Saturday, August 4, 2012

American Liberalism: The Infantile Disorder

“The approach of a great storm was sensed everywhere. All classes were in a state of ferment and preparation. Abroad, the press of the political exiles discussed the theoretical aspects of all the fundamental problems of the revolution. Representatives of the three main classes, of the three principal political trends -- the liberal-bourgeois, the petty-bourgeois-democratic (concealed behind "social-democratic" and "social-revolutionary" labels), and the proletarian-revolutionary -- anticipated and prepared the impending open class struggle by waging a most bitter struggle on issues of programme and tactics. All the issues on which the masses waged an armed struggle in 1905-07 and 1917-20 can (and should) be studied, in their embryonic form, in the press of the period. Among these three main trends there were, of course, a host of intermediate, transitional or half-hearted forms. It would be more correct to say that those political and ideological trends which were genuinely of a class nature crystallised in the struggle of press organs, parties, factions and groups; the classes were forging the requisite political and ideological weapons for the impending battles.”

The years of preparation for revolution (1903-05)

Left-Wing Communism: an Infantile


V.I. Lenin

April-May, 1920

Grand Lake Stream, ME: Had good fishing yesterday even as temperatures rose steadily as the group converged on Leens Lodge for evening activities. Dinner last night featured a brief presentation by ME Governor Paul LePage and also a discussion of Weimar Germany by Madeline Schnapp of Trim Tabs. The two discussions were good complements for the larger evening discussion. But sad to say for Persian Economists, there were no Power Point presentations.

Governor LePage started his discussion with a very frank appraisal of the state’s fiscal situation, namely that the Democrats spent and stole the state broke. Voters in ME recently gave control over the governor’s office and both houses of the state legislature to the Republican Party. Suffice to say that the main theme of Governor LePage’s comments to the audience at Leens Lodge, which included a number of advisers who own the state’s debt, is that the State of Maine is going to pay its bills and keep its promises.

One interesting part of the Governor’s remarks involved how ME is clearing up the many years of arrears of Medicare payments to hospitals around the state. He noted thatthe Democrats in the legislature wanted to “negotiate” a settlement for the arrears of 50 cents on the dollar with the state’s hospitals, which would doom many of them to failure. The consistent objective of American liberals is to destroy the free enterprise system and make the US a monolithic socialist state a la France. That battle is underway in ME right now.

Contrary to the Fabian scenario, Governor LePage has insisted on paying the hospitals in full. “Then we can spend money on other things,” he told the audience. But more to the point, LePage’s promise to pay the hospitals will thwart Democratic designs to decimate private health care institutions and drive more and more Mainiacs into the arms of the state. But don’t look for Governor Le Page or anyone in the northern part of ME to go along quietly.

The evening discussion was set up by Madeline Schnapp, who provided a brief but entirely chilling review of the financial stairway to hell of hyper-inflation in Weimar Germany. In an extraordinary and succinct discussion, Madeline talked about the timing and duration of the appearance of different denominations of paper money used in the Weimar period. Suffice to say that as the paper lost value, the printing became less and less attractive.

From the start of WWI in 1914 through until 1923, the cost of a loaf of bread went from 0.10 Deutsche marks to 1 trillion marks in December 1923. The hyperinflation in Weimar Germany, Schnapp noted, wiped out all of the accumulated wealth and savings of the German middle class and left most of the population in poverty. Attendees at the dinner received examples of Weimar money and a brief presentation showing the rate of inflation during the Weimar inflation.

The juxtaposition of Paul LePage and his battle against the downstate, apartment dwelling socialists over spending and debt, and then Schnapp’s reminder about the death of money in Weimar Germany is a powerful pairing. At the start of 1924, let us recall, Germany wiped out all existing financial assets and introduced a new currency back with real estate and other tangible assets. When Paul Krugman and his ilk talk about the need for more deficit spending, more fiscal stimuli, they are taking you down the road to Weimar America. There is nothing at the end of Paul Krugman’s road to borrow and spend save national destruction and personal disaster.

On Monday this scribe will be taking the Bat mobile to Chautauqua, NY, to give a talk on Tuesday evening regarding the morality of regulation in America -- or perhaps the lack thereof. In an age when the entire framework of left wing liberalism, “the infantile disorder” to paraphrase V.I. Lenin, lies in tatters, maybe it is time to ask why we all don’t do the right thing. Or if the future of economics is merely a free-for-all for an existing pie of resources, perhaps we should just dispense with the civilities?

Whether you are a Krugmanite progressive-socialist or a classical liberal lost in the 21st Century, in both cases we rely upon a consensus called the rule of law. But is that assumption still valid? Many conservatives believe that the left has lost its collective mind and embraced hyperinflation a la Weimar Germany, not to help people in any meaningful way but to simply preserve Democratic political power.

If the political tsunami underway in Maine is any indicator, the November 2012 election will be fascinating and unpredictable. But while there may be conservative uprisings at the local level, in Washington at the Fed a decidedly orthodox form of state socialism continues to reign supreme.

“If you consider that John Law’s main intellectual error was thinking that shares of stock were just as good as money,” AIER scholar Walker Todd noted recently. “Ben Bernanke’s error is thinking that derivatives and math models are as good as a scarce commodity in restraining the quantity and promoting the value of money.”

But the beliefs of mere Fed economists are a sublime concern compared to the naked inflationism of Paul Krugman and his fellow travelers in American liberalism. The battle now is between people like ME Governor Le Page, who want to restore fiscal sanity to American life, and those who merely wish to destroy the private economy and monetary system. By ensuring that as many people as possible are dependent upon government for their livelihoods, liberals in states like ME are treading the path blazed a century ago. by V.I. Lenin. What a shame most of them do not appreciate this irony of repeating the same mistakes over and over again.

Senators introduce bill to exclude hemp from controlled substance list

A group of bipartisan senators introduced a bill on Thursday that would exclude industrial hemp from the definition of marijuana.

Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) introduced the bill, which has three co-sponsors — Sens. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.).

S. 3501 would amend the Controlled Substances Act to clarify that hemp is not a drug, despite being part of the marijuana plant family. Hemp has much lower levels of THC, the chemical in marijuana plants that make people high.

Wyden tried to offer an amendment doing the same thing to the Senate passed farm bill in June, but it was ruled non-germane by leadership.

“I firmly believe that American farmers should not be denied an opportunity to grow and sell a legitimate crop simply because it resembles an illegal one,” Wyden said. “Raising this issue has sparked a growing awareness of exactly how ridiculous the U.S.’s ban on industrial hemp is. I’m confident that if grassroots support continues to grow and Members of Congress continue to hear from voters then common sense hemp legislation can move through Congress in the near future.”

Industrial hemp is a booming business in Oregon, where it’s used to make ropes, lotion, plastics and clothes among other things. But technically the federal government could crack down since hemp is still categorized as a controlled substance.

Oregon, Washington and Colorado all have ballot measure this November on whether to legalize recreational use of marijuana, setting up another fight between federal law and state laws if the ballot measures are passed.

Terrorist Freed After Obama Admin Denies Gitmo Entrance

Judicial Watch reports that Hezbollah commander Ali Mussa Daqduq, who tortured and killed 5 U.S. soldiers in Iraq and was detained by U.S. forces in early 2007, will be freed by an Iraqi court--the inevitable, and predictable, result of an Obama administration decision to hand him over to Iraqi authorities rather than bring him to Guantanamo Bay.

Judicial Watch summarizes the pathetic abdication of justice by the Obama administration:

We all knew this would happen back in December when the commander-in-chief handed over the Lebanese militant, Ali Mussa Daqduq, to Iraqi officials. A mainstream newspaper presented it as a “dilemma” for the president as American troops prepared to exit Iraq. Daqduq had been in U.S. military custody in Iraq since 2007 for his involvement in a carefully orchestrated plot that killed, kidnapped and tortured American military officers.

The atrocities took place in a city called Karbala, south of Baghdad in early 2007. Around a dozen terrorists dressed in U.S. military uniforms opened fire on Americans after approaching a camp in five sports utility vehicles resembling U.S. transports. One U.S. soldier died at the scene and four others were kidnapped, tortured and executed. Daqduq, a Hezbollah commander, was the mastermind.

But President Obama didn’t want to remove the terrorist from Iraq without permission from the country, in order not to violate its sovereignty. He also refused to take Daqduq to the U.S. Naval base in Guantanamo Cuba, which houses other high-value terrorists, because the facility is an anathema in the Middle East and Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki would not approve the “unacceptable” Guantanamo option.

So Obama handed Daqduq over to the Iraqis even though several members of congress pointed out that it would be the same as freeing him. Apparently, Iraq pinky promised to hold him accountable for murdering our soldiers. No one, probably not even Obama, really believed that and this week a national newswire story confirmed it.

As noted by Judicial Watch, the Obama administration belatedly tried to launch a prosecution of Daqduq--which will never happen now that the Iraqi legal system has freed him and closed off the possibility of extradition.

In 2011, the Obama administration blamed George W. Bush for the dilemma, saying that the U.S. was required to hand Daqduq over to Iraqi authorities under an agreement President Bush had negotiated. However, Daqduq is a native of Lebanon, not Iraq, and critics have argued that he is not covered by the agreement.

Furthermore, the Obama administration could have negotiated for a continued, smaller U.S. presence in Iraq--as recommended by military leaders, and even by Iraqi leaders--but pursued the talks only halfheartedly as the President sought to accelerate U.S. withdrawal for political reasons.

That, in turn, meant the U.S. had no way to ensure that Daqduq would be brought to justice, either within the U.S. military justice system or in the Iraqi legal system. This is a travesty for which President Barack Obama is directly responsible.

What Obama Has in Store for Us

Dinesh D’Souza asks what a 2012 victory would mean.

The latest line of attack on Mitt Romney by Obama supporters is the most breathtaking yet: Romney, we are told, is a stealth candidate.

Michael Tomasky, who wrote the controversial Newsweek cover story declaring that Romney is a “wimp,” now accuses Romney of a “desire to sneak into the White House all but unexamined by voters.”

Holy Double Standard! Romney certainly could have handled the release of his tax returns better, and it’s likely he is concealing embarrassing details. But Barack Obama, aided and abetted by a subservient media, spent much of his 2008 campaign trying to conceal his radical roots and evading questions about his past. Stanley Kurtz, the author of the new Spreading the Wealth: How Obama Is Robbing the Suburbs to Pay for the Cities, has demonstrated convincingly that the Obama campaign lied to reporters (including me) about Obama’s involvement with the socialist New Party and his work for the infamous ACORN operation (which subsequently went bankrupt following a 2009 scandal).

Similarly, scholar Paul Kengor has written a new book on Frank Marshall Davis, Obama’s teenage mentor, entitled “The Communist.” Dave Weigel of Slate acknowledges that “Kengor’s bang-on right: Davis was an avowed Communist, and the media of 2008 didn’t care.” But Weigel thinks “Obama never pretended not to know Davis” and notes that Davis appears as the black-power advocate “Frank” in the president’s 1995 book Dreams from My Father. True enough, but Obama was certainly leery of too much scrutiny of Davis: The audio version of Dreams, read by Obama himself, removes all 24 references to “Frank” that appear in the printed text. Why the difference? Perhaps because the audio version wasn’t recorded until 2005, when newly elected U.S. senator Barack Obama was already contemplating a run for the White House.

Trying to figure out what makes Barack Obama tick, what influenced his thinking, and where he might take the country in a second term is the purpose of Dinesh D’Souza’s new $2.5 million documentary 2016: Obama’s America, which will premiere in hundreds of theaters on August 10. D’Souza, a bestselling author and the president of King’s College in New York, emigrated from India as a boy, and he says he understands something of how Obama’s exotic upbringing in Hawaii and Indonesia might have shaped his view of America. But D’Souza, a conservative, sees America as a land of tolerance and opportunity. He believes Obama “adopted his [anti-colonialist] father’s position that capitalism and free markets are code words for economic plunder. Obama grew to perceive the rich as an oppressive class, a kind of neocolonial power within America.” That may be stretching things just a bit, but remember, it was the president himself who just told small-business owners they can’t take credit for their own success.

D’Souza travels the world in search of clues to Obama’s thinking, using Dreams from My Father as his Baedeker guide. In a couple of spots his evidence seems forced or incomplete, but much of what he finds is disturbing. An old academic friend of the late Barack Obama Sr. tells D’Souza he believes father and son shared the same anti-colonial, anti-Western outlook.

Interestingly, one of the Kenyans whom D’Souza meets now thinks the British colonialists left too soon. George Obama, one of the president’s cousins, tells D’Souza that if the British had stayed, “they would have developed us. Instead, we were fighting over nothing!”

Where D’Souza hits storytelling gold is in his take on the recent controversy over President Obama’s return of a bust of Winston Churchill that had been in the Oval Office to the British government soon after he took office. Churchill was prime minister in the 1950s, when Kenya’s colonial government crushed the Mau Mau rebellion. His father claimed he was arrested by the British and other members of the family were interned.

When columnist Charles Krauthammer last month repeated the charge that the Churchill statue had been returned, the White House went into bizarre overdrive to deny the story as “100 percent false.” Within days, the source of the confusion was revealed: The bust in question had been returned (as had been widely reported long before Krauthammer’s column), but a diffferent copy of the sculpture remains in the White House collection.

D’Souza’s film is perfectly pitched for conservatives who are skeptical of Obama’s motives but reject the bizarre theories that he wasn’t born in the U.S. (To his credit, D’Souza shoots down that premise early on.) But the film may also appeal to independents who have more questions about Obama than they did when they voted for him in 2008. Its production values are solid — it was produced by Gerald Molen, who was in charge of bringing Jurassic Park and Schindler’s List to the big screen. Some preview showings in Houston were outgrossed only by the new Ice Age and Spider-Man movies. That augurs well for the film’s ability to succeed based on word of mouth.

Dinesh D’Souza obviously wants his film to be taken seriously, and it deserves to be. In a couple places, however, it falls short in predicting where Obama, the anti-capitalist opponent of colonialism, would take America in his second term. I don’t think Obama’s move to reduce U.S. nuclear stockpiles from 5,000 warheads to 2,500 are quite as serious as D’Souza seems to. But the film scores points by highlighting Obama’s bizarre reluctance to develop North American oil and gas reserves while encouraging developing nations to develop theirs.

No one can really claim they know exactly what makes the president tick. But 2016: Obama’s America leaves enough clues on the table to make us wonder if we would be taking an even bigger risk in reelecting him than we took in 2008. After all, we’ve never observed the actions of a Barack Obama who knows he will never have to face an electorate again.

— John Fund is national-affairs columnist for NRO.

Tennessee Democrats reject "gay-bashing" Senate primary winner

(Reuters) - The Tennessee Democratic Party said on Friday it was disavowing the winner of its primary for Senate because the candidate is part of an anti-gay hate group.

Mark Clayton, a Nashville-area candidate, received more than 48,000 votes on Thursday, about twice as much as any other candidate in the crowded seven-person Democratic field, winning the right to face popular Republican Senator Bob Corker.

But the state Democratic Party said it will not back Clayton nor allow him to use any of the party's resources in the general election.

"The only time that Clayton has voted in a Democratic primary was when he was voting for himself," said a statement from the party.

"Many Democrats in Tennessee knew nothing about any of the candidates in the race, so they voted for the person at the top of the ticket," the statement continued. "Unfortunately, none of the other Democratic candidates were able to run the race needed to gain statewide visibility or support."

Democratic party spokesman Sean Braisted said that Clayton is "a perennial candidate" who was on the primary ballot in 2008, "didn't do anything... so he filed again."

Braisted said Clayton is vice president of a hate group called Public Advocate of the United States.

Public Advocate is labeled as a "gay-bashing group" in a July post on the web site of the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Clayton said on his Facebook page that he is a vice president of Public Advocate of the United States. A statement on Public Advocate's web site said Romney and Obama could learn from Clayton.

"The liberal cry babies who whine about Mark Clayton's total and complete democratic victory refuse to accept blame for their own failed polices that drove Mark Clayton to a crushing electoral victory," the statement said.

The site said that Public Advocate offers "strong and vocal opposition" to same sex marriage and "the furtherance of so-called 'Gay Rights'."

Clayton could not be reached at his home or at his campaign office Friday. Two people listed as campaign volunteers also could not be reached for comment.

Though the Democrats won't support Clayton, they are not urging their party members to vote for Chattanooga Republican Corker, who pulled in 390,000 votes in his primary Thursday, 14 times the tally of his nearest Republican competitor.

"We're just recommending that people write in a candidate, a local political figure they admire," said Braisted. "The situation is fluid. There could be a more serious write-in candidate people can get behind."

(Reporting by Tim Ghianni; Editing by Mary Wisniewski and Lisa Shumaker)

The dangerous demonization of our food

Apples, celery, and bell peppers may be hazardous to your health, according to some environmental activists. At least that's the impression you might get reading the Environmental Working Group's Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce. But their guide is nothing more than an annual recycling of hogwash.

In fact, EWG’s 2012 Shopper’s Guide is the eighth annual iteration of the group’s unfair and dangerous demonization of healthy fruits and vegetables. These reports twist and spin data collected by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that actually shows the opposite of what the EWG greens claim: pesticide residues are so minute that they pose little to no health risks to US consumers.

In fact, USDA explains its findings in a May 2012 press statement: “Similar to previous years, the 2010 report shows that overall pesticide residues found on foods tested are at levels well below the tolerances set by the EPA. The report does show that residues exceeding the tolerance were detected in 0.25 percent of the samples tested. For baby food–included for the first time in this report – the data showed that no residues were found that exceeded the tolerance levels.”

In other words, this report found that 99.75 percent of samples tested contained residues well below EPA’s “safe level.” Wow, that’s an impressive success rate! It’s a very strong indicator that U.S. consumers have nothing to fear from trace pesticides on their food.

What about the 0.25 percent that had levels above EPA standards? Consumers need not fear even those. Such slight exceedances have no public health impact because EPA standards are exceedingly stringent so that even a child could be exposed at levels thousands of times higher without ill effect.

For example, a research paper by University of Texas Professor Frank Cross highlights findings from number of studies showing that the EPA’s risk estimates overstate pesticide exposure by as much as 99,000 to 463,000 times actual exposure. As a result, standards are actually tens of thousands—maybe hundreds of thousands—times more stringent than necessary to protect public health. An occasional exceedance of a few parts-per million makes no difference.

Not surprisingly, after reviewing the USDA data, EPA concluded: “The very small amounts of pesticide residues found in the baby food samples were well below levels that are harmful to children.”

Nonetheless EWG lists 12 fruits and vegetables on a dirty dozen list, suggesting they contain unsafe levels of pesticide residues. Apples, according, to EWG are the biggest offender. Yet, USDA reports one apple out of 744 tested that contained residues above EPA tolerance levels—and by only a tiny amount
(2.4 parts per million).

A small percentage of other apples had minute traces of pesticides for which EPA has no established tolerances for the commodity tested. Such exposures are limited, accidental and of little concern. USDA explains: “Some residues were found with no established tolerance levels but the extremely low levels of those residues are not a food safety risk, and the presence of such residues does not pose a safety concern.”

Unfortunately, EWG’s Shopper’s Guide may discourage consumption of many healthy fruits and vegetables. EWG acknowledges: “The health benefits of a diet rich in fruits and vegetables outweigh the risks of pesticide exposure.” Still, they suggest consumers can lower “pesticide intake substantially by avoiding the 12 most contaminated fruits and vegetables and eating the least contaminated produce.”

Seriously, are they suggesting that consumers avoid apples and eat onions (the cleanest commodity according to EWG) instead? It’s more likely that after seeing apples listed as the “dirtiest” commodity on the EWG shopping list, some parents might decide against placing them in their kids’ lunch bags. What a shame if they do.

The Mayo Clinic lists apples as one of “10 great health foods for eating well” noting they are a great source of the soluble fiber pectin, which aids in healthy blood pressure, lowering of cholesterol, and management of glucose levels. Apples are also an excellent source of Vitamin C, which is an antioxidant with a wide range of health benefits. Indeed, there is good reason to recommend an apple a day!

Also on EWG’s Dirty Dozen list are blueberries, which are well-recognized as a super-food that is loaded with anti-oxidants and other great vitamins. Where does the insanity end?

As a partial solution, EWG suggests buying organic food, but organic food is often more expensive and not necessarily a reasonable option for consumers on fixed budgets. Never mind that there isn’t any compelling body of evidence demonstrating that organic food is any safer.

A consumer’s best option is to ignore the greens and listen to the USDA’s recommendations: “Age-old advice remains the same: eat more fruits and vegetables and wash them before you do so. Health and nutrition experts encourage the consumption of fruits and vegetables in every meal as part of a healthy diet.”

Angela Logomasini is a senior fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute.

WSJ Reveals Huge Hidden Union Political Spending

Political spending can be seen as consisting of the kind that goes recognized and the kind that doesn't. And when the money comes from unions, the gap between the two can be enormous. On July 10, the Wall Street Journal published an article by Tom McGinty and Brody Mullins, "Political Spending by Unions Far Exceeds Direct Donations," concluding that organized labor during 2005-11 spent $4.4 billion on federal election campaigns and lobbying. Only $1.1 billion of that represented sums reported to the Federal Election Commission (FEC) and Congress. The "hidden" $3.3 billion, culled from union reports submitted to the U.S. Department of Labor, included indirect expenses such as volunteer labor, gratuities and internal communications. As a result, unions may well be the deciding factor in the current presidential race.

It is an intuitive though often uncomfortable observation: Elections, especially presidential elections, are won or lost on the swing vote. Political persuasion, like all mass persuasion, is geared toward reaching the undecided, a category that includes those tepidly leaning one way or the other. No candidate or party wants to waste limited time and money swaying people whose minds already are firmly made up. In addition, there are many other voters who, while not True Believers, are party loyalists who normally don't stray. As a general rule, roughly 40 percent of the U.S. electorate vote Democratic and roughly 40 percent vote Republican. In effect, politicians, parties and pollsters are engaged in a ceaseless battle to identify and cajole the remaining 20 percent. And for practical purposes, that's on the high side because it's the swing vote in swing states that really matter. Swing voters in Connecticut, Oregon and Wisconsin (solidly Democratic) and in Alabama, Kansas and Utah (solidly Republican) don't loom nearly as large as those in competitive states such as Colorado, Florida, Missouri, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio and Virginia. Florida, with 29 electoral votes, may emerge as every bit the political war zone as it was in 2000, when it accounted for 25 electoral votes.

Labor leaders and their political consultants realize this as much as anyone. They are seasoned operators. They know that reaching undecided voters is crucial to winning and that the process takes serious money. Union dues only can go so far providing it, especially given that in most unions membership is either stagnant or declining. Unions have responded by getting creative. Some fundraising tactics are geared toward reaching large donors, who loom especially large in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court's Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission decision of January 2010, which by a 5-4 margin overturned corporate spending limits as a violation of freedom of speech - though the decision didn't formally address labor unions, its reasoning applies to them anyway. The AFL-CIO hasn't been sitting on the sidelines. It's put together its own "Super PAC" called Workers' Voice, which, like any corporate Super PAC, and unlike a standard political action committee, faces no limits on individual donations. Other tactics are geared toward smaller donors. It's the latter category that forms the focus of the July 10 article in the Wall Street Journal. The Journal explains: "(L)abor could be a stronger counterweight than commonly realized to ‘super PACs' that today raise millions from wealthy donors, in many cases to support Republican candidates and causes. The hours spent by union employees working on political matters were equivalent in 2010 to a shadow army much larger than President Obama's current re-election staff..."

Organized labor's ranks, in relative terms, have been shrinking for decades. In the last few years, only about 12 percent of the U.S. labor force has belonged to a union. In the private sector, the figure is only 7 percent, a steep drop from the nearly one-third of the Fifties and early 60s. By contrast, public-sector union membership has steadily risen to the point where it recently surpassed private-sector membership in numerical terms. Yet even government employee unions are discovering there are limits to growth. The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), an affiliate of the AFL-CIO, lost 77,000 or about 5 percent of its membership during 2010-11, much of which can be explained by emergency measures taken by cash-strapped state and local governments. And combined membership of AFL-CIO affiliates during 2005-11 fell from 13.7 million to 11.6 million.

Union spending on political campaigns and lobbying seemingly hasn't been affected by such trends. During the 2005-06 election cycle, this spending by the AFL-CIO and affiliates was $452 million. The figure rose to $608 million during 2009-10. In 2011, a nonelection year, it was $316 million; much of this is attributable to the start of a full-scale and ultimately unsuccessful recall campaign of Wisconsin Republican Governor Scott Walker. So if membership in a given union either has hit a plateau or is in decline, how does one explain this surge in union political money? Even loyal rank and file resent being hit up for a dues hike with each new campaign season.

The Wall Street Journal concludes that a lot of union money - most, in fact - is going for activity that falls outside the jurisdiction of the Federal Election Commission. They include: internal communications among members; member volunteer work in canvasses, mailings, phone banks, carpools and other get-out-the-vote operations; fees paid to union-friendly pollsters; and various noncash gratuities. And this portion of the total picture is triple that of the combined figure of PAC contributions and union lobbying. Relying on figures from the nonpartisan Washington, D.C.-based Center for Responsive Politics, the Journal's Brody and Mullins concluded that during 2005-11, official spending (i.e., reportable to the FEC) totaled only $1.1 billion. By contrast, the unofficial total, which can be found in U.S. Labor Department filings, was $3.3 billion. "We have always known that much of [unions'] influence comes from their political mobilization, but we have never been able to put a number on it," notes Bob Biersack, senior fellow with the Center for Responsive Politics and former longtime FEC chief statistician. "They are a human force in the political process, but a lot of that falls outside the kind of spending that needs to be disclosed to the FEC."

Union spokesmen reject the idea that these figures imply a lack of accountability. The Labor Department reports, says AFL-CIO counsel Laurence Gold, if anything, reveal "unions by law are the most transparent institutions about their electoral spending." That raises the question: Compared to what other institutions? If the point of reference is corporations, there are problems in making comparisons. First, some corporate political spending doesn't have to be reported. Spending that must be disclosed isn't accessible in one or two databases, as is the case with unions. Second, corporations devote a far higher share of political budgets than do unions toward lobbying, unions being more predisposed toward express political advocacy. Third, corporations tend to give evenly to Democrats and Republicans, whereas unions give overwhelmingly to Democrats. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, 55 percent of the $2 billion in corporate PAC and employee money went to Democrats in 2008. By contrast, 92 percent of the $75 million in similar union spending went to Democrats that year.

This isn't the first time someone has tried to estimate indirect union political spending. The Springfield, Va.-based National Institute for Labor Relations Research, for example, in a 1996 issue brief, stated: "The true cost of Big Labor's nationwide campaign of mailings, phone banks and voter turnout drives adds up to $400 million each election cycle." On March 21, of the year during testimony before the House Oversight Committee, Rutgers University labor economist Leo Troy remarked that organized labor's indirect expenses "could reasonably be a multiple of three to five times" the total expenses of union PACs. The Wall Street Journal represents the most comprehensive attempt yet at quantifying such expenditures.

Getting such spending out in the open is necessary, especially given that Super PACs, which place no limits on individual donations and offer donors various means to avoid divulging their identities, are now central to campaign financing. And that trend was given a boost on June 25 when the U.S. Supreme Court reversed a Montana Supreme Court ruling in January upholding a century-old state law banning independent political spending by corporations. The High Court thus effectively affirmed Citizens United. Harvard law professor Lawrence Lessig, author of the recent book, "Republic Lost: How Money Corrupts Politics - and a Plan to Stop It," estimates 0.00063 percent of all Americans - fewer than 200 - have contributed more than 80 percent of all Super PAC revenues during the current presidential campaign. Lessig believes that even the most thorough disclosure requirements can't offset the overwhelming effects of money in politics.

Because indirect spending occurs outside the context of Super PACs, it has the capacity to blunt their impact. Yet it, too, offers opportunities for corruption, especially if employers or union bosses "encourage" employees to donate spare time toward supporting preferred political candidates. Unionized workers members as much as nonunion employees have a right to find out how much of their organizational budgets are devoted to supporting candidates whose views may or may not mirror their own. A good reality check would be to replicate this study in future election cycles. As capturing swing votes is becoming an ever more exact science, it's becoming an ever more expensive one as well. It's ultimately not the job of dissenting workers to foot the bills.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) wants to warn you about "the biggest new spying program you've probably never heard of"

Some of the grim details:

On March 22, 2012 the Attorney General, the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) and the Director of NCTC issued an update to the 2008 rules for handling information on US persons. These were radical changes (to see how different please check out redline comparison we did between the 2008 and 2012 guidelines).

The biggest change regards the NCTC’s handling of “non-terrorism” related information on US persons. Previously, the intelligence community was barred from collecting information about ordinary Americans unless the person was a terror suspect or part of an actual investigation. When the NCTC gobbled up huge data sets it had to search for and identify any innocent US person information inadvertently collected, and discard it within 180 days.....The 2012 guidelines eliminate this check, allowing NCTC to collect and “continually assess” information on innocent Americans for up to five years.

Once information is acquired, the new guidelines authorize broad new search powers. As long NCTC says its search is aimed at identifying terrorism information, it may conduct queries that involve non-terrorism data points and pattern-based searches and analysis (data mining). The breadth and wrongheadedness of these changes are particularly noteworthy. Not only do they mean that anytime you interact with any government agency you essentially enter a lineup as a potential terrorist, they also rely on a technique, datamining, which has been thoroughly discredited as a useful tool for identifying terrorists. As far back as 2008 the National Academy of Sciences found that data mining for terrorism was scientifically “not feasible” as a methodology, and likely to have significant negative impacts on privacy and civil liberties.

The government can also share any of that information with any other entity it wants, public or private. People who lived through the days after 9/11 might find all this familiar, and find the words "Total Information Awareness" echoing through their heads.

My blogging about Total Information Awareness, which we thought had gone away, and how it really hadn't, from back in 2004.

My 2010 American Conservative article about the government's increasing efforts and power in surveilling our electronic communications.

Ron Bailey from last year on the important cost-benefit question at the heart of these supersurveillance programs, one the goverment ignores: how much danger are we in from terrorism, anyway? (Not much.)

The ACLU has filed FOIA requests to learn more about how this info-sweep program is working.

ACLU fact sheet on the NCTC.

Catholic Group Announces It Will Defy Obamacare Contraception Mandate…

Via New American:

Priests for Life, a Catholic organization that has been on the front lines of the pro-life cause for the past 20 years, announced August 1 that it will not comply with the Health and Human Services (HHS) contraception mandate which went into effect on that date. The mandate, which is already the target of over a score of lawsuits filed by nearly 60 faith-based organizations, requires that all non-church employers provide their employees with health insurance that includes free access to sterilization and contraception — including abortion-inducing drugs.

In an August 1 press release the organization’s director, Father Frank Pavone, said that under the HHS rules, Priests for Life was not “religious” enough to qualify for the one-year moratorium the government had given some non-church faith-based organizations to adapt their health insurance plans to the mandate. “But regardless of all that,” he announced, “we do not adapt to injustice; we oppose it. Therefore today, on behalf of our organization and on behalf of myself personally, I announce our conscientious objection to this mandate.”

Pavone noted that while “Priests for Life has the highest respect for civil government and advocates the observance of all just laws … this policy is unjust, and today I reaffirm our intention to disobey it.”

Earlier in the day Pavone sent a memo to the organization’s employees reminding them that “as of today, as far as the government is concerned, we have to provide health insurance coverage for practices that are morally objectionable. In order to avoid the slightest semblance of scandal, or compromise of our principles, and lest any employee should imagine that we would ever consent to provide coverage for actions that destroy human life, I want to make it clear to you today that we will disobey this mandate.”

Keep reading…

The Economic Justice Lie

For years, the current White House occupant has foisted the concept that more affluent Americans do not pay their fair share of taxes. That may make for an effectively memorable campaign stump slogan, but as is so often the case with the “progressive” Democrat’s reelection campaign statements, the rhetoric does not align itself with reality. The top five percent of American wage earners pay forty seven percent of revenues collected by the IRS. The top ten percent pay seventy percent of all IRS revenues. Meanwhile, forty seven percent of the population pays zero income tax. In fact, a large number of that forty seven percent actually reap the benefits of “progressive” big government largesse while paying nothing.

In a country long admired for its diligent protection of free speech it should be possible to logically discuss the plethora of clearly unconstitutional, vastly unpopular, criminally coerced, bribery stuffed, intimidation filled, votes bought, deals made and paid for legislation that amounts to an unmitigated assault upon American traditions, values and a way of life based on freedom of choice and individual liberty. Given that anyone willing to speak against the institutionalized “progressive” leftist agenda is smeared, attacked, blocked on social media or otherwise suppressed, perhaps not.

But whether you look at the nationalization of American banks, the takeover of the U.S. auto industry, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (also known to the Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court as a tax), the takeover of the college student loan industry, draconian EPA regulations or Cap and Trade initiatives, it all boils down to two words: “Economic justice.”

Does anyone in their right mind believe that the current radical fringe leftist “progressive” filled government is not playing favorites with student loan applications or will not play favorites with healthcare procedures and coverage? Does anyone honestly believe that the current “progressive” Executive Branch will not continue to over-reach for power via Executive Order or through their appointments to the unelected, unaccountable regulatory bureaucracy?

Can you say reparations? Can you say class warfare? Can you say unable to run for reelection on their record?

Let the current Oval Office occupier in thief tell you in his own words:
“One of the tragedies of the civil rights movement was that the civil rights movement became so court focused, I think, there was a tendency to lose track of the political and organizing activities on the ground that are able to bring about the coalitions of power through which you bring about redistributive change.”

That is Marxism, plain and simple. But “progressives” know full well that the majority of Americans would never accept Marxism, Socialism or Communism if they were honest about their agenda. Americans are equally unlikely to accept redistribution of wealth at face value. Witness the public outcry that followed the occupier’s now infamous 2008 campaign encounter with “Joe the plumber”.

What is a “progressive” Marxist to do?

Make the Marxist agenda sound like a moral issue to which good, God fearing, charitable Americans will subscribe. Just like magic Marxism, Socialism, Communism and redistribution of wealth becomes “economic justice”.

Do not fall for persistent fringe left “progressive” attempts to redefine language through the smoke and mirror tricks of political correctness. DO NOT BE FOOLED.

“Economic justice” = Forced redistribution of wealth, with hostility towards individual property rights, cloaked in a veneer of morality.

Where the majority of Americans are from, that is known as lying, cheating and stealing.

Occupy Oakland Protesters Vandalize Obama Campaign Office

Earlier this evening an Obama Campaign office was vandalized by Occupy Wall Street protesters. Details are still sketchy, but this is what twitter has for us:

This photo of the damage from California Beat, which also reports that the culprits were in a “[c]rowd marching through Oakland First Friday celebration.”

They then further reported that it was caused by Occupy protesters who were angry that they were denied a marching permit.

From a campaign volunteer who witnessed the vandalism:

hehe – Rush Is Told That Obama Had the Lowest Grades of Any Harvard Graduate Ever

You heard that, now go out and spread the word, maybe it will reach the floor of the senate.

And then there’s this:

36 Obama aides owe $833,000 in back taxes

How embarrassing this must be for President Obama, whose major speech theme so far this campaign season has been that every single American, no matter how rich, should pay their "fair share" of taxes.

Because how unfair -- indeed, un-American -- it is for an office worker like, say, Warren Buffet's secretary to dutifully pay her taxes, while some well-to-do people with better educations and higher incomes end up paying a much smaller tax rate.

Or, worse, skipping their taxes altogether.

A new report just out from the Internal Revenue Service reveals that 36 of President Obama's executive office staff owe the country $833,970 in back taxes. These people working for Mr. Fair Share apparently haven't paid any share, let alone their fair share.

Previous reports have shown how well-paid Obama's White House staff is, with 457 aides pulling down more than $37 million last year. That's up seven workers and nearly $4 million from the Bush administration's last year.

Nearly one-third of Obama's aides make more than $100,000 with 21 being paid the top White House salary of $172,200, each.

The IRS' 2010 delinquent tax revelations come as part of a required annual agency report on federal employees' tax compliance. Turns out, an awful lot of folks being paid by taxpayers are not paying their own income taxes.

The report finds that thousands of federal employees owe the country more than $3.4 billion in back taxes. That's up 3% in the past year.

That scale of delinquency could annoy voters, hard-pressed by their own costs, fears and stubbornly high unemployment despite Joe Biden's many promises.

The tax offenders include employees of the U.S. Senate who help write the laws imposed on everyone else. They owe $2.1 million. Workers in the House of Representatives owe $8.5 million, Department of Education employees owe $4.3 million and over at Homeland Security, 4,697 workers owe about $37 million. Active duty military members owe more than $100 million.

The Treasury Department, where Obama nominee Tim Geithner had to pay up $42,000 in his own back taxes before being confirmed as secretary, has 1,181 other employees with delinquent taxes totaling $9.3 million.

As usual, the Postal Service, with more than 600,000 workers, has the most offenders (25,640), who also owe the most -- almost $270 million. Veterans Affairs has 11,659 workers owing the IRS $151 million while the Energy Department that was so quick to dish out more than $500 million to the Solyndra folks has 322 employees owing $5 million.

The country's chief law enforcement agency, the Department of Justice, has 2,069 employees who are nearly $17 million behind in taxes. Like Operation Fast and Furious, Attorney General Eric Holder has apparently missed them too.

As with ordinary people, the IRS attempts to negotiate back-tax payment plans with all delinquents, whose names cannot be released. But according to current federal law, the only federal employees who can be fired for not paying taxes are IRS workers.

Lesson learned: don't try to evade the police while driving a "SmartCar"

If you like driving a golf cart, only without the neck-snapping acceleration, I'd recommend a "SmartCar".

Suffice it to say that Jesse James here was caught, slammed to the ground, and is now living in close quarters with a personable cellmate named Cletus.

DA Calls Out NRA After AK-47 Toting Septa Passenger's Bail Increased

Philadelphia News, Weather and Sports from WTXF FOX 29


As a detective carried away the high powered AK-47 seized by SEPTA Police from a passenger on a rush hour train this week, DA Seth Williams came out firing.

"I don't care what the NRA says, they can kiss my butt," Williams said. "I don't care. There's no reason for a guy to have a gun like that."

Williams comments came after a judge hiked the bail for suspect Jermal Ponds from $100,000 to $200,000. He said SEPTA police and a brave citizen who spotted Ponds with an AK-47 assault rifle like this, averted a "real major tragedy" from occurring on the city's subway system.

"What is it like G.I. Joe or something. I mean, the whole thing is crazy," added Mayor Michael Nutter.

The DA wanted half a million dollars bail, calling Ponds a danger to the community. Ponds was spotted on a rush hour train at the City Hall station by a subway passenger. He was carrying a bag with the AK-47 and another weapon, plus a loaded 40 round magazine. Minutes later SEPTA police arrested Ponds at the Fairmount station.

"It's just amazing to think of the mayhem, the destruction, the pain and violence that this defendant could have brought," Williams said.

Ponds' attorney Lawrence O'Connor fired back "The district attorney's motion, in our opinion, was simply to further sensationalize this case."

Passengers on SEPTA believe the judge was right to increase Ponds bail. Several cited the recent massacre at a Colorado movie complex by a suspect with an AR-15 military style rifle.

"What if he would have pulled that gun out and starting shooting at everybody," passenger Marvin Ellis said.

"I wouldn't want to see him get out," another added.

Ponds lawyer says he was moving the guns from his girlfriends home to a new apartment and had no intention of using them. He said a "lapse in judgement" caused him to get on the SEPTA subway with the weapons.

Police says Ponds has three prior arrests, but no convictions. Both weapons were legally registered, but Ponds did not have a permit to carry the handgun. Police say he shouldn't have been carrying the AK-47 in the same bag with the loaded 40 round magazine.

Ponds will be back in court Aug. 17th.

Harry Reid a pedophile

Glenn gives Harry Reid a taste of his own medicine…

Harry Reid made a wild claim with no evidence and accused Mitt Romney of being a felon. His evidence? A call he got to the office. That’s it. He then doubled down by saying that ‘the word is out there – Mitt has to prove he paid taxes’. It’s such a pathetic and false attack it’s a wonder how Harry Reid lives with himself.

Here is Reid’s statement on Romney’s taxes:

“The word’s out that he hasn’t paid any taxes for 10 years. Let him prove that he has paid them. Where is the proof that he has paid taxes? The one partial tax return shows that he has money hidden in Bermuda, the Cayman Islands, in a Swiss bank account.”

Writers note: If Romney released the tax return to the public that showed the accounts he holds his money in …how exactly is that “hidden”? Curious minds want to know, Harry Reid…

Reid continues…

“I’m not making that up. That’s in the partial year that he gave us. Mitt Romney makes more money in a single day than the average class family makes in two years.”

That last line ia about the only thing that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid wasn’t making up in his statements.

Just as Glenn was about to get worked up about the Majority Leader’s completely unAmerican comments, an “anonymous” call came in (from someone who sounded a LOT like Stu) with their own idiotic, baseless claims…

GLENN: Hello.

CALLER: I have information.

GLENN: You have information you want to share with me? What is it?

VOICE: About Harry Reid.

GLENN: About Harry Reid?

VOICE: Yes. I can’t tell you exactly how I know this.

GLENN: Okay.

VOICE: But Harry Reid is a pedophile rapist.

GLENN: He’s a pedophile rapist?


GLENN: Wow. I mean, if somebody came before Congress and wanted to be a – you know, somebody wanted to be a, you know, a cabinet member, you couldn’t be a pedophile rapist. How long has he been a pedophile rapist?

VOICE: Approximately 25 years.

GLENN: 25 years.

VOICE: Now, I should be – I just wanted to be clear. He is not a pedophile. He’s a pedophile rapist, meaning that he’s raping pedophiles.

GLENN: He’s raping pedophiles?

VOICE: Right. He’s a pedophile rapist. He’s not a pedophile. I’m definitely not accusing him of that.

GLENN: Okay.

VOICE: But I am saying that he is a pedophile rapist.

GLENN: All right. Okay. Thank you very much for your phone call. Appreciate it.

After Glenn shared the (disturbing and baseless) claim from Stu the caller that Harry Reid is allegedly a pedophile rapist, Pat obviously wanted to know the facts of the situation. After all, only an idiot would take seriously anything an anonymous sourced with no facts and then share the information with the public.

Right, Harry?

Senate Majority Leader Democrat Harry Reid Sordid History

Mitt Romney strongly denied Sen. Harry Reid's repeated, insistent claims that he did not pay taxes for a decade, he said he pay's a lot of taxes every year.

Let's look at the rumors about Harry.

The word is out. The Harry Reid list of indecencies is long and sordid. He stole lemonade stand money raised by a little boy for his dying father, after already defunding cancer to pay for abortions here and abroad. He also beats his wife – has done it for 10 years and continues to do so as she endures treatment for breast cancer!

I got a letter recently stating that a guy heard Dirty Harry moaning,and a young boy crying in a bathroom stall at McCarren Airport. Now that doesn't *necessarily* prove wrongdoing but let's hear his response. After all, the word is out.

A unnamed source told me ransom money from the Lindbergh kidnapping was used to fund Reid’s Senate campaign.

Heard from an extremely reliable source that he enjoys kicking puppies, yanks the whiskers off of defenseless kittens, stinks like garlic and rotten eggs and sacrifices roosters under the full moon.

I have a source that says he saw Harry Reid in the Penn State locker room on a double date with Jerry Sandusky.

Anonymous sources have reported that Harry Reid is the real founder of NAMBLA.

I have it on excellent authority from a source whom I cannot, alas, name at this time that Harry Reid enjoys being spanked by bikers. While wearing a "kicky" little sundress.
Well, I’m not certain of these rumors. But the burden of proof is on him to prove me wrong.

$465 for Legal Status Under Tyrant Obama’s ‘Dream Act’

The Obama administration will formally begin granting some young undocumented immigrants legal status and work permits later this month under a controversial new policy first announced by President Obama in June.

The Department of Homeland Security today announced details of the application and approval process for the DREAM Act-like program, outlining specific eligibility requirements and a $465 fee. It will begin Aug. 15.

Illegal immigrants younger than 30 who came to the United States before age 16, have lived here for at least five years continuously, attend or have graduated from high school or college, and have no criminal convictions are eligible to submit requests for so-called deferred action (legalese for an official exemption from deportation).

The administration said documentation provided by each applicant will be reviewed individually on a case-by-case basis at one of four service centers run by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service. It’s unclear how long each review will take, but some immigrants are expected to receive temporary legal status before Election Day.

While the “dreamers” will not obtain a path to citizenship or the right to vote, Obama’s policy shift – circumventing Congress with executive action – has been widely seen as a politically motivated nod to Hispanics who have long sought the change.

Obama’s Republican critics today sharply assailed the new policy as unconstitutional and out of touch with the jobs crisis U.S. citizens face.

“Today’s deferred action guidance is another example of how the president’s policies put the interests of illegal immigrants ahead of the interests of U.S. citizens and legal immigrants,” House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith said.

“On the same day the unemployment rate rose to 8.3 percent, the Obama administration announced a requirement for illegal immigrants to apply to be able to work in the U.S.,” the GOP congressman from Texas said. “The administration’s guidelines don’t just encourage illegal immigrants to work in the U.S., they actually require them to apply to do so.”

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said the process is a compassionate and common-sense approach to a group of individuals who were brought to the United States illegally by no fault of their own and have grown up as Americans.

“Our nation’s immigration laws must be enforced in a firm and sensible manner,” Napolitano said in a statement. “But they are not designed to be blindly enforced without consideration given to the individual circumstances of each case.

“Nor are they designed to remove productive young people to countries where they may not have lived or even speak the language. Discretion, which is used in so many other areas, is especially justified here.”

Americans quitting cigarettes, but turning to cigars

While more Americans than ever before are quitting their cigarette habit, a growing number are also turning to large cigars and pipes, suggesting that gains in curbing tobacco consumption may be more elusive than previously thought.

The findings were outlined in a report released on Thursday by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Overall consumption of smoked tobacco products declined 27.5 percent between 2000 and 2011, but use of noncigarette smoked tobacco products increased by a whopping 123 percent in that same time.

One major culprit for the trend is likely price, particularly in the latter part of the decade as Americans grappled with a weak economy and high unemployment.

In 2009, a federal excise tax was enacted and as a result, pipe tobacco, loose tobacco and cigars were taxed at a significantly lower rate than cigarettes. Responses by the tobacco industry to the tax and resulting price shifts have further compounded the problem, according to the CDC.

"Cigarette-like (tobacco products), formerly thought of as small cigars, have been modified slightly by the manufacturers .... so that they can be taxed at the lower rate," said Terry Pechacek, CDC's Associate director of science, and an author on the report.

As a result, such small cigars which resemble cigarettes are far cheaper, selling for about $1.40 per pack versus $5, Pechacek said. Younger consumers in particular are responding to the shift in pricing and consumption patterns.

"The rise in cigar smoking, which other studies show is a growing problem among youth and young adults, is cause for alarm," said Tim McAfee, director of CDC's Office on Smoking and Health.

McAfee cited a recent report from the U.S. surgeon general, which showed that nearly all smokers start before they are 26 years old, making young consumers the most important target for stopping the epidemic.

The CDC said tobacco use remains the leading cause of preventable death and disease in the United States, killing nearly half a million Americans each year.

Health issues linked to smoking include heart and lung disease, several types of cancer, reproductive effects and other chronic diseases, costing the taxpayer $193 billion annually in direct health care expenses.

Inventing the People's Progressive Patriotic Church

Or perhaps it should be dubbed: The People's Not-Catholic Progressive Church.

At the end of April, 2012, Rev. Chuck Currie, a United Church of Christ minister who also writes a blog about politics and religion, delivered a provocative sermon in which he tells his congregation: “Right now an amplified and united voice preaching a new Social Gospel, or progressive Christianity, is particularly needed as the Roman Catholic Church works to undermine the social fabric of our pluralistic democratic society. …in rejecting the president's proper compromise and in making the outrageous claim that his administration is engaged in a war against religion – one bishop, without punishment, compared the president this month to Hitler – their actions have shown that their agenda is a roll back of women's rights. This is evidenced by the Vatican's witch hunt against nuns.”[i]

In response to this Catholic threat and recognizing “[t]he divisions that we face within our denominations, the decline of the mainline church over the last generation, and the changing realities we face in a society more pluralistic than ever,” Rev. Currie wonders if “we” are “doing church in the right way.” So he proposes a reunification of those churches that are “moving in a progressive theological direction” – embracing, specifically, “movements of liberation for Africans, Latin Americans, women, and gays and lesbians,” preaching and living out “a Social Gospel,” and “protecting women from those who would seek to return them to second class citizen status.”

Rev. Currie cites the situation of a homeless shelter California denied Catholic grant money after the shelter hired a new executive director who supports same-sex marriage. How dare the Roman Catholics use their own money in ways that are consistent with their moral teachings! (Not that Rev. Currie is suggesting that United Methodist money go to the orphanage run by an arms manufacturer.)

Then he notes that Roman Catholic Church cut off funding (presumably not awarding another Catholic Campaign for Human Development – CCHD – grant) to Children First for Oregon because they are part of a pro-choice coalition. And “Portland's Street Roots newspaper lost their Catholic funding (another CCHD non-grant) simply because they listed Planned Parenthood in their guidebook of available medical services for people who are homeless.” Rev. Currie finds these moves “heart breaking.”

Now Rev. Currie does understand, for he mentions it in passing, that the cultural divide between moral traditionalists and progressives can be found in every contemporary religious body but it was important for him to couch this as an “us versus the Catholics” situation so that he could ask that “ members of the United Church of Christ, the United Methodist Church, the Episcopal Church (USA), and Presbyterian Church (USA), Christian Church (Disciples of Christian), along with the historic African American denominations and others, to dream again about working together as one church, not separately.” He wants, in other words, a “merger of denominations.” This isn’t a merger-proposal based on theological unity but political unity: “the issues are too pressing,” he preaches and they tie together those who are determined to build an earthly “Kingdom of God.”

Of course, this People's Progressive Church (not the name Rev. Currie would probably choose) is something he’s been talking about for a while[ii] and it isn’t likely to be formed any time soon but the tenor of the sermon is one that should give Roman Catholics and more orthodox Protestants pause. What it admits, as clearly and openly as anything being written, is that religious progressives are enemies of the Church.

Spero columnist Stephanie Block also edits the New Mexico-based Los Pequenos newspaper.

Federal agents take aim at Fortune's Fast and Furious report

The Agent, “The Official Publication of the National Association of Federal Agents,” has added its voice to those of Congressional investigators in deconstructing a Fortune Magazine report critical of Oversight Committee efforts to determine the truth about Operation Fast and Furious “gunwalking.” Earlier this week, Gun Rights Examiner was forwarded a copy of NAFA’s “Summer 2012” issue, challenging allegations made by Fortune in a rebuttal article titled “Who’s on First? What’s on Second? The Ongoing Story of Fast & Furious.”

Regular readers of this column will recall an appendix to a joint congressional staff report released Tuesday characterized the Fortune report as “a hit piece full of errors and omissions,” and stated the writer of the story, Katherine Eban, “was inquiring about the circumstances of [ATF whistleblower John] Dodson’s divorce, apparently based on information in Agent Dodson’s ATF personnel file.”

“Eban may also have been provided information from John Dodson's personal ATF jacket -- a felony,” citizen journalist Mike Vanderboegh noted Wednesday on the Sipsey Street Irregulars blog, linking to a Main Justice analysis that included a response from a Fortune spokesman, not surprisingly expressing full support for their reporter.

NAFA ‘s editorial staff does not share in that support. Addressing key claims in the Eban piece, they provide point-by-point rebuttals based on their law enforcement experience and professional knowledge of procedures.

“This assertion is patently untrue,” NAFA notes, responding to Eban’s declaration that “no federal statute outlaws firearms trafficking.”

“Title 18, Chapter 44, Section 922(a)(1)(A) makes it a felony ‘to engage in the business of dealing in firearms without a license,’ which is exactly what was going on here,” NAFA replies. “The statute has been on the books for almost 45 years with numerous cases having been made pursuant to it.”

“NAFA would be very interested in learning just how ATF supervisors thought they were going to be able to ‘track’ thousands of firearms once they went south of the border,” the article continues, in response to Eban’s recounting of why weapons were not seized. “Amusing!”

Countering Eban’s assertion that “It was nearly impossible in Arizona to bring a case against a straw purchaser,” NAFA replied “This assertion is patent nonsense. ATF has a long history of successfully investigating and making criminal cases against so-called ‘straw purchasers.’”

“The federal prosecutors there did not consider the purchase of a huge volume of guns, or their handoff to a third party, sufficient evidence to seize them,” Eban parroted the administration line. “A buyer who certified that the guns were for himself, then handed them off minutes later, hadn't necessarily lied and was free to change his mind. Even if a suspect bought 10 guns that were recovered days later at a Mexican crime scene, this didn't mean the initial purchase had been illegal. To these prosecutors, the pattern proved little. Instead, agents needed to link specific evidence of intent to commit a crime to each gun they wanted to seize.”

“This is sophistry of the worst kind!” NAFA replied. “Absent a federal Firearms License (FFL), repeated purchases (re-stocking) of multiples of the same non-sporting firearms by an unlicensed person are prima facie evidence of engaging in the business without a license, a felony pursuant to Title 18.”

“[A]gents could not seize guns or arrest suspects after being directed not to do so by a prosecutor,” Eban maintained.

“Special agents have always had the authority to arrest someone committing a crime in their presence,” NAFA countered. “They need not wait for a prosecutor’s authorization…Since when does some local U.S. Attorney run ATF?”

Responding to Eban’s dismissal of the CleanUpATF website, where allegations of gunwalking to Mexico and a tie-in to murdered Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry were first made, and particularly to her characterization of whistleblower Vince Cefalu as “disgruntled,” NAFA was equally dismissive of her motive.

“’Disgruntled’ and ‘malcontent’ are words self-serving ATF bureaucrats have historically used when describing dedicated ATF special agents who value the Constitution and the mission more than their careers…concepts foreign to many management and management wannabe employees.”

America’s Heart Goes Out to Abused Chick-fil-A Worker – ‘Support For Rachel’ Website Set Up

From the website: We stopped by CFA to find these flowers given by a customer to Rachel.
They were anonymously given. Thank you for your kindness and support.

A website was set up today so Americans can show their support for “Rachel” the beautiful Chick-fil-A employee who was horribly abused this week by an anti-Chick-fil-A jacka$$.

The website was set up by her boyfriend.
He says Rachel may make an appearance on FOX News this weekend.

Here again is the video of Adam Smith abusing Rachel at her work this week.

The d-bag in the video, Adam Smith, was later fired by his employer for abusing Rachel.

Hat Tip Jimi

To win, Obama needs to get white voters to stay home

President Obama has met the enemy, and they are us (us, that is, if you are Caucasian). So reads the handwriting on the wall, according to BuzzFeed, which reports:

President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign has spent more than $100 million on advertising over the last 3 months. Much, if not most, of it has been produced to shred Mitt Romney’s reputation and suppress turnout among white voters who might vote for Romney.

That last sentence is worth re-reading. It links to a New York Times op-ed that notes with equal candor, not to mention nonchalance:

He is running a two-track campaign. One track of his re-election drive seeks to boost turnout among core liberal groups; the other aims to suppress turnout and minimize his margin of defeat in the most hostile segment of the electorate, whites without college degrees.

It’s a simple matter of arithmetic, the BuzzFeed article goes on to note. In 2008, black voter turnout reached its highest level ever. Hispanic and “youth” voters (ages 18 to 29) also turned out in record numbers. Obama captured 43% of the white vote, cinching a victory.

But with black unemployment reaching 14.4% in July and unemployment among millennials at 12.7%, enthusiasm is down. The dreaded “white vote” is now expected to account for 75% of ballots cast.

By most analysts’ lights, Obama needs to capture 40% of that voting bloc to win a second term. But a Quinnipiac poll released on July 12 shows him attracting just 29% of non-college-educated white males. Taken together with other recent polls, Obama’s share of the white vote as a whole is well shy of the 40% threshold.

The BuzzFeed piece predicts a “chemical warfare campaign, the war to end all wars” but doesn’t offer specifics on what that might translate to.

In the meantime, one might wonder how Obama supporters countenance speaking in such matter-of-fact terms about voter suppression, which Democrats consider the ultimate sin. The answer is provided in the Times op-ed by Thomas Edsall, who asserts that Obama is merely taking a page out of the Republican handbook. “Over the past two years,” he writes, “Republican-controlled state legislatures have been conducting an aggressive vote-suppression strategy of their own through the passage of voter identification laws and laws imposing harsh restrictions on voter registration drives.”

It is a fascinating admission. He imputes the basest possible motive to supporters of voter IDs laws, and one that is unprovable, to justify behavior that can’t rationalized as anything other cynical and anti-American. Just imagine the reaction if the tables were turned.

Shocking Video: Attacked by "Tolerance"(Peaceful Traditional Marriage Supporters Violently Assaulted)

In this newly released video, volunteers with the American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property (TFP) describe how they were violently assaulted by pro-homosexual "marriage" advocates while promoting traditional marriage on college campuses and in the public square.

"That empty slogan about tolerance comes crashing down after you see how TFP volunteers were criminally assaulted by same-sex 'marriage' advocates," said TFP Student Action Director John Ritchie.

"The video speaks for itself. They don't tolerate God's marriage. In fact, our volunteers have been bullied, pepper sprayed, hit with glass bottles, sprayed with pesticide, punched, and spit on for peacefully stating that marriage is what it is – the union between one man and one woman."


Romney can't ignore Sarah Palin in 2012. The Tea Party champ is more politically relevant than ever

Sarah Palin continues to make headlines and define conservatism

Love her or loathe her (and those seem to be the only options), Sarah Palin won’t go away. Despite holding no office and having no obvious intention of running for one, she continues to dominate headlines and divide the country. So how will Romney handle her in 2012? Presuming that he won’t nominate her for Veep (the smart money is on a really boring white guy), what role – if any – will she take in the campaign? Should the GOP embrace the Palin effect or pretend it doesn’t exist?

Palin’s national role in the last few days reminds us why she matters. Last Sunday, Dick Cheney told ABC News that he thought putting her on the ticket in 2008 was a mistake because she wasn’t “capable of being President of the United States.” Cheney’s idea of a perfect ticket would probably be Cheney and Cheney, so we might put this one down to ego. But his remarks highlight the fact that Palin’s pick in 2008 is still relevant to the debate over the GOP’s strategy in 2012. The choice is this: do they run a moderate ticket that doesn’t offend anyone or take a risk on a radical ticket that angers some but motivates others? How mavericky does Romney want to be?

The evidence suggests that the maverick strategy didn’t work in 2008. Some will say that the Republicans chose the wrong maverick, and there’s no denying that Palin wasn’t yet ready for the media exposure. But a fair mind can never quite dismiss the Palin gambit out of hand because it was also tried in the wrong year. Frankly, the Democrats could have nominated Roseanne Barr in 2008 and the crazy lady would’ve won by a landslide. The economy was in decline and the country was stuck in two unpopular wars. Little has changed in 2012, except that this time it’s a Democrat running the mess and a Republican offering to clean it up. So what kind of ticket would persuade yet another change in direction in 2012: Obama-lite or Conservative Max? We’re a little over three months from voting and the question hasn’t been answered.

Then there was Sarah Palin’s intervention into Chick-fil-A-gate. In what could be the definitive conservative moment of the last few years, she posted a photo of herself on facebook eating at the anti-gay marriage chicken restaurant. Here was Palin’s appeal distilled: an ordinary woman out with her husband, doing what ordinary Americans do, looking ordinary – yet making a profound political statement at the same time. And she used social media to let the world know about it! That photo has “political science PhD thesis” written all over it.

Why haven’t we seen Romney in a Chick-fil-A, or Cheney, Bush or McCain? Some will reply that such cheapness is beneath them, that they are too busy being statesmen in Washington. But most Americans don’t live in Washington, aren’t members of Congress, don’t have a beautiful family home in Alexandria, don’t holiday in the Caribbean twice a year and don’t enjoy that fantastic Congressional healthcare. But they do eat at Chick-fil-A. And so, apparently, does Sarah Palin. That’s her appeal. When you use the word “Palin,” folks immediately know what you mean. And while some of the adjectives used might include “extreme,” they don’t include “snobby” and they probably will include “authentic.” Palin's strength and weakness as a Veep candidate in 2008 was that she came across like a real person. Some people want to be governed by real people, some don’t.

Given how central she is to modern, populist conservatism, it’s difficult to imagine that Palin won’t feature in the fall campaign. Romney trying to deny her existence is no more possible than Obama keeping Bill Clinton away from the cameras. Palin is the Tea Party and if he’s going to motivate the Tea Party voters, Romney has to be seen with her. The debate will be over how often and in what context. A good start might be the Romneys and the Palins having their Saturday lunch together in a Chick-fil-A. Given how inauthentic Mitt is accused of being, chowing down with some real people for a change can't hurt his poll numbers.

Chick-fil-A flap reveals true gay agenda

The homosexual lobby wants to outlaw Christianity. This is the real meaning behind the uproar over Chick-fil-A. The chicken sandwich franchise has become a lightning rod for the culture war. Liberals despise it; conservatives back it. Supporters of gay marriage want to prevent the Atlanta-based chain from expanding, demanding new restaurant permits be denied.

The reason: Its CEO Dan Cathy opposes same-sex marriage. In an interview with the Baptist Press, Mr. Cathy was asked his views on the issue. He said that he supports the “biblical definition of the family unit.” Meaning — horror of all horrors — that Mr. Cathy believes marriage should be between a man and a woman. That such a common-sense view could be controversial in today’s America shows how far society has fallen.

Anti-Christian activists immediately called for a boycott of Chick-fil-A. Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel publicly vilified the chain. He claimed that Chick-fil-A does not share “Chicago values.” Mr. Emanuel said the restaurant was not welcome in the Windy City. Yet, he warmly embraced Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan. According to Mr. Emanuel, a Christian family man expressing his private opinion defending traditional marriage is an extremist, while a radical black nationalist and vile anti-Semite is acceptable.

It is not just Mr. Farrakhan. Planned Parenthood, porn merchants and gay pride parades are celebrated in Mr. Emanuel’s Chicago. They are invited to come and stay. Killing unborn babies, selling smut and promoting the LGBT community — these are supposedly “Chicago values.” Christianity isn’t. Our ruling elites despise the moral traditions that were common only a generation ago. They are implementing a social revolution, seeking to abolish America’s Christian heritage. They are radicals — moral anarchists — masquerading as liberals. They are political thugs who in the name of “diversity” seek to impose secular uniformity.

Boston Mayor Thomas Menino said that “Chick-fil-A doesn’t belong in Boston.” He even wrote a letter to Mr. Cathy warning the company will not get the licenses needed to open two new restaurants in the Boston area. In short, Mr. Menino was engaging in economic intimidation. His message was clear: Change your views or else take your business (and jobs) elsewhere.

This is an assault on freedom of speech and religious liberty — a dangerous violation of the First Amendment. Messrs. Emanuel and Menino are essentially telling the owner of a private, family-owned business what he can or can’t believe about certain issues. And unless Mr. Cathy toes the liberal-progressive line, his company will be punished and denied the ability to expand. It is a naked attempt to criminalize and delegitimize Christian views; to equate opposition to homosexual marriage with hate speech.

Chick-fil-A has more than 50,000 employees and 1,500 outlets across the country. The chain generates over $2 billion in annual revenue. It is a model business that serves excellent food to very satisfied customers. It is also an explicitly Christian business. Its aim is to serve everyone with honor, dignity and respect. It is closed on Sundays, to observe the Sabbath, losing hundreds of millions in potential revenue. It doesn’t just talk the talk; it walks the walk.

And that is precisely the problem. Mr. Cathy simply expressed his personal view — as a devout Christian — on marriage. For this, progressives want to boycott and if possible economically cripple the company. In other words, Mr. Cathy’s sin — Chick-fil-A’s sin — is that he is a Christian traditionalist in an increasingly pagan country.

Yet, liberal multiculturalists are hypocrites — and cowards. Take Mr. Menino, for example. As columnist Michael Graham points out in the Boston Herald, the mayor may dislike Christian critics of gay marriage but he has no problem with homophobic Islamists. Mr. Menino approved a permit that essentially allowed the city to sell land — at below market value — for construction of a mosque. The Islamic Society of Boston has deep ties to radical imam Yusef al-Qaradawi. He has been a frequent speaker at the society'’s Boston mosque. Al-Qaradawi even helped raise funds for its construction. He is an Islamist who defends suicide bombing and jihad. He also believes homosexuals should be burned or stoned to death. For the likes of Mr. Menino, al-Qaradawi is acceptable to the people of Boston; yet, Mr. Cathy isn’t. Why? Because everyone knows standing up to Muslim militants risks a fatwa — a death sentence. Picking on Christians is easy. They are the true followers of the religion of peace.

And it explains the growing persecution of American Christians. Liberals know that Chick-fil-A will not fight back — the Dan Cathys will not strap on suicide bombs and blow themselves up in a crowded place. Hence, for decades our secular elites have been slowly purging Christianity from the public square. Prayer in school is banned. The Ten Commandments are taken down from courtrooms. Abortion is rampant. Movies and popular culture routinely mock Christians. Religious conscience rights — as seen through the Obama administration’s contraceptive mandate — are regularly violated.

The left’s goal is to reduce Christians to permanent second-class citizens. Now they are coming for our freedom of speech. This is Christophobia — the dominant bigotry of our time. Christians unite, before it’s too late.

Jeffrey T. Kuhner is a columnist at The Washington Times and president of the Edmund Burke Institute.

Google Should Pay $750 a Book, Authors Say in E-Book Suit

Authors suing Google Inc. (GOOG) over the digitizing of books asked a judge to order the company to pay $750 a book for illegal copying and distribution of their works, according to a court filing today.

Google is being sued over its plan, announced in 2004, to scan millions of books from public and university libraries to provide snippets of text to people who use its Internet search engine. A Manhattan federal judge in May rejected Google’s argument that lawsuits by the Authors Guild and the American Society of Media Photographers should be dismissed because the groups lacked standing to sue for copyright infringement.

The Authors Guild today asked the judge for a ruling in its favor on three legal issues, one of which is a claim for damages of $750 a book. The guild also says it wants a ruling that copying books isn’t a “fair use” under copyright law, as Google has said it will argue.

Last month, Mountain View, California-based Google sought dismissal of the Authors Guild’s suit, arguing that authors benefit from the project because their books can be more readily found, bought and read, while the public gains “increased knowledge.”

University Libraries

Google said in a February filing that it has scanned more than 20 million books, and that Web users can see excerpts in English from more than 4 million of them. The project began with the digitizing of books from the libraries of the University of Michigan, Harvard University, Stanford University, Oxford University and the New York Public Library.

The Authors Guild, individual authors and publishing companies sued in 2005, claiming Google hadn’t sought authorization from the owners of the digitized works.

Besides the guild, the plaintiffs include authors Joseph Goulden, Betty Miles and Jim Bouton, the former New York Yankee who wrote “Ball Four.”

The authors’ case is Authors Guild v. Google, 05-08136, and the visual artists’ case is American Society of Media Photographers v. Google, 10-cv-02977, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

ICE agents: Obama won't let us arrest illegals

By Todd Starnes

Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., is demanding answers after a report surfaced that a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent is facing punishment for arresting an illegal immigrant.

The unidentified agent could face a three-day suspension after he arrested a 35-year-old illegal immigrant from Mexico who had as many as 10 traffic violations. He was nabbed in Newark, Del.

The agent was ordered by supervisors to release the individual because he was not a “priority target.” When the officer balked, he was threatened with a three-day suspension and the illegal alien was let go.

“The actions that it appears were taken by your agency send a message to agents in the field that they will be punished for doing their duty and enforcing the law,” Sessions wrote in an letter to ICE Director John Morton and obtained exclusively by Fox News.

A spokesperson for the Newark Police Dept. told Fox News that had an American citizen been stopped under the same circumstances – they would have been jailed. Sessions said that is a troubling revelation.

“Federal law enforcement should certainly not be giving illegal aliens more preferential treatment that is afforded American citizens,” Sessions wrote. “Your agency’s apparent treatment of the criminal alien sends the troubling message that the demands of public safety are trumped by the desire for reduced deportations of those deemed ‘not presidential priorities.’”

Sessions is demanding that ICE provide a detailed account of the events involving the agent along with an explanation of why the illegal alien was released and allowed to pose a threat to public safety.

Word of the agent’s pending punishment for simply doing his job has outraged ICE agents.

“They’re punishing law enforcement officers who are just trying to uphold U.S. law,” said Chris Crane, president of the National ICE Council. Crane is a union representative acting on the unidentified officer’s behalf.

The officer under fire is an 18-year law enforcement and military veteran.

“They’re willing to take away their retirement, their job, their ability to support their families in favor of someone who is here illegally and violating our laws,” Crane told Fox News. “Right now (the Obama administration) is standing in the way of us enforcing the law by either taking a disciplinary action, threats of disciplinary action, or refusing to sign off on charging documents to put an illegal alien into immigration proceedings so a judge can sort it out.”

“If a law enforcement officer can’t perform routine enforcement functions, what do we have a law enforcement agency for,” Crane wondered.

Be sure to also read: ICE AGENTS: Obama Won’t Let Us Arrest Illegals

MEDIA BASH: 86% of Romney coverage NEGATIVE

Mitt Romney's week-long international trip resulted in unrelentingly negative coverage from the big three broadcast networks, a stark change from the glowing press awarded to then-candidate Barack Obama's world tour in 2008. While Obama was treated like a rock star (from the Associated Press: "It's not only Obama's youth, eloquence and energy that have stolen hearts across the Atlantic...."), Romney endured a focus on gaffes and the trivial.

MRC analysts examined all 21 ABC, CBS and NBC evening news stories about Romney's trip to London, Israel and Poland between July 25 and July 31. Virtually all of these stories (18, or 86%) emphasized Romney's "diplomatic blunders," from his "golden gaffe" at the Olympic games to "missteps" that offended the Palestinians.

The first of these "gaffes" was the former GOP governor asserting that security problems in London are not "encouraging." (This unsurprising point had previously been made by many in the media.)

Journalists pounced. On July 26, guest World News guest anchor Josh Elliott mocked, "Now to the war of words underway tonight in London, what's being called Mitt Romney's golden gaffe."

The comments came from an interview with NBC anchor Brian Williams. Initially, Nightly News didn't report the relatively innocuous remark, excluding it from a taped interview that ran on July 25. However, by July 26, Williams had caught up with a British tabloid press angry at "Mitt the Twit." The anchor opened the show by trumpeting, "[Romney's statement] erupted today in public and now the question is, how did a Romney campaign overseas trip end up offending so many people here in London?"

That same night, CBS Evening News anchor Scott Pelley also led with Romney's comments about the Olympic games. He insisted, after just one day of a week-long tour, that the trip was getting attention "for all the wrong reasons" and deemed the former governor's remarks "a diplomatic blunder."

As the trip continued, so did the negative spin from the evening newscasts. Despite pressing economic and foreign policy problems facing the world, both ABC and CBS on July 27 highlighted trifling details such as Romney's motorcade in London getting stuck in traffic. (A snafu that partially validated the candidate's warning about the Olympics.) On CBS, Mark Phillips cast this as "another bad moment."

On July 29, Evening News correspondent Jeff Glor joined the pig pile: "After a rough first stop on his seven-day overseas trip, Mitt Romney was hoping Israel would go better than Britain. The day was not error-free." The "error" amounted to focusing on just how strong the Republican's language would be on Israel's defense against Iran.

Over seven days, Romney netted 53 minutes worth of stories from the three networks. In comparison, Obama's 2008 tour through the Middle East and Europe resulted in 92 minutes for eight days. (The tour resulted in news segments that encompassed full reports and anchor briefs.)

In July of 2008, Barack Obama's international tour took him to Israel where, in an attempt to show toughness over Iran, the then-senator incorrectly told reporters that he was a member of the Senate Banking committee. (Obama erroneously referred to "his" committee's calls for divestment from Iran.) There was no outcry and no reporting of "errors" or "gaffes," at least on the three broadcast evening newscasts.

Obama's 2008 foreign tour, unlike Romney's 2012 version, received glowing coverage.

When the Democrat arrived in Berlin to speak, Brian Williams could hardly contain himself. On the July 24, 2008 Nightly News, he trumpeted, "...The man from Chicago, Illinois, the first ever African-American running as presumptive nominee of the Democratic Party, brought throngs of people into the center of Berlin, streaming into this city, surging to get close to him, to hear his message."

On the same program, Andrea Mitchell was beside herself, marveling at the large crowds: "It's hard to figure out what the comparison is. What do you compare this with?"

Then-CBS Evening News anchor Katie Couric couched the visit in the most favorable terms, hyping, "Barack Obama extends the hand of friendship to Europe."

At the end of Romney's tour, Brian Williams summed up the week as concluding "with controversy, some hurt feelings, and some raw tempers." NBC reporter Peter Alexander highlighted a Romney aide who swore at journalists for screaming questions just after the candidate left the Polish Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

Alexander lectured that the trip was "at times marred by missteps" and that "Romney offend[ed] his Olympic hosts and Palestinian leaders."

While Romney's trip resulted in his most substantial coverage since wrapping up the Republican primary, the stories were overwhelmingly negative. Contrasted with the fawning coverage Barack Obama received four years ago, the network's rough coverage of Romney's trip stands as yet another reminder of the media's double standard when it comes to Barack Obama and any conservative candidate who might get in his way.

[Thanks to MRC intern Jeffrey Meyer for assistance.]