Archive for December, 2011
December 16th, 2011 at 10:45 am
This Week’s Liberty Update
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Center For Individual Freedom - Liberty Update

This week’s edition of the Liberty Update, CFIF’s weekly e-newsletter, is out. Below is a summary of its contents:

Senik:  Obama’s Letter to Santa
Hillyer:  GOP Fails a Gut-Czech
Lee:  Myth Versus Fact: Debunking Dishonest and Inaccurate Claims Against Congressional Legislation to Stop Online Piracy
Ellis:  Holder’s Fast and Furious Sideshow Helps Obama Keep Liberals From Bolting

Freedom Minute Video:  Obama’s Christmas Gift to America: Class Warfare
Podcast:  Why the FCC’s “Net Neutrality” Regulations Must Be Rejected
Jester’s Courtroom:  No Breakfast for Champions Leads to Lawsuit

Editorial Cartoons:  Latest Cartoons of Michael Ramirez
Quiz:  Question of the Week
Notable Quotes:  Quotes of the Week

If you are not already signed up to receive CFIF’s Liberty Update by e-mail, sign up here.

December 16th, 2011 at 9:26 am
Video – Obama’s Christmas Gift to America: Class Warfare
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In this week’s Freedom Minute, CFIF’s Renee Giachino discusses the increasingly destructive drumbeat of class warfare rhetoric coming out of the White House of late and urges President Obama to stop it and focus on economic growth for all Americans. 

December 16th, 2011 at 8:21 am
Ramirez Cartoon: Obamanomics
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Below is one of the latest cartoons from two-time Pulitzer Prize-winner Michael Ramirez.

View more of Michael Ramirez’s cartoons on CFIF’s website here.

December 16th, 2011 at 7:17 am
Podcast: Why the FCC’s “Net Neutrality” Regulations Must Be Rejected
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In an interview with CFIF, Thomas W. Hazlett, professor of law and economics at George Mason University and former chief economist of the FCC, discusses the ramifications of the recent Senate vote to reject an attempt to overturn the FCC’s net neutrality rules and his recent Encounter Books Broadside titled, “The Fallacy of Net Neutrality.”

Listen to the interview here.

December 15th, 2011 at 12:23 pm
Holder Says Govt. Has Responsibility to Automatically Register Voters

As an addendum to my column on Eric Holder’s disastrous tenure as U.S. Attorney General, the AG was kind enough to deliver a speech on the Voting Rights Act in Austin, TX, Tuesday night.  Though Holder castigated two Republican examples of voter fraud – both of which were swiftly remedied by the Justice Department – he (unsurprisingly) failed to mention any investigation into the well-documented voter fraud conducted by supporters of Tim Johnson (D-SD) and Al Franken (D-MN) during their successful bids for U.S. Senate.

Omissions aside, Holder made an all-too-typical argument: claiming for government the privilege of taking yet another activity away from otherwise responsible adults.  Here’s Holder’s take:

All eligible citizens can and should be automatically registered to vote.   The ability to vote is a right – it is not a privilege.   Under our current system, many voters must follow cumbersome and needlessly complex voter registration rules.   And every election season, state and local officials have to manually process a crush of new applications – most of them handwritten – leaving the system riddled with errors, and, too often, creating chaos at the polls.

Fortunately, modern technology provides a straightforward fix for these problems – if we have the political will to bring our election systems into the 21st century.   It should be the government’s responsibility to automatically register citizens to vote, by compiling – from databases that already exist – a list of all eligible residents in each jurisdiction.   Of course, these lists would be used solely to administer elections – and would protect essential privacy rights.

So Holder thinks that overburdened, cash-strapped governments can extract accurate registration data while protecting each individual’s privacy rights.  (You trust, Big Sis, don’t you?)  He thinks that registering to vote and casting a ballot are so important that ordinary citizens can’t be counted on to do the process themselves.  And he believes, along with his liberal activist friends at the ACLU and ACORN, that the reason for low voter turnout after decades of federal approval of political map drawing, “public interest” lawsuits filling the court system, and Motor Voter laws that automatically register licensed drivers to vote is not enough government control over who votes and how often.

You’ve got to hand it to big government liberals like Holder: at least he’s consistent.

December 13th, 2011 at 7:07 pm
Focus Group: Gingrich is “Favorite Uncle,” Romney “Black Sheep”

From an excellent column by Jed Babbin at American Spectator:

Another reason Gingrich isn’t fading is Mitt Romney. Let’s face it: Mitt Romney is the Republican version of Al Gore. Even people who are predisposed to liking him can’t seem to get there. Romney is supposedly more electable than Gingrich, at least according to the Inside the Beltway crowd and the major media.

Really? Liberal pollster Peter Hart’s focus group, asked to pick a family relationship to Romney, labeled him “black sheep,” “fun neighbor,” “cousin,” “second cousin,” “dad that was never home.” The same group labeled Gingrich “grandfather,” “father,” “my favorite uncle,” and “uncle who keeps bringing home different wives.” Is grandpa less electable than the dad who was never home?

Labeling Romney a black sheep and the GOP version of Al Gore really crystallizes his failure to excite Republican primary voters, doesn’t it?  The most devastating part of these analogies is that they manage to be accurate without being overly negative or hurtful (unless you factor in political pain).

December 13th, 2011 at 5:21 pm
Trump Bows Out of Newsmax Debate
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Last week, Ashton, Quin, and I spent a fair amount of time discussing Rick Santorum’s presidential prospects. And while our interpretations of Santorum’s travails varied, we all agreed on one thing: that Santorum had a golden opportunity to gain some visibility by being one of only two candidates on stage for the December 27 Republican presidential debate hosted by Newsmax and moderated by Donald Trump.

With today’s announcement that Trump is bowing out, however, that opportunity is almost certainly lost. We should expect all of the other candidates who turned down the offer when Trump was involved to now reconsider, rendering this a conventional forum and forcing Santorum to rely solely on his ground game in Iowa in the last few weeks of the campaign.

Two thoughts about Trump’s announcement:

  • The change in moderator may be bad for Santorum, but it’s very good for the Republican Party. Having a Trump-moderated debate risked making the entire batch of candidates look unserious and the party look unhinged.
  • There’s a good chance that this was one big publicity stunt from the start. Neither Newsmax or Ion (the cable network that’s broadcasting the debate) were particularly high-profile before this controversy; now they’re hosting the most highly-publicized debate of the year. As for Trump, is it so shocking to imagine him trawling for publicity with a new book out and a new season of “The Celebrity Apprentice” right around the corner? Count me suspicious that The Donald never intended to host the debate, but that both sides were playing the public in an attempt to gin up ratings.
December 12th, 2011 at 8:08 pm
Another Stimulus Boondoggle: $4.7 Billion in Broadband Spending Yields … Absolutely Nothing
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If you want to understand how comprehensively the Obama Administration has failed the nation, you need only begin with this point: as the president approaches the end of his first term, we’re still unearthing lurid details about his first major policy initiative, undertaken in his earliest days in office.

That plan, of course, was the $787 billion stimulus package that was supposed to kickstart economic growth (it didn’t) and keep unemployment under 8 percent (it’s never been that low in the nearly three years since the package was enacted).

Last week, I wrote about the case of a Maryland PR firm that got paid nearly a million dollars in stimulus money by the National Institutes of Health to promote how well the National Institutes of Health was spending stimulus money.

This week’s second verse of the same song is orders of magnitude worse; the dollar amount is in the billions and the outcome wasn’t just wasteful — it was non-existent. According to the Daily Caller:

As of the third quarter of 2011, no projects from the federal government’s Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP) — a technology stimulus program funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) — have been completed…

The funds awarded for BTOP totaled over $4 billion, and the average award was $6,217,509, according to

Three years. Over $4 Billion. Zero results. This project may not have stimulated any growth in the broadband sector, but it’s certainly going to keep some Republican opposition researchers employed.

December 12th, 2011 at 4:29 pm
THIS WEEK’s RADIO SHOW LINEUP: CFIF’s Renee Giachino Hosts “Your Turn” on WEBY Radio 1330 AM
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Join CFIF Corporate Counsel and Senior Vice President Renee Giachino today from 4:00 p.m. CST to 6:00 p.m. CST (that’s 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. EST) on Northwest Florida’s 1330 AM WEBY, as she hosts her radio show, “Your Turn: Meeting Nonsense with Commonsense.”  Today’s guest lineup includes:

4:00 (CST)/5:00 pm (EST):  Craig Shirley, Author – “December, 1941:  31 Days that Changed America and Saved the World”;

4:30 (CST)/5:30 pm (EST):  Peter Ferrara, Institute for Policy Innovation – Obama and the Crash of 2013;

5:00 (CST)/6:00 pm (EST):  Dr. George Nash, Hoover Institution – “Freedom Betrayed”;  and

5:30 (CST)/6:30 pm (EST):  Quin Hillyer, CFIF – The Obama Justice Department.

Listen live on the Internet here.   Call in to share your comments or ask questions of today’s guests at (850) 623-1330.

December 12th, 2011 at 3:51 pm
Ramirez Cartoon: “The Rich Ate My Homework”
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Below is one of the latest cartoons from two-time Pulitzer Prize-winner Michael Ramirez.

View more of Michael Ramirez’s cartoons on CFIF’s website here.

December 12th, 2011 at 12:11 pm
Candidate X… or Candidate J

Talk is heating up about the need for a new entrant in the Republican presidential sweepstakes, with not only The Weekly Standard keeping up its long-running and always-thoughtful drumbeat now called the Valentine’s Day Option, but George Will saying as much on Sunday, after Rhodes Cook of the Sabato Crystal Ball explained why it is still definitely feasible.

A name I am increasingly hearing is that of Bobby Jindal, subject of glowing reviews in the past three or so months by Fred Barnes, Jim Geraghty, Michael Barone, Chris Cillizza,  and Yours Truly.

Here’s the key thing: There is not an elected official in the country who knows health care policy as well as Jindal, and once the Supreme Court decides the Obamacare case, health care will be front and center in the campaign. Why does Jindal know so much about it? First, he was the wunderkind Secretary of the Louisiana health department, where he flat-out saved the state budget from disaster while completely and successfully renovating its Medicaid program (after explaining Medicaid’s rules to the federal Medicaid officials who didn’t even understand them as well as Jindal did). Second, he was executive director of the Breaux-Thomas entitlement commission in the late 1990s that not only pushed the idea of premium support (the heart of Paul Ryan’s Medicare plans), but got several Democratic senators to buy in to the concept.  Third, he worked on health care in the private sector, for McKinsey and Company.  Also, (from Wikipedia), “as a Rhodes Scholar. He received an M.Litt. degree in political science with an emphasis in health policy from the University of Oxford in 1994 for his thesis “A needs-based approach to health care”.

He also served as the Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

If Republicans want somebody who not only will oppose Obamacare (that’s an easy thing to do), but also to be able to outline a positive alternative and explain it understandably, nobody, not even Paul Ryan, can do it better than Bobby Jindal.

December 9th, 2011 at 5:00 pm
Perry, Bachmann Bow Out; Only Santorum and Newt at Debate with Trump

It is not necessary, but oh so fitting that the week ends with news that GOP presidential candidates Rick Perry and Michele Bachmann will not be attending the December 27th debate “moderated” by Donald Trump in Des Moines, IA.  After a spirited exchange with Quin and Troy, I’m glad to see my musings about a Lincoln-Douglas style debate between Gingrich and Santorum taking a turn toward reality.  With other candidates Mitt Romney, Ron Paul, and Jon Huntsman already declining – and Herman Cain out of the race – that leaves Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich as the only participants in what could be a decisive event one week before Iowa Republicans caucus to pick a presidential nominee.

Perhaps the twists and turns in this wacky pre-primary season aren’t done just yet.  Next up: Santorum publicly challenging Newt to a one-on-one debate over the past, present, and future of America.  Something tells me it’s the kind of challenge a ‘world historical figure’ like Gingrich won’t pass up.

December 9th, 2011 at 4:42 pm
Generic Congressional Ballot Undermines Obama Campaign Strategy
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Here’s something that continually puzzles me.

Media figures, often suggesting hope as much as sober analysis, counter Barack Obama’s terrible standing in opinion polls by pointing out that Congressional Republicans are even less popular.  The first problem, of course, is that Obama’s opponent in November 2012 won’t be named “Congressional Republicans.”  Secondly, animosity toward Congress is typically uncentered, as illustrated by the fact that incumbents maintain phenomenal reelection records even in anti-incumbent years.  In other words, people walking into the voting booth seem to think, “Congress is full of bums, but my Representative is OK.”

But here’s another point nobody seems to highlight.  If Congressional Republicans are so unpopular, or constitute such a nice foil for Obama, why is it that they consistently outperform Congressional Democrats in public esteem?  Take a look at this accumulated record of Rasmussen polling on the matter.  Since January 2010, the earliest date Rasmussen lists, Congressional Republicans have not trailed Congressional Democrats in voter preference even once.  Obama can’t seek a job extension based upon his performance record, but the reality is that this particular strategy might not be any more promising.

December 9th, 2011 at 3:52 pm
Holder Gets Grilled at House Hearing; Impeachment Next?

The seriousness of Eric Holder’s failings as U.S. Attorney General came to a well-deserved head yesterday during tough questioning before the Republican-controlled House Judiciary Committee.  Though Quin has spotlighted several other kinds of abuses worthy of investigation by Congress, the Judiciary Committee’s focus was on the growing number of lies and distortions given by Holder’s Justice Department to congressional investigators about the Fast and Furious operation that let over 2,000 guns intentionally “walk” into the hands of Mexican drug cartels.

Under withering questions from Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R- WI) about what it means to lie to Congress, Holder tried to dodge:

Rep. Dan Lungren (R-CA) drew Holder’s attention to internal emails showing anti-gun rights bureaucrats and political appointees speculating about using the failure of Fast and Furious fiasco as an after-the-fact reason to extend gun control regulations:

Most disturbingly, Holder acknowledged that no one in the Justice Department knows how many guns are actually out there, but that the repercussions will be felt “for years” in both the United States and Mexico.

For all his failures as Attorney General, the Fast and Furious scandal should be the one that brings Eric Holder’s tenure to an abrupt end.  President Barack Obama should clean house at the Justice Department over the Christmas break by firing Holder and those lieutenants involved in the serial lying to Congress.  If not, House Republicans should explore impeachment proceedings against Holder.

As I said in my column this week, Holder’s statements and actions amount to perjury and obstruction of justice.  In his misleading testimony before Congress and in numerous refusals to share information that when shared was later acknowledged to be false, Holder has proven his reputation and career are too intertwined with Fast and Furious to make him an unbiased administrator searching for the truth. Most importantly, he’s proven he won’t tell the truth when asked under oath. If an everyday American must face consequences for perjury and obstruction of justice, so too should the Attorney General.

December 9th, 2011 at 11:45 am
This Week’s Liberty Update
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Center For Individual Freedom - Liberty Update

This week’s edition of the Liberty Update, CFIF’s weekly e-newsletter, is out. Below is a summary of its contents:

Hillyer:  Obama’s Injustice is a Mighty Oak
Senik:  Keystone Pipeline Delay Compounds America’s Energy Decline
Ellis:  Eric Holder is Obstructing Justice with Fast and Furious Defense
Lee:  17 Days in Hawaii? Ostensible Class Warrior Barack Obama Is Himself “The 1%”

Podcast:  Elena Kagan: The Justice Who Knew Too Much
Jester’s Courtroom:  Felon Counter Sues Hostages for Breach of Contract

Editorial Cartoons:  Latest Cartoons of Michael Ramirez
Quiz:  Question of the Week
Notable Quotes:  Quotes of the Week

If you are not already signed up to receive CFIF’s Liberty Update by e-mail, sign up here.

December 9th, 2011 at 10:14 am
Santorum Nabs Big Endorsement

Regarding our ongoing conversation this week about Rick Santorum, it’s worth noting that he just nabbed the endorsement of one of the most rapidly rising stars in Iowa politics, Secretary of State Matt Schultz — a Mormon, no less, who had endorsed Mitt Romney in 2008.

If I were a conservative activist leader, I’d be working on two tracks right now: Doing everything possible to boost Santorum in Iowa and, as an alternative in case he never catches fire, greasing the skids to help draft a candidate like Bobby Jindal into the race as a late entry — a stratagem with a much better chance of success this year than in any year since 1976, according to this new analysis making the rounds.

This is by way of analysis of options, not candidate advocacy — based on the clear sense from conservative movement types, in many many conversations this week, that they are not happy with the idea of a two-man, Romney-Gingrich race.

December 9th, 2011 at 9:51 am
Ramirez Cartoon: Look! Rich People!
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Below is one of the latest cartoons from two-time Pulitzer Prize-winner Michael Ramirez.

View more of Michael Ramirez’s cartoons on CFIF’s website here.

December 9th, 2011 at 8:57 am
Podcast – Elena Kagan: The Justice Who Knew Too Much
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In an interview with CFIF, Carrie Severino, chief counsel and policy director at the Judicial Crisis Network, discusses why Justice Elena Kagan should recuse herself from any consideration of ObamaCare’s constitutionality before the Supreme Court.  Ms. Severino authored the white paper titled, “Elena Kagan: The Justice Who Knew Too Much.”

Listen to the interview here.

December 8th, 2011 at 5:07 pm
Rubin on Gingrichian Unethics

Nobody in print (or cyberprint) has been as relentlessly and factually  brutal against Newt Gingrich than Wash Post conservative blogger Jennifer Rubin. The key thing is, she keeps digging up actual facts, evidence, history. Not a lot of extraneous opinion. Here’s her latest, on Newtonian ethics. One always wonders how the alchemy works that turns facts into information that actually sways public opinion. But it’s clear that unless the facts are published, there’s no chance for them to be absorbed. Indefatigable reporting like this merits applause.

December 8th, 2011 at 1:47 pm
Feds Spending Stimulus Money to Tell the Public How Well They’re Spending Stimulus Money
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This one has to be read to be believed. Nearly three years after passage of the stimulus package, the horror stories of fiscal malpractice continue to emerge. From Reason:

Palladian Partners, a communications firm in Silver Spring, [Maryland has] received $97.5 million dollars in government contracts over the past 12 years. The National Insitutes of Health (NIH), which is Palladian’s biggest client, tacked $363,760 stimulus dollars on to an existing contract, and then followed it with two more awards totaling $431,333. Palladian was to spend the money collecting and disseminating information about how the NIH was spending stimulus money.

And what did NIH get for this money? According to the Reason piece, Palladian’s “main activities have included building a website, and publishing 29 short articles for the site.” That’s over $27,000 per article if you’re playing at home.