Future Leaders?: America’s College Students Don’t Want To Be Challenged Or Entertain Opposing Beliefs

If you think political correctness is bad, wait until the latest round of college graduates gains influence.

College administrators have been dealing with an alarming trend in higher education this spring, as several institutions have been forced to withdraw commencement speakers after students complained.

The Chronicle of Higher Education put together a handy “Field Guide” to the commencement speaker controversies:

Complaint: Sins of the past?

Speaker: Condoleezza Rice, Stanford University professor and former U.S. secretary of state
College: Rutgers University

Ms. Rice backed out after her selection drew vocal protests from students and faculty members, who objected to her role in the administration of President George W. Bush.

Result: Withdrew on May 3

Speaker: Robert J. Birgeneau, former chancellor of the University of California at Berkeley
College: Haverford College

Mr. Birgeneau withdrew after students and faculty members questioned his leadership during a 2011 incident when university police officers used force against student protesters. (See a related article: “A Bid to ‘Control a Contagion’ of Commencement Protests.”)

Result: Withdrew on May 13

Speaker: Janet Napolitano, president of the University of California and former U.S. secretary of homeland security
College: University of California’s Hastings College of Law

Protesters raised concerns about the number of people deported while Ms. Napolitano was secretary of homeland security.

Result: Spoke on May 10

Speaker: Michael Bloomberg, businessman and former mayor of New York City
College: Harvard University

Some students felt that Mr. Bloomberg’s support for a “stop-and-frisk” policy for the New York City police made him an inappropriate choice as commencement speaker.

Result: Set to speak on May 29

William Bowen, former president of Princeton University, joined graduating students at Haverford College on Sunday and acted as a replacement speaker after students protested to have Birgeneau uninvited. He made headlines for chastising the students for their immature display of dissatisfaction with the college’s original pick for speaker.

“I am disappointed that those who wanted to criticize Birgeneau’s handling of events at Berkeley chose to send him such an intemperate list of ‘demands,’” said Bowen. “In my view, they should have encouraged him to come and engage in a genuine discussion, not to come, tail between his legs, to respond to an indictment that a self-chosen jury had reached without hearing counterarguments.”

But Bowen shouldn’t be too surprised by students’ disinterest in honest debate in the face of controversy. The aversion to speakers who may hold different beliefs than certain students in a graduating class is part of a larger phenomenon unfolding at colleges throughout the country. The Nation’s latest round of graduates appears keen to reject outright anything that makes anyone mildly uncomfortable.

For instance, The New York Times reported over the weekend that students at some prominent colleges and universities are demanding that professors warn students of potentially disturbing or offensive content in assigned course materials.

From The Times:

Colleges across the country this spring have been wrestling with student requests for what are known as “trigger warnings,” explicit alerts that the material they are about to read or see in a classroom might upset them or, as some students assert, cause symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder in victims of rape or in war veterans.

The warnings, which have their ideological roots in feminist thought, have gained the most traction at the University of California, Santa Barbara, where the student government formally called for them. But there have been similar requests from students at Oberlin College, Rutgers University, the University of Michigan, George Washington University and other schools.

The bottom line is that political correctness has evolved. And, along with the “everyone’s a winner” mentality that many of the Nation’s current students were raised with, it has manifested the very thing that PC opponents have warned about all along: the beginnings of a society where emotion, discourse and the value of being enraged from time to time are wholly unrealized.

White House Says It Will Release Redacted Drone Documents As Rand Paul Gets Ready To Contest Court Nominee

In an effort to help along Senate confirmation of David Barron to the 1st Circuit Court of Appeals, the Obama Administration says it will release a memo the nominee wrote which provided the Justice Department justification for using drone strikes against U.S. citizens.

Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) led opposition of Barron’s confirmation, arguing that his involvement in drone assassinations of Anwar al-Awlaki and Samir Khan – both U.S. citizens living in Yemen— should be further reviewed.

The American Civil Liberties Union and The New York Times had filed Freedom of Information suits for the memo, leading a judge to order the Obama Administration to turn over a redacted version. The White House was considering repealing the ruling to prevent the document from being released.

Earlier this month, Paul said that he will continue to block Barron’s nomination until the DOJ releases memos related to the drone strikes. In response, the White House made an underacted version of the memo available to Senators.

On Tuesday, The Associated Press reported that Administration officials have also decided not to appeal the earlier court ruling calling for the memo to be released with redactions:

Until now, the administration has fought in court to keep the writings from public view. But administration officials said that Solicitor General Donald Verrilli Jr. decided this week not appeal an April 21 ruling requiring disclosure by the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York and that Attorney General Eric Holder concurred with his opinion.

The release could take some time, since the redactions are subject to court approval. And the administration also is insisting that a classified ruling on the case also be redacted to protect information classified for national security, but not the legal reasoning, one of the officials said.

Paul is expected to take to the Senate floor Wednesday to contest Barron’s nomination.

“I’ve read the Barron memos concerning the legal justification for killing an American citizen overseas without a trial or legal representation,” Paul wrote in a Tuesday opinion piece for the Boston Herald. The lawmaker went on to note that the memo in question provides “no valid precedent for the killing of an American citizen not engaged in combat.”

But Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) told reporters that he isn’t very worried about another Paul filibuster following recent White House decisions about the documents.

“Once everything was explained,” he said. “Most everyone in our caucus is satisfied.”

Lawmaker Decries Obama Administration’s ‘Nixonian’ Intimidation Of Public Employees

Representative Frank Wolfe (R-Va.) is concerned that the Obama Administration is involved in “Nixonian” efforts to pressure government employees following reports that the top official at the Drug Enforcement Agency enacted policy changes after a meeting with Attorney General Eric Holder.

According to a report from The Huffington Post last week, Holder met with DEA Administrator Michele Leonhart on the heels of Congressional testimony she gave suggesting that the Obama Administration’s stance on marijuana isn’t consistent with the Nation’s laws.

From the report:

The high-level shift toward easing punishment for drug offenders, backed by public opinion, raises the question of whether any DEA chief who could win the support of rank and file agents would be willing to carry out White House reforms. So far, Leonhart appears uninterested, at best.

She publicly distanced herself from Obama’s remarks about marijuana’s relative harmlessness. She griped about the Justice Department’s failure to try to block marijuana legalization in Colorado and Washington state. She clings to a comically outdated view of drugs, refusing to acknowledge a difference between pot and crack cocaine. And this week, her agency picked a fight with Kentucky over the state’s purchase of industrial hemp seeds to begin a newly legalized agricultural test.

For now, it’s sentencing reform that raises the biggest questions. Leonhart’s remarks before the Senate Judiciary Committee last month about mandatory minimum sentences caused people in top echelons of the Justice Department to ask whether she was on board with her bosses on sentencing reform, sources familiar with the tensions told The Huffington Post.

The DEA official told lawmakers that the growing acceptance of marijuana has made agents more dedicated to pursuing drug offenders.

“Our agents are fighting back against those messages,” Leonhart said. “Actually, it makes us fight harder.”

Wolfe’s concerns are focused not on marijuana policy, but on whether the Administration is putting political pressure on civil servants in order to force support of the President’s policies.

“Having served in the Nixon Administration, I am well aware of how the political leadership of an administration can try to politicize the civil service, including law enforcement,” Wolfe wrote to the Justice Department. “This article suggests a similar ‘Nixonian’ effort to pressure a career law enforcement leader into changing her congressional testimony and public comments to fit the narrative of the administration. I am deeply concerned and hope you will correct the record if the information reported was inaccurate.”

The lawmaker also defended Leonhart’s career, adding that Congress appreciated her “honest and forthright” testimony.

“It is important that you send a clear signal to Justice Department staff, both political appointees and career civil servants, that public intimidation like this leak will not be tolerated,” Wolf wrote.

Rick Perry Challenges Obama To Make U.S. Energy Policy As Successful As Texas’

Texas Governor Rick Perry (R) blasted President Barack Obama’s environmental regulation blitzkrieg on Monday, accusing the President of promising “an energy renaissance” at the same time his Administration is “strangling the energy industry.”

“In your State of the Union address, you reassured the American people of your commitment to an all-of the-above energy strategy to bring our nation closer to energy independence while creating needed jobs,” Perry wrote in a letter to the President released Monday. “Mr. President, your words promise an energy renaissance while your policies are strangling the energy industry. You are waging a war on coal; kicking the can down the road on the Keystone XL pipeline and creating obstacles to onshore and offshore oil and gas production.”

Last week, the White House indicated that Obama will take the unusual step of personally announcing new environmental regulatory proposals for coal-fired power plants before rules are finalized by the Federal government and years before they will go into effect.

Frank O’Donnell, president of Clean Air Watch, a non-profit advocacy group in Washington, told Reuters that the move signals Obama’s desire to build a legacy on environmental activism in his final years in the Oval Office.

“There’s no question that President Obama views this as a legacy issue and he wants to be very directly involved,” he said. “It sends the signal that this is going to remain a high profile issue for probably the rest of the president’s term.”

Perry’s letter to the President comes as a bipartisan energy bill remains stalled in Congress with Democratic lawmakers balking at Republican demands for a vote on the Keystone XL pipeline. The Texas Governor told Obama that the White House deserves most of the blame for holding up the project.

“Your procrastination on the Keystone XL pipeline continues this troubling trend. After five years and a legion of environmental studies, you’ve allowed politics to trump a common-sense decision to build the Keystone Pipeline, a decision clearly in the best interests of our nation,” Perry wrote.

He continued, “The State Department has concluded that the project is environmentally sound and that construction alone would contribute approximately $3.4 billion to the U.S. economy, supporting more than 2,000 direct jobs and inducing another 40,000 indirect jobs. Your continued inaction on this critical project is delaying opportunity for thousands of American families, and that is simply unacceptable.”

Perry suggested that the President study the balance that Texas has achieved in protecting the environment as well as businesses and energy production.

“Texas employs a true all-of-the-above energy strategy, producing one third of the nation’s crude oil and natural gas and accounting for more than one quarter of the nation’s petroleum refining capacity,” the Governor wrote. “Texas produces more electricity than any other state with natural gas, coal, nuclear, wind, solar, biofuel and hydroelectric generation.”

Perry also said, “If adopted, the Texas approach could create jobs, contribute billions of dollars to the economy, strengthen our energy security and make the United States a global energy powerhouse today and for future generations.”

At present, Perry said that he is concerned that the Nation’s economic and energy policies are being strong-armed by an Environmental Protection Agency that “behaves more like a den of activists than a repository of even-handed regulators.”

White House: Of Course Obama Knew Of Veteran Abuse… He Saw It On The News

Reports about long wait times and other problems at Veterans’ Affairs hospitals in the United States have revealed that there is a trend in how the Obama Administration’s propaganda arm handles scandals. The plan: say that the President is very angry and insist that he only learned the problems existed when they were reported to the general public in the media.

According to reports, it’s clear that the White House has been aware that wait times in the Nation’s veterans’ hospitals are excessively long since at least 2008. Obama even campaigned on the issue while running for President in 2007.

“When a veteran is denied health care, we are all dishonored,” Obama said in October, 2007. “When 400,000 veterans are stuck on a waiting list for claims, we need a new sense of urgency in this country.”

Furthermore, The Washington Times reported Sunday that the President and his transition team were warned by Veterans’ Affairs officials not trust wait time data being reported by VA medical facilities.

“This is not only a data integrity issue in which [Veterans Health Administration] reports unreliable performance data; it affects quality of care by delaying — and potentially denying — deserving veterans timely care,” the officials wrote in briefing materials obtained by the newspaper.

But with recent reports of secret waiting lists and accusations that VA officials with at least one facility in Phoenix attempted to cover up the long wait times by fudging the books, the White House is claiming that President Obama was unaware that there was a veterans’ care issue.

During a White House press briefing on Monday, Obama spokesman Jay Carney was asked when the President was first made aware that the Nation’s veterans were not receiving the care they deserve.

“When was [the President] first made aware of these problems?” CNN’s Jim Acosta asked. “And when did other … top White House officials become aware of these problems?”

The delays have been known for some time Acosta continued, but questioned when the President learned that there was a possible VA cover-up afoot.

“You mean the specific allegations that were first reported by your network out of Phoenix, I believe, we learned about them through reports,” Carney replied. “That’s when, as I understand, Sec. [Eric] Shinseki learned about them.”

Even though the President and his transition team were aware of inaccuracies in reported VA wait times when he first took office after campaigning in 2007 on problems in the VA, it took a CNN report years later for Obama to publically address the problems once in the White House.

In other words, there are two possibilities: 1) As the White House claims, Obama’s aides are utterly incompetent and he couldn’t remember to follow through on promises he made the Nation’s veterans in 2007. Or 2) Obama really doesn’t give a rat’s ass about veterans’ care unless he can use it as a campaign prop or it becomes yet another in his litany of public failures.

Whatever the case, if the Obama Administration assertion that the President of the United States has access to only about as much information as the average CNN viewer at any given time sounds familiar, it’s because America has heard it before.

There was that time the Obama Administration spied on Associated Press journalists and Carney said this: “We don’t have any independent knowledge … [Obama] found out about the news reports yesterday on the road.”

Or remember that time the Federal government gave all those guns to Mexican narco-terrorists and Obama said this: “There have been problems, you know. I heard on the news about this story that fast and furious, where allegedly guns were being run into Mexico and ATF knew about it but didn’t apprehend those who had sent it. Eric Holder has — the attorney general has been very clear that he knew nothing about this. We had assigned an IG, inspector general, to investigate it.”

And then there was that time the IRS targeted conservative groups and the President explained: ”I first learned about it from the same news reports that I think most people learned about this. I think it was on Friday.”

And back in 2009 a “furious” Obama recounted how he learned that a Boeing 747 terrified New Yorkers after buzzing the Manhattan skyline on the orders of Louis Caldera, then director of the White House Military Office (which is in the White House… where Obama lives and works): “It was a mistake. It was something we found out about along with all of you. And it will not happen again.”

Reason’s Nick Gillespie is, like many Americans, calling bullshit on Obama’s feigned ignorance:

And it took him a few days to realize that the Obamacare website was tripping balls but he finally started to get news reports about it after a few days. …

I ‘m guessing that he still doesn’t really know that his Justice Department keeps deporting immigrants and raiding medical marijuana dispensaries in California either. At record rates. Because, you know, he said he wasn’t going to pull that shit. Can somebody slip him a newspaper story about those things so he can finally get cracking?

Even MSNBC has noticed that the President evidently gets his daily briefing from the media:

Sunday News Show Roundup

Guests on Sunday’s political talk shows discussed the House’s probe into the 2012 Benghazi terror attack and touched on the scandal over excessive wait times and poor care at the Nation’s veterans hospitals. But there was one topic that eclipsed all of the other political talk this week: former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the possibility that she will run for President in 2016.

Hillary 2016

Clinton can thank comments recently made by GOP strategist Karl Rove for much of the attention. Rove, last week, questioned whether the former first lady is in good enough health to re-enter the White House as commander-in-chief.

On Fox News Sunday, Rove addressed the firestorm he created last week after he said that the head injury Clinton suffered in 2012 should be an issue, should she decide to run in 2016.

Rove said that his comments were not only about Clinton’s health, but about whether she is seriously considering a Presidential bid.

“I’m not questioning her health,” he said. “What I’m questioning is whether or not it’s a done deal that she’s running. And she would not be human if she did not take this into consideration.”

Rove said that some of the fanfare surrounding Clinton may be premature.

“People say, ‘You know, she’s in; this is a done deal.’ I’m not so certain,” he said.

Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick, a Democrat, told CNN’s Candy Crowley that he worries about the “inevitability” of Clinton running in 2016.

“I worry a little bit,” he said when asked if 2016 was “Hillary all the way.”

“She’s an enormously capable candidate and leader. But I do worry about the inevitability thing… I think it’s off-putting to the average voter,” he said.

Patrick refused to endorse Clinton, saying that he has another job to focus on right now.

Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) also weighed in on Clinton, calling Rove’s questions about the former top diplomat’s health “pathetic.” The 80 year-old Senator, who has been in office since 1992, also said Clinton is in the “prime of her political life.”

“She’s got the energy. She’s articulate. She’s got the background. She’s got the smarts. She has all of the elements of a good leader plus the fact, and this is not to be underestimated, she is enormously attractive to people,” Feinstein said. “And she carries the torch for women who are the majority of votes in this country, very strongly and very high.”

Former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg also attacked Rove, saying of the strategist’s remarks, “It was about as inappropriate a thing as you could say.”

“Hillary Clinton, whether you agree with her policies or not, whether you want to vote for her…she’s a quality person. She is also a great American, works as hard as anybody and is dedicated to this country,” Bloomberg said on CBS’s “Face the Nation.”

“You can’t ask somebody to do more than she has done for her country. I thought his remarks just were outrageous.”

Bloomberg said that he doesn’t know whether Clinton will run but added that “she would be a spectacular candidate on the Democratic side.”

The party-jumping former mayor also named a few Republican candidates he would like to see run, including New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, Florida Governor Jeb Bush and Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker.

On the Republican side, former Vice President Dick Cheney — no stranger to serious health problems — said on Fox that he didn’t question Clinton’s health. The former Vice President did, however, note that anyone running for President “is going to have to answer questions about their health.”

Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus, appearing on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” said that he welcomes Clinton to run for President in 2016.

“I think Hillary’s a known product,” Priebus said. “Hillary has decades of history for us to explore.”

Benghazi

Feinstein, who investigated portions of the Benghazi attack on the Senate Intelligence Committee, repeatedly condemned the House effort to learn more about the terror attack Sunday.

“I think it’s ridiculous,” she said. “I think it’s a hunting mission for a lynch mob.”

The Senator contends that the White House did nothing wrong leading up to, during or after the attacks based on the investigations that have already been conducted.

Feinstein, conceding that independent reports did find that the Benghazi attack could have been prevented, compared the 2012 attacks to the 1983 terror attacks in Beirut which led to 241 American deaths under President Ronald Reagan’s watch.

“If you compare [Benghazi] to Ronald Reagan, the big Republican hero, and what happened in Beirut … and Reagan admitted we weren’t ready for it,” she said.

Priebus said that Clinton is responsible for trying to “sweep” the 2012 terror attack “under the rug.” That, he contends, should be a much bigger issue than whether she’s healthy enough to run for President.

“If you want any evidence of that, ask the families of people who lost their sons in Benghazi. They’ve talked plenty about what happened in Benghazi,” Priebus said.

Cheney also spoke about Benghazi, saying that Clinton bears responsibility for what happened.

“She was Secretary of State at the time that it happened — she was one of the first in Washington to know about it,” Cheney said. “I think she clearly bears responsibility for whatever the State Department did or didn’t do with respect to that crisis.”

The former Vice President said that Benghazi is an issue that Americans can expect to hear much more about.

Veterans Affairs

Whether delays at veterans hospitals in the U.S. contributed to deaths and led officials at the institutions to falsify documents to conceal treatment delays is still under investigation.

White House aide Denis McDonough said on “Face the Nation” that President Barack Obama is “madder than hell” about reports of wrongdoing at veterans’ hospitals.

“At the same time that we’re looking at accountability we want to continue to perform to provide our veterans the services that they have earned,” he said.

The official, when asked if Obama still has faith in Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki, said that the President is demanding that all VA officials continue to fix things until the VA system functions “the way that our veterans believe” it should.

Samuel Foote, a retired VA doctor who recently provided information about the VA backlogs to media outlets, told Fox that even if Obama were to fire Shinseki over the recent reports on problems in the VA system, not much would change.

“If we switch secretaries then the focus will get away from fixing the problem to who the new secretary’s going to be. And then he’ll have a three- or six-month or a nine-month grace period because he’s the new guy,” Foote said. “Our best bet at this point is to keep the (current) secretary on board, but I think the President needs to keep him on a pretty short leash and be sure that he’s doing the job.”

Dems Have A 2014 Youth Problem, But The GOP Isn’t Likely To Capitalize On It

New data out from Democratic pollster Paul Harsted show that Democrats banking on the kind of youth support which pulled President Barack Obama through two Presidential elections are going to have tough time engaging disenfranchised and apathetic young voters heading into the midterm elections.

Voters in the 18 to 31 demographic supported Obama over Mitt Romney nearly 2 to 1 in the 2012 Presidential election. For that reason, Democrats have poured resources into efforts to engage young voters to produce similar outcomes in the 2014 midterms.

But with many of Obama’s promises to young voters undelivered, or worse, affecting the demographic negatively, Harsted reports that less than a third of Obama’s 2012 Millennials will “definitely” cast a ballot for a Democratic candidate in the coming election.

Harsted called the results a “real challenge for Democrats.” But the pollster also relayed that some of the poll data also provides opportunity for politicians on the left.

The poll found that young Americans remain likely to support Democratic policy like lowering student loan interest rates, requiring background checks for all gun purchases, equal pay guarantees and increasing education funding more than 80 percent of the time. Almost sixty-percent of the young respondents also said that they support a “more involved” government.

Even so, the Democrats’ main problem remains engaging the progressive-leaning young voters. With that in mind, you can bet that the next several weeks will be dominated by Democrats talking about birth control, gay marriage and accusing Republicans of wanting to legislate morality—a charge that is destined to stick in the minds of young voters as long as the party on the right resists libertarian ideas in GOP politics.

‘Slippery Tactics’ At State Department: Oversight Committee Subpoenas Kerry For Second Time On Benghazi

House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) has, for the second time this month, subpoenaed Secretary of State John Kerry to testify about his department’s actions relating to the September 2012 Benghazi terror attacks.

Kerry was previously slated to testify before the lawmakers on May 21. Issa lifted the subpoena requiring the diplomat’s presence after the State Department promised that Kerry would testify voluntarily on an alternate date.

“The State Department has told the Committee that they are committed to finding an alternative date in the near future for Secretary Kerry to testify before the Oversight Committee,” Frederick Hill, a spokesman for the panel, told The Associated Press. “As such, Chairman Issa agreed to lift the subpoena obligation for May 21.”

Issa issued a new subpoena Thursday, accusing State officials of “slippery tactics” that made it impossible for lawmakers to get Kerry in front of the committee.

State Department officials had suggested that Kerry’s diplomatic schedule was too hectic to appear before the lawmakers and even urged the oversight Committee to find a “more appropriate witness” on the matter.

“I lifted the subpoena requiring Secretary Kerry to testify on May 21 because the State Department made reasonable arguments for an accommodation and told our Committee they were seeking a suitable alternative date for his testimony on a voluntary basis. But soon after I lifted the subpoena, the State Department back tracked — stating publicly that we should accept ‘a more appropriate witness’ and refusing to commit to making Secretary Kerry available,” Issa said in a statement.

He continued: “With this State Department’s slippery tactics, it’s no wonder our friends in the world are losing faith in us and our adversaries doubt our credibility. The State Department had discussed May 29 as a possible alternative date and that’s when Secretary Kerry will be obligated to appear — further accommodation will not be possible. Absent an assertion of executive privilege, the State Department has a legal obligation to fully and completely comply.”

Issa’s effort to gather answers about the State Department’s handling of the Benghazi attack has been ongoing for more than a year alongside several other House panels. Just this month, House Speaker John Boehner announced that all of the House efforts to investigate the attack would be consolidated into an investigation by Representative Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.).

Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) claimed that Issa’s latest subpoena illustrates that the Republican has no faith in the Select Committee set up this month and “calls into question the Republicans’ stated purpose of the Select Committee on Benghazi.”

Pelosi had earlier said that the Select Committee was part of a Republican effort to cover up an investigation by Issa that was going nowhere.

Fellow Democrat and ranking Oversight Committee member Elijah Cummings of Maryland expressed outrage at Issa’s decision.

“Just one week after Speaker Boehner said he wanted a single select committee conducting this investigation, Chairman Issa issued a new subpoena today for Secretary Kerry to testify before the Oversight Committee. I don’t know if this is Chairman Issa’s attempt to reinsert himself into this investigation after the Speaker removed him, but this looks more and more like the ‘sideshow’ and ‘circus’ Speaker Boehner said he would not tolerate,” Cummings said in a statement.

Meanwhile in the Senate, 37 Republican lawmakers called on Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) to conduct a review of the Benghazi fiasco in the upper legislative chamber. The Senate Intelligence, Armed Services and Foreign Relations committees have all conducted inquiries into the attacks; but the GOP lawmakers argued that the focus of those investigations has been too narrow.

“Congressional oversight is crucial to understanding what happened before, during, and after the attacks, so we can be sure we do everything in our power to prevent future attacks,” the lawmakers wrote.

The lawmakers said the investigation would serve to bridge “jurisdictional bounds.”

Reid is not likely to act on the letter.

Obama Will Stop At Nothing To Become The Nation’s First Green President

After the Obama Administration failed to enact stricter gun control, reach economic agreements with Republicans, pass broad immigration reform or successfully roll out Obamacare last year, we told you to get ready for the President to use climate change as a last ditch effort to build a legacy. Following the release of an alarmist climate change report, the White House’s efforts to make Barack Obama the Nation’s first green President has kicked into high gear.

The President is expected to personally unveil a series of climate-related rule changes for coal-fired power plants later this month.

Reuters reports:

After relegating climate change to the back burner during his first term, Obama would be taking an unusual step of announcing regulatory proposals before they are finalized by the federal government and years before they would be implemented. His direct engagement is intended to demonstrate to environmental advocates and business interests that he’s committed to stricter emissions standards.

“There’s no question that President Obama views this as a legacy issue and he wants to be very directly involved,” said Frank O’Donnell, president of Clean Air Watch, a non-profit advocacy group in Washington. “It sends the signal that this is going to remain a high profile issue for probably the rest of the president’s term.”

The Hill reported in November: “[T]here’s one thing that’s going right for Obama: Executive action on climate change is moving full-speed ahead at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).”

Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) told the newspaper at the time that the President is likely to continue his climate change crusade because his executive order authority, coupled with the EPA’s wide-reaching authority to implement new rules, eliminates many hurdles to the President’s agenda on the issue.

Though Obama’s Presidency is in its final years, his unfettered radical executive activism on climate change has only just begun.

Operation American Spring: A Constitutional Revival Or A Chance For Government To Abuse Conservatives Everywhere

Organizers claim that between 10 and 30 million concerned Americans from all walks of life will descend upon Washington D.C. tomorrow to kick off Operation American Spring, a demonstration aimed at setting in motion a course of events to restore Constitutional governance in the United States.

Operation American Spring, the brainchild of retired Army Col. Harry Riley, has been billed by organizers as a three-phase effort to restore the Nation to its Constitutional values.

The plan, as designed by Riley, is as follows:

Concept of Operations:Phase 1 – Field millions, as many as ten million, patriots who will assemble in a peaceful, non-violent, physically unarmed (Spiritually/Constitutionally armed), display of unswerving loyalty to the US Constitution and against the incumbent government leadership, in Washington, D.C., with the mission to bring down the existing leadership. Go full-bore, no looking back, steadfast in the mission.

Phase 2 - One million or more of the assembled 10 million must be prepared to stay in D.C. as long as it takes to see Obama, Biden, Reid, McConnell, Boehner, Pelosi, and Attorney General Holder removed from office. The senior republican in the US House of Representatives will become Speaker of the House and the US House of Representatives will elect a temporary President and Vice President of the United States. The U.S. Senate will take action to elect a new majority and minority leader.
As required, the U.S. Congress will execute appropriate legislation to convene new elections or U.S. States will appoint replacements for positions vacated consistent with established constitutional requirements.

Phase 3 – Those with the principles of a West, Cruz, Dr. Ben Carson, Lee, DeMint, Paul, Gov Walker, Sessions, Gowdy, Jordan, will comprise a tribunal and assume positions of authority to convene investigations, recommend appropriate charges against politicians and government employees to the new U.S. Attorney General appointed by the new President.

Media reports about the event this week have largely mocked claims that so many millions of supporters will show up for the initial phase of the operation on Friday. In an interview with Raw Story, American Spring participant Alex Coffey, “who identified himself as marketing director for the group but insisted he was just a “’foot soldier,’” said that he understood the estimate was lofty, explaining , according to the outlet, that “the figure was based on the unverified estimate that 3 percent of Americans participated in the Revolutionary War.”

While the number of protestors who will show up on Friday is unknown, American Spring organizers told Personal Liberty that they are certain there will be a large showing of militia members and military veterans of all stripes from throughout the Nation thanks to organizing efforts. A woman named Rose, a public relations contact who asked that her last name not be used, also relayed that the movement has prepared ahead for the second phase of the operation by securing long-term accommodations and stocking supplies in the area. She didn’t provide many other details related to the preparations.

The American Spring has been championed by Tea Party Nation, many militia-oriented organizations and a handful of patriot groups online. But others, including a number of conservative outlets, have criticized the event for bearing a name which suggests that it seeks a similar end to the “springs” which have taken place in a number of Middle Eastern countries in recent years.

But American Spring organizers insist that violence is not part of their mission and even released a list of “rules of engagement” for the protest calling on participants to “leave your guns and ammo within the safe proximity of a free state,” follow all of the rules of the road while in D.C. and comply with all of the Constitutional requests of local authorities.

In a press release, American Spring’s Terry Trussel said that accusations that American Spring is an effort to spark violence “can only come from those who are desperate to ‘disarm, distract, and deflect’ any attention that might be paid to their own historic levels of corruption and lawless assaults on the peace and tranquility of Americans.”

“[H]ow could any reasonable mind view as ‘radicals’ and ‘extremists’, a grassroots movement of mostly older military veterans, and other patriotic Americans committed to rescuing their government from control by criminal bureaucrats, and reviving our great Republic once again under the constraints of Constitutional principles,” Trussel asked.

Writing for Tea Party News Network, columnist Alan Caruba decried the notion that Operation American Spring can combat a “lawless” Federal government by advocating equally lawless efforts to remove elected officials from office without due process.

From his column, titled “The Clear Dangers of Operation American Spring”:

The federal government is not lawless. Most of us, while unhappy with the gridlock of Congress and the constant stream of lies from the White House, know that it is working for the most part within the constraints of the Constitution. If you want lawlessness, just show up to participate in Operation American Spring.

By contrast, note that there a legal suits in the courts challenging the legitimacy of Obamacare, a tax that was initiated in the Senate when only the House may authorize taxation, and there is congressional action proceeding on both the IRS actions and the deceptions put forth about the Benghazi attack. It’s not as if Congress is not taking action or that the courts are not proceeding to address these issues. They are.

Operation American Spring says its goal “is restoring the U.S. Constitution as the law of the land, removing the lawless leadership.” We have the means to do that. They are called elections and we have an important one in November.

The author also voiced a concern that many other conservatives who have been watching the American Spring plans unfold have had: The nature of the event provides the opportunity for a “false flag” operation designed to provide justification for officials to take unConstitutional actions against Americans not even involved with the protest who disagree with the Federal government.

Stay tuned Friday for updates on the American Spring.

Hillary’s Mental Health: Karl Rove Does Karl Rove, Left Freaks Out About Sexism

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has been getting a great deal of press lately, thanks to early pundit chatter about a potential 2016 Presidential bid. But along with talk about the former first lady returning to the White House have come inevitable questions about the 66-year-old political fixture’s health. According to the left, the questions are a part of a misogynistic right wing conspiracy.

GOP strategist and all-around political meddler Karl Rove was criticized by Democrats and some Republicans this week for suggesting that Clinton may have suffered brain damage from a 2012 blood clot that kept her in the hospital for a month.

The New York Post reported that, during a speaking engagement last week, Rove said: “Thirty days in the hospital? And when she reappears, she’s wearing glasses that are only for people who have traumatic brain injury? We need to know what’s up with that.”

Rove was referring to glasses that Clinton was first noticed wearing during a heated Congressional hearing that took place shortly after her hospital stay.

Former President Bill Clinton didn’t take long to respond to the Rove remarks, noting that he was “dumbfounded” by the questions about his wife’s health.

“I got to give him credit, you know that embodies that old saying, ‘Consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds,'” he said at an event. “First they say she faked her concussion, now they say she’s auditioning for a part on ‘The Walking Dead.'”

“She works out every week, she is strong, she’s doing great. As far as I can tell she’s in better shape than I am now,” Bill Clinton said.

Later, he quipped, “You can’t get too upset about it — it’s just the beginning, they’ll get better and better at it. I’m still waiting for them to admit there was nothing in White Water.”

And over at MSNBC, pundits proved that journalist Glenn Greenwald’s (who recently referred to the former Secretary of State as banal, corrupted and drained of vibrancy) assessment of the protect Hillary Clinton strategy was spot on.

“Opposition to her is going to be depicted as misogynistic, like opposition to Obama has been depicted as racist,” Greenwald recently said. “It’s going to be this completely symbolic messaging that’s going to overshadow the fact that she’ll do nothing but continue everything in pursuit of her own power.”

MSNBC’s Krystal Ball quickly suggested that Rove’s remarks reveal that questions about Hillary Clinton’s health will be the “2016 equivalent of calling for [Barack] Obama’s birth certificate.”

Speaking on the panel with Ball, Huffington Post editorial director Howard Fineman said he detected mild sexism.

“The whole Republican strategy is to make this all so distasteful to Hillary that she’s going to look at it and say, ‘I don’t want to run, it’s too dirty, it’s too nasty.’” Fineman conjectured. “I think that’s vaguely sexist because I don’t think you would say that about any man that you are going to scare him out of the race because he is not tough enough.”

The assertion, like many made on MSNBC, is not backed by history.

As Mediaite’s Noah Rothman points out:

In October, 2008, a full-page ad in the New York Times demanded Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) release his medical records. Like most candidates before him, the then 71-year-old cancer survivor had released them to the press but asked that they be kept private. He was subject to withering criticism from the left for not releasing his full records to the public. Fortunately for the press, McCain was a Republican. Otherwise, such behavior would have been deemed “ageist.”

Former Republican House Speaker Newt Gingrich also noted an example of mental health being questioned in the halls of power in a criticism of Rove’s statements, saying, “I was angry when people did this to [Ronald] Reagan in 1980 and I am angry when they do it to her today.”

Many watchers have noted that Rove’s questioning the potential candidate’s mental health fits his modus operandi.

Peter Beinhart writes in The Atlantic:

Most famously, when Bush was fighting for his life against a surging John McCain in South Carolina in 2000, fliers, emails, and push polls accused McCain of having fathered an African-American “love child” (he had actually adopted a girl from Bangladesh) and of suffering from mental instability as a result of his incarceration in Vietnam. McCain staffers, and McCain’s daughter, have accused Rove of orchestrating the rumors; Rove denies any involvement.

Why does Rove allegedly smear his opponents this way? Because it works. Consider the Clinton “brain damage” story. Right now, the press is slamming Rove for his vicious, outlandish comments. But they’re also talking about Clinton’s health problems as secretary of state, disrupting the story she wants to tell about her time in Foggy Bottom in her forthcoming memoir.

Does Hillary Clinton have a brain injury? Her spokespeople say she doesn’t. Is suggesting that American voters who consider her Presidential material should be concerned about a blood clot in her brain that left her hospitalized for a month and required her to wear double vision correcting glasses misogynistic bullying? Not unless you work for MSNBC or, like Bill, work directly for the former first lady.

Sriracha Maker: Government In U.S. Reminds Me Of Communist Vietnam

Sriracha, a cult-following-turned-mainstream hot sauce, recently came under attack by bureaucrats where the condiment is manufactured in Irwindale, Calif., after a handful of residents complained about a spicy smell from the factory. David Tran, whose company makes Sriracha, said that the government regulatory abuse has become so intense that he feels like he’s back in communist Vietnam, the nation he fled three decades ago to seek opportunity in the U.S.

At a recent Irwindale City Council meeting, Tran asked the local lawmakers, “Why do you hate me? Why do you want to shut me down?”

Last year, a local resident forced Tran to shut down a part of his Huy Fong factory. And a month ago, city officials moved to declare the entire operation a public nuisance.

The New York Times explains:

To local residents, the problem with the Sriracha factory is one of overwhelming odors. When the factory is grinding chiles in the fall, the scent of red jalapeños — so sweet once bottled — blows through town like a malevolent wind. Residents say that the chile-laced air burns their eyes and noses, causes coughing fits, and forces them to take cover indoors.

But the prospect that officials may force the closing of Huy Fong Foods, which produces about 20 million bottles of the sauce each year, has taken people by surprise. The 650,000-square-foot factory employs about 70 full-time workers and around 200 during chile season, when up to 40 truckloads of fresh peppers arrive each day from Ventura County, north of Los Angeles. The chiles are ground that same day, part of a round-the-clock operation.

But Tran and many locals who talked to media outlets said that they have experienced no problems as a result of the hot sauce production.

“I work face to the chile for 34 years. Why am I still here?” 68-year-old Tran said in an interview. “Maybe I should have died already.”

A woman who lives just blocks from the factory told Vice: “I honestly don’t smell it. Everybody eats that chili sauce. You go to any Chinese restaurant or any restaurant around here — really, they have that stuff on the table. I’m 100 percent in favor of them staying here.”

City officials are showing no signs of backing down, which has prompted officials from at least 10 States and several municipalities to extend an invitation for Tran to bring jobs to their areas. Most recently, a group of Texas lawmakers paid the businessman a visit.

But while Tran said he is open to expansions in different areas, fully moving his Sriracha operation to a different area could prove difficult because he has grown alongside many of the vendors who supply his ingredients in the area.

“Other cities say, ‘Irwindale is not friendly, come to my city,’” he told The Times. “Other states say, ‘California is not friendly, come to my state.’ Other countries say, ‘U.S.A. is not friendly, come back here.’”

He added, “I’m not sure why the U.S.A. lets local government do stupid things like this.”

In a separate interview with NPR, the businessman noted, “Today, I feel almost the same [as when I left Vietnam]. Even now we live in the USA, but my feeling, the government, not a big difference.”

Allen West: Obama’s ‘Bring Back Our Girls’ Focus An Attempt To ‘Wag The Dog’

Former Representative Allen West said this week that Americans are falling for an attempt by the Administration of President Barack Obama to “wag the dog” by pivoting media focus on the kidnapping of 200 girls in Nigeria as the President’s failures are coming under Congressional scrutiny.

“Remember the movie with Robert Deniro and Dustin Hoffman called ‘Wag the Dog?’ Funny thing, that film was released just before the Clinton-Lewinsky kabuki dance and the infamous pharmaceutical factory bombing in Sudan by President Clinton,” West wrote in his blog.

The former lawmaker pointed out that Boko Haram has a long terrorist rap sheet — despite what former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton might believe — that includes “burning alive some 50 boys and attacking Christians over these past three to four years on Christmas and Easter.” West has previously written about Boko Haram’s terroristic actions.

“Isn’t it interesting that all of a sudden when celebrities get engaged, it becomes a national emergency? Who else needs to issue a hash tag alert? But why now? As Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton refused to declare Boko Haram a terrorist organization,” West wrote.

The answer, according to the former Congressman, is that Obama is desperately trying to deflect attention from the findings that will come out of the House’s new investigation of the terror attacks in Benghazi, major problems at the Veterans Administration that have recently gotten media attention and the White House’s inability to take control of the situation in Ukraine.

“You know it’s fascinating. Obama had lots to say about the Los Angeles Clippers owner, but nothing about vets on a death list,” West wrote. “And it seems this isn’t an isolated incident. I don’t expect Obama to address the American Legion or Veterans of Foreign Wars anytime soon.

“So what better time than right now, to create the straw man of Boko Haram, another distraction for which no real action will take place,” West continued. “Anyone remember Joseph Kony?”

RNC Rule Change Could Put Conservatives In Charge At Primary Debates

Republican National Committee Communications Director Sean Spicer recently said that the GOP organization is making moves to include more moderators from conservative media outlets in the Republican primary debates leading up to the 2016 Presidential election.

The RNC voted last week to change debate rules to allow more openly conservative moderators from organizations like Breitbart, The Daily Caller and Newsmax to lead the primary debates.

“The party is actually going to have a greater say in our Republican primary debates,” Spicer told Newsmax’s Steve Malzberg in an interview. “For too long it has been the media who has decided when we’re going to debate, who is going to be in the debate, what questions we’re going ask, what subjects are going to be covered.”

Spicer said that part of the reason conservative journalists should lead the primary debates is that “the liberal media does not have the interest of the party at hand.” The RNC official also insisted that conservative moderators would be tougher on GOP candidates.

“Some of the folks in the media try to prepare this as, ‘Oh, you guys don’t want to face tough questions.’ This has nothing to tough questions,” Spicer said. “Anyone who has … read Breitbart or The Daily Caller, knows that conservative media is a heckuva lot tougher than mainstream media, but they’re focused on the issues that matter to conservatives and grassroots activists, as opposed to the left-wing liberals out there.”

Rand Paul Will Hold Up Fed Nominees Unless His Audit Bill Gets A Vote

Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) threatened to block three nominees to the Federal Reserve Board of Governors unless lawmakers are allowed to vote on his Federal Reserve Transparency Act (S.209).

Paul said he would “object to any unanimous consent agreement or the waiver of any rule with respect to these nominees without a vote on S. 209” in a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.).

The Kentucky Republican wrote:

As the Senate debates the Federal Reserve Board nominees, there is no more appropriate time to provide Congress with additional oversight and scrutiny of the actions and decisions of the central banks. Therefore, I request that my bipartisan legislation, S. 209, the Federal Reserve Transparency Act, be scheduled for an up or down vote concurrently with nominees to the Federal Reserve Board of Governors.

My bill calls to eliminate all restrictions placed on Government Accountability Office (GAO) audits of the Federal Reserve. The Fed’s credit facilities, securities purchases, and quantitative easing activities would also be subject to Congressional oversight. Similar legislation passed 327-98, with bipartisan support, in the House of Representatives on July 25, 2012. This same bill has been stalled in the Senate for more than three years.

Paul issued a similar threat last year when Fed Chairwoman Janet Yellen’s nomination was under Senate consideration. The Senator was unsuccessful in forcing a vote on his bill at the time, but managed to drum up significant public support for a Fed audit.

The latest effort to stymie Fed nominations comes as the Board of Governors is severely shorthanded, with only three members left on the seven-member board.

Liberal Logic: Chris Stevens Not Murdered By Terrorists, Died From Smoke Inhalation

With House lawmakers poised to investigate the 2012 terror attack in Benghazi, Libya, which led to the deaths of four Americans, liberals are beginning to say some crazy things in an effort to keep thee Obama Administration and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton from being held accountable.

Speaking Sunday on PBS’s “The McLaughlin Group,” Eleanor Clift, a blogger for The Daily Beast and contributing editor for Newsweek magazine, claimed that U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens wasn’t actually killed by terrorists during the attack. Rather, she argued, Stevens succumbed to smoke inhalation.

“I would like to point out Ambassador Stevens was not murdered,” she said. “He died of smoke inhalation in the safe room in that CIA installation.”

The Washington Examiner’s Susan Ferrechio challenged Clift’s ridiculous remark, saying, “I’ve heard a drastically different story from people who are also in the know about that. So, I don’t think it is [a fact].”

Fellow panelist Pat Buchanan also took issue with the statement, noting that Stevens was murdered in a terror attack.

“It was an opportunistic terrorist attack that grew out of that video,” Clift parroted White House talking points.

The liberal journalist also went out of her way to absolve Clinton of any failures, arguing that former CIA director David Petraeus is responsible for what happened.

“It was still a CIA [outpost],” Clift said. “If you’re going to put somebody on trial, put David Petraeus on trial, not Hillary Clinton.”

The “Conservative Hick” Twitter account handily pointed out how idiotic Clift’s remarks were.

Why Would The Obama Administration Knowingly Let Terrorists In The U.S.?

The Federal government has stripped Americans of their Constitutionally guaranteed right to privacy via National Security Agency spying, claiming that intrusions are necessary to keep the country safe. But while the NSA stays busy collecting massive amounts of communication data, the Department of Homeland Security may have been busy making sure that individuals on the Barack Obama Administration’s terrorist “hands off” list have no troubles getting into the country.

Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), a ranking Judiciary member, obtained a series of DHS emails that reveal the government has permitted individuals with direct ties to terrorist organizations such as Hamas, the Muslim Brotherhood, Hezbollah and others to enter the U.S.

One email even suggests that an individual with terror ties who knew he was on the list sued the Customs and Border Protection agency twice because “he’s one of the several hands off passengers nationwide.”

In a February letter to DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson, Grassley wrote: “I’m puzzled how someone could be a member of the Muslim Brotherhood and unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation trial, be an associate of [redacted], say that the US is staging car bombings in Iraq and that [it] is ok for men to beat their wives, question who was behind the 9/11 attacks, and be afforded the luxury of a visitor visa and de-watchlisted. It doesn’t appear that we’ll be successful with denying him entry tomorrow but maybe we could re-evaluate the matter in the future since the decision to de-watchlist him was made 17 months ago.”

Grassley is still awaiting answers from DHS officials. But in an April response the Senator received from CBP Commissioner Gil Kerlikowsk, Grassley was told that the list is a Justice Department matter.

“CBP does not have any list or other mechanism which would render an individual free of the grounds of inadmissibility or from any other inspection requirements, including secondary inspections,” Kerlikowske wrote.

The CBP official added, “The Terrorist Watchlist is maintained by the Terrorist Screening Center, which was created by the Attorney General and is administered by the Federal Bureau of Investigations. All questions related to the watchlist should therefore be referred to the Department of Justice for response.” Kerlikowske also offers to provide the Senator with a “more detailed briefing on the particular case cited in your letter, in the appropriate setting.” That means nothing will be put in writing so as to avoid any sort of future incrimination in the event the scandal blows wide open.

Bush 2016 Potential Means A Hopeless Future For American Conservatives

Two years out from the 2016 Presidential election, pundit speculation suggests that American voters are in for a battle between two political dynasties, with Hillary Clinton being the Democrats’ likely pick and former Florida Governor Jeb Bush as the GOP standard-bearer. Either outcome would be devastating for the Nation’s conservatives, especially considering the endorsements that Bush is already getting.

During a recent speaking engagement at the San Antonio Chamber of Commerce, House Speaker John Boehner said that, while it “is way too early” to pick a 2016 candidate, he is urging his friend Bush to run.

“Jeb Bush is my friend,” Boehner said. “I think he’d make a great president. And I’ve been nudging him for some time.”

Much of Boehner’s focus during a Q&A portion of the event was on his effort to force Republicans to take up immigration reform, a task that another Bush White House would certainly make easier.

“I do think we are getting closer on the policy side, in terms of how to deal with [immigration],” Boehner said. “The problem we’ve got is the president has to demonstrate that we can trust him.”

Boehner also told the audience that he’s confident he can retain his position as Speaker.

“I’m running for re-election,” Boehner said. “I expect I will be speaker.”

Meanwhile, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg also praised Bush in a recent interview with POLITICO. The former mayor said that he counts both potential candidates as close friends.

“Jeb’s on the board of the [Bloomberg] Foundation,” Bloomberg said. “I think he did a very good job on education in Florida. He’s good on education. He’s good on immigration, and he’s had the courage to stand up.”

He added: “I have no idea whether she’s going to run or he’ll run. … If the public had the choice between those two, I think there’s two quality people. And they’re very different … they just have very different views of what government is … [and] criticizing Jeb for some things is just as unfair as criticizing Hillary for some of these things.”

Journalist: Hillary Is ‘Banal, Corrupted, Drained Of Vibrancy’ And ‘A F*cking Hawk And Like A Neocon’

In a recent interview, Glenn Greenwald— the journalist instrumental in helping Edward Snowden leak classified national security documents last year— had some harsh words for Hillary Clinton and Americans likely to support her if she runs for President in 2016.

Greenwald told GQ that he hopes Clinton gets the Democratic nod so that Americans can learn from the mistake of blindly supporting candidates based on their race or sex and allowing the Nation to become a “de facto monarchy”:

The observations were made in response to a question about how he views all of the “early presidential jockeying” leading up to 2016:

Hillary is banal, corrupted, drained of vibrancy and passion. I mean, she’s been around forever, the Clinton circle. She’s a fucking hawk and like a neocon, practically. She’s surrounded by all these sleazy money types who are just corrupting everything everywhere. But she’s going to be the first female president, and women in America are going to be completely invested in her candidacy. Opposition to her is going to be depicted as misogynistic, like opposition to Obama has been depicted as racist. It’s going to be this completely symbolic messaging that’s going to overshadow the fact that she’ll do nothing but continue everything in pursuit of her own power. They’ll probably have a gay person after Hillary who’s just going to do the same thing.

I hope this happens so badly, because I think it’ll be so instructive in that regard. It’ll prove the point. Americans love to mock the idea of monarchy, and yet we have our own de facto monarchy. I think what these leaks did is, they demonstrated that there really is this government that just is the kind of permanent government that doesn’t get affected by election choices and that isn’t in any way accountable to any sort of democratic transparency and just creates its own world off on its own.

More from GQ.

The interview was part of a series of media appearances the journalist has made in the run-up to the Tuesday release of his new book about the NSA, “No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA, and the U.S. Surveillance State”.

Bill Introduced To Stop Lawmakers’ First Class Jett-Setting On Your Dime

Bipartisan legislation introduced in the House aims to keep lawmakers from wasting taxpayer dollars by traveling in luxury.

The bill, sponsored by Representatives John Barrow (D-Ga.), Walter Jones (R-N.C.), Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) and Raul Ruiz (D-Calif.), is called the “If Our Military Has to Fly Coach Then so Should Congress Act.

The bill would limit lawmakers and their staffs to booking coach seats when traveling on the taxpayer dime, except when disability or medical problems may require first class air travel.

“At a time of massive deficits and with a national debt in excess of $17 trillion, members of Congress should not be using taxpayers’ hard-earned money to buy luxury airline seats,” Gosar said.

He added, “If members of our military can’t fly first class using taxpayer funds, neither should members of Congress.”

The legislation may have been a response to a bill introduced last week by Representative Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) which only limited the amount of taxpayer funds that Congressmen could use for first class travel.

“As members of Congress, we lead by example,” Duckworth said. “With so many working families out there trying to make ends meet, it’s important that we not spend tax payer dollars on luxuries like first class air travel. This bill is a small step we can take to show the American people we are here to work for them.”

In a statement introducing the new, stricter first class travel ban for Congress, Barrow said, “It’s not enough to give lip service to cutting wasteful spending — we should set a good example. And not spending other people’s money on first class travel is a good place to start.”

Sunday News Show Roundup

Russia’s actions in Ukraine remained high on the list of topics for this week’s political talk show junket after Russian President Vladimir Putin took a trip to Crimea Friday in a move that many journalists and international watchers declared a victory lap. Talk about renewed Capitol Hill interest in the 2012 terror attacks in Benghazi, Libya, was also a hot topic Sunday.

Ukraine

Russian troops remain on the Ukrainian border. And Putin’s Friday visit to Crimea has intensified speculation that the Russian President is preparing to assert more force over a broader part of the region.

In a segment for ABC’s “This Week” which aired Sunday, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel didn’t classify Russia as an enemy to the U.S. but said the nation is an adversary with regard to the Ukrainian situation.

“It’s easy to categorize an enemy. We’re not at war with Russia. So do you define an enemy as being at war or not at war?” Hagel said. “An adversary in Ukraine, sure, but I think that’s a little simplistic to get into either enemy, friend, partner, so on.”

The Defense Secretary also said that it is clear that Russia isn’t planning to pull away from the Ukrainian conflict, a view backed by House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers (R., Mich.).

“The only thing we’ve really seen is that they’re pulling troops out, but for the sole purpose of rotating out their conscripts. They have two-year conscription there in Russia. Those two years are up for a lot of those forces along the border, so they’re really rotating them out,” Rogers said on CBS’s “Face the Nation.”

Hagel tried to walk back criticism from some in the U.S. and abroad that the Administration’s tepid response to the Russian advances on Ukraine portray American weakness.

“There is a sense out here by some that somehow America’s powers are eroding or we’re not going to use it or we’re too timid about it. I don’t believe that. I think were wise about how we’ve used our power.”

Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates, appearing on “Face The Nation” took a little bit of a different view, saying that foreign threats will multiply if the U.S. is perceived to be backing down from an international leadership role.

“I think the greatest national security threat to this country at this point is the two square miles that encompasses the Capitol building and the White House… I think that other countries are watching us very carefully,” Gates said. “Other countries, whether it’s Russia or China or Iran or North Korea, are looking to see if what they perceive as our withdrawal from international leadership presents them opportunities down the road that they can take advantage of.”

Gates suggested that Putin has long-term goals in Ukraine that are difficult for U.S. policymakers to respond to immediately.

“I don’t think he’ll rest until there’s a pro-Russian government in Kiev. Or a federated Ukraine where the eastern part of the country, for all practical purposes, looks to Russia,” he said.

“Our President is in a tough spot,” Gates continued. “We really have very few tactical options. There really is no military option, and in the short term there’s not a lot we can do. My view is if Putin’s playing a long-term game that’s what we need to do, and we need to figure out how we can push back on the periphery of Russia in terms of making sure those states have the independence to choose with whom they want to ally or have economic relations.”

Part of the U.S. strategy, according to the official, should be making major moves to break Russia’s economic stranglehold over nations in the region.

As the officials spoke on Sunday, referendums were held by pro-Russian troops to decide if two Ukrainian regions, Donetsk and Luhansk, want to become part of Kiev.

Benghazi

Last week, House Republicans set the wheels in motion for a new Congressional look at the 2012 Benghazi terror attack that resulted in the death of four Americans. On Sunday, Democrats doubled down on criticism that the GOP efforts to reinvigorate the Benghazi investigation is a political stunt.

Democratic National Committee chairwoman Debbie Wasserman-Schultz appeared on CNN’s “State of The Union”, saying that the new Benghazi committee’s findings have already been “predetermined” by its Republican organizers.

“The bottom line here is that the Republicans have clearly lost the ability because we’ve had such a precipitous drop among Republicans even in their fervor for repealing the Affordable Care Act,” said Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.). “They are clearly doing this to drive their turnout and gin up their base.”

California Democratic Representative Xavier Becerra echoed the chairwoman’s talking points, likening the GOP effort to a witch hunt and calling it a shameless fundraising effort.

“We’ve always said that we’re ready to participate [in the select committee process]. We have an oversight commitment to Congress,” Becerra said. “What we don’t want to see is reckless and irresponsible use of Congress and taxpayer money to do these witch-hunts.”

Last week it remained unclear whether Democrats would participate in the new Benghazi investigation. Representative Trey Gowdy, the South Carolina Republican appointed to head the select committee, said that Democrats should participate without fear of the GOP abusing the process.

“I don’t run my committees in the way that Democrats are fearful of,” the former prosecutor said on “Fox News Sunday.” “I want a process that you are welcome to draw different conclusions from the facts, but I want everyone to say it was fair, it was exhaustive, and we know more than we did when it started.”

Other Topics

Guests on the Sunday political talk shows also broached topics including new focus on President Bill Clinton’s White House sex scandal; gays in the military; the kidnapping of 200 girls in Nigeria by the terrorist organization Boko Haram last month; and, of course, the 2016 Presidential election.

Illinois Republican Representative Adam Kinzinger speaking about Hillary Clinton’s chances for 2016 amid new talk of Bill’s philandering: “I don’t think this is going to really affect Hillary,” he said on ABC, adding that her abysmal Secretary of State record does enough damage.

Hagel on whether the U.S. should rethink an LGBT military: “I do think it continually should be reviewed,” he said on “This Week.” “I’m open to that.”

Rogers on #BringBackOurGirls after the Nigeria kidnappings: “You can’t base your policy on what’s trending on Twitter. It has to be more than hashtags and selfies,” he said on “Face the Nation.”

Florida Republican Senator Marco Rubio criticizing Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) over setting up a potential 2016 Presidential bid: “If I decide to run for President, I will not have some sort of exit strategy to run for the Senate,” he said on “This Week”. “You don’t run for President with some eject button in the cockpit that allows you to run go on exit ramp if it doesn’t work out.”