that really smacks to me in essence of government licensing who’s an official ‘journalist’ for the purposes of a shield law and who’s not. If there is one thing I can glean from the First Amendment, it is that government should not be in the business of licensing the news media.”

That’s a hard argument to rebut on the merits, and involving government in the business of defining its watchers doesn’t make good political sense, either.

Indeed, in a midterm election year in which embattled Democrats and their moderate GOP peers need a rallying point to ensure they hang on to their incumbencies, it’s a puzzling political strategy to push legislation that offends the sensibilities of a public already fed up with near-daily revelations of government infringements on their civil liberties.

Cornyn said he believes Senators who support the bill are clearly placing short-term, pet-issue politics ahead of both big-picture political strategizing and the good of the American people.

“Cornyn believes the bill’s timing – and the administration’s backing of it – appears to be aimed at alleviating criticism of the Justice Department’s secret attainment of Associated Press phone conversations and the administration’s similar actions against Fox News’ James Rosen, among other media targeting,” Breitbart reports.

“You remember when this [bill] was recently resurrected? It was essentially an attempt to deflect… from the Department of Justice and this administration… the criticism they were taking [from] James Rosen and other traditional journalists. So, I really question the timing of all of this,” Cornyn said.

White House Releases Propagandist Video Of Michelle Obama Doing Something Great In China

First Lady Michelle Obama locked the press out of her extravagant trip to China on the public dime. But she was fine with spending quite a few public dimes on pieces of propaganda like this, which summarize whatever portion of her trip the White House deems appropriate for people to know about.

Compare that with video propaganda from another nation whose head of state keeps a tight grip on how he’s perceived. Even though Kim Jong-un is posing for an inferior camera and the post production is sketchy, the point of each clip is pretty much the same.

The White House YouTube page entices viewers to “go behind the scenes with First Lady Michelle Obama” on her China trip. Whatever, man – this 1:44 video clip offers a hell of a lot more access than any independent photographer got.

All hail this world’s incredible Supreme Leaders.

H/T: Weasel Zippers, for pointing out the similarity.

CBO: Interest Alone On U.S. Debt To Close In On $1 Trillion Within The Next 10 Years

The latest analysis from the Congressional Budget Office reveals that the interest on existing and projected U.S. debt is on track to approach $1 trillion over the next decade.

Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), the ranking minority member of the Senate Budget Committee, posted this infographic to demonstrate how the interest on the Federal debt alone stacks up against every major Federal appropriations expenditure in 2014:

CBO---Interests-Costs-To-Dwarf-Virtually-Every-Federal-Expense

As the graphic shows, ten years’ worth of interest payments on projected U.S. debt is nearly 50 times greater than the money our government will spend on the space program in 2014. In fact, it’s almost four times greater than the Federal government will spend this year on every major appropriations-funded program. CBO estimates a cumulative interest load of $880 billion by 2024; for perspective, the current Federal debt stands at approximately $17.5 trillion, with an estimated 2014 interest payment of $230 billion.