Sunday, January 26, 2014

Current Events - January 26, 2014

Where’s Walsh-O?

By Jazz Shaw
Bullock may be having second thoughts if he was really planning to appoint Walsh though, and the Democrats might have moved a bit quicker than they’d like. Since the news broke, observers have been noticing that there are more than a few odd things going on with the Lt. Governor, starting with the rather unusual launch of his Senate campaign.

Hilltop Public Solutions has been hired to run Montana Lt. Gov. John Walsh’s campaign for U.S. Senate. This comes just weeks after Montana Democratic U.S. House candidate John Lewis announced that his campaign ship would have Hilltop at the helm.
Walsh announced his candidacy last Thursday via a YouTube video that is now the main feature on his campaign website. The news broke that Hilltop was running the campaign when Hilltop strangely stated that Walsh was not available to talk to reporters on the day he launched his campaign.
“Walsh, through his campaign consultant, refused to make himself available to reporters for an interview,” wrote Lee Newspapers state reporter Mike Dennison in the original version of a story announcing Walsh’s bid. “The consultant, Hilltop Public Solutions, would not explain why Walsh wouldn’t talk directly to the media.”
This had some locals wondering if Walsh even wants to be a Senator in the first place. Who announces a campaign for a US Senate seat and doesn’t take questions or give interviews at the launch? Well… maybe somebody who has some other concerns to address in the background. As John Fund reported, Walsh is facing ethics charges over some of his previous official dealings.

If Walsh is appointed it will be in spite of serious ethical charges lodged against him when he was head of the Montana National Guard. A 2010 U.S. Army inspector general’s report found that Walsh had improperly used his position for personal gain. It also said he had improperly used government resources and improperly used a non-federal entity.
But Walsh kept his job and was never disciplined because his boss at the time, then–Democratic governor Brian Schweitzer deep-sixed the inspector general’s findings.
There were more stories beyond the ethics complaints, including the allegation that Walsh had gone on his Facebook page and “liked” a picture of female breasts … “accidentally.” The account was later scrubbed and the “like” disappeared. Of course, the real scandal here isn’t that he liked the photo. (Who doesn’t like that?) But why scrub it? Take a position and stick with it, even if it involves full figured women.
The pressure may be getting to the prospective candidate and it seemed to come to a head during the Democrats’ Yellowstone Dinner candidate forum. The main problem with the event was that Walsh failed to show up, prompting the campaign manager for one of his primary opponents to take to Twitter about it.
Bob Brigham @BobBrigham
Huge crowd at Yellowstone Dems' dinner. John Walsh's conspicuous absence - though he's in Billings today - is big topic.
  Bob Brigham @BobBrigham
Walsh blowing off the Dem dinner in state's largest town is latest in string of rookie mistakes. Not ready for prime time...
So where’s Waldo er… I mean Walsh-O? You’d think someone preparing to enter the upper chamber and campaign for a full term there would be anxious to get out and press the flesh with the public. He’s got an appearance scheduled for this week, on January 29th, in Washington, DC. Will he show up? I’m guessing there will be some interested parties on hand to see.

Meet the Kronies: A Team of Politically Inspired Big Government Action Figures

 By Doug Giles
The Kronies are in action: Mandating, Tarrify-ing, Inflating, and Boondoggling their way to profits powered by their special connection to the G-Force.
One of the biggest lies in politics is the idea that big government is force to constrain big corporate power. It’s the big lie at the heart of well-intentioned liberal calls for more government intervention into the economy. It takes a certain amount of ignorance, willful or not, to maintain this big lie in the face of actual reality. Crony deals have always been the norm for government intervention from Obamacare, to “green” energy subsidies, to no-bid military boondoggles, union-machine politicking and Wall Street back room bailouts.
Now, there’s an insane new web series that shines a hilarious spotlight on the left’s big lie while putting up a mirror to crony hypocrisy on the right as well. Meet The Kronies! A team of politically inspired action figures: Kaptain Korn, Parts & Labor, Ariel Stryker, Bankor the Prophet and their leader Big G. 

The political exhibitionism of the State of the Union

By George F Will
 As undignified as it is unedifying and unnecessary, the vulgar State of the Union circus is again at our throats. The document that the Constitutional Convention sent forth from Philadelphia for ratification in 1787 was just 4,543 words long, but this was 17 too many. America would be a sweeter place if the Framers had not included this laconic provision pertaining to the president: “He shall from time to time give to the Congress information of the state of the union.”
“Information”? Not exactly. 
The Constitution’s mild requirement has become a tiresome exercise in political exhibitionism, the most execrable ceremony in the nation’s civic liturgy, regardless of which party’s president is abusing it. You worship bipartisanship? There is not a dime’s worth of difference between the ways the parties try to milk partisan advantage from this made-for-television political pep rally.  
...These details probably will not be information that Obama gives to Congress on Tuesday evening, when legislators from the president’s party will bray approval of his bromides and stillborn panaceas, legislators from the other party will be histrionically torpid or sullen and some moral exemplars in the House gallery will be applauded.
In 2010, Chief Justice John Roberts said: “The image of having the members of one branch of government standing up, literally surrounding the Supreme Court, cheering and hollering while the court — according to the requirements of protocol — has to sit there expressionless, I think is very troubling.”
Justice Antonin Scalia no longer attends what he calls “cheerleading sessions.” Justice Clarence Thomas, who says “there’s a lot that you don’t hear on TV — the catcalls, the whooping and hollering and under-the-breath comments,” will not be there Tuesday night. Will Roberts attend? No justices or senior military officers should stoop to being props at these puerile spectacles.

PK'S NOTE: I love this; this is from the comments section of an article about the State of the Union:

This Year, 2014, both Groundhog Day and the State of the Union address will occur on the same day.
This is an ironic juxtaposition of events. One involves a meaningless ritual in which we look to an insignificant creature of little intelligence for prognostication...
The other involves a groundhog. - HarrisonG

The United Whims of America

By Derek Hunter
We are a nation of laws, or at least we used to be.
We have become a nation of subjects living at the mercy of the whims of progressive politicians willing to use government agencies, their positions and a complicit media to trample voter’s rights, silence opposition and impose an agenda voters rejected and reject laws they explicitly supported. If the law can be overruled or ignored by politicians in this way, and government agencies can be weaponized, all while being ignored by the self-appointed “free press,” liberty isn’t just threatened, it’s dead. 
...There are bad laws and wrong laws and laws that don’t work. But the beauty of our system is there is a way to change them – through our representatives. And if our representatives don’t change or pass the laws we want, we can vote in new ones. But the left is moving us toward a new normal, one in which “We The People” are removed from the process. Progressive politicians ignoring or rewriting laws at will moves us from a system where government derives its power from the consent of the governed to one where we exist on the whims of a few politicians.
You may not care now because the whims are in your favor. If you support gay marriage in California or Virginia, you may be quite content with your AG refusing to enforce them. If you support Colorado and Washington flouting federal drug laws by legalizing marijuana and getting the OK from Attorney General Eric Holder, you may be happy now. If you support amnesty, you may support President Obama deciding to treat immigration law as if the DREAM Act were passed by Congress and signed by him.
But whims change. Power passes to people you may not agree with or who take it to an even greater extreme, and their abuses may not be so much to your taste. What then? Where will you go for justice when you realize a right you do care about is gone and its return is dependent upon the whims of someone elected to protect it, only they aren’t interested in giving it back?

Progressive Kristallnacht Coming?

By Tom Perkins
Regarding your editorial "Censors on Campus" (Jan. 18): Writing from the epicenter of progressive thought, San Francisco, I would call attention to the parallels of fascist Nazi Germany to its war on its "one percent," namely its Jews, to the progressive war on the American one percent, namely the "rich."
From the Occupy movement to the demonization of the rich embedded in virtually every word of our local newspaper, the San Francisco Chronicle, I perceive a rising tide of hatred of the successful one percent. There is outraged public reaction to the Google buses carrying technology workers from the city to the peninsula high-tech companies which employ them. We have outrage over the rising real-estate prices which these "techno geeks" can pay. We have, for example, libelous and cruel attacks in the Chronicle on our number-one celebrity, the author Danielle Steel, alleging that she is a "snob" despite the millions she has spent on our city's homeless and mentally ill over the past decades.
This is a very dangerous drift in our American thinking. Kristallnacht was unthinkable in 1930; is its descendent "progressive" radicalism unthinkable now? 

Media Not Very Curious about D’Souza Indictment

By Rick Moran
The indictment of a major critic of the president has elicited little more than yawns from the media.
This is a case where you don’t even have to connect the dots. Just read a little history:

After news broke Thursday that federal prosecutors had charged conservative commentator, author, film-maker and professional Obama-basher Dinesh D’Souza with violating campaign finance laws, Walter Olson at the Overlawyered blog posted on the relatively mild civil sanction meted out to a “big-league trial lawyer” who’d done pretty much the same thing D’Souza is accused of. D’Souza has been indicted for allegedly paying $20,000 to reimburse straw donors to the campaign of Republican Senate candidate Wendy Long, who lost a 2012 contest against incumbent Kirsten Gillibrand. Arkansas trial lawyer Tab Turner, as Overlawyered recounted in 2006, reimbursed donors of $8,000 to John Edwards’ 2004 presidential campaign and just had to cough up a $9,500 civil fine. By highlighting the contrast in his post Thursday, Olson seemed to be suggesting that D’Souza has been selectively targeted for prosecution because he’s so critical of the Obama administration.
Former acting U.S. attorney general George Terwilliger of Morgan, Lewis & Bockius raised the same suggestion in an interview Friday. Terwilliger, who served in the administration of two Republican presidents and later defended noted Los Angeles lawyer Pierce O’Donnell against campaign finance charges similar to those leveled against D’Souza, told me there are “legitimate questions that could be asked about the political motivation for bringing the case.” Want more conspiracy theorism? Dominic Gentile of Gordon Silver, who represented Nevada campaign finance defendant Harvey Whittemore, conducted exhaustive research on so-called conduit payments of the sort D’Souza is accused of making. In Whittemore’s sentencing memo, he documented civil and criminal penalties in “straw donor” cases. “Twenty thousand dollars?” Gentile told me. “I’ve never heard of a $20,000 criminal case” for campaign finance violations.” And at D’Souza’s arraignment Friday in Manhattan federal court, his own lawyer, Benjamin Brafman, told U.S. District Judge Richard Berman that whatever D’Souza did, his conduct wasn’t criminal.
This thing stinks to high heaven of political motivation.
First, there is this very curious note in the DoJ press release on how D’Souza’s crime was discovered:

The Indictment is the result of a routine review by the FBI of campaign filings with the FEC by various candidates after the 2012 election for United States Senator in New York. Mr. Bharara praised the investigative work of the FBI.
How is it possible that a measly $20,000 in donations could leap out at investigators during a “routine review”? Most people charged with this crime front hundreds of thousands of dollars — and end up with far lesser charges. And are we to believe this “routine review” only snared Mr. D’Souza? If $20,000 in contributions leapt out at the FBI, are we to believe that D’Souza is the only contributor guilty of setting up straw donations? Where are the other lawbreakers?

This Is Starting to Look Like a Pattern of Political Moves and Prosecutions

By Bryan Preston
Reader Joe sent this list in. It’s in response to this Ann Althouse post on the indictment of Dinesh D’Souza.
I am not a rocket scientist, but there seems to be some kind of pattern here…maybe you can tell me what it is… (includes items from Ace’s co-blogger Maetenloch)
1.  IRS Targets Conservative groups - IRS auditor reaffirms that conservatives, not liberals, were targeted
2.  IRS Scandal – FBI Closes Case - Obama FBI Closed Case on IRS Targeting Scandal Before Interviewing Single One of 292 Targeted Groups (Video)
3.  IRS Harassed Sarah Palin’s Dad - Revealed: Obama’s IRS Harassed Sarah Palin’s Dad Six Times Since 2008
4.  Federal Court Indicts Director of Anti-Obama Film –  It Begins… Director of Anti-Obama Film “2016: Obama’s America” Indicted by Federal Court
5.  New York Governor’s Dept of Labor Subpoenas James O’Keefe, Project Veritas - NY Governor Cuomo Subpoenas Conservative Activist James O’Keefe
6.  IRS Harasses Secret Hollywood Conservative Group – Demands List of Members
7.  Latina Actress Fired After Appearing in Ad for Tea Party Candidate (Video)
8.  Silencing the Tea Party With New IRS Rules
9.  IRS Targets Veterans, Demands Private Records Of American Legion
10. VIDEO>>> Chuck Schumer Calls on IRS to Target Tea Party Activities
11. Obama Blames FOX News, Rush Limbaugh for His Failures …(Too Much Free Speech)
12. NYC Mayor De Blasio Agrees With Cuomo: Conservatives Need to Get Out (Audio)
This is starting to make Nixon look like a walk in the park…
A pattern indeed, that stretches back to 2010 and the IRS abuse, or 2009 if you include Obama’s joke that he would use the IRS against his opponents.
Here is one more fact. In 2012, Obama’s campaign deliberately disabled safeguards on its website, allowing it to collect illegal foreign donations. It did accept illegal foreign donations; to what extent is unknown. Those donations, and the campaign staff who disabled the safeguards, were never investigated or prosecuted. The media never showed much interest in investigating, either.

By Andrew Klaven
...In part this is just something that happens to an art form as it ages and its energies and variations get played out. Byron’s poetry made him a celebrity. Today, most people couldn’t name a living poet.
But hand in hand with that process of decay comes elitism, and elitism hastens the decline.  When filmmakers can no longer gain the love of the public, they turn to intellectuals and critics for praise and prestige instead. That means they have to flatter these types by representing, affirming and romanticizing their ideas and concerns (see Allen, Woody). The elites declare movies  “ground-breaking,” “innovative,” and “shocking,” whenever they reflect their own narrow and provincial belief system, that system that makes urban intellectuals feel superior and virtuous. A film that transgresses against this belief system (an anti-abortion film, say, or a patriotic war film or an openly capitalist film) is not praised as shocking because the intellectuals are actually shocked by it!
So as art forms die, they metamorphose from a means of entertainment to a form of elite self-love. Once-popular awards like the Oscars become embarrassing gatherings of the privileged applauding their own superiority.
If Hollywood would stop despising the broader audience and make movies that are both intelligent and reflect their concerns (Hannity! The gripping ripped-from-the-headlines story of a…  oh, never mind.), those ticket sales might start climbing back toward 1946 levels, the quality of popular movies might go up, and maybe the Oscars would be worth caring about again. But don’t hold your breath.

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