If you were perplexed by President Obama’s post-election comment that he heard the voices “of the two-thirds who didn’t vote,” you can be forgiven. Normally, American presidents don’t see the electorate through the lens of those who do not participate. But Obama’s comments reveal a view toward election process rules that is shared by some of the more extreme groups hostile to our democratic republican system of constitutional government.
Let’s decode his comments.
It is a favorite fable among far-left groups like the Advancement Project and Demos that more voters is always good and fewer voters is always bad. They firmly believe that the path to a progressive policy wonderland is to get everyone with a heartbeat to vote. This is part of an even older fable that the “system” robs the underclass of power through laws, rules, racist constructs and oppressive societal structures – like having to make the effort to register to vote, for example.
Obama, and his fellow travelers in the election-process world, firmly believe that if only, if only all “barriers” to the ballot were removed, then that progressive-policy wonderland would finally be realized. Then we’d enjoy the American version of a workers’ paradise, 8.0.
It’s the voices of the two-thirds who didn’t vote that Obama pays more attention to today than the rest of the country who did. When he made his comment, he wasn’t being flip, he was being transparent for a change.
That’s precisely why “voting rights” groups fight to implement election-process changes like same-day registration, vote by mail, felon voting rights and extended early voting. It is one reason they fight voter ID laws, because as one Justice Department lawyer told me, their voters “are more disorganized and likely to forget their ID.”
None of this is any grand secret. If you read the hundred thousand dollar testimony of Charles Stewart who testified against North Carolina election-integrity laws, you’d see this attitude on full display and at great taxpayer expense. Experts opposing those laws testified about how blacks have to take the bus and are less sophisticated such that it is harder for them to vote.
These are the sorts of societal structures and constructs that the left believe prevents them from winning every election. It’s why President Obama thinks he hears from the “2/3 of voters who didn’t vote.”
If you still don’t quite understand the two-thirds comments, ponder this. Progressives want the electoral system to be revolutionized. They are pushing changes like universal registration – which would automatically register anyone to vote who is on a government list – and “approval voting.” They prefer single member districts, or better yet, cumulative or limited voting schemes. Such schemes help ensure the more polarizing radicals are elected, never having to appeal to a broad cross section of voters.
They want to fundamentally transform how our elections are run so they can get power.
This isn’t to say some should be ineligible to vote. But a great drummer once wrote that “if you chose not to decide you still have made a choice.” Non-participation in elections may owe more to not caring than an oppressive bourgeois conspiracy. But the left has never been comfortable with free will.
In the end, they’d probably want people to be able to vote sitting at home using their television remote controls over the course of two months.
What’s wrong with that? — I can hear them saying now.
What’s wrong with that is that our Founders knew that straight democracy leads to tyranny. That’s why our Constitution created a democratic republic. Few of the “voting rights” advocates seem to have learned that lesson in the schools they attended. Perhaps the lesson was never taught. Or perhaps something appeals to them about that outcome.
So when President Obama breaks the long American tradition of listening to voters, and instead listens to those who didn’t vote, it is no accident.
This morning, some pundits are spinning Ed Gillespie’s close Senate loss in Virginia as the surprise of the election. It wasn’t. Gillespie was expected to lose, and he lost. With respect to PJ’s Bridget Johnson, Gillespie didn’t deliver a shock, he lost by an insurmountable 12,000 votes. His loss was no surprise for a variety of reasons, some of which I detailed here.
You want surprises? Look to Pat Roberts in Kansas, Thom Tillis in North Carolina and Cory Gardner in Colorado. They won facing big headwinds and polls showing them losing – the same circumstances facing Gillespie. They won. He lost. The winners are the surprise, not the as-expected loser.
The sad part of Gillespie’s loss is that he left so much on the table.
I previously wrote how so many conservatives, myself included, never heard one peep out of Gillespie – no calls, no mail, no knocks, no nothing. These were donors and top political appointees in the Bush administration who never heard a word, were never asked for their vote by the campaign. To many, there was no sign of the campaign.
Gillespie faced an opponent who voted for the radical Debo Adegbile for a top Justice Department post. Gillespie was a fan of the Gang of Eight immigration bill in the Senate. He ran on the rather amorphous slogan “economic growth” in a state that has seen plenty of it, much of it due to federal government largess.
In contrast, Roberts pulled out a genuine surprise in Kansas because he ran hard on blocking any form of amnesty, and thus activated the base.
Beware of the emphasis on Ed Gillespie. The conventional wisdom was he used the Senate run as a way to prime the pump for a run for Virginia Governor in 2017. Gillespie became the favorite recipient of praise for losing smaller than expected rather than winning. After Tuesday, perhaps Virginia Republicans should look for a candidate who can deliver a surprise combined with a victory instead of just outpacing polling data.
An email dump has revealed that the White House pulled the trigger on firing former Department of Agriculture official Shirley Sherrod. Sherrod is suing Andrew Breitbart’s widow and the waggish Larry O’Connor for defamation, alleging that Breitbart’s publication of her remarks made before an NAACP crowd caused her harm, including her firing.
The Obama administration has up until now denied that the White House had any role in Sherrod’s firing. Not true. The AP:
But a newly-released email sent by Vilsack himself suggests he was awaiting a decision from White House officials on how to proceed.
“She has offered her resignation which is appropriate,” reads an email from the initials “TJV” to Dallas Tonsager, then the USDA undersecretary of rural development and Sherrod’s boss. “The WH is involved and we are waiting for the go-ahead to accept her resignation. I suspect some direction from WH soon.“
This email revelation makes Sherrod’s lawsuit even more tenuous. If the White House was entangled in the Sherrod decision, it undermines Sherrrod’s theories of causality by converting the entire event into a saga of racially charged palace intrigue. If the White House was dictating Sherrod’s fate, it is a blow to her claim that Andrew Breitbart (and now his widow) is responsible for causing her termination.
Perhaps Sherrod will file a Rule 19(a) motion to add a necessary party to her lawsuit such as President Obama or other top White House officials as a defendant. If she doesn’t, it will reveal a great deal about what her lawsuit was about all along.
(See more at Rule of Law: Vampires, Shirley Sherrod Lawyers Seek to Sue Widow of Andrew Breitbart)
While Michelle Obama’s skimpy school lunch mandates have been widely rejected by students and schools, the elite private school attended by both Obama daughters will be serving chicken wings and potato chips on Wednesday.
After Wednesday’s chicken wings, on Thursday Obama’s daughters can get a Cuban sandwich. Pasco County Schools in Florida had to eliminate Cuban sandwiches because they violated Michelle Obama’s lunch standards.
Land O’ Lakes High had gone one better, pressing its own Cuban sandwiches that definitely exceed the calorie limits, she said.
“No way can we fit Cubans on the menu any more,” Hedine said.
Next week, students at Sidwell Friends can enjoy Philly Cheese Steaks; and they will have meatball submarines the following week. Veterans Day is not a holiday at Sidwell Friends, and beef nachos are on the menu. Nachos, wings, chips and cheesesteaks – lunch fare most American kids can only dream about now.
(Editor’s note: J. Christian Adams’ Crimes Against the Republic is available free for a limited time only, exclusively through the PJ Store.)
Lots of folks think Democrats oppose voter ID laws because they want to cheat and such laws interfere with their plans. That’s an attractive explanation, but it ignores the far more complex architecture of voter ID opposition. Here’s the real reasons Democrats oppose voter ID. Understanding these three reasons will help you decode the whole narrative behind voter ID.
1. Opposition to Voter ID Is a Base-Mobilization Tool.
Simply, Democrats and civil rights groups spend millions of dollars opposing voter ID because they are trying to scare minority voters into thinking that Jim Crow is back. If Jim Crow is back, then they better go vote in November. This was made starkly clear to me when I learned that a 3rd grade teacher in a government-run school was telling her students that Republicans were trying to take away the right to vote for black people, so they better get their parents to vote against Republicans. (Yes, that’s another story for another day, and yes I know her name and the school where she still teaches.)
Fear mobilizes people to vote better than does logic. If you can scare minorities falsely into thinking that they may lose their right to vote if they don’t vote for Democrats, they will vote for Democrats.
2. Voter ID Opponents Have the Soft Bigotry of Low Expectations.
Leftist opponents of voter ID truly think minorities are less able to function in American life. I learned this when a Department of Justice Voting Section lawyer opposed to voter ID told me he thought blacks were more likely to forget their photo identification than whites were. Their lives “were more disorganized,” he said. This is a lawyer currently still working in the Civil Rights Division at the Justice Department. This is a perfect example of the “soft bigotry of low expectations.”
And it isn’t just one crank lawyer at DOJ. The plaintiffs challenging voter ID and election integrity laws actually hired an expert to testify in federal court in voter ID cases that blacks were less capable of functioning efficiently in a daily routine and photo ID laws have a disparate impact on them. The expert called this idea the “calculus of voting.” For example, they have to take the bus more. Taking the bus, naturally, makes it harder to get photo ID.
The plaintiffs argue that voting “is largely a product of habit,” and blacks, well, their habits just don’t brook any interruptions to their habits, so they argue.
This is another perfect example of the “soft bigotry of low expectations.” Opponents of voter ID are genuinely afraid that forcing blacks to get photo ID will impose a burden on them they just can’t handle.
Overnight the Supreme Court refused to reverse the stay imposed by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals and thus allowed voter ID to be required in the midterm election in Texas. This is procedural delay based on the idea that election rules shouldn’t change at the last second.
So voter ID gets one last hurrah in Texas.
But election integrity advocates shouldn’t celebrate too much. Texas Voter ID is doomed. After this next election, it is prohibited from being used.
Nor should much faith be placed in any appeal. The plaintiffs won on two separate theories under the Voting Rights Act, and both are fatal to the law. First, the court ruled that Texas voter ID was enacted with a discriminatory intent. That finding alone dooms the law. And here’s the bad news: the chances of that finding being overturned are next to zero. Proving discriminatory intent isn’t easy, but the court said the plaintiffs did it. That’s a fact-based determination and will not be overturned unless it is clearly erroneous. Appeals courts are deferential to lower courts on fact findings. Why? Because lower courts conduct the trial. Lower courts see the witnesses, even if they sweat and squirm. Appeals judges sitting in New Orleans can’t size up the witnesses like the lower court judge in Corpus Christi.
Second, Texas also lost on the results prong under the Voting Rights Act. The plaintiffs pushed an outlandish theory for sure, and one that might get overturned on appeal. They pressed the novel idea that any statistical disparity of the impact of voter ID dooms the law. If blacks have ID less often than whites, game over. The problem is that the courts have so far rejected that idea. You can be sure the Supreme Court will also.
But so what? The intent finding stands and that means that the Texas law likely gets one last hurrah in two weeks.
What’s the solution? For Texas to pass a new ID law lickety split. A new law can be in place within a few days of the Texas legislature convening in January. Pass something identical to the law approved in South Carolina or Georgia, and it’s lights out for the foes of election integrity.
President Obama continues to refuse to impose a travel ban on those seeking to enter the United States who came from Ebola-ravaged countries. Yet when I attempted to enter the United States from New Zealand, I was prohibited from bringing packaged seeds from the delicious Queensland Blue pumpkin. In fact, all totally harmless vegetable seeds from foreign countries are prohibited and, as in my case, confiscated at the border.
When I attempted to enter the country with pre-packaged Queensland Blue seeds in 2003, the delicious squash was common in Australia and New Zealand, but seeds were not widely available in the United States. At Los Angeles, I was forced to surrender the seeds to an agriculture inspector at customs.
Queensland Blue seeds are harmless, and the vegetable is is commonly eaten across Australia and New Zealand.
The same can’t be said about Ebola, and only people who were in West Africa could bring it into the United States, which is precisely what happened. I called for a travel ban two weeks ago on The Kelly File.
Among those supporting a travel ban are Sen. Ted Cruz, Speaker John Boehner, and the American people, overwhelmingly, as Katie Pavlich notes.
Contrary to reports, the CDC has less power to block the border than does President Obama personally. Federal law gives the president personally (not the CDC) the power to bar entry into the United States to all people who have been in West Africa in the last 30 days. I detailed this power here. News reports which place that power with the CDC are giving President Obama a pass. President Obama can issue an executive proclamation without any involvement from the CDC or other bureaucratic agencies.
If we are to believe the administration’s excuses for not doing so, health care workers can still be given special permission to enter West Africa on military flights.
Yet we are treated to the latest round of untrustworthy excuses from the CDC today in Hill testimony. Among the latest excuse why banning travel is a bad idea is that the American government wouldn’t be able to monitor and track people who might have Ebola. Tell that to the American people when the people that President Obama allowed into the country infect Americans in increasing numbers.
Late today, the United States Supreme Court dissolved a stay against North Carolina election integrity laws, allowing those laws to go into effect for November’s election. The vote was 7-2.
North Carolina enacted laws to revise expensive early voting procedures and eliminated fraud-ridden same day voter registration. Another new law required voters to actually vote in the precinct where they live. Left wing groups challenged the new laws, advancing novel new arguments that no change in voting could have any disparate statistical impact on blacks. That has never been the law under the Voting Rights Act.
Late today the Supreme Court dealt a blow to these radical new legal theories about the Voting Rights Act.
Naturally, Richard Wolf at the USA Today is calling these new provisions “restrictions” on voting. If they are restrictions, they exist in many other states such as New York. Voter registration to some people is a “restriction” on voting. Thus, this novel legal theory is designed to place all manner of election laws under the review of the Voting Rights Act to see if there is some tangential disparate racial impact.
I’ve gone on Fox News repeatedly calling for the president to use powers under 8 USC 1182 (f) to close the borders to passport holders from nations with raging Ebola epidemics. Obama could do this with the stroke of a pen, but he doesn’t. It raises the question of why it is that, time and time again, the safety of Americans seems to be a lower priority to this president than other “esoteric faculty lounge” concerns, as I put it on The Kelly File.
Senator Ted Cruz is asking some of the same questions the overwhelming majority of Americans want to be asked. In a letter to the FAA, Cruz asks, in pertinent part:
1. What training is currently provided to airline carriers and their crew to identify the symptoms of infectious diseases?
2. What action has the FAA taken since March 2014 regarding Ebola?
3. Does the FAA intend to limit or suspend travel from Ebola-racked nations?
4. Once a case is confirmed on a flight, do other passengers get notification?
We’ve learned over the last few days that the answers to these questions are, respectively, little to none, not enough, no, and are you kidding?
Of all the uncertainty surrounding the Ebola epidemic, one thing is true: the existing measures for keeping Ebola out of the United States failed, period.
We also know that the Obama administration, as it often does, has entered Wonderland — keeping Liberians and citizens from Sierra Leone here illegally in the United States from being deported back to their homes.
While Obama doesn’t take steps to use federal power to protect Americans by stopping the flow of potentially infected foreigners, he exercises his authority to protect foreigners from returning home.
What can be said about Eric Holder’s six years as attorney general that PJ Media hasn’t already said? The news that Holder is going to resign should be bittersweet to anyone who cares about racial equality and the rule of law. The damage he has already done to the country leaves a turbulent wake that is ill-matched to the financial reward awaiting him at a shameless and large Washington, D.C., law firm.
Our country is more polarized and more racially divided because of Eric Holder. He turned the power of the Justice Department into a racially motivated turnout machine for the Democratic Party. That was his job in this administration, and he did it well.
When I first reported on the racially motivated law enforcement of Holder’s Justice Department, it seemed fanciful to some. But after six years of Holder hugging Al Sharpton, stoking racial division in places like Florida and Ferguson, after suing police and fire departments to impose racial hiring requirements, after refusing to enforce election laws that protect white victims or require voter rolls to be cleaned, after launching harassing litigation against peaceful pro-life protesters, after incident after incident of dishonesty and contempt before Congress — after all this, it was clear to anyone with any intellectual honesty that this man had a vision of the law at odds with the nation’s traditions.
Why would it surprise anyone he behaved as he did? As I made clear in my book Injustice, he carried around a quote in his wallet for 40 years about race that, he explained to the Washington Post, indicated that he had common cause with the black criminal. That’s a fact. That’s who he is.
Once upon a time, Slate got very upset by any hint of a Jewish stereotype. But that was before Vice President Joe “Archie Bunker” Biden’s latest doozy complaining “unscrupulous bankers” were a bunch of “Shylocks.”
There is not a mention (so far) of Biden’s latest gaffe to be found at Slate today.
That wasn’t the case when George Lucas introduced us to the slave trader Watto in Star Wars: The Phantom Menace.
In a piece headlined “The Merchant of Menace,” Slate was quick to attack Watto:
There, they attempt to repair their broken spaceship but are stymied by the hook-nosed owner of the local parts shop–Watto–who also happens to have a thick Yiddish accent! (To hear an example, click “Great.”) Psychological manipulations that work on almost everyone fail with Watto–”Mind ticks don’ta work on me … only money! No,” he cries–and the heroes get what they want only through the bravery of a gifted slave boy (Anakin Skywalker). At the end of the desert planet sequence, Anakin is emancipated but separated from his mother, who still belongs to Watto. Even in a galaxy far away, the Jews are apparently behind the slave trade.
By now the hypocrisy of the legacy and left-wing (but I repeat myself) media is no surprise. When a Democrat vice president brazenly uses “Shylocks” as a slur to condemn bankers, and thereby conjures the most sinister anti-Semitic narrative of the last 500 years, Biden gets a pass. Perhaps if he had added that the “Shylocks” also ”control the media” or have horns, there might have been some attention paid at the once vigilant Slate. Perhaps not.
The same sort of hypocrisy is on display at Talking Points Memo. TPM features an attack on a Republican candidate for U.S. Senate for website plagiarism. Just a month ago, TPM was busy defending Fareed Zakaria. Thanks, guys, you make posts like this one so easy to write.
Sometimes voter-fraud deniers are forced to discuss the truth of voter fraud. This happened today at the Washington Post (“Fairfax officials say some people may have crossed Va.-Md. line to vote twice in 2012“). While the Post deserves credit from emerging from its cocoon of voter-fraud denial, it deserves scorn for bungling the emergence.
Reporter Susan Svrluga notes that “tens of thousands of voters” were registered to cast ballots in both Virginia and Maryland. That’s true, and it is a big problem nationwide. Hundreds of thousands of people are registered to vote in multiple states, and many of them have voted.
It wasn’t Eric Holder’s Justice Department that discovered the problem. That won’t happen because as I reported at PJ Media in 2010, Obama political appointees expressly shut down the efforts at DOJ to detect this sort of fraud and inadequate voter-roll maintenance.
Hans von Spakovsky notes who deserves the credit for detecting the problem:
It was the VVA — along with another citizens’ group dedicated to election integrity, Election Integrity Maryland (EIM) — that did the research on the voter files in Virginia and Maryland to find these illegal voters. And this may be only the tip of the iceberg: VVA and EIM turned the names of 43,893 individuals who appear to be registered in both states over to the State Boards of Elections in Virginia and Maryland. Fairfax County alone has more than 10,000 such duplicate registrations. These 17 voters are only a subset of at least 164 voters their research showed voted in both states in the 2012 election.
Naturally the Washington Post makes no inquiry as to why the Eric Holder Department of Justice has failed to do anything about the scourge of double registration. It’s in DOJ’s job description. DOJ isn’t doing the job. Instead, groups like the American Civil Rights Union, Judicial Watch and True the Vote have had to bring the cases Eric Holder has refused to bring to clean up voter rolls.
Those who create and manage the left-of-center election narrative ignore entirely this DOJ history, as does the Washington Post.
The other key fact ignored by the Washington Post is that in 2013 Virginia Democrats sued to stop election officials from trying to detect and cure this problem! I know because I, along with Judicial Watch, defended Virginia’s use of the cross-state check program to detect double registrations. The Post should not have omitted this fact when tracing out the partisan battle lines of the issue. The Democrats have gone all-in on the side of corrupted voter rolls.
Some newspapers fully informed their readers of this fact, unlike the Post. The Richmond Times Dispatch:
Purging voter rolls, however, can. Yet when the State Board of Elections took steps last year to clean up the voter rolls and asked localities to remove names of those no longer eligible from the rolls, the state Democratic Party sought an injunction to stop the process, and Chesterfield’s registrar, Lawrence Haake, declined to participate, citing inaccuracies. Haake might have been justified, and the board might have pushed too hard to execute what should be a painstaking process. But when those particular concerns are set aside, the general point stands: Localities should keep their voting rolls as up to date as reasonably possible.
Finally, the Post reporter downsizes the reason states are on the front lines of this issue:
It’s a federalist, states’-rights tradition that leaves a confusing mishmash of laws, rules and records, he said.
The reason states are in charge of their own elections is a “federalist, states-rights tradition that leaves a confusing mishmash of laws”? Really?
The reason states are in charge of their own elections is the United States Constitution (Article 1, Sec. 4). The Constitution gives states power over their own elections because it promotes liberty. The federal government does not have control over state election laws because centralization of power is unhealthy for liberty.
It’s good to see the Washington Post finally report on voter fraud. It’s not so good to see the predictable sanctuary given to the Democrat Party’s attempted facilitation of the fraud, and the usual criticism of our Constitutional arrangement for running elections.
Hardly any commentary is needed for this headline:
More White House officials at Michael Brown’s funeral than Thatcher’s
The story is here at Fox News.
This is more than an oversight. This headline carries significance beyond a headshake.
It is a raw example of the moral depravity in the White House under Obama. It is an example of the administration’s celebration and promotion of the lawless. It is a testament to Obama’s personal hostility toward the greatness of the British role in preserving the rule of law, the foundations of liberty, and Margaret Thatcher’s willingness to stare down the Soviets alongside Ronald Reagan and St. John Paul II.
The headline is not an accident. It is a deliberate slight to the era of Reagan, Thatcher, and the moral clarity they brought to the world. Thatcher and Reagan spoke with moral clarity about the evil of redistributive policies and the damage they do to civilization. John Paul spoke with moral clarity about the evil of governments restraining the free exercise of faith. The three renewed the face of the earth.
Michael Brown was caught on video committing felony strong armed robbery. That Obama administration officials at his funeral would outnumber Obama administration officials at Thatcher’s funeral says absolutely everything you need to know about the last six years. Policy after policy advanced by President Obama in some way shares a relation to that headline, and the ideas behind it.
Over at Rule of Law, I have this review of David Horowitz’s latest book Take No Prisoners: The Battleplan for Defeating the Left (Regnery, 2104). Horowitz describes how Republicans and conservatives must learn to do political battle differently. He notes that too often, they are just too polite, too bland and too oriented toward discussing complicated policies.
Below are three recipes for dog should the White House chef get any special requests for old times sake. What that has to do with Take No Prisoners, you’ll just have to find out.
1. Anjing Panggang
(This just might be the spicy Indonesian treat President Obama used to eat)
One small dog
1 cup vinegar
3 tbsp salt
6 cloves garlic
20 spicy Thai peppers
3 pureed tomatoes
3 cups lemon juice
Burn off the fur over hot charcoal.
Carefully remove the skin while still warm and set aside for later. (It may be used in other recipes.)
Cut dog up into sections, about 12 to 16 large pieces.
In a food processor, mix all the marinade ingredients together. Put dog pieces into this marinade in a large container, then let it sit for at least 2 hours.
Put dog pieces on a charcoal grill, cover and let it burn over warm coals. Flip and baste occasionally for about 1 hour or until meat is tender.
2. Wu’uk Rica-Rica
(Also Indonesian. Perhaps Obama enjoyed rica-rica as well as Anjing Panggang)
4 to 6 pieces of dog.
2 tablespoons lime juice
2 medium chopped tomatoes
2 kaffir lime leaves
1 stalk of lemongrass
2 stalks basil
Red chili paste
3 teaspoons of grated ginger
Marinate dog in lime juice and salt for 30 minutes
Heat oil in wok and saute the chili paste and tomatos, lemon grass, sugar, salt, some water and lime leaves.
Add dog and cook until half done.
Grill dog on charcoal grill and serve with sauce.
3. Bosintang (“Woof-woof soup”)
Because this dish is Korean and not Indonesian, it is less likely this recipe would conjure culinary memories for the President. But if the White House chef wants to move dog away from the main course and to an appetizer, this might be a hit.
1/2 pound of sliced dog meat
2 cups of gravy
¼ cup of chopped green onion
1/8 chopped leek
¼ pound taro soaked in water
Sauce: teaspoon salt, crushed garlic clove, teaspoon chopped mint, ¼ teaspoon red pepper, water, teaspoon crushed ginger.
Boil dog meat with gravy and taro
Add vegetables and sauce and continue cooking for one hour
Add pepper and serve
The vice president’s Boeing 757 delivered Eric Holder to St. Louis yesterday. In Ferguson, Holder announced that he was “a black man” and therefore had the power to heal Ferguson in ways that no other law enforcement official could. Yet his comments were sure to throw gasoline on fire burning hot with racial division.
That shouldn’t shock anyone. It’s the community organizing model of running the Justice Department. What is shocking is who is fueling the Justice Department’s “training” of police departments around the country: radicals, communist-affiliated organizations, and George Soros. I stumbled across this section of my book Injustice this morning. It notes:
A stable of academics serving as paid consultants help to fuel the DOJ’s fixation on racial profiling by the police. One such consultant, Dr. Jack McDevitt of Northeastern University, heads the Institute on Race and Justice (IRJ). Past collaborators with the IRJ include Angela Davis, a former member of both the Communist Party USA and the original Black Panther Party. The IRJ receives at least $440,448 in DOJ funds to teach department lawyers about racial profiling by police departments. But the IRJ’s reports on this issue have another deep pocket benefactor—George Soros and his Open Society Institute. Soros sponsored the IRJ’s project “Confronting Racial Profiling in the 21st Century: Implications for Racial Justice,” the very same work that IRJ is doing for the DOJ. Thus, police departments are subjected not only to DOJ muscle, but DOJ muscle with the financial backing of George Soros.
The DOJ training is basically sensitivity training for local cops. It is DOJ’s way to let them know what is and is not acceptable in Washington, D.C. If you behave in a way DOJ does not approve of, expect a visit from the Civil Rights Division.
But police training with even one degree of separation from Angela Davis is totally unacceptable. She is the perhaps the most toxic symbol of radical, violent, murderous opposition to the police and the legal system. In a sane government, the Justice Department wouldn’t have anything to do with any organization that has anything to do with her. But under Eric Holder, at least half a million dollars of your money goes to an organization she has collaborated with.
Huff Post’s Ryan Reilly recently had problems telling the difference between earplugs and rubber bullets. He also has long struggled with telling the difference between fact and fiction.
Reilly was recently arrested covering the mob violence in Ferguson, Missouri. He described the loss of his cell phone and communication devices incident to his arrest as “dehumanizing,” which gives you a sense of his priorities I suppose.
But Reilly’s clownish debut on the national stage isn’t news to anyone who has followed his checkered history as a “reporter.”
Reilly formerly worked for a privately owned website that served as a Department of Justice propaganda site called Main Justice. James O’Keefe is currently suing Main Justice for publishing outright falsehoods about him. After a stint at Main Justice, Reilly moved to TPM Muckraker, where he continued to serve in the role of government mouthpiece.
Now he is at the Huffington Post.
Among his scalps was a false report at TPM Muckraker that the election integrity organization True the Vote was under federal investigation for voter intimidation by the Justice Department, a claim which proved to be false, and a claim TPM refused to retract.
But Reilly has also published false information about others, including me. I address his falsehoods in my book Injustice: Exposing the Racial Agenda of the Obama Justice Department, a book which explains more about what is happening in Ferguson and Washington, D.C. than any report Reilly has filed so far from the field.
I note in my book Injustice:
Around this time, a left-wing blog published a false story claiming I was “fighting to testify.” To the contrary, I was afraid of the legal bind in which the subpoena had put me. The story was the fruit of an unsavory alliance between the DOJ and various left-wing blogs that became the DOJ’s mouthpiece as the Panther scandal unfolded. The “fighting to testify” story appeared on a little-read blog called Main Justice whose writers, Ryan Reilly and Mary Jacoby, obviously kept in close contact with my critics at the DOJ. Department officials would use the website to relay smears against me, Coates, and other supporters of the Panther case.
I asked for a correction to Reilly’s false story, but it never came. As such, I won’t give any interviews to him until he corrects the record.
This history has relevance to the unfolding saga in Ferguson because Reilly will be quoted and relied upon by others. Those who do should proceed with caution. You’ve been warned.
With Ebola raging through West Africa, how long would it take for the deadly virus to arrive in the United States? According to flight timetables, about 12 hours. Here are four direct flights from Ebola hotspots straight into the USA.
This flight arrives at 5 in the morning from Lagos, Nigeria, a place where Belmont Club had this frightening account of the intersection of corruption and disease. It involved an Ebola victim, upon learning he was infected, urinating on health care workers in a rage. They too ultimately died. The amazing part of the story is how corrupt officials tried to spring the patient free because of his connections.
If instead of Star Alliance, you prefer SkyTeam when travelling from an Ebola hotspot to the United States, Delta 55 arrives in Atlanta at 5 a.m.
3. Arik Air 107
Arik Air provides the authentic Nigerian airline experience. It is scheduled to arrive into New York’s JFK at 4:31 a.m., but rarely does so on time.
Delta offers Boeing 767 service straight from the heart of the Ebola outbreak — Roberts International Airport in Liberia. The Delta flight stops over at an airport in Ghana, where other victims of Ebola transited. Ghana is also home to the fruit bat, which is a reservoir for the Ebola virus. Delta service from Liberia was scheduled to end later this month before the Ebola outbreak.
The left trumpeted a voter ID decision in Wisconsin as if it were the end of the issue. Let’s see what they do with this one. A federal court today smacked down the Holder Justice Department and refused to enjoin (block) North Carolina’s voter ID law, curtailment of costly early voting and end of fraud-infested same day registration. This means the state’s voter ID law will be in place for the midterm congressional (and Senate) elections in November.
The Justice Department had actually argued that even if black voters turned out at higher rates under voter ID (which they do), because blacks have to take the bus more and their life is generally harder, then voter ID and curtailing early voting violates the Voting Rights Act.
You can read the opinion here. It lays waste to the theories of those opposing North Carolina’s election integrity laws, including the Justice Department.
The Justice Department actually used your tax dollars to pay for an expert to introduce the turnout-doesn’t-matter-because-life-is-harder argument. Enterprising folks will submit a Freedom of Information request to find out how many tens of thousands of dollars that nonsense costs you.
Hans von Spakovsky, former DOJ voting official, says it is going to be a very bad weekend for lawyers at the Justice Department Voting Section. “Eric Holder has been beaten now twice in the Carolinas on voter ID. Today’s ruling shows just how wrong he is when it comes to election law.”
Tom Fitton of Judicial Watch says, “It is an embarrassing defeat for the Holder Justice Department. The court’s decision eviscerates Eric Holder’s politicized and racially inflammatory legal assault on commonsense election integrity measures. The court expressly rejected the Department of Justice’s contention that minorities are harmed by commonsense measures that help secure honest elections. The court’s dramatic rejection of Holder’s legal theory shows that that the DOJ’s lawsuit, which was coordinated with political activists at the White House, was always more about cynical political and racial appeals than upholding the law.”
Big losers today also include Kirkland and Ellis, the firm representing Shirley Sherrod in the lawsuit against Andrew Breitbart’s widow. Kirkland was representing intervening plaintiffs pro bono in trying to shut down North Carolina voter ID.
Big winners today include the North Carolina Republicans who passed the law, Judicial Watch who helped defend it, and Christopher Coates, the former DOJ Voting Section chief who worked on the case for Judicial Watch and tore up some of the silliest arguments that the Justice Department had to offer. Coates said, “The North Carolina decision is similar to the South Carolina case the Department of Justice lost in 2012. Both cases were insubstantial and should not have been brought.”
UPDATE: Catherine Engelbrecht of True the Vote says, “It’s radical to fight against an election administrator’s need to verify voter registrations before handing out ballots. North Carolina and its voters have much to be grateful for with this ruling.”
We are now two weeks into the corruption trial of former Virginia Governor Robert McDonnell and his wife. The United States alleges that the McDonnells traded official acts in exchange for cash, gifts, a Rolex and a borrowed Ferrari. The McDonnells are charged with taking things from Jonnie Williams, a businessman who was pushing a tobacco-based cure-all pill. Williams was desperate to bring credibility to the product (no wonder). Prosecutors allege that he turned to the McDonnells to leverage the offices of state government to give him that credibility. Three curious defenses have emerged in the trial.
1. Don’t trust the prosecution’s star witness, even though we did.
The central problem for the McDonnell defense is that they don’t want the jury to take Jonnie Williams seriously even though the Governor and his wife took him plenty seriously when he was passing out gifts and cash. When the Governor wanted Williams to get an appointment with another state official, Williams got it. When Williams wanted the Governor’s mansion to be used for an event related to the product, he got it. Will a jury buy the argument that Williams shouldn’t be taken seriously when the Governor and his wife seemed to take him more seriously than nearly every other Virginian?
2. We weren’t really giving Williams favors, we were just tricking him to think we were.
A strange defense emerged yesterday at trial. It goes like this: Sure, the Governor arranged all sorts of meetings and access for Williams after receiving gifts and cash, but nothing really came of any of them. One staffer characterized her efforts as a “blowoff email” after a leading question from McDonnell’s lawyer. Really? This defense may be worse than the charges. It’s another way of saying, sure, we received all sorts of money and gifts from Williams, but the most we did is trick him into thinking we were doing something to help him. This is the worst kind of constituent services!
3. She loved him.
The most bizarre defense so far is that Maureen McDonnell had a crush on Jonnie Williams. To help with the visuals, the McDonnells stopped coming to the courthouse together once the jury was in the house. How does this help keep McDonnell out of federal prison? If Maureen was doing it all for love, and not a corrupt motive, then none of the unsavory acts flow to the Governor, and the First Lady might not be subject to the corruption charge because she is not a state official. It’s the cuckold defense. Any port in a storm I suppose. The problem with the defense is that there are plenty of interactions between McDonnell and Williams outlining the contours of their scheme, including a famous plane ride together to California. Go to Defense #1, above, to see how the defense solves that problem.
A picture is worth 1,000 words.
It does not appear from this grainy YouTube video that the swastika being displayed at the pro-Gaza anti-Israel rally in Washington, D.C., yesterday has any context. For example, it does not say something like “Israel = [Swastika].” It appears to be a good old-fashioned Nuremberg-rally-style standalone swastika.
Watch the video for yourself at YouTube (swastika marches by at :32).
h/t Demos Chrissos.
Matt Boyle has this fascinating piece about the inner workings of the legislative battle this week over the border crisis. The bill pushed by the Republican leadership had a number of serious defects.
The story recounted by Boyle is how a small group of activists and congressmen drove the immigration narrative, and ultimately the legislative outcome.
Buried toward the end of Boyle’s piece is a disgraceful statement from Florida Representative Alcee Hastings (D):
Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-FL) decried the House GOP lawsuit as he addressed “all the white people in here” during the Rules Committee hearing — which was filled with battles between the Democrats and the newly unified Republicans like Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte and Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers, who both also commented to the Rules panel.
Forget about Hastings’ impeachable past. What his statement represents is the increasingly open philosophy in Democrat Party circles that race explains everything, including the certain demise of the GOP in time. Instead of acquiescing to this evil, instead of accepting the premise of this immoral racialism, the Republican Party must strike back.
David Horowitz this week said it’s time for Republicans to start calling out the racists in the Democrat Party. He’s right. The response to those who would support Alcee Hastings cannot be outreach. Instead, the GOP must borrow the morality of the civil rights movement and condemn, isolate and ridicule the sentiments of Alcee Hastings and his ilk. If you ignore the cancerous attitude he expressed this week, it will continue to metastasize and block your timid “growth and opportunity” outreach.
No matter how much money the GOP spends, you cannot sow the seeds of opportunity on soil where the enemy has sown weeds. The GOP must first bundle the weeds and burn them.
Tatler has learned that Democrat notaries who engaged in illegal conduct in previous elections in Mississippi (according to a federal court ruling) are now harvesting absentee ballots for the Republican runoff from African-Americans who have always voted in Democratic Party primaries.
Back in 2007, the United States Justice Department sued the chairman of the Noxubee Democratic Executive Committee, Ike Brown. I served on the team that prosecuted that case. Brown was found liable for discriminating against white voters from his perch as the head of the Democrat party.
The federal court discussed the behavior of one particular notary – Carrie Kate Windham. Windham was found to have harvested votes as a notary, sometimes voting the actual ballots of the voters. You can read the whole opinion here (believe me, the conduct is so outrageous it is worth the read). The federal court:
The Government also presented direct evidence of fraud in the collection of absentee ballots by one notary in particular, Carrie Kate Windham, who became a member of the NDEC during Brown’s chairmanship and whose notary application fee and surety bond were paid by Ike Brown. . . .According to Wood, Windham actually marks Wood’s ballot for her and selects candidates when Wood does not know whom she wants to vote for because, as Wood put it, Windham “knows folks” better than Wood does. Wood testified that her daughter lives with her, and although her daughter is not disabled or illiterate and was not going to be out of the county on election day, she was
recruited to vote absentee by Windham. The same was true of Otis Shanklin, who also lives in Wood’s home. Shanklin is not disabled, can read, and is able to go to the poll on election day, yet he casts his vote by absentee ballot in every election and is assisted in every election by Windham; and if he does not know whom to vote for, he has Windham vote for him.
This is the sort of voter fraud that academics and political hacks (but I repeat myself) say is rare and doesn’t really amount to much.
Tatler can report that the notaries who have been engaged in voter fraud going back at least a decade are now in the field once again harvesting absentee ballots from African-Americans in the Republican primary who normally never vote in the Republican primary in Mississippi.
Under Mississippi law, this is illegal. MS Code Ann. 23-15-575 says that one cannot vote in a primary if one does not intend to support the nominee in November. Because nobody reads minds about the intent of the voter, we are left to use common sense about the behavior going on now in some corners of the state.
The bottom line is this: a team of notorious vote fraudsters and absentee ballot con artists are collecting absentee ballots from longtime Democrat voters in Mississippi and delivering these absentee ballots to be counted in the GOP primary. More from the federal court:
Furthermore, while Brown may not have specifically directed Windham’s activities, the court is convinced the two were working together and that he encouraged her actions, or at the very least was aware of and condoned Windham’s tactics, which furthered his agenda.
Tatler of course cannot know for whom these absentee ballots are being collected. Perhaps these long time Democrats are voting for Chris McDaniel. Perhaps they are voting for Thad Cochran. One thing we do know for sure, this is the sort of person now collecting absentee ballots from Democrats to be cast in the GOP runoff. Again, from the court about what happened when one witness testified against the fraud scheme:
After testifying on January 22, Halbert was again called to the stand by the Government on January 29, regarding avisit to her home by Windham and Johnson after she had testified. Halbert testified that as she left the courthouse, she overheardBrown tell Dorothy Clanton, Windham’s sister and also a member of the NDEC, to “Call Carrie Kate.” Twenty minutes after Halbert arrived at home, Windham and Johnson came to her home. According to Halbert, whose testimony the court credits on this subject as well, Windham confronted her about her testimony, told her, “We black people need to stick together,” and suggested that she needed “to tell them that you probably didn’t understand what you was being asked.”
You wondered how some would explain this whipping. This morning I had a comment at a post saying Democrats crossing over to vote against Eric Cantor cost Cantor the election. I assumed it was a unsophisticated crank posting, until I saw Twitter echoing the same excuse.
Guess what — the Democrat crossover excuse can be proven if the data are there. Virginia keeps voter history data. Some of you reading this already have it. It is easy to tell if motivated Democrats were crossing over to vote in the GOP primary. Decide how many Democrat primaries a voter must vote in to be a “Democrat” before crossing over yesterday. Let’s assume it’s just one.
Cantor lost by 8,000 votes out of 65,000. That’s a lot of crossing over.
If you are one of those trying to spin the Cantor loss as a plot by Democrats, you better have the data. How many voters participated yesterday that previously participated in a single Democrat primary? How many participated in two? Three? I suspect it wasn’t anywhere near 8,000. I’d be surprised if it was more than 100. But Team Brat doesn’t have the burden of proof on this narrative, does he?
Until someone pushing the crossover narrative shows us data, this was an epic whipping driven by issues, not by Democrats.
So Majority Leader Eric Cantor has lost to a Tea Party candidate. Correction, Majority Leader Eric Cantor was crushed by a Tea Party candidate.
In some ways, Cantor’s exit is a political tragedy. It shows that flirting with the existential enemies of the Constitution, of liberty, and of core Republican principles can bear a very heavy price. I’m convinced that had Cantor resisted the siren calls of the left on two key issues — immigration and giving Eric Holder renewed power over state elections — he would have won tonight.
The moral of the story tonight is that when a Republican flirts with the left, that Republican risks it all. This isn’t 1995 anymore. Party insiders are less equipped to drive a narrative than they used to be. Now, talk radio, conservative media and grassroots organizing can drive an outcome better than a party apparatus. Big Money doesn’t produce the big results it used to. Insurgents, in the right battlespace, can beat the most powerful incumbents if they battle smart.
Back to the two issues that undermined Cantor — immigration and reempowering Eric Holder to control state elections.
Immigration was by far the more dominant of the two issues in the Cantor loss. Others have covered it better than I will here. But something odd happened over the weekend.
First, I, along with other conservative leaders like former Attorney General Ed Meese and Ken Blackwell, sent Mr. Cantor a letter. The letter addressed a bill sponsored by Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wi) that would reverse a Supreme Court decision and give Eric Holder renewed powers over state elections, including the power to block photo voter ID and citizenship verification procedures. It was a power wickedly abused by the Holder Justice Department (where I used to work) and is regularly used to help Democrats in the name of civil rights. The bill sponsored by Rep. Sensenbrenner explicitly removes white voters from the protection of the law and unleashes all sorts of other mischief and federal mandates on state election officials. The letter to Mr. Cantor stated:
This bill will fundamentally and intentionally change American elections into race-reliant battleﬁelds where, for the ﬁrst time in our history, the United States, as a legal matter, would EXCLUDE a majority of Americans as a class from the full protection of the law – based solely on the color of their skin. As House Majority Leader you alone have the authority to bring this bill to a vote. Therefore, your continued ambiguity on a bill that is so clearly and deeply ﬂawed is troubling to say the least. On behalf of our organizations, and of the millions we collectively represent, we are compelled to reach out to you directly and ask for a meeting to address the issue and your intentions.
There it is. The election in Virginia tonight can be explained by two words: continued ambiguity. The continued ambiguity undermined Cantor’s brand as a fighter for limited government. Cantor went to Selma, Alabama, and marched with some of the most bitter racialists in American politics. It was all part of an effort to cozy up with the NAACP and ethic interest group crowd. Instead of snuffing out the effort to give Eric Holder more power over state elections, the majority leader may have tried to build a bridge with the left.
Now, other Republicans who might have flirted with the idea of moving a bill to give Eric Holder renewed power over state elections can gaze at Cantor’s wipeout. Who would dare to now? Republicans who want to become speaker in the future best not offend delegations from Texas, Mississippi, Georgia and South Carolina.
The Justice Department will be having a grand celebration today of being gay. The event will take place in the prestigious Great Hall and will feature an appearance by none other than Attorney General Eric Holder. All DOJ employees are invited to attend.
A Justice Department employee snatched a flyer advertising the event from the walls of the DOJ and provided it to PJ Media. A full copy can be had at this link.
If you cannot attend the pride party in person, Justice Department employees can sit at their desks and watch the fete unfold on JTN – the closed circuit Justice Television Network. The flyer:
Notice that the event will feature Pam Karlan. Karlan currently serves as the Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the Civil Rights Division overseeing election laws. Others have speculated Karlan is headed to the Supreme Court one day. Any Justice Department actions taken this fall in the midterm elections will need to be approved by Karlan.
State and local officials subject to those actions need to understand that Karlan is a dishonest radical academic fresh from a stint at Stanford Law School. Her academic dishonesty hasn’t caused even a blip of discomfort among fellow left wing academics who continue to fawn over her. Karlan’s academic dishonesty appeared in the Duke Journal of Law and Public Policy. Unsurprisingly, her academic dishonesty centered around bashing the Bush administration DOJ as unsympathetic towards black and Hispanics. Karlan race baited with a lie. From Tatler last year:
“For five of the eight years of the Bush Administration, [they] brought no Voting Rights Act cases of its own except for one case protecting white voters.”
This is demonstrably false; any visit to the DOJ website demonstrates this. Karlan says the Voting Section brought no cases to protect minorities under the Voting Rights Act in five of eight years — let’s look at the record.
My article then traces out in detail the lies that Karlan published in a Duke Law scholarly publication.
I contacted the editors of the Duke Journal of Constitutional Law in September 2013 to see if Karlan ever submitted a correction for her false scholarship. She hadn’t.
State and local election officials who tangle with DOJ this fall will have to wonder – if Karlan is willing to publish demonstrably false and unrepentant racialist accusations in a law review article, what questionable allegations will the Department be willing to make against them?
Ed Whelan has covered other instances of Karlan’s dishonesty over at National Review. But no matter — it’s time to party with the Attorney General.
DOJ Gay Day 2014 isn’t the first taxpayer funded celebration of sexual preferences. Gay Day 2013 saw the taxpayers fly in Melissa Etheridge to perform a special taxpayer funded private concert for DOJ employees celebrating Gay Day. Talk about the 1%!
Judicial Watch years ago began seeking documents related to the use of taxpayer funds for these events. Providing an intimate private concert by Melissa Etheridge isn’t without costs paid for by middle class taxpayers who never get private concerts by rock stars. The public has a right to the records. Predictably, one wing of the movement benefiting from the festivities is less focused on tolerance and more focused on orthodox militancy. It described the effort to obtain these public records related to these events as a “witchhunt.”
Ironically, one of the documents DOJ sought to conceal included efforts by top DOJ political leadership to identify potentially gay employees. If Eric Holder’s gang leads the hunt for witches, it’s apparently acceptable.
Such are the ways of the modern left. Lie with impunity in academic journals. Publicly celebrate private choices. Spend your money for exclusive events they like. Create employment opportunities that incorporate fanciful entertainment diversions unheard of in most jobs. Hide facts about how your money was spent. Attack those who ask. Is that what the flyer means by “progress?”
Justice Department sources tell PJ Tatler that former ACLU and DOJ lawyer Mark Kappelhoff has been tapped to head the powerful Civil Rights Division at the Department of Justice. Here is Kappelhoff’s full resume, which reveals he spent a whopping three years in the private for-profit legal sector in the 26 years since he graduated from law school.
This news follows the embarrassing defeat in the Senate of Obama’s failed nominee Debo Adegbile to lead the Civil Rights Division. Adegbile was deemed too radical by both Republican and Democrat Senators, so much so that he received the support of only 47 Senators in his confirmation vote. (Read John Fund’s excellent accounting of the Adegbile debacle here.)
Adegible came from the most radical strains of the modern civil rights industry. Kappelhoff’s pedigree is less radical in comparison, at least by civil rights group standards. His experience has been less directed at the most radical components of the modern civil rights industry agenda and directed more at issues like human trafficking.
Nevertheless, Kappelhoff is no stranger to the news or readers of PJ Media. Hans von Spakovksy has this piece discussing outrageous prosecutorial misconduct and slanderous allegations in Hawaii which occurred while Kappelhoff was still at the Justice Department.
Kappelhoff also appears in my book Injustice in a number of places, including this one describing his nifty little campaign against the New Hampshire Republican Party from his DOJ perch:
Here’s a similar example: Mark Kappelhoff, who nearly maxed out his contributions to Obama, was the head of the Criminal Section inside the Civil Rights Division during the 2008 election. One could easily forgive a person for lacking confidence in his neutrality. Kappelhoff, who according to Christopher Coates was worried that the Ike Brown case would upset civil rights groups, had been a strong proponent of stretching the meaning of 18 U.S.C. § 241 to include a criminal prosecution against James Tobin and other Republican phone bankers in New Hampshire. The statute involves conspiracies to deprive citizens of civil rights, and to Kappelhoff, that included making phone calls to help Republican candidates. Kappelhoff was a zealous salesman of this flimsy legal theory before several courts and a jury embarrassingly quashed it.
Eventually the First Circuit Court of Appeals found that the statute the DOJ used to prosecute Tobin was not even “a close fit” to his behavior. After tossing out the conviction, DOJ lawyers re-indicted Tobin, this time for lying to federal prosecutors, but the federal court dismissed the charges as a vindictive prosecution. The New Hampshire Republican Party, however, was nearly bankrupted by the case. It was left with only $736 in the bank after the DOJ carnage, a mere third of Kappelhoff’s generous contributions to the Obama campaign.
There are plenty of other appearances in the book. It will be interesting to see the reaction of Republicans in Congress to a partisan like Kappelhoff being appointed to head the DOJ Civil Rights Division. Stay tuned.
Yesterday I reported on April Sands, the former Federal Election Commission lawyer who resigned for violations of the Hatch Act. Sands violated the Hatch Act by engaging in political activity to help President Obama’s reelection while on government time and using government resources while actually at the offices of the Federal Election Commission.
You can watch her appear in this Huffington Post LiveStream, an event cited by the Office of Special Counsel which investigated her behavior.
Sands was allowed to resign quietly and anonymously from her $133,264 a year job. Why?
I couldn’t even get the FEC’s press office to tell me whether or not Sands even worked at the FEC anymore. Does the public not have a right to know whether or not someone is paid by the public?
We know that Sands once worked with Lois Lerner when Lerner was at the FEC. Lerner, too, stands accused of using her government office to help political allies.
Like Sands, Lerner was also allowed to resign and continue to enjoy generous federal retirement benefits. Sands had been at the FEC for at least eight years, which means she is likely to receive somewhere in the neighborhood of $853 a month from the taxpayers (to be inflation adjusted) upon reaching age 65 in 20 years or so. Lerner will also ride that retirement wave, much sooner I suspect.
Similarly, if Sands fully participated in the Thrift Savings Plan, that means the taxpayers provided thousands of extra dollars a year for her retirement accounts.
All of this raises the question of whether federal employees who leave federal service after violating the Hatch Act should continue to receive federal retirement benefits.
I tend to believe they should, but I suspect among the American people, I am in the distinct minority.
But here are the bigger questions – why are federal employees who break the law entitled to a quiet and anonymous exit from federal service? Should the public and the press have to pry out the identity of people who violate the Hatch Act? Did some at the FEC do everything they could to help Sands get a fresh start?
When I asked Sands at her Twitter handle (@reignofapril) if she was the ex-FEC lawyer, she immediately shut down her online alter ego, at least at Twitter. But even that won’t work, thanks to Twitchy and Google. What emerges is a very activist federal employee, and that activism was supported by your tax dollars to the detriment of Republicans.
Yesterday, I posted this piece about how the IRS scandal has evolved into something far more sinister than Tea Party groups having their tax exempt applications delayed. Judicial Watch had found emails that show officials at the IRS and DOJ as well as outside left-wing lawyers were tossing around ideas to criminally charge someone to make an example that would frighten other groups from engaging in speech. I also alluded to the fact that many posters (though apparently not all) at Rick Hasen’s Election Law Blog are deliberately ignored if they do not agree with the orthodoxy of the left.
That’s fact. In fact, nobody disputed the facts in my piece.
What some didn’t like is the fact that I mentioned Rick Hasen’s blog, and how it is used to advance the left-wing narrative on election law. As one professor told me by email:
One of the Left’s tricks is to make calling them out seem like a breach of etiquette.
Yesterday, instead of joining in the rightful criticism of what occurred at the IRS, Hasen spent his energy rounding up notes of support from a smattering of conservatives who use his blog.
I don’t suspect we’ll see too much criticism of the IRS emails describing Larry Noble’s plot to have some people made an example of by having criminal charges brought against them. Calling Hasen’s blog out seems to be a bigger breach of etiquette than the IRS abusing the power of the state.
Rick Hasen’s listserv is an institution. A valuable one. Attacks on Rick are unfounded. Civility is the glue that holds democracy together.
I wasn’t sure if Kelner was trying to be funny. Civility and Hasen in the same sentence? Hasen hardly practices what Kelner preaches. Hasen’s blog and his writings have become a forum for repeated personal attacks on people — people who are my friends. He accuses them of deliberate deception, attaching derogatory names to them as a group — the “Fraudulent Fraud Squad.”
Here’s a sample about Thor Hearne, which Mr. Kelner could be forgiven for not having read, as it appeared at Slate. But Hasen didn’t stop with Hearne back in 2007. He repeatedly labels those with whom he disagrees part of the “fraudulent fraud squad.” If “civility is the glue that holds democracy together,” then his blog needs some glue.
Professor Jeff Milyo latched onto civility also:
You consistently achieve a balance between the goals of civility and open participation (a task none of us envy!).
I’ll give Milyo the benefit of the doubt and assume he is unaware of the very uncivil repetitious attacks by Professor Hasen on certain conservatives, questioning their truthfulness. But would it make a difference to the blog participants if they were fully schooled in Professor Hasen’s incivility and name-calling? Perhaps. Perhaps not.
Today I had this post about the IRS scandal. It had this lede:
Yesterday was a significant day in the IRS abuse scandal. The scandal evolved from being about pesky delays in IRS exemption applications to a government conniving with outside interests to put political opponents in prison.
But it also singled out the role of law professor Rick Hasen’s blog in giving the speech regulators a forum to move their regulatory narrative. Dissenting views are often ignored at his blog and listserve or given very short attention.
So who are the speech regulators seeking to impose government limits on the exercise of the First Amendment? Like bats in the belfry, they tend to congregate online at University of California at Irvine Law Professor Rick Hasen’s election blog. Hasen runs an online meeting hall for all the would-be speech totalitarians. They post, bluster, and kibitz about the latest news on their effort to erode the First Amendment and increase federal power
Hasen obviously felt uncomfortable with the PJ piece. This afternoon he made a pitiful request for notes of praise from conservatives.
I have a favor to ask those who self-identify as conservatives or libertarians.
If you have expressed your support for the listserv (and/or my moderation of it) in a post to the listserv or if you are willing to write a public message about it, please let me know (by sending an email that I can publish your remarks). I will likely include some of them in a post on the Election Law Blog. I only want to post from those persons who are willing to have their names included.
PJ Media will be sure to cross post here any notes of support from conservatives that he receives.
The IRS Tea Party scandal has all the characteristics of abusive government – from lies to threats to jail political opponents.
Remember when Lois Lerner and the Obama administration were blaming the IRS targeting scandal on “low level employees in the Cincinnati office?” It turns out those employees weren’t very happy about it.
New emails obtained by Judicial Watch pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act reveal angry IRS employees who were getting the blame for the targeting of Tea Party groups. The emails reveal a deceptive public relations strategy cooked up in Washington D.C. that the “low level” employees would have no part of.
Cindy Thomas wrote Lerner an email directly.
“Joseph Grant and others who came to Cincinnati last year specifically told the low level workers in Cincinnati that no one would be ‘thrown under the bus.’ Based on articles, Cincinnati wasn’t publically ‘thrown under the bus’ instead it was hit by a convoy of Mack trucks.”
Lerner, realizing by now that email might not be the best way to manage damage control responds “I will be back shortly and will give you a call.” Telephones work better than emails in avoiding Judicial Watch FOIA requests.
The emails also reveal a desire to jail conservative activists working for non-profits. From one IRS email:
As I mentioned yesterday — there are several groups of folks from the FEC world that are pushing tax fraud prosecution for c4s who report they are not conducting political activity when they are (or these folks think they are). One is my ex-boss Larry Noble (former General Counsel at the FEC), who is now president of Americans for Campaign Reform. This is their latest push to shut these down. One IRS prosecution would make an impact and they wouldn’t feel so comfortable doing the stuff.
Larry Noble is a speech regulator and heads the First Amendment-hostile organization Americans for Campaign Reform which seeks to limit the reach of the First Amendment. He is also a professor at George Washington University School of Law where he teaches law students his limited views of the First Amendment.
You can read the whole stack of documents Judicial Watch obtained here. Feel free to post other gems you find in the comments below.
Drudge linked to this story which revealed that White House Press Secretary Jay Carney and his wife (CBS News reporter) Claire Shipman adorn the walls of their home with Soviet propaganda posters.
No home decorated in mid-century modern totalitarianism is complete without some German themed posters. Why stop at the 20 million killed by the Soviets that Clarie and Jay like to display while they cook up a Sunday morning brunch of muffins, toast and OJ? (The Carney’s note their favorite thing to do on a Sunday morning is sleep in.) To round out their decorative theme, I’ve got some suggestions.
Here’s one that looks like the Red Army poster in the Carney’s kitchen. Not as colorful, but it has that woodblock feel that Claire must be striving for:
The Carneys seem to like feminine themes, albeit totalitarian ones. Here’s a wonderful poster showing the tenderness of motherhood in 1930′s Germany they might hang in their den:
Here’s an end table that might work perfectly in the Carney’s living room:
Why not thrown in some sculpture? This piece next to the Red Army poster could create a delightful contrast, sort of like Stalingrad.
Naturally, the Carney/Shipman household will not sport images and art representing bloody Nazi totalitarianism. That the White House press secretary doesn’t recognize the moral equivalence of hanging art representing the bloody Soviet version of totalitarianism says a great deal.
A tragic phenomenon has affected President Obama since he became President. The more radical his audience, the more outrageous his lies.
At his appearance before Al Sharpton’s National Action Network, Obama called voter fraud claims “bogus” and said his Justice Department has “taken on more than 100 voting rights cases since 2009. ”
This is a bald faced lie. One need merely click this link at the Justice Department’s own website to see it is a lie. The truth is that 39 cases have been brought, not 100, and only 13 relate to protecting minority voting rights – usually foreign language ballot issues. The rest of the cases involve states sending out military ballots (an effort only begun after blistering coverage at PJ Media and elsewhere in 2010).
Thirty-nine does not equal 100, and 13 even less so. Will Stephanie Condon at CBS News correct the false numbers which she so willingly reported? Of course not. She isn’t just biased. She’s part of the administration’s public relations team, even if the federal government doesn’t sign her paycheck.
Here’s the dirty secret no sycophantic reporter will mention: the Bush Justice Department had a significantly more robust enforcement record in voting rights than the Obama Justice Department.
Regarding Obama’s lie that voter fraud is “bogus,” (impressive insightful language from a Harvard man), PJ Media has covered voter fraud so extensively that it is hardly worth rehashing the hundreds of cases of fraud reported over the last few years. If you haven’t been paying attention, Google Melowese Richardson. Her “bogus” case of voting six times for President Obama remains uncharged by Mr. Holder’s Justice Department. President Obama is back to giving cover to criminal behavior in American elections.
But you can forgive President Obama if he felt comfortable lying to Al Sharpton’s audience. They’d believe anything. Remember, Sharpton is a man who blamed the Jews in New York for all manner of conspiracies. Riots he inspired led to chants of “kill the Jew.” The “No Justice, No Peace” mantra emerged out of this violence as a not-so-subtle racial threat to New York Jews and the NYPD that had to deal with the Sharpton-motivated chaos. Both Holder and Obama appeared before a wall containing the same slogan this week. The audience Obama spoke to was already primed to believe outlandish fantasy and racially soaked paranoia. That the President of the United States set foot in the room tells you everything you need to know about the man.
At last, one House Republican is ready to use the Constitutional power of the purse to reign in Attorney General Eric Holder’s lawlessness.
Rep. Frank Wolf (R-Virginia), chairman of the Appropriations subcommittee that oversees Eric Holder’s Justice Department will utilize the power of the purse to withhold funds from the Justice Department.
Eric Holder has been lobbying the Republican controlled House for a larger budget. Wolf says he will withhold $1,000,000 for every instance of failure for Eric Holder to respond to Wolf’s demands for information.
The Constitution vests the House of Representatives with the power of the purse, an enormously effective tool for reigning in abuses by the executive branch. If the House does not allocate money to Obama’s Justice Department, then Holder cannot function.
Wolf has sought dozens of reports required from the DOJ under the FY 2013 Omnibus Act. The reporting requirement was an effort to shine a light on the behavior of the Justice Department. It was an exercise of Congressional oversight. The law required Holder to provide Congress and Wolf’s committee 66 separate reports about DOJ activity.
Not surprisingly, Holder has ignored the law and is in default of the reporting requirement. Wolf vows to withhold $1,000,000 to the DOJ budget for each overdue report. From Wolf’s opening statement to an Appropriations hearing last week:
“There are still 25 outstanding reports and briefings from the FY 2013 bill, and that doesn’t include any of the additional reports directed in the FY 2014 bill, which was subsequently signed into law earlier this year. There are already 18 reports in the FY 2014 bill that are overdue to the committee.
“With a workforce of more than 100,000 employees, I know that the department certainly has the capacity to provide the directed reports. What is lacking is the will to be responsive to the Congress on the part of the department’s leadership. That is what I find particularly disappointing.
“Today, I am announcing a new policy that these overdue reports will no longer be tolerated by the committee. When our FY 2015 bill is marked up this spring, I intend to withhold $1 million for every overdue report from the FY 2013 and FY 2014 bills. The funds will be provided instead to agencies in this bill that comply with reporting requirements. With the current backlog of 43 reports, this could be a significant reduction in funds for the department. But you have now been given fair warning that these overdue reports will now be taken into account when the subcommittee determines your budget.
“For the record, I find it extremely unfortunate that I have to take this action, but I know no other way to encourage the department to follow through on its required obligations to this Committee.”
Wolf might start with the particularly out-of-control Civil Rights Division.
The document dump of IRS emails about Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) contains some very interesting items. One is how eager IRS officials seemed to be to help Cummings in his crusade against the election integrity group True the Vote. IRS officials referred to the Cummings meddling as synonymous with “our hot topic.” Logan Churchwell posts the emails.
After this request, the tax agency that has trouble answering its own phones, snapped into action. Lois Lerner badgered Holly Paz to get Cummings what he wanted. Paz promised quick results, “ASAP.”
After this Friday, January 25 email, Lerner badgered Paz on Monday whether Cummings got his IRS care package about the Texas Tea Party group. When Paz told her the package hadn’t been delivered yet, Lerner snapped – “thanks, check tomorrow please.”
All of the urgency came from officials in an IRS unit which sat on Tea Party 501(c)(3) applications for years.