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Thursday, May 31, 2012

Unveiling of the Official George W. & Laura Bush White House Portraits

Earlier today, former President George W. and Laura Bush appeared at the White House in order to unveil their official White House portraits. Former President George H. W. Bush and his wife, Barbara, were also in attendance. Unfortunately, the current President and First Lady were there and, once again, he had to remind everyone that he inherited a horrible economy from George W. Bush. Obama is such a tactless whiner.

I truly hope that Americans can make the right choice in November so President Obama can be relieved of the inherited problems, stresses and pressures he has had to endure since January 20, 2009. Hopefully, we can watch Mitt Romney host the Obama portrait unveiling in 2015. - Reggie


The Secret Kill List

Judge Andrew Napolitano
The leader of the government regularly sits down with his senior generals and spies and advisers and reviews a list of the people they want him to authorize their agents to kill. They do this every Tuesday morning when the leader is in town. The leader once condemned any practice even close to this, but now relishes the killing because he has convinced himself that it is a sane and sterile way to keep his country safe and himself in power. The leader, who is running for re-election, even invited his campaign manager to join the group that decides whom to kill.

This is not from a work of fiction, and it is not describing a series of events in the Kremlin or Beijing or Pyongyang. It is a fair summary of a 6,000-word investigative report in The New York Times earlier this week about the White House of Barack Obama. Two Times journalists, Jo Becker and Scott Shane, painstakingly and chillingly reported that the former lecturer in constitutional law and liberal senator who railed against torture and Gitmo now weekly reviews a secret kill list, personally decides who should be killed and then dispatches killers all over the world -- and some of his killers have killed Americans.

We have known for some time that President Obama is waging a private war. By that I mean he is using the CIA on his own -- and not the military after congressional authorization -- to fire drones at thousands of persons in foreign lands, usually while they are riding in a car or a truck. He has done this both with the consent and over the objection of the governments of the countries in which he has killed. He doesn't want to talk about this, but he doesn't deny it. How chilling is it that David Axelrod -- the president's campaign manager -- has periodically seen the secret kill list? Might this be to keep the killings politically correct?

Can the president legally do this? In a word: No.

The president cannot lawfully order the killing of anyone, except according to the Constitution and federal law. Under the Constitution, he can only order killing using the military when the U.S. has been attacked, or when an attack is so imminent and certain that delay would cost innocent American lives, or in pursuit of a congressional declaration of war. Under federal law, he can only order killing using civilians when a person has been sentenced lawfully to death by a federal court and the jury verdict and the death sentence have been upheld on appeal. If he uses the military to kill, federal law requires public reports of its use to Congress and congressional approval after 180 days.

Billy Graham Protects Marriage

One of his last great gifts to America.

It was may turn out to be one of his last great gifts to America, 93-year-old evangelist Billy Graham publicly endorsed North Carolina's marriage amendment shortly before the vote, helping guarantee its passage by a large margin.

"Watching the moral decline of our country causes me great concern," Graham said in ads that his ministry published in North Carolina newspapers. "I believe the home and marriage is the foundation of our society and must be protected."

"At 93, I never thought we would have to debate the definition of marriage," he deadpanned. "The Bible is clear -- God's definition of marriage is between a man and a woman. I want to urge my fellow North Carolinians to vote for the marriage amendment."

There had been some indications shortly before the May 7 vote that the margins of victory for Amendment One were narrowing. But in the end it received over 60 percent of the vote. As always, cultural elites were flummoxed. Same sex marriage is supposed to be inevitable, after all. They wonder: why won't voters just accept it and move on?

Graham, even in retirement, remains America's most revered religious figure. Now in the public eye for over 60 years, he is possibly America's most influential clergy ever. Who would rival him? Colonial New England's Puritan divines, culminating with Jonathan Edwards in the 1750s, deeply shaped America's religious conscience. Evangelists from George Whitefield to Francis Asbury to Charles Finney to Dwight Moody to Billy Sunday shaped America's populist religion from the late 1700s to the early 20th century. In the mid-20th century, Roman Catholic prelates like the media savvy Bishop Fulton Sheen brought their faith out of ethnic ghettoes and into the mainstream of American public life. Martin Luther King, across a tumultuous but relatively brief 15 years, became the chief icon of the civil rights movement.

Is the Obama Campaign Fooling Itself?

Michael Barone
It is dangerous to assume your opponent will screw up.

‘Axelrod  is endeavoring not to panic.” So reads a sentence in John Heilemann’s exhaustive article on Barack Obama’s campaign in this week’s New York magazine.

Heilemann is a fine reporter and was co-author with Time’s Mark Halperin of a best-selling book on the 2008 presidential campaign. While his sympathies are undoubtedly with Obama, he does a fine job of summarizing the arguments and tactics of both sides.

And he’s capable of directing snark at both candidates. Samples: Romney “seems to suffer a hybrid of affluenza and Tourette’s.” “A cynic might say that the liberation Obama feels is the freedom from, you know, actually governing.”

Heilemann’s article is well-sourced. It’s based on interviews with David Axelrod, the former White House aide now back in Chicago, David Plouffe, the 2008 manager now in the White House, and Jim Messina, the current campaign manager.

The picture Heilemann draws is of campaign managers whose assumptions have been proved wrong and who seem to be fooling themselves about what will work in the campaign.

One assumption that has been proved wrong is that the Obama campaign would raise $1 billion and that, as in 2008, far more money would be spent for Democrats than Republicans.

Heilemann reports the campaign managers’ alibis. Obama has given donors “shabby treatment,” he writes. This of a president who has attended more fundraisers than his four predecessors combined.

As for the Obama-authorized super PAC being $90 million short of its $100 million goal, well, it was late getting started and some money-givers don’t like negative ads.

A more plausible explanation is that big Democratic donors don’t trust the political judgment of super-PAC head Bill Burton — who was passed over for promotion to White House press secretary — the way big Republican donors trust Karl Rove.

Here’s another: A lot of people like the way Obama has governed less than they liked the idea of Obama governing.

A second assumption is that the Obama managers “see Romney as a walking, talking bull’s-eye” and have “contempt for his skills as a political performer.”

You can find some basis for this in Romney’s performance in the primaries. But you can also find evidence to the contrary. In my own experience as a political consultant, I found it dangerous to assume your opponents will screw up. Sometimes they don’t.

Terror by Any Other Name

Convicted bomber Brett Kimberlin now targets conservatives online.

Michelle Malkin has called Brett Kimberlin an "online terrorist ringleader," while blogger Jimmie Bise Jr. prefers the phrase "lying felon," but Kimberlin's political allies call him a "progressive activist." During the past week, Kimberlin's bizarre methods of "activism" have made him the focus of intense scrutiny from conservative bloggers, arousing the interest of major news organizations, so that the convicted felon once notorious as the "Speedway Bomber" is likely to become even more notorious in the near future.

Since 2010, Kimberlin has been suing, smearing, harassing, and otherwise attempting to intimidate bloggers who write about his criminal history. It seemed he was intent on silencing the truth and -- although I had never even heard of him until May 17 -- within four days of my beginning to report about him on my personal blog, Kimberlin began targeting me with his thug tactics. On Monday, May 21, I left my Maryland home and departed to another state where, for the past week, I've continued a series of reports I've called "The Kimberlin Files." These online dispatches have been filed from an undisclosed location, my whereabouts concealed in order to protect myself and others from the menace of a dangerous man who by all rights should still be behind bars.

Kimberlin was convicted in federal court of 22 felony charges in connection with a weeklong bombing spree in September 1978 that terrorized the residents of Speedway, Indiana. Drug smuggling, perjury, forgery, impersonation -- Kimberlin's criminal career began while he was a teenager and continued until Dec. 29, 1981, when he was sentenced to federal prison for the bombings, one of which brutally maimed Vietnam veteran Carl DeLong. Prosecutors had recommended a much longer sentence -- 79 years, so that Kimberlin, then 27 years old, could never again "walk the streets to terrorize any other citizen," as Assistant U.S. Attorney Kennard Foster told the court. U.S. District Court Judge William Steckler was more lenient, imposing a mere 50 years and, because this was before "truth in sentencing" reforms, Kimberlin served a mere 17 years. He was paroled in 1993, returned to prison in 1997 on a parole violation, and finally released in 2001.

Kimberlin became briefly famous in 1988, and for a few years thereafter remained somewhat of a cause célèbre among liberals, because of his claim to have once sold marijuana to a young Indiana University law student named Dan Quayle. Kimberlin has been described as a "top-flight con man," a skill that has made him quite successful in the world of progressive activism, where left-wing donors are always willing to contribute to cynical hustlers who tell them what they want to hear. Within four years of his release from prison, Kimberlin started a tax-exempt non-profit called the Justice Through Music Project (JTMP) which has raised approximately $1.8 million in the past six years, including grants from the Tides Foundation, the Heinz Family Foundation and the Barbra Streisand Foundation. Kimberlin also partnered with liberal blogger Brad Friedman to create another non-profit group called Velvet Revolution.

Kimberlin endeared himself to left-wing bloggers by claiming that Republicans had stolen the 2004 presidential election through vote fraud, offering a $100,000 reward for evidence -- a reward that was never paid, for a claim that was never proven. Failure to prove his allegations of GOP perfidy, however, seemed neither to deter donors to Kimberlin's projects nor to undermine his credibility among progressives. A 2007 Time magazine article reported that Kimberlin had "found a home in the blogosphere" by "repeatedly asserting as fact things that are not true."

Read the full article

Former Dem Rep. Artur Davis: Why I’m becoming a Republican

He’s not just any Democrat. This is a guy who gave a seconding speech for O’s nomination four years ago at the convention and was the southern regional co-chair for the DCCC. With those credentials, the PR value to the GOP of having him dump his old party to become a Republican would be huge under any circumstances. Factor in the symbolism of a young black Harvard-trained pol abandoning the Dems in the middle of Obama’s reelection campaign and you’ve got a GOP folk hero in the making. From his blog post announcing his party switch:

But parties change. As I told a reporter last week, this is not Bill Clinton’s Democratic Party (and he knows that even if he can’t say it). If you have read this blog, and taken the time to look for a theme in the thousands of words (or free opposition research) contained in it, you see the imperfect musings of a voter who describes growth as a deeper problem than exaggerated inequality; who wants to radically reform the way we educate our children; who despises identity politics and the practice of speaking for groups and not one national interest; who knows that our current course on entitlements will eventually break our solvency and cause us to break promises to our most vulnerable—that is, if we don’t start the hard work of fixing it.

On the specifics, I have regularly criticized an agenda that would punish businesses and job creators with more taxes just as they are trying to thrive again. I have taken issue with an administration that has lapsed into a bloc by bloc appeal to group grievances when the country is already too fractured: frankly, the symbolism of Barack Obama winning has not given us the substance of a united country. You have also seen me write that faith institutions should not be compelled to violate their teachings because faith is a freedom, too. You’ve read that in my view, the law can’t continue to favor one race over another in offering hard-earned slots in colleges: America has changed, and we are now diverse enough that we don’t need to accommodate a racial spoils system. And you know from these pages that I still think the way we have gone about mending the flaws in our healthcare system is the wrong way—it goes further than we need and costs more than we can bear.

Taken together, these are hardly the enthusiasms of a Democrat circa 2012, and they wouldn’t be defensible in a Democratic primary. But they are the thoughts and values of ten years of learning, and seeing things I once thought were true fall into disarray. So, if I were to leave the sidelines, it would be as a member of the Republican Party that is fighting the drift in this country in a way that comes closest to my way of thinking: wearing a Democratic label no longer matches what I know about my country and its possibilities.


The Sebelius Precedent: Time to Regulate Liberalism?

Kansas votes to tax abortions -- should labor unions be taxed as well?

Let's call it The Sebelius Precedent.

If we're now going to breach the Constitutional right to religious liberty -- can an assault on political liberty be far behind?

Or, plainly put, is it time to tax and regulate liberalism?

The government, according to HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius (the headmistress of Obamacare) is going to regulate the Catholic Church.

In the words of CNN, last January:

Catholics around the country got an earful on Sunday from the pulpit over a new health insurance policy by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that forces employers to cover contraception and abortion as part of preventative care regardless of religious beliefs. The use of abortion and contraceptives violates Catholic teachings.

Just the other day, after futile attempts to reach agreement between the Catholic Church and the Obama Administration -- represented by Headmistress Sebelius -- the Church took the President to court. As reported at Breitbart.com

Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Archbishop of New York, has joined with Cardinal Donald Wuerl, Archbishop of Washington D.C., the University of Notre Dame, and 40 other U.S. Catholic dioceses and organizations in a lawsuit against the Obama administration. Twelve different lawsuits, charging the administration with violation of the Church's First Amendment right to freedom of religion, are being filed in federal courts around the nation.

Said the statement on a website set up by the Archdiocese of Washington:

This lawsuit is about an unprecedented attack by the federal government on one of America's most cherished freedoms: the freedom to practice one's religion without government interference. It is not about whether people have access to certain services; it is about whether the government may force religious institutions and individuals to facilitate and fund services which violate their religious beliefs.

Mysteriously, the story of the Church suing the President got scant coverage in the liberal media. As noted here.

One can only assume the lack of coverage by mainstream media is because of plain, old-fashioned media bias.

But maybe there's something else at work.

That something?

The realization even in the slow-moving left-wing brain that if religious freedom -- a guarantee of the First Amendment -- is no longer un-regulatable, neither are those other guarantees of the First Amendment. They would be, specifically, freedom of speech and freedom of the press.

"Hope and Change"...Still? Looking Back at 4 Years of "Change"

From Fox and Friends, 5/30/2012

YouTube description: Hats off to Chris White -- Fox News Associate Producer, for putting together this brilliant video compilation of what the past 4 years of 'Hope and Change" has REALLY brought to this country.

Obama's Failed Investments: Warnings and Red Flags

New RNC ad


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Taxpayer-funded Campaign to Promote ObamaCare

YouTube description: U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell made the following remarks on the Senate floor Wednesday regarding the President's $20 million, taxpayer-funded p.r. campaign to promote Obamacare

Paul Ryan Speech at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation

A Perspectives on Leadership Forum with Paul Ryan on Tuesday, May 22, 2012.

The Wisconsin Turning Point

The coming vindication of Gov. Scott Walker.

The recall election for Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker is scheduled for June 5. That election is now a crucial battleground for the future of America, and even a critical bellwether for how this fall's elections will turn out. Walker is staring down the national political machine of government workers unions, and the entire Obama campaign. This is a Paul Revere moment for all conservatives across America. The future of your country is at stake. Walker needs your support now.

Walker's Reforms Are Working, Spectacularly

Walker came into office facing another state budget deficit of $3.6 billion. Historically, Wisconsin like many other states would raise state taxes to counter these recurring deficits, on top of annual stiff property tax increases to fund skyrocketing school and other local government costs. But those continual tax increases were imposing greater and greater costs on state economies in terms of lost economic growth, jobs and wages.

Walker, based on his experience serving as County Executive for Milwaukee County for 8 years, and in the state legislature for 8 years before that, focused on cutting the growth in state and local government spending instead. That spending restraint included requiring state and local government workers to contribute to their own benefits more like private sector workers. After all the yelling and screaming in Wisconsin, in the end these government workers were only required to contribute 5.8% of their salaries towards their pensions, which is matched by their government employers (taxpayers), and 12.6% of the costs of their health insurance, with the other 87% paid by taxpayers. This compares to private sector workers paying on average 21% of the cost of their company health insurance, with most private sector workers having no pension at all.

The state budget reforms also made payment of union dues voluntary for government workers, empowering these workers to each decide for themselves if they want to be full dues paying members of the public employee unions. That is a potential savings for families of $1,000 a year for each government worker in the family. This forces the public unions to focus on serving their members and convincing each one that their services are worth the dues, just like every other private sector institution in American society.

The budget reforms also limited collective bargaining to negotiations over salary but not over benefits or working conditions and rules. This gave counties, cities, and school boards the flexibility to make management changes to increase efficiency in serving the public and to reduce costs, without laying off workers and reducing services to the public.

A chief example of how this flexibility has been used is for these local governments to open their employee health insurance to competitive bidding. Previously, the unions demanded that public employers use the unions' own sponsored insurance entity as their insurer, without market bidding. But since Walker's reforms removed benefits from collective bargaining, government employers were freed to turn to competitive bidding on the open market, where many have found their coverage at substantially reduced costs. For school districts so far, the savings from this competitive bidding alone have amounted to $211.47 per student. Statewide that would add up to nearly $200 million in savings.

The state has also used this flexibility to halt fraudulent sick leave abuses that unions used to inflate overtime expenses. Workers had called in sick for their own shifts, and then worked the next shift on overtime pay. School districts have also been freed to pay teachers based on performance and not just seniority, and to keep better performing teachers rather than longer term time servers who have long given up caring about their job performance.

Walker's collective bargaining reforms have added up to over $1 billion in documented savings for state and local governments in Wisconsin in the first year alone. That enabled the entire state deficit to be eliminated without yet another tax increase, and without layoffs of teachers and other government workers, except in three school districts that have continued to resist implementing the reforms.

Moreover, because of the reforms the budget was balanced while property taxes declined on average statewide for the first time in 15 years. The Wall Street Journal reported on April 17, "The [Wisconsin] state budget office estimates that the typical homeowner's bill would be some $700 higher without Mr. Walker's collective bargaining overhaul and budget cuts." Soaring property taxes had previously increased every year since 1998, up 43% during that time. The Journal added, "A year ago amid their sit-ins and other protests, the unions said such policies would lead to the decline and fall of civilization, but the only things that are falling are tax collections."

In short, Walker's reforms are working, spectacularly.

Getting Collective Bargaining Right

The right of collective bargaining for private sector workers is not at issue in Wisconsin, though President Obama and the Democrats want to confuse the public on precisely that question. Under current law, there are plenty of market and legal checks on private sector unions to keep them from abusing the public. The ultimate limit if they push too far is that their company will be driven out of business. Though that does happen sometimes, that is only when management fails to do its job in resisting excessive union demands. Otherwise, within current market and legal checks, private sector unions actually perform a helpful market function in ensuring that employers keep up with market wages and working conditions as expeditiously as possible.

Not so for government unions, which are two words that together spell oppression. Federal, state or even local governments cannot be driven out of business. They gain their revenue forcibly through taxes. As a result, there is no market limit to how much such unions can pirate from the public.

Indeed, public sector unions choose their own employers, by voting for the governing policymakers for each political entity -- county boards, school boards, legislators, Governors, etc. This creates an inherent conflict of interest, as a politician can be negotiating regarding the pay and benefits for his own political supporters at public expense. That can lead to oppressive political corruption, where there is no political limit as well as no market limit to the plunder of the public by government unions.

As a result, nationwide public employee unions plunder taxpayers for pay for state and local government workers that is on average 45% more than the taxpayers paying those salaries make in the private sector. The bill to taxpayers for each of these workers includes an average hourly wage of $26.25, plus another $13.56 in hourly costs for benefits, for total hourly costs of $39.81, or $80,000 per year on average. This is true in Wisconsin as well. Indeed, the Manhattan Institute's E.J. McMahon reports that for public school teachers in Milwaukee, the annual cost of family health coverage is $26,844, for which the teachers were paying nothing.

Why Gay Is Not the New Black

Dr. Michael Brown
Repeating what has been a rallying cry of gay activism for years, the cover of the December 16, 2008 issue of The Advocate announced, “Gay is the New Black: The Last Great Civil Rights Struggle.” Last week, on May 19th, headlines across the nation announced, “NAACP endorses gay marriage as ‘civil right.’” So, is gay the new black?

There are prominent black leaders who say yes, including Congressman John Lewis, who was active in the early Civil Rights movement. There are other prominent black leaders who say no, like Timothy F. Johnson, founder and president of the Frederick Douglass Foundation.

For a number of reasons, I concur with Johnson and others who say that gay is not the new black.

1. There is no true comparison between skin color and behavior. Although gays and lesbians emphasize identity rather than behavior, homosexuality is ultimately defined by romantic attraction and sexual behavior. How can this be equated with the color of someone’s skin?

Skin color has no intrinsic moral quality, and there is no moral difference between being black or white (or yellow or red). In contrast, romantic attractions and sexual behaviors often have moral (or immoral) qualities, and there is no constitutional “right” to fulfill one’s sexual and romantic desires.

Also, skin color cannot be hidden, whereas a person’s sexual orientation is, generally speaking, not outwardly recognizable (unless it is willfully displayed). Put another way, blacks do not have to “come out,” since their identity is self-evident, whereas gays and lesbians have to come out (or act out) for their identity to be clearly known.

2. The very real hardships endured by many gays and lesbians cannot fairly be compared with the monstrous suffering endured by African Americans. Conservative gay journalist Charles Winecoff wrote, “Newsflash: blacks in America didn’t start out as hip-hop fashion designers; they were slaves. There’s a big difference between being able to enjoy a civil union with the same sex partner of your choice – and not being able to drink out of a water fountain, eat at a lunch counter, or use a rest room because you don’t have the right skin color.”

Figures Don't Lie: Democrats Do

Ann Coulter
It's been breaking news all over MSNBC, liberal blogs, newspapers and even The Wall Street Journal: "Federal spending under Obama at historic lows ... It's clear that Obama has been the most fiscally moderate president we've had in 60 years." There's even a chart!

I'll pause here to give you a moment to mop up the coffee on your keyboard. Good? OK, moving on ...

This shocker led to around-the-clock smirk fests on MSNBC. As with all bogus social science from the left, liberals hide the numbers and proclaim: It's "science"! This is black and white, inarguable, and why do Republicans refuse to believe facts?

Ed Schultz claimed the chart exposed "the big myth" about Obama's spending: "This chart -- the truth -- very clearly shows the truth undoubtedly." And the truth was, the "growth in spending under President Obama is the slowest out of the last five presidents."

Note that Schultz also said that the "part of the chart representing President Obama's term includes a stimulus package, too." As we shall see, that is a big, fat lie.

Schultz's guest, Reuters columnist David Cay Johnston confirmed: "And clearly, Obama has been incredibly tight-fisted as a president."

Everybody's keyboard OK?

On her show, Rachel Maddow proclaimed: "Factually speaking, spending has leveled off under President Obama. Spending is not skyrocketing under President Obama. Spending is flattening out under President Obama."

In response, three writers from "The Daily Show" said, "We'll never top that line," and quit.

Inasmuch as this is obviously preposterous, I checked with John Lott, one of the nation's premier economists and author of the magnificent new book with Grover Norquist: Debacle: Obama's War on Jobs and Growth and What We Can Do Now to Regain Our Future.

(I'm reviewing it soon, but you should start without me.)

It turns out Rex Nutting, author of the phony Marketwatch chart, i>attributes all spending during Obama's entire first year, up to Oct. 1, to President Bush.

That's not a joke.

That means, for example, the $825 billion stimulus bill, proposed, lobbied for, signed and spent by Obama, goes in ... Bush's column. (And if we attribute all of Bush's spending for the Iraq and Afghanistan wars and No Child Left Behind to William Howard Taft, Bush didn't spend much either.)

Defending Tax Cuts for the ‘Rich’

Thomas Sowell
Republicans should revisit the arguments of the 1920s.

Democrats have been having a field day with the cry of “tax cuts for the rich” — for which Republicans seem to have no reply. This is especially surprising, because Democrats made the same arguments back in the 1920s, and the Republicans then not only had a reply, but one that eventually carried the day, when the top tax rate was brought down from 73 percent to 24 percent.

What was the difference then?

The biggest difference is that Secretary of the Treasury Andrew Mellon took the trouble to articulate the case for lower tax rates, in articles that appeared in popular publications, using plain language that ordinary people could understand. Seldom do Republican leaders today even attempt to do any such thing.

In 1924, the ideas from these articles were collected in a book which Mellon titled “Taxation: The People’s Business.” That book has recently been reprinted by the University of Minnesota Law Library. Today’s Republicans would do well to get a copy of Mellon’s book, which shows how demagoguery about “tax cuts for the rich” can be exposed for the nonsense that it is.

People in the media could also benefit by seeing how the “tax cuts for the rich” demagoguery collapses like a house of cards when you subject it to logic and evidence.

Those who argue that “the rich” should pay a higher tax rate, and that the revenue this would bring in could be used to reduce the deficit, assume that higher tax rates equal higher tax revenues. But they do not.

Secretary Mellon pointed out that previously the government “received substantially the same revenue from high incomes with a 13 percent surtax as it received with a 65 percent surtax.” Higher tax rates do not mean higher tax revenues.

High tax rates on high incomes, Mellon said, lead many of those who earn such incomes to withdraw their money “from productive business and invest it in tax-exempt securities” or otherwise find ways to avoid receiving income in taxable forms.

"Basketball"

New ad from American Crossroads

Stories from the Obama Economy

New Romney ad

YouTube description: Despite President Obama's attempts to distract from his failed record, the American people remember. These are stories from the Obama economy.


Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The Party of Civil Rights

This is an excellent article telling the true history of the racist Democrat party. Too many people have believed their lies for far too long. - Reggie

Kevin Williamson
This magazine has long specialized in debunking pernicious political myths, and Jonah Goldberg has now provided an illuminating catalogue of tyrannical clichés, but worse than the myth and the cliché is the outright lie, the utter fabrication with malice aforethought, and my nominee for the worst of them is the popular but indefensible belief that the two major U.S. political parties somehow “switched places” vis-à-vis protecting the rights of black Americans, a development believed to be roughly concurrent with the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act and the rise of Richard Nixon. That Republicans have let Democrats get away with this mountebankery is a symptom of their political fecklessness, and in letting them get away with it the GOP has allowed itself to be cut off rhetorically from a pantheon of Republican political heroes, from Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass to Susan B. Anthony, who represent an expression of conservative ideals as true and relevant today as it was in the 19th century. Perhaps even worse, the Democrats have been allowed to rhetorically bury their Bull Connors, their longstanding affiliation with the Ku Klux Klan, and their pitiless opposition to practically every major piece of civil-rights legislation for a century. Republicans may not be able to make significant inroads among black voters in the coming elections, but they would do well to demolish this myth nonetheless.

Even if the Republicans’ rise in the South had happened suddenly in the 1960s (it didn’t) and even if there were no competing explanation (there is), racism — or, more precisely, white southern resentment over the political successes of the civil-rights movement — would be an implausible explanation for the dissolution of the Democratic bloc in the old Confederacy and the emergence of a Republican stronghold there. That is because those southerners who defected from the Democratic party in the 1960s and thereafter did so to join a Republican party that was far more enlightened on racial issues than were the Democrats of the era, and had been for a century. There is no radical break in the Republicans’ civil-rights history: From abolition to Reconstruction to the anti-lynching laws, from the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments to the Civil Rights Act of 1875 to the Civil Rights Acts of 1957, 1960, and 1964, there exists a line that is by no means perfectly straight or unwavering but that nonetheless connects the politics of Lincoln with those of Dwight D. Eisenhower. And from slavery and secession to remorseless opposition to everything from Reconstruction to the anti-lynching laws, the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments, the Civil Rights Act of 1875, and the Civil Rights Acts of 1957 and 1960, there exists a similarly identifiable line connecting John Calhoun and Lyndon Baines Johnson. Supporting civil-rights reform was not a radical turnaround for congressional Republicans in 1964, but it was a radical turnaround for Johnson and the Democrats.

The depth of Johnson’s prior opposition to civil-rights reform must be digested in some detail to be properly appreciated. In the House, he did not represent a particularly segregationist constituency (it “made up for being less intensely segregationist than the rest of the South by being more intensely anti-Communist,” as the New York Times put it), but Johnson was practically antebellum in his views. Never mind civil rights or voting rights: In Congress, Johnson had consistently and repeatedly voted against legislation to protect black Americans from lynching. As a leader in the Senate, Johnson did his best to cripple the Civil Rights Act of 1957; not having votes sufficient to stop it, he managed to reduce it to an act of mere symbolism by excising the enforcement provisions before sending it to the desk of President Eisenhower. Johnson’s Democratic colleague Strom Thurmond nonetheless went to the trouble of staging the longest filibuster in history up to that point, speaking for 24 hours in a futile attempt to block the bill. The reformers came back in 1960 with an act to remedy the deficiencies of the 1957 act, and Johnson’s Senate Democrats again staged a record-setting filibuster. In both cases, the “master of the Senate” petitioned the northeastern Kennedy liberals to credit him for having seen to the law’s passage while at the same time boasting to southern Democrats that he had taken the teeth out of the legislation. Johnson would later explain his thinking thus: “These Negroes, they’re getting pretty uppity these days, and that’s a problem for us, since they’ve got something now they never had before: the political pull to back up their uppityness. Now we’ve got to do something about this — we’ve got to give them a little something, just enough to quiet them down, not enough to make a difference.”

Dishonest Attacks, Dishonest Cover-up

New RNC ad


If you don't know what this ad is about, watch the videos below for the back story.


Who is Valerie Jarrett?

Trying to figure out Valerie Jarrett’s mysterious hold on Barack and Michelle Obama is a favorite guessing game in the parlors and dining rooms of Washington. No other White House official in history has enjoyed such a unique relationship with both a president and a first lady, and yet the mainstream media have ignored Jarrett’s enormous influence over the shape and direction of the Obama administration.

Jarrett’s official title — senior adviser and assistant to the president for intergovernmental affairs and public engagement — doesn’t begin to do justice to her unrivaled status in the White House. She is Ground Zero in the Obama operation — the first couple’s first friend and consigliere, the last person to leave the Oval Office after meetings, and the only White House official who dines with the first family in their private quarters at night.

“Valerie is the quintessential insider,” one of her longtime friends told me during an interview for my book, The Amateur: Barack Obama in the White House. “She functions as the eyes, ears, and nose of the president and first lady. She tells them who’s saying what about who, who’s loyal and who’s not. She advises them about who they should see when they visit a city or a foreign country. She determines who gets invited to the White House and who is left out in the cold.”

In the White House pecking order, Jarrett has more clout than the president’s chief of staff. During the savage internecine warfare between Jarrett and Obama’s first two chiefs of staff — Rahm Emanuel and Bill Daley — Obama sided most of the time with Jarrett, a classic limousine liberal who believes that Obama was elected president in order to engineer social change. Ultimately, Jarrett emasculated Emanuel and Daley and forced them from their jobs.

She has also been responsible for much of the incompetence and amateurism that have been the hallmarks of Obama’s time in office. Indeed, Jarrett has been on the wrong side of practically every consequential issue to come across the president’s desk. Some examples of her bonehead advice:

● Though both Emanuel and political strategist David Axelrod warned Obama time and again that he didn’t have the votes to ram a comprehensive healthcare bill through Congress, Jarrett was among those who persuaded the president to ignore their advice and go for broke. The result: the hugely expensive, unworkable, unpopular, and probably unconstitutional program known as Obamacare.

● Emanuel tangled with Jarrett over her effort to put the prestige of the presidency behind Chicago’s bid for the 2016 Summer Olympics. Emanuel believed that Jarrett was working on behalf of her old boss, Mayor Daley, and his political cronies, who stood to benefit from the billions of dollars that would be spent on the Olympics. That idea seemed to be lost on the president, who went to Copenhagen to make an impassioned plea for the Olympics, and came back home with egg on his face.

● Jarrett gave her stamp of approval for the $535 million taxpayer-funded loan guarantee to Solyndra, the California solar company that went belly up. Jarrett had close ties to the George Kaiser Family Foundation, which controlled 35.7 percent of Solyndra. The foundation had made a sizable donation to the University of Chicago Medical Center, where Jarrett once served as chairwoman and where one of Obama’s best friends, Eric Whitaker, is currently executive vice president.

● When Jarrett pushed Obama’s proposal to require church-run hospitals and universities to give their employees free contraception, chief of staff Bill Daley secretly arranged an Oval Office meeting between the president and New York Archbishop Timothy Dolan, the head of the U.S. Conference of Catholic bishops, who argued that the policy violated the principle of religious freedom. When Jarrett learned about Daley’s end-run, she went to the president and vented her anger. After that, Daley realized his days were numbered and resigned.

House Republican Women: Working for You

YouTube description: We Republican women are working together to create jobs, reduce spending, help small businesses, and put health care decisions back into your hands. While our backgrounds are different, one thing is not: we are all conservative reformers -- committed to leaving America better for our children and grandchildren than it was for us. We know what it's like to run a budget, a business and a family. So we will continue to stand on the House floor, debate in Committee hearings, fight against big-government policies, and listen to those of you who elected us. We -- as Republican women -- are leading the charge to make America great again.



h/t Hot Air

Targeting John Roberts

The left tries to intimidate the High Court on ObamaCare.

You can tell the Supreme Court is getting closer to its historic ObamaCare ruling because the left is making one last attempt to intimidate the Justices. The latest effort includes taunting Chief Justice John Roberts that if the Court overturns any of the law, he'll forever be defined as a partisan "activist."

Senate Judiciary Chairman Pat Leahy recently took the extraordinary step of publicly lobbying the Chief Justice after oral argument but before its ruling. "I trust that he will be a Chief Justice for all of us and that he has a strong institutional sense of the proper role of the judicial branch," the Democrat declared on the Senate floor. "The conservative activism of recent years has not been good for the Court."

He added that, "Given the ideological challenge to the Affordable Care Act and the extensive, supportive precedent, it would be extraordinary for the Supreme Court not to defer to Congress in this matter that so clearly affects interstate commerce."

The elite liberal press has followed with pointed warnings that Mr. Roberts has a choice—either uphold ObamaCare, or be portrayed a radical who wants to repeal the New Deal and a century of precedent. This attack is itself clearly partisan, but it's worth rehearsing the arguments to show how truly flawed they are.

The first fallacy is defining judicial activism as overturning a Congressional law. Since Marbury v. Madison established judicial review in 1803, the High Court has overturned hundreds of laws in part or whole. The real measure of activism is whether the Court's reasoning is rooted in Constitutional principle. If it is, the Court is not activist but is adhering to the highest legal principles.

Regarding the Affordable Care Act, we'd argue that upholding the individual mandate to buy health insurance requires far more judicial activism. That's because if the Court finds this federal mandate to be Constitutional, it will have no principle on which to limit future purchase mandates.

Bain Capital attack backlash?

Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin reacts









Mitt's Mistake

I believe Romney will wimp out like Dewey. He ran in the primary with a policy of scorched earth against every Republican but he will use none of that with Obama. For months, I said Romney is the weakest candidate and if he gets the nomination, he will lose. Guess what? - Reggie

Obama's relationships, just like Reagan's, are relevant: Will Romney fight like Truman -- or wimp out like Dewey?

"The major issue of this campaign is the direct political, personal and moral responsibility of Democratic Party leadership--in the White House and in Congress -- for this unprecedented calamity which has befallen us." -- Ronald Reagan accepting the Republican presidential nomination, July 1980

"He had just one strategy -- attack, attack, attack, carry the fight to the enemy's camp." -- Historian David McCullough on Harry Truman's upset 1948 win over Thomas E. Dewey

Why is Barack Obama's life just like Ronald Reagan's when it comes to the presidency?

What if Barack Obama had spent 20 years with the black Thomas Sowell as his mentor -- instead of the black Jeremiah Wright?

Who died and left liberals in charge of defining the rules of acceptability in the 2012 campaign?

Why is the Romney campaign apparently deciding to play by those liberal media rules?

And what's up with Speaker Boehner saying on ABC's This Week:

"The issue is not Reverend Wright. The issue is the economy. This kind of nonsense shouldn't happen. The election's going be about the economy and getting Americans back to work."

And Karl Rove, who said this on Fox News Sunday:

"Trying to dredge up Jeremiah Wright, right or wrong, after this issue was litigated four years ago by John McCain, who decided not to litigate it, was stupid. And so, you want to try and do things that are helpful, not hurtful."

These questions and more come to mind as Governor Romney and his team abruptly fled the field of battle the other day after someone leaked (to the New York Times) a proposal to a pro-Romney SuperPAC that, as described by the Times,

…calls for running commercials linking Mr. Obama to incendiary comments by his former spiritual adviser, the Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr., whose race-related sermons made him a highly charged figure in the 2008 campaign.

Like clockwork, the Governor whose head-on attacks on Newt Gingrich helped win him the nomination immediately caved to the predictable screeches of liberal outrage. Outrage over a proposed attack ad that in fact never actually existed.

Romney, recall, confronted with a Gingrich surge during the primaries never flinched when a pro-Romney SuperPAC did for real to Gingrich what was only being proposed for Obama. Suddenly Romney was no more Mr. Nice Guy -- smilingly attacking Gingrich for whining when Gingrich angrily reacted for being attacked by Romney's SuperPAC as an "influence peddler" "erratic" and someone who had resigned the Speakership "in disgrace." Brutal anti-Gingrich commercials hit the air, like this one called "Baggage" in which Gingrich was pictured as unethical, cashing in on his political connections for big bucks, a pal of Nancy Pelosi and a supporter of abortion. And this one titled "Whoops" in which Gingrich was assailed for repeated mistakes of judgment.

Romney and his team had not a problem in the world with all this -- and frankly they shouldn't have. Politics ain't bean bag, as Mr. Dooley once said, and Gingrich of all people should have been better prepared for inevitable attacks like this. He wasn't. Game Romney.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

American Crossroads: "Great II"

California's bad dream: Budget deficit hits $16B, unemployment 11%, businesses exit

What happened to the California of John Wayne and Ronald Reagan? Where’s the Golden State, where young men and women flocked to pursue the California Dream—a variation of the American Dream but with better weather?

It still thrives in Silicon Valley, as this week’s expected Facebook IPO demonstrates. By some estimates, Facebook, which was founded in a Harvard dorm room but moved West, now is worth $100 billion. Otherwise, the dream has become something of a nightmare. Even Hollywood is eager to move movie production to Michigan, Louisiana and New Zealand.

As recently as a decade ago, California was attracting hundreds of thousands of migrants from other states every year, along with hundreds of thousands of immigrants, legal and illegal, from foreign countries. No more. According to the 2012 edition of the “Rich States, Poor States” survey by the American Legislative Exchange Council, “California suffered a net loss in domestic migration of 1.5 million people from 2001 to 2010, as well as a 2.5 percent non-farm employment loss. Unfortunately for the Golden State, economic decline is unlikely to stop anytime soon.”

Even immigrants from Mexico have started returning home, despite the horrible violence in that country, because the economy South of the Border is growing faster than California’s.

Unemployment rises to 11 percent

Bucking national trends, California’s unemployment rose in March to 11 percent. That’s almost 3 percentage points above the national 8.2 percent rate. As recently as the mid-2000s, California’s rate was only 1 percentage point higher. The last time the state’s unemployment rate was below double digits was in 2008. And California vies with Illinois as the state with the worst credit rating on the bond markets.

State finances in shock

As a result, the state’s finances are in shock. Last week, Gov. Jerry Brown announced that the state’s budget deficit, according to Department of Finance estimates, had soared to $16 billion from the $9.2 billion predicted in January. So the deficit rose by 74 percent in just four months.

Mark Levin rails against Romney camp for avoiding Rev. Wright issue





Banking sector puts its money on Mitt Romney

When the head of JPMorgan Chase met with shareholders to answer for a trading loss of more than $2 billion Tuesday, it was against an evolving political backdrop: Donors from big banks are betting on Mitt Romney to defeat President Obama and repeal new restraints on risky, large-scale investments.

“There’s no doubt that there’s been a big diminution of support for the president,’’ said William M. Daley, Obama’s former chief of staff and a former top JPMorgan Chase executive. “People in the financial services sector are saying, ‘The president has been too tough on us, both in policy and on rhetoric.’ ’’

The top five donor groups in Romney’s campaign are individuals and political action committees associated with large financial institutions, led by Wall Street giants Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Chase, according to information compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics, a nonpartisan research group that tracks campaign donations.

By contrast, Obama’s top five contributor groups include individuals and PACs affiliated with high technology giants Google Inc. and Microsoft Corp., and the global law firms DLA Piper and Sidley Austin, and do not include those associated with banks. In 2008, financial institutions backed him generously.

Analysts said the JPMorgan loss could be a political opportunity for Obama - and an obstacle for Romney.

On Monday, Obama was already seizing on the JPMorgan loss to bolster his reelection effort and underscore his continuing support for new and pending financial regulations in the 2010 Dodd-Frank regulatory overhaul, which includes the controversial Volcker Rule, a provision that would prohibit banks from making speculative investments with their own funds.

“This is the best, or one of the best-managed banks. You could have a bank that isn’t as strong, isn’t as profitable making those same bets and we might have had to step in,’’ Obama said on ABC TV’s “The View,’’ adding praise for JPMorgan chief Jamie Dimon. “That’s exactly why Wall Street reform is so important.’’

The JPMorgan loss “certainly fortifies the argument for stricter financial regulation,’’ said William A. Galston, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and former adviser to President Clinton. “And since President Obama has been on one side and Mitt Romney has been on the other, you would have to say it will make it a little bit harder for Mitt Romney to fortify the position he has articulated, which is that Dodd-Frank should be repealed.’’

Campaign finance records also show that the financial services sector is, to some extent, hedging its bets by donating money to the Democratic National Committee.

Mayo Clinic fires Female Genital Mutilation doctor

YouTube description: Dr. Elhagaly is no longer employed or caring for patients at Mayo Clinic Health System in Albert Lea. We are working with his patients to transition their care to another physician. Because this is a personnel issue, we cannot comment further on Dr. Elhagaly's employment status.

Female circumcision in children, referred to as female genital mutilation in U.S. legal statutes, is a felony-level child abuse crime. Mayo Clinic strongly opposes the procedure and it has never been performed at any Mayo Clinic facility.

--------------

Hatem Elhagaly (AKA "Hatem Al Haj") worked as a doctor in Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine at the Mayo Clinic in Albert Lea, MN. His special interests are in child development.

He is also a proponent of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).

In an Arabic-language paper entitled "Circumcision of Girls: Jurisprudence and Medicine" (original here and here), Elhagaly (AKA "Al Haj") repeatedly points to the idea that FGM is "an honor" for women, ignoring FGM's extremely detrimental effects on women's health and the barbarity of the practice. He attempts to justify his ideas by referencing scholars from several schools of Islamic thought and also the words of Muhammad, including the idea that FGM is desirable "because it is more beautiful to behold and better for her husband."

Hatem Elhagaly was taking care of young girls in Albert Lea, MN.




UPDATE: Not familiar with Female Genital Mutilation? Read two articles describing it from Wikipedia and the World Health Organization.

Blind Chinese Activist Who Fought Forced Abortions Arrives in NYC With Wife and Children

Honestly, when this Chinese dissident left the US Embassy I thought his chance of ever seeing freedom were gone. Thankfully, I was wrong. - Reggie

NEW YORK (AP) — A blind Chinese legal activist who escaped house arrest, endured a nearly monthlong diplomatic tussle and a hurried daylong flight paused ever so briefly upon his arrival in New York City before taking up a familiar fight.

Taken from a hospital in his homeland and put on a plane for the U.S. after Chinese authorities suddenly told him Saturday to pack and prepare to leave, Chen Guangcheng embraced his new surroundings at New York University and renewed his call to fight injustice.

"I believe that no matter how difficult the environment nothing is impossible if you put your heart to it," he told a cheering crowd at NYU shortly after arriving at Newark Liberty International Airport on Saturday evening.

"We should link our arms to continue in the fight for the goodness in the world and to fight against injustice. So, I think that all people should apply themselves to this end to work for the common good worldwide."

Chen was suddenly allowed to leave China earlier in the day, ending a dispute that tested U.S.-China relations.


Blind Chinese legal activist Chen Guangcheng arrives at the campus of New York University