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Monday, April 19, 2010
The New Republic States the Obvious
Today's New Republic has what seems an unnecessary story: "Why Elena Kagan Has Earned the Respect of Conservatives, Like Me."
Isn't her reason obvious? A liberal jurist who choose a career trajectory that would put her in line for a possible high court appointment is more likely to get confirmed if she has earned conservatives' respect, even when the President is a Democrat and the Senate is in Democrat control.
People who get tapped for Supreme Court appointments these days don't get chosen unless they structured their careers and public (and to some extent, private) actions accordingly, and being respected by the "other side" is part of that equation.
P.S. Turns out the article isn't about why Elena Kagan has earned the respect of conservatives like [such as] the author, but how she did it -- by being civil to conservatives and by supporting former clerks of Supreme Court Justices Scalia and Kennedy for positions at Harvard, in addition to leftists.
In an era in which "bork" remains a verb, it evidently takes very little for a liberal lawyer to earn respect from at least one conservative.
Bart Stupak: Good riddance to a dangerous Congressman.
Most of you will suppose I'm referencing Bart Stupak's double-cross of the pro-life movement, but that's not the only thing. In the late 1990s, Stupak tried to have this institution charged with a federal crime for publishing materials inconvenient to the left on health care issues.
Up to then, I had naively supposed prosecutors didn't investigate policy disagreements in America.
The issue in question was Section 4507 of the 1997 Balanced Budget Act, which prohibited Medicare patients from contracting privately with medical doctors unless the doctor opted out of the Medicare system for at least two years, among other requirements.
Here's how Steve Forbes described it in the American Enterprise Institute's magazine (11/1/97):
...buried in the 1,200-page budget bill is a nasty, little-known provision, Section 4507, that begins to write socialized medicine into law. Starting January 1, 1998, American doctors will effectively be prohibited from treating elderly patients on a private basis outside of the Medicare program.
The government health care bureaucracy had already been using its regulatory powers to forbid doctors who accept Medicare patients from also treating senior citizens who choose to pay out of-pocket. Republicans originally tried to insert into the budget agreement a provision that would overturn this regulation, but President Clinton protested and the Republicans caved in.
Since over 90 percent of doctors accept Medicare patients, this law makes it nearly impossible for seniors to find a doctor who will also treat them on a private basis, outside Medicare's rules and regulations. Only doctors in the very wealthiest areas will be available to seniors hoping to engage in private health care between consenting adults. Astonishingly, even Britain, mother of socialized medicine, allows patients to contract privately with physicians. Senator Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) is leading the charge to repeal Section 4507. He points out that the current law is the equivalent of forbidding everyone enrolled in Social Security from also investing his own money privately with stockbrokers: Such a law "would be met with disbelief and derision," yet it is no different from what the new Medicare law does.
To seniors, especially those not living in big cities, this had the effect of making some medical procedures unavailable to them unless they travelled long distances, as in small towns there might not be a single doctor providing the services they desired who also was willing to forgo treating anyone receiving Medicare for two years.
To conservatives, this provision was a step forward for government control of medicine and a violation of the civil rights of senior citizens.
To liberals, including the Clinton Administration, it was a way to restrict private involvement in health care. They further argued that doctors would overcharge vulnerable seniors for services, and that it would be better for seniors to be denied certain services entirely than to risk being overcharged privately.
Section 4507 received scant public attention when the Balanced Budget Act of 1997 was adopted, but seniors soon began to report difficulties. Simple and inexpensive tests sought by people with diabetes or concern that they might have diabetes, for example, were not in all circumstances covered by Medicare, and now seniors could not get them unless they found a doctor who had entirely opted out of Medicare. Similarly, men over 65 were barred from privately contracting with doctors for screening tests for prostate cancer, although Medicare did not cover these tests for men without symptoms. And there were other examples.
We, along with several other institutions (not all of them conservative), began to call attention to the detrimental impacts of Section 4507 on seniors. One think-tank published a book. Another published numerous papers and held at least one symposium. A seniors group filed suit in federal court on civil rights grounds. And a U.S. Senator (Jon Kyl) and the then-chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee (Bill Archer) introduced joint legislation to repeal Section 4507.
Our work on this was routine for a think-tank. We published informational materials on it for the public and policymakers (for example, this, posted online at that time), press materials (for example, here) for talk radio hosts and editorial writers, and collected petitions from the public about Section 4507 and sent them to Congress.
Routine work, that is, until we got a phone call from a federal investigator. Rep. Bart Stupak, we were told, had a received a copy of some of our materials and had contacted law enforcement, alleging that the Section 4507 did not do what we claimed it did, and that our claims constituted mail fraud.
To me, this was preposterous, and as I was naive back then, I told the investigator to come over, and I'd share information about the provision with him. I didn't contact legal counsel, as I did not want to waste donors' money on such a ridiculous and (I thought) easily-rebutted allegation.
The investigator came over, and I showed him the book, and the policy papers by other institutions, and information about the Kyl-Archer bill to repeal, and press materials by the seniors group that had filed suit in federal court. The investigator, however, was unmoved. Just because other groups are saying the same thing you are, he said, doesn't make you right. Instead, he said, it is evidence of a conspiracy.
I was taken aback, as one might expect, and the investigator added his coup de grace: the Congressional Research Service says all of you are wrong on this, he said, and what did I have to say to that? He made it clear he considered the CRS the final authority, and believed that publishing anything to the contrary and mailing it would constitute mail fraud. I hadn't read what the CRS said, so I couldn't comment on its position. The investigator left, and faxed me the CRS document soon after, with a cover note that wasn't promising. The CRS document itself, however, was: The CRS agreed with our position entirely.
None of this should have happened, but it didn't end there. Before long, we received a subpoena from the U.S. Justice Department requiring us to turn over all documents, communications, etc. relating to our work on Section 4507. We complied, and also involved counsel. Our attorney phoned the Justice Department attorney whose name was on the subpoena and pointed out that First Amendment protects our right to publish as we see fit on public policy issues. In fact, he said, the investigator's entire line of questioning as to whether our papers were correct was inappropriate, as people have a constitutional right to publish things the government disagrees with. The Justice Department attorney told him she in fact agreed with him, but that, because of superiors, her hands were tied on the case. So we had to consider ourselves under active investigation.
We didn't hear anything from them for about two years (to the best of my recollection, between the 2000 presidential election and Bush's inauguration), when the DOJ returned all our subpoenaed documents. We never found out anything more about who at DOJ had considered the case worth investigating, but we couldn't help thinking it was someone inclined to discourage conservative groups from working on health care. No charges were ever brought.
So now that Congressman Bart Stupak, whose office thought it was perfectly proper to sic federal law enforcement on a conservative organization simply for publishing perfectly accurate materials inconvenient to the liberal big-government position, has decided to retire, I say good riddance. We don't need any Congressmen, on the left or the right, who believe in criminalizing policy disagreements, and who oppose the people's right to free speech.
Three weeks after the fact, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka suddenly announced he personally witnessed Tea Party activists call Rep. John Lewis (D-GA), a black Congressman, the "n-word" on Capitol Hill March 20.
Trumka never said a word about what he allegedly witnessed until Andrew Breitbart asked him in a public forum Q&A to help investigate union thugs who Breitbart saw attacking tea partiers in Searchlight, Nevada. Then, suddenly, Trumka claimed he personally heard Lewis get called the "n-word" and watched Congressmen (plural) get spat upon. And then Trumka changed the subject and called upon someone else.
Trumka's allegation, while a convenient way for him to duck Breitbart's question about investigating union violence, doesn't have the ring of credibility. Why did he keep silent until now? Was he walking with Lewis that day? If not, was he standing among the thousands of Tea Party protesters (seems unlikely, though possible). And who are these up-to-now silent Congressmen Trumka saw get spat upon, now that even Rep. Emanuel "Say It Not Spray It" Cleaver has backed away from his allegation that a Tea Party protester intentionally spat on him? Why have these Members of Congress remained silent? How is it that the nationally-famous Trumka was in a position to witness both the slurs and multiple episodes of spitting, when no one other witness to either have come forward (despite Andrew Breitbart's $100,000 reward)?
How convenient it is that Trumka made this allegation only when confronted by a question about yet another episode of union violence.
On Fox News' "Hannity," Project 21 full-time Fellow Deneen Borelli discussed attacks on and allegations against Tea Party activists and newfound flaws in President Obama's recently-adopted health care plan.
In one sense, social justice is the basis for a sound and civil society. The struggle for social justice is, in its purest form, the struggle for equality of opportunity over outcome. That's not a problem.
Consider that this year marks the 50th anniversary of the Woolworth lunch counter sit-in and the 55th anniversary of the Montgomery bus boycott. These were struggles for social justice, and were key to ending the scourge of enforced segregation in our nation.
Abolishing slavery. Women's suffrage. All social justice movements of their time. All good.
But there is a problem in modern times, where social justice is often redefined for progressive political gain. This problem usually comes when social justice is intertwined with a quest for economic justice...
In this new interpretation, social justice can more appropriately be considered "collective retribution" or "restorative justice." The lingering question, however, is to restore what to whom and at what cost. It opens up a Pandora's Box of unsettling possibilities.
Merely suggesting that "justice" needs a qualifier is appalling. To be just or equitable is a simple task: all parties must be treated fairly as reasoned conscience dictates.
Since his election, Barack Obama and his supporters have sought to move our nation leftward at breakneck speed. In the process, they've exhibited a blatant disregard for our Constitution, traditions, military and the general rule of law.
Americans accepted it at first, but now their patience is wearing thin.
Young people are being indoctrinated in left-wing politics, personified by figures such as Mao and Bill Ayers - enemies of our nation's founding principles nonetheless admired by members of the Obama Administration.
Those same people also appear bent on taking us further away from our traditional Judeo-Christian morals and values.
It's shocking that a nation with more freedoms and liberties than most others could fall for such garbage. What happened to the hearts and minds of so many Americans? It's clear there's a battle for the soul of America being waged.
Too bad for the global warming lobby that the facts don't meet the rhetoric. Too bad for the rest of us that, despite this, it is still set on imposing its flawed agenda on our nation...
At its core, cap-and-trade is a tax directed at people who use fossil fuels. The lofty intent is to promote alternative energy sources, but -- seeing as there are not yet such abundant or feasible sources available -- this means virtually everyone will suffer under the tax for the foreseeable future...
And the U.S. would be imposing cap-and-trade unilaterally, without other major nations governments such as India and China imposing similar limitations on themselves. In going it nearly alone, the U.S. risks all of the economic harm while getting none of the alleged environmental gain.
It's a folly the Obama Administration's EPA is walking into with eyes wide open. At a July 2009 hearing, when Senator Inhofe presented EPA administrator Lisa Jackson with the EPA's own data that showed a unilateral cap-and-trade policy would have no effect on global climate, Jackson replied: "I believe the central parts of the [EPA] chart are that U.S. action alone will not impact world [carbon dioxide] levels."
With all of these revelations and the state of the economy, it's no surprise support for cap-and-trade is so low. Cap-and-trade was one of the catalysts for the tea parties and for the town halls of 2009. In a recent poll conducted by the Pew Research Center for People and the Press, just 28 percent of those surveyed called global warming a top priority for 2010 -- as opposed to the economy (83 percent), jobs (81 percent) and terrorism (80 percent).
Besides these Project 21 members, the March/April issue of Freedom's Journal also includes essays from Walter Williams, Herman Cain and Ken Blackwell.
To see a sample of this issue, look for the new issue tab on the Freedom's Journal web site after clicking here.
This post was written by David Almasi, executive director of the National Center for Public Policy Research. Write the author at firstname.lastname@example.org. As we occasionally reprint letters on the blog, please note if you prefer that your correspondence be kept private, or only published anonymously.
A long-time Washington Post columnist, Courtland Milloy, tells his readers how he would like to spit on Americans who protest against big government, and hit them and knock out all their teeth:
I know how the 'tea party' people feel, the anger, venom and bile that many of them showed during the recent House vote on health-care reform. I know because I want to spit on them, take one of their 'Obama Plan White Slavery' signs and knock every racist and homophobic tooth out of their Cro-Magnon heads.
I am sick of these people -- and those who make excuses for them and their victim-whiner mentality.
They aren't racists, the apologists say. They just don't like deficits and government takeover of health care. So what does using vile epithets for black or gay congressmen have to do with that? The tea party people didn't refer to white Democrats using racial epithets. No one yelled 'white trash' or 'redneck cracker' at any of those congressmen. And none of their own ever stands up and declares that such practices are morally wrong.
If the Washington Post has apologized for this, and fired Courtland Milloy, both of which are called for, I am unaware of it.
Milloy's piece in the Post contains an embedded link in the words "Obama Plan White Slavery," but if you click the link it goes to a long Post photo spread of the March 20 Tea Party at the Capitol, and not a single sign in the entire series contains the term "white slavery," or, unlike Milloy's column, anything else remotely racialist or pro-violence.
...would any liberal groups or politicians (or Keith Olbermann) care to disavow this....?
(Open on a new page to enlarge)
Or perhaps emails like this?
Speaking of racist garbage thrown by liberals (of which the above are just two of many), Project 21 issued a press release yesterday:
Where Is the Outrage When Black Conservative Tea Party Activists Are Called the N-Word?
Black conservatives opposed to government-run health care routinely are called the "n-word" and worse -- by liberals, says Deneen Borelli, full-time Fellow with the Project 21 black leadership network.
To black lawmakers allegedly receiving the same treatment, Borelli said: "Welcome to my world! I've been called worse than the N-word by alleged enlightened liberals for the outrage of expressing my views on topics such as the threat of government overreach on things such as ObamaCare, climate change legislation, the Second Amendment and pro-growth economics."
"It should go without saying that racial slurs are offensive and uncalled for," added Borelli. "But progressives seem far more aggressive in hurling racist comments than Tea Party members. I find that all the time on my e-mail after I appear on television or radio."
Responding to comments made by Representative Charlie Rangel (D-NY) about the racial aspects and alleged racial tone of Tea Party rallies opposed to a government takeover of America's health care system, Borelli said: "In an attempt to inject race into the national debate about government running our nation's health care system, Representative Charlie Rangel made false allegations about the Tea Parties when he said that '[y]ou don't see any black folks in these groups. Ever, ever, ever, ever, ever.' Considering he's never invited me -- or any of his conservative colleagues, for that matter -- for insight on reworking one-sixth of our economy, he obviously must not realize I am black. He also failed to see the other black faces I've seen at the many tea party rallies I've attended and spoken at over the past few months."
Project 21, a leading voice of black conservatives since 1992, is sponsored by The National Center for Public Policy Research (www.nationalcenter.org).
Third Video of Tea Party Protest of Black Congressmen Reveals No Racial Taunts
I found what is (by my count) a third video showing Rep. John Lewis and fellow members of the Congressional Black Caucus walking from the House office buildings to the Capitol on Saturday, March 20 -- the walk during which the Congressmen claim to have been called the "n-word."
The other two videos, already widely viewed, are here:
I don't hear any racial epithets on any of these, although I agree with those who have said that is inconclusive. Still, William Douglas of McClatchy reported that Rep. Emanuel Cleaver said the n-word "was a chorus," so it seems odd that no videos or witnesses have appeared. This "n-word" story has been national news for four days now.
For what it's worth, I was there Saturday, Saturday evening and Sunday afternoon, and I didn't hear anything race-based the entire time. Unfortunately, that, too, is inconclusive.
and us, and Brian Kilmeade of Fox, Ed Morrissey at Hot Air, and I don't know who else.
In the final days before the health care vote, those noted above reported that the New England Journal of Medicine had published/reported on a survey by the Medicus Firm showing, among other things, that passage of ObamaCare could result in a significant decline in the number of doctors willing to practice medicine.
Here's Bill O'Reilly's "Talking Points" segment on it:
And you thought wait times were long now. The New England Journal of Medicine, hardly a bastion of conservative thought, polled health-care providers to determine their reaction to ObamaCare, and discovered that it has many doctors looking for the exits. Almost half of all general-practice doctors would feel compelled to leave medicine altogether if it passes...
Here's what Brian Kilmeade said on Fox and Friends:
If ObamaCare passes, you may lose your family doctor. Oh, and good luck finding a new one.
That's the stunning conclusion of a new study by the Medicus Firm, as reported by the New England Journal of Medicine. Medicus, a national physician search firm, surveyed 1,195 practicing physicians about the health reform plans pending in Congress. The doctors, representing a wide range of specialties and career levels, were asked to assess the possible impact of ObamaCare on their careers, including "income, job satisfaction, and future career plans."
Following this, according to the Daily Kos and Media Matters, the New England Journal of Medicine came out saying it did not publish the survey at all.
On Tuesday and Wednesday, Fox breathlessly promoted what it claims to be a new survey from the New England Journal of Medicine showing doctors oppose health care reform, but there's a problem: the non-scientific survey was conducted months ago, was not published in the NEJM, and, according to a spokesperson for the journal, it has "nothing to do with the New England Journal of Medicine's original research."
Right-wing media have seized on a dubious, three-month old email "survey" that purports to show that physicians are concerned about health care reform and that 46 percent of the primary care doctors surveyed "indicated that they would leave medicine - or try to leave medicine - as a result of health reform." Many media figures have falsely attributed this survey to the New England Journal of Medicine. For example, on Fox & Friends, co-host Brian Kilmeade said: "The New England Journal of Medicine has published a report and did a survey, and they said the impact of reform on primary care physicians, 46 percent, they say, feel reform will force them out or make them want to leave medicine."
This is false.
Media Matters for America contacted the New England Journal of Medicine, which confirmed it neither conducted nor published the "survey."
NEJM spokesperson Jennifer Zeis told Media Matters that the study had "nothing to do with the New England Journal of Medicine's original research." She also made clear that the study "was not published by the New England Journal of Medicine," and said that "we are taking steps to clarify the source of the survey."
Following these reports, we posted a correction, as did Ed Morrissey. I can't watch Fox all day, so I don't know what it did. But I don't want to close the book in this incident without saying something further: We made the correction to be as reliable as possible to those who rely on our materials, so if the New England Journal of Medicine is now claiming it never published the survey, and that it only intended to publish it in an affiliated newsletter, and has altered its website so that the link http://www.nejmjobs.org/rpt/health-reform-may-reduce-physician-workforce.asp no longer goes to a story about the survey, we don't want anyone who quotes us publishing something that a third party could point out is denied by the New England Journal of Medicine, thus discrediting the third party, through no fault of their own. So we made the "correction," and we'll leave it up.
But we also want to make it clear that the New England Journal of Medicine did indeed publish this survey on it website. Judge for yourselves (open in new window to enlarge):
The NEJM has now changed the page to this, which is how we are now citing it, but we have a message for the New England Journal of Medicine: If you don't want people saying you reported on or published something, don't post it on your website with your logo at the top.
Why Read Time or McClatchy, When You Can Just Visit the Media Matters Website Directly?
Kate Pickert of Time magazine's Swampland column complains that Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh responded to the left's exploitation of 11-year-old Marcelas Owens in its desperate 14-month effort to pass its health care takeover.
According to Pickert, Limabugh said:
"Now this is unseemly, exploitative, an 11-year-old boy being forced to tell his story all over just to benefit the Democrat Party and Barack Obama ...And, I would say this to Marcelas Owens: 'Well, your mom would still have died, because Obamacare doesn't kick in until 2014.'"
and Beck said:
"That's the George Soros-funded Obama-approved group fighting for health care... Since all of the groups are so concerned and involved now, may I ask where were you when Marcelas' mother was vomiting blood?"
I don't see either of those statements as an attack on Marcelas, so if that's the worst Pickert can come up with, it appears the gentlemen were holding their fire, probably in deference to the boy's age.
Pickert then rather hypocritically says:
Since Democrats are trotting Marcelas before the cameras, there's nothing wrong with reporters or pundits checking out his story to see if it's true. That's fair game.
O-kay. Reporters checking out the family's personal history to see if Mercalas is a liar is one thing, but Limbaugh pointing out that passage of ObamaCare wouldn't help Mercalas' mother if she were alive and sick today, or Beck wondering why the groups exploiting Mercelas now didn't help his family when it could have used the help, is not?
Pickert linked to a McClatchy Newspapers story by Les Blumenthal as the source of her Limbaugh and Beck quotes. The Blumenthal story tracks extremely, extremely closely with a March 6 post by the left-wing Media Matters organization.
By sourcing Blumenthal rather than the Limbaugh and Beck shows themselves, Pickert essentially admits she did not listen to, or read a transcript of, what the two men said in context. By citing only the same quotes Media Matters reported, along with quotes from a Michelle Malkin column that the Media Matters post linked to, McClatchy's Blumenthal pretty much signals he reguritatated left-wing talking points and called it news.
Media Matters, for its part, was appreciative: It ran a post today commending Blumenthal for his article that "simply lays out the facts."
Addendum: Ed Schultz at MSNBC also seems to track pretty closely to Media Matters talking points, too:
Amazing how they all use the same quotes, isn't it?
Articles We'd We'd Like To See Removed from the Internet
I see "The Root," a website run by the Washington Post and Henry Louis Gates, has declined to remove an article equating black conservatives with criminals just because they are conservative.
Project 21 members complained about this article on February 24; others have as well, but as usual, black conservatives are considered fair game.
I think their rule is that white people are allowed to think for themselves, but black people aren't, though you'd have to confirm that's what the logic is with the Washington Post and Henry Louis Gates.
What a joke President Obama's "deficit commission" (deficit of leadership, I'd say) is. Majority Leader Harry Reid has announced that one of the three big-spending liberals* he's appointing to a commission intended to convince us the left isn't spending us into perdition is Montana Senator Max Baucus.
Baucus has since 2007 held the chairmanship of the Senate Finance Committee, which has oversight over the fiscal fortunes of Social Security and Medicare, both of which are insolvent. Does Baucus do anything about this? Does he even hold hearings to seriously discuss what to do?
No, except for spending much of the last couple of years working to expand the burden under which these systems operate (when he wasn't taking his girlfriend, who was on his taxpayer-financed staff payroll, on taxpayer-financed tours of exotic locales), Baucus has been doing nothing about the insolvent Social Security and Medicare systems.
And now we're supposed to believe he cares enough about the federal deficit to help make the hard decisions that can get the country out of this mess? Ha!
P.S. I hope the GOP gives one of its slots to Texas Rep. Ron Paul, who is likely to sit at all the meetings -- these meetings all will be on C-SPAN, right Mrs. President? -- and say "where in the Constitution does it give us the authority to spend this? Where in the Constitution does it give us the authority to spend that?" The leftists will ignore him but the public would love the fact that they can't give him an answer.
* The other two are Senators Dick Durbin and Kent Conrad, whose big-spending ways are legendary.
Keith Olbermann Lists Children As Worst Persons in World for Making Innocent Snow Joke About Al Gore
Keith Olbermann Tuesday night named among his "worst persons in the world" four minor grandchildren of Senator James Inhofe of Oklahoma, along with their parents. Their "crime"? They built an igloo out of snow and posted near it a sign with a very innocent Al Gore joke ("Al Gore's new home. Honk if you [heart] global warming.").
Olbermann claims it was wrong for the family to make a snow joke, because the snowstorm killed people (though not, he should have noted, in or because of the Inhofe family's igloo). Up to now, weather-related jokes have not been considered beyond the pale, even for children.
Olbermann then put on his best "you're an idiot" voice to claim that "global warming" is really called "climate change" (implying strongly the children are dumb because they called the theory by the same name James Hansen uses), and, Olbermann says, "climate change" means it will be colder in winter.
GE should be ashamed of itself for allowing its personnel to attack children on the air. These kids probably are sophisticated enough to realize that Olbermann's just doing it for attention, but it's still pathetic to see a giant corporation going after kids.
Hat tips to the FixedNewsChannel for uploading this to YouTube and to Senator James Inhofe for the pictures.
As I mentioned the other day, James O'Keefe has been charged under Title 18, Section 1036 of the U.S. Code, which prohibits persons from entering "any real property belonging in whole or in part to, or leased by, the United States... by any fraud or false pretense."
A thing that strikes me about the James O'Keefe case is that people enter Congressional offices all the time under false pretenses. They say they want to talk to the staff or the Congressman in the District office, but once there, they stage a sit-in to stop logging, to demand climate change action, to demand an end to the Iraq War, or to demand sanctions against one country or another.
Yet, the media greets them as heroes and O'Keefe as a criminal.
ACORN, by the way, has a long history of orchestrating sit-ins. I'm sure its members don't always come in and say, "Hi, I'm Jane Doe, I represent ACORN and I'm here to stage a sit-in. Would you mind terribly if I brought a few hundred of my friends in, too?" Obviously, Code-Pink has done it, too.
If at the end of the day the charges against O'Keefe are merely that he entered a federal office under false pretenses and all these lefties have denounced him for doing so, they'll have denounced him for doing essentially the same thing they do all the time.
Written by David A. Ridenour, vice president of the National Center for Public Policy Research. Write the author at email@example.com. As we occasionally reprint letters on the blog, please note if you prefer that your correspondence be kept private, or only published anonymously.
Bizarre Climategate Update #2: Prince Charles Supports Lawbreaking Science Unit
After the British government's Information Commissioner's Office concluded the Climate Research Center at the University of East Anglia violated Britain's Freedom of Information Act law, Prince Charles visited to show his support...
...that is, he showed support for the Climate Research Unit, not the Information Commissioner (the report starts at 4:16 in the video).
Surprising to me, the prince specifically met with Phil Jones (reported at 5:21 in the video), the head of the unit (on leave since the scandal broke) and the man most under fire for the FOIA violation.
Typically in these bad-PR situations an institution will get rid of problem-causers first, and then bring the bigwigs in for a photo op expressing support for the replacement team. Fresh start, break with the past, that kind of message.
Seems Prince Charles doesn't see a need for a fresh start.
John O'Sullivan on Climategate.com has another detail about the prince's visit. Reportedly, the prince told the Climategate team:
Well done all of you. Many, many congratulations on your work. I wish you great success in the future. Don't get downhearted by these little blips here and there!
James O'Keefe has been charged under Title 18, Section 1036 of the U.S. Code, which prohibits persons from entering "any real property belonging in whole or in part to, or leased by, the United States... by any fraud or false pretense."
My question is, why hasn't Landrieu been arrested? Didn't she take an oath to uphold the Constitution, but then vote for a health care bill with unconstitutional provisions on December 24?
Didn't all the 60 Senators who voted for it violate the law when they entered their publicly-owned offices on December 24?
Tell you what... Dismiss the charges against O'Keefe and give the 60 Senators a pass this time on their "fine... or imprisonment for not more than 6 months, or both..."
Or charge the Senators, too.
I'm fine with it either way.
Written by David A. Ridenour, vice president of the National Center for Public Policy Research. Write the author at firstname.lastname@example.org. As we occasionally reprint letters on the blog, please note if you prefer that your correspondence be kept private, or only published anonymously.
Following the obligatory full disclosure that the National Center for Public Policy Research was not exactly neutral in the case of Citizens United v. FEC when it went before the Supreme Court (we supported and signed on to an amicus brief in the case spearheaded by the Free Speech Coalition last year), I want to slightly defend President Obama vis-a-vis his erroneous remarks about the case during the State of the Union address.
Yes, Justice Samuel Alito was right (Bradley Smith, a campaign finance expert and law professor, proves it succinctly here), and President Obama wrong, on the facts.
But in regards to those who are calling the President a liar on the matter: I doubt it because I doubt the President knew the facts of the case before he spoke. Unlike our last Democratic President, Barack Obama has never been particularly interested in issues, and his speechwriters draw heavily from left-wing sources without fact-checking (as when they blindly trusted Slate's Timothy Noah when drafting Obama's health care speech to the joint session of Congress).
The left-wing position on Citizens United, as Democracy 21 put it, is that a loophole now exists in the law because, although foreign corporations are banned from influencing elections, "there is no statutory prohibition against foreign-controlled domestic corporations from making expenditures to influence federal elections."
But the absence of a statute is not the fault of the Supreme Court, and President Obama and the left is wrong to criticize the Court for it. Congress had plenty of time to anticipate Citizens United v. FEC and to pass legislation to deal with this or any other loophole if it believes a loophole exists.
The Supreme Court agreed to hear Citizens United v. FEC in August 2008. The Court heard arguments on it twice (March and September 2009), which led court-watchers to expect that major parts of McCain-Feingold would be struck down. Any legislation affecting the influence of foreign-controlled domestic corporations on U.S. elections would have received extensive bi-partisan support. Yet Congress didn't pass it, and Obama never asked it to try.
The Supreme Court had one duty: to apply the Constitution. President Obama was criticizing the court on public policy grounds the Court would have been out of line to consider.
The role of the Supreme Court is something about which leftists in general tend to be willfully ignorant. For example, in comments about this case, Josh Glasstetter of the popular left-wing Crooks and Liars blog not only ignored the fact that the Supreme Court is supposed to be neutral on policy impacts, but he exaggerated the decision's impact immensely:
[The Supreme Court justices voting in the majority] don't seem to mind that Lukoil (Kremlin Inc.), Citgo (Hugo Chavez LLC), Aramco (King Fahd and Sons Co.), and countless other multinational corporations - including those run as business arms of foreign governments - now have a free hand to influence the government from top to bottom.
If it so chose, Congress could plug any loophole being exploited by Hugo Chavez long before November. Who would vote against it?
So I defend the President on the charge that he lied when he claimed the decision opened "the floodgates for special interests — including foreign corporations — to spend without limit in our elections," because I doubt he knew any better, but I don't excuse him for acting as if the Supreme Court and the Congress have the same responsibilities.
On January 21, TVNewser reported that "NBC News has filed a formal complaint with the White House press office over the distribution of presidential interviews, specifically that several of the most recent broadcast TV interviews have gone to ABC News - including George Stephanopoulos's interview yesterday and Charlie Gibson's December 15."
Later they posted an update, saying "An NBC News spokesperson tells us, 'NBC News did not file a formal or informal complaint about this interview." The updated post now claimed merely that "NBC News has expressed concern" over the matter.
Whether NBC complained formally or informally, or merely expressed "concern," it is clear that the Peacock network is none too happy with ABC's cozy relationship with the Obama White House. And can you blame them? Goodness, how much can a network throw themselves at a politician before he pays them the requisite attention? Remember MSNBC's Chris Matthews' infamous and lurid "thrill going up my leg" reaction to an Obama speech? Have you seen the nightly Obama cheerleading from virtually the entire MSNBC prime time line-up?
But these are cable commentators you may say, whose sycophantic slobberings are seen by too few to matter (MSNBC regularly comes in a dismal third in the cable news ratings race). Perhaps. But then you have the troubling nuisance of a "hard news" reporter who covers politics for NBC Nightly News admitting "it's almost hard to remain objective" when covering Obama. And the nauseating spectacle of Brian Williams himself, anchor and managing editor of NBC Nightly News, heir to Tom Brokaw and the lodestar of the network's news division, automatically and unconsciously bowing to Barack Obama.
NBC has received some White House access in return for their affections, of course, as the TVNewser story rightly acknowledges. But not enough, it seems, to placate the infatuated NBC newsies.
ABC does seem to have a special place in the President's heart. As I detailed in a recent National Center For Public Policy Research report:
On June 24, ABC devoted a full hour of valuable prime-time real estate to Barack Obama for a Primetime (a production of ABC News) health care forum titled "Questions for the President: Prescription for America," hosted by ABC World News host Charles Gibson and Good Morning America co-host Diane Sawyer. But ABC News wasn't done making itself a platform for the President's agenda; later that same night, Obama continued his pitch for his health care reform package on Nightline.
Why would ABC farm out its news team to help a politician ply his wares? Well, the fact that the pharmaceutical companies, prime allies of the White House in Obama's national health care push, have constituted the majority of sponsors for ABC World News may have something to do with it. Or maybe ABC just shows Obama the kind of tenderness that NBC can't match, a more subtle and sublime affection which prompts George Stephanopoulos to ask Obama if being president has been "fulfilling" for him.
That's sweet. ABC and Obama make a great couple, and I think they have a real future together. It's going to be a rough Valentine's Day for NBC.
Written by Matt Patterson, policy analyst at the National Center for Public Policy Research. Write the author at email@example.com. As we occasionally reprint letters on the blog, please note if you prefer that your correspondence be kept private, or only published anonymously.
Where are the Vice Chairmen, and Other IPCC Questions
See any vice chairmen? Al Gore (l) and the IPCC's Rajendra Pachauri take their bows in Oslo
Acknowledging that there may be even more errors in the Nobel Peace Prize-winning IPCC's 2007 climate report than the "scientific fact" the IPCC partially copied from a thinly-sourced World Wildlife Fund propaganda document, IPCC Chairman Rajendra K. Pachauri seems to be blaming his vice chairmen:
The IPCC's 2007 report, which won it half the Nobel Peace Prize, claimed the probability of Himalayan glaciers "disappearing by the year 2035 and perhaps sooner is very high."
But it emerged last week that the forecast was based not on a consensus among climate change experts, but on a media interview with a single Indian glaciologist in 1999.
The IPCC admitted on Thursday that the prediction was "poorly substantiated" in the latest of a series of blows to the panel's credibility.
Dr Pachauri said that the IPCC's report was the responsibility of the panel's Co-Chairs at the time, both of whom have since moved on.
They were Dr Martin Parry, a British scientist now at Imperial College London, and Dr Osvaldo Canziani , an Argentine meteorologist. Neither was immediately available for comment.
"I don't want to blame them, but typically the working group reports are managed by the Co-Chairs," Dr Pachauri said. "Of course the Chair is there to facilitate things, but we have substantial amounts of delegation."
You'll notice from the picture, however, that when it came time to take bows, the vice chairmen were nowhere to be found.
P.S. For fun, here's a quiz on this blog post:
Question: What did we learn from this story? A. Never trust the IPCC. B. The Nobel Peace Prize can be ridiculous. C. Be wary of people who refer to other people as "chairs." D. All of the above.
DeSmogblog's most recent word in our "debate," a Tweet about me (and Rush Limbaugh) from Kevin Grandia's Twitter feed that popped up on my online clip service last night:
I assume he means we are both fat (although Rush Limbaugh has lost a lot of weight this past year), but, based on the pictures he choose, Kevin doesn't know the half of it: My hair color is a lot closer to Rush's now.
But to answer the question, no, superficial (and ideological as well as football) similarities notwithstanding, we were not separated at birth. My parents would never have let Rush go.
But it is time, I think, to let this particular "debate" with DeSmogBlog die its natural death. By the time a conversation hits the "you're fat" level, it's no longer even remotely about public policy. Our priorities here at the National Center right now are to stop economically-ruinous environmental legislation (that won't even help the environment!), put a halt to the Administration's forced march toward the pain, fear, misery and premature death that is the hallmark of government-run health care, promote the free-market reforms that can strengthen our health care and retirement security systems, cut the size of government and promote a strong, secure and free America that is governed according to what our Constitution says and according to the principles of our Founders. Pointing out the ideological weaknesses of the left -- such as the DeSmogBlog tactic of demonizing opponents a la "denier" labelling -- promotes this goal, but dwelling upon a message once the statement has been made, or becoming distracted by debates that have devolved into personal insults, does not.
I'm sure I'll visit DeSmogBlog again at some point in the future, and perhaps comment on something they say related to public policy, but not for some time.
In the meantime, I leave followers of this conversation with two links to policy-oriented critiques of other, but very important, aspects of the DeSmogBlog approach to policy that are (alas!) far better written, and far more entertaining, than anything I have posted in this thread:
DeSoggyBog.com - DeSmogBlog parody site that proves DeSmogBlog's true philosophy is the promotion of totalitarianism, created by Donna Laframboise, a former vice-president of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association (also the creator of NOconsensus.org).
Brown's Victory Sign of a Loss of Confidence in Obama
As the National Center for Public Policy Research is a non-profit organization, Project 21 played no role in, nor took any position on, the Massachusetts Senate race, but now that Martha Coakley has conceded the race, and Scott Brown has delivered his acceptance speech, Project 21 members have a few thoughts to share on what it all means:
Black Conservatives Comment on Brown Victory in Massachusetts
Washington, DC: Black conservatives affiliated with the Project 21 leadership network are speaking out about the stunning victory of Republican state senator Scott Brown over Democrat state attorney general Martha Coakley in Massachusetts.
Kevin L. Martin: "Scott Brown's victory in the bluest of traditionally blue states can only be viewed as a complete loss of confidence in the policies of the Obama White House and its allies in Congress. People have tasted the fruits of a government dominated by liberal ideologues and they've not found it to their liking. What remains to be seen is if this repudiation has been heard and understood. Will Obama, Pelosi and Reid see the writing on the wall, or will they continue their heavy-handed attempts to ram through their agenda against the will of the people?"
Horace Cooper: "Yesterday's victory by State Senator Brown is reminiscent of the upset off-year elections of 1994. Then, the Democrats could have seen the results for what they were - a repudiation of big government liberalism - but they refused. As someone who worked on the Hill while these races were happening, you have to wonder if this time they'll get the message before it's too late."
Bob Parks: "As someone who ran - and lost - in Massachusetts, it's great to see a conservative win there. While Massachusetts Republicans and independents can enjoy their well-earned opportunity to gloat, they can also revel in the fact they did the impossible in an impossible state. And let's hope leaders in Washington realize that the people responded to a conservative message - not one of moderation."
Ellis Washington: "In Massachusetts, the site of the first tea party in 1773 and the renewed tax revolts of 2009, citizen defiance may have saved our republic. The stakes could not have been higher for the Obama Administration and congressional liberals in this special election. This may be the day in which it is guaranteed that Barack Obama will be a one-term president. Scott Brown's election will help America take a giant step toward renewed freedom and liberty. It bodes well for renewing American exceptionalism, market capitalism and the protection of personal property and sacred inalienable rights."
...by alluding to the fact that Kevin's website refers to it.
You see, I noted in passing that DeSmogBlog has equated disbelief in the man-made global warming theory with denying the Holocaust.
DeSmogBlog does so by using the term "denier," which is well-established in global warming circles as a slur intended to impugn the morality of global warming skeptics by equating them rhetorically with holocaust deniers.
In fact, according to Google, DeSmogBlog has chosen "denier" over the less-loaded term "skeptic" (or any other term) over 2,200 times.
How do we know the DeSmogBlog crew intends the phrase "denier" to imply a link to Holocaust denial?
Here's a screen shot of the text of a DeSmogBlog post by Jim Hoggan of Hoggan and Associates (a PR firm that runs DeSmogBlog, and employs Kevin), aka, the big boss:
Innocuous as what I wrote was ("Kindness is not usually a term one associates with the anti-Holocaustglobal warming denier website DeSmogBlog, but its staff has made an exception today..."), Kevin has complained about it in a post on DeSmogBlog, another on the Huffington Post, another on AlterNet, and yet another on the Daily Kos, saying in part:
I sent an email to Ridenour [sic] assistant [sic], David Almasi, the other night asking for an explanation and also pointing out that in the four years I have been writing on climate issues I have never used a Nazi analogy in an attempt to bolster an argument or discredit an individual. So far they haven't responded and I think they're [sic] silence is telling.
[Using a Nazi analogy] is a stupid and useless means of making a point that only creates division and hate.
I agree. Maybe now that DeSmogBlog's staff has done this over 2,200 times, they might consider cutting it out.
Now that everyone's been reminded that DeSmogBlog explicitly linked "denier" to "Holocaust" (as have others in the global warming alarmist community and mainstream press), if the DeSmogBlog staff continues to use the term "denier," we'll know they mean it double.
P.S. Kevin's co-worker at both DeSmogBlog and Jim Hoggan and Associates, Richard Littlemore, chimed in on DeSmogBlog (curiously, Richard commented on Jan. 16 to a post by Kevin apparently published on Jan. 18 -- perhaps Richard knew two days in advance what Kevin would post the same way he knows 100 years in advance what the climate will be?) with the defense that the word "holocaust" has never appeared in a DeSmogBlog post.
I guess what Richard means is that the word "holocaust" didn't appear except when it did, or...
...he's referring to the fact that someone at DeSmogBlog went back to Jim Hoggan's post, about a year after the denier-is-meant-to-refer-to-Holocaust-deniers phrase was posted, and snipped that politically-incorrect Holocaust reference right out of there.
(Background: Some months after the post was published, a contretemps emerged in several media outlets and websites about the use of the term "denier" being a de facto Holocaust-referencing slur (for instance, in this instance, and in another high-profile but later example, here), and Jim Hoggan's post was being referred to in public by skeptics as proof that the Holocaust reference absolutely, positively was intended.
So Jim's honesty was a but inconvenient for the global warming alarmists who were claiming the Holocaust implication was just something the paranoid "deniers" thought up on their own.
Coincidence or not, they snipped it out.)
P.P.S. DeSmogBlog's Richard Littlemore also says DeSmogBlog does not accuse people of being corporate whores. He says they phrase it differently. Whatever.
Finally (I hope!), Richard says he doubts my word that the National Center for Public Policy Research has 100,000 donors. Mea culpa -- I should have said over 100,000 recent donors (defined as within the last 18 months). If Richard genuinely doubts this as he says, he might familiarize himself with the way a great many, if not a strong majority, of U.S. conservative/free-market non-profits are financed (also he might acquaint himself with something called the "public support test" in U.S. tax law). Ordinarily I would not expect an employee of a Canadian PR firm to know much about public financial support for the U.S. conservative movement, but as Richard has written for years for a website that routinely accuses people in the movement (and many, many others) of doing the bidding of corporate paymasters (please note, Richard, I did not put that phrase in quotes), this is a subject he should have mastered long ago.
The commercial, directed personally by Al Gore, asked viewers to visit one of the websites of Gore's Alliance for Climate Protection, where, among other things, they would be asked to sign a petition calling for a global climate treaty.
I am not a regular viewer of Robertson's CBN show, The 700 Club, but I had not previously presupposed it to be a support network for global governance.
Possibly CBN personnel were similarly mystified. In an article David linked to in his post, a CBN spokesman tries to say Robertson doesn't have a "firm position" on global warming:
Maybe he didn't, but as the video on Greg's post shows, the commercial encouraged viewers to visit Gore's website wecansolveit.org, which, at the time of the commercials, greeted viewers with these words...
...and then urged people to sign Gore's petition for a global climate treaty.
Robertson, by the way, wasn't the only person on the right to film a commercial asking people to visit Gore's website, and be asked to sign the global climate treaty petition:
The global climate treaty Al Gore has been pushing for is run through the United Nations. Even if Robertson and Gingrich choose to believe in the global warming theory -- in fact, especially if they believe in the global warming theory -- why would they want to address the issue through the useless and corrupt United Nations?
Rebuttal to Huffington Post's "Right Wing Attacks Climate Scientist with Outrageous Spindoctoring"
Kevin Grandia, managing editor of the left-wing anti-global warming skeptic website DeSmogBlog, has posted an article on the Huffington Post about our exposure (along with that of others) of Michael Mann's $541,184 grant from federal stimulus funds.
Kevin must have known the article was fundamentally incorrect when he submitted it to the Huffington Post.
The post, entitled "Right wing attacks climate scientist with outrageous spindoctoring," can be read here. It was actually written by one of Kevin's DeSmogBlog writers, Mitchell Anderson, and appeared on DeSmogBlog at http://tinyurl.com/desmogblog on Friday.
Because the Huffington Post is one of the most highly-trafficked websites in the world, and Kevin/Mitchell's article there was so off-the-wall wrong, I posted a comment on the Huffington Post correcting the basic facts. The comment, which makes the most sense if you read the Huffington Post piece first, is:
Kevin Grandia and Mitchell Anderson embarrass themselves with lines such as "How they arrived at this $450,000 error is unknown - it is puzzling when such free market capitalists clearly can't operate a calculator..."
Mitchell and Kevin are talking about the wrong grant, and Kevin, at minimum, must have known this before he posted this here. Their article here links to the National Center for Public Policy Research (which employs me) press release (partially reprinted by Friskaliberal.com, also linked to here), which calls for a return of a grant of $541,184.
Kevin wrote us Thursday to ask about the grant. We IDed the grant for him as National Science Foundation award #0902133, which is for $541,184.
So Kevin knew, before posting this here, that "the climate denial echo chamber" (as he so charmingy calls us) wasn't talking about an entirely different, $770,000 grant to Penn State/ U of HI, of which Mann received a small portion.
The real story: in June 2009, Penn State accepted a $541,184 grant, to cover three years, to Michael Mann's work. Climategate then exploded. Apparently believing Climategate to be serious, Penn State opened an investigation into Mann's work. Our position is that under these circumstances, the grant should be returned to the National Science Foundation, so the funds can be awarded to another scientist.
Kevin and Mitchell seem to think this would be awful. I'm not sure why. Maybe just because we're the ones who suggested it.
Addendum, 1/17/10: Apparently AlterNet has posted this as well. Why aren't these very major websites doing even superficial fact-checking before they publish pieces? E-mail comments to firstname.lastname@example.org. | Subscribe to feed. | Follow the National Center for Public Policy Research on Twitter. | DownloadShattered Lives: 100 Victims of Government Health Care.
It's really very kind of Kevin, especially when you consider that DeSmogBlog is a Canadian website, run by a for-profit public relations firm. How many Canadian for-profits worry about U.S. taxpayers being shafted? And after normal working hours, too!
From: Kevin Grandia Date: January 14, 2010 9:52:52 PM EST To: email@example.com Subject: Mann claim
I am looking for your evidence backing your claim that Mann received stimulus money. I cannot find anything in your press release or on your blog. I also searched the Recovery.gov datbase and cannot find it. Obviously, it is imperative that such a claim is backed by solid sources and research so I would appreciate you sending this on to me as soon as possible.
DeSmogBlog's much anticipated book, "Climate Cover Up: the crusade to deny global warming" is now available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble - get your copy today! http://www.desmogblog.com/climate-cover-up
And thank you, too, Kevin, for telling us about DeSmogBlog's book highlighting the important work of many of us in the U.S. skeptic community (polite people don't call us "deniers," Kevin) who don't want to disproportionately hurt poor people by raising energy prices based on models that disagree with one another or on an injudicious analysis of the rings of a small number of carefully-selected trees. As it is always interesting to see what the neighbors next door have to say about one, Kevin, I'd be happy to read your boss's new book if you send me a free copy. You might be interested also in my book, which describes in sad detail the way the Canadian left has screwed up your health care system. You can get a free copy of it here. Be warned, though, since you live in Canada, it might come across as kind of terrifying. I regret that, but some leftist Americans want to do to us what yours did to you, and we really have to warn people.
Back to the Michael Mann grant. I can tell from your email, Kevin, that looking in three places on the Internet for information on the grant before giving up has kind of tired you out. Really, I don't blame DeSmogBlog for this, as you are PR professionals, not researchers. I'm sure if we were talking about the best way to market a new brand of laundry detergent, you'd know lots more than we would, so why should I expect you to know a lot about government? Or climate?
So I will help you out a little. The $541,184 grant from our taxpayers to Climategate scientist Michael Mann is National Science Foundation grant award #0902133. Is documentation about it online? Maybe, Kevin, but how would you learn to do research if we did all your work for you? And besides, if you want to claim we made it up, isn't it your job to prove it?
P.S. I know DeSmogBlog -- amusingly, for a PR agency website -- is in the habit of painting anyone with a differing point of view as a corporate whore, so be aware that the total funding we receive from all corporate sources combined amounts to about one-half of one percent of our total income. About 98 percent of our income comes from small gifts from over 100,000 people who are darned worried about the job-killing, price-raising and liberty-restricting agenda of people like you. Should you write about us, I doubt you'll be able to resist claiming we're corporate funded, but you won't be able to claim we didn't tell you by how much.