Friday, July 25, 2014

Democrats’ Strategy: Divert Media from Big Donors’ Big Gifts

Democrats’ Strategy: Divert Media from Big Donors’ Big GiftsBy Clark S. Judge: managing director, White House Writers Group; chairman, Pacific Research Institute
I’m sure you’ve seen all of the analysis about why Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is leading a war on the Koch brothers. Energize the Democrats big donors and, as part of the party’s continuing class warfare strategy, make two billionaires the face of the GOP – those are the principal reasons pundits flag. I have a third – divert attention.
To explain, let me start with a personal recollection. In the late ‘90s, during the Clinton impeachment, I was working on an unrelated matter with members of the special prosecutor’s staff. These lawyers never breathed a word about testimony given in the grand jury’s chambers, but they had plenty to say about the White House’s defense strategy.
Grand jury testimony is supposed to be secret and defense lawyers are excluded from the courtroom. So to keep as much control of the proceedings as possible, the president’s team had assigned an attorney to every member of the administration called to testify. The witnesses were coached in advance on what to say and (in violation of federal rules) intensively debriefed immediately after their appearances. The strategy was to use what was learned from each day’s debriefings to coach the next day’s witnesses. In other words, Team Clinton conspired to obstruct justice.
As I listened to those prosecutors so long ago, I did a quick calculation and realized the plot must have been hatched just as Mrs. Clinton went on the Today Show and charged that a “vast right-wing conspiracy” was out to get her husband. “So that’s what they were up to,” I thought. “Inoculate yourself from accusations of conspiracy by accusing your opponents first.”
This past week, Powerline (http://bit.ly/VTjloZ) and the Washington Free Beacon (http://bit.ly/1m0spgY) both carried stories about what Powerline termed a “left-wing conspiracy” of big-time ultra-liberal donors called the Democracy Alliance. Apparently the (in the Free Beacon’s term) “shadowy fundraising operation” met in Chicago in April. Someone was careless enough to leave papers and meeting notes behind, which ultimately made their way to the two online outlets.
According to Powerline, “The Alliance consists of approximately 100 rich liberals who have taken upon themselves the task of coordinating America’s many-left-wing organization to promote a single radical agenda.”
The Democratic Party has long been far more dependent on big donors that the GOP. Even in the age of online fundraising, at which the Democrats have given the appearance of excelling, the circumvention of reporting rules by the Obama campaign and its allies has left questions. Were the enormous but untraceable small gifts received via the web in 2008 and 2012 actually the product of high tech laundering of a handful of major donor contributions?
But according to the notes, the Democracy Alliance is about to take high-end giving to an entirely new level. Per the Free Beacon, the organization’s president, Gara LaMarch, “called on attendees to provide, through the DA, ‘the hundreds of millions of dollars that will be necessary to make a serious effort’ to elect Democratic candidates and enact more liberal policies.”
Senator Reid’s attacks on the Kochs began well before April, but seemed to grow in frequency and ferocity in March just as the Democratic Alliance was preparing to sound the charge for its billionaires’ brigade. It is hard to avoid the suspicion that the assaults were calculated to divert media attention from the truly tsunami-level wave of dollars that was about to overwhelm the 2014 campaign
To be sure, big money on the left is nothing new. Where would Marx have been without Engels? And there are other coordinating groups of mega-wealthy left-wing givers, the Environmental Grantmakers Association, for example. In 2007 alone, according to its website, the members of this consortium of 200 foundations “gave more than one billion to environmental causes,” few, if any, it appears, for the market-oriented, property-rights-honoring variety.
The sad fact about all this is not just the hypocrisy of Senator Reid (what’s new there), nor the explicit and repugnant attacks on the First Amendment from other Democratic senators that have arisen at the same time. What makes me, at least, really shake my head is the ease with which the Democrats get the media to chase their rabbits. Think of how a tweeted word “lies” in the middle of Paul Ryan’s 2012 convention speech shaped the story of that address. Ryan’s text was, as it happened, 100 percent true. But you wouldn’t have known that from the media coverage that evening and the next day.
The story here is not just about the crony character of the Democratic Party. It is about the character of contemporary media – and it is hardly a happy one.

THE DEMOCRATS’ EFFORT TO DRIVE CONSERVATIVES OUT OF POLITICS RAMPS UP IN THE SENATE

THE DEMOCRATS’ EFFORT TO DRIVE CONSERVATIVES OUT OF POLITICS RAMPS UP IN THE SENATE

BY JOHN HINDERAKER IN CAMPAIGN FINANCE REGULATION
The Democratic Party is engaged in a long-term, multi-faceted effort to drive conservative money out of politics so that competing messages won’t be heard. There is evidence that the Democrats’ campaign is succeeding, as David Drucker notes at the Washington Examiner:
The Wall Street Journal reported this month that the largest Democratic-aligned super PACs had raised $82 million so far this election cycle, compared to just $47 million for the largest Republican-affiliated super PACs.
Why is that? Because super PACs are required to disclose their donors, and Republican contributors fear reprisals from the Obama administration:
Democratic super PACs have outraised their Republican counterparts by millions, a factor attributed in part to GOP donors’ fear of being targeted by the Internal Revenue Service — or “getting Koch’ed.” …
[T]his election cycle, two new challenges have chilled GOP super PACs’ effort to raise cash from wealthy individuals and corporate donors: anxiety that they could get slapped with an IRS audit and unease that donating could lead to public demonization.
The former concern has arisen in the wake of revelations that the IRS has targeted conservative groups for extra scrutiny and leaked confidential information about their contributors. The latter is tied to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s relentless attacks on Charles and David Koch.
Democrats don’t fear disclosure because Republicans don’t try to misuse the powers of government to attack Democratic donors, nor do they organize boycotts of Democratic contributors. And, in any event, the Republicans aren’t in power.
But Republicans have found a way to even the playing field, somewhat, by donating to 501(c)(4) organizations. Drucker writes:
But politically oriented nonprofit organizations that support Republican policies have had no problem raising money this cycle, and are in fact doing better than their Democratic counterparts. Republican operatives say that’s because, unlike super PACs, these nonprofits, classified as 501(c)(4) organizations by the IRS, don’t have to disclose their donors.
A 501(c)(4) organization isn’t as effective as a super PAC:
The problem for Republicans is that federal law limits what kind of political activity nonprofits can engage in, and how much of the their resources can be devoted to politics. In turn, a 501(c)(4) is much less effective at influencing campaigns than a super PAC.
Still, 501(c)(4)s have allowed Republicans to stay reasonably competitive. The Democrats’ response has been to make war on 501(c)(4)s. This is what the IRS scandal is all about: the Democrats were enraged because Republicans had found a way to engage in politics without risking retribution from the Obama administration, so the IRS, acting on suggestions from Democratic Senator Sheldon Whitehouse and others, tried to drive them out of business.
That effort had considerable success, as many Tea Party groups and other conservative organizations were sidelined for the 2012 election. But it eventually ran into trouble when the IRS’s lawless conduct became public knowledge. Now, the Democrats are attempting a frontal attack on 501(c)(4)s. They have proposed a bill they call the DISCLOSE Act. The original version of the law applied only to companies that do business with the federal government, and required them to disclose all politically-oriented contributions. The most recent version of the bill, which you can read here, simply takes away the confidentiality that has always been accorded 501(c)(4)s. Along with various other disclosure requirements, it would require all such organizations that make “campaign-related disbursements” to disclose the identities of all donors of $10,000 or more. This will close the “loophole” that allows conservatives to participate in public affairs without running the risk of government retaliation, public vilification, death threats, and so on. It is noteworthy that the DISCLOSE Act applies only to 501(c)(4) non-profits. 501(c)(3)s would still not be required to disclose donors.
Next Wednesday, the Senate Committee on Rules and Administration, chaired by Chuck Schumer, will hold a hearing on the DISCLOSE Act. The Democrats’ witnesses will be Professor Heather Gerken and Professor Dan Tokaji. Their participation in the hearing starkly reveals the Democrats’ hypocrisy with regard to donor disclosure.
Heather Gerken is a member of the Scholars Strategy Network, a left-wing 501(c)(3) organization that does not disclose its donors, and will not be required to do so by the DISCLOSE Act. Gerken and Tokaji are both active in the American Constitution Society, a liberal analog to the Federalist Society that is also a 501(c)(3) that does not disclose its donors, and would not be required to do so by the DISCLOSE Act. In truth, the Democrats’ entire campaign against “dark money” is funded by “dark money.”
The Democrats would say that 501(c)(3)s don’t need to disclose donors because they don’t engage in campaign activity. But they certainly do engage in politics. This takes us back to the Democracy Alliance, about which we wrote here. The Democracy Alliance is composed of around 100 rich liberals. In the current election cycle, it hopes that its members will contribute several hundred million dollars to advance liberal causes and help elect Democrats. The Alliance is a 501(c)(3) organization that does not disclose its donors [Correction: It is a taxable non-profit organized in the District of Columbia that does not disclose its donors].
Alliance members support more than 100 liberal organizations, of which the Scholars Strategy Network is one. But there are 21 left-wing groups that comprise the inner circle and receive the largest amount of Democracy Alliance support. The American Constitution Society, in which Heather Gerken and Dan Tokaji are participants, is one of these favored 21 groups. Is the ACS a political organization? By its own account, yes.
The American Constitution Society gave the Democracy Alliance a fundraising pitch that is summarized in the Alliance meeting documents that we obtained. In its fundraising appeal, the American Constitution Society took credit for swinging the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, the most important federal court after the Supreme Court, to Democratic control. It did this by laying the foundation for Harry Reid’s changes in the Senate’s filibuster rules, changes which Reid previously had opposed. Click to enlarge:
ACS1
More:
ACS2
So the witnesses who will testify before the Senate committee next week are Democratic Party activists, members of a group that has taken credit (privately, anyway) for changes in the Senate’s rules and the composition of the nation’s second most powerful court–all funded with millions of dollars of anonymous “dark money.” (Parenthetically, one can only imagine–actually, one probably can’t imagine–the hue and cry that would result if the Federalist Society made similar claims to political and judicial influence.)
The Democracy Alliance, the Scholars Strategy Network and the American Constitution Society are not alone in relying on “dark money.” On the contrary, just about every well-known left-wing organization, from Media Matters to the Nation to the Center for American Progress, is a 501(c)(3) that does not disclose its donors, and would not be required to do so by the DISCLOSE Act.
The Democrats’ hypocrisy on the subject of “dark money” is important, and one hopes that Republican members of the Senate Committee on Rules and Administration will have the wit to point it out. But the much more significant issue is the Democrats’ effort to drive conservatives out of politics. Never before–certainly not in the modern era–have Americans had to worry that if they exercise their First Amendment rights, they may be subjected to government harassment or even criminal investigation, their companies may be attacked, mobs may descend on their lawns, and their lives may be threatened. In today’s world, those are the consequences of contributing to Republican candidates and conservative causes. The Democrats want to use such threats to intimidate conservatives and thereby dominate public life, and the DISCLOSE Act is merely the latest effort in that direction.

http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2014/07/the-democrats-effort-to-drive-conservatives-out-of-politics-ramps-up-in-the-senate.php

Black Americans: The True Casualties of Amnesty

Black Americans: The True Casualties of Amnesty Democrats throw black voters under the bus. 



 



O
ne of the sleeper issues surrounding the debate on amnesty for illegal immigrants – an inconvenient one that no proponent of a widespread amnesty wishes to acknowledge – is the devastating effect so-called immigration reform will have on African Americans.
The black unemployment rate is almost 11 percent, far higher than that of any other group profiled by labor statistics. African Americans are disproportionately employed in lower-skilled jobs – the very same jobs immigrants take. As Steven Camarota asked in a recent column, why double immigration when so many people already aren’t working?
Who will be harmed most by amnesty? African-Americans.
The issue resurfaced this week when a YouTube video emerged of two young African-Americans confronting pro-illegal-immigration demonstrators in Murrieta, California. Murrieta is one of the towns in which undocumented minors are being relocated — and supporters are squaring off with protestors.
The young man argues:
If somebody brought six children to your house and you ain’t got no job, are you gonna take them in?… What are you gonna do? Are you gonna try to go out there and take care of these children AND the children you got already that you can’t take care of?… What are we going to do for the people who are here who are starving already?… We got our OWN people that are starving and hungry…. Why would we add to the problem?!
He also laments the problems in black neighborhoods where prices “are upped on everything” after large groups of immigrants move in.
 The young woman argues:
It’s just too much…. We already have our own poor people. Starvation, kids walking with no shoes…. We don’t need other people’s kids to bring more problems…. You’re gonna watch America go spiraling down… We’re already in debt as it is. [Now] we’re gonna need more money to support these kids.
Why are Democratic politicians disregarding the concerns and needs of black Americans in a push to address the concerns and needs… of foreigners? Amnesty proponents speak of the need to grant others a better life – but what of the need to  look out for our fellow Americans? What of those black Americans whose ancestors quite literally built this nation through the sweat of their brows?
Instead, Democrats are chucking aside black voters in their rush to lock in the Latino vote (or so they’re hoping). Taken for granted as a given come election-time, blacks are now actively harmed as the Democrats vow to grow their voting base through importing more and more of what they see as future blue-voters. It’s the husband who leaves his wife of 30 years: ‘We had a good run, honey, but I’ve found someone new.’
Black attorney and member of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights Peter Kirsanow, serves as one of the lone voices of reason, repeatedly outlining the harm amnesty will cause black Americans. In a 2013 letter to the Congressional Black Caucus, he wrote: “The obvious question is whether there are sufficient jobs in the low-skilled labor market for both African-Americans and illegal immigrants. The answer is no.” Kirsanow’s statistics demonstrate the way in which immigration impacts the wages and employment opportunities of black males and hurts the black community.
But no one seems to listen to Kirsanow.
Meanwhile, the harm to African Americans is not limited to reduced wages, greater competition for jobs, and declining household incomes – now even the black history of suffering is being diluted. Liberal columnist and CNN pundit Sally Kohn penned a column last week arguing that the term ‘illegal immigrant’ is the same as the N-word. Kohn, is usually fair-minded and reasoned in her arguments, lumping black Americans’ unique history and suffering with that of certain Latino immigrants is absurd and offensive. Consider that the N-word was used to describe a person who was whipped daily,   while ‘illegal immigrant’ is a word used to describe a person who receives free education (even in-state tuition!), housing, driver’s licenses, legal aid, food, and healthcare. To even claim the two words are similar is an unthinkable affront – and insult – to African-Americans.
Senator Jeff Sessions’s recent National Review column  “On Immigration, It’s Time to Defend Americans,” hits the nail on the head. Sessions notes:
Harvard professor George Borjas estimated that high immigration rates from 1980 to 2000 resulted in a 7.4 percent wage reduction for lower-skilled American workers…. The Center for Immigration Studies issued a study based on Census data showing that “since 2000 all of the net gain in the number of working-age (16 to 65) people holding a job has gone to immigrants.”… If mass immigration is so good for the economy, why then — during this long sustained period of record immigration into the U.S. — are incomes falling and a record number of Americans not working?
Birthright citizenship is already bad enough; largely refusing to deport illegal immigrants is already bad enough.But now, we’ve upped the ante even further. Overburdened taxpayers, including black taxpayers, are covering the cost to feed, clothe and educate illegals, and black Americans face the additional burden of having their historic suffering belittled and their precarious circumstances made even worse.
Democrats have built a brand as the party willing to stand up for black Americans, but the amnesty push shows what a false promise that was. The message to black voters is: “Yes, your ancestors endured unimaginable hardships and helped build this country, and we said we’d help you out. But now we have a new trophy wife.”
— A. J. Delgado is a conservative writer and lawyer. She writes about politics and culture.

http://www.nationalreview.com/article/382338/black-americans-true-casualties-amnesty-j-delgad
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Thursday, July 24, 2014

America Won’t Be Good without God

America Won’t Be Good without God


On page 563 of his latest biography — John Quincy Adams: American Visionary — author Fred Kaplan (biographer of Abraham Lincoln, Charles Dickens, Mark Twain, and Gore Vidal among others) cites this insight of the sixth president:
Christianity had, all in all, he believed, been a civilizing force, “checking and controlling the anti-social passions of man.”
That insight is pretty much all an American needs to know in order to understand why the American Founders considered religion — specifically ethical monotheism rooted in the Hebrew Bible — indispensable to the American experiment; and why the America we have known since 1776 is in jeopardy.
It is easy to respect secular Americans who hold fast to the Constitution and to American values generally. And any one of us who believes in God can understand why some people, given all the unjust suffering in the world, just cannot believe that there is a Providential Being.
But one cannot respect the view that America can survive without the religious beliefs and values that shaped it. The argument that there are moral secularists and moral atheists is a non sequitur. Of course there are moral Americans devoid of religion. So what? There were moral people who believed in Jove. But an America governed by Roman religion would not be the America that has been the beacon of freedom and the greatest force for good in the world.
In order to understand why, one only need understand John Quincy Adams’s insight: How will we go about “checking and controlling the anti-social passions of man” without traditional American religious beliefs?
There are two possible responses:
One is that most Americans (or people generally, but we are talking about America here) do not have anti-social passions.
The other is that most Americans (again, like all other human beings) do have anti-social passions, but the vast majority of us can do a fine job checking and controlling them without religion as it has been practiced throughout American history.
These are views with which virtually every American who attends secular high school or university is explicitly and implicitly indoctrinated.
Both are wrong. And not just wrong, but foolish — and lethal to the American experiment.
To deny that human beings are filled with anti-social passions defies reality and betrays a lack of self-awareness. One has to be taught nonsense for a great many formative years to believe it.
If we weren’t born with anti-social passions — narcissism, envy, lust, meanness, greed, hunger for power, just to name the more obvious — why the need for so many laws, whether religious or secular, that govern behavior?
The second objection is that, even if we do have anti-social passions, we don’t need a God or religion in order to control them. Only moral primitives, the argument goes, need either a judging God or a religious set of rules. The Enlightened can do fine without them and need only to consult their faculty of reason and conscience to know how to behave.
Our prisons are filled with people whose consciences are quite at peace with their criminal behavior. As for reason, they used it well — to figure out how to get away with everything from murder to white-collar crime.
But our prisons are not filled with religious Jewish and Christian murderers. On the contrary, if all Americans attended church weekly, we would need far fewer prisons; and the ones we needed would have very few murderers in them.
Meanwhile the record of the godless and non-Christianity crowd is awful. I am not simply referring to the godless and secular Communist regimes of the 20th century that committed virtually every genocide of those hundred years. I am referring to those Americans (and Europeans) who use reason to argue, among other foolish things: that good and evil are subjective societal or individual opinions; that gender is purely a social construct and therefore the male and female distinction is of no importance; that marriage isn’t important and is just a piece of paper invented by the religious to keep women down; that a human fetus, even when it has a beating heart, a formed human body, and a conscious brain, has less of a right to life than a cat; and that men, let alone fathers, aren’t necessary. (Think no one really believes the latter? See, for example, The Atlantic’s “Are Fathers Necessary?” and the New York Times’s “Men, Who Needs Them?”) And that is a short list.
For proof of the moral and intellectual consequences of the secularization of America, look at what has happened to the least religious institution in America, the university. Is that the future we want for the whole country

http://www.dennisprager.com/america-wont-good-without-god/


Article originally posted on NationalReview.com

Global Temperature Standstill Lengthens: No global warming for 17 years 10 months – Since Sept. 1996 (214 months)

Global Temperature Standstill Lengthens: No global warming for 17 years 10 months – Since Sept. 1996 (214 months)


By:  - Climate DepotJuly 3, 2014 11:00 AM

Jeff Sessions on the Border Crisis

Jeff Sessions on the Border Crisis
by John Hinderaker in Immigration

For some time now, Senator Jeff Sessions has been the Cassandra of the illegal immigration issue–always right, but rarely heeded. Today he had a brief op-ed in USA Today that is so cogent that it deserves to be reproduced in full:
The crisis on our border is the direct and predictable result of President Obama’s sustained effort to undermine America’s immigration laws. As the president’s previous director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), John Sandweg recently acknowledged: “if you are a run-of-the-mill immigrant here illegally, your odds of getting deported are close to zero.” Enforcement has collapsed.
Today President Obama says he needs $3.7 billion from Congress to handle the crisis his lawless policies are creating. Amazingly, the funding request further advertises his administration’s amnesty efforts and our fraud-riddled asylum programs, while explicitly omitting any request for expedited deportation authority. The request is also not paid for. The administration wants to borrow every penny.
President Obama has yielded to the demands of open borders groups, to whom he pledged amnesty in 2008. He has dramatically abandoned his lawful duty to the American people. Immigration enforcement for the world’s most powerful nation is now held hostage by a small band of radical immigration activists. That is why the administration still refuses to deliver the crucial message necessary to halt this flow: if you attempt to cross our border illegally, you will be apprehended and deported.
Most egregiously, the president has announced his intention to yet again bypass Congress in order to expand his far-reaching non-enforcement directives. His unlawful actions guarantee that the $3.7 billion will be only the beginning, and that the deluge of illegal immigration — and the huge costs — will only grow.
And growing with it will be the crisis for the American worker. This flood of illegality adds to an already massive flow of low-wage labor into the US. Between 2000 and 2013 the federal government issued 26 million visas to foreign workers and new permanent immigrants — corresponding with falling wages, soaring joblessness, and rising poverty in our struggling communities.
When did we forget that a nation owes its first allegiance to her own citizens?
I think that happened in November 2008. I can’t explain why the error was repeated in 2012.

http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2014/07/jeff-sessions-on-the-border-crisis.php

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Are A Few Journalists Starting to Figure It Out?

Are A Few Journalists Starting to Figure It Out?
by Steven Hayward in Media

Looks like maybe a few journalists are starting to resent being the palace guard for Obama.    Yesterday a group of journalists transmitted the following letter to the White House, reproduced here in full but omitting all of the signatories at the bottom:
President Barack Obama
The White House
Washington, D.C
July 8, 2014

Mr. President,
You recently expressed concern that frustration in the country is breeding cynicism about democratic government. You need look no further than your own administration for a major source of that frustration – politically driven suppression of news and information about federal agencies. We call on you to take a stand to stop the spin and let the sunshine in.
Over the past two decades, public agencies have increasingly prohibited staff from communicating with journalists unless they go through public affairs offices or through political appointees. This trend has been especially pronounced in the federal government. We consider these restrictions a form of censorship — an attempt to control what the public is allowed to see and hear.
The stifling of free expression is happening despite your pledge on your first day in office to bring “a new era of openness” to federal government – and the subsequent executive orders and directives which were supposed to bring such openness about.
Recent research has indicated the problem is getting worse throughout the nation, particularly at the federal level. Journalists are reporting that most federal agencies prohibit their employees from communicating with the press unless the bosses have public relations staffers sitting in on the conversations. Contact is often blocked completely. When public affairs officers speak, even about routine public matters, they often do so confidentially in spite of having the title “spokesperson.” Reporters seeking interviews are expected to seek permission, often providing questions in advance. Delays can stretch for days, longer than most deadlines allow. Public affairs officers might send their own written responses of slick non-answers. Agencies hold on-background press conferences with unnamed officials, on a not-for-attribution basis.
In many cases, this is clearly being done to control what information journalists – and the audience they serve – have access to. A survey found 40 percent of public affairs officers admitted they blocked certain reporters because they did not like what they wrote.
Some argue that controlling media access is needed to ensure information going out is correct. But when journalists cannot interview agency staff, or can only do so under surveillance, it undermines public understanding of, and trust in, government. This is not a “press vs. government” issue. This is about fostering a strong democracy where people have the information they need to self-govern and trust in its governmental institutions.
It has not always been this way. In prior years, reporters walked the halls of agencies and called staff people at will. Only in the past two administrations have media access controls been tightened at most agencies. Under this administration, even non-defense agencies have asserted in writing their power to prohibit contact with journalists without surveillance. Meanwhile, agency personnel are free speak to others — lobbyists, special-interest representatives, people with money — without these controls and without public oversight.
Here are some recent examples:
• The New York Times ran a story last December on the soon-to-be implemented ICD-10 medical coding system, a massive change for the health care system that will affect the whole public. But the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), one of the federal agencies in charge of ICD-10, wouldn’t allow staff to talk to the reporter.
• A reporter with Investigative Post, an online news organization in New York, asked three times without success over the span of six weeks to have someone at EPA answer questions about the agency’s actions regarding the city of Buffalo’s alleged mishandling of “universal waste” and hazardous waste.
• A journalist with Reuters spent more than a month trying to get EPA’s public affairs office to approve him talking with an agency scientist about the effects of climate change. The public affairs officer did not respond to him after his initial request, nor did her supervisor, until the frustrated journalist went over their heads and contacted EPA’s chief of staff.
The undersigned organizations ask that you seek an end to this restraint on communication in federal agencies. We ask that you issue a clear directive telling federal employees they’re not only free to answer questions from reporters and the public, but actually encouraged to do so. We believe that is one of the most important things you can do for the nation now, before the policies become even more entrenched.
We also ask you provide an avenue through which any incidents of this suppression of communication may be reported and corrected. Create an ombudsman to monitor and enforce your stated goal of restoring transparency to government and giving the public the unvarnished truth about its workings. That will go a long way toward dispelling Americans’ frustration and cynicism before it further poisons our democracy.
Further examples on the issue are provided as well as other resources.
Sincerely,
David Cuillier
President
Society of Professional Journalists
(The letter is signed by 40 additional journalists who head media organizations or journalist trade groups.)

http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2014/07/are-a-few-journalists-starting-to-figure-it-out.php

Obama Wonders: Why Is Our Border Inundated With Illegals?

Obama Wonders: Why Is Our Border Inundated With Illegals?
by John Hinderaker in Immigration
http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2014/07/obama-wonders-why-is-our-border-inundated-with-illegals.php

It’s a puzzle, isn’t it? Why, just now, are tens of thousands of people showing up on our Southern border and illegally entering the U.S.? Sure, Guatemala and Honduras have their faults, but life there is no worse this month than it has been for a long time. So President Obama is perplexed as to what could have attracted these tens, or hundreds, of thousands of migrants. Michael Ramirez offers a clue, which is consistent with news accounts of interviews with the immigrants. Click to enlarge:
RAMclr-070814-amnesty-IBD.gif.cms
Meanwhile, the latest news is that Obama has backed off on his alleged intention to “seek[] new legal authority to send unaccompanied migrant kids back home faster from the Southern border, following criticism that the administration’s planned changes were too harsh.” Instead, he will just ask Congress for more money so the illegals can enjoy the basic necessities of life. Like lawyers. That’ll help.

http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2014/07/obama-wonders-why-is-our-border-inundated-with-illegals.php

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Democrats' Phony Compassion in Dealing with Immigrants

Democrats' Phony Compassion in Dealing with Immigrants
by Scott Wheeler

Refugees are streaming into the Southern border of the U.S. from Central American countries through Mexico by the tens of thousands, and Democrats are doing everything they can to keep them here. The public wailing over the conditions from where the immigrants came is merely politics--Democrat style. 

The recent spike in child refugees from Central America directly corresponded with the Obama Administration's policy of allowing immigrant children--regardless of their legal status--to stay in the U.S. Democrats have always had a soft spot for poor immigrants from Mexico and Central America, and why shouldn't they? Immigrants from those countries vote overwhelmingly for Democrats. In the 2012 presidential election, Obama received 71% of the Latino vote, Romney got 27%, and similar trends show up in almost all elections across the nation. 
Democrats get a huge advantage from certain immigrant groups and those preferences betray the Democrat's compassion.

Does it seem overly cynical to question Democrats' motives and compassion? Let us go back to President Clinton, who experienced an influx of immigrants from Cuba. According to the Encyclopedia of American Foreign Relations:

"As social and economic conditions deteriorated in Cuba, many more Cubans, using what boats they could find, headed for Florida in the summer of 1994. These 'rafters' posed a diplomatic problem for the Clinton administration."

Notice that "social and economic conditions deteriorated" was the reason for refugees fleeing the socialist paradise of Cuba. Sounds like the very same reasons that Democrats are using now for the refugee problem; back then, however, Democrats had a different way of dealing with the crisis:

"[T]he president [Clinton] announced that the 'rafters' would not be allowed to reach the United States. Rather, the Coast Guard returned them to Cuba or detained them at the Guantánamo naval base in Cuba."

  

Does anyone recall any media reports about the heartless treatment of Cuban refugees at the hands of Democrats? Of course not, because there were none. Cubans not only live in poverty under a communist dictatorship, but are persecuted for dissent from the communist government there, the precise kind of refugee that the U.S. should welcome, but perhaps that is why Democrats didn't want them here:

"The [Clinton] administration knew that if the Cubans reached Florida, they would be covered by the 1966 Cuban Adjustment Act."

Why the disparity between how Democrats treat one set of refugees versus another? We have seen that immigrants from Mexico and Central America overwhelmingly favor Democrats, but NOT Cubans. According to the Cuba Transition Project, in the 2000 election, Republican George W. Bush received 75% of the Cuban vote, and in 2004, Bush got 78%. No wonder Democrats have done their best to keep truly suffering Cuban refugees from making it to the U.S., having experienced their socialist policies first hand, few of them will ever vote for a Democrat. And Florida, where almost all Cuban/Americans live, is an extremely important electoral state. In the last four presidential elections, Florida was critical in deciding the winner--with Obama winning it by a thin 1%. 

If Clinton had not cruelly stopped Cuban refugees from reaching Florida in the 1990s, the increase in Cuban/American citizenship could have made Florida a solid Republican state. The Democrats' outrageous advocacy for illegal immigrants is rooted in political self-interest, so before anyone buys their phony compassion-for-immigrants-play, look at Democrats' record with Cubans and recognize that if immigrants from Central America and Mexico voted for Republicans the way Cuban/Americans do, the Democrats would be advocating that they be stopped before they ever arrive here--and the ones who got here illegally would be on the first bus back south of the border, maybe even with a knife in their backs.

Method to Harry Reid’s Madness

Method to Harry Reid’s Madness
by John Hinderaker in Harry Reid, The War on the Koch Brothers

We have chronicled the descent of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid into incoherent babbling about Charles and David Koch. Reid thinks he is on to something, even though one observer commented that in his Senate speeches denouncing the Kochs, Reid sounds like a homeless man standing in front of a liquor store in Cleveland in his bathrobe. But at Politico, Kenneth Vogel says that Reid might finally be making “progress.”
At first, it seemed like just another example of Harry Reid being Harry Reid.
The Senate majority leader, whose unscripted attacks can veer into bellicosity and take liberties with facts, spoke on the Senate floor last October and appeared to blame billionaire industrialists Charles and David Koch for the government shutdown.
“By shutting down the government,” Reid said, “we’re satisfying the Koch brothers and Ed Meese, but millions of people in America are suffering.” In January, he went further, accusing the Kochs of “actually trying to buy the country.”
His staff affectionately refers to such ad libs as Reid “getting out ahead of his skis,” but the professional left, which had spent years agitating for a high-level Democratic campaign against the Kochs, cheered and urged him on.

After Reid’s ad-libbed comments, his office developed a strategy for a coordinated campaign that’s expected to resume this month and carry clear through Election Day and beyond. It’s been shaped and reinforced by Reid’s staff, including former operatives of the liberal Center for American Progress, which had pioneered Koch-bashing politics years earlier. An eclectic cast of characters was also involved, including Reid’s wife, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, a top Democratic pollster, two brothers who wrote a business-management book and various liberal super PACs and nonprofits.
So if Reid is going around the bend, he is taking the rest of the Democratic Party with him. Not everyone is impressed:
Reid’s attacks have drawn cries of McCarthyism from across the political spectrum, including MSNBC host Joe Scarborough and Mother Jones editor Daniel Schulman. And they’ve even created discomfort among liberal big-money donors and operatives, who worry the argument might expose them to charges of hypocrisy, while they also question the effectiveness of running against donors who won’t appear on any ballots.
See, part of what is going on here is that the Democrats benefit from “dark money” contributed by “shadowy billionaires” like Tom Steyer about as much as the Republicans do. And if they get their way, they will benefit a lot more. We will have some news on this subject tomorrow.
For now, though, let’s note how disgustingly low-class the Democrats’ anti-Koch campaign is. However low you thought politics could go, you probably weren’t prepared for Harry Reid:
[I]n the midst of that early strategizing, Senate Democrats huddled for their annual retreat at Nationals Park, where they heard a presentation from business-messaging gurus Chip and Dan Heath, who touched on the effectiveness of identifying foils.
Their breakout book, “Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die,” asserts that in order to gain traction for ideas, it’s helpful to replicate some facets of urban legends and conspiracy theories. They encourage readers to make their ideas about people, rather than abstractions and to tap into emotions such as “fear, disgust, suspicion.” …
[A]n operative who has worked with Reid said the presentation “had some impact. In some ways, it affirmed what we were considering with the Kochs.”
That’s great, isn’t it? The Democratic Party rests its case on “urban legends and conspiracy theories.” A homeless man in a bathrobe probably wouldn’t sink that low, but Politico says the Democrats think their strategy is starting to pay dividends.

http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2014/07/method-to-harry-reids-madness.php

Potemkin Press Tour of Illegals Camp Lags U.S.S.R. Standards (dated but important)

Potemkin Press Tour of Illegals Camp Lags U.S.S.R. Standards

As a journalist, I have been fortunate enough to visit and write from South Africa under apartheid, El Salvador during its Marxist insurgency, the Soviet Union under Communism, and Cuba during the endless reign of the immortal Fidel Castro. In each of these places, I was permitted — in fact, invited – to ask questions, challenge the thoughts of my hosts, and photograph what I saw.
I enjoyed slightly tighter access on the USS John C. Stennis, an American aircraft carrier, and on the Israel Defense Force’s Dov Air Base just outside Tel Aviv. I was free to question uniformed personnel and quote them, although — for security reasons — I was asked not to identify them by name, and didn’t.
In all of these spots, I was permitted to make audio recordings of my meetings and even take photographs, with a few limited restrictions on those military facilities.
Thus, I was stunned and disgusted by Obama’s below-U.S.S.R.-grade rules imposed on journalists invited to a “media tour” of the temporary shelter for illegal aliens at Fort Sill, Oklahoma. This visit, scheduled for 2:00 p.m. Central time tomorrow, is supposed to familiarize journalists with the locale at which the U.S. government is housing some 1,200 unaccompanied alien children who recently have broken into the United States. This is not a serious opportunity for journalists to learn about this place in depth and probe those detained there, as well as their hosts. Instead, this is a propaganda stunt worthy of North Korea.
Quoting directly from a July 7 invitation to this event, consider the handcuffs that Team Obama has forged for news people who bother to attend this sham field trip:
- No recording devices will be allowed
- No questions will be allowed during the tour
- No interacting with staff and children at the shelter
- We ask that your questions be provided via email or phone after the tour to Kenneth Wolfe [Deputy Director, Office of Public Affairs, U.S. Department of Health and Human Service]
- HHS ACF [Administration for Children and Families] public affairs will provide answers to your follow up questions as quickly as possible
- We will provide photos of the facility after the tour
- There will be no on-site interviews by HHS staff before or after the tour, all inquiries go to Kenneth Wolfe
“The purpose of this 40-minute tour is to show members of the press the interior of the shelter and explain the care we provide while these children remain in our custody,” explained Jesus Garcia, special assistant to the deputy assistant secretary for external affairs, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. His invitation added: “The tour guide will detail what goes on from room to room and the services youth are provided on a daily basis.” Garcia claimed that these harsh restrictions on press freedom are necessary “In order to protect the safety and privacy of the children.”
While keeping identifiable minors out of the public eye may make sense, there is no reason to forbid journalists from taking crowd shots and wide-angle photos and footage. Americans who consider these kids the entitled recipients of U.S. largesse deserve to see such images just as much as do Americans who regard these illegal aliens as lawbreakers who should go home and apply for visas, just like anyone else.
Whatever precautions might be defensible to shield children, there is no justification whatsoever for forbidding American journalists from asking questions of the taxpayer-paid U.S. public servants who work at Fort Sill. Among many other things, journalists have every right to ask, and American citizens have every right to know:
 Are these illegal-alien operations hampering readiness and morale at Fort Sill?
Are these illegal aliens carrying lice, scabies, hoof-and-mouth disease, MRSA staph infections, or even tuberculosis — as have been detected among this population in the last few weeks?
Have officials at Fort Sill seen evidence that American citizens have become infected with any of these diseases due to this illegal-alien tsunami?
According to recent news reports, some of these Central American “children” actually belong to MS-13 and other deadly youth gangs. Some lately have scrawled tell-tale, gang-related graffiti on bathroom stalls at detention centers in Arizona. Others have confessed to torture and homicide back home. Are such gang members housed at Fort Sill? If so, will they be released into the general public?
 As they journeyed north, did any of these illegal aliens detect Islamic extremists, Arab terrorists, or anyone else who might have blended among them in order to cross the southern frontier and target Americans for mayhem and murder?
“The idea of no recording devices, no questions, and no interactions is not acceptable,” stated U.S. Representative Jim Bridenstine (R., Okla.). “This violates the First Amendment. This is not transparent. HHS is trying to muzzle the media and hide the human tragedy that has resulted directly from the Administration’s failure to enforce the law.” Although he is a Navy pilot and congressman who represents Fort Sill’s home state, Bridenstine was forbidden to enter the detention center when he traveled there on July 1. HHS now says it will allow Bridenstine to see the installation on July 21 and possibly as soon as July 12.
Journalists should refuse to serve as silent playthings in this degrading, Pyongyang-style “tour” of Fort Sill. If Obama and his people want to play with pawns, they should buy a chess set.

http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/382326/potemkin-press-tour-illegals-camp-lags-ussr-standards-deroy-murdock