Justice Alito will be key in challenging Obama’s power

From the L.A. Times:

A week after President Obama’s 2012 reelection, the conservative Federalist Society gathered 1,500 lawyers in black tie to hear one of their own, Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr., vow to hold the line against an ever-expanding federal government that “towers over people.”

He lambasted environmental regulators who fined an Idaho couple $75,000 a day for filling in part of their property that was declared “wetlands.” He derided Obama administration lawyers for telling a private Lutheran school whom it could hire as a religion teacher. And he complained that Obama’s healthcare law had “gutted” limits on the government’s power by forcing citizens to buy insurance.

The message was clear: Obama and the liberals might control the White House, but Alito and the Supreme Court’s other conservatives would have the final word on the law.

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10 key passages in Hillary Clinton’s book

From Politico:

Hillary Clinton’s eagerly-awaited memoir of her four years as secretary of State, “Hard Choices,” hits bookstores on Tuesday. And the hard choices Clinton recounts extended to what she chose to focus on in 635-page tome: She writes in detail about the election of Iran President Hassan Rouhani, which happened after she left State, but pays only fleeting attention to the Edward Snowden leaks and NSA spying controversy, which also came a few months after her departure. But the book unquestionably covers a lot of ground. Here’s a look at some of the key passages in the book, a copy of which was obtained by POLITICO.

The Iraq War vote

Clinton writes that she was “wrong” to vote to authorize the war — she has said as much in the past, but the book offers her most definitive statement on the matter.

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How Do We Quantify Victory for Neel Kashkari?

Despite his advancing to a November runoff against Gov. Jerry Brown, it’s hard to find anyone who thinks Republican Neel Kashkari will be California’s next governor.

So, how do we quantify victory for Kashkari come November? Would it be progress only if he gets a higher percentage of the vote than the 42% Meg Whitman received in 2010? Maybe progress should be measured by whether or not he wins 30% of the Latino vote?Neel Kashkari

There is a strong case to be made that the state Republican Party has already punched above its political weight by nominating Kashkari. Though it remains unclear exactly what Kashkari stands for, it’s clear what he is not. He is not Tim Donnelly, and the California Republican Party, such as it is, affirmed this week that it is not Tim Donnelly’s party.

That flies contrary to the perception among many Californians, who see the state and national GOP as increasingly out of sync with their beliefs . Donnelly was still the odds-on favorite around the water coolers I frequent. I confess that when the Los Angeles Times poll emerged last week showing Kashkari running ahead of his more conservative challenger, I was skeptical. The numbers presented didn’t mesh with my personal hunch, and in this case, my hunch was wrong and the numbers were right.

So the GOP is not the party of the Minutemen. Great. Now it’s up to Kashkari to help define what the party is.

Clearly, Kashkari helps the business community feel at ease, and his win is a victory for the “GOP establishment,” the new catch-phrase of this election season. The national GOP civil war over the last decade has been between the Tea Party and the business community. The federal government was shut down despite strong objections from the United States Chamber of Commerce. Big business is what people mean when they say the Republican establishment, and Kashkari was and is the establishment candidate.

Kashkari has said rebuilding the party is among his top priorities. Other GOP statewide officials like Arnold Schwarzenegger and Steve Poizner quickly lost patience with this exercise. The party they wrestled with during the last decade would have never made the choice it did Tuesday night. Kashkari’s victory is a hopeful sign the party is ready to rebuild.

Though he is a political newcomer, Kashkari has an opportunity to help rebuild the party in his image. At the beginning of this campaign, Kashkari spent a lot of time talking about the millions of Californians still living in poverty. Our topline revenues are balanced, thanks to our high taxes on the wealthy and large number of rich people in the state. But just below the surface, there are signs of stress. Double-digit unemployment in inland areas. An estimated 11 million people on MediCal. Economic recovery in Latino and African American areas lagging far behind the white, affluent coastal regions.

As Kashkari found himself in a more traditional Republican primary, that message was pushed to the background. His primary triumph was rooted in a wood-chopping message of budget cuts and eliminating high-speed rail.

By Wednesday morning, he was back on poverty, moving toward the middle. Here’s hoping that continues. If Kashkari is able to focus on poverty in a thoughtful way, he may help shape not only his own party, but the Democrats as well.

It’s a lot to ask. Campaigns do not lend themselves to thoughtful conversations. But they can help focus the public. Any way that Neel Kashkari can push Brown to speak out and raise the alarm on issues effecting the poor – and begin a debate between the parties about how to solve those problems – will be a victory for millions of Californians, no matter what the final vote total.

Anthony York is the President and Publisher of Grizzly Bear Media and has worked for the Los Angeles Times. This was originally posted on Foxandhoundsdaily.com. 


Koch Brothers Support UNCF, Reid Silent

Charles and David Koch have made a big $25 million donation to the United Negro College Fund (UNCF), the organization announced Friday.

The UNCF is the largest provider of scholarships to black college students in the U.S. and also supports historically black colleges and universities. The $25 million donation is the fifth-largest ever received by the group.440px-Harry_Reid_SCHIP

Democrats, in particular Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada, have fought hard to vilify the brothers in the past several years due to their extensive support for libertarian and conservative political causes.

Reid’s official Senate website has an entire page dedicated to attacking them, accusing them of seeking to destroy Social Security and of wanting to dismantle public education for supporting vouchers. Reid has also called the brothers “un-American” and said they are “trying to buy America.”

The donation, which is being made by Koch Industries Inc. as well as the Charles Koch Foundation, will be split between $18.5 million that will support a new Koch Scholars Program of nearly 3,000 individual scholarships and $6.5 million that will provide general support to the UNCF and historically black colleges. The Koch Scholars Program will run for seven years.

“Increasing well-being by helping people improve their lives has long been our focus. Our partnership with UNCF will provide promising students with new educational opportunities that will help them reach their full potential. We have tremendous respect for UNCF, and we are hopeful this investment will further its effectiveness in helping students pursue their dreams,” Charles Koch said in a statement published by UNCF.

Michael Lomax, president and CEO of UNCF, told the Associated Press that he’s happy to take the donation regardless of the ire it may raise from those who dislike the Kochs’ politics.

“Criticism is a small price for helping young people get the chance to realize their dream of a college education, and if I’ve got to bear the brunt of someone else’s criticism to ensure that we have the resources to help those students, then I can handle it,” Lomax said.

The philanthropic donation isn’t the first or the largest made by the Kochs. Charles Koch has given money to over 250 colleges and universities through his eponymous foundation, while David Koch has given over $200 million to support cancer research, including over $100 million to support a the cancer research center at MIT that is named for him.

Reid’s office did not respond to The Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.


U.S. Plans Direct Talks With Iran on Nuclear Program

From Bloomberg:

The U.S. will hold direct talks with Iran this week at a critical juncture in the international effort to ensure the Islamic Republic doesn’t develop nuclear weapons. Deputy Secretary of State William J. Burns and Undersecretary for Political Affairs Wendy R. Sherman will lead a U.S. delegation that will meet with Iranian officials tomorrow and the next day in Geneva, according to the State Department.

Iran’s foreign ministry confirmed the talks and announced separate meetings with Russian officials to be held June 11-12 inRome, the official Islamic Republic News Agency reported.

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Iran Obama Nuclear Bomb

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Colleges become the victims of progressivism

From the Washington Post:

Colleges and universities are being educated by Washington and are finding the experience excruciating. They are learning that when they say campus victimizations are ubiquitous (“micro-aggressions,” often not discernible to the untutored eye, are everywhere), and that when they make victimhood a coveted status that confers privileges, victims proliferate. And academia’s progressivism has rendered it intellectually defenseless now that progressivism’s achievement, the regulatory state, has decided it is academia’s turn to be broken to government’s saddle. Consider the supposed campus epidemic of rape, a.k.a. “sexual assault.” Herewith, a Philadelphia magazine report about Swarthmore College, where in 2013 a student “was in her room with a guy with whom she’d been hooking up for three months”:
“They’d now decided — mutually, she thought — just to be friends. When he ended up falling asleep on her bed, she changed into pajamas and climbed in next to him. Soon, he was putting his arm around her and taking off her clothes. ‘I basically said, “No, I don’t want to have sex with you.” And then he said, “OK, that’s fine” and stopped. . . . And then he started again a few minutes later, taking off my panties, taking off his boxers. I just kind of laid there and didn’t do anything — I had already said no. I was just tired and wanted to go to bed. I let him finish. I pulled my panties back on and went to sleep.’”(Read Full Article)


With Nuclear Talks Sputtering, U.S. and Iran Plan Meeting

From the New York TimesL

WASHINGTON — Senior American officials plan to meet in Geneva on Monday and Tuesday with an Iranian delegation in an attempt to advance the stalled nuclear talks, the State Department announced on Saturday. The meeting is particularly noteworthy because the American delegation will include William J. Burns, the deputy secretary of state, and Jacob J. Sullivan, the national security adviser to Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. Mr. Burns led the Obama administration’s back-channel talks with Iranian officials last year that led to an interim agreement in November to freeze much of Iran’s nuclear program. Mr. Sullivan also participated in those discussions.

“We believe we need to engage in as much active diplomacy as we can to test whether we can reach a diplomatic solution with Iran on its nuclear program,” a senior Obama administration official said. “These consultations come at an important juncture of the negotiations.”

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Photo courtesy of x-ray delta one, flickr

Photo courtesy of x-ray delta one, flickr

Obama’s Green Gamble

From the Economist:

WITH a metallic gasp, the chute opens its metal jaws and deposits precisely 230,000 pounds of coal into the railway car. The pour is carefully calibrated to create an aerodynamically efficient heap; sealant is sprayed evenly across the coal’s surface to limit dust release. Fully loaded, the car moves along to be replaced by another; it takes two-and-a-half hours to load the two-mile-long train. Four trains, each carrying 15,000 tonnes of coal, leave the Spring Creek mine in Montana every day, often destined for midwestern power plants, where the fuel is burned to light the homes and power the kettles of Minnesotans and Michiganders. Some goes elsewhere, including to a Canadian port, bound for China or South Korea.

Coal mining in the Powder River Basin, which straddles Montana and Wyoming, has been economical only since the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) began regulating sulphur dioxide in 1990; coal from eastern states is far more sulphurous. But a new rule from the EPA may be less well received here; on June 2nd it unveiled a proposal to cut emissions of carbon dioxide from power plants, which account for 39% of overall emissions, by 30% from their 2005 level by 2030. To reach that goal, each state (bar Vermont, which has no fossil-fuel plants and is therefore exempt) has been handed its own target. These vary widely: Washington must cut the carbon intensity of its energy production by 72%; North Dakota by only 11%. Comments will be solicited before the rule is finalised next year. Lawsuits are inevitable.

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Michelle Obama

‘Reform conservatives’ take on GOP

From Politico:

With the Republican Party’s establishment and tea party wings busy attacking each other, and no standard-bearer emerging for the White House, a group of intellectuals calling themselves “reform conservatives” are maneuvering to seize the party’s 2016 policy agenda. In the process, they’ve set off a lively, intensifying debate in recent weeks over whether today’s GOP can be reformed at all.

The policy wonks — led by thinkers including Peter Wehner, Yuval Levin, and Ramesh Ponnuru — are circulating their economics-focused ideas with the express goal of influencing 2016 presidential contenders, and some of those potential candidates have been cautiously receptive. Rep. Paul Ryan, for instance, tweeted that their proposals are “good food for thought;” Sen. Marco Rubio’s spokeswoman said he believes the ideas “can ensure that the next generation of Americans have more opportunities for success”; and Indiana Gov. Mike Pence told POLITICO that he has “great appreciation for the efforts of reform minded conservatives.”

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