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Friday, September 26, 2014

Cruising the Web

Hans von Spakovsky who, along with John Fund, wrote a book describing the depredations that Eric Holder had made at the Justice Department, Obama's Enforcer, explains how Eric Holder politicized the Justice Department.
Mr. Holder is also responsible for spearheading an unprecedented politicization of the Justice Department, which should be of great concern to anyone who cares about the rule of law and the impartial administration of justice.

Why care about who runs the U.S. Justice Department? It matters because Justice is one of the most powerful executive branch agencies in the federal government. It has enormous discretionary power to pursue people accused of breaking the law and to exert major influence over social, economic and national security policies by the enforcement (or non-enforcement) choices made by its top officer.

Justice requires someone who understands that, while the attorney general is a political appointee, he (or she) has a sworn duty to uphold the Constitution and enforce the law in an objective, non-political manner. For the most part, Eric Holder failed in the execution of that duty.

Mr. Holder is the first attorney general in history to be held in contempt by the House of Representatives. He earned this dubious distinction by refusing to turn over documents related to what may be the most reckless law enforcement operation ever undertaken by the Justice Department: Operation Fast and Furious.

During his tenure, the Justice Department launched more investigations and prosecutions of leaks than all prior attorneys general combined, while studiously ignoring high-level “friendly leaks” by White House officials designed to make the president look tough in the fight against terrorism.

Mr. Holder racialized the prosecution of federal anti-discrimination laws and led an unprecedented attack on election integrity laws, thus making it easier for people to commit voter fraud.

His handling of national security issues and his reinstitution of the Clinton-era criminal model for handling terrorists have endangered national security and the safety of the American public.

Mr. Holder has tried to restrict pro-life protesters’ First Amendment right to speak, has prosecuted American companies (under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act) for behavior that is routine among government officials, and has on numerous occasions ignored his duty to defend the law and to enforce statutes passed by Congress.

In clear violation of civil service rules, Mr. Holder filled the career ranks of the Justice Department with political allies, cronies and Democratic Party donors.

He treated Congress with contempt and did everything he could to evade its oversight responsibilities by misleading, misinforming and ignoring members of Congress and its committees.

For these reasons and many others, a former career lawyer who served in the Clinton, Bush and Obama administrations told us that, in his opinion, “Holder is the worst person to hold the position of Attorney General since the disgraced John Mitchell, who went to jail as a result of the Watergate scandal.” This is quite a criticism given that many DOJ veterans believe that the Department reached its nadir under Mitchell.

But in comparison to Holder, Mitchell seems like an amateur in corrupting the law enforcement duties of the Justice Department to carry out the political objectives of President Obama.

The many cases in which judges have accused DOJ prosecutors of engaging in prosecutorial abuse during Holder’s tenure shows, unfortunately, the extent to which this modus operandi has seeped into the lower levels of the Department.
Read their book to get the really alarming details of what the Obama-Holder alliance has done to the Department of Justice. Their damage will be hard to eradicate since Holder hired people of similar views as career bureaucrats who will be there long after Obama has left office. Good riddance to Holder, but don't think that this is the end of his brand of politicized justice.

Matthew Continetti comments on the story from the NYT's Amy Chozick about the close supervision that reporters following Hillary Clinton at the Clinton Global Initiative are under, even to the extent of having an aide follow them to the bathroom and wait for them outside the stall.
I am tired of the double game the Clintons have been playing since last year, when Hillary left the Obama administration and began plotting her 2016 campaign: the passive-aggressive, push-pull tactic of complaining about and condemning supposedly harsh media coverage even as she and her husband and their minions use access and connections to advance their preferred narratives, bullying reporters and outlets who do not conform, and responding to press inquiries with snark and insults and flip and mendacious retorts.

What is more I am tired of the mainstream media’s complicity in the manipulation and goaltending, the manner in which reporters for establishment outlets accept the Clintons’ absurd regulations and spin, for reasons that are baffling and mysterious to me: whether it is out of ideological or partisan bias, or journalistic self-interest, or the calculation that one day bills will have to be paid, the scribbling will have to end, and jobs in the White House or at SKDKnickerbocker will have to be obtained.

There was no mass protest over the despotic rules at the Clinton Global Initiative. Chozick’s complaint did not become a rallying cry for press freedom. No major institution threatened not to cover next year’s meeting. Marty Baron, the executive editor of the Washington Post, tweeted a quote from one of his writers, Chris Cillizza, who said the Clintons “have as dim a view of the political press as any modern politician.” Perhaps that view is justified. Look at how easily the Clintons overpower “the political press.” Look at the Anaconda Vise in which they hold the mainstream media.

Did the metro dailies use this week’s conference to follow up on Chozick’s reporting from last year on the conflicts of interest and ethical dilemmas and outrageous spending at CGI and the Clinton Foundation? To reexamine Alec Macgillis’s long 2013 profile of Bill Clinton’s protégé Doug Band, whose consultancy is mixed-up in the foundation’s and the initiative’s partnerships and sponsorships and commitments? To conduct even the most mundane inquiry into whether there is anything left to reveal about Hillary Clinton’s past?

Let’s see. “At Clintons’ 3-Day event, Hillary basks in a candidate’s dream setting,” read the headline in the Los Angeles Times. “Clinton world braces for big news on baby front,” read the headline in the Wall Street Journal. “Clinton wonk party outshines U.N. meeting,” read the headline in the Washington Post. USA Today ran items on the pledge that soda companies made at the event to cut calories by 20 percent in 10 years, on Hillary Clinton’s backing of President Obama’s Syria policy, and on Bill Clinton’s truism that the country has become more tolerant of racial and sexual minorities. The Times ran an article on the soda spiel too. (links in original)
As Continetti writes, the MSM ignores so much of the sleaze still surrounding the Clintons and it is the more ideological press, both conservative and liberal, that are reporting on real scoops.

Tom Doughtery writes at Practical Politicking that the Tea Party might not be as conservative a force as is claimed if we look at the impact that they've had on the ideological voting by those in Congress who have been supposedly voted in by the Tea Party.

The Democrats' hypocrisy on outside money is really striking. As Harry Reid continually rails against the Koch Brothers, independent groups funded by liberal billionaires and labor unions have considerably out-raised and are now out-spending conservative independent groups.
mong the groups reporting the biggest political ad spending, the 15 top Democrat-aligned committees have outraised the 15 top Republican ones $453 million to $289 million in the 2014 cycle, according to a POLITICO analysis of the most recent Federal Election Commission reports, including those filed over the weekend — which cover through the end of last month.

The analysis shows the fundraising edge widening in August, when the Democratic groups pulled in more than twice as much as their GOP counterparts — $51 million to $21 million. That’s thanks to a spike in massive checks from increasingly energized labor unions and liberal billionaires like Tom Steyer and Fred Eychaner.

So, even as Democrats like Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid are working methodically to turn conservative megadonors like the big-giving conservative billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch into the boogeymen of 2014, the party itself is increasingly relying on its deepest pockets as the best chance of staving off a midterm wipeout forecast by oddsmakers.

For example, Steyer, a retired San Francisco hedge fund billionaire, on Aug. 15 stroked a $15 million check to his own NextGen Climate Action super PAC that single-handedly exceeded the combined monthly total raised by the two GOP congressional campaign committees. And his political lieutenant, Chris Lehane, hinted that Steyer, one of the biggest individual donors of 2014, may give more to his super PAC than his $50 million pledge, which Lehane said “should not be seen as a ceiling.” Steyer’s spending — and that of other Democratic billionaires — has helped fuel an advertising gap favoring the party’s candidates in key races across the country.
The WSJ also comments on this hypocrisy from the Democrats.
After the DSCC, the biggest spender has been Mr. Reid's very own Senate Majority PAC. Run by former Reid aides, this Super PAC's only mission has been to trash Republican challengers to take their approval ratings as low as those of Democratic incumbents. The group has already raised more than $32 million, with $16.5 million in TV ads reserved through Election Day.

Senate Majority PAC can take unlimited donations, which makes it an ideal campaign vehicle for Democratic billionaires. Nearly two-thirds of its $32 million have been contributions of $500,000 or more.

The populist roll call includes $5 million from fossil fuel investor turned climate change evangelist Tom Steyer, Chicago media magnate Fred Eychaner ($4 million), former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg ($2.5 million) and hedge-fund founder James Simons ($2 million). Some $6.6 million comes from unions (via coerced dues), and nearly $4 million in $250,000 gifts from the likes of trial lawyers ( Peter Angelos, David Boies ) and tech and media moguls ( Google's Eric Schmidt, recording executive Jerry Moss).

The same Democratic 1% are funding most of the left's campaign apparatus this year. Mr. Steyer gave $7.5 million to his own Super PAC, NextGen Climate, which is advertising false accusations against Iowa GOP Senate candidate Joni Ernst. Mr. Bloomberg gave $2 million to the Emily's List PAC, which is spending millions to lambaste North Carolina Republican Senate nominee Thom Tillis as hostile to women and education.

George Soros gave $500,000 to a PAC supporting House Democrats and another $500,000 to the League of Conservation Voters Victory Fund, which recently ran an ad (irony alert) accusing the Koch Brothers of trying to "buy" the New Hampshire Senate seat for Republican Scott Brown. Houston mega-lawyer Amber Mostyn gave $250,000 to the Planned Parenthood PAC, which is attacking Republican Senate candidate Cory Gardner in Colorado.,,,

Throw in millions from labor unions, and the GOP is getting outspent in nearly every competitive Senate race. Republicans are suffering in part because of donor wariness after the Senate failures of 2010 and 2012. But many GOP donors have been scared by IRS targeting and audits of wealthy Republicans, prosecutorial attacks like the one in Wisconsin against Gov. Scott Walker's allies, and the Democratic demonization of GOP contributors. Not everyone has the thick skin of Charles and David Koch.

Many GOP donors try to avoid becoming political targets by writing checks to 501(c)(4)s, which don't have to disclose donor names. But under IRS rules these groups are largely limited to issue ads that don't advocate for or against a candidate. Super PACs like Mr. Reid's can say whatever they want, but 501(c)(4)s can't respond in kind on behalf of GOP challengers.

Money spent on campaigns is political speech, and these Democratic fat cats are exercising their First Amendment rights. Good for them. But Democrats and their media megaphones ought to spare us the lectures about the Kochs or Sheldon Adelson or other donors on the political right.

These denunciations have nothing to do with political principle but are attempts to intimidate conservative donors so that wealthy liberals can dominate the election. If Harry Reid holds his Senate majority, his rich retainers will be the reason.

John Kass wonders why those racial activists who rushed to Ferguson aren't flooding into Chicago to protest the murders of young black children by gang violence. Does the death of a black child only matter if the murderer is a white person?

If Greg Orman, running as an independent in Kansas against Pat Roberts, were really so independent why are there so many links between his campaign and Democrats?

Allysia Finley points out how some Republicans who have huge balances are not opening up their purse strings to help win a Republican majority in the Senate.
One perk of sitting on the Senate Banking Committee, as Alabama Sen. Richard Shelby has for three decades, is that its regulated industries provide a deep-pocketed donor base. But to adapt scripture, to whom much is given, much should be required.

Mr. Shelby has amassed $17.8 million in his war chest, according to his campaign committee's second-quarter filing with the Federal Election Commission. His committee has spent about $179,000 this cycle, which includes $4,400 at the Senate Gift Shop and $1,000 at Chick-fil-A. That's a lot of cole slaw and chicken nuggets. The Senate baron has also rung up $10,400 at Capitol Hill's posh private 116 Club.

Yet the 80-year-old incumbent has donated a mere $17,400 from his cash pile for the National Republican Senatorial Committee in a year where Senate control hangs in the balance. The fifth-term senator doesn't face voters for another two years and hasn't had a formidable challenge since his election in 1986. It's plausible that Mr. Shelby is hoarding the cash in anticipation of a primary challenge.

Charles Krauthammer explains what will have to be our role in what is probably an endless war against jihadists. We won't be able to destroy them and will have to hope to contain them.
Or to put it in a contemporary Middle East context, this kind of long-term combination of rollback and containment is what has carried the Israelis successfully through seven decades of terrorism arising at different times from different places proclaiming different ideologies. There is no one final stroke that ends it all. The Israelis engage, enjoy a respite, then re-engage.

With a bitter irony born of ceaseless attacks, the Israelis call it "mowing the lawn." They know a finality may come, but alas not in their time. They accept it, and go on living.

Obama was right and candid to say this war he's renewed will take years. This struggle is generational. This is not Sudan 1898. There is no Omdurman that defeats jihadism for much of a century.

Today jihadism is global, its religious and financial institutions ubiquitous and its roots deeply sunk in a world religion of more than a billion people. We are on a path -- long, difficult, sober, undoubtedly painful -- of long-term, low intensity rollback/containment.

Containment-plus. It's the best of our available strategies. Obama must now demonstrate the steel to carry it through

What a coincidence. Kay Hagan's husband owns a company that received nearly $400,000 in federal grants from the stimulus package that Hagan voted for.

Ross Douthat explains why people are talking about a Romney candidacy.
Part of the answer can be found in Henry Olsen’s helpful analysis, from earlier this year, of how exactly Republican presidential primaries tend to shake out. Olsen offered a four-group typology of G.O.P. primary voters — secular conservatives, religious conservatives, moderate conservatives and Rockefeller-Republican centrists — and argued that the nomination almost always goes to the candidate who can rally the moderate conservatives and co-opt elements from the other constituencies while fending of challenges from the right and (sometimes, though less often) the center. There are different ways to do this (as evidenced by George W. Bush and John McCain’s very different paths to the nomination), but the trick doesn’t change that much from cycle to cycle — you want to seem conservative enough but not too right-wing, electable but not a liberal sellout, a safe choice for donors who also makes the party’s activists feel respected. You don’t win by running against those activists (as McCain did in 2000, and Jon Huntsman did in 2012), and you also don’t win by running as an ideological insurgent; you win by straddling dispositional and ideological conservatism, raising lots of money, and promising the best chance of victory in November.

So where are all the peace protests against Obama's actions in the Middle East that we saw when a Republican was in the White House? As Deb Saunders points out, Obama has authorized attacks in seven countries: Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, Libya, and Syria.
Seven countries. Where are all the peace activists? Maybe some of them are numb because they can't muster up as much indignation when a Democrat beats the drums of war. Or maybe they are numb because they've realized peace isn't that easy.

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