As of now, I am in control here, in the White House

White House Refuses to Say it Will Veto Planned Parenthood Defund

This was weird, I thought.

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest, despite looking a little weary from the Africa trip, was clearly ready for this question. And yet he declined to confirm a veto, saying only that the White House would “oppose” legislation defunding Planned Parenthood.

It may seem minor, but I can tell you from years of watching the White House, that’s a distinction with a difference.

QUESTION: Would President Obama veto any bill that would defund Planned Parenthood — defund it either in whole or defund it in part? Is that sort of a principle here?

EARNEST: Well, I know that there has been an effort on the part of some Republicans to try to play some politics with some selectively edited videos. This is a tactic that we have seen used before. The President obviously does not support that ongoing effort. And I don’t have a blanket principle to share with you, but I can tell you that, on balance, the President would not be supportive of any sort of congressional act done.

QUESTION: But he wouldn’t go so far as to say he would veto any effort that would include that?

EARNEST:  Well, again, it’s apparent that Republicans are just getting started in that effort, and that is an effort that we oppose.

Video || Cruz Plays Silly Games at Iran Deal Hearing

I thought you might want to see this video of Sen. Ted Cruz during Wednesday’s Iran deal hearing messing around with top Obama Cabinet officials, including the annoying Secretary of State John Kerry and the somehow even more annoying Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz.

It’s too bad Cruz chose to use up his time sanctimoniously grandstanding with gotcha games designed to generate media attention instead of asking serious questions. Typical Cruz. But it is kind of funny to see how he got everyone all flummoxed, to the point one of them knocks over their name card.

WSJ: Swiss Bank Stepped Up Clinton Giving After Hillary Help

Updated 4:36 pm ET

Hillary Clinton. Job creator.

That’s right, she’ll be creating jobs for investigative journalists for years to come.

Here’s the latest in suspicious activity related to Mrs. Clinton, courtesy of the Wall Street Journal:

A few weeks after Hillary Clinton was sworn in as secretary of state in early 2009, she was summoned to Geneva by her Swiss counterpart to discuss an urgent matter. The Internal Revenue Service was suing UBS AG to get the identities of Americans with secret accounts.

If the case proceeded, Switzerland’s largest bank would face an impossible choice: Violate Swiss secrecy laws by handing over the names, or refuse and face criminal charges in U.S. federal court.

Within months, Mrs. Clinton announced a tentative legal settlement—an unusual intervention by the top U.S. diplomat. UBS ultimately turned over information on 4,450 accounts, a fraction of the 52,000 sought by the IRS, an outcome that drew criticism from some lawmakers who wanted a more extensive crackdown.

From that point on, UBS’s engagement with the Clinton family’s charitable organization increased. Total donations by UBS to the Clinton Foundation grew from less than $60,000 through 2008 to a cumulative total of about $600,000 by the end of 2014, according the foundation and the bank.

The bank also joined the Clinton Foundation to launch entrepreneurship and inner-city loan programs, through which it lent $32 million. And it paid former president Bill Clinton $1.5 million to participate in a series of question-and-answer sessions with UBS Wealth Management Chief Executive Bob McCann, making UBS his biggest single corporate source of speech income disclosed since he left the White House.

There is no evidence of any link between Mrs. Clinton’s involvement in the case and the bank’s donations to the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation, or its hiring of Mr. Clinton. But her involvement with UBS is a prime example of how the Clintons’ private and political activities overlap.

Well, coincidences do happen. And with the Clinton’s lots of coincidences happen at the same time.

What coincidence!

UPDATE: Clinton denies any wrongdoing.

More Crummy Economic Growth

Why aren’t Republicans running on the economy? If It’s the economy, stupid, is the way to get elected president, then why are Republicans being stupid? Why don’t you hear them talking about the economy ALL THE TIME.

It’s because the nation has bought into the White House spin, accepted by the press, that the economy was saved by President Obama and is doing pretty well, all things considered.

Well let’s consider this. Today, the Commerce Department announced that the economy grew 2.3 percent in the second quarter, AFTER the cold weather that supposedly keeps freezing economic growth went away. That puts growth this year so far at 1.5 percent, compared to 1.9 percent at the same point last year, which was really bad then.

Actually, the Wall Street Journal says the winter this year wasn’t to blame at all. It was a bunch of standard stuff that drives – or stalls – the economy:

Unlike last year, when much of the first-quarter weakness was blamed on unusually harsh winter weather, this year’s slower growth reflected a range of factors, including a stronger dollar, sluggish business investment and lackluster consumer spending. Thursday’s report showed some of those pressures may be starting to ease.

Economists surveyed by the Journal had expected 2.7 percent growth for the second quarter, which isn’t great either. Solid growth is somewhere above 3 percent. GDP growth averaged around 3 percent under Ronald Reagan, including the lousy economy he inherited from Jimmy Carter and the recession at the beginning of his term.

What’s more, Reagan launched a boom that lasted basically until 2008.

Things keep looking worse. According to the Journal, “From 2012 through 2014, GDP increased at an average annual rate of 2 percent, according to three years of revised figures Commerce released Thursday, a 0.3 percentage-point downgrade from prior estimates.”

The White House was beaming with pride.

“Real GDP rose faster in the second quarter than in the first, even after a large upward revision to first-quarter growth,” said White House Council of Economic Advisors Chairman Jason Furman. The “large upward revision” was an increase from 0.2 percent to 0.6 percent. Fantastic, don’t you think?

Where is George W. Bush? Can someone find him in Texas? We need to blame him for this economy. I know it’s been six and a half years since he was president, but that’s no excuse. We can’t possibly attribute this catastrophe to The One.

Poll: Trump Scores Twice as Much Support as Bush

Well, so much for the predictions by the Washington cognoscenti that Donald Trump’s comments about John McCain not being a hero – a flip aside which he basically corrected a few sentences later, BTW – would destroy his campaign. What the prognosticators didn’t understand is that McCain is deeply unpopular among conservatives, even if his… Continue Reading

Chamber Plan to Oust Conservatives Will Stir the Base

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is threatening to run primary challenges against incumbent conservative members of the House of Representatives. The Chamber has had it with conservatives mucking up their agenda on issues like immigration reform, the Export-Import Bank reauthorization, and highway spending, as Politico reported. The group is ready to start picking off troublemakers.… Continue Reading