Author Archives: Matt Vespa

About Matt Vespa

I'm a staunch Republican and a politics junkie who was recently the Executive Director for the Dauphin County Republican Committee in Harrisburg. Before that, I interned with the Republican Party of Pennsylvania in the summer of 2011 and Mary Pat Christie, First Lady of NJ, within the Office of the Governor of NJ in 2010. I was responsible for updating his personal contact list. My first political internship was with Tom Kean Jr's. U.S. Senate campaign in 2006.

Kagan ’09: ‘There is No Federal Constitutional Right to Same-Sex Marriage’

Let’s take a stroll down memory lane.  It’s 2009, and Elena Kagan is answering questions during her confirmation hearing for the position of Solicitor General within the Obama administration. According to William Jacobson at Legal Insurrection, who posted this piece on March 25, this is what she had to say about gay marriage:

1. As Solicitor General, you would be charged with defending the Defense of Marriage Act. That law, as you may know, was enacted by overwhelming majorities of both houses of Congress (85-14 in the Senate and 342-67 in the House) in 1996 and signed into law by President Clinton.

 a. Given your rhetoric about the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy—you called it “a profound wrong—a moral injustice of the first order”—let me ask this basic question: Do you believe that there is a federal constitutional right to samesex marriage?

Answer: There is no federal constitutional right to same-sex marriage.

b. Have you ever expressed your opinion whether the federal Constitution should be read to confer a right to same-sex marriage? If so, please provide details.

Answer: I do not recall ever expressing an opinion on this question.

Since gay marriage has been thrusted into the political limelight again, Jacobson has resurrected his posts about Kagan from three years ago.  Now, when Jacobson posted about Kagan’s remarks, he was criticized by some conservatives, including Hot Air’s Allahpundit, over the semantics.  National Review’sMaggie Gallagher went a bit further, and called Jacobson’s post “shameful.”  Thankfully, Gallagher’s colleague at National Review, Ed Whelan, provided Jacobson with her letter to then-Sen. Arlen Specter (D-Pennsylvania) at the time to clarify the issue.

In a March 18, 2009 letter (embedded below, at pp. 11-12), which is not publicly available but which Whelan kindly provided to me, Kagan supplemented her written answers at the request of Arlen Specter. Here is the language in the letter seized upon by my critics to show that Kagan really didn’t mean what she said, and really just was opining as to the current state of the law:

Constitutional rights are a product of constitutional text as interpreted by courts and understood by the nation’s citizenry and its elected representatives. By this measure, which is the best measure I know for determining whether a constitutional right exists, there is no federal constitutional right to same-sex marriage.

These sentences do make it seem as if Kagan walked away from her prior written statement that “[t]here is no federal constitutional right to same-sex marriage.”

But these sentences are not the full supplemental response. Immediately preceding these sentences was the following language:

I previously answered this question briefly, but (I had hoped) clearly, saying that “[t]here is no federal constitutional right to same-sex marriage.” I meant for this statement to bear its natural meaning.

When the full supplemental statement by Kagan is read in context, there is nothing to suggest that Kagan was walking away from her written statement that there is no federal constitutional right to same-sex marriage.

Of additional interest is that when the Massachusetts Supreme Court found a state constitutional right to same-sex marriage, 18 Harvard Law School professors signed onto an amicus [i.e., friend of the court] brief supporting that ruling. But not Kagan.

Now, it’s Justice Kagan, and I wonder if she still thinks that “there is no federal constitutional right to same-sex marriage.”  Then again, she could just hop on the bandwagon like everyone else.   Sorry Politico, but this is the real ‘gotcha‘ story.

(H/T Legal Insurrection)

Elena Kagan March 18, 2009 Letter to Arlen Specter

When Did Success Become Anathema to Feminists?

We live in a two income household nation, and the days of men being the sole breadwinners are dying.  Women are the majority of wage earners, and if the trends continue, they’ll become the main income earners by 2030.  So, women have made massive strides in the socio-economic landscape, and that’s a good thing.  However, when it comes to successful women, feminists can’t stand them.

It seems idiotic.  Feminists have long clamored that there aren’t enough women in Congress, corporate board rooms, sports, etc., but seem perfectly content with cannibalizing their own when one manages to make it to the top.

Sheryl Sandberg, the Chief Operating Officer of Facebook, and Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer are the newest victims of feminist wrath.  It’s because they go against the norm.  Hanna Rosin aptly noted that Mayer’s critics “believe in collective action,” and anyone that deviates from what the feminist establishment thinks is punished.  Hence, why conservative women are vilified without mercy, despite that fact that some have attained positions of power within male-dominated fields, particularly in politics.  In the world of media, feminist antipathy is no different.

Katie Roiphe of Slate wrote last week that:

The main critiques of Sandberg and Mayer boil down to the fact that they are “not like us.” And yet, it is precisely because they are not like us that we should admire them, or at least be pleased, abstractly, about their existence on earth.

It also seems like a feminist mistake to expect women entrepreneurs to create little utopias instead of running extremely successful businesses. Mayer was attacked recently for her decision not to allow employees to work at home. She is a woman, this line of thinking goes, how could she think women should have to work away outside of their houses, away from their children? But why should Marissa Mayer have some special responsibility to nurture her employees with a cozy, consummately flexible work environment just because she is a woman? Isn’t her responsibility to run a company according to her individual vision? If we want powerful female entrepreneurs shouldn’t we allow them to pursue entrepreneurial power?

The strange idea that women who are successful must represent all women, or somehow be like all women, is both totally absurd and completely prevalent. How could someone in the position of Sandberg or Mayer live exactly like most women in America? Mayer attracted criticism for taking too short a maternity leave and for saying her baby is easy, because women with any sort of success or advantage are supposed to be self-deprecating. They are supposed to complain or evoke the terribleness of their lives, so that other women will not be threatened, to diffuse the powerful and frightening competitive instinct. This is an expectation most of us pick up in middle school, but the fact that it persists and lives on in the blogosphere and newspaper columns among grownup critics and pundits is shameful.

Roiphe cited Anna Holmes of the New Yorker, who took Maureen Dowd and Jodi Kantor of the New York Times to task for taking Sandberg’s quote (“I always thought I would run a social movement”) out of context to make her look “arrogant.”

The original, quite reasonable quote was: “I always thought I would run a social movement, which meant basically work at a nonprofit. I never thought I’d work in the corporate sector.” But even if she had said the sentence, as a standalone aspiration, why should out-scale over the top ambition in a woman be considered arrogant or unappealing? Why is there so much resentment and mockery aimed at women with grand visions?

Hanna Rosin, also of Slate, noted how Mayer doesn’t consider herself a feminist, and thinks women of that mold are “militant,” with “a chip on their shoulder.”  Gasp!  It’s a duel between the individualist, independent-thinking woman and the collective tyrants of the secret circle.  Sandberg has stated that women themselves may be the problem when it comes to advancing in the workplace, as Norah O’Donnell reported on 60 Minutes. Rosin used Sandberg’s new book to convey this point.

… [the] tension between the individual and the collective is at the heart of the debate over Facebook executive Sheryl Sandberg’s “lean in” idea. Sandberg is publishing a book of advice to young women executives at the same time as she launches a “consciousness raising” movement complete with specific instructions on how to run lean-in circles. But that kind of collective action feels at odds with the advice in the book. In the book, out next week, Sandberg tells women how to negotiate for higher salaries and promotions, how to nurture their own ambition, how to behave at work if they want to advance. It is all excellent advice, but it’s not the stuff of a consciousness-raising movement. It’s advice for this age of meritocracy, when feminist success largely means professional advancement, one woman at a time. What happens if you’re up against another woman for a promotion? In Sandberg’s world, you go for it.

Hence, why – ironically – independent women, like Mayer and Sandberg, are anathema to the feminist establishment.  They aren’t thinking like a feminist. They’re thinking about their careers, and their own interests.  Men do the same thing.  In fact, anyone who wants to get ahead will do the same thing.  As Robert Frost once said, “I do not want to live in a homogenous society, I want the cream to rise.”

This problem that feminists have with women succeeding relates to their movement as a whole.  It’s a common criticism that the third – and current – wave of feminism lacks a clear vision for the 21st century. What issues, if there are any, are left for women to campaign on that haven’t already been addressed.  There’s nothing new in the arsenal.  All that is left is what needs to be built on, and that isn’t necessarily a compelling call to arms.

Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner wrote in her book the F-Word: Feminism in Jeopardy – Women, Politics, and the Futurethat the third wave is lost in the wilderness.

The lack of a cohesive movement is the crisis of the third wave.” Or as one of the young women she interviewed remarks, “In a nutshell, my problem with the third wave is that I think we’re a whiny bunch of elitists who think we’re so smart, but we’re not doing anything but power knitting. The lack of a political movement is huge, yet we feel so smug.”

What seems to frighten feminists about Sandberg and Mayer – and Rosin and Roiphe write this as well – is that feminism really didn’t help them rise to the top.  Furthermore, Rosin wrote that the crowd that Sandberg is trying to attract, of which Mayer is also a member, really don’t see much feminism has to offer in terms of advancing their careers.

Roiphe added:

the word feminist is of little use to us now, but if we are interested in female power then we should let our powerful women pursue power, without harassing them with our distaste for that pursuit. We should not expect them to be warmer, fuzzier, more nurturing than their male counterparts because to do so is to impose sexist expectations.

Could the feminist bashing of successful women be a manifestation of that frustration?  Is the “not being needed” angst driving this madness?  If so, the feminist establishment has a mindset of “these ladies have to go,” and hopefully the next crop will be more palatable to the cause. That’s one way to destroy a movement.  It’s something conservatives should’ve considered when they excluded GOProud at CPAC this year.

Either way, I say let women be women.  Better yet, let them be “American” – or “capitalist” – in their economic pursuits, which is grounded in being more aggressive, more competent, and more productive than your competition.  If a woman rises to the top, so be it.  She should be congratulated. We’re a meritocracy, and everyone should get a boost from the increased competition.  As for feminists, I suggest they go moan in a corner someplace else.  I want the economy to roar back –with men and women alike – and feminism isn’t helping anyone.

If Trump Comes to CPAC, So Should Chris Christie

The Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) begins this week, and New Jersey Republican Governor Chris Christie wasn’t invited. His antics towards House Republicans, his bashing of the NRA, and his unofficial endorsement of Democratic New York Governor Andrew Cuomo made sure that wouldn’t happen.  Christie said that he agreed with Cuomo, one of the most liberal governors in the country, on “98% of the issues.”  Yeah, he’s no conservative, but neither is Donald Trump.

Trump has given millions to Democratic candidates, and his invitation to speak at CPAC places the American Conservative Union in an untenable position concerning its decision to exclude Gov. Christie and gay conservative groups, like GOProud, from sponsoring the conference.  Frankly, I was for GOProud sponsoring the event.  Their platform is very much aligned with  the Tea Party, and they support states’ rights in deciding the issue of marriage, which is the valid constitutional avenue in addressing this issue.  However, back to the Donald.

In retrospect, Trump’s short reign over the GOP field in 2011 should’ve been an ominous sign of our defeat the following year.  A clown led in the beginning, and a clown clinched the nomination in the end.  Trump’s ties to the Democratic Party were well documented in the Washington Post, where they reported that he:

 …made more than $1.3 million in donations over the years to candidates nationwide, with 54 percent of the money going to Democrats, according to a Washington Post analysis of state and federal disclosure records.

Recipients include Senate Majority LeaderHarry M. Reid (Nev.), former Pennsylvania governor Edward G. Rendell, and Rahm Emanuel, a former aide to President Obama who received $50,000 from Trump during his recent run to become Chicago’s mayor, records show. Many of the contributions have been concentrated in New York, Florida and other states where Trump has substantial real estate and casino interests.

[…]

The Democratic recipients of Trump’s donations make up what looks like a Republican enemies list, including former senator Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.), Sen. John F. Kerry (Mass.), Rep. Charles B. Rangel (N.Y.), Sen. Charles E. Schumer (N.Y.) and the late liberal lion Edward M. Kennedy (Mass.).

The biggest recipient of all has been the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee of New York,which has taken in more than $125,000 from Trump and his companies. Overall, Trump has given nearly $600,000 to New York state campaigns, with more than two-thirds going to Democrats.

I understand he’s protecting his business interests, but don’t put on a show and act like you’re entering the GOP tent to save it from collapsing.  His excuse for contributing to Democrats is that they’re the only game in town.

“Everyone’s Democratic,” he [Trump] told Fox News in an interview about his potential [2012] candidacy. “So  what am I going to do — contribute to Republicans? One thing: I’m not stupid. Am I going to contribute to Republicans for my whole life when they get heat when they run against some Democrat and the most they can get is 1 percent of the vote?”

If you believe in the Republican Party – and more importantly conservatism – then you do contribute to get that “1 percent of the vote.”  It’s called integrity, Mr. Trump.  The ACU’s decision to allow this unprincipled charlatan to speak is puzzling, frustrating, and hypocritical.  Who on their PR team thought that inviting this man would be a good morale boost for conservatives?  It just shows you the numerous obstacles the conservative movement needs to address, with one of them being selecting better speakers for conferences.  And that’s just on the surface.

Sen. Graham Backs Radical Obama Judicial Appointment

Caitlin Halligan, general counsel for Manhattan’s district attorney’s office, was nominated in 2010 to fill a vacancy on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, and has been re-nominated four times since then. A cloture vote to move forward with her nomination failed 54-45 in 2011. The presidential judicial appointments – by custom – should be taken under consideration by the Senate, but not this one.  For starters, Halligan is a pro-abortion, anti-gun zealot, who just received the support of Sen. Lindsey Graham.

As Paul Mirengoff of PowerLine wrote yesterday, Halligan would be more of an activist, than a judge.

  …let’s start with national security, since the D.C. Circuit, where she would serve, is heavily involved in such cases. In 2004, Halligan signed a report issued by the Association of the Bar of the City of New York’s Committee on Federal Courts. As Ed Whelan has shown, this report, called “The Indefinite Detention of ‘Enemy Combatants’ and National Security in the Context of the War on Terror,” took extreme positions regarding the meaning of Due Process in the War on Terror — positions that the courts have rejected and that the Obama administration has had to retreat from.

To take just one example, the Report Halligan signed argues vigorously against the use of military commissions to try alien terrorists for violations of the laws of war, on the theory that the same constitutional protections afforded ordinary criminals should presumptively extend to those believed to be alien enemy combatants. In Halligan’s view, then, these individuals have a right to be tried in federal court. But even the Obama administration has abandoned the view that alien enemy combatants whose only connection with this country consists of their acts of war against it should enjoy the constitutional rights that American citizens have.

Halligan has also tried to bankrupt gun manufacturers by urging in court that they be held liable for the actions of those who misuse their product when harm results to others. And she opposed the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA).

Given this record, it isn’t surprising that the NRA opposes Halligan. It does so “based on [her] attacks on the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding Americans,” specifically her efforts “to undermine the [PLCCA]” which “was an essential protection both for the Second Amendment rights of honest Americans and for the continued existence of the domestic firearms industry as a supplier of arms for our nation’s defense.”

Halligan’s legal views on same-sex marriage are also problematic. In an opinion on the subject issued in her capacity as solicitor general of New York, she dismissed, with only the most cursory discussion, the possibility that the traditional definition of marriage might be justified by a state interest in “promoting procreation” and/or by an interest in the welfare of children. As Ed Whelan shows, Halligan’s analysis is one-sided and fails even to acknowledge counterarguments. This demonstrates extremism, superficiality, or both.

Additionally, according to Gary Marx, Director of the Faith and Freedom Coalition, and Carrie Severino, Chief Counsel and Policy Director of the Judicial Crisis Network, Halligan:

…filed a Supreme Court amicus brief claiming that pro-life protestors were engaging in extortion, under a legal theory that the U.S. Supreme Court rejected 8-1.  She is also a donor to pro-abortion groups, including to the New York Women’s Foundation, which “provides grants to groups actively engaged in ‘…advocacy, and/or policy work…’ supporting access to abortions.”

 Adding to her anti-gun disposition:
in 2003, while serving as the solicitor general for the State of New York, Halligan signed the brief in the New York Court of Appeals case The People vs. Sturm, Ruger & Co., a lawsuit brought against handgun manufacturers, wholesalers, and retailers. The lawsuit argued that gun manufacturers should be liable for threat to public safety caused by illegally possessed handguns.
Luckily, like most courts that have addressed such claims, New York’s highest court saw through the “public safety” facade and concluded that the connection between the alleged conduct (manufacturing guns) and the harm (murders and robberies) was “too tenuous and remote” to hold the industry liable.

Given her record, it’s no surprise as to why President Obama fancies her for the position.  She’s just as wrong as he is on the issues.  Additionally, Lincoln Caplan of the New York Times was also smitten by her.

Ms. Halligan is an excellent choice. She was a widely admired solicitor general of New York State, the successful leader of an appellate practice at a respected New York City corporate firm, and is both strongly credentialed and experienced. A letter on her behalf from a bipartisan group of appellate lawyers noted her “brilliant legal mind, her collegiality and fair-mindedness, and her abiding respect for the rule of law.” She has been endorsed by the New York Association of Chiefs of Police, the New York Sheriffs Association, the National District Attorneys Association and the National Conference of Women’s Bar Associations.

Of course, liberals are enthralled by her, and, like Caplan, are slamming Republicans since we’re out of “shameless, enormously time-wasting, basically unpatriotic excuses to sabotage Ms. Halligan’s nomination.”  Nevertheless, it’s highly unlikely that Halligan, if confirmed, will be able to execute her duties in an impartial manner. A person who feels that pro-life protestors are extortionists and gun manufacturers are liable for violent crime is unfit to keep our Constitution safe.  We need justices, who will defend the Bill of Rights, not relegate it to a Brawny paper towel.

As Ed Whelan of National Review noted on February 26, the reason for Graham’s reversal may be due to Sen. Schumer having something he wants in the immigration deal.  Furthermore, Sen. Schumer is pressuring Sens. Rubio, McCain, and Flake to not oppose Halligan’s nomination as well.

Ana Marie Cox Thinks Breitbart and His ‘Minions’ Are Bad Bad People

Ana Marie Cox of the Guardian isn’t on our team. That’s fine.  However, to label us the “jackass” wing of journalism only demonstrates the left’s inability to hold their own side accountable. She seems to feel that all of the criticism she outlines in her piece about conservative media are absent on the left.  This Friday will mark the one year anniversary of Andrew Breitbart’s passing, and it seems Cox is frustrated, angry, and perhaps threatened by the legacy he left behind.

Let’s just get this out of the way right up front: Ana Marie Cox built her career on blogging jokes about anal sex at the reprehensible guttersnipe site Wonkette. She presented herself as a rambunctious youngster, but it turned out she was already pushing 30 and just naturally behaves like a annoying, hyperactive juvenile. Both Time and later the Guardian hired her in full knowledge of this colorful journalistic career.

Now that we’ve established Cox’s bona fides as a scribe and scholar…

First, there is no such thing as being “mean” in media. As Breitbart famously said, “truth isn’t mean. It’s the truth,” and sadly that characteristic fails miserably with left-wing journalists.  It’s not mean to point out that Ana Marie Cox built her career on blogging anal sex jokes. It’s just the truth. It’s not mean to point out that Rachel Maddow seems content with airing edited video in order to smear Sen. John McCain’s remarks about gun control.   Good Morning Americaedited First Lady Michelle Obama’s inaccurate statement about the tragic death of Hadiya Pendleton in Chicago because of time constraints.  It was censorship.

Mrs. Obama claimed, “And she was caught in the line of fire because some kids had some automatic weapons they didn’t need.” This quote appeared online, but not on the February 26 interview with Robin Roberts.

[…]

However, when the interview aired on “Good Morning America” on Tuesday, viewers heard the first lady said this:

“She was absolutely right. She did everything she was supposed to do. She was standing in a park, with her friends, in a neighborhood blocks away from where my kids grew up, where our house is. And she was caught in the line of fire. I just don’t want to keep disappointing our kids in this country. I want them to know that we put them first.”

ABC edited the response visually by using a cutaway in the middle of the answer of Ms. Roberts listening.

Cox wrote that the right-leaning media outlets have an MO that seeks to

 be outrageous, scurrilous and completely unfair. And then, when you get a rise, just shrug and say: “What’s your problem: can’t take a joke?”

But for something to be humor, it has to be funny. And as comedy goes, the Free Beacon’s jokes have all the subtlety of Jackass. The only difference is that instead of creating dubious hilarity at the spectacle of their self-inflicted pain, they’re using equally ridiculous stunts to laugh at yours. Clinically speaking, we call people with that attitude “sociopaths”, but in the political realm, [Michael] Goldfarb’s [founder of the Washington Free Beacon] punchlines – emphasis on punch! – are just the latest iteration of a burgeoning style of discourse whose practitioners have become influential enough to deserve their own designation.

So, editing video to smear – or convey a false narrative – is fair and accurate, Ms. Cox?  To smear James O’Keefe as a racist, who you also criticize in your column, without proof isn’t scurrilous? By the way, Salon.com, who published the piece from left-wing journalist Max Blumenthal, printed a correction stating:

The Feb. 3 “James O’Keefe’s Race Problem” reported that O’Keefe, the conservative activist arrested on charges he plotted to tamper with Sen. Mary Landrieu’s phone lines, helped plan a conference on “Race and Conservatism” that featured white nationalist Jared Taylor. The freelance photographer who attended the event, and snapped O’Keefe’s photo there, now says the right-wing provocateur helped out at the conference,but cannot confirm that he helped plan it. The story has been corrected.

The article also said that O’Keefe was terminated by the right-wing Leadership Institute in 2008, after videos were released of O’Keefe calling Planned Parenthood and offering to donate money to abort black babies. He was let go in 2007. Leadership Institute co-founder Morton Blackwell told the New York Times O’Keefe “wanted to do sting operations that would affect legislation; he made some calls which have been covered in the news media to Planned Parenthood. That was beyond the scope of what we had hired him to do. We are an educational organization. We are not an activist organization.” Blackwell says he told O’Keefe to choose between his job and his activism, “and he said he was committed to the activism,” according to the Times. The date of O’Keefe’s termination has been corrected, and Blackwell’s explanation has been added to the story.

Cox also slams O’Keefe for using “highly selective cuts,” which is the seat of irony.  Besides the examples I listed above, MSNBC was caught editing the recorded testimony of Neil Heslin, whose son was a victim of the Sandy Hook tragedy, on Capitol Hill.  Contrary to what the media reported, he wasn’t heckled during his testimony.

MSNBC has a history of editing video to slam conservatives. In 2009, MSNBC edited out a black man carrying an AR-15 rifle in order to engage in racial commentary about the Tea Party. In 2012, they edited out Mitt Romney’s comments about the perils of too much regulation in business, and cut to him discussing the checkout process at the WaWa Deli in order to portray him as out of touch. Lastly, let’s not forget how NBC edited George Zimmerman’s 911 call to make him sound racist.

However, Cox’s conclusion to her piece that left me aghast.

…the perversity of this post-Ann Coulter generation is that they believe the world is run by nerdy liberal elitists , that their antics are a righteous rebellion instead of an attempt to assert the law of jungle. Perhaps it is true that liberal nerds have made great strides in governing – certainly, our president is one – but the reactionary insurgents’ anti-establishment pose, which goes along with shoving a camera in someone’s face, breaks down when you consider the actual policies advocated by the guy behind the viewfinder. Policies that, say, continue to suppress voting rights of minorities won’t make them punk rock heroes.

The only thing remotely disruptive about the material generated by the Bratbarts is its incivility. In itself, that is simply a style, not an argument or a critique. Incivility can be OK: I am a big believer in disrespecting those in power, and there’s nothing inherently wrong with being flippant – there are times when it is the only proper response to authority. As journalist and defender of the lowbrow Gilbert Seldes put it:

“Comedy is last refuge of the nonconformist mind.”

But confusing satire and hazing? Mixing up muckraking with misinformation? Revelation with subterfuge? Laughter with cruelty? Those are the tactics of would-be authoritarians, not outlaw liberators.

Of course, Cox had to boot-lick Obama towards the end.  It’s a sign of respect for the great one, which ironically comes before she professes her advocacy in disrespecting elected officials.  I’m sure she will be equally harsh on the Obama administration, which has “made great strides” in collecting names for kill lists, convincing the New York Times towithhold information about drone bases, and blowing away Americans abroad with drone strikes. The legality of which is still in dispute.

Lastly, when the liberal media went “birther” on Sen. Ted Cruz (R- Texas), isn’t that a form of hazing?  Isn’t insinuating his Canadian roots a cruel exercise in “revelation with subterfuge?”  Isn’t that “mixing up muckraking and misinformation?  Cruz happens to be a conservative sticking to his principles, and his Canadian roots are an extraneous detail since he was born to an American mother, making him eligible to run for president.  Yes, in 2016, we could possibly see a Cruz candidacy.

So, Cox thinks that we on the right sit at the “mean” table in media.  Then again, if the liberal media didn’t act like “jackasses” themselves – we wouldn’t be so angry.

Acorn-Affiliated Blueprint NC Puts A Hit On State’s Republican Leadership

The war of ideas is alive and well. In North Carolina, it’s taken a vicious turn,with progressives targeting the state’s Republican leadership and Governor Pat McCrory, who was elected in 2012.  Spearheading this effort is a 501 (c)(3) group known as Blueprint NC, which, according to their website:

is a partnership of public policy, advocacy, and grassroots organizing nonprofits dedicated to achieving a better, fairer, healthier North Carolina through the development of an integrated communications and civic engagement strategy.  Ultimately, Blueprint aims to influence state policy in NC so that residents of the state benefit from more progressive policies such as better access to health care, higher wages, more affordable housing, a safer, cleaner environment, and access to reproductive health services.

It’s liberalism on steroids – which is bad for economic health.  Mark Binker of WRAL.com, which covers the news in Raleigh, Durham, and Fayetteville, wrote yesterday that Blueprint NC drafted a memo, which aims to put “crippling” pressure on conservatives in the state.

According to documents included with the memo and interviews, the strategy outline was produced by Myers Research and Strategic Services for Project New America. It was originally provided to Progress North Carolina, a liberal nonprofit that has aggressively attacked McCrory during the 2012 campaign and his early term in office. Progress North Carolina shared the memo with Blueprint NC, a nonprofit that coordinates the activities of liberal-leaning nonprofits. In turn, Blueprint NC distributed it to its member organizations.

An electronic version of the memo appears to contain at least three separate documents. One is an email from outgoing Blueprint NC Communications Director Stephanie Bass describing the material and emphasizing that it is “CONFIDENTIAL to Blueprint, so please be careful – share with your boards and appropriate staff, but not the whole world.”

Sean Kosofsky, Blueprint NC’s director, said his group did not pay for or commission the research. “We were just forwarding it on,” he said.

The second document is a “talking points memo” that outlines strategies for progressive groups. Policy wins for the political left, the memo said, would likely be defined as “mitigating” legislation, rather than pushing their own agenda items.

The most effective way to mitigate the worst legislation is to weaken our opponents’ ability to govern by crippling their leaders (McCrory, Tillis, Berger, etc…)” the memo reads, referring to the governor, House Speaker Thom Tillis and Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger.

The memo goes on to describe a “potential two-year vision” during which the groups would “eviscerate the leadership and weaken their ability to govern.” The bulk of the document is a poll memo that talks about how to frame opposition to conservative tax and education policies. The survey was conducted between Jan. 29 and Feb. 2.

Given how progressives handled Americans for Prosperity rallying in support of Michigan’s Right-to-Work legislation last December, I think we can all imagine what “crippling their leaders” means for this cadre of left-wingers. Conservative nonprofit groups also draft memos outlining political strategy, but seldom does it contain explicit orders to go after someone personally. However, another interesting development, with the leaking of this memo, centers on WRAL itself.

The Civitas Institute, a conservative organization operating within North Carolina, posted on their blog yesterday that Binker left out key facts in his piece about BluePrint, namely that the A.J. Fletcher Foundation, another civic engagement nonprofit in the state, gave the progressive group $35,000.  Additionally, the Foundation gave:

$380,000 to the NC Justice Center which initially housed BlueprintNC when it was formed (the foundations 990 IRS reports are not current so there may be more) . The Goodmon family which owns WRAL has 4 family members on the board of the Fletcher Foundation including Barbara the President and Jim the chairman of the board. The Executive Director was formerly the head of the NC center for Voter Education, one of the original members of BlueprintNC. In addition Chris Fitzsimon, former WRAL reporter,  is head of the liberal NC Policy Watch, the original lead attack group in the Blueprint coalition. Fitzsimon is also provided free airtime on Goodmon owned WRAL-FM from which he launches daily attacks on political opponents. The Fletcher Foundation has been a long time funder of Policy Watch is now housed in the Justice Center.

WRAL is also actually doing one of the items in the strategy memo. The memo on page 3 calls for tracking McCrory “Campaign Promises” and “slam him when he contradicts his promise.” WRAL appears to have taken that for action by launching their “Promise Tracker“, complete with cute little ”Skull & Crossbones” symbols.

Then again, how could this group operate surreptitiously – and methodically – in planning to bring North Carolina’s Republican leadership to its knees?  As LaborUnionReport wrote about Blueprint on RedState, the organization likes to keep a low profile.

Blueprint has been created as a strategic initiative – focused on creating collaborative change and not focused on a public identity beyond our partners. Blueprint does not seek recognition for itself, but prefers that its partners be recognized for the good work that they do. [Emphasis added.]

Also, Blueprint’s allies seem to be the depraved spawn of ACORN.

Report added:

In 2010, Blueprint NC’s “partners” were  identified by the Civitas Institute which revealed a conglomeration of national and state “progressive” organizations—including the AFL-CIO’s A. Philip Randolph Institute, as well as the anti-life group NARAL.

[…]

In fact, Blueprint NC’s Director, Sean Kosofsky, is a NARAL alum, according to this bio:

Sean Kosofsky is currently the Director of Blueprint North Carolina. He is the former Executive Director of NARAL Pro-Choice NC, and has been an active visible LGBT leader since 1994. He was the Director of Poliyc for 12 years for Michigan’s leading LGBT rights organization, Triangle Foundation.

Blueprint NC also appears to be very well funded. The Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation, which was established in 1936 as a memorial to the youngest son of the founder of R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, gave Blueprint NC $850,000 for “general operating support” in 2010.

The [Z. Smith Reynolds] Foundation is apparently still giving Blueprint NC money—to the sum of $400,000, according to a report in Friday’s [Charlotte] Observer. However, due to the light being shined on Blueprint NC’s strategy (and, consequently, the[ Z. Smith Reynolds] Foundation), that support may now be in jeopardy.

Nevertheless, the strategy detailed in this memo could easily be executed in other states by affiliates of BluePrint – which is probably their plan.  The ‘Obamafication’ of the Democratic Party, and the liberal movement in general, has led to a progressive crusade to forcefully drag our nation to the far left.  Conservatives, at present, seem to be incognizant of the ramifications of this highly-coordinated campaign, and don’t seem to be in rapid response mode in countering this liberal grassroots operation.

The progressive left has all the advantages in digital strategy, voter targeting, and youth outreach.  Republicans are dreadfully behind the curve in this technological front that is critical in turning the tide against the liberal leviathan that has been unleashed against us. In the meantime, Civitas is holding their leadership conference on March 1, and I hope the various panels discuss BluePrint and this memo in order to fight back.

Excerpts of the memo are below.  Full memo at the bottom of the page.

 

Blueprint NC Secret Memo by

 

 

Gov. Baby-Killer?

Over the weekend, Governor Andrew Cuomo (D-New York) announced that he plans to relax his state’s abortion law, and allow women to obtain late-term abortions if their health is at stake.  It provides more latitude against the current statute, which says the only legal justification for a late-term abortion – as defined by the Supreme Court  – is when the pregnancy threatens the mother’s health.  Not surprisingly, pro-life activists are nervous.

Aaron Blake of the Washington Post wrote on February 20 that:

…while abortion rights very much remain a 50-50 issue in American society, late-term abortion is particularly charged.

recent USA Today/Gallup poll showed that 80 percent of Americans oppose late-term abortion — generally defined (and defined in the poll) as occurring in the final three months of a pregnancy. That compares to 64 percent who think it should be illegal in the second trimester and just 31 percent who say it should be illegal in the first three months.

So why would Cuomo do such an unpopular thing? Well, in actuality, he’s not. When you add the health of the mother to the equation, opposition to late-term abortion drops dramatically.

2003 ABC News poll showed that while 62 percent thought late-term abortions should generally be illegal, 61 percent said they should be legal if there is a “serious threat to the woman’s health.”

A “serious threat” is a highly subjective phrase. There’s a multitude of things people can consider “serious,” while others might find less severe.  Furthermore, it gives abortionists room to argue that more restrictions protecting life should be whittle down.   Additionally, this 2003 poll was taken during the year when the Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act was passed. However, I think even the most ardent pro-lifer would agree that in an extraordinary circumstance, such as a pregnancy threatening the life of the mother, a late-term abortion is regrettably necessary.

Nevertheless, this Cuomo’s bill is about lowering the bar to allow such grisly procedures to be conducted under the banner of American progressivism.  The New York Times, which first reported on this depraved development on February 16, stated:

Mr. Cuomo’s proposal, which has not yet been made public, would also clarify that licensed health care practitioners, and not only physicians, can perform abortions. It would remove abortion from the state’s penal law and regulate it through the state’s public health law.

Abortion rights advocates have welcomed Mr. Cuomo’s plan, which he outlined in general terms as part of a broader package of women’s rights initiatives in his State of the State address in January. But the Roman Catholic Church and anti-abortion groups are dismayed; opponents have labeled the legislation the Abortion Expansion Act.

The editorial board of the National Review opined that:

 where it [Cuomo’s abortion bill] regulates, it regulates the wrong parties in the wrong way. But it also deregulates with equal disregard: It would among other things allow persons other than physicians to perform abortions. That is an innovation borrowed from Jerry Brown’s California, where midwives and nurses are permitted to perform abortions. The State of New York will not permit a burly man to lift a box without a state permit to operate a moving company, but gynecological surgery apparently is to be considered a matter for immediate regulatory relief.

New York does not want for access to abortion. Two in five pregnancies end in abortion in New York City; the rate for black women is 60 percent. The statewide figures are lower, but they are high enough. There are about 250 abortion clinics in the state, and 93 percent of the state’s women live in a county that is home to an abortion facility, according to the Guttmacher Institute. Nationally, abortion kills the equivalent of the combined populations of Atlanta and Cleveland every year. All that with no help from Governor Cuomo.

Governor Cuomo’s bill is not about easing access to abortion — those bloody skids already are well-greased. The issue is political domination. The abortion party does not brook resistance, and it steadfastly seeks to ensure that everybody has a hand in its grisly business: taxpayers, employers, priests. All must be implicated. If a religious hospital declines to provide abortions, then it must be forced to do so. If a counseling center treats adoption as preferable to abortion, it will either change its mind or have its mind changed for it by the gentle persuasion of the State of New York.

As George Will said in the wake of Sandra Fluke – and Slutgate– this is what liberalism looks like after one hundred years of maturation.

This is what the progressive state does. It tries to break all the institutions of civil society, all the institutions that mediate between the individual and the state. They have to break them to the saddle of the state.

It’s a frightening thought since Gov. Cuomo has presidential ambitions in 2016.  Should conservatives rename him Gov. Baby-Killer with this radical shift in policy that permits infanticide?  Given the horrors that will ensue, it would be apt for them to do so.

 

That Ted Cruz Is So Canadian

As Bryan Preston and Stephen Kruiser noted last week, the liberal media has mounted a campaign to destroy Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas).  He’s a high priority target because he goes against everything the media has said about the Tea Party, and conservatism in general.  For all the talk about the Tea Party’s anti-intellectualism, Cruz received his B.A. at Princeton University, and his Juris Doctor at Harvard University.  He also clerked for Chief Justice William Rehnquist.  As George Will wrote back in June of 2011,

By the time Ted Cruz was 13, he was winning speech contests sponsored by a Houston free-enterprise group that gave contestants assigned readings by Frederic Bastiat, Friedrich Hayek and Ludwig von Mises. In his early teens he traveled around Texas and out of state giving speeches. At Princeton, he finished first in the 1992 U.S. National Debate Championship and North American Debate Championship.

 As Texas’s solicitor general from 2003 to 2008, Cruz submitted 70 briefs to the U.S. Supreme Court, and he has, so far, argued nine cases there. He favors school choice and personal investment accounts for a portion of individuals’ Social Security taxes. He supports the latter idea with a bow to the late Daniel Patrick Moynihan, who said such accounts enable the doorman to build wealth the way the people in the penthouse do.

He embodies the ambitious spirit that drives Americans in their quest for success.  That’s an emancipatory mindset that threatens the Democratic dependency agenda, and the narrative their allies in the liberal media are pushing daily.  The latest salvo against Cruz came from the New York Times, which went “birther” on the freshman senator.

This attack depraved could be a sign that liberals are scared of Cruz.  Why bring up Canada if you weren’t trying to disqualify him for the presidency since Hillary Clinton’s intentions are dubious at best?  Then again, it’s how the media normally acts towards conservatives.  They still need to point out -– falsely -– that being a minority and a Tea Party supporter are “mutually exclusive,” which is what Tony Lee and Stephen K. Bannon mentioned in their Breitbart post last weekend.

The Washington Post and Politico joined the times in assailing Cruz this week for similar reasons.

The Times did a thorough review of the freshman senator’s stunning seven-week run:

  • leading the charge on the destruction of Chuck Hagel’s bona fides as Secretary of Defense;
  • one of only three Republicans to vote against John Kerry because of his longstanding less-than-vigorous defense of U.S. national security issues;
  • one of only 34 that voted against raising the debt ceiling;
  • one of only 22 who voted against the Violence Against Women Act;
  • one of only 36 who voted against the pork-ladened Hurricane Sandy financial aid package;
  • one of only 19 who voted against arming the Muslim Brotherhood regime in Cairo;
  • called out Rahm Emanuel;
  • confronted Chuck Schumer on national TV;
  • enraged Senators Boxer and McCaskill enough for them to label him as a “McCarthyite”

That, ladies and gentleman, is how you fight.

Jonathan Weisman, the author of the piece, brings out all the old adages about “taking confrontational Tea Party sensibilities to new heights- — or lows — before rolling out Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) for the obligatory beat-down of conservatives. The Times also quotes McCain’s sidekick, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), who has to watch his right flank because he faces a potential primary in 2014, who tells the publication some of Cruz’s comments regarding Hagel were “out of bounds.”

In what is known as a “tell” in the media parlor game, Weissman and the Times commit an unforgivable error by referring to Cruz as “Canadian-born” without mentioning he was born to a mother who was  a U.S. citizen, which most likely makes Cruz “natural born” and eligible to run for the nation’s highest office. Yes, just when the Texan shows some “muzzle velocity” toward 2016, the Times goes birther.

They also mentioned the NYT’s Frank Bruni, who called Cruz a “nasty newcomer,” who will bring “Republicans nothing but grief.”

Bannon and Lee added:

This is the same Bruni who, in a bizarre column last week he compared politicians to imagined colognes, accused Cruz of “haranguing” nominees and having an “aggrieved voice and censorious visage.” As for Cruz’s cologne, Bruni felt it should be “Cruz Control,” which he said was “showy” and “tailor-made for preening, with a top note of sandalwood, a middle note of tonka bean and a base of self-righteousness.”

[…]

…the Canadian-born-to-a-US-citizen junior senator from Texas is making all the right enemies in an era when Republicans come to Washington and seek to immediately kowtow to the mainstream media and “courtly” establishment Republicans loathed by the conservative base and those living outside Washington, D.C.’s “boomtown.”

As Cruz has indicated in past interviews, he is doing something right by finding enemies at the New York Times and the Washington Post less than two months after coming to Washington, D.C. And this should delight the conservative movement that always fears its elected officials will come to Washington to change it and instead get changed by it.

If Senators Boxer and McCaskill are calling you “McCarthyite,” you’re doing something right.

Originally posted on PJ Tatler.

Jennifer Morbelli Laid To Rest

On February 13, at 10am, a service for Jennifer Morbelli, who passed away after a botched late-term abortion last Thursday, was held, and Viral Read was on the scene.  Morbelli was a twenty-nine year old Kindergarten teacher, who is the latest victim of Dr. LeRoy Carhart.

In a humble eulogy, Morbelli’s sister Kristin remembered how wonderful her sister was; how she always was ‘sticking up for her’ in ways no one else would. ViralRead’s New York City based correspondent reported that in the view of her family, Morbelli had accomplished more in 29 years than most do in a lifetime. In her mother’s stead, Kristin read a letter from her mother and father to Morbelli, a feat incomprehensible to anyone who has never laid a loved one to rest.

 The priest who presided over the services delivered a consoling homily in which he remembered his favorite childhood nursery rhyme, Humpty Dumpty. He stated that much like Humpty Dumpty, God will put both Jennifer and her unborn child, Madison Leigh, back together again.

A kindergarten teacher at Church Street Elementary in White Plains, N.Y., Morbelli was married and her pregnancy had been planned; she even named the unborn child Madison Leigh. However, as reported by Jill Stanek, a prenatal test about two weeks ago found “fetal abnormalities” and the decision was made to seek an abortion. Morbelli was 33 weeks pregnant and Carhart’s Maryland clinic is one of the few sites that perform such late-term abortions.

In a post I wrote for the Tatler today, the clinic where Morbelli had her abortion is under investigation.  Furthermore, it was approved by the state of Maryland without a proper inspection.  The police and medical authorities are investigating this tragic incident  Also, the clinic is being investigated by the Maryland Attorney General for illegal dumping of biohazardous waste.

Dr. Carhart was also involved in another botched late-term abortion in 2005, which killed nineteen year old Christin Gilbert.

Andrew O’Shea, who penned the Viral Read piece, aptly noted the lack of media coverage on this harrowing incident.

Most major news organizations have refused to cover the death of Jennifer Morbelli. The Washington Post has published two articles about the case, a 350-word piece Sunday and a longer article in Tuesday’s edition about a press conference pro-life groups held near the Germantown clinic. The case has also been reported by the Journal News in Westchester County, N.Y., the Gazette in Montgomery County, Md., and the Omaha World-Herald in Nebraska.

However, Morbelli’s death has not yet been reported by the New York TimesUSA Today, network news channels or the cable news networks for that matter.

“How could any news editor look at the death of Jennifer Morbelli and say, ‘That’s not a story’?” veteran journalist Robert Stacy McCain wrote Tuesday. “This is not merely news, it’s got enough of a human-interest angle to deserve at least a two-hour network special or a magazine cover story.”

However, McCain’s coverage of Morbelli’s death wasn’t without criticism.  Then again, is there anything conservatives can do without being slammed by the left?  Bridgette Dunlap, a Human Rights Fellow at the Leitner Center for International Law and Justice, thought that Jill Stanek – a pro-life activist who released Morbelli’s name – should be sued by her family for “intentional infliction of emotional distress and invasion of privacy.”

McCain responded.

OK, fine, Bridgette: Let’s have a long, ugly quarrel on Twitter where you lecture me about privacy rights and I’m forced to advocate the public’s “right to know” argument by which the New York Times justifies leaking classified national-security information.

Accuse me of disrespecting the Morbelli family’s grief, denounce me for seeking to exploit this woman’s death for the sake of politics and I will repeat what I’ve said before: I don’t care, just stop ignoring this story.

This story isn’t about me or you or Jill Stanek. This story is about an abortionist who left a woman to bleed to death. If you want to target Jill Stanek for a lawsuit, please go right ahead, Bridgette, and I’ll cover the lawsuit, because that will call attention to the shameful enormity of the bloody career of this disgraceful butcher, LeRoy Carhart.

In closing, I’m sure Dunlap was equally appalled by the Journal News doxxing every handgun permit holder in Westchester and Rockland counties last December, and treating them like convicted sex offenders.

However, we can have a legal debate some other time.  Rest in peace, Jennifer Morbelli and Madison Leigh.

(H/T Viral ReadRobert Stacy McCain)

Questions Still Surround Morbelli Tragedy

As I posted yesterday, last week twenty-nine year old Jennifer Morbelli sought a late-term abortion from Leroy Carhart.  It went horribly wrong, and she had massive internal bleeding in her abdominal cavity.  She went into a Code Blue condition six times before passing away from her injuries. The reason for her late-term abortion is still unknown.  Unless the pregnancy endangers the life of the mother, late-term abortions are illegal in the United States under the Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003.

According to Jill Stanek, a leading pro-life advocate, the child was wanted, but was suffering from “fetal anomalies.”  What these anomalies were are still unknown.  All we do know is that upon learning upon her baby’s condition two week ago:

Jennifer, her husband, her parents, and her sister traveled to Carhart’s late-term Germantown Reproductive Health Services abortion clinic in Germantown,Maryland, last weekend. Carhart began the abortion process on Sunday, February 3, in the afternoon, according to sidewalk counselors who maintain a constant presence at the clinic when it is open. They noted Jennifer appeared “very” late-term. According to those counselors, Sunday is when Carhart kills late-term babies by lethal injection into the heart through the mothers’ abdominal wall.

Jennifer and her family returned on Monday, presumably to begin the labor induction process by insertion of laminaria or prostaglandins to dilate the cervix, and again on Tuesday. They likely spent each night at a nearby hotel, as is the usual process for a multi-day, late-term abortion at Carhart’s Germantown clinic. Each day sidewalk counselors noted in real-time annotations that Jennifer appeared more and more pale.

The family returned again on Wednesday, presumably for the delivery of Jennifer’s dead baby Madison, staying nine hours, an extraordinary length of time. They left at 4:35 p.m. Carhart and his wife Mary Lou left soon afterward. The two typically fly out on Wednesday afternoons to either Indianapolis, Indiana, or BellevueNebraska, to commit abortions on Thursdays. Carhart is what’s known as a “circuit rider” abortionist.

At approximately 5:00 a.m. on Thursday, February 7, Jennifer presented at Shady Grove Adventist Hospital in RockvilleMaryland, which is almost nine miles fromCarhart’s clinic. Family members told hospital personnel they had tried to reach Carhart several times, but he did not return their calls.

At approximately 9:00 a.m. Jennifer coded. She coded a total of six times before she was pronounced dead at about 10:00 a.m. It was during this time Carhart called the hospital. He never showed up.

What’s more disturbing, according to Stanek, is that the state of Maryland licensed seventeen abortion clinics, including Carhart’s, without inspecting one of them.

LifeSiteNews reported on February 12 that the police and medical authorities are investigating this matter.

The Maryland Office of the Chief Medical Examiner has autopsied Morbelli’s body, but officials say a complete review could take more than a month.

Tricia Nay, the medical director of Maryland’s Office of Health Care Quality, confirmed that her office is looking into the matter. “We are aware of this incident, and we do have an ongoing investigation,” said Nay.

The probe into Morbelli’s death comes as the controversial abortion facility is also under investigation by the Maryland Attorney General’s office for charges of illegal dumping of biohazardous waste – possibly including the remains of aborted infants – and private patient information.

As I’ve written in a previous post, this isn’t the first patient that has died from a botched abortion from Dr. Carhart. In 2005, Christin Gilbert died after a failed late-term abortion, which was the result of a sexual assault.  After Tiller “gave her [Christin’s] baby a fatal digoxin injection to the heart. Christin was prepared for labor and delivery of her dead child. Her cervix was filled with laminaria and she was sent back to her hotel room at the La Quinta Inn, located about 1-2 miles from WHCS on East Kellogg in Wichita.” The baby was expelled, but Christin suffered a tear in her uterus, which was taken care of during the procedure.  However:

at this point, Carhart allegedly administered the abortion drug RU 486 to Christin. This drug is approved for medical abortions in pregnancies prior to the 6th week of gestation. The drug has been responsible for at least six deaths in the United States between 2001 and 2006.

RU 486 was apparently meant to be an “insurance policy” to make sure everything had been expelled from the uterus, but the drug was not approved by the FDA for that purpose. RU 486 was also approved as an oral medication, not as a vaginal suppository, which many believe contributed to life-threatening complications and deaths in women who used it in this way. It is believed that Carhart administered RU 486 to Christin as a vaginal suppository even though her uterus had suffered a laceration and was susceptible to infection.

Symptoms that Christin experienced after the administration of RU 486 were comparable to the symptoms of other women who have died from RU 486 nationwide, which include hemorrhage and sepsis.

Needless to say, the results were equally tragic.  Christin Gilbert died at the age of nineteen.

CORRECTION: In my previous post, I mistakenly wrote that Morbelli slipped into a coma before passing away.  She went – tragically – into Code Blue (cardiac/respiratory arrest) six times before she died.

Originally Posted at PJ Tatler.

Kentucky Democrats Worry About Judd Crashing The Party

According to Joshua Miller’s February 13 piece on Roll Call, an Ashley Judd senate candidacy would give Kentucky Democrats “heartburn.”

…for many Bluegrass State Democrats, a potential Judd run brings a different feeling: heartburn.  “If she runs, I think that it would be a catastrophe for a lot of downballot races in Kentucky,” said Jimmy Cauley, a longtime Kentucky Democratic strategist who doesn’t believe Judd can win a general election. Among Democratic state legislators, he said, “there is significant worry about Ashley being on the ballot.”

Democrats plugged into the Frankfort, Ky., zeitgeist publicly and privately confirmed those sentiments. The crux of their worry is this: As a celebrity and strong supporter of President Barack Obama, Judd’s position at the top of the ticket could nationalize state and local races. They see her losing the Senate contest — an uphill climb for any Democrat — and potentially poisoning the conservative brand of some state Democrats.

For years, the Kentucky Democratic Party has racked up significant successes at the state and local level, from the governor’s mansion down the ballot. But in federal elections, Republicans have won victory after victory. In November, Obama lost the state, winning less than 38 percent of the vote.

However, Judd has one ally in Rep. John Yarmuth, who pitched her name last year, and has since been her “cheerleader,” according to Miller. He scolds his fellow party members for not having a better candidate in mind to challenge Sen. Mitch McConnell in 2014.  However, Yarmuth’s support for Judd is creating some tension.

If John Yarmuth wants to be highest ranking Democrat in the state of Kentucky, he should keep pushing Ashley Judd,” Cauley said. “Because we will lose the Legislature and we will lose the governor’s office and he’ll be the only one left.”

Yarmuth called Cauley’s comments “outrageous” and untrue. “We’re not going to lose control of Frankfort,” the four-term lawmaker said.

So, let the Democratic infighting over Ashley Judd begin.  One thing is for sure, and that is Sen. McConell must be loving this spectacle.   His approval rating sits at a paltry 37% amongst Kentucky voters, and he’s the most unpopular senator currently serving in the U.S. Senate.  He would beat Ashley Judd 47%-43%, but that’s too close for comfort for an incumbent.

Originally posted on PJ Tatler.

 

Remembering Jennifer Morbelli

It’s another tragic story of a young woman’s life being lost to a botched abortion.  In this case, it was twenty-nine year old Jennifer Morbelli, who was a patient of Dr. Leroy Carhart.  Carhart performed a third trimester abortion on Ms. Morbelli, which resulted in massive internal bleeding in her abdominal cavity.  She died last Friday.  This isn’t the first time a patient of Dr. Carhart has died while he was performing a third trimester abortion.  According to LifeSiteNews:

This tragic incident occurred the same day that another medical emergency took place at a New Mexico abortion clinic involving long-time Carhart associate Shelley Sella. At the time of that incident, a Medical Board in New Mexico was voting to clear Sella of negligence charges, related to a botched third trimester abortion using the same risky late-term abortion method employed by Carhart. This dangerous out-patient abortion process includes long periods of time where the patient is unmonitored while taking strong doses of a drug that causes unpredictable and sometimes violent contractions.

“The avoidable death of this young woman dramatically illustrates the dangers of third trimester abortions that are done outside of the safety of obstetrical standards,” said Troy Newman, president of Operation Rescue and Pro-life Nation.

“In 2005, Carhart was also involved in the death of Christin Gilbert, who died after a third trimester abortion in Wichita, Kansas. It is time for medical boards to put an end to these horrifically dangerous and barbaric third trimester abortions. If they do not, we can only expect Carhart and his associates to send more women to the morgue.”

Dr. Carhart’s butcher’s bill is disturbingly devoid of any remorse. Lila Rose, President of Live Action, released thisstatement on February 8 concerning the death Ms. Morbelli.

While his twenty-nine-year-old patient and her eight-month-old baby were dying horribly, late-term abortionist Leroy Carhart skipped town, leaving the hospital and the young woman’s family desperate for answers. Carhart himself is busy whitewashing and promoting his grisly work through a Hollywood film. So how many women and children are killed by abortionists like Carhart without our ever knowing, their deaths covered up by pro-abortion physicians?

Not only does Carhart’s violent work literally tear women from their children, but it also divides women against themselves; they suffer and mourn for their lost children, yet they are all the while told by Planned Parenthood and other pro-abortion entities that they have no good reason to grieve.

These tragic and unnecessary deaths underline what Live Action has detailed again and again: abortion is not safe – for anyone. Women who understand what these horrible abortions entail do not want them. And those women who are lied to and misled about these “procedures” deserve to know exactly what Big Abortion – and their abortion bosses like Carhart – seek to do to them.

However, the nation – and the political left – is more wrapped up in Christopher Dorner, than the brutalization of women at the hands of  an abortionist.

Originally posted on the PJ Tatler

*Correction:  In my previous post, I mistakenly wrote that Morbelli slipped into a coma before passing away.  She went – tragically – into Code Blue (cardiac/respiratory arrest) six times before she died.

Harry Reid and The Crumbling Democratic Caucus

Screen Shot 2013-02-03 at 1.36.38 PMIowa is about to have an open Senate seat for the first time in twenty-nine years.  Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) decided to bolt from the U.S. Senate, as did Jay Rockefeller (D-WV).  However, why are safe Democrats retiring from the U.S. Senate?  Rockefeller and Harkin, for example, could’ve been there for life.  Is it because Sen. Harry Reid is making things so miserable that stalwarts of the left, like Harkin, are crying “uncle”?  The Washington Post‘s Jennifer Rubin thinks so, and said to watch for three more retirements as 2014 draws nearer.

Keep an eye on Sens. Carl Levin (D-Mich.), Tim Johnson (D-S.D.) and even Dick Durbin (D-Ill.).

Then, of course, John Kerry has decamped for Foggy Bottom and Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) may find it hard to finish his term. These last two departures mean the Democrats’ margin gets much tighter and the opportunity to ram through progressive legislation diminishes even further.

Pols who come to Washington to “make a difference” — which for liberals means passing legislation — must find Reid’s Senate deadly dull. Rarely do votes get taken. There hasn’t been a budget in over three years. Reid is likely either to whittle down antigun legislation to the bare bones or block it entirely. The president looks anxious to scuttle immigration reform before it starts. In short, Democratic senators do very little. (How they get reelected doing so little is beyond me.)

At least Republicans see their mission as playing defense 24/7. Stay alert. Don’t let more damage be done. Think how to minimize the debt. It’s not grand, but it is challenging and invigorating in a way. Democrats, on the other hand, have to be content to do nothing.

So it is a wonder more Democrats don’t leave. This year Virginia has a gubernatorial race that Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) could win in a heartbeat. In 2014 gubernatorial races abound. Democrats will be term-limited out in Massachusetts, Arkansas and Maryland. There will be competitive races against potentially vulnerable GOP incumbents in states such as Florida, Maine and Pennsylvania.

However, while Sen. Mark Warner would handily win the 2013 Virginia gubernatorial race, he has said he’s not interested in another term as governor.  As for Dick Durbin, he said back in 2012 that he may retire in “two years,” which leaves room for Republican Congressman Aaron Schock to possibly mount a run for the seat.  Upon the announcement that Sen. Jim DeMint was leaving, WaPo’s Chris Cillizza noted that Carl Levin will be 80 in 2014, and “ended September with less than $300,000 in the bank. Of course, Levin was the subject of retirement rumors in 2008, ignored them and cruised to victory.”  However, Cillizza added that the state’s party dynamics guarantee that Michigan will remain in Democratic hands.

However, this was a slow-moving snowball.  When Sen. Evan Bayh (D-IN) retired citing the partisan gridlock, most shrugged it off.  Then, Olympia Snowe (R-ME) decided to jump ship citing similar reasons.   On a side note, it’s funny how moderates complain about partisanship, but then think leaving will solve the issue.  However, this was during the time when unserious budget proposals were brought before the Senate floor, with Harry Reid blocking every Republican pro-economic bill that came his way.

Liberals need to do something to make themselves feel like they’re making a difference.  However, with Reid clogging the spotlight all the time, it’s no wonder why the older guard is deciding to collect their congressional pension, and make a bee line for the door.

Originally posted on PJ Tatler and Instapundit.

ATF’s Epic Fail In Milwaukee

Screen Shot 2013-01-31 at 11.29.54 AMAs Harry Reid bolts from Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s renewed push to ban so-called assault weapons, other senators, including Pat Leahy and Al Franken, may politick their way into killing the bill in committee.  As Ed Morrissey of Hot Air posted yesterday,

No one thought Reid would be excited to support a new assault-weapons ban.  He didn’t support the last one, and he’s been non-committal over the last several weeks even while his fellow Democrats have publicly demanded a new ban.  Leahy’s reluctance should probably not be surprising, either; Vermont has a lot of gun owners, and voters there support nearly unrestricted gun rights.

However, Leahy chairs the Judiciary Committee, which is where Feinstein’s bill will have to find approval to reach a floor vote — or more likely, a filibuster.  That committee also includes Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken from Minnesota.  Klobuchar easily won re-election and might vote to pass a ban out of committee, but Franken has to face Minnesota voters next year — voters who are also gun-rights supporters.  Franken has said little about Feinstein’s proposal except that he supports a renewal of the assault-weapons ban “in principle.”  If Leahy is not on board, Franken might protect himself with a no vote (or perhaps an abstention).  Assuming the Republicans on the committee oppose it, Feinstein’s bill may never get out of committee at all.

Morrissey concluded that we may have dodged a bullet (sorry for the pun) with the failure of this new anti-gun push since the constitutionally questionable ATF would’ve enforced it.  Let’s see what their latest efforts into gun control yielded in the streets of Milwaukee.

…the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports, they [ATF] seem to have enough trouble handling the laws they enforce now:

A store calling itself Fearless Distributing opened early last year on an out-of-the-way street in Milwaukee’s Riverwest neighborhood, offering designer clothes, athletic shoes, jewelry and drug paraphernalia.

Those working behind the counter, however, weren’t interested in selling anything.

They were undercover agents from the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives running a storefront sting aimed at busting criminal operations in the city by purchasing drugs and guns from felons.

But the effort to date has not snared any major dealers or taken down a gang. Instead, it resulted in a string of mistakes and failures, including an ATF military-style machine gun landing on the streets of Milwaukee and the agency having $35,000 in merchandise stolen from its store, a Journal Sentinel investigation has found.

When the 10-month operation was shut down after the burglary, agents and Milwaukee police officers who participated in the sting cleared out the store but left behind a sensitive document that listed names, vehicles and phone numbers of undercover agents.

And the agency remains locked in a battle with the building’s owner, who says he is owed about $15,000 because of utility bills, holes in the walls, broken doors and damage from an overflowing toilet.

So, this is an epic fail. It’s no wonder people have t-shirts, bumper stickers, and internet memes that say Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms should be a convenience store, not a government agency.

ATF has a hazy history.  Besides Ruby Ridge, Waco, and its controversial gunwalking operations into Mexico, ATF’s operations have been criticized as excessive and unconstitutional.  Before the 1986 Firearms Owners Protection Act, 75% of the bureau’s prosecutions were “constitutionally improper,” according to an official Congressional investigation. As David Kopel, who recently testified for the Senate Judiciary Committee on gun violence this week, wrote for National Review back in 2009, as a response to The American Prospect’s blog about his use of the 75% statistic:

The 75-percent figure comes from a unanimous 1982 report of the Senate Subcommittee on the Constitution. After detailing a litany of statistics and case studies showing extreme and extensive abuse by BATF, the subcommittee’s reportturned to BATF’s counterarguments:

The rebuttal presented to the Subcommittee by the Bureau was utterly unconvincing. Richard Davis, speaking on behalf of the Treasury Department, asserted vaguely that the Bureau’s priorities were aimed at prosecuting willful violators, particularly felons illegally in possession, and at confiscating only guns actually likely to be used in crime. He also asserted that the Bureau has recently made great strides toward achieving these priorities. No documentation was offered for either of these assertions. In hearings before BATF’s Appropriations Subcommittee, however, expert evidence was submitted establishing that approximately 75 percent of BATF gun prosecutions were aimed at ordinary citizens who had neither criminal intent nor knowledge, but were enticed by agents into unknowing technical violations. (In one case, in fact, the individual was being prosecuted for an act which the Bureau’s acting director had stated was perfectly lawful.) In those hearings, moreover, BATF conceded that in fact (1) only 9.8 percent of their firearm arrests were brought on felons in illicit possession charges; (2) the average value of guns seized was $116, whereas BATF had claimed that “crime guns” were priced at less than half that figure; (3) in the months following the announcement of their new “priorities”, the percentage of gun prosecutions aimed at felons had in fact fallen by a third, and the value of confiscated guns had risen. All this indicates that the Bureau’s vague claims, both of focus upon gun-using criminals and of recent reforms, are empty words.

Yeah, I don’t think nominating a director to head this bureau is a national priority.

(H/T Ed Morrissey)

Here We Go Again: A Discussion with Numbers USA’s Rosemary Jenks

Screen Shot 2013-01-30 at 10.12.17 AMWith the “Gang of Eight” announcing their immigration reform package yesterday, I’m sure many American found the deal sensible, rational, and fair.  It’s a bipartisan deal, which pleases the independent segments of the electorate, and has Sen. Marco Rubio endorsing it wholeheartedly.  Immigration keeps the United States economically vibrant, unlike Europe, which has become older, grayer, and more Islamized.  We should welcome immigrants, but not at the cost of undermining our economic interests – which is what NumbersUSA, an organization dedicated to common sense immigration reform, is trying to tell members of Congress.  I was able to speak with Rosemary Jenks, NumbersUSA’s Director of Government Relations, about the new proposal last night.

On NumbersUSA’s website, they lay out the details of the package:

 1. Create a tough but fair path to citizenship for unauthorized immigrants currently living in the United States that is contingent upon securing our borders and tracking whether legal immigrants have left the country when required;

2. Reform our legal immigration system to better recognize the importance of characteristics that will help build the American economy and strengthen American families;

3. Create an effective employment verification system that will prevent identity theft and end the hiring of future unauthorized workers; and,

4. Establish an improved process for admitting future workers to serve our nation’s workforce needs, while simultaneously protecting all workers.

It doesn’t sound like snake oil, but anything from government that sounds too good to be true – tends to be that way.  Case in point, the passing of Obamacare.  However, to low-information voters, or those who aren’t privy to immigration data, it represents, as Jenks said:

…part of the problem with the immigration debate because when you see an outline of a proposal, and you don’t know a whole lot about the issue, it tends to look pretty reasonable.  It’s only when you get into the details that things start to fall apart. So, you know for example – the bottom line is that this proposal is virtually identical to the proposal from the Gang of Eight in 2007. And I actually like Sen. Sessions’s title for them better, which is “masters of the universe.”  They basically have been meeting behind closed doors.  They don’t allow anyone else into the meetings – anyone who might disagree with them – and then they come out with this grand announcement, and assume that everyone will fall in line and vote for it. But the problem is that this proposal is not well thought out in terms of what’s best for America. And part of the reason for that is that involved in their little secret meetings, and closed-door negotiations, are groups like the AFL-CIO, the Chamber of Commerce, and organized religion, the ethnic advocacy groups – special interest groups have all had their say, but the one group that’s always left out of these negotiations is the America people. So, here we go again – starting this whole process, and we’re looking at essentially the same proposals with the same meaningless so-called triggers that aren’t actually triggers – and massive amnesty.

Closed-door negotiations? It’s a bit ironic that comprehensive immigration reform that intends to keep us an open, immigrant friendly nation needs to be fleshed out in secret meetings.  However, what shocked me was the involvement of the AFL-CIO.  The Democratic wing that’s beholden to union interests have usually opposed illegal immigration since they allow, for example, contractors to underbid union contracts.  Why are they for amnesty? Jenks explains that:

basically, the unions have an interest in amnesty because immigrants, legal or illegal, is the only growing population of union-dues paying members. If they want to continue their dues, the need to legalize the illegal population to keep them here, keep them unionized, and keep them paying dues.  So in exchange for that amnesty, they’ve made a deal with the Chamber of Commerce, in which the unions give up on guest workers – to get amnesty – and the Chamber gives them amnesty to get guest workers.  So, everybody wins, except the American worker.

However, Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) did say, at the close of the press conference yesterday, that the proposal will tie  immigration the influx of legal immigration to the nation’s unemployment rate.  However, Jenks wasn’t convinced that this item in the package will be taken seriously.

 Well, the fact that they’re talking about giving expedited amnesty to AG workers [agricultural workers] and to dreamers – and then some kind of extended amnesty to all of the rest of the eleven million illegal aliens in the country, despite the fact that we have 7.9% unemployment tells me whatever they have in mind for the future is certainly not going to happen because they’ve already vastly exceeded the ability of our economy to employ these people. We’ve already got twenty million Americans who can’t find full-time jobs.  So, we’re going to add eleven million more?

The growth industries in the U.S. economy are mostly highly skilled, high-tech occupations.  So, why would we then be giving a massive amnesty –expedited amnesty – to AG workers, and creating a new guest worker program for low-skilled labor?  It doesn’t make sense.  We should be reforming our legal immigration system to meet the needs of the 21st century. Instead of doing that, they’re basically just packing on a whole bunch of new programs that will continue to flood the labor market, primarily the low-skill labor market, and increase the competition for our own most vulnerable workers. And who’s going to pay for it?  The taxpayers.

Yet, Brad Plumer posted on The Washington Post’s WonkBlog yesterday – and said that illegal immigration has “slowed since 2007.”  So, what’s the big deal?  Isn’t that a positive indicator?

there has been – it appears – through some Census data – that the number of new illegal aliens coming into the United States slowed somewhat during the recession, but there’s also evidence that the number has started to pick up again.  It’s entirely possible that’s because of all this talk of amnesty – but the bottom line is illegal immigration is going to be affected by some small degree by economic changes in the United States.  But the fact is that the illegal population has stayed at about an estimated eleven million. It hasn’t actually dropped.  We still have a huge problem, and you can’t stop illegal immigration by redefining it as legal.   That’s not a long-term solution.

What alternative policy does NumbersUSA endorse to solve this crisis?  Jenks said that since its inception, NumbersUSA has supported the proposals laid out from the 1995 U.S. Commission on Immigration Reform, which was chaired by former Texas Congresswoman Barbara Jordan.  Jordan, a Democrat, and her commission had these key points in their report.

  • a scale back of family chain-migration by implementing a prioritization of family relationships to determine who will be admitted through family-based immigration. Spouses and minor children of US citizens would continue to be admitted as first priority;
  • elimination of other family-based admission categories, including:
    • Adult, unmarried sons and daughters of U.S. citizens;
    • Adult, married sons and daughters of U.S. citizens;
    • Adult, unmarried sons and daughters of legal permanent residents; and
    • Siblings of U.S. citizens.
  • a focus on the admission of highly-skilled individuals to support the national interest by bringing to the U.S. individuals whose skills would benefit our society. Recommended the elimination of the admission of unskilled workers and elimination of the diversity visa lottery;
  • immigration admissions level of 550,000 per year, to be divided as follows:
    • Nuclear family immigration 400,000;
    • Skill-based immigration 100,000;
    • Refugee resettlement 50,000.
  • Stressed deportation is crucial. Credibility in immigration policy can be summed up in one sentence: those who should get in; those who should be kept out, are kept out; and those who should not be here will be required to leave.

Without a doubt, amnesty will be unpalatable to Republicans in the House.  As a naturalized citizen, who immigrated via adoption from South Korea, I want America to remain an open nation.  However, there are rules.  It’s unfair to the legal immigrants to be cast aside because millions of illegals broke the law.  They’ve waited patiently, and now they’re about to be cut in line.  There’s something unethical about it, but we shall see how conservatives react to this new amnesty push – even with the stringent standards attached to the pathway to citizenship.

Originally Posted on PJ Tatler.