Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Federal Spending Bill for 2015 is Suicide

67 Republicans who opposed Omnibus were right, by Rick Manning
Speaker John Boehner passed the last government funding bill by appealing to Democrat votes in the House to offset the more than 25 percent of his Republican Conference which refused to support him.  After the benefit of time to review some of the specifics of the so-called Cromnibus, the only surprise is that a majority of House Republicans voted for it.
Take the Environmental Protection Agency as an example.  After years of railing against the EPA’s attack on the American economy, failure to respond to Congressional inquiries, using fake email addresses to hide their activities and they like, the House voted to fund the Agency for the rest of the fiscal year with few constraints.  Not only did they fund it, but they gave the EPA $200 million more than President Obama requested.
You read that right.  Obama’s environmental handmaidens who are single-handedly destroying coal production in America, and have announced a new set of regulatory attacks on other fuel sources during the Administration’s last two years are receiving $8.1 billion in funding instead of the $7.9 billion requested.
Is there any wonder why President Obama has a new bounce in his step as he kicks wedding parties off of golf courses in Hawaii?
Not only did Republicans cave on protecting America from Obama’s regulatory overreach, but just prior to the lame duck session, the President gambled that Speaker Boehner would not be willing to fight over amnesty and challenged him directly by announcing Executive Amnesty for approximately five million illegal aliens.  Rather than responding forcefully as those who paid attention to the just passed election rhetoric might have expected, the timid uncoordinated opposition revealed stunning weakness out of the Speaker’s office.  Ultimately, the final bill funded all aspects of immigration laws with increases to those agencies responsible for caring for the illegal surge that was orchestrated in the late summer.  As a concession, the bill only funded the Department of Homeland Security until late February – a complete and total victory for Obama and his program to fundamentally transform America.
When arguing in favor of the bill, President Obama crowed that it was a victory because it didn’t touch his three major funding priorities: Executive Amnesty, his environmental policy and Obamacare.
Shortly after Congress lifted the threat of using the power of the purse against his policies by passing long-term government funding, Obama slapped them in the face by normalizing relations with Cuba in contravention of U.S. law.
The 67 House Republicans who voted against the lame duck government funding bill instead preferring a short-term Continuing Resolution covering the small part of the government that is not on automatic pilot have been vindicated.  The President promises to continue executive action after executive action to impose his will, and absent a willingness to use the power of the purse, there is little the House can do to stop him.
The problem with getting positive reviews in the Washington Post for “governing” is that every time you do it, you move the country farther to the left.  Obama is in legacy, not compromise, mode, and if the Republican majority helps him solidify the changes he has made to America over the objections of the people, they will be no less culpable for the sad outcome than those who actively supported them.
Now is the time to throw sand in the gears of Obama’s regulatory machine using every means available before it grinds the free enterprise engine of our economy to a pulp.
Rick Manning is vice president of public policy and communications for Americans for Limited Government

UN Arms Trade Treaty

Another reason to quit the UN
Bad News: this UN Weapons Treaty has been signed by 50 countries – including the US
It was sold to the world as a step forward, a United Nations initiative that would stop the sale of guns to terrorists and mass murderers. In reality, the UN’s Arms Trade Treaty is problematic in a number of ways. It curtails the ability of Israel to defend itself, it gives left-wing activists purchase in dictating American foreign policy, and finally, it reinforces the agenda of anti-gun advocates here at home.
The ATT was ratified by 50 nations, and it went into affect on December 24, 2014. The Obama administration signed the treaty in 2013, arguing that it is simply a restatement of the current system of export controls, and saying it will have no impact on firearms ownership in the United States. Republicans in Congress have pushed back, especially Senator Jerry Moran from Kansas, Senator James Inhofe from Oklahoma, and Representative Mike Kelly of Pennsylvania.
Ted Bromund, senior research fellow at the Heritage Institute, writes of his concerns in the Daily Signal:
The U.S. firearms market is international, and the treaty certainly can affect U.S. imports. Moreover, the campaign for it was led by organizations and individuals with a long record of hostility to private firearms ownership. And the UN has weighed in by trying to link the agreement to other initiatives that are explicitly designed to restrict firearms ownership.
The claim that the ATT has no implications for U.S. arms exports also is wrong. If we followed the terms of the treaty, we wouldn’t be able to waive our human rights screening requirements to arm rebels in Syria. And in fact, the treaty advocates are already criticizing the administration and Congress for doing exactly that by arguing that the U.S. is violating the ATT.
The long run game of the treaty advocates is simple: Claim the ATT is international law and that it therefore binds the U.S., even if the Senate never ratifies the treaty. They want to sneak the treaty into the U.S. through the back door, because the Senate has nailed the front door shut.
As Bromund explains, however, Americans can still act to protect our country from intrusion into our Second Amendment rights. To do so, Congress must continue to stay vigilant and show strong leadership, and resist “the creation of treaty precedents and procedures that would restrict our sovereignty.”

GOP Presidential Candidates

16 for '16: The Most Talked-About GOP Presidential Contenders, Tuesday, 30 Dec 2014 06:54 PM, by Todd Beamon and Bill Hoffmann

With former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush's announcement this month that he would "actively explore" a run for the White House in 2016, the race for the Republican nomination has begun.

Bush is among many possible contenders. They span the full conservative spectrum, from tea party-based legislators like Texas Sen. Ted Cruz to former three-time New York Gov. George Pataki and other moderates and liberals including New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.

The winner may possibly square off against former Democrat Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. She is expected to announce her decision early next year.

"It is going to be a big field," Kyle Kondik, a political analyst for the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia, recently told Newsmax. "There's going to be a lot of capable people in the field."

Here's a snapshot of 16 possible contenders (listed alphabetically) for the 2016 Republican nomination:

John Bolton
Age: 66; U.S. ambassador to the United Nations under former President George W. Bush; married, one child.
Pros: Strong foreign policy credentials; considered honest, straightforward and direct.
Cons: Seen as lacking in charisma; considered a neoconservative and a war hawk.
Related Story:
John Bolton: 'Let's Keep the North Koreans Guessing'

Jeb Bush
Personal: Age: 61; former two-term governor of Florida; son of former President George H.W. Bush and brother of former President George W. Bush; married, three children.
Pros: Regarded as a successful and popular governor in a key battleground state; member of the Bush political dynasty; has high Latino support; speaks Spanish.
Cons: Has the electorate had enough of the Bush family? If he runs against Hillary Clinton, one could ask the same question about that surname. Backs Common Core and immigration reform, two unpopular issues with Republicans.
Related Story:
Jeb Bush Continues to Resign from Boards as 2016 Run Talk Grows

Dr. Ben Carson
Age: 63; retired director of pediatric neurosurgery, Johns Hopkins University Hospital; married, three children.
Pros: Rational, plain speaking; brilliant medical background; gained national attention with biting speech against Obamacare at the 2013 National Prayer Breakfast, as President Barack Obama sat on the dais.
Cons: Has never held political office and lacks political experience on any level; likely considered a one-trick-pony opposing Obamacare.
Related Story:
Ben Carson: Obama Helping Illegals While Appalachia, Cities Rot

Chris Christie
Age: 52; re-elected to second term as governor of New Jersey; former U.S. Attorney for New Jersey; married, four children.
Pros: Republican most likely to appeal to Democrats; has a straightforward, no-nonsense style some find refreshing.
Cons: Falling approval ratings since Bridge-gate scandal, including negative scores on handling the economy and other statewide issues; continued flubs on Israel, Cuba and other foreign-affairs issues; personal style continues to rankle some, who feel he comes off as a manipulative bully; considered too liberal by many Republicans.
Related Story:
Quinnipiac Poll: Christie's Approval Ratings Remain 'On Tepid Track'

Ted Cruz
Personal: Age: 44; in first term as U.S. senator from Texas; married, two children.
Pros: Beloved in the Bible Belt and considered a tea party darling; staunch opposition to Obamacare and amnesty for illegal immigrants and support for conservative ideals have endeared him to the GOP faithful; Cuban heritage aligns him with Hispanics.
Cons: Attacked for amnesty opposition move during recent $1.1 trillion budget debate that helped outgoing Democrat Majority Leader Harry Reid get 23 long-stalled nominees of President Barack Obama confirmed; intelligent but can come off as arrogant; opposition from shutdown strategy in 2013 is still raw among some Republicans.
Related Story:
Ted Cruz: 'Not One Dime' Should Go to Obama's Amnesty Order

Mike Huckabee
Personal: Age: 59; former governor of Arkansas; ordained Baptist minister; married, three children.
Pros: Personable and glib; veteran TV and radio broadcaster with high visibility; former Southern Baptist pastor with strong religious support; strong on core conservative social principles.
Cons: Has threatened to leave the Republican Party and run as an independent over gay marriage, alienating some moderate conservatives; the Club for Growth opposes him for fiscal policies while governor; has distanced some women with "Uncle Sugar" comments; failed to develop momentum for the nomination in 2008, despite winning some states.
Related Story:
Huckabee: 'No Place for Me' if GOP Doesn't Fight Gay Marriage

Bobby Jindal
Age: 43; in second term as governor of Louisiana; former U.S. representative; married, three children.
Pros: Would bring double diversity to the White House as an Indian-American and a southerner; has an impressive resume as a public servant, from, governor, to congressman, president of the state university system and assistant secretary of Health and Human Services, which would give him an inside track on fixing Obamacare.
Cons: Dubbed "the sleeper candidate" of 2016 by The Washington Post, he has not fared well in Iowa voter polls; reflects a broader inability to develop traction nationally; his biggest moment in the national spotlight, the 2009 GOP response to the State of the Union, was not well received.
Related Story:
Bobby Jindal Draws Criticism Over Prayer Event Participation

John Kasich
Personal: Age: 62; governor of Ohio; former U.S. representative; married, two children.
Pros: Impressive political background: former U.S. congressman, Ohio senator; chairman of the House Budget Committee.
Cons: As was the case in 2000, when he considered a presidential run, Kasich has little national presence and is not a factor in most polls; expanded Medicaid in Ohio over GOP opposition and is perceived as a compromiser; received negative attention several years ago after calling a cop an "idiot" for giving him a traffic ticket.
Related Story:
John Kasich: Caring About Needy Doesn't Make Me a RINO

George Pataki
Age: 69; former three-time governor of New York; married, four children.
Pros: Considered tough on crime, he signed more than 100 new bills to change the Empire State's criminal statutes; reinstated the death penalty, though it was suspended by a state appeals court.
Cons: Has made similar statements about seeking the nomination in 2008 and 2012 to no avail; has not been in office since before the rise of the tea party in 2009; considered a moderate whose views may not mesh with today's more conservative GOP.
Related Story:
Pataki: De Blasio Has 'Created a Climate of Mistrust'

Rand Paul
Personal: Age: 51; U.S. senator from Kentucky; son of former congressman and presidential candidate Ron Paul; married, three children.
Pros: Plain-speaking conservative with a solid record of backing core Republican values, such as the Second Amendment, immigration, and lower taxes; can build on the following his father developed during his previous presidential runs.
Cons: Kentucky election laws bar him from being on the ballot for a second senatorial term and for president at the same time; strongly perceived as isolationist on foreign policy; libertarian views on gay marriage could alienate many conservatives.
Related Story:
Rand Paul Opposes Extending the Patriot Act

Rick Perry
Personal: Age: 64; ending 14th year as governor of Texas; married, two children.
Pros: Longest-serving Texas governor; can tout a strong record of creating jobs and keeping taxes low; his strong stance against abortion made national news.
Cons: Campaign could be affected by indictment on alleged abuse of power charges, accused of pressuring a Democrat prosecutor to resign after a conviction on drunken driving; still trails fellow Texan Ted Cruz in visibility; he could be haunted by gaffes from his unsuccessful presidential run in 2012.
Related Story:
Political Strategists Slam Rick Perry Indictment as 'Outrageous'

Mitt Romney
Age: 67; lost 2012 race to President Barack Obama; former Massachusetts governor; married, five children.
Pros: Successful corporate executive who eliminated a projected $1.5 billion state deficit; helped develop and enact healthcare reform legislation; campaigned extensively for GOP candidates during 2014 midterm season; continues to lead field of possible contenders, including Jeb Bush, in national polls.
Cons: Seen as top choice of Republican Party establishment; "47 percent" comments still resonate negatively with some voters; healthcare program viewed as model for scandal-plagued Obamacare; Jeb Bush could knock him out of the running for the nomination; Romney has said he first would see how the field shapes up before making a decision.
Related Story:
Quinnipiac Poll: Americans Want Mitt Romney to Run in 2016

Marco Rubio
Age 43; in first term as U.S. senator from Florida; former speaker of the Florida House; married, four children.
Pros: Charismatic and politically savvy; popular with Latinos; gained national attention with "Gang of Eight" immigration legislation; he is Obama administration's harshest critic over resuming ties with Cuba.
Cons: Has to give up Senate seat to run for president; could possibly square off with Jeb Bush, a political mentor; has clashed with Rand Paul over Cuba; like Jindal, has failed to take advantage of his opportunity on the national stage.
Related Story:
Team Rubio: Bush Presidential Bid Won't Deter Senator

Paul Ryan
Age: 44; U.S. representative from Wisconsin; to chair House Ways and Means Committee in new Congress; former chairman of the House Budget Committee; GOP vice presidential candidate on Mitt Romney ticket in 2012; married, three children.
Pros: High approval ratings within GOP; a conservative hero who champions cutting spending, taxes, and entitlements; expected to get higher profile with Ways and Means chairmanship; scored bipartisan points from 2013 budget deal with Democratic Sen. Patty Murray.
Cons: Was part of the Romney presidential disaster; voted against President Obama's $787 billion stimulus bill but sought funds for Wisconsin; "fiscal hawk" reputation has been further questioned by his support of several "budget-busting" bills; described as "the ultimate congressional technocrat" by Politico, Ryan's image of putting forth strong, yet heartless, legislation could backfire among moderate Republicans.
Related Story:
Paul Ryan on Presidency: If Romney Runs in 2016, I Won't

Rick Santorum
Age: 56; former U.S. senator from Pennsylvania; former U.S. representative; married, eight children (one deceased).
Pros: Squeaky-clean and scandal free; one of the GOP's most respected social conservatives with a strong record opposing abortion and gay marriage.
Cons: Had a reputation as a spender in Congress; came in second to Mitt Romney for the 2012 nomination, with a showing that was better than expected; will still need to raise money in a crowded field, with the great chance of little national media attention; might be considered too evangelical.
Related Story:
Rick Santorum Prepping for 2016 Run as 'Underdog'

Scott Walker
Age: 47; re-elected as governor of Wisconsin; married, two children.
Pros: Dynamic speaker who showed off his substantial political skills in beating back a 2012 recall effort; places ahead of several potential contenders in recent polls.
Cons: Won re-election in a race that had been close for months; he took a beating from labor unions and teachers in his recall challenge; has fallen short of campaign goals for creating jobs; candidacy could be hampered by a state investigation into whether he violated campaign laws, though no charges were filed; lacks foreign policy experience.
Related Story:
Scott Walker on Amnesty: Frustrated Obama 'Disregards' the Law

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I prefer Rand Paul, a thoughtful Constitutionalist with high scores on the Club for Growth and Conservative Review. Kentucky needs to let him run and still retain his Senate Seat.

Norb Leahy, Dunwoody GA Tea Party Leader

Political Speech Persecution Ahead

Big money protects its control. Conservative political speech is under attack.
And we could be next, friend. by Jon Cassidy,12/30/14
It’s a brilliant misnomer, “dark money,” the sort of thing you’d expect from the consultant Frank Luntz, if Luntz were a Democrat. The term is a work of semiotic genius, tapping into fears so powerful they manage to convince Americans that free speech isn’t such a good idea after all. It’s flagrantly pejorative, but respectable newspapers use it anyway. Reporters rarely question transparency, of course. This sort of transparency, however, is starting to look more like the Inquisition.
The common alternative term, “outside spending,” is better, but only because it’s so unintentionally revealing of the proprietary attitude that politicians hold toward their offices. They do the talking; we get to press the red button or the blue one. The rightful course of political speech is mudslinging depravity funded by official accounts. The rest of us are outsiders, presumed suspect, and any views we might advertise about Obamacare or collective bargaining should be seen as part of a plot by usurping billionaires.
So the media call it “dark money,” never stopping to consider that the reason they lack a decent noun is that they’re describing something that isn’t quite real. Instead, dark money is an entire category of spending, bordered by only vague notions.
The first border involves electioneering and campaign finance, politics carried out under state control, all the things you can’t say about public issues and figures without first consulting a lawyer and hiring an accountant. This border is vague — “a line drawn in the sand on a windy day,” as the Supreme Court has put it more than once — but it’s real enough. Use a couple of magic words and pass one three-pronged test or another and you’ll find yourself in front of the Federal Election Commission. This is the border that gets all the attention from journalists, who worry about sinister operatives working just over the line, mujahedeen among the civilians.
It’s the other border, however, that should concern the rest of us. The problem is that there is no reliable line separating dark money from everyday talk about politics. A definition many states are settling on in some version is that two or more people plus some money equals a political group that needs to disclose its affairs. So laws touted as the antidote to billionaire influence end up ensnaring common citizens. You might say they’re meant to. That’s why the states are setting such low cutoffs: any two people who collect $500 or $200 or even expect a single political dollar had better register and report, or face fines and even felonies.
Under the new rules, you’d have to revise that sappy Margaret Mead quote beloved of undergrad activists about never doubting “that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world” to include something about registration requirements. Hell, under these rules, Occupy Wall Street probably counts as dark money.
There is no proper boundary for dark money because there is no end to political speech. And, like anything else, political speech can be seen in financial terms. You could be sitting alone in your room posting your thoughts on abortion to Facebook, and some regulator might see that as dark money at work. It sounds fanciful, sure, until you talk to Diana Hsieh.
Hsieh dared to post an essay on abortion to Facebook that included a sentence about a measure on the ballot. She was fined by the state of Colorado for missing one of the endless reporting deadlines. As the theory went, she had a co-author, and she accepted a few donations, so she had to report her political activity to the state. Federal courts ruled the requirement constitutionally “invalid,” but the Democrats who’ve been running the Colorado legislature refuse to amend the law.
Some states don’t even bother with the money requirement. In 2011, Dina Galassini of Arizona invited twenty-three friends to join her on a public street to wave signs against a bond issue. A week later, she got a cease-and-desist letter from city officials telling her that this sort of thing wasn’t permissible unless she registered with the state as a political action committee, and followed onerous recordkeeping and reporting requirements. A federal court struck down Arizona’s definition earlier this month.
By one count, there are eighteen bills pending in state legislatures to regulate dark money. In October, Ann Ravel, vice chair of the FEC, wrote that the commission had “turned a blind eye to the Internet’s growing force in the political arena” for too long, and that it was time to end exemptions for “certain types of Internet communications from campaign finance regulations.” What Ravel proposes is to treat freely provided Internet content as political advertising subject to regulation; in her view, you don’t even have to spend money to qualify as dark money. Of course, without that distinction, your blog, your independent newspaper, and your Facebook page are all subject to regulation, too. (If you want more examples, see a six-part series I’ve got running at this week.)
When Ravel was a regulator in California, she tried unsuccessfully to require everyone who blogged about state politics, even those outside the state, to disclose their personal finances. For these so-called reformers, it’s not enough to regulate money donated to a candidate. If you believe the problem is that “sham issue ads” are influencing elections, then you need full disclosure from every group engaged in issue discussion of any sort. If the reformers manage to shut down super PACs, they’ll target nonprofit think tanks next, and any other dissenting political groups organized as nonprofit corporations. The Internal Revenue Service already started in on Tea Party groups, of course. That was no aberration. Lois Lerner came from the FEC. She was just jumping the gun.
As long as there is privacy in politics, even way out at the margins, such as with some home school coalition that mails out endorsements by newsletter, then the progressives will call it a hiding place for subversive elements and dark money. This is why their movement is coming to resemble the Inquisition.
The first victims of the Inquisition were the heretic Waldensians, proto-Protestants who insisted on Biblical primacy and rejected the supremacy of the Pope and his priestly hierarchy. Much the same, the new heretics are those groups who insist on Constitutional primacy and reject presumptuous authorities and their self-serving doctrines written in strange tongues.
The Center for Competitive Politics, along with the Institute for Justice, is one of the leading national advocates for the heretics, challenging state authority to go rummaging through the papers and donation records of private associations that have little or nothing to do with the campaigns of elected officials. So it’s fitting that California Attorney General Kamala Harris, on no more textual authority than Torquemada had in the Bible, is demanding that CCP turn over donor records filed in confidence with the Internal Revenue Service. Federal law specifically prohibits state authorities from accessing the 501(c)(3) donor records kept by the IRS, but Harris is demanding them anyway from CCP and Americans for Prosperity, one of the free market advocacy groups associated with Charles and David Koch.
In this, Harris closely resembles John Patterson, the attorney general of Alabama in the late ’50s who fought the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People for more than eight years with the support of the state’s courts, who agreed this “foreign corporation” was doing “irreparable damage” to the state. Patterson demanded that the NAACP turn over “charters in Alabama, membership lists, names of persons who had contributed money in the past year, records of property ownership, bank statements, and correspondence dealing with civil rights activities.”
The NAACP turned over most of it, but refused to give up the names of its members. Thurgood Marshall, then counsel to the NAACP, had to go the Supreme Court four times over eight years to get compliance out of Alabama. The high court, however, was unanimous that loss of privacy would have a “chilling effect” that would “induce members to withdraw from the Association and dissuade others from joining it because of fear of exposure of their beliefs shown through their associations and of the consequences of this exposure,” such as “economic reprisal, loss of employment, threat of physical coercion, and other manifestations of public hostility.”
In these cases, Harris and her cohort argue that there’s no evidence that anybody will face harassment or reprisal. But in AFP’s case, her argument is ridiculous. The Koch brothers are at the center of a campaign of vilification by association, the biggest and most vile such campaign that I’ve ever seen. There is now a whole subgenre of shoddy journalism dedicated to the proposition that any group within six degrees of separation from the brothers must somehow be suspect. All this calumny over “dark money networks” demonstrates exactly why donors are so interested in maintaining their privacy, and why the Supreme Court may soon have to revindicate that right.
For thirty years, it was settled law that issue advocacy, unlike “express advocacy” of a candidate, was constitutionally protected speech; then Chief Justice John Roberts inserted a fussy little footnote into a 2007 ruling calling the venerable distinction a mere “intermediate step of statutory construction.” It was a technically accurate but wildly misleading way to describe the animating principle of Buckley v. Valeo (1976), and it was all a few lower courts needed to decide that states now had the authority to demand the donor rolls of national organizations that speak out on state ballot issues.
Then, in Citizens United, Roberts did it again, dropping this line with no explanation: “Disclosure is the less-restrictive alternative to more comprehensive speech regulations.” The fact that the phrase is a tautology is just one clue that it was unconsidered. More importantly: who should have to disclose what and when? As you might expect, some liberal lower courts are treating the phrase as a magic wand, unlocking whatever any official wants to know.
I hope Roberts thinks the matter through, and soon, or we’re going to end up with the deep-pocketed players running their operations through for-profit corporations, just so that they can speak freely beyond the grasp of the inquisitors.
Meanwhile, the Galassinis and Hsiehs out there are overshadowed by uncertainty just for exercising their basic rights. As it stands, state regulators are not yet big enough or corrupt enough to menace everyone who speaks out. Your tweets do not threaten the powers that be — at least until you start getting results. If you’re like Michael Quinn Sullivan, a Texas conservative whose legislative scorecard has embarrassed the RINOs running the statehouse and cost them dearly, you’ll find that just about anything you say, tweet or email, is a potential violation of lobbying or campaign law. For the last three years, a state commission controlled by political appointees has been hounding Sullivan under evolving legal theories about his scorecard: it's illegal lobbying; it's illegal campaigning; it's an illegal Mexican cockfight ring. The problem with the law in Texas and many other states is that it's broad enough to allow for a criminal interpretation of just about any combination of money and influence; it's a standing invitation to abuse of power.
In the end, the courts will likely uphold Sullivan’s speech rights and reject the politically motivated rulings of the commission, but a favorable court verdict after years of harassment is beside the point in these cases, as Noam Chomsky of all people recognized.
“Surely it is clear that those who have the power to impose their interpretation of legitimacy will so construct and construe the legal system as to permit them to root out their enemies,” Chomsky wrote in 1973. “Judicial persecution serves quite well to immobilize people who are a nuisance to the state, and to destroy organizations with limited resources or to condemn them to ineffectiveness. The hours and dollars devoted to legal defense are not spent in education, organization, and positive action. The government rarely loses a political trial, whatever the verdict of the courts, as specialists in thought control are no doubt well aware.”

Obama’s Illegal Slush Fund

Mel Watt's Christmas Gift To ACORN And Democrats
Posted on IBD, 12/30/14, 06:12 PM ET
Cronyism: The Obama regime has quietly ordered Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to start donating hundreds of millions of dollars a year to a permanent affordable-housing slush fund for Democratic activist groups.
Earlier this month, while few were paying attention, Federal Housing Finance Agency chief Mel Watt sent letters to the mortgage giants to "set aside in each fiscal year 4.2 basis points of each dollar of unpaid principal balance of new business purchases to be allocated to the Housing Trust Fund and the Capital Magnet Fund."
That's a 0.042% tax to equip the funds. HUD will run the housing fund; the Treasury Department will run the capital fund.
If the funds had been operating in 2010, when Fannie and Freddie together bought $856 billion in new mortgages, Fannie and Freddie would have pumped a whopping $360 million into the funds. Estimates put their total for fiscal
2015 at half a billion dollars.
The money will help build apartments for extremely low-income Americans, says Watt, the former Congressional Black Caucus leader whom President Obama hand-picked to regulate Fannie and Freddie. The funds will also help the
poor afford their own homes through down payments and other assistance.
But nonprofit housing activist groups will distribute the funds. So count on money being diverted to ACORN fronts and clones, beholden to the Democratic Party, who in the past have laundered housing grant money to finance political campaigns.
As we've reported previously, ACORN affiliates are still operational in New York and other cities, having renamed themselves after ACORN was busted for fraud and corruption during the 2008 presidential campaign. They're also still receiving HUD housing grants.
In the past, these groups have used HUD grants to pressure banks to make ill-advised home loans that sped the mortgage crisis. Now a permanently funded war chest will aid their shakedown ‹ courtesy of taxpayers still on the hook for Fannie and Freddie.
The last thing the nation needs is another Washington scheme that further politicizes the lending and home-building markets. Yet rest assured that will be the end result of these national housing funds. Making matters worse, they're unaccountable to congressional appropriators, making them ripe for corruption and cronyism. We're talking about billions
of dollars funneling through left-wing nonprofits and floating around in urban reinvestment projects sponsored by the likes of Rahm Emanuel and Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson.
With this potential $500 million slush fund, moreover, the Obama regime is effectively turning Fannie and Freddie into off-budget welfare agencies, indeed, a self-sustaining shadow government for the left wing that will survive even Republican administrations.
Now we know what the president really had in mind when he promised to "reform" the bankrupt mortgage giants.
Read More At Investor's Business Daily:

Stop All Immigration

Immigration time bomb about to explode on GOP Census report headlines overlook why foreign-born favor the left by Garth Kant, 12/30/14 
WASHINGTON – A creeping revolution is underway that’s stealthily altering the very core of America and the ideals for which its ancestors fought and died in freedom’s cause.
The phenomenon is leading the country toward embracing the very thing President Thomas Jefferson abhorred: ever-bigger government.
And it’s coming from a seemingly harmless policy many Americans embrace.
Legal immigration.
The numbers don’t lie. The U.S. is experiencing an immigration explosion never before seen in its history:
  • According to U.S. Census numbers, immigration averaged only 195,000 per year from 1921 through 1970.
  • With the change in immigration law in 1965, immigration levels skyrocketed from an average of 250,000 to one million a year.
  • The number of foreign-born persons in the U.S. has doubled from 1990 to 2010, almost tripled since 1980, and quadrupled since 1970.
  • As of the last census in 2010, 40 million immigrants were in the U.S.
  • Forty-million immigrants is about 13-percent of the total U.S. population of 320,009,000 the Census Bureau estimated on Jan 1, 2014.
  • A recent report from the Congressional Research Service indicated the foreign-born population may increase by another 27.4 million people by 2022, climbing from 40.8 million in 2012 to 58.3 million after ten years.
Republicans have been up in arms over President Obama’s executive action to provide amnesty for five million illegal immigrants. But mostly overlooked have been the even greater changes to the country caused by an unprecedented and decades-long spike in legal immigration, compounded by illegal immigration.
After the release of new population projections by the U.S. Census Bureau earlier this month, most headlines focused on the news that whites will become a minority of Americans by 2044, when they will account for 49.7 percent of the population; Hispanics will be 25 percent; blacks will be 12.7 percent; Asians will be 7.9 percent; and 3.7 will be multiracial.
But the numbers only say what is happening, not why – and how the real story may not be the color of the immigrants’ skin but the content of their politics.
Researchers at the Center for Immigration Studies, or CIS, and the Eagle Forum say the data show immigrants tend to favor big government and vote Democratic, and that has numerous and significant ripple effects.
The key factors, according to their analysis:
  • Current high levels of legal immigration are not the historic norm
  • What matters isn’t race but the politics of countries of origin
  • Immigration is changing the country to favor more big government
  • Democrats are using immigration to increase their power
High level of immigration not the historic norm
Most Americans appear to believe today’s immigration numbers are par for the course, historically. But the numbers actually reflect dramatic change since the 1930s, propelled by a crucial change to immigration law in 1965. The result has been an immigration explosion unlike anything America has ever experienced. A graph of the numbers over the years vividly illustrates just how different today’s astronomical immigration levels are from the historic norm.
Traditionally, the United States allowed relatively few immigrants to legally enter the country, with the exception of two great waves. During the first wave in the 1880s, almost six-million immigrants entered the country. The second wave hit a peak of 8.7 million a little more than 100 years ago. Today’s immigration level dwarfs the previous historic peaks and is ongoing and ever-increasing.
Why is immigration to America booming? Analysts point to the dramatic changes made in immigration policy in 1965 when President Lyndon Johnson signed the Hart-Cellar Immigration Bill into law. According to Steve Camarota of the Center for Immigration studies, or CIS, the 1965 changes unwittingly ushered in a new era of mass immigration.
Admission to the U.S under the old system depended mostly upon an immigrant’s country of birth. Seventy percent of immigration slots were reserved for those from the United Kingdom, Ireland and Germany, and mostly went unused.
That quota system (established in 1921 and most recently modified in 1952) was abolished in 1965, along with other various nationality criteria. Family reunification became the most important criterion for entry into the country. It was the first time relatives of American citizens were given higher preference than those with special job skills.
Camarota said the changes were not meant to increase or decrease immigration. In fact. proponents repeatedly denied the law would lead to a large and sustained increase in immigration. The law was portrayed as an extension of the civil rights movement in America, leveling the playing field for applicants.
Camarota told WND the reason immigration levels began to rise so swiftly after 1965 was due to a large extent on unintended consequences, which Democrats would later learn to use to their advantage.
One factor that drove the numbers was family sponsorship. Once immigrants could sponsor family members the immigration population grew. In turn, there were more people who could then sponsor more relatives, leading to a geometrical growth of immigrants.
CIS found another factor was the expansion of supposedly temporary provisions in the 1986 amnesty law and another expansion in 1990 that increased such things as foreign students and guest workers. The increased interaction between Americans and foreigners in the county led to more people who could marry, and a further expansion of sponsorships.
Politics of countries of origin
According to researchers, the difference in today’s immigrants is they largely come from countries with systems of government much more rooted in social-welfare philosophy than America.
“Basically, they like big government. They like Obamacare, gun control, they like rich paying more taxes, more environmental regulations. As citizens, they generally vote for the party with that orientation,” explained Camorata.
That’s backed up by a comprehensive study by Phyllis Schlafly’s Eagle Forum, based on a compilation of census data and surveys including the Pew Research Center, the Pew Hispanic Center, Gallup, NBC News, Harris polling, the Annenberg Policy Center, Latino Decisions, the Center for Immigration Studies and the Hudson Institute.
The Forum’s survey found “most immigrants come from countries where the government plays a larger role in the economy and society. Their support for expansive government is reinforced by liberal elites in immigrant communities and the liberal urban areas in which so many settle.”
According to the study, 71 percent of voting-age Hispanics and 9 percent of voting-age Asians were either foreign born or had at least one foreign-born parent, and the data showed those voters skewed heavily to the left.
For instance, “Pew Research Center has found that 55 percent of Hispanics have a negative view of capitalism, the highest of any group surveyed. Pew also found that 75 percent of Hispanics prefer a bigger government providing more services, as do 55 percent of Asian-Americans. This compares to just 41 percent of the general public.”
“While the general public was divided in 2012 on Obamacare, 66 percent of Hispanics support it; and three times as many Asian Americans had a favorable opinion of the program as had an unfavorable opinion of it.”
Additionally, contrary to assertions by many Republican politicians who favor amnesty, the research showed most immigrants were not socially conservative.
For example, U.S.-born Hispanics and Asians tended to support abortion and gay rights, while foreign-born Hispanics and Asians were divided.
The study concluded, “more importantly, polls show that immigrants and their children do not vote for candidates based on social issues. Polls indicate that Republicans’ social conservatism does not particularly help or hurt them with voters in immigrant communities.”
The survey also found Hispanics and Asians were not alone in their liberalism, as the data for other immigrants, including Europeans and Muslims, indicated they also had views to the left of the average American voter.
The same pattern was discovered in all Western democracies, with immigrants and their adult children strongly favoring leftist parties.
Immigration is changing the country to favor more big government
The Eagle Forum study’s key conclusion is that immigration is changing the country’s politics by moving the electorate to the left:
“Because immigrants and their adult children overwhelmingly favor big government, there is no issue more important for conservatives than reducing the future number of legal immigrants allowed into the country each year. Otherwise, legal immigration will continue to add millions of liberal voters every decade, making it extremely unlikely that conservatives will be successful on all the issues they care about.” With Hispanics and Asians now accounting for the bulk of immigrants, their views on the role of government have become increasingly relevant.
Camarota told WND another reason why immigration is such a boon to the Democrats is that it transforms society in ways that makes their arguments heard all the more sympathetically.
One obvious factor is that mass immigration from poor countries significantly increases the number of poor in America, and the poor tend to vote Democratic. “One third of all the children in poverty today are in immigrant families. So, you have a much larger low-income population, especially children,” noted Camorata.
That leads to liberal arguments for greater government programs that even independents and moderates might find appealing. “People naturally say, ‘Well, we’ve got to do something about it; those families obviously need help.’”
Camorata noted, as mass immigration dramatically increased the number of low-income workers, there was more pressure to expand specific government programs. “People say, ‘We gotta help them. Let’s increase the value of the earned income tax credit. Make sure all their kids can get Medicaid.’ That’s exactly the way its played out politically over the last 25 years all these low-income workers with kids. ‘Let’s expand Head Start, let’s have universal pre-K, let’s make sure everyone can get WIC and SNAP (the programs that replaced food stamps), Medicaid, those kinds of things.”
Camorata maintained that the need for government assistance is one reason that even the immigrants who may have socially conservative views do not vote conservative. He cited the examples of New York and San Francisco, “probably two of the most heavily immigrant-settled places in the country and they vote overwhelmingly for the Democratic Party. They (immigrants) can be opposed to everything from handing out condoms to gay marriage to subsidized abortion and it doesn’t bother them (to vote for Democrats.)”
“They can be enthusiastic Democrats right alongside the most extreme elements of the liberal social agenda of the Democratic Party. So, what they’re telling us is, these are issues they generally don’t care about or agree with,” and that socially conservative issues do not really resonate with immigrants. Camorata believes Republicans compound the problem by convincing themselves otherwise.
Even though many conservatives believe, based on the weight of their arguments, they can persuade immigrants to move to the right, Camorata said experience suggests otherwise. “People who leave New York state because of its oppressive regulations and so forth, when they get to North Carolina, they vote for those same policies.”
Camarota does believe voters in the rest of the electorate could be persuaded that legal immigration is a severe problem. “If Republicans were to explain why it’s problematic for taxpayers, why it’s making the country so much more densely populated and how that impacts their standard of living, what it means for American workers, there’s no question the public would respond.”
He insisted he Republicans could use the explosion of immigration issue against the Democrats, “But rather than persuading people it will lead to a more liberal agenda, they choose instead to please the electorate.”
Additionally, he notes, the time to make that argument is running short, because the legal immigration population is three times bigger than illegal immigrants, and a good portion of them vote. And soon, he predicts, so will those who are currently illegal immigrants.
Democrats are using immigration to increase their power
The Eagle Forum study succinctly concludes that Democrats understand immigration is an electoral bonanza for liberalism.
While finding most Republicans reluctant to directly address the partisan implications of mass immigration, “Democrats have been quite open about how much immigration is improving their ability to win elections by importing massive numbers of liberal voters.”
The report cites Eliseo Medina, a top official with both the Service Employees International Union and Democratic Socialists of America, as explaining how the expansion of the Democrat electorate through immigration “will solidify and expand the progressive coalition for the future.”
Even though the study claims mass immigration tends to harm those the Democratic Party traditionally has claimed to want to help, such as less-educated workers and minorities, “Immigrants’ liberalism often reflects self-interest, as many benefit from affirmative action and welfare.”
Camorata illustrated that with the real-world example of the health-care debate. “What was one of the chief justifications for Obamacare? Thirty-five million people without health insurance, and that number’s up 15 million since 1990. See what I mean? It’s really, really helpful to have all those low-income people, all those uninsured people, when you want to make an argument for more expansive government. And, the beauty of it is, you also increase the number of voters who are sympathetic to that argument.”
He described how the government uses the Current Population Survey primarily to get data on who doesn’t have health insurance, and the survey asks whether a person is an immigrant and when he or she came to America.
Camorota said that makes it very easy to calculate the impact of immigrants and their children on the total uninsured population. And for the last decade-and-a-half, two-thirds to three-quarters of the growth of the uninsured has been immigrants and their children.“It is perfectly accurate to say that the nation’s health insurance crisis is being directly driven by its immigration policy.”
When did Democrats realize mass immigration was a leftist boon that could be exploited at the polls? “By the 1980s, people in the Democratic Party realized what was happening. Prior to that, they weren’t sure how the immigrants were going to vote. But then I think they realized these were people who largely were in need of public services.”
Compounding the situation, establishment Republicans have supported amnesty and mass immigration in a perhaps quixotic effort to woo foreign-born voters away from Democrats.
A case in point is former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, the first Republican to indicate he will run for president in 2016.
“I think there’s a compelling case that if we want to be young and dynamic again, we have to make legal immigration easier than illegal immigration, that we control our borders, that we enforce the laws, but that we embrace our immigrant heritage and allow this country to take off,” said Bush recently in an interview.
However, his reference to “our immigration heritage” would seem to be undercut by the Eagle Forum findings that high levels of immigration are not the historic norm.
Carmorata attributes the common misperception that immigration levels traditionally have been high to simple ignorance.
“If you were to ask the average Republican or Democratic members of Congress how many legal immigrants there are, they couldn’t guess. If you were to tell them there are 30 million legal immigrants in the U.S., that’s one out of every 10 adults in the U.S. They would be surprised.”
He also attributed the misconception to sentimentality.
“Folks remember Great-Grandma from Minsk; she was a wonderful person. There’s a certain kind of reflexive sentimentality that is probably very ahistorical that doesn’t reflect the actual impact of those immigrants, and would be not particularly relevant to the current situation.”
He said, back then the government was spending 4 or 5 percent of the GDP on immigrants at every level of government, whereas now it is more like 35 percent.
The Eagle Forum study indicated another comment by Bush to be a common misconception when he said “[I]f we want to be young and dynamic again we have to make legal immigration easier than illegal immigration.”
The study found, “Immigrants age like everyone else and their fertility is not that much higher than that of the native-born population,” citing a “Census Bureau conclusion based on projections done in 2000 that immigration is a ‘highly inefficient’ means for increasing the percentage of the population that is of working age in the long run.”
The study also cited a 1992 article in Demography, “the leading academic journal in the field,” which found “constant inflows of immigrants, even at relatively young ages, do not necessarily rejuvenate low-fertility populations. In fact, immigration may even contribute to population aging.”
Another reason often cited as to why establishment Republicans support amnesty and increased legal immigration is pressure from corporate interests to provide ever-cheaper labor.
Camarota noted, “I would say there’s a lot of bipartisanship on immigration. It reflects the stupidity of the Republican party and maybe the indifference to American workers and taxpayers of the Democratic Party.”
And, given public misconceptions about immigration, someone such as House Majority Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, isn’t politically compelled to oppose amnesty or mass immigration.
However, Camatora is mystified as to why such a fiscally conservative congressman such as Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wisc., “can’t see the desire for smaller government is entirely in conflict with mass immigration.” “Why Ryan can’t see it, I have no idea.”
He notes there is a school of thought in the GOP that the way to manage mass immigration is with guest workers, but said that has been proven not to work, historically.
“They think this is a way of getting labor without letting them vote. Of course, everybody knows, it will result in large-scale permanent settlement, but the Republicans kind of convince themselves it won’t.”
“Some people will want to go back, but we also know that in every single society that’s ever tried to have a guest worker program from a poor country to a rich country, it’s only resulted in large-scale, permanent settlement over time.”
He pointed to the experience of France with North Africans, Germany and Pakistanis and South Asians, Great Britain and its former colonies and the U.S. with its bracero program with Mexico.
One last factor Camorata noted was that throughout the Western world immigrants have been largely perceived as racial or ethnic minorities, and, as progressive or liberal parties perceive themselves to be the parties of the minorities, immigrants have tended to gravitate their way.
The Eagle Forum study also concluded, “Unfortunately, some immigrants are also attracted to the Democratic Party’s support for identity- and grievance-based politics.”
The ethnic-minority status of most immigrants, Camarota said, has led Republicans to fear opposition to immigration would be perceived as bigotry.
He called that fear “palpable” within the GOP, which leads them to see support for immigration as a way of combating the bigotry label.
“It allows people like Ryan to say yes I oppose affirmative action, yes I oppose all those social programs that are heavily supported by black and Hispanic voters, but I’m not a bigot because I want mass immigration.”
In conclusion, the Eagle Forum report found “the factors contributing to immigrants’ liberalism are largely outside of the Republican Party’s control.”
The only solution, it maintained, was not for Republicans to embrace immigration but to try and reduce it and to educate voters about its effects.
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