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Category ArchiveTeam Obama

Team Obama Richard Falknor on 20 Mar 2013

UPDATED! New Perez Confirmation: Will MD GOP Voices Again Urge A ‘Yes’?

UPDATE MARCH 23! “MPAC [Muslim Public Affairs Council] Congratulates Obama’s New Appointees – Perez & Rogers” (click here) “Perez is currently the Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division at the Department of Justice. Under Perez, the Civil Rights Division has successfully upheld the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act in several cities where mosque development projects came under public attack, including Murfreesboro, TN, and Lomita, CA.” via Bill Gawthrop. But click here to read Discover the Networks take on MPAC.

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NRO’s Katrina Trinko declared today —

“If a prior Senate vote is any indication, Thomas Perez, President Obama’s labor nominee, may have a tough path to confirmation.
When Perez was appointed assistant attorney general for the civil-rights division in 2009, the confirmation vote was 72 to 22.”

This time, the likely vote for the upcoming Perez confirmation look less favorable, according to Trinko.

And John Fund (NRO) counseled last week –

“a Perez nomination should be fought by Senate Republicans with every weapon at their disposal, including a filibuster.”

We wrote about this “prior Senate vote” on October 7, 2009 in our Puzzling MD GOP Supporters of Questionable Perez Pick  —

“Yesterday the U.S. Senate, not unexpectedly, confirmed by a vote of 72-22 former Montgomery County councilman and sometime Casa of Maryland board president Thomas E. Perez to be Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division at the Department of Justice.
What is surprising are the letters of support for Mr. Perez from two Maryland Republicans who played prominent political roles during the late Ehrlich administration. Former Maryland Republican Party chairman John Kane endorsed Mr. Perez; so did House of Delegates Republican leader Tony O’Donnell.”

Click here to read our entire 2009 post on that Perez Senate confirmation.

Why A Continuing Wall of Silence from Tony O’Donnell and John Kane?

We followed up here on September 25, 2010, asking —

“Will Republican leader O’Donnell bring into the “full  light of day” his purpose in sending a letter on House of Delegates letterhead (and thus implying that he was speaking for the House of Delegates Republican Caucus) to the chairman of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee in support of the confirmation of Mr. Tom Perez? Mr. O’Donnell submitted this confirmation support in the face of opposition to Mr. Perez from Republican U.S. senators and Judiciary Committee members Jeff Sessions and Tom Coburn.
After all, Mr. O’Donnell’s communication was not a personal letter to, say, the Senate Agriculture Committee chairman and ranking Republican endorsing for confirmation a long-time friend from childhood for some plain-vanilla position like, maybe, an assistant agriculture secretary for county extension work and practical research.
Mr. O’Donnell endorsed a major Obama Administration player.
Coincidentally or not, former Maryland state chairman (and husband of Mary Kane, GOP lieutenant-governor nominee) John Kane wrote an effusive letter around the same time to the Senate Judiciary Committee chairman and ranking Republican member urging the confirmation of Mr. Perez. Both Kane and O’Donnell were prominent members of governor Bob Ehrlich’s team when he was in office (2003-2007): O’Donnell was House of Delegates Republican Whip (Republican leader since 2007); John Kane was Maryland GOP chairman.”

Mr. O’Donnell’s 2009 testimonial to the U. S. Senate in behalf of Tom Perez was signed as “Minority Leader”.

Do we then conclude he was speaking for many, if not all Maryland House of Delegates Republicans in 2009?

But if not, why did the House of Delegates Republicans not disavow the letter? 

Nonetheless, we are great believers in redemption! Will Maryland GOP sachems now — in 2013 — counsel the U.S. Senate against Mr. Perez’ confirmation as Secretary of Labor?  Stay tuned.

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Faithful readers will recall our earlier posts (below) relating to the O’Donnell and Kane endorsements of Tom Perez, and may wish to revisit these reports.

UPDATED! Scary: Perez’ Overreaching, Missteps; Maryland GOP Endorsers Stay Mum
MD “Prosperity Pledge”: Transparency Begins Yesterday
The ‘Politicized’ Justice Department Civil Rights Division
A Frightening Mindset Behind the Black Panther Dismissal
Time to Examine the Perez-John Kane-Tony O’Donnell Link
“Haven’t you guys been listening to the Tea Party folks?”
More Today on Tom Perez, and His Two Maryland GOP Fans
Puzzling MD GOP Supporters of Questionable Perez Pick

Illegal Immigration &Team Obama Richard Falknor on 07 Jul 2010

Time to Examine the Perez-John Kane-Tony O’Donnell Link

Michelle Malkin starts off with her “Open-borders DOJ vs. America” post – –

“My column today looks at one of the champions of illegal immigration inside the DOJ: Civil Rights Division chief/assistant attorney general Thomas E. Perez.”

Continues Malkin:

“The Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, headed by Assistant Attorney General Thomas E. Perez, took the lead in prepping the legal brief against Arizona. The son of immigrants from the Dominican Republic, Perez is a far Left lawyer and activist who worked for the late mass illegal alien amnesty champion Teddy Kennedy and served in the Clinton administration DOJ. While holding down a key government position there in which he was entrusted to abide by the rule of law, Perez volunteered for Casa de Maryland – a notorious illegal alien advocacy group funded through a combination of taxpayer-subsidized grants and radical liberal philanthropy, including billionaire George Soros’s Open Society Institute (not to mention more than $1 million showered on the group by Venezuelan thug Hugo Chavez’s regime-owned oil company, CITGO).

Perez rose from Casa de Maryland volunteer to president of the group’s board of directors. Under the guise of enhancing the ‘multicultural’ experience, he crusaded for an ever-expanding set of illegal alien benefits from in-state tuition discounts for illegal alien students to driver’s licenses. Casa de Maryland opposes enforcement of deportation orders, has protested post-9/11 coordination of local, state, and national criminal databases, and produced a ‘know your rights’ propaganda pamphlet for illegal alien depicting federal immigration agents as armed bullies making babies cry.”

Last week the Blue Ridge Forum revisited Mr. Perez’ October 6, 2009 confirmation, and some of his subsequent testimony about the dismissal of the Black Panthers case.

Mr. Perez is clearly no friend of conservatives, nor — some would argue – – of constitutional government.

So why did Maryland House of Delegates Republican leader Tony O’Donnell help advance Tom Perez’ confirmation to a sensitive Department of Justice position in the Obama Administration? Recall that Perez has also come under recent heavy criticism on his testimony about the Black Panther-case dismissal.

And why did former GOP state chairman John Kane write the Senate Judiciary Committee such a congenial letter urging Mr. Perez’ confirmation.

Blue Ridge Forum revealed these letters last October 7.  They have been no secret. The Potomac Tea Party Report is also right on the case.

We believe that Maryland House of Delegates GOP insiders have a duty to reveal what really led Republican Leader Tony O’Donnell to support Mr. Perez.

Similarly, any state Republican leader close to John Kane should see that his motivation in supporting the Perez confirmation is brought to light. Readers will note that both the O’Donnell and Kane letters in support of Perez were signed about a week apart.  

Readers can decide for themselves whether the Kane-O’Donnell support for Perez was warranted.

We need more facts, however, on the circumstances behind two Maryland Republican chieftains supporting Senate confirmation of such an unlikely candidate.  Mr. Perez was not simply a nominee for some assistant secretaryship in the Agriculture or Commerce department – – but for a major Department of Justice post and thus a key player on the Obama Team.

What, in short, was the deal?

Fiscal Policy &Team Obama Richard Falknor on 21 Apr 2010

All Center-Right Voices: Help Stop Obama-Dodd “Reforms”

UPDATE APRIL 22! Nicole Gelinas reveals today in the New York Post “O’s hollow promises: His ‘reforms’ won’t fix finance.”  Readers should eyeball the entire post.

Last January 13, we wrote  – –

Governor-elect Bob McDonnell’s political capital is now substantial. Consequently we suggest that he very publicly urge the Commonwealth’s two senators to join him in a bi-partisan effort to send Obamacare back to the drawing board . . . .

Today Governor McDonnell’s political capital may be somewhat eroded, but he still is in a strong position lead a band of influential citizens very publicly to urge the Commonwealth’s two senators to stand fast against the Obama-Dodd measure known as the ‘‘Restoring American Financial Stability Act of 2010’’.

Across the Potomac in Maryland there are (at least) two GOP primary candidates for governor: former governor Bob Ehrlich and Montgomery County business leader Brian Murphy.  Voters in the Old Line State need to hear from both candidates on Obama-Dodd, as we struggle against the imposition of yet another layer of statism leading to fewer real jobs.

Losing Jobs Through Crony Capitalism

“While the U.S. economy undoubtedly is righting itself from the most severe recession since the 1930s, it is doing so at a glacial pace. Clearly, the burden of public policies that reduce the free use of personal property and retard the unsubsidized risk taking of entrepreneurs are lengthening the recovery process. The real cost of this sluggishness are the millions of unemployed Americans who continue to wait for the return of economic spring and the millions more who hope for a better economic times. The real source of this human cost – the real driver of persistent economic want – is the erosion of our economic freedom caused by these government policies.” Bill Beach – -quoted in today’s Heritage Foundation post “The Crony Capitalist Threat to Our Economic Freedom” (Underscoring Forum’s.)

 John Berlau: “Center-Right Concerns in ‘Financial Reform’ Bill”

John Berlau, chief of the Competitive Enterprise Institute’s Center for Investors and Entrepreneurs, has been tracking the Dodd scheme from its earliest iterations

Here follows prize-winning journalist Berlau’s take on how the Dodd bill raises grave concerns across the center-right spectrum – –

  • Main Street non-financial businesses would be hit with taxation, regulation,and possible nationalization by the Federal Reserve.

The Obama administration puts much stock in the fact that the $50 billion resolution (bailout) fund comes not from general taxpayer funds but fees on ‘financial institutions.’ But putting aside the fact that even taxes on big banks would be passed on to depositors and borrowers, the bill’s definition of financial institution subject to the fee and regulation by the Federal Reserve goes far beyond a bank or stockbroker. 

  • Life, home and auto insurers — such as Geico, Progressive, and State Farm — would be subject to this bailout fund fee even though they already pay into state funds for insolvent insurance companies, and the fee would then be passed on to their policy holders. And the Federal Reserve would have the power to define a ‘nonbank financial company.’ The National Association of Manufacturers and others have warned that ‘manufacturers that engage in routine financial activities as a small part of their main business, e.g., a global manufacturer that manages a foreign exchange trading operation, an equipment manufacturer that provides financing for customers, are concerned that they could be pulled into the systemic risk regulatory regime.’

And because they are a part of this regime, they could be seized — or nationalized — by the Fed under the bill if bureaucrats determine they pose a ’systemic financial risk.’ Recall how the supporters of this bill say in its favor that it would give to the government the same authority to seize financial firms as the FDIC has with banks, and remember the expanded definition of ‘financial institution.’ I don’t know how often this authority would be used, but I don’t really want to find out.”

  • Permanent bailout fund would tax Main Street businesses to pay for failing Wall Street banks.

Although they maintain there is no bailout, Dodd and the administration still claim they need $50 billion to ‘resolve’ failing firms. What do they need all the billions for if the money is not going to the firm? Unless perhaps they want to siphon off the money to their own pet causes such as ACORN, maybe.

As had been said, having this pre-funded bailout mechanism is just an advertisement to engage in risky behavior because the government is ready and willing to bail you out.

And going to the last point on non-financial financial businesses.

  • Proxy access remains and could further empower progressive interest groups — from unions to animal rights — when combined with other provisions.

The bill still has the ‘proxy access’ provisions that would empower union pension funds and other progressives by forcing companies to fund their Alinsky-style campaigns for a company’s board of directors. Combined with other requirements — like a mandated majority instead of plurality standard for voting for directors — this could really enable . . . trouble for ordinary shareholders and encourage corporate directors to cut deals . . . on things like card check, cap-and-trade, and removing conservative media personalities. Recall that some of the PETA resolutions got 3 percent of the vote. This is a very small minority, but in a director election with several candidates — all subsidized due to proxy access — a requirement for a majority vote would give them the same kind of status [that] splinter groups have in a European parliamentary election.”

  • What’s not in the bill: any reform of Fannie and Freddie

“The bill ignores . . . two of the primary causes of the crisis: Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. They’re bigger than ever, and the Obama administration quietly lifted the $200 billion cap on government backing on Christmas Eve — the ‘Christmas bailout’ — so now taxpayers have unlimited liability for them.

Last week’s Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission hearing also revealed that Fannie and Freddie bought sub primes much earlier than thought and misclassified many of them as ‘prime.’ They held 40 percent of sub prime mortgages in 2003 and 2004, giving them a central role in the bubble.

Yet they also gave money and support to Frank and Dodd, so for some reason this bill — supposedly so urgently needed to prevent the next crisis — totally leaves them alone. I think it’s perfectly reasonable for Republicans and others to say — ‘No ‘reform’ without reform of Fannie and Freddie,’” concludes analyst Berlau. (Underscoring Forum’s throughout.)

A Look at the Darker Side

Seasoned investigator Cliff Kincaid of Accuracy in Media (AIM) revealed yesterday that “Obama’s Wall Street Bill Lets Crooks Escape” – –

“The indictment of Goldman Sachs is as deceptive as the ‘financial reform’ bill that President Obama and the liberals are pushing on Capitol Hill, says Zubi Diamond, author of the blockbuster book, Wizards of Wall Street. Diamond is warning legislators not to fall for the Obama Administration’s claim that the legislation somehow punishes Wall Street for bad financial practices. 

Diamond, who has emerged as a major critic of the unregulated hedge fund industry, says he was not surprised that the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) named hedge-fund short-seller John Paulson as a key player in the Goldman Sachs scheme to defraud investors but failed to indict him.

Diamond says that Paulson is being let off the hook because he is a member of the most powerful special interest group working the corridors of power in Washington, D.C.–the Managed Funds Association (MFA). He says the major media are afraid of taking on the MFA, which calls itself ‘the voice of the global alternative investment industry,’ because of its tremendous financial clout.”

Readers will find Accuracy in Media (AIM)’s Kincaid’s entire post disturbing, as well as the provocative AIM post by Zubi Diamond, entitled “The Dodd ‘Financial Reform’ Bill Lets Soros Off the Hook.” 

Author Diamond declares – –

“The bad Wall Street is the hedge fund short sellers. They destroy companies, take away liquidity, destroy investor capital and slow down the economy.

The bad Wall Street, in the form of the hedge fund short sellers, engineered the economic collapse, looted every portfolio that had exposure to the stock market, and blamed George Bush and the Republicans, enabling Barack Obama and his backers, including Soros, to take power.

The hedge fund short sellers, who are members of the Managed Funds Association, are running our government today. They are the ones who authored the Dodd bill. The Dodd bill is punishing the victims of the Hedge Fund short sellers. The Dodd bill is punishing the good Wall Street.

Unless the truth about the role of the MFA in our government policies and regulations is revealed, and some courageous lawmakers free our economic system from their grip, the United States is in for a long time of hurt and possible bankruptcy.” (Underscoring Forum’s.)

It is all very well for GOP governors and gubernatorial aspirants to appoint dirigiste commissions, and promise to cut sales-tax increases. The president’s efforts to “transform” America is not a struggle on another planet – – far from Richmond and Annapolis – – the responsibility for which falls solely on national GOP politicians some of whom may be losing their way.

As NRO’s Daniel Foster reports this afternoon – –

“Some have speculated that the Senate’s renewed taste for bipartisan talks is driven by a dilemma. On the one hand, both sides want to show voters they are ‘tough on Wall Street.’ On the other, both are competing for the lucrative political beneficence of the financial sector, which gave more heavily to Democrats in 2008, but which is seen as now being up for grabs.”

The threats to free-enterprise from the Obama-Dodd initiative are very high. From Tea-Partiers to statewide GOP politicians, we need to be fighting the Obama “transformations.” We cannot just walk away and leave the whole burden of stopping these Obama measures to the 30 or so reliably conservative GOP senators.

Tea Parties &Team Obama Richard Falknor on 30 Mar 2010

Defeating Obama’s Policies: Tea Partiers Are Essential

On-the-ground Report: Yesterday we joined the Northern Virginia Tea Party “Grass Roots Action Planning Luncheon” in Herndon, ably conducted by Ron Wilcox. Around 50 citizens were eager to hear recommendations for action ranging from Jo-Ann Chase’s guidance on how to bring new, conservative talent into the northern Virginia structure of the Republican Party to ace-number-cruncher Arthur Purves’ report on taxes and spending in the mega-county of Fairfax.  Northern Virginia conservatives who seek constructive action now should link up with organizer Wilcox.  Nearby Maryland Tea Partiers might find it useful to compare notes with him.

As we listen to conservatives and Republicans (not always the same), the shock and outrage over the House passage of Obamacare continues. The House passage should not, however, have been the surprise it apparently was. 

In the face of the manifest unpopularity of the measure and the many often large demonstrations deploring it, engaged citizens ask — how could the House do such a thing?

Mark Steyn explains:

“And, when polls showed an ever larger number of Americans ever more opposed to ObamaCare (by margins approaching 3-to-1), Republicans were further stunned to discover that,in order to advance ‘reconciliation,’ Democrat reconsiglieres had apparently been offering (illegally) various cozy Big Government sinecures to swing-state congressmen in order to induce them to climb into the cockpit for the kamikaze raid to push the bill through. The Democrats understand that politics is not just about Tuesday evenings every other November, but about everything else, too.” 

. . . . .

“Andrew McCarthy concluded a shrewd analysis of the political realities thus:

‘Health care is a loser for the Left only if the Right has the steel to undo it. The Left is banking on an absence of steel. Why is that a bad bet?'”

Here are two related factors contributing to the inability to stop Obamacare

  • The first factor comes out of the nature of the Obama presidency, which includes an essentially revolutionary cabal (scroll down on the foregoing link) in high office in the United States – – combining various strands of the Hard Left under an often magnetic figure. Understandably Americans on the center-right are uncomfortable with this novel situation and keep looking for answers in a conventional political context. They are unable to understand why the unpopularity of the bill and the political danger into which it puts members of the President’s party were not reasons enough to start over with Obamacare. As Andy McCarthy revealed in June of last year – –

“First, if you look at the sweeping changes that have occurred in the past five months, I think what I argued before the election about the significance of Obama’s Leftist background and radical connections was on the mark. Second, I am saying what I am saying because I respect the president. As I said in the last post, I don’t think he is weak at all. To the contrary, I think he has strategic goals that he pursues in highly disciplined, tactical pragmatism. He is a force to be reckoned with, and I don’t think you reckon with him by hopefully assuming that, on some level, he shares our ideas about what’s best for the country and the world. I credit him for wanting what’s best — but only as he sees it.” (Underscoring Forum’s.)

  • The second factor: because at least two generations of Americans have been attending schools, public and often private, that effectively preach multiculturalism, not enough voters today have any serious understanding of American history and government. Thus the rhetoric of the Obama Team didn’t set off alarm bells among enough voters during the last presidential campaign, and still doesn’t among some voters.

More Obama Initiatives Coming

The Tea Party movement must go far beyond “kill the bill” to keep the political temperature high in the districts of big-government-oriented  U. S. House incumbents – – day-in and day-out. The movement must keep up the pressure in the districts of incumbent Democrats not just to elect a Republican, but to keep sensitizing these incumbent Obama acolytes to the popular discontent over past votes and those just around the corner like “Dodd’s Main Street Punishment Bill.”

We shall hardly be able to defeat all of these incumbents next November — but we can aim at defeating enough.We can certainly bring even the less vulnerable incumbents to think carefully before giving a knee-jerk endorsement to other coming Obama initiatives.

Constant Tea Party visits are needed: to their Congressional district offices; to district business owners; and local commercial, professional, and social associations – – explaining in some detail the consequences of the incumbents’ Obama-supporting votes.

Mark Levin writes about America today

“It is a society steadily transitioning toward Statism. If the Conservative does not comes to grips with the significance of this transformation, he will be devoured by it.”

Serious Missions for Tea Partiers

Levin’s guides for action are essential for effective Tea Partiers  – –

  •  “The Conservative must become more engaged in public matters…. [Success] will require a new generation of conservative activists, larger in number, shrewder, and more articulate than before, who seek to blunt the Statist’s counterrevolution – not imitate it – and gradually and steadily reverse course.”

  •      Parents and grandparents must take it on themselves to teach their children and grandchildren to believe in and appreciate the principles of the American civil society and stress the import of preserving and improving the society.”

  •  “When the occasion arises in conversations with neighbors, friends, coworkers and others, take the time to explain conservative principles and their value to the individual, family, and society generally.”

  •   “The Conservative should acquire knowledge outside the Statist’s universe.” (Levin recommends sources such as the Avalon Project, the Atlas Economic Research Foundation, the CATO Institute, and the Heritage Foundation; academic institutions such as Hillsdale College, Chapman University; groups such as Young America’s Foundation, the Intercollegiate Studies Institute, and the Leadership Institute; publications such as Human Events and National Review; conservative internet columnists and bloggers;and talk radio.)

  • For all the apparent victories of the Left in ‘controlling the public vocabulary. . . the battle over language, like the battle over ideas, is one that conservatives should relish.’

  • “The Conservative must take heart from, and learn the lessons of, his nation’s history. America’s founding, the Civil War,and World War II were epic and,at times, seemingly insurmountable wars of liberty against tyranny, which would have destroyed the civil society had they been lost.” (Underscoring Forum’s throughout.)

A Shot of Courage

Last week, for a shot of courage and some valuable insights, we suggested reading John Lukacs “Five Days in London: May 1940 about a critical time not just for England but for western civilization.  It is about Winston Churchill standing alone with few political allies guiding his brand new cabinet to continue the war rather than negotiate with Hitler.  Historian Lukacs declares – –

“Churchill and Britain could not have won the Second World War; in the end America and Russia did. But in May 1940 Churchill was the one who did not lose it.”

Drawing on the life of this indomitable British politician  – – who had real and deeply informed convictions – – can give us a valuable boost as we get on with the tasks ahead in today’s United States.

First things . . . &Team Obama Richard Falknor on 19 Mar 2010

Obamacare “Converts”: Going to Their Home Ground

SCROLL DOWN FOR MORE UPDATES! “I hope pro-lifers understand the special importance of defeating the ex-pro-lifers who will have voted for the bill.” — Ramesh Ponnuru

Just because formerly fence-straddling Democratic members of the U S House of Representatives hold press conferences announcing that they will now support Obamacare, none of us should allow their announced “decisions” to close their case.

Readers can follow the Code Red target list to track real-time developments – –

NRCC – Code Red Targets:
House members to call NOW to stop ObamaCare.

These errant “converts” also live in their districts and have to face their local community leaders and neighbors in gatherings ranging from golf courses to parish halls.

The Speaker’s “muscle” may seem ten feet tall to these members right now on Capitol Hill.  But that menace may well be counterbalanced when local neighbors and professional colleagues back home get in touch with them before the vote possibly after seven PM this Sunday evening.

(And don’t overlook those Democrats who have committed to vote “no” on Obamacare. If the Speaker or the president tells them the Obama administration will fail unless Obamacare passes, these Democrats will need a lot of encouragement from back home right now to stand fast.)

Many of us know conservative activists, or have friends and relatives in Congressional districts around the country.

This evening and tomorrow morning is the time to telephone our own networks and encourage them to get in touch with those who are close to these members who have lost their way.

These members may believe that by formally announcing their decision either to submit to the Speaker and the White House, or by listing some unreal conditions“Perriello Wants Assurance on Reconciliation Bill from 51 Senators(link added) that would justify a “yes” vote, they have finally taken the heat off themselves.

We should encourage their local friends and neighbors to show them that the heat is just beginning.

* * * * * 

UPDATES! “The National Right to Life Committee just put out a release explaining that an executive order cannot fix the abortion related problems in the health care bill.” – – John McCormack

Maryland’s Finest: Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D.,Md.,fresh out of Speaker Pelosi’s office, told reporters that he’s rather speak with ‘this mob [the press] than that mob [the protesters]’ as he made his way out — avoiding the steps leading to the growing tea-party rally.” – – Robert Costa

This article has been edited from the time of its original posting as the situation developed.

Common Defense &Team Obama Richard Falknor on 16 Mar 2010

Flash Points4: Burning Border|Dissin’ Allies|Going Dhimmi?

Retired colonel and hands-on intelligence expert Ralph Peters reports in the New York Post today in his “US victims: New low in Mexico’s war” article – –

“The war is here. In our front yard. 18,000 dead in five years. With the casualty count worsening. And our attention is half a world away.

In the wake of a Saturday night party in Juarez, Mexico — across the Rio Grande from El Paso — two American citizens affiliated with the US consulate were gunned down in a narco-terror hit.

A husband and his pregnant wife died in a spray of bullets just before driving over the bridge to return home to Texas. The gunmen left the couple’s baby daughter wailing in the rear seat.

In a coordinated hit, the husband of a Mexican national employed by our consulate was shot dead while heading home from the same party, his two kids wounded.

This marks a major escalation of the narco-insurgency raging on our border. There may be a back-story as to why these three figures were assassinated (the narcos knew who they were killing). But no matter what details emerge, this was an attack on a US diplomatic mission.” (Underscoring Forum’s.) (h/t NRO Web Briefing.)

Premier historian Victor Davis Hanson in “A Little Perspective” on National Review on Line takes apart the administration’s current treatment of long-time democratic ally Israel – –

“The message is out—say or do what you please about Israel, and it will more likely now resonate with the U.S. I wish this administration had at least said something as curt to the Syrians or Iranians for their past support for chronic infiltrations across their borders into Iraq to kill American soldiers, rather than pondering whether to build apartment buildings in Jerusalem endangers American soldiers. Whether Israel and the Palestinians, or the British again in the Falklands, or the Columbians, or the Hondurans, or the Poles and Czechs, there is no particular advantage in being a pro-American democratic ally; attention and outreach instead come from being our antithesis.” (Underscoring Forum’s.)

Diana West asks “Is Petraeus an Islamic Tool? Part 2” in her blog.  Author West reveals – –

Last June, I noted Gen. David Petraeus’s MoveOn.org-like take on Guantanamo Bay — close it because it causes us problems and violates (unspecified) Geneva Conventions — and his willingness to attribute to the Palestinian war on Israel “justifications” for the existence of Hezbollah.

Now this from Foreign Policy (via Judeosphere):

‘On Jan. 16, two days after a killer earthquake hit Haiti, a team of senior military officers from the U.S. Central Command (responsible for overseeing American security interests in the Middle East), arrived at the Pentagon to brief Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Adm. Michael Mullen on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The team had been dispatched by CENTCOM commander Gen. David Petraeus to underline his growing worries at the lack of progress in resolving the issue.

Read: further Israeli concessions.

“The 33-slide, 45-minute PowerPoint briefing stunned Mullen. The briefers reported that there was a growing perception among Arab leaders that the U.S. was incapable of standing up to Israel, that CENTCOM’s mostly Arab constituency was losing faith in American promises, that Israeli intransigence on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was jeopardizing U.S. standing in the region . . . .” (Underscoring Forum’s throughout.)

* * * * *

“Q: Since when does the US supreme commander ensure that US military doctrine conforms to Arab perceptions? A: Since now.”

Diana West poses a national-security question for the Obama administration and its military advisers: “How about Israelis continuing to breathe? Is that okay?”

Readers are urged to consider her entire post here.

This week’s critical battle is stopping the domestic overreach of this administration through its Obamacare legislation. But somehow we have to keep watch on this administration’s undermining of our military capability, and our alliances – – yes, our ‘special relationships’ – – with our long-time friends – – as well as demanding vigilance on our southern border.  While the chances of repealing an enacted Obamacare are slim, the rebuilding of our alliances and upgrading our defenses could be an even harder climb – – if we do not push back now.

Team Obama Richard Falknor on 09 Mar 2010

The ‘Politicized’ Justice Department Civil Rights Division

Former Federal Elections Commissioner Hans A. von Spakovsky tells us all about “the people behind the Department of Justice’s politicization” in his “Radicalizing Civil Rights” post today in National Review on Line (NRO) – – including, we might add, Marylander and Assistant Attorney General Thomas Perez.

(Alert Maryland conservatives will want to ask the Republican leader in the Maryland House of Delegates, Anthony O’Donnell, why he supported here and here Mr. Perez’s confirmation by the U.S. Senate, and did so on House of Delegates letterhead suggesting he was speaking for the Republican caucus.)

Reveals Heritage Senior Legal Fellow von Spakovsky – –

“If you want to understand how the Civil Rights Division is being run in the Obama administration, imagine for just a moment what would happen if the most radical, ideologically left-wing advocacy organizations in Washington took control of it. Because that’s exactly what happened.

So who are the players who are responsible for all of this?

Assistant Attorney General Thomas Perez. Perez is a longtime Democratic activist and a former staffer to the late senator Ted Kennedy. When Perez was running for a seat on the Montgomery County Council in Maryland, he was asked what was the most important thing voters should know about him. His response: ‘I am a progressive Democrat and always was and always will be.’ Once elected, the hyper-partisan Perez made no effort to hide his contempt for Republicans. He once gave a speech claiming that conservative Republicans do not care about the poor. An article in the Washington Post (April 3, 2005) characterized Perez as ‘about as liberal as Democrats get.'”

Perez also served as president of Casa de Maryland, an extreme advocacy organization that opposes the enforcement of our immigration laws. This group has encouraged illegal aliens not to speak with police officers or immigration agents; it has fought restrictions on illegal aliens’ receiving driver’s licenses; it has urged the Montgomery County Police Department not to enforce federal fugitive warrants; it has advocated giving illegal aliens in-state tuition; and it has actively promulgated ‘day labor’ sites, where illegal aliens and disreputable employers openly skirt federal prohibitions on hiring undocumented individuals.”

Please review von Spakovsky’s brief biographies of the entire cabal of attorneys who can affect our voting and other rights here.

In our view, we conservatives should take his appraisal of the Civil Rights Division straight to heart – –

“The overwhelming majority of the individuals who populate the Civil Rights Division have always felt that because they are pursuing a virtuous mission, they are infallible and somehow have license to contravene the law, skirt ethical lines, and participate in acts of deception. Until recently, these leftists were able to act with impunity, and even today, the mainstream media continues to turn a blind eye until the Division’s misconduct becomes so glaring (think New Black Panther Party) that it simply can no longer be realistically ignored. Hopefully, however, those days are beginning to end. Abuses need to be exposed and individuals need to be called to account. And we will all be the better for it.” (Underscoring Forum’s.)

Culture wars &Tea Parties &Team Obama Richard Falknor on 02 Mar 2010

No “Apology Tours”* for Tea Partiers or Other Conservatives

 “Conservatives target their own fringe” trumpeted the headline in Kenneth Vogel’s “Politico” post last Saturday where he chronicled a mixture of Left assertions, and fears of nervous Republican Party-oriented voices that the Tea Partiers are including some “fringe” activists. (We would not, however, so characterize any of the Maryland or Virginia Tea Parties we have attended.)

Anyone who was at the 2010 CPAC knows, moreover, that the giant conservative gathering had little outrageous rhetoric and was quite color-inclusive.

Again, the Tea Parties we have joined have many older, accomplished participants.  They would view as presumptuous and patronizing this quote from former Bush speechwriter Michael Gerson who pontificated in his Washington Post column “A primer on political reality” —

 “Sometimes it takes courage to stand before a large crowd and proclaim that two plus two equals four.”

In his column on the conservative spectrum, Gerson shamelessly lumps together, with isolationists and left-wing extremists, those serious conservatives who opposed the former president’s deafness on immigration and confusion about US sovereignty.  Gerson mocks, moreover, the research of the analysts and investigators here and here and here who have tracked the current president’s hard-left upbringing and political development.

The Tea Parties are a spontaneous uprising against the Political Class. Why invite their voices back in as guides?

The Tea Partiers did fine without “minders” in 2009, and the political sophistication of many local participants may well exceed that of putative national “leaders”and “trainers.”

The underlying theme of the nostrums advanced by voices in the Vogel article amount to a mug’s game: apparatchiks running about to ensure that no Tea Partier says anything politically offensive. That is an approach with an outrageously demeaning implication.

For that says that local Tea Partiers are somehow not savvy enough to present their own case effectively – – and suggests a largely futile course of action because the Left will always contrive to find ways to demonize us.

As Ann Corcoran of Potomac Tea Party Report counsels – –

” . . . [T]o maintain your independence from any supposed NATIONAL Tea Party organization. . . [t]hink nationally but act locally!

There are, however, some troubling omissions Tea Partiers and grass-roots conservatives should worry about: 

The Potomac Tea Party Report highlights  a current example of grass-roots focus on illegal immigration:

 “Last Saturday [February 20] the North Central West Virginia Tea Party held a candidate forum for 6 Republican candidates for the 1st Congressional District.  The Times West Virginia reports that 4 issues were at the top of the list of concerns of those attending.  Immigration was one of those.”

In Maryland, a “magnet state” for illegal aliens, there is no question that the grassroots worry about illegal immigration.

We agree with some conservative critics that trying to make the president and his administration go away by arguing that he is not a citizen is, to put it charitably, probably not a productive course. But there should be no subtext to these critics’ message discouraging anyone from looking into the many unanswered questions about the president’s upbringing, education, and Chicago life.  Here for example is respected conservative scholar Stanley Kurtz’s analysis just before last election.  For those – on either side – who want to go beyond a knee-jerk discussion, here is Andrew McCarthy’s article in NRO  “Suborned in the U.S.A. The birth-certificate controversy is about Obama’s honesty, not where he was born.

Getting Education and Culture on the Tea Party Agenda

In her pathfinding American Thinker piece *”Conservatives, End the Apology Tour,” (the theme for this post’s title) Mary Grabar tells us – –

Although various conservative advocacy groups like Americans for Prosperity have kicked into high gear in reaction to the threat of government takeover of health care, I have not seen similar action in response to the takeover of education. Most of these groups target citizens already disposed to be wary of large government. But where is the program to instill the idea into a nineteen-year-old’s head that a Washington bureaucrat determining health care decisions is antithetical to our notions of freedom? Where is the program to counter the dominant pedagogy that insists that students make ‘collective’ decisions and write “collaboratively”? Where is the program that encourages independent thought?” (Underscoring Forum’s.)

Scholar Grabar sums up her priorities for conservatives – –

The reaction to the rot in education and culture does not match the reaction to health care, as evidenced by town halls, where one participant told Arlen Specter, ‘You have awakened a sleeping giant.’ Indeed, hard-working, middle-class, middle-aged America has awakened from its stupor on this issue.But wouldn’t it make more sense to try to rescue the values and culture of the West and implant them in the minds of the young in a way that is associated with intellectualism (as in fact it is)?   If we did, we would not be reacting in panic to such issues as government health care (with the fires of Afghanistan, illegal immigration, and free speech popping up too). In other words, we would not simply be reacting according to a script from the Saul Alinsky playbook, but establishing our rightful place as intellectual leaders.  Then Glenn Beck and I will not be seen as isolated Jeremiahs, shouting and weeping.” (Underscoring Forum’s.)

But we have one qualification to Mary Grabar’s otherwise sound recommendations on education and culture.

Obamacare must be stopped now or we won’t have much flexibility to address anything else.

Republicans: In Office or In Power?

And Mark Steyn tells us where our weak point lies right now 

“In shoving health care down the throats of the American people in the teeth of overwhelming public opposition and any sense of parliamentary decency, the Democrats are in effect taking a bet on Republican wussiness — that, whatever passes, the GOP will have no stomach to undo, no matter the scale of their victory in November. That seems to me an entirely rational calculation. The Dems will be punished; the Republicans will take over the committee chairmanships and be content, as they often are, to be in office rather than in power; and after a brief time out the Democrats will return to find their new statist behemoth still in place. From their point of view, it makes perfect sense.” (Underscoring Forum’s.)

For a look at Truthers, Birthers, Oath Takers, the John Birch Society, Alex Jones, and  Lyndon LaRouche, see long-time conservative investigator Cliff Kincaid’s two posts here and here “The Media, Extremists and Conspiracies, Part One and Part Two” commenting on the same Vogel piece in Politico.

Conservatives &Tea Parties &Team Obama Richard Falknor on 28 Feb 2010

Flash Points 2: “DC Lexicon”; Obama Aims; Inhofe-Top Spot

  • VICTOR DAVIS HANSON ADDS TO “OUR CURRENT D.C. LEXICON”: partisan bickering—a period when conservatives are unexpectedly gaining the upper hand. gridlock—a time when liberal legislation polls less than 50 percent among the American people. bipartisanship—triangulating Republican legislators who join liberals on key legislation. filibuster—a sometimes necessary Senate remedy to thwart reactionary excess — in its perverted form, unnaturally turned on progressives. centrist—a Republican who votes for Democratic-sponsored legislation; to be distinguished from an opportunist, who,as a Democrat, votes for Republican-sponsored legislation.”
  • ANDREW MCCARTHY: THE “PERMANENT TRANSFORMATION” of America. Former Federal prosecutor McCarthy warned yesterday in NRO  – – “I think our side is analyzing this all wrong: Today’s Democrats are controlled by the radical Left, and it is more important to them to execute the permanent transformation of American society than it is to win the upcoming election cycles. They have already factored in losing in November — even losing big. For them, winning big now outweighs that. I think they’re right.” Those of us who have recognized for some time that the president is not an inept liberal academic who fell in with foolish company — but rather a disciplined leftist with a clear and very uncongenial vision for us all — will certainly agree with with McCarthy that – –In the Democrat leadership, we are not dealing with conventional politicians for whom the goal of being reelected is paramount and will rein in their radicalism. They want socialized medicine and all it entails about government control even more than they want to win elections. After all, if the party of government transforms the relationship between the citizen and the state, its power over our lives will be vast even in those cycles when it is not in the majority. This is about power, and there is more to power than winning elections, especially if you’ve calculated that your opposition does not have the gumption to dismantle your ballooning welfare state.” (Underscoring Forum‘s throughout.) Last August, we drew readers’ attention to American Thinker’s Rick Moran who had revealed “Dems considering the ‘Armageddon option’ on health care” pointing out “the Republicans could slow down business in the senate by requiring all bills to be read in their entirety, or have constant quorum calls, or pile on amendments to bills – the possibilities are endless.” We declared then  “To defeat Obamacare there under regular procedures and to prevent its approval through the backdoor of the ‘reconciliation’ process (designed only for budget control) will require the Senate Republican leadership to take aggressive stands, risk almost certain demonization, and keep its members together in constant opposition.
  • INHOFE TOP SENATE CONSERVATIVE. National Review on Line’s (NRO) Bob Costa tells us thatSen. Jim Inhofe (R., Okla.), Skeptic Man, tops National Journal’s [link added] annual congressional vote ratings as the most conservative member of the Senate. According to NJ, Inhofe was the only senator with a perfect conservative score in 2009. Faithful readers will know from a sample of our earlier posts here and here and here why we see the senior senator from Oklahoma as one of the preeminent Senate Republican work horses (as distinguished from, heaven forfend, show horses). Our sense is that senators Jim DeMint (number two spot in overall conservative ranking), Tom Coburn (number four spot),  and Jeff Sessions (number 10 spot) are also among these high-performing Republican senators. The NJ 2009 overall conservative rankings give us perspective on the Senate Republican leadership showing Republican leader Mitch McConnell in the number 8 spot, Republican Whip John Kyl in the number 18 spot, and Republican Conference chair Lamar Alexander in the number 32 spot. Since everyone will want to know the senior senator from Arizona’s place in the 2009 overall conservative ranking, John McCain is in the number 21 spot. How about the overall conservative ranking of members of the House leadership? Republican leader John Boehner is in the number 14 spot, Republican Whip Eric Cantor is in the number 37 spot, and House Republican Conference chairman Mike Pence is in the number 8 spot. In Maryland, Roscoe Bartlett (certainly the only conservative in the Old Line State delegation) was the top ranker in the number 108 spot.  His Congressional neighbor right across the Potomac in Virginia, Republican Frank Wolf, is in the 131 spot.  Other Virginia Republican overall conservative rankings are Bob Goodlatte in the 58 spot, Randy Forbes in the 66 spot, and Rob Wittman in the 108 spot. Here are the key votes used in the NJ’s calculations.

Conservatives &Team Obama Richard Falknor on 16 Feb 2010

Blocking Obamacare in the States and on Capitol Hill


A number of states are considering “health freedom” legislation.  The Virginia General Assembly has already approved their version – – a cause pioneered by delegate and conservative leader Bob Marshall and strongly supported by Virginia Tea Partiers.

The Maryland Senate finance panel will have a hearing on the Free State’s own version of  “health care freedom” legislation here slated for tomorrow. The proposed constitutional amendment is sponsored by senators E. J. Pipkin, Nancy Jacobs, and Alex Mooney.

Hans Bader, counsel at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, points out that the value of the Virginia bill is to give the Commonwealth standing to oppose Obamacare – – as offending the Constitution’s commerce clause.

“In short, the Virginia health care freedom legislation does nothing to affect the substantive validity (or invalidity) of ObamaCare’s individual mandate, but it does expand who can challenge it, by allowing Virginia officials — not just uninsured individuals who don’t want to buy health insurance — to challenge the individual mandate in court, thus adding legal firepower to any constitutional challenge.

The bills have a useful function, but not the one offered by many of their supporters, and the federal ‘individual mandate’ is constitutionally dubious for quite a different reason than many of its opponents claim.

Supporters of the bills often claim that the ‘individual mandate’ violates the Tenth Amendment.  But this is the wrong constitutional objection to make. The Tenth Amendment is not violated by federal regulation of private citizens, but rather (under the Supreme Court’s recent decisions) by federal regulation aimed at the states as states — like unfunded mandates ordering state and local officials to carry out federal gun control laws (struck down in the Printz v. United States case) or ordering a state to take title to nuclear waste (overturned in the New York v. United States case), rather than merely conditioning federal funds on its agreeing to do so.” (Underscoring Forum’s.)

Readers are urged to consider the entire Bader post here.


Readers may well want to scan two other helpful constitutional analyses: “Mandatory Insurance Is Unconstitutional – -Why an individual mandate could be struck down by the courts” by David B. Rivkin Jr. and Lee A. Casey here, and “Impermissible Ratemaking in Health-Insurance Reform: Why the Reid Bill is Unconstitutional” by Richard A. Epstein here. Former Federal prosecutor Andy McCarthy sums up the two analyses here adding “. . . I think it would be worth having a vigorous constitutional argument about capitalism.”

The Massachusetts miracle of Scott Brown’s election notwithstanding, we believe the danger, even if less acute, from Obamacare, or its tarted-up successors, remains over the life of this Congress. 

There are always some fearful elected Republicans who can stumble into mischief. Consequently there is the danger of an inept Republican response to the president’s proposal for a February 25 health care summit.  As the National Tax Limitation Committee’s Lew Uhler declared Sunday,  “Republicans may resurrect ObamaCare from the dead.”

Perhaps sensing danger, health-financing expert John Goodman writes today – –

“What’s the purpose of the health summit — bringing the president and Republican and Democratic Congressional leaders together? The Republicans hoped it meant we would start over. Toss out the highly defective legislation that has been working its way through the House and Senate and begin anew with a clean slate.

The White House is rejecting that idea. Apparently, all they want is to ascertain the minimum changes they have to accept in order to get a bill passed.

Okay. Here are ten of the changes (in the ‘60’s we would have called them ‘non-negotiable demands’) needed to make ObamaCare acceptable. They are listed below the fold.” (Underscoring Forum’s.)

In our view, the forward edge of battle against this legislation remains in the Congress.  As strong as the constitutional case against egregious provisions of Obamacare may be, we don’t want to have to conduct a rear-guard action against an already enacted Obamacare in the Supreme Court.  Let Obamacare die now in this Congress!

ADD-ON: DANIEL FOSTER  “Biden Could Force Reconciliation Through the Senate”
“Robert Dove, a professor of legislative process at my alma mater who for twelve years was Senate parliamentarian, said that Vice President Joe Biden could in effect commandeer the reconciliation process in the Senate to force through a number of controversial aspects of health-care reform.”

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